Category Archives: Scott Wells

29

March

Cory’s Corner: Packers are undervaluing the center position

Frank Winters was Brett Favre's starting center for 10 seasons and the two shared an inseparable bond.

Frank Winters was Brett Favre’s starting center for 10 seasons and the two shared an inseparable bond.

Just how important is the quarterback-center battery in the NFL?

Apparently, it’s not that overly important to the Packers because Aaron Rodgers is about to embark on his fourth different starting center to begin the season.

Think about that for a second.

Rodgers is the best quarterback on the planet. Amazingly, he has been able to average 31 touchdowns a season with a 58-29 record in six seasons. And he’s done it despite playing with a revolving door at the leadership position of the offensive line.

In 16 years with the Packers, Brett Favre had five different centers start the majority of games. But that counts James Campen for one season in 1992 and the person nobody remembers — Grey Ruegamer in 2004.

Favre’s mainstay was Frank Winters. “Bag of Doughnuts” and Favre were teammates for 11 seasons and were able to grow up together and make each other better.

Rodgers hasn’t had that yet. Right when Rodgers and Scott Wells were beginning to form a cohesive bond, the Packers didn’t bring him back after four years of working as the quarterback-center battery and thus, the process started all over again.

The next person to come on down is JC Tretter. Last year’s fourth round draft pick hasn’t started a game in the NFL but the Packers are handing him a shot to ignite one of the most dynamic offenses in the league with each snap.

Centers aren’t exactly a glory position. No kid gazes into the mirror and dreams of one day making a perfect shotgun snap to his quarterback before quickly reasserting himself as a pass blocker. Heck, Tretter was a quarterback, running back and wideout in high school.

JC Tretter is looking to become the fourth starting center to begin the season for the Packers since 2008.

JC Tretter is looking to become the fourth starting center to begin the season for the Packers since 2008.

But that doesn’t mean the job of a center should be understated. While left tackles get the money for protecting the quarterback’s blind side, it’s the center that makes the coverage adjustments. A center is the quarterback of the offensive line.

So when Rodgers comes back to camp not knowing much about his next center, he needs to spend time getting to know how things will work. If you’re Rodgers, you don’t want to learn in Week 3 that your center has a problem with a quick snap count or a pronounced loud bark in order to draw a defense offsides.

27

December

Pro Bowl Rosters Set: Rodgers, Matthews, Saturday Will Represent Packers

Rodgers and Matthews at Super Bowl XLV

Rodgers and Matthews are becoming Pro Bowl perennials. Rodgers will start for the NFC

The NFL Pro Bowl rosters were announced on December 26th and among them were three Green Bay Packers who were voted in outright.  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and center Jeff Saturday will represent the Packers at this year’s contest.  Here is a look at each and what got them here.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is having yet another phenomenal season.  He is obviously the face of the team and their fate rests squarely on his shoulders.

A look at the numbers tells us all that we need to know about why Rodgers will be the NFC’s starting quarterback in this year’s Pro Bowl:  3930 yards, 67% completion percentage, 35 touchdowns (just eight interceptions) and a quarterback rating of 106.2.  And those are Rodgers’ average numbers over the course of his career as a starter.

Just when it seems that there has to be some sort of drop-off in Rodgers’ play, he comes out and puts up more great numbers and the Packers, again, find themselves strong contenders to reach another Super Bowl.  Despite the issues that the team has had with the offensive line and in pass protection, Rodgers has continued to find ways to make plays and win games for this team.  A very well deserved Pro Bowl start for #12.

Linebacker Clay Matthews III

Matthews is having another stellar season.  He has 12 sacks and needs just one and a half more to tie his career high set back in 2010.  After a bit of a dropoff last season, Matthews has re-emerged as the pass rushing threat that was so key in Green Bay’s success during their Super Bowl season.  That he has posted those numbers despite missing four games is even more noteworthy.

Matthews just continues to play with such a high motor and has elevated his run defending skills.  He is the epitome of what describes a true “difference maker”.  When he was out the Green Bay pass rush took a major step back and struggled at times.

He seems to be fully back and healthy from the hamstring injury that forced him out earlier this season and the Packers will need Matthews at 100% for the postseason push.

13

July

NFC North Sending Sending Three Teams to the Playoffs This Season?

The NFC North is set to be one of the NFL’s toughest divisions during the 2012-13 season, despite being home to the lonely Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are the reigning kings, but the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are certainly formidable foes.

With so much talent in the division, there is a good chance the North could see three playoffs with the Packers, Bears and Lions continuing their season past the first weekend in January.

Green Bay Packers
The Packers aren’t only favorites to win the division, but likely the conference and possibly even the Super Bowl. Dominating their way through the regular season last year, minus a Kansas City hiccup, the Packers were able to bring back the majority to key contributors.

