Category Archives: Nick Barnett

31

July

The Packers’ Wild Week That Was: Day by Day Tracker

Green Bay Packers 2011 Training Camp

Green Bay Packers 2011 Training Camp

This was certainly a week like no other in the Packers Universe. A full off-season’s worth of activity was compressed into a time period of seven days. Here’s a day by day account of the week’s events:

Monday: July 25th, 2011

- The NFL lockout ends and the players approve the new agreement.
- Packers immediately start reaching unofficial agreements with Undrafted Rookie Free Agents (UDFA)

 

Tuesday: July 26th, 2011

- Nick Barnett comes to Lambeau Field, meets with Ted Thompson and leaves with only memories of his 8-year Packers career. Packers save 5 million in cap space.

- Packers Announce the signing of UDFAs:

Diondre Borel, QB, Utah State (6-0, 199)
Anthony Bratton, S, Delaware (6-2, 200)
Ray Dominguez, G/T, Arkansas (6-4, 334)
Sampson Genus, C, South Florida (6-1, 315)
Tori Gurley, WR, South Carolina (6-4, 216)
Jon Hoese, FB, Minnesota (6-2, 238)
M.D. Jennings, S, Arkansas State (6-0, 185)
Elijah “Peanut” Joseph, ILB, Temple: (6-1, 243)
Elisha “Eli” Joseph, NT, Temple (6-2, 290) (officially signed on Friday)
Jamari Lattimore, OLB, Middle Tennessee State (6-2, 230)
Brandian Ross, DB, Youngstown State (6-0, 191)
Brandon Saine, RB, Ohio State (5-11, 220)
Theo Sherman, G, James Madison (6-3, 302)
Antoine “Shaky” Smithson, WR, Utah (5-11, 202)
Vic So’oto, DE/OLB, BYU (6-3, 265)
Kerry Taylor, WR, Arizona State (6-0, 198)
Chris Donaldson, DE, Oklahoma State (6-1, 300) (officially signed on Friday)

- Packers players start arriving in Green Bay. Meet with trainers, coaches and are given their playbooks.

 

Wednesday: July 27th, 2011

- Packers announce the signing of free agent kicker Mason Crosby to a 5-year contract worth 14.75 million dollars.
- Rumors fly about other Packers that will or won’t be back. Some player agents respond. Colledge’s agent says he’s surely gone. Poppinga’s agent is doubtful he’ll be released.

 

Thursday: July 28th, 2011

- Packers Shareholders Meeting – Ted Thompson greeted with standing ovation.
- Daryn Colledge signs a 5 year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
- Justin Harrell released, saving 1.25 million of cap space.
- Brady Poppinga released, saving 2.3 million of cap space.
- Players check into St. Norbert for start of training camp.
- Brandon Jackson signs a 2-year deal with the Cleveland Browns.
- Jason Spitz signs a 3-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Packers sign four of their draft choices, Caleb Schlauderaff, Ryan Taylor Ricky Elmore and D.J. Williams
- Mike McCarthy’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, Isabella.

29

July

Green Bay Packers Release Injured Brandon Chillar

Brandon Chillar

After reporting to camp with a hamstring injury, Brandon Chillar has reportedly been released by the Packers.

According to a tweet by Tom Silverstein of the Milwauke Journal-Sentinel, the Green Bay Packers have released inside linebacker Brandon Chillar. This report comes merely a day after news that he suffered a “serious hamstring injury” in the offseason. Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com also reported yesterday that the Packers intended to release Chillar but wasn’t given the news when Brady Poppinga and Justin Harrell were informed of their fate.

At the end of 2009, Chillar signed a four-year contract extension worth $19 million. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury at the end of November last season.

The release of Chillar clears $1.8 million in salary cap money.

This news puts the Packers into a slight predicament at the inside linebacker position. With the reports of Nick Barnett’s pending departure, the loss of Chillar would mean having zero veteran back-ups to A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop. The only exception would be if they signed free agent Matt Wilhelm to a new contract.

Ted Thompson could still keep Barnett on the roster and perhaps try to re-work his contract. He might also look into picking up a veteran free agent off the market, though at this point, it’s tough to say what kind of talent is still available for negotiations. The answer to this dilemma is unclear, but someone will probably need to be found soon.

