Category Archives: Shaky Smithson

22

August

Walking Wounded: Eight Packers Candidates for Injured Reserve Or PUP

Andrew Quarless Injury

TE Andrew Quarless will probably start the year on the PUP list.

The first NFL roster cut-down of the season is fast approaching. On Monday, August 27th, the Green Bay Packers will need to have trimmed their roster down to 75 players from their current total of 90.

Even though these are essentially the worst players on the team, the decision of who to cut is a tough one. Not only do Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson need to consider the skill of each player, but they also have to take into account the remaining depth they’ll have to work with for the remainder of the preseason. This being the case, the first roster cut-down can be a good time to declare some of the Injured Reserve (IR) or Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) players for the start of the season.

As a reminder, only players who did not practice at all during training camp are eligible for the PUP. They remain on the list for the first six weeks of regular season, after which they have a three-week window to return to practice. From the point at which the player returns to practice, the team has an additional three weeks to decide whether to elevate them to the 53-man roster, place them on injured reserve, or release them.

Here is a group of eight players who could possibly end up on one of these lists during the upcoming roster cut-down:

Physically Unable to Perform (PUP)

  1. TE Andrew Quarless – On December 4, 2011, Quarless suffered a severe knee injury in kickoff coverage against the New York Giants. On January 9th, he had reconstructive knee surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). There was always a chance he could miss the entire 2012 season, and with the depth at tight end, there’s no reason to rush Quarless back from recovery. Chances are good he’ll remain on the PUP list to start the season.
  2. T Derek Sherrod – On December 18, 2011, while filling in for RT Bryan Bulaga against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sherrod broke his left leg when LB Tamba Hali rolled onto it. Though his progress as has been good, there’s not really a timetable on his return. The situation at back-up left tackle could really help to determine his fate. If the Packers feel comfortable with Reggie Wells, Herb Taylor, and/or Andrew Datko, then the PUP list could be the way they go for Sherrod. Otherwise, they might keep him active in hopes of an earlier return.
15

June

Two Ways to Fit Six Wide Receivers on the 2012 Packers Roster

Tori Gurley

Can the Packers make room for a sixth WR like Tori Gurley?

The recent contract restructuring that Donald Driver agreed to with the Green Bay Packers has stamped a gigantic question mark over the wide receiver position. Namely, will the Packers’ 53-man roster include six wide receivers now that a roster spot is virtually guaranteed for Driver? Second-year players Diondre Borel, Tori Gurley, and even Shaky Smithson will all be competing for a spot on the roster, but it might require an additional receiver spot to make it possible.

Instead of debating the validity of keeping six wide receivers, I’ve decided to consider how this could actually happen. What roster moves would have to happen, and which option is the most likely?

Before diving in, I decided to do a little preliminary work and see how Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have built their opening day rosters in the past. I first charted how many players were kept at each position, then went through and looked at the minimum number of players McCarthy has kept throughout the years. I didn’t take an average, since I though it more important to see how low the Packers were willing to go at a given position and use that as kind of a breaking point.

(Note: I only went back to 2009 due to the defensive scheme shift. Defensive positions prior to that point, especially DL and LB, would carry significantly different numbers.)

POS 2011 2010 2009 MIN
QB 2 2 2 2
WR 5 5 5 5
TE 5 4 3 3*
RB 3 2 3 2*
FB 1 3 3 1*
OL 8 10 9 8
DL 6 6 6 6
ILB 4 4 4 4
OLB 6 4 5 4
CB 7 6 6 6
S 3 4 4 3**
SP 3 3 3 3
TOTAL: 53 53 53 47 (51)

* – The TE, RB, FB positions comprised a total of 9 players throughout each year. TEs and FBs as blockers could be considered as mostly interchangeable, while some years the FB position took on a bigger ball-carrying role along with the RBs.

22

February

Packers Stock Report: 2011 End of Season Full Roster Edition

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers stock fell a bit during the playoff loss to the Giants, but it remains high heading into next season.

The Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and there will be no more meaningful football games for the next six months. That’s six months to reflect on how a team that lost twice to the Redskins during the regular season could go on to knock off the mighty Packers in the playoffs and keep rolling all the way to the Lombardi Trophy.

Depressing.

It’s hard to find a silver lining, but if you’re searching for one, take a few minutes and look over the Packers roster. It’s pretty good. Go ahead and cross off some of the players you think won’t be around next season, and it’s still pretty good. This team is going to contend again next season, and probably for the next couple of seasons after that. At least Packers fans have something to look forward to.

