Category Archives: Cedric Benson



Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 11 at New York Giants

So in an effort to forget about the Packers dismal showing against the Giants, I instead decided to analyze something completely different, namely the first and only pass that one Graham Harrell has thrown in the National Football League.  Some of you might know but Harrell was the only backup quarterback in the NFL who had never thrown a pass in a game (though it has to be said that Saint’s backup quarterback Chase Daniel had one pass under his name).  Also throw in Harrell’s disastrous first outing where he fumbled a handoff to running back Cedric Benson in the red zone that resulted in a touchdown for ironically the Saints as well.

The situation: The Packers aren’t doing too well, down 38 to 10 with only a couple minutes left in the game.  Head coach Mike McCarthy has already thrown in the towel by pulling out starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and has inserted his back up Graham Harrell.  After a slew of running plays, McCarthy finally gives Harrell the green light to chuck the ball.

The formation: The Packers are in a 2-1-2 personel (2WR-1TE-2RB) in a classic I-formation with WR James Jones (89) split out wide to the left, WR Jordy Nelson (87)  split out to the right and TE Tom Crabtree (83) inline with the right tackle.  In the backfield, FB John Kuhn (30) is lined 5 yards directly behind the ball with RB James Starks (44) directly behind FB Kuhn.  Under center is QB Graham Harrell (6), while the offensive line is composed of LT Marshall Newhouse (74), LG Evan Dietrich-Smith (62), C Jeff Saturday (63), RG Josh Sitton (71) and RT TJ Lang (70).

The Snap: QB Harrell play fakes the handoff to Starks while FB Kuhn initially goes behind the right tackle.  After the fake, Starks shifts to his left to help out the LT while FB Kuhn goes to help out the right tackle and TE Crabtree, who has stayed behind to block.  Both WR Jones and WR Nelson both run fade routes.

First read: QB Harrell’s first read immediately after the play fake is to WR Jones to his left.

Second read: QB Harrell decides against throwing to WR Jones resets, and shifts over to his right, looking at WR Nelson.



Packers News: Benson out for remainder of season

Packers RB Cedric Benson

Packers RB Cedric Benson

The Packers announced Thursday that running back Cedric Benson will remain on injured reserve for the rest of the 2012 season.

Just two days ago, there was speculation that Benson may be out for the rest of the season, and that suspicion became a reality today. Benson suffered a Lisfranc injury Oct. 7 in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts.

Benson underwent foot surgery on Wednesday.

Since he’s been out of the lineup, the Packers have relied on a combination of Alex Green and James Starks at running back. Green Bay currently ranks 23rd in the NFL running the football, averaging 100.7 yards per game.

The Packers currently have three running backs on the active roster–Green, Starks and second-year player Johnny White. Starting fullback John Kuhn is also capable of shouldering some of the load in short-yardage situations.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.




Packers News: Sherrod out for season, Benson too?

Packers RB Cedric Benson

Packers RB Cedric Benson

The Packers’ offensive line was dominated by the New York Giants in week 12, and it won’t be getting any help from tackle Derek Sherrod this season.

Sherrod was retained on the reserve/physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, thus ending his season before it even got started. The team faced a deadline this week to either activate him or stash him on the reserve/PUP for the remainder of the 2012 season.

Since starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga was lost for the season, the Packers were forced to move around the pieces on their offensive line. Left guard T.J. Lang has moved to Bulaga’s position at right tackle, and Evan Dietrich-Smith has taken Lang’s place at left guard.

The Packers haven’t been able to protect Aaron Rodgers all season, as the quarterback has been sacked a league-high 37 times through 11 games this season.

Now that Sherrod’s season is officially over, the Packers’ only backup offensive linemen are undrafted rookies Don Barclay and Greg Van Roten. Barclay can play either inside or outside at guard or tackle, whereas Van Roten is strictly an interior lineman.

Not only will the Packers not be getting a boost from Sherrod this season, they may be without starting running back Cedric Benson for the rest of the year as well.