The team lost center Scott Wells via free agency and cut Chad Clifton due to financial reasons, but replaced Wells with veteran Jeff Saturday. Clifton had fallen out of rotation due to his back troubles.

The Packers didn’t lose much in terms of personnel and added reinforcements on the defensive side of the ball via free agency and the draft. Key draft picks Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward as well as free agent signing Anthony Hargrove (after his suspension) and many others will have opportunities to not only make the team but improve the defense.

After finishing 15-1 and sweeping the division last season, the Packers should be even better in 2012.

Detroit Lions
Following their first playoff appearance in more than a decade, the Lions will look to get back into the postseason rather than start a new streak of missing out. The Lions are filled with talent on both sides of the ball.

Wide receiver Titus Young is a player to watch while defensives focus their attention on stopping Calvin Johnson. With good health, Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best could provide more stability for the Lions offense in terms of a running game. With strong cores on both sides of the ball and even more young talent, the Lions are in good shape.

This offseason, the biggest and most frequent news out of Detroit has been the legal issues hanging over the team’s players. Leshoure and Nick Fairley have seen their names pop up in legal mess. In addition to the off-field issues Ndamukong Suh has had his separate issues on field.

13

April

Packers 2012 Offensive Line Scenarios

Packers offensive tackle Derek Sherrod

2012 is a big season for Packers T Derek Sherrod

Injuries to Chad Clifton, Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga meant that the Packers offensive line never really gelled last season. Guys like Marshall Newhouse and Evan Dietrich-Smith did a decent enough job filling in, but the line never got rolling like I thought it would.

This might be a little tricky to attempt before the draft, but let’s take a look at several offensive line scenarios for the 2012 season. If/when injuries hit, what are the Packers options and potential lineups up front?

Scenario 1
LT Chad Clifton, LG T.J. Lang, C Jeff Saturday, RG Josh Sitton, RT Bryan Bulaga.

This is the ideal scenario. In a perfect world, Clifton comes back, he’s healthy and productive, and the Packers trot out the same five guys every week. We can dream, right?

Scenario 2
LT Derek Sherrod, LG Lang, C Saturday, RG Sitton, RT Bulaga

Maybe Clifton gets cut or goes down early in the season and the Packers have to once again fill a hole at left tackle. If that happens, the ideal situation is for Sherrod to come back from his broken leg and step right in, showing improvement from his rookie season and becoming the left tackle of the future. Bulaga would stay at right tackle and the future would bright. If only it was that easy…

Scenario 3
LT Bulaga, LG Lang, C Saturday, RG Sitton, RT Newhouse

Clifton is cut or hurt and Sherrod isn’t ready to start. That makes Bulaga the major chess piece in this scenario. Do you move him from the right side over to Aaron Rodgers’ blind side on the left? I would. Newhouse was adequate on the left side in 2011, but I’m confident that Bulaga would have no trouble adjusting and would be much better than adequate. On a team with Super Bowl aspirations, adequate just isn’t good enough.

Scenario 4
LT Newhouse/Sherrod, LG Lang, C Saturday, RG Sitton, RT Bulaga

If Clifton makes the team, but gets hurt during the season, I’d be fine with keeping Bulaga on the right side. There’s no need to start playing musical chairs during the season unless absolutely necessary. But what if it is absolutely necessary?

Scenario 5
LT Lang LG Evan Dietrich-Smith/Ray Dominguez/??? C Saturday RG Sitton RT Bulaga

25

March

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

The Packers signed free agent center Jeff Saturday this week to replace the departed Scott Wells. Yes, I said the Packers signed a free agent. A free agent that I actually heard of, nonetheless.

I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to react to this occasion.  It’s been a while since Ted Thompson blew the dust off the checkbook he uses to sign free agents from other teams and actually brought someone in. Fans from other teams often celebrate like they just won the Super Bowl after inking a free agent so….congrats fellow Packers fans?

Thompson obviously didn’t know how to react to the occasion, either. He was so confused and out of sorts about what he just did that he turned around and did it again, signing free agent defensive lineman Daniel Muir.

Now, Muir fits the mold of a Packers free-agent signing much more than Saturday. Muir is a journeyman that Thompson signed and released once before. He’ll have to fight hard just to make the team and anything he contributes during the season will be a bonus.

Saturday, on the other hand, will be expected to be what he’s been his whole career: A reliable pass-blocking center who quarterbacks the offensive line for one of the most explosive offenses in the league, often during no-huddle situations. I’m sure Saturday is up to the task, but he’s also going to be 37 years old when the season starts.

Yes, Saturday has started all 16 games in six of the past seven seasons, but the thing with 37-year-olds is that they’re, well…old. You never know when the body of a 37-year-old football player might say enough is enough, or their skill set diminishes almost overnight.

Saturday was a good signing. No arguments about that. But it’s still going to be business as usual for the Packers at the center position. Saturday will (hