Category Archives: John Kuhn

17

October

Packers Stock Report: Beating the Super Bowl Champions Edition

Morgan Burnett brings down Ray Rice and plays a key role in a second quarter goal line stand for the Packers.

Every year the NFL schedule comes out and we try to boldly declare which teams have tough schedules and which teams appear to have a bunch of patsies and a clear path to the postseason. Every year our analysis is wrong and what once looked like a tough or easy schedule in July is completely the opposite come October.

The Packers appeared to have a nasty schedule initially, but the outlook isn’t so bad now. The Vikings are terrible, the Giants stink, the Steelers are bad, the Lions are the Lions and the Falcons are regressing. There isn’t another game on the schedule where I’d say the Packers are an obvious underdog.

Of course, that could all change in another couple weeks if any of the aforementioned teams get back on track.

The stock report is kind of the same way. Who knew that someone like Mason Crosby would make the steady category two weeks straight and A.J. Hawk would be a riser after week six?

Onto the stock report:

Rising

Morgan Burnett
Mr. Burnett earned that fat new contract he got this offseason during the Packers goal line stand in the second quarter against the Ravens. The free safety was in on three tackles during that key series of plays, including a stop on 3rd and 1 where he out-maneuvered ace blocking back Vonta Leach before bringing down the ball carrier.

A.J. Hawk
Remember when we couldn’t figure out why Ted Thompson cut Desmond Bishop and kept Hawk around? After three sacks on Sunday,
Hawk is having one of the best stretches of his career while Bishop tore his ACL and is out for the season. Chalk up another one in the smart move column for Thompson. (Side note: Best of luck to Bishop. He seems like a great guy who has experienced terrible luck these past two seasons. Here’s hoping you get another shot down the road, Desmond, and have better luck staying healthy.)

Eddie Lacy
Saavy investors bought stock in Lacy a few weeks ago. I’m always a little hesitant to put rookies in the rising category — especially a rookie running back on the pass-happy Packers — but Lacy belong here after a steady game against Detroit and strong finish on the road to help close out Baltimore.

19

September

Quarless as the Packers Fullback? Intriguing…

Packers TE Andrew Quarless

Andrew Quarless could play fullback for the Packers on Sunday.

If John Kuhn is out on Sunday when the Packers play the Bengals, it sounds like tight end Andrew Quarless could spend some time in the Packers backfield as a fullback.

Quarless at fullback could very well be a disaster, but it intrigues me.

Back when D.J. Williams was on the team, I always thought he looked better when he lined up as a fullback than he did at tight end. I wonder if I might feel the same about Quarless after Sunday.

Quarless at fullback could give the Packers more options for pre-snap motion or other funky formations. Quarless also might operate better in space than Kuhn if Aaron Rodgers finds him on a dumpoff pass.

Of course, Quarless’s main responsibility will be pass blocking. Can Quarless be trusted to read defenses and identify blitzers like Kuhn can? If he can’t, the Quarless at fullback experiment will end quickly.

If he can pass block, Quarless would provide more versatility on third downs than Kuhn can as the backfield pass blocker. Then again, maybe Mike McCarthy won’t even put him in high-pressure pass-blocking situations.

Can Quarless clear a path for James Starks in the running game? He lined up at fullback after Kuhn got hurt against the Redskins and made a key block that sprung Starks for a 32-yard touchdown. He certainly looked capable on that play.

Sunday’s game probably won’t hinge on Quarless’s play at fullback, but when you’re trying to beat a tough opponent on the road, little things matter. One missed blitz pickup can alter the course of a game. One key block that seals the edge on a sweep can lead to a late-game first down that brings you one step closer to a win.

Quarless as a fullback will be interesting to watch.

 

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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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4

August

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Training Camp

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Another week of Packers training camp is in the books. Is it Sept. 8 yet?

Finley pipes down
I’ve never been one of those people who gets all bent out of shape whenever Jermichael Finley says something that stirs the pot — I’ll take honesty and candor over canned cliches any day. But it looks like Finley is at least trying the cliche route…for now. Will a boring Finley in front of the microphones lead to a more exciting Finley on the football field? I don’t think one has anything to do with the other. If Finley becomes a force at tight end, it won’t be because he zipped his lips during training camp. Besides, if he does finally break out, people would probably be more tolerant of whatever does come out of his mouth.

Hawk OK with pay cut
Calling it “more of an ego thing than anything that guys can’t get over,” LB A.J. Hawk spoke about taking a pay cut this offseason in order to stay with the Packers. After the slash in pay, Hawk is due to make $10.6 million over the final three years of his deal. That sounds like more than enough money for a guy who rarely makes impactful plays. It’s good to hear Hawk speak openly about taking a cut and being a team guy, but deep down, even he has to know that there probably wasn’t another team out there that would be willing to pay him over $10 million. It’s still a great deal for Hawk, and the Packers obviously think it’s a fair price for a LB that hasn’t made many flash plays, but is healthy and ready to go every Sunday.

Bakhtiari making a move
We’ve been hearing nothing but good things about David Bakhtiari. There are even rumblings that he might end up winning the starting right tackle job. The rookie from Colorado appears to be plenty athletic to be the kind of pass protector the Packers like. And with Marshall Newhouse being, well, Marshall Newhouse, and Don Barclay horsing around at backup center, perhaps the window is open for the rookie to win the job. But remember: We haven’t made it to the first exhibition game yet. All rookies are getting loved up right now because they’re new, they’re fresh, their ceilings are perceived to be high and we don’t know their shortcomings yet.

22

July

Ten Packers Training Camp Topics: #3 — Kuhn a camp casualty?

John Kuhn is a fan favorite. But is the fullback in danger of being a camp casualty this summer?

John Kuhn is a fan favorite. But is the fullback in danger of being a camp casualty this summer?

Within the confines of Lambeau Field, Packers fans adore fullback-turned-folk hero John Kuhn. He’s big and strong, runs hard, and by all accounts, is the ultimate team player.

But despite the wishes of a large portion of the fan base, Kuhn may not be a guarantee to make the team this season.

Recently, ALLGBP writer Adam Czech mentioned Kuhn in his “What If” Roster Scenarios piece. Adam asked the question, “What if a RB/FB emerges as a really good pass blocker?”

The question is absolutely valid. The Packers went out and spent a second-round pick on Alabama bruiser Eddie Lacy in April’s NFL Draft, which should help cure their short-yardage woes and add a physical dimension to the running game. In recent years, Kuhn handled the majority of the workload in short-yardage situations, but with Lacy in the fold, that may no longer be the case.

Still, Kuhn is likely the team’s most reliable pass protector in the backfield. And unless another running back or fullback proves to be, as Adam puts it, a “really good pass blocker,” then Kuhn may be looking for work.

Here’s what Adam says about Kuhn: “Due to make $1.6 million this season — (Kuhn) might be out of a job. Besides being the only reliable blocking back, what else does Kuhn bring to the team besides a recognizable fan chant whenever he touches the ball? He’s not a reliable option for picking up short-yardage first downs. He’s not a run blocker. He’s got decent hands, but it’s not like his receiving would be sorely missed. I know he’s tight with the quarterback, and cutting a reliable pass-blocking back in this offense would be risky, even if another back emerges as a blocker in preseason. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see Kuhn gone if Mike McCarthy is confident in having someone else out there on third downs to protect Aaron Rodgers.”

Adam is absolutely right. Kuhn brings a couple things to the table: he’s a good pass blocker and an above-average receiver. But on the other hand, he’s far from a guarantee to pick up a third or fourth-and-short and he’s by no means a dominant run blocker. Given the downward spiral of the fullback position in the NFL, Kuhn’s spot on the roster will likely come down to what everyone else does, as Adam suggests.

18

July

Green Bay Packers What If Roster Scenarios

What if Micah Hyde can do what Jarrett Bush does, only better? Does Bush get cut?

Are you ready to really scramble the Packers portion of your brain?

Let’s go over a few “What If” Packers roster scenarios. Your head will begin spinning in 3, 2, 1…

What if a RB/FB emerges as a really good pass blocker?
Then John Kuhn — due to make $1.6 million this season — might be out of a job. Besides being the only reliable blocking back, what else does Kuhn bring to the team besides a recognizable fan chant whenever he touches the ball? He’s not a reliable option for picking up short-yardage first downs. He’s not a run blocker. He’s got decent hands, but it’s not like his receiving would be sorely missed. I know he’s tight with the quarterback, and cutting a reliable pass-blocking back in this offense would be risky, even if another back emerges as a blocker in preseason. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see Kuhn gone if Mike McCarthy is confident in having someone else out there on third downs to protect Aaron Rodgers.

What if Johnny Jolly has a great training camp and preseason?
The Packers kept six defensive lineman on the opening day roster last season. The six did not include Mike Neal, who was suspended for the first four games. Neal, Josh Boyd, Datone Jones, C.J. Wilson, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Mike Daniels are probably frontrunners to secure spots this season. Jerel Worthy will likely start on the physically unable to perform list and may eventually move to injured reserve. If — and it’s a big if — Jolly is too good to cut, could Daniels go? He had a few moments in 2012, but seems too small to become a major impact player. Other than Daniels — and even he seems pretty safe — I don’t know who else would go to make room for Jolly. I guess the most likely scenario if Jolly is good is keeping eight defensive lineman and stashing Worthy on the PUP. You could probably get an extra roster spot by going with five wide receivers and eight linebackers after opening with six and nine, respectively, in 2012. The bottom line is this: Jolly is going to have to be damn good to make the team. And if he is, it’s going to lead to a lot of other roster dominos falling.

21

June

Who’s Next on the Packers’ Chopping Block?

tramon-picksix-atlanta

Could Tramon Williams fall victim to Ted Thompson’s axe before next season?

Packers fans have seen a lot of big names and sentimental favorites either cut or allowed to sign elsewhere in free agency over the last two seasons.

The most recent casualty was Desmond Bishop. The inside linebacker’s exit came after guys like Greg Jennings, Charles Woodson, Tom Crabtree and Scott Wells were given their walking papers or not resigned in the last two offseasons.

Of course, losing name players always gets a certain segment of Packers fans riled up. Never mind the fact that the vast majority of players cut or not resigned by Packers GM Ted Thompson have gone on to do very little once they’re picked up by another team. The initial shock of losing a player who fans have formed some type of connection with usually causes some sort of backlash.

So, who’s next? Which one of our beloved Packers will be axed by the evil Thompson or not resigned because Packers salary cap whiz Russ Ball says, “Screw the fans! This guy isn’t worthy half of what he’s asking!”

Here are some possible candidates (I tried to limit it to players that the fans generally like. Hence, Jermichael Finley was not included):

CB Tramon Williams
Throwing Williams’ name out there makes me feel like Skip Bayless, but consider: 1) Williams will be 31 next season; 2) He’s due to make $6.9 million in 2014; 3) He hasn’t been able to repeat the success he had in 2010; 4) The Packers have a lot of young talent in the secondary; 5) He’s been bothered by a bum shoulder going on two years now. Kind of sounds like a prime candidate to fall victim to Thompson’s axe, doesn’t it?

FB John Kuhn
If the Packers had any sort of confidence in the pass-blocking ability of the running backs currently on the roster, I think they would wave bye-bye to Kuhn and his $1.8 million salary today. Packers fans boo Kuhn whenever he touches the ball, anyway, so maybe they wouldn’t be too upset about this. Wait…oh, they’re saying “Kuuuuuuhn!” Never mind, fans would be pissed. But Kuhn isn’t going anywhere unless one of the young backs shows the immediate ability to read blitzes and be a shut-down pass blocker.

17

June

2013 Green Bay Packers: An Early Look At The Depth Chart

Green Bay Packers huddle

Who are your 2013 Green Bay Packers?

With the off-season activities now officially over with, we now turn our attention to the upcoming training camp and preseason.  The big question is:  What will the 2013 Green Bay Packers look like?

I’m taking a look at each position and listing who I think are the likely starters, as of today.  Training camp always tends to change that list quite a bit so this is obviously as of today, as it stands, and without having really seen many of these guys play.

Quarterback

Starter:  Aaron Rodgers

Backup: BJ Coleman

Bubble: Graham Harrell, Matt Brown

Quick hits: Rodgers is the league’s highest-paid player and let’s not forget he’s pretty good at what he does.  No question there and so the biggest debate is whether Coleman can leapfrog Harrell and will the team carry three active quarterbacks?  My thought is that if Coleman wins the backup spot, they will likely cut Harrell.  Illinois State’s Matt Brown could be a good candidate to land on the practice squad, much like Coleman did last season.

Running Back/Fullback

Starter:  DuJuan Harris

Backup:  Alex Green, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin

Bubble: John Kuhn, James Starks, Angelo Pease, Jonathan Amosa

Quick hits: Harris came on and was effective late in the season for the Packers.  He didn’t participate in much of the team’s offseason due to having a cyst removed near his lung.  He is expected to be ready for training camp.  Green will get every opportunity to remain a part of the team’s plans but will face very fierce competition from rookies Lacy and Franklin.  Still, I see the team keeping all four.  James Starks is likely all but out of Green Bay after being largely ineffective during his three-season stint with the team.  And we may have seen the last of John Kuhn, which will make the team’s decisions at this position easier.

Wide Receiver

Starters: Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb

Backups:  Jarrett Boykin, Charles Johnson

Bubble:  Jeremy Ross, Kevin Dorsey, Alex Gillett, Terrell Sinkfield, Myles White, Tyrone Walker, Sederrick Cunningham