Benson suffered a Lisfranc injury Oct. 7 at Indianapolis, and his foot hasn’t healed as quickly as the Packers had hoped. If he opts to have surgery, that will likely end his season.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that Benson will not practice this week, and the team should learn more about his injury on Wednesday.

Benson was eligible to return to practice practicing last week and to play Dec. 9 against Detroit, but he’s now expected to see a specialist early this week.

Green Bay’s running game currently ranks 23rd in the league, averaging 100.7 yards per game. The Packers have opted to go with a combination of Alex Green and James Starks to shoulder the loud in Benson’s absence.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.




Giants Didn’t Expose Any New Packers’ Weaknesses

Jermichael Finley

It’d be nice if Packers TE Jermichael Finley would get going and help the Packers crack the code of cover-2 defenses.

Now that you’ve had some time to digest the Packers losing to the Giants, ask yourself this:

Is your opinion of the Packers now any different than your opinion before the embarrassment against the Giants?

Mine isn’t. Here’s why:

  • We already knew the offensive line was a weakness. Take a super-talented front four and put it against a mediocre offensive line adjusting to injuries and what happened Sunday night isn’t terribly surprising.
  • We already knew the pass rush would struggle without Clay Matthews. Did we really expect another five sacks from this defense without its best pass rusher?
  • We already knew the Packers struggle against a cover-2. This one baffles me. Yes, running the ball beats a cover-2, and the Packers can’t run the ball, but it’s not like the cover-2 is some new revolutionary defense that came out of nowhere and was developed just to beat the Packers. They should be able to figure out some way to beat it by now, even if they struggle to run.
  • We already knew Mason Crosby would likely miss if asked to kick a long field goal. He was asked to kick a 55-yarder, and missed.
  • We already knew if Aaron Rodgers isn’t good to great, the Packers likely will lose. Thanks to bad blocking, an excellent Giants’ defense, weird playcalling, and some of Rodgers’ own struggles, he wasn’t good or great on Sunday and the Packers lost.

So there you have it. That’s a depressing list. But those same weaknesses have been there most of the season. It’s not like the Giants exposed a bunch of new flaws and areas where the Packers are weak. These are all things we already knew the Packers would have to overcome in order to be successful.

The Packers have manged to go 7-4 (with a five-game win streak mixed in) despite these flaws. Pretty much every other contending team has a list of flaws similar in length to the Packers’ list.

There are no perfect teams. Every now and then, a near-perfect team comes along. I don’t see any near-perfect teams in the league this season, either.

Let’s address each of the Packers flaws and see how it might impact the rest of the season.



Game Balls and Lame Calls (with Podcast): Packers Midseason Edition

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

Packers coach Mike McCarthy and QB Aaron Rodgers have five divisional games in their final seven contests.

The first half of the season has come and gone for the Green Bay Packers and the bye week could not have come at a better time.

The Packers have won their last four games but are dealing with an injury epidemic that goes beyond even what they faced in 2010 when they overcame the loss of 15 players to injured reserve and won their fourth Super Bowl title.

Could a similar fate be in store for the 2012 Packers?  That remains to be seen.  The Packers are only one game behind the Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North and with five of their six division games remaining, all of the Packers’ goals for the year are still very much within reach.

Before we look ahead, let’s take one last look back at the good and the bad of the Packers’ first nine games of 2012.


For a more in-depth discussion, listen to the podcast using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

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Game Balls                                     

QB Aaron Rodgers

Something definitely is wrong with Rodgers.

OK, I can’t even TYPE that with a straight face.

After an alleged “poor” start to the season, Rodgers has returned to his MVP form throwing 15 touchdowns to just one interception in the Packers’ four game winning streak. Rodgers currently is on pace for 44 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Look just like MVP numbers to me.

What’s remarkable is that he hasn’t missed a beat without his two best receivers in Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson.   The Packers have an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver position and with no running game and lackluster play from their starting tight end in Jermichael Finley, it’s remarkable the numbers Rodgers puts up week in and week out.

Look for more of the same in the second half of the season, especially when Nelson is healthy, as Rodgers very well could win his second consecutive NFL MVP award.

WR Randall Cobb



Will Packers make a move before Thursday’s trade deadline?

Rams RB Steven Jackson

Will the Packers trade for Rams RB Steven Jackson?

The NFL trade deadline usually comes with boat loads of speculation, before a whole lot of nothing actually happens.

And in the case of the Packers under general manager Ted Thompson, the trade deadline tends to be deafeningly quiet. This year, however, the Packers have a clear need at running back after losing Cedric Benson with a foot injury and there are now two proven runners available for a reasonable price.

St. Louis has been rumored to be shopping veteran running back Steven Jackson for a draft pick, and Carolina is reportedly open to trading DeAngelo Williams.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said Tuesday that Jackson wasn’t going anywhere. “It’s all rumors. Let’s put that to rest.” But even if St. Louis was, in fact, shopping the 29-year-old runner, he almost certainly wouldn’t say it publicly.

A trade involving Williams may more likely than one for Jackson, whether it’s the Packers or another team. The Charlotte Observer cites a team source and says, “multiple playoff-contending teams called the Panthers last week to inquire about a possible trade for Williams.”

The Denver Broncos are a logical possibility to land Williams, considering they’re coached by former Panthers head coach John Fox. With veteran Willis McGahee having a mediocre start to 2012 and rookie Ronnie Hillman still developing as a player, the Broncos may be in the market for a potential feature back. And even though Williams is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry this season, he could be a nice fit with Denver’s spread attack.

Whether the Packers are interested in trading for Williams or Jackson remains to be seen. The 2012 season is widely thought to be Jackson’s last in St. Louis, so the door could still be open for a trade despite what Fisher said Tuesday.

Age shouldn’t be much of a factor in a potential trade, considering the Packers went all-in with the 29-year-old Benson to start the season.

In order to acquire Jackson, the Packers would have to pay approximately $3 million of the $7 million he’s owed this season. And also, Thompson would have to determine that Jackson is worth parting with a draft pick, despite the fact that he’ll likely be available as an unrestricted free agent next summer.



2012 NFL Regular Season Week 7: Packers vs Rams Preview

Aaron Rodgers

Can Aaron Rodgers keep the offense on a roll against the improved Rams?

There is nothing wrong with Aaron Rodgers. I repeat: there is nothing wrong with Aaron Rodgers.

Any doubts about issues the Green Bay Packers may have been having on offense were silenced permanently last Sunday as Rodgers threw a franchise record-tying six touchdown passes as the Packers shredded the NFL’s best defense in a 42-24 win over the Houston Texans.  The win moves the Packers back to 3-3 on the season and helped alleviate any concerns fans may have had about the direction of the team.

The Packers now move on to face the St. Louis Rams, who also stand at 3-3 and are one of the league’s more improved teams.  That said, this is a game the Packers should win and really have no business losing.   The Packers lost to one of the league’s best teams in the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, but have lost to the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks* as well. (* is citing the controversial ending to that infamous game).

They’ve beating the Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Texans who all are considered some of the better teams in the NFL

Can the Packers get above .500 for the first time all season and finally beat a team they should have no problem beating?

Scouting the Rams

First year head coach Jeff Fisher has done a solid job so far with the Rams who were one of the worst teams in the NFL a year ago.  While much work remains to be done on the offensive side, the Rams defense is one of the most improved units in the league.

At quarterback is former number one overall draft pick Sam Bradford.  Bradford enjoyed a solid rookie season followed by a sophomore season in which he struggled with injuries and the team had one of its worst seasons in history.  In 2012, Bradford has thrown for 1,337 yards for six touchdowns against five interceptions.  He is currently missing his favorite target in wide receiver Danny Amendola, who is nursing a shoulder injury.

Bradford also has been sacked 18 times this season behind one of the most porous lines in the NFL.  He has been sacked at least once in every game and has been sacked three or more times in three of the Rams’ six games so far this season.  Once the pocket collapses, Bradford has a difficult time planting his feet and getting off a good throw when he has to scramble.