Category Archives: James Jones

6

December

Packers Periscope: Week 14 vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Past: While the last meeting between these two teams actually occurred in week 5 of the 2011 season (which the Packers won), most fans will remember the NFC divisional game in 2010 where Aaron Rodgers played perhaps the finest game of his career, going 31 for 36, 26 yards and 3 touchdowns, which even then doesn’t show the complete dominance of the performance.  Rodgers simply could not be brought down, often scrambling from surefire sacks, and could not be slowed down, throwing pinpoint darts to receivers who were blanket covered.

On defense, a pivotal interception returned for a touchdown by Tramon Williams at the end of the 1st half was the catalyst that sparked the Packers to dominate the second half.  With Rodgers putting up points with ease, the Falcons offense played to match the Packers point for point; however the Falcons offense buckled under the pressure, most notably with quarterback Matt Ryan making several poor decisions including 2 interceptions and a fumble which sealed the game.

During the offseason, the Packers and Falcons engaged in some more gamesmanship by bidding for the services of veteran running back Steven Jackson, who was a free agent for the first time after playing for the St. Louis Rams for nearly a decade.  In the end, Ted Thompson stuck with his draft and develop and frugal free agency philosophy and let Jackson sign with the Falcons.  However, Thompson perhaps got the last laugh as the Packers drafted Alabama star running back Eddie Lacy, who plays with some Steven Jacksons in him and is a candidate for rookie of the year honors while age and injury has finally caught up with Jackson, who has only started 8 games, rushing 97 times for a paltry 339 yards.

25

November

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 26, Vikings 26

Matt Flynn led a fiery comeback for the Packers. And in some ways, the tie is a win.

Matt Flynn led a fiery comeback for the Packers. And in some ways, the tie is a win.

Despite playing to a 26-26 tie, the Green Bay Packers gained ground on the division-leading Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. And as far as the NFC North title is concerned, that’s a win for the Pack.

Without quarterback Matt Flynn’s late-game heroics, it’s hard to imagine the Packers pushing the game to overtime. But Flynn, down by 16 in the fourth quarter, led his team back and tied the game at 23.

And the game was played on my 23rd birthday, so of course, yours truly had something to do with the comeback. Duh.

Some players just fit in a certain system. And there’s no way around it–Matt Flynn’s ceiling is as a backup with the Packers.

Some–myself included–overestimated Flynn’s value when he hit the free agent market after the 2011 season. Sure, he’s been traded from the Seattle Seahawks and cut by the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills since leaving Green Bay, but at this point it’s pretty clear that the Packers’ system is good for Flynn and Flynn is good for the Packers.

“We were looking for a spark,” head coach Mike McCarthy said of Flynn after the game. “We had a history with Matt. He went out there and played football.”

Sounds simple. And it is. Flynn went out there and played football. He made the throws he had to make and took what the leaky Vikings defense was giving him.

At the very least, Flynn gives the locker room a shot of confidence as they head into a season-altering game Thursday against the Detroit Lions. The last time Flynn played in Detroit was when he entered the game in relief after Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion. The offense sputtered, and the Packers lost that game 7-3.

Now, the Packers head into their Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions needing a win, which would put them in first place in the division. The only question is: Will they have Aaron Rodgers?

Game Balls

Eddie Lacy

Teams know they’ll be getting a heavy dose of Lacy when they play the Green Bay Packers, but it doesn’t matter. Stacking the box can only do so much against a bruising back who routinely breaks through arm tackles. Lacy finished the game with 110 yards on 24 carries and proved his worth in the passing game, totaling 48 yards on six catches. The guy is really, really good.

23

October

If Finley is out for the season, can Quarless do the job?

Andrew Quarless was visibly shaken by Jermichael Finley's injury. Should Packers fans worry about Quarless as the No. 1 tight end?

Andrew Quarless was visibly shaken by Jermichael Finley’s injury. Should Packers fans worry about Quarless as the No. 1 tight end?

Three years ago in 2010, the Green Bay Packers won a Super Bowl with a rookie Andrew Quarless as their starting tight end.

That year, Jermichael Finley suffered a knee injury in week six against Washington and was forced to miss the remainder of the season; Quarless stepped in and the role of the Packers’ tight end shrunk within the offense. Prior to going down, Finley was on pace for 84 receptions and 1,204 receiving yards–an average of five catches and 75 yards per game.