As far as Brandon Chillar is concerned, he might have a hard time finding a new team to pick him up with his current contract and injury status. His time with the Packers has been decent yet unspectacular, and he might have already hit his peak as a player.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation at the now-thin inside linebacker position.

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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22

July

Can Bishop, Peprah and Shields Build on Their 2010 Seasons?

Green Pay Packers cornerback Sam Shields

Can the young Sam Shields improve after his impressive rookie campaign?

The Green Bay Packers allowed the second fewest points in the NFL last season mainly because Clay Matthews became one of the best pass rushers in the league, BJ Raji held down the middle of the line, Tramon Williams emerged as a high-end cornerback and players like Charles Woodson, Nick Collins and Cullen Jenkins were their usual outstanding selves.

But to go from good to great, a team needs more than just its most talented and proven players making big plays. It needs under-the-radar guys to step up and not only provide depth, but also chip in with a big play every now and then. The Packers defense got just that last season from Desmond Bishop, Charlie Peprah and Sam Shields.

Can they do it again in 2011?

Desmond Bishop
2010 Expectations: Talented backup, but not quite good enough to start.
2010 Reality: Got his chance to start and proved he is more than capable.
2010 Highlight: Pick-six against Brett Favre in week seven.
Outlook: If there was a defensive player of the year award for the preseason, Bishop would probably have a few of them by now. Every preseason Bishop flies around the field and looks like the second-coming of Ray Lewis. Then the regular season starts and he gets stuck in the linebacker logjam.

Last season that logjam broke up because of injuries and Bishop got his chance. While he probably won’t become the regular season version of Ray Lewis, I expect Bishop to officially establish himself  as a good player instead of a talented wild card.

And the Packers are going to need him. Dom Capers likes to mix and match his personnell packages and Bishop will be needed to hold together many of them.

Charlie Peprah
2010 Expectations: If Peprah is on the field, the Packers are either losing or winning by several touchdowns late in the game.
2010 Reality: Took over after Morgan Burnett went down and played better than a career backup should play.
2010 Highlight: Key interception against the Bears in season finale.
Outlook: Of the three players we are reviewing, Peprah is probably the one most people would select to regress. It wouldn’t surprise me if Peprah goes back to being Peprah, but there are a few reasons why he might continue to surprise:

20

July

Dare To Be Great: Mike McCarthy’s Challenge In 2011

During his press conference after his Green Bay Packers–sans Aaron Rodgers–nearly upset the mighty New England Patriots in Foxboro, head coach Mike McCarthy uttered the phrase “we’re nobody’s underdog” to describe his team and that the Packers “came to win.”

McCarthy initially was mocked for the comments by many, but it turns out they served as a springboard for the Packers’ magical run to the Super Bowl XLV title. McCarthy and his staffed played the underdog card brilliantly and the Packers never looked back after that game.

So with the 2011 season upon us (I think), the Packers are about to embark on the defense of their throne.  They have gone from the hunters to the hunted which means the coaching staff has thrown the underdog card to the bottom of the deck.

This is McCarthy’s greatest challenge entering 2011.  The coach has spoken repeatedly about “handling success” as well as adversity.  We saw in 2010 how well his players respond to adversity, but how will they respond to having targets on their back?

Actually the Packers began last season as a chic pick for the Super Bowl, but as the season went on and injuries piled up, many people left the Packers for dead.   McCarthy played that into the “this is our time” theme throughout the postseason and into the Super Bowl.   It was a theme the players embraced and it showed as the Packers marched to Super Bowl XLV.

So what can McCarthy do for an encore?  Well, he really has to look no further than one of his predecessors.  While it is highly doubtful any team in the modern free-agency era will be able to duplicate the amount of championships in the same time span that Vince Lombardi’s Packers did, McCarthy could push his players to be the second Packers dynasty.

A way to approach that is that while winning one trophy is good, to be truly great you have to win two.  McCarthy could basically say to his players, “OK, you won one. You’re good. You want to be great? Go win another one.”  Winning two Super Bowls in a row is a tough feat to accomplish, but in order to truly be “great” you have to meet those kinds of challenges.

