Category Archives: Josh Sitton

20

August

Packers – Rams Video Second Look: Offensive Line

Packers offensive line.There were a few things I noticed while watching the first string offensive line as they were blocking for the rather impressive Eddie Lacy. I mentioned a few in my “First Impressions” post, where I give my initial observations without rewinding. It’s a little game I like to play, a way of testing if my perception of what is happening during the game is accurate or not.

I normally get the answers when I go back and watch the game a second time, this time with the benefit of rewind at will.

Time permitting, I’m going to try to pick one or two of those first impressions and look at them together with you, in video form, every week.

Today’s topic is the offensive line’s run blocking. Although Eddie Lacy had some impressive gains, I was noticing Packers offensive linemen getting pushed into the backfield on several occasions, especially Evan Dietrich Smith and TJ Lang.

In this first video, Lacy breaks off an 8 yard run, but no thanks to Evan Dietrich-Smith (EDS), who can not handle the speed of the gap-shooting DL. Lacy. Matthew Mulligan is also beat badly, and Lacy is confronted with two ST. Louis DL in his path, two yards deep in the backfield. For another running back, this is a loss of a few yards. But thanks to his much-renowned spin move, Lacy gets away from that trouble, breaks a tackle past the line of scrimmage and then plows through a few more defenders for some extra yards. It’s good to have a real running back, isn’t it?

(Note: I slowed the play down in the second part of this video. I also recommend using the pause button to stop the action at various points to get a better idea of what is happening.)

 

12

August

Word of Hobbes: Marshall Newhouse and David Bakhtiari

One of the best football writers out there is Ben Muth; many people claim not to know much about offensive line play, but this man obviously is not one of them.  If you don’t follow or read his stuff, stop reading this article and head over there now,  you’ll thank me later.  In a little bit of a homage, I’ve decided to do a “Word of Hobbes” on the Packers preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.  I choose Aaron Rodgers’ 50 yard bomb to James Jones not because it was a big play, but because Rodger’s held on to the ball longer than he probably should have, thus forcing the offensive linemen to hold their blocks a lot longer, which exposes technique and athleticism.

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The Packers are in a 3-1-1 personnel group (3 WR-1TE-1RB), although since we are looking at offensive tackle play this is largely unimportant; perhaps the most important thing to note about the receivers is that neither the tight end nor the running back are responsible for any blocking assignment, both immediately go out on their routes without chipping or really trying to influence the defensive line.  So for all intents and purposes this is a straight 5 OL vs 4 DL battle. As this is the preseason, you aren’t going to see many complicated stunts or exotic blitzes, so really it’s a 1 on 1 battle with rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari vs. Matt Shaughnessy and right tackle Marshall Newhouse vs. Calais Campbell.  Also keep in mind Newhouse has the bigger issue on his hands as Campbell is a considerably better pass rusher than Shaughnessy and is also huge at 6’8″

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Immediately after the snap Campbell goes for a swim move, and Newhouse makes matters worse by completely whiffing on his initial punch with his right arm (which you can see is at Campbell’s left arm instead of on his frame).  Shaughnessy on the other hand opts to go with a pure speed pass rush, either hoping to outrun or outturn Bakhtiari to the quarterback.  However Bakhtiari easily matches Shaughnessy with his kick slide.  Also notice how much lower Bakhtiari and how much more his hips are sinked compared to Newhouse, who due to his whiffed punch now is up close with Campbell

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7

August

Wednesday 8/7 Packers practice: Must be a game week

Packers defensive end Datone Jones has been dominant in one-on-one drills.

Packers defensive end Datone Jones has been dominant in one-on-one drills.

During the team run period of Wednesday morning’s practice at Ray Nitschke Field, a handful of scuffles broke out between the offense and defense.

Johnny Jolly was involved in at least a couple scrums, Kevin Greene and Josh Sitton were yapping at one another and Jermichael Finley was throwing haymakers at Jarvis Reed. Needless to say, it was pretty obvious that the Packers were preparing for their first (preseason) game of the 2013 season.

Players are ready to strap on their helmets and, you know, hit somebody.

Datone Jones impressive in drills:

If there was one player that caught my eye on Wednesday morning’s practice, it was rookie defensive end Datone Jones. During a one-on-one period between the defensive and offensive lines, Jones was dominant. And frankly, that’s nothing new.

On Jones’s first rep of the period, he went right through offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse, almost putting the 320-pound tackle on his backside. At 6’4″ 295, Jones is exactly what you want a 3-4 defensive end to look like. But what makes Jones such an intriguing prospect is the fact that he has the skill set of a 4-3 defensive end.