After Finley was lost for the season, Quarless caught two or fewer passes in 14 of the team’s remaining 16 games, including playoffs.

Fast forward to October 2013, and Finley, again, faces an uncertain future after suffering a bruised spinal cord Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Finley is out of intensive care and walking on his own, but he’ll undergo more tests before a decision is made on his future for this season and beyond.

According to sources via ESPN, there is “no specific timetable for Finley’s return to the field, but indications are that he likely will miss at least four to six weeks.” Ed Werder tweeted Tuesday that Finley’s injury was not believed to be career-threatening, although the Packers could consider placing him on the injured reserve sometime later this week.

Clearly, at this point, no decision has been made on Finley’s availability this season.

The most optimistic will point to 2010 and suggest that plugging Quarless into the lineup for Finley will be enough. But as things currently stand, the Packers’ group of wide receivers is certainly not as strong as it was in 2010.

Then, the Packers made up for losing Finley by featuring Greg Jennings as the No. 1 target, while Jordy Nelson was exceptional in the stretch run and into the playoffs. James Jones and Donald Driver held their own as the third and fourth options.

Right now, the Packers will likely head into their matchup in Minnesota with Nelson and Jarrett Boykin as their starting receivers. At tight end, it’ll be Quarless along with a combination of Brandon Bostick and others. Myles White will likely be the No. 3 receiver, like he was last week against Cleveland.

22

October

Packers vs. Bears will be a battle of the bruised and battered

Packers LB Clay Matthews will be one of many players in street clothes when the Packers play the Bears on Monday Night Football in a few weeks.

I know the Packers play the Vikings this week and we shouldn’t be looking ahead to the Nov. 4 Monday Night Football game against the Bears, but I can’t help myself. The number of talented players that might be watching that game from the sideline or on TV because of injuries is staggering.

Suddenly, the Black and Blue division has turned into the Broken Bones and Torn Ligaments division.

Likely/definitely out for the Packers (and their 2012 stats):

  • LB Clay Matthews (43 tackles, 13 sacks)
  • WR Randall Cobb (80 catches, 954 yards, 8 TDs)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (61 catches, 667 yards, 2 TDs)

Possibly out for the Packers:

  • LB Brad Jones (77 tackles, 2 sacks)
  • CB Casey Hayward (48 tackles, 6 interceptions)
  • WR James Jones (64 catches, 784 yards, 14 TDs)

Likely/definitely out for the Bears:

  • QB Jay Cutler (3,033 yards, 19 TDs)
  • LB Lance Briggs (102 tackles, 2 interceptions)
  • DT Henry Melton (43 tackles, 6 sacks)

Possibly out for the Bears:

  • CB Charles Tillman (85 tackles, 10 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions)

Let’s assume all of those players don’t play. Now let’s add up their 2012 numbers and combine them with each player’s 2013 statistics. This is what would be sitting on the sidelines during a marquee Monday Night divisional game.

  • 4,691 passing yards
  • 67 TDs (31 passing, 31 receiving, 5 defensive)
  • 279 catches for 3,432 yards (12.3 ypc)
  • 498 tackles
  • 28.5 sacks
  • 25 forced fumbles
  • 5 interceptions

And the NFL wants to add more regular season games, expand the playoffs, and possibly play a doubleheader on Thursday night.

Makes total sense to me.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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18

October

How will McCarthy Scheme Around Packers Injuries?

The steam is rising off of the head of Packers coach Mike McCarthy as his brain schemes ways around the loss of Randall Cobb and others.

There’s at least one person in Green Bay happy about all the injuries the Packers have suffered this season: The CEO of whichever electric utility provides power to the head coach’s office at Lambeau Field.

The lights will be on at all hours in the coming weeks as Mike McCarthy puts his mad scientist skills to work and tries to compensate for the loss of Randall Cobb, a hobbled James Jones and a slew of other injuries that threaten to disrupt the Packers offense.

If you haven’t already, read this post from Matt Bowen at Bleacher Report about how the Packers have rebuilt their running game and could incorporate more big formations and multiple tight end looks to make up for the loss of Cobb and others.

It’s a great read and makes a ton of sense, but then again, so do a lot of schematic type of things when they’re written on paper. Once the game starts and the bodies start flying, sometimes the game plan that seemed so innovative on Thursday is proven to be worthless after the first quarter of the actual game.