18

July

Bringing in the Cavalry: A Look at the Packers Injured Reserve

Ryan Grant Injury - Packers injured reserved

Ryan Grant's injury against the Philadelphia Eagles was one of the biggest blows to the offense last season.

With the NFL lockout well into its fourth month now, there has been ample talk of which teams will fare better with a limited offseason. One of those teams, of course, is the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. But it’s not their championship status that has people convinced they’ll be ready. No, most people point to the (now cliché) fact that they have “16 players returning from injured reserve.”

While this is certainly the case, I started thinking about this claim a little more in depth. I wondered: Will all sixteen of those players really be making a difference?

Sure, guys like Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant will have a HUGE impact upon their return. But what about a guy like Spencer Havner or even Brady Poppinga? What are they really going to be bringing back to the table?

Here’s a quick look at each player that ended up injured reserve last year and what their potential impact will be upon their return. They are ordered by the date of their injuries:

Josh Bell, CB

Type of Injury: Foot Sprain
When Injured:
Training Camp (August 10, 2010)
Impact for 2011:
None – The Packers offered Bell an injury settlement during camp, which he refused. After the Super Bowl ring controversy in June, it’s clear the team plans to go on without him next season.

#91 Justin Harrell, DE

Type of Injury: Knee (ACL)
When Injured:
Week 1 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Impact for 2011:
Questionable – Harrell could actually be a big influence on the 2011 season; however, one still has to be cautious with his downright unlucky injury history. If Harrell can manage to stay active for more than a game, then he might be able to do some damage along the line. We all know how big of an “if” that is, though.

#25 Ryan Grant, RB

Type of Injury: Ankle
When Injured:
Week 1 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Impact for 2011:
High – There’s no question that the Packers severely missed their primary running back for most of last season. Brandon Jackson just couldn’t get the job done, and James Starks, while showing a lot of promise, is still young and relatively inexperienced. Grant will provide some much-needed consistency to the ground game, even if he is splitting carries with Starks.

17

June

Packers Put a Ring on it – and We Like It

It had the anticipation, nerves and hype of a Green Bay Packer playoff game. There are just two problems with this scenario.

The NFL lockout remains in effect (although hopefully not much longer) and the date is June 16, not January 16.

The excitement was over the unveiling of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship rings.  Tonight was a different kind of night, given that the players and coaches have barely interacted since they got back from Dallas, but it’s a night none of the players or fans who were following along on Twitter will likely ever forget.

Like a great movie, the occasion had it all: Drama, laughter, nervousness and an ultimately very sweet payoff.  Yours truly was even sucked into the drama of the evening thanks to one of my soon to be patented poorly timed and poorly worded jokes. More on that later.

Since the event was private, no media were allowed inside the Lambeau Field Atrium until after the event. This was a night solely for the players in coaches.  We were treated to some “pre –game” coverage on NFL Network but sooner than later the players were inside the stadium, ready for the festivities to begin.

Without any media, the obvious question on Twitter became “Which player would be the first to tweet a picture of the ring?”  The early favorite was tight end and new fan favorite Tom Crabtree with Nick Barnett not far behind.   Another thing that got a chuckle out of me were all the tweets that said Aaron Rodgers had arrived…..solo.

Soon after, players were seated and the ceremony got underway.   Tensions and nervousness began to escalate quickly as time went further and further past 7 PM central.   You’d think there was a game going on given the anxiety I saw on my Twitter timeline.

Offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga broke the tension with a tweet stating “The Ring!” followed by a link to TwitPic. That link ultimately led to a picture of a grinning Bulaga and no ring.  A new meme in Packer fandom may have been born: being BulagaRoll’d. Sorry, Rick Astley.

At this point fans were openly wondering if all the Packer fans retweeting photos of the ring would cause Twitter to malfunction, as has been known to happen during spikes of activity.  Twitter also supposedly has this “Twitter jail” for those users who send too many tweets in too short of time period, thus chewing up precious bandwith. This led me to tweet to fans: “Intentionally trying to take down Twitter will get you banned fyi.”