During practice, I was talking to Jacob Westendorf of PackersTalk.com. Jacob suggested that had Jones been drafted by a team that uses a 4-3 scheme, he may be a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt just won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a 3-4 defensive end, but that’s obviously a rarity. Expecting Jones to rack up double-digit sacks as a rookie may be unrealistic.

But either way, Jones appears poised to make a serious impact in his first NFL season, one way or another.

Vince Young’s early-camp struggles:

It’s pretty clear that Vince Young is not currently ready for game action. Unless he can pull a Tebow and make plays on game day despite being underwhelming at practice, it’s hard to see Young suiting up against the Arizona Cardinals on Friday.

Getting the snaps as the No. 3 quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers and Graham Harrell, Young made a couple erratic throws in team period. With a wide open D.J. Williams coming across the middle on a deep drag route, Young sailed a ball about eight feet over Williams’ head and into the arms of safety Chaz Powell.

13

July

Interview with Green Bay Packers’ Josh Sitton

Listen in to this radio interview with Josh Sitton on the Jim Rome Radio Show. Sitton talks about his love of fireworks, golf, living in Green Bay,  moving to the left side of the line and Aaron Hernandez.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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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

31

May

Predicting Packers Butt Height

“There’s two main components that a center needs to have, and it’s not quickness or agility or snapping or anything. It’s two things: One, he has to have a good height, and I’m talking about where his butt rests. It can’t be too low because I don’t wanna get deep in that stance and it can’t be too high so I feel like I’m standing up. It’s gotta be just right. He’s got that.  It’s a feel. My center in college was about my height and he’s real low in his stance. So it made me have to kinda duck down a little bit. It’s hard to get out of center. Scott Wells — my previous center — [and] Jeff Saturday: great height. Great butt height.  And the second is most important, and that’s sweating. How much do they sweat? The worst thing that you can have is third, fourth quarter on an October day where it’s 65, 70 degrees and he’s sweating through his pants. Because that is not a situation you wanna be in. You gotta change pants at halftime. Our backup center — great guy — Evan Dietrich-Smith, he has major sweat issues. And when you get that ball snapped up and there’s a lot of sweat that just splashes all over you and on your hands and the ball — it’s not a good situation. So he actually has changed at halftime before. So those are the two things you look for: butt height and sweating. Jeff’s doing really well in both categories. … Low sweat ratio and solid butt height.” – Aaron Rodgers

Ah, classic Aaron Rodgers; but ironically Rodgers’ observations about centers is one of the more in-depth analysis on what it really takes to be a center in the NFL out there right now.  Fans and the media typically don’t pay much attention to offensive linemen in general, but when they do they gravitate towards the all important left tackle position.  Right tackle and guard are gaining a little steam in terms of importance (just look at how many of them were drafted this year in the 1st round), but center still remains the forgotten position.  Outside of being able to snap a ball, what makes a good center?

9

May

Did the Packers Want to Draft Kyle Long?

“A couple of days before the draft, I heard the Cowboys were a threat to take (Kyle) Long in the first round, perhaps if they moved down from the 18th pick. I later heard from league sources outside of Halas Hall that the Colts (24th pick) and Rams (22nd pick) were very interested in drafting him. Some suspected the Packers (26th pick) also were in the Long market.” – Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

This recent bit of news caught my attention claiming that Kyle Long was actually a very hot commodity in the 1st round with at least 4 other teams, including the Packers, were willing to take the multifaceted offensive linemen, who will begin his career as a guard.  The only reason that this struck me as a little odd was that this exact same story popped up after last year’s draft, again involving an offensive guard.  In 2012, Kevin Zeitler was selected 27th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, one spot ahead of Nick Perry, who was selected by Packers with the 28th overall pick.  Again the Packers were rumored to be in love with Zeitler and were distraught when the Bengals stole him away with the pick before theirs that they dejectedly handed in their card for Perry (so the story goes).

From the offset, the question becomes what would the Packers do with a high draft pick guard in either 2012 or 2013?  General manager Ted Thompson seems to like his current two starters in TJ Lang and Josh Sitton, both who where signed to extensions without hitting free agency, which is perhaps the highest honor Thompson can bestow a player.  But again, with “the silver fox” you never really know what he’s going to do in the draft, sometimes he drafts heavy in positions of depth while ignoring positions of need, ostensibly under the “best player available” philosophy.  I don’t claim to know how Ted Thompson truly operates, but I’d assume that if a guard were the best player available, he probably wouldn’t hesitate to draft him.