Category Archives: Ryan Taylor

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

30

April

2013 Draft Leaves Packers In Need

Packers WR Greg Jennings

Who will replace Greg Jennings in 2013 is one of many questions left after the draft

The Green Bay Packers added 11 new players to their offseason roster via this past weekend’s NFL draft.  Packers GM Ted Thompson, as he does every year, maneuvered around and was able to add some additional picks to the stash that he began the draft with.

Heading into the draft, the team’s biggest needs were Defensive Line, Safety, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Offensive Line.  The team addressed the defensive line with two selections in the first five rounds.  At running back, they added two players in the first four rounds and they selected two offensive linemen in the fourth.  Any pick within the first five rounds should be expected to stick on the team’s final 53 man roster.  The key word is “should” so I cautiously say that those three areas seemingly were covered.

While some GM’s draft more for need, Thompson’s philosophy has been more about taking the best player available on his board at the time.  Two good examples are his selecting two offensive tackles within 10 draft slots of each other in round four and trading back into the fourth round to select running back Johnathan Franklin when he had already selected a top-tier running back two rounds earlier in the form of Eddie Lacy.

With that said and as has been the case in year’s past, Thompson did not address every position of need that the Packers had going into the draft.  With so many teams jockeying and moving around constantly, it would be tough for any GM’s board to fall exactly how he wants and leave draft weekend with every hole plugged up.  Three positions left with the biggest question marks are Safety, Wide Receiver and Tight End.

Safety

Mock drafts and big boards had the Packers possibly addressing this position in round one.  It was unlikely that top-rated safety prospect Kenny Vaccaro would still be available when the Packers were set to choose at #26, so the biggest possibilities were Jonathan Cyprien, Matt Elam and Eric Reid.  Reid was taken at 18th overall and was already off the board.  Thompson clearly didn’t feel that Cyprien nor Elam were what he wanted in a first round pick and he drafted defensive lineman Datone Jones instead.

29

March

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Tight Ends

What chemistry problem?

With such a deep receiving corps, the Green Bay Packers have been able to let things slide a bit at the tight end position.  The question is how much longer they can afford to do so.  Starting tight end Jermichael Finley set a franchise record for receptions by a tight end while the departed Tom Crabtree seemingly scored a touchdown every time the Packers played on national television.

With Crabtree gone and Finley entering the final year of his contract, the tight ends face a crucial year in 2013.  Could the Packers draft a tight end early in this spring’s draft? Will Finley become the game changing weapon everyone thought he could be back in 2009? Who will replace Crabtree as the blocking specialist among them?

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects:

Jermichael Finley (3rd round, 2008)

D.J. Williams (5th round, 2011)

Ryan Taylor (7th round, 2011)

Brandon Bostick (undrafted free agent, 2012)

Andrew Quarless (5th round, 2010)

For expanded coverage of this topic, listen in using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

 

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Finley: The player so many fans love to hate.  His mouth got him into trouble early in the season but he came around late and had some solid games to close out the regular season.

Williams: Disappointing 2012.  He was expected by some to potentially push Finley for the starting role in training camp or at the very least take some snaps away from him.  Instead he potentially finds himself on the roster bubble heading into 2013.

Taylor: Special teams contributor and that was about it. Made headlines when he was fined during the season for an illegal block against the Arizona Cardinals.

Bostick: Non contributor, added for depth.

Quarless: Injury from 2011 rendered him useless for 2012.

So that’s where we are. Next let’s look at…

Where we want to be:

For all the depth Green Bay has at wide receiver,  they are still lacking that difference maker at the tight end position. After his strong season in 2009, many though Finley was going to be one of the best tight ends in the game.  Thanks to an injury in 2010 followed by a case of the drops and a bout with oral diarrhea, Finley finds himself potentially on the way out of Green Bay.

24

February

2013 NFL Draft Preview: Ranking Packers Tight End Prospects

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert

The 2013 NFL Draft offers a deep crop of tight ends, headlined by Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz. Both players can do everything NFL teams ask tight ends to do, but the class is much deeper than just the top two.

A handful of NFL-ready tight ends figure to come off the board on day two. And with the uncertain future of Jermichael Finley in Green Bay, the Packers could be in the market for a tight end at some point in this year’s draft.

Let’s take a closer look at the top ten tight ends in this year’s draft. There aren’t many surprises, although one player in my top ten wasn’t even invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (6-5 250)

  • Draft stock: Late 1st
  • 40 time: 4.68, Vertical: 35.5″, 225-pound bench: 22 reps
  • Two-year starter, averaged 55.5 receptions, 713.5 yards and 4.5 touchdowns per year as a starter.
  • Backed up current Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph as a sophomore but still managed to find the field, recording 27 receptions for 352 yards and two touchdowns.

2. Zach Ertz, Stanford (6-5 249)

  • Draft stock: Late 1st / Early 2nd
  • 40 time: 4.76, Vertical: 30.5″, 225-pound bench: 24 reps
  • One-year starter, caught 66 passes for 837 yards and six touchdowns as the starter in 2012.
  • Until his senior season, Ertz played behind current Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener at Stanford. As a reserve during his sophomore and junior campaign, Ertz caught a combined 43 passes for 536 yards and nine touchdowns.

3. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati (6-4 255)

  • Draft stock: 2nd Round
  • Kelce did not work out at the NFL Scouting Combine.
  • One-year starter, caught 45 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns as the starter in 2012.
  • Caught 13 passes as a junior in 2011, after being forced to sit out the 2010 season due to an undisclosed violation of team rules.

4. Gavin Escobar, San Diego St. (6-5 254)

  • Draft stock: 3rd Round
  • 40 time: 4.84, Vertical: 32″, 225-pound bench: DNP
  • Three year-starter, averaged 40.6 catches for 548.6 yards and 5.6 touchdowns per year.
  • Appeared in all 13 games as a junior but started only six after a midseason hand injury, started the final 12 games of his sophomore season.
23

January

Packers Stock Report: End of Season, Full Roster Edition

CB Tramon Williams and S Morgan Burnett fight for an interception against the Saints

Packers CB Tramon Williams found himself in the falling category. Safety Morgan Burnett was steady.

The Packers end of season, full roster stock report is upon us. Below are over 2,300 words of insight, analysis, opinions and nonsense about every player currently on the Packers roster.

Read closely and enjoy, because many of these players likely won’t be around in 2013.

I incorporated each player’s performance from this season, and their future outlook while categorizing. Please agree or disagree in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading the weekly stock reports. Onto the last one:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
It wasn’t as great as his MVP campaign, but it was still damn good. With chaos and injuries swirling all around, Rodgers kept the Packers offense moving forward and limited mistakes. A fine all-around performance and no reason to think it won’t continue in 2013.

Randall Cobb
With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson hobbled most of the season, Cobb broke out and turned into the Packers most dangerous weapon. I worry a little about his durability, but his production when healthy was great. Oh, and he needs to drop fewer passes.

DuJuan Harris
Is this too much praise for the 5-foot-7, 210-pound rolling ball of butcher knives? Maybe. But if I’m buying Harris stock, I want in right now. I think he’s going to stick with the Packers and get a chance to make some noise.

Casey Hayward
Lost in the disastrous playoff loss and grumbling about the Packers lack of physicality was Hayward’s dynamic rookie season. I don’t care if the read-option sticks or not, stopping the pass will still be a defense’s top priority and Hayward can do it.

Sam Shields
He’s on the rise now. Will he remain on the rise if the Packers pay him? Or will he morph back into the timid and non-aggressive cornerback of 2011? There’s no denying his raw talent, and I’d like to see him develop that talent as a member of the Packers.

Clay Matthews
Microsoft. Apple. TRowe Price. Fidelity. With the contract that Matthews will get from the Packers, he’ll be able to buy all the stock he wants.

Nick Perry
How can a guy who was hurt most of the season land in this category? The same way Matthews landed in the rising category when he was injured. The Packers can’t afford another season with Erik Walden as the primary outside linebacker opposite Matthews. Perry is rising by default.