I have no doubt that McCarthy will incorporate a few formations and looks that maybe we haven’t seen out of the Packers recently. It’s one thing to come out with some unique looks. It’s another to use those looks to create mismatches and put players like Jarrett Boykin or Brandon Bostick — players who might be seeing a much bigger role after barely playing so far — in a position to succeed.

No matter what McCarthy comes up with, he’ll be hard-pressed to make it work unless Eddie Lacy and the running game keeps rolling. Assuming Lacy keeps doing what he’s been doing, does McCarthy have the patience to use the running game to set up his shot plays in the passing game?

McCarthy has always used the passing game to set up running plays. That mindset might have to change a little bit, at least for now.

We saw the impact an effective ground attack had in the win over the Ravens. Does the 64-yard TD to Jordy Nelson happen if Lacy hadn’t been rolling and the defense didn’t actually take the play-action fake seriously? Probably not.

15

October

Packers News: Team signs TE Stoneburner to active roster

The Packers have promoted tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster.

The Packers have promoted tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster.

According to Jason La Canfora’s official Twitter account, the Green Bay Packers have signed tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster following their recent rash of injuries.

Last week against the Baltimore Ravens, the Packers lost wide receiver Randall Cobb for six-to-eight weeks with a fractured fibula. Fellow wide receiver James Jones suffered a sprained MCL and appears questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Stoneburner’s promotion to the 53-man roster gives the Packers five tight ends and three wide receivers, including Jones.

An athletic rookie tight end from Ohio State, Stoneburner was often split out wide in Urban Meyer’s offense. He clocked a 4.53 forty-yard dash at Ohio State’s Pro Day Mar. 8, which would suggest an ability to stretch the field; however, Stoneburner only caught 53 passes in his four-year collegiate career.

In his junior season in 2011, seven of Stoneburner’s were for touchdowns.

Without Cobb in the slot, starting tight end Jermichael Finley will likely be split out more often than usual with Andrew Quarless filling Finley’s shoes as an in-line blocker. Finley, at 6’5″ 250 pounds, isn’t capable of taking on all of Cobb’s responsibilities in the Packers’ offense, but at this point, he may be the team’s best option to stretch the field from the slot.

Last week, the Browns signed wide receiver Charles Johnson off the Packers’ practice squad, leaving Myles White and the recently re-signed Reggie Dunn as the team’s two wide receivers on the practice squad.

As of right now, the Packers have not announced the necessary roster move to promote Stoneburner, but one would figure that Cobb is a logical candidate for the I.R./Designated to Return list.

The Packers reportedly tried to sign wide receiver Tavarres King off the Denver Broncos’ practice squad, but King has since been promoted to Denver’s active roster. More moves could be on the horizon for the Packers, but for now, it looks like they’ll go heavy at tight end and light at wide receiver for the near future.

14

October

Packers News: Injury updates on Perry, Jones and Cobb

Packers receiver Randall Cobb will miss "multiple weeks," according to head coach Mike McCarthy. He offered no further details.

Packers receiver Randall Cobb will miss “multiple weeks,” according to head coach Mike McCarthy. He offered no further details.

The Packers left Baltimore with a 19-17 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens, but they lost several core players to injury.

Coming into the game, the team was already shorthanded, as they were without outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who suffered a broken hand last week against the Detroit Lions.

Perry, filling in for the injured Matthews, reportedly suffered a broken foot on his sack of Joe Flacco at the end of the first half. Perry missed the final ten regular season games last season, but prior to his injury, the former first-round pick was coming into his own, as his sack of Flacco was his third in the past two games.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said at Monday’s press conference that Perry would not have a chance to play this week. He wouldn’t go into detail about any of the team’s new injuries.

The injury was first reported by WDUZ’s Chris Havel, via WDUZ’s official Twitter page.

James Jones exited Sunday’s game with a knee injury, but Adam Schefter reported Monday that the injury was merely a sprained PCL. Immediately after leaving the game, Jones returned to the sideline for the second half sporting a full leg brace.

McCarthy confirmed that Jones’ injury was the least severe of the three, saying the wide receiver did, in fact, have a chance to play this week against the Cleveland Browns.

Randall Cobb’s injury, however, sounds like it’s a bit more serious than that of Jones. After being hit low by Ravens safety Matt Elam, Cobb remained on the ground for an extended period of time before being carted into the locker room. McCarthy said Cobb would miss “multiple weeks” with his knee injury but, again, did not go into specifics.