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks at AllGBP.com evaluating and grading every player on the Packers roster. Those report cards are done now, and it’s time to put this season in the rearview mirror.

To get started, I put together a full roster stock report based on each player’s status heading into next season. To categorize each player, I used my own opinion mixed with how I think the Packers view that player.

For example, Donald Driver played well in the playoff loss. If the Packers beat the Giants and hosted the NFC Championship, I’d probably list Driver as rising in that week’s stock report. But since the Packers season is over, and I don’t think Ted Thompson brings Driver back, I put Driver in the falling category.

You get the idea, so without further delay, here we go:

Rising

QB Aaron Rodgers
Finding motivation is never a problem for Rodgers, but the Packers early playoff exit should give the MVP even more incentive to come out fired up in 2012.

LB Desmond Bishop
Watching Bishop motor his way through games was one of the few enjoyable aspects of this season’s defense.

T Bryan Bulaga
Bulaga took a step forward in 2011 and might take a giant step sideways to play left tackle next season.

WR/KR Randall Cobb
Thanks to Cobb, kick and punt returns became fun again.

2

November

Rating the Rookies: Cobb Leads Packers 2011 Class Through 7 Games

The rookies on the Green Bay Packers roster have yet to complete a half-season in 2011, but the bye week in Week 8 gave us an opportunity to gauge how the Packers’ first-year players look through seven games.

Snap-counts and statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Focus

T Derek Sherrod (R1)

The Packers wanted him to take hold of the left guard position coming into training camp, but that experiment died in a hurry when Sherrod couldn’t handle the switch. He’s a right or left tackle from this point on. The only major action Sherrod has seen this season came against the Falcons in Week 5. After Chad Clifton went down with a hamstring injury, Sherrod filled in at right tackle as Marshall Newhouse slid over to the left side. Of the 51 snaps he played, 36 came on passing plays, and Sherrod allowed just two quarterback pressures and no sacks or hits. That kind of snap distribution shows the confidence that the Packers have in their rookie at right tackle in pass protection. Sherrod also came in on seven snaps (five run, two pass) against the Broncos in Week 4.

WR/KR Randall Cobb (R2)

GM Ted Thompson drafted Cobb in the second round to be the Packers primary return man and a sub-package receiver that can make plays in space. So far, that’s exactly what Cobb has been. He has returned every punt and kick save one, which was a squib kick that Tom Crabtree got his hands on. Cobb has done his best work on kicks, where his 30.5-yard average (13 returns, 396 yards) ranks fifth in the NFL among players with eight or more returns. Of course, his 108-yard TD against the Saints on opening night is the highlight of the season. He also lost a fumble in Carolina that contributed to the Packers falling down by 13 points in the first quarter.

Cobb hasn’t had the same impact on punt returns, where his 12 returns have yielded just 97 yards (8.1 average). Cobb has 11 fair catches. His only muffed punt of the season in Minnesota gave the Vikings good field position to re-take the lead, 14-7.  In the same game, Cobb had a 42-yard punt return that set up a Packers touchdown.

3

September

Packers Roster Cuts 2011: The Complete List to get to 53-man Roster

The Turk pays the Packers a Visit

Here’s your complete list of Packers roster cuts and trades the team implemented to get them down to the mandated 53-man roster limit:

G Caleb Schlauderaff - Seemed overmatched in the running game, which does not come as a big surprise. Was supposed to be strong pass blocker but did not distinguish himself. Would have been a good practice squad candidate, but the Jets came calling with a trade and Schlauderaff is now a Jet.

CB Brandian Ross - Since flashing early in camp, Ross has been relatively quiet. With Davon House assured a spot, Ross had a slim chance at best.

CB Josh Gordy - This was probably a difficult cut for the Packers – Gordy flashed excellent speed and football instincts, but struggled a bit in man-to-man coverage. With development, could turn into a good backup corner in the NFL. Packers will surely sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

S Brandon Underwood - The move to safety helped Underwood, but in the end, he did not distinguish himself enough from the likes of M.D. Jennings to warrant keeping the often-in-troubleUnderwood around. A fresh start for him on another team is probably best for him, anyway.

WR Tori Gurley - The only cut that really pains me. I have high hopes for Gurley down the road and will be praying like hell that he clears waivers and sits comfortably on the practice squad all year. Tori, if you’re phone rings and it’s not a Wisconsin area code – DON’T ANSWER IT!