1

November

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 7 vs Jacksonville Jaguars

So I’m going to do something a little bit unusual from the usual Packers Playbook series; first off I’m going to breakdown a special teams play, namely Davon House’s blocked punt which turned into a special teams touchdown, but ru because I want to hear your rationale for running this play because frankly I don’t really understand it.

The Situation: The score is 7 to 3 in Green Bay’s favor and the Packers defense has just forced a 4th down.  The Jaguars have stayed in the game longer than most people had predicted but it’s probably more because the Packers seem to be off rather than any offensive firepower displayed by the Jaguars.

The Formation: To be honest I wasn’t able to find any of the position names for any of the positions, so I will be using my best approximations.  Naturally first off is KR Randall Cobb (18), who for obvious reasons is not in the picture and since this is a blocked punt play, is irrelevant to the play.  In the gunner/jammer positions are CB Davon House (31) aligning to the top of the screen and CB Jarrett Bush (24) and CB Casey Hayward (29) aligned to the bottom of the screen.  In terms of linemen (are they called linemen?), at RDE is ILB Jamari Lattimore (57) and at LDE is OLB Dezman Moses.  In the “middle” at DT is ILB Robert Francois (49) and TE Ryan Taylor (82).  In the “backfield” are SS Sean Richardson (28) and FS MD Jennings (43).

For astute readers out there will have noticed that this only adds up to 10 players, which is probably another reason why the Jaguars aren’t probably winning many games.

Pre-snap: SS Richardson approaches the line and looks to blitz while CB Hayward motions from the jammer position to the outside shoulder of LDE Moses.  After that CB House motions to the outside shoulder of RDE Lattimore.  Essentially at this point there are 8 players in the box, which is even with the 8 players the Jaguars have to block.

The Snap: CB Hayward bails out of the blitz to cover WR Kevin Elliot (87) who is the gunner that CB House was originally covering.

“OT” SS Chris Harris (43) blocks DT Francois leaving one of the upbacks, #35 to deal with RDE Moses.

30

October

Packers Stock Report: An Ugly Win Counts the Same as a Pretty Win Edition

Brad Jones

Packers LB Brad Jones was sharp against the Jaguars.

As I’m writing this week’s Packers stock report, I’m watching the Cardinals play the 49ers on Monday Night Football. The Cardinals look horrendous. Absolutely atrocious. They can’t do anything right.

Does this mean anything for Sunday’s Packers vs. Cardinals matchup? Who knows.

So far this season the Packers have been good and bad, lucky and unlucky, hot and cold, hurt and healthy, explosive and stagnant, emotional and dead, and everything in-between.

The same can be said about the Cardinals and just about every other team in the NFL.

There’s no use projecting what might happen week-to-week, so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the games the rest of the way.

Rising

James Jones
When the Packers offense needed a lift in the second half on Sunday, James Jones came to life. He caught a 11-yard pass and drew a roughing penalty. He also caught a 31-yard pass that set up Donald Driver’s touchdown. No. 89 was feisty in the second half. Perhaps that aggression led to the Jacksonville defender getting a little annoyed and throwing him down on the roughing call. Too bad some of that aggression didn’t wear off on the rest of the offense.

Brad Jones
The latest next man up is Jones and he’s answered the bell so far. Playing inside linebacker for the first time, Jones hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been more than adequate. A sack on an inside blitz and a forced fumble deep in Packers territory were big plays on Sunday. As long as Jones makes the routine tackles and a big play every now and then, he’ll be fine plugging the gaping hole left by Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith.

Morgan Burnett
Someone needed to step up with Charles Woodson out and Burnett was the guy on Sunday. The third-year safety has been decent all season but really showed a nose for making plays and played with emotion against the Jags. The main thing the Packers will miss with Woodson out is his attitude. The veteran might not have the raw skills to do what he used to do, but he’s not afraid to stick his nose in there and try to make a tackle or take on a bigger offensive lineman. Burnett demonstrated the same will against Jacksonville, and made a few impact plays doing so.