WR Chastin West - Seemed like all of Packer Nation was enamored with West early on. I kept asking, why? He’s a decent receiver, steady and consistent, but limited upside. Sorry, but there are plenty of receivers like that looking for an NFL job. That doesn’t mean the Packers wouldn’t keep him on the practice squad – he would be good insurance if someone goes down.

WR Diondre Borel - An excellent athlete, but way too much of a project to keep at this time. If he keeps working at receiver, he could catch on with another team down the road.

WR Kerry Taylor - Had a very good camp, showed some very good punt return skills, but unfortunately for Taylor, he was on a team with 5 excellent receivers and two other UDFAs in camp better than him. I do think that Taylor will be an NFL player. A practice squad candidate if West and Gurley are claimed.

31

August

Kris Burke: My Initial 53-man Packers Roster Prediction

Packers on the bubble will be seeing this face VERY soon

It’s the time of year every NFL general manager seems to dread.  Selecting your final 53 man roster to bein the regular season.

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson has arguably the toughest job in the league with perhaps the deepest team in the NFL. It’s tough to predict what is going through the mind of the mysterious Packers GM, but I’ll give it my best shot.

OFFENSE-27:

Quarterback -3: Rodgers, Flynn, Harrell

I think you have to keep Graham Harrell around.  The trade speculation around Flynn doesn’t want to go away and the more time he spends learning from McCarthy, the better. He showed promise against the Colts.  I’d be willing to bet this time next year Flynn is elsewhere and Harrell is the number two with a rookie on the practice squad.

Running Back -5: Grant, Starks, Green, Kuhn, Johnson

Pretty easy to see here.  The only question remaining is which order Ryan Grant and James Starks are in on the depth chart against the Saints.  It will start as a shared load but who knows what else will happen as the season unfolds.

Wide Receiver -6: Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Jones, Cobb, West

West locked in his spot after his display of talent against the Cardinals.  Tori Gurley will definitely get some looks from other teams.  After seeing both in practice personally, I knew it would be a tough call for Ted Thompson to make.  This remains the deepest position for the Packers and they go with six instead of five to enable McCarthy to use even more multiple packages.

Tight End -4: Finley, Crabtree, Quarless, Williams

Speaking of tough decisions, it was obvious the Packers were not going to hang onto five tight ends to start the season.  Finley was the only lock and the other spots were up for grabs.  Crabtree has proven his worth in blocking and on special teams and Quarless showed flashes in the passing game last year.  The final spot then comes down to DJ Williams and Ryan Taylor.  Much was said about Williams after the draft and Thompson sticks to his initial convictions and Taylor is gone.

Offensive Line -9: Wells, Sitton, Clifton, Bulaga, Lang, Newhouse, Sherrod, Smith, McDonald

26

August

2011 NFL Preseason Week 3: Green Bay Packers – Indianapolis Colts Preview: The First Of TWO Trips To Indy?

If the NFL regular season is like a Broadway production, then the third week of the preseason would be considered the dress rehearsal.

For the Green Bay Packers, their dress rehearsal takes place on the same stage they hope to perform their grand finale: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI.

Before the Packers can hoist a fifth Lombardi Trophy however, the must play the Indianapolis Colts in their third preseason game.  The Packers are coming off a strong showing from their 28-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals last week and hope to build on the promise that was shown last week.

The Colts in the meantime are without their fearless leader, quarterback Peyton Manning, who continues to recover from offseason neck surgery.   The Colts are concerned Manning’s’ consecutive games streak is in jeopardy and brought in veteran Kerry Collins to lead the first team until Manning returns.

Breaking down the Colts

The Colts are terrible. In  the preseason that is.

For a team that is usually dominant during the regular season, the Colts struggle in the exhibition games. Why? Manning is such a machine that he usually doesn’t need to warm up at all.  The Colts have their offense mainly intact for so long that the players can read each other’s minds in their sleep.

That is how good Manning is.

With a formidable receiving corps including reliable veteran Reggie Wayne, young and promising Pierre Garcon, and dangerous tight end Dallas Clark, the Colts rival the Packers in offensive firepower when  Manning is under center.  Joseph Addai anchors the rushing attack, but this is a team that likes to move the ball through the air. With a solid offensive line, it is very tough to get to a Colts quarterback.

That said, the Packers will face a likely very rusty Collins in this game so they won’t have to worry about facing the four-time MVP unless they meet the Colts again on the same field in Super Bowl XLVI.

The Colts defense has traditionally been their Achilles heel.  Still, Dwight Freeney remains their most dangerous pass rusher.  Robert Mathis is solid along the line as well.  While not the strongest line in the league, the Colts defensive line will provide a challenge to the young Packers charged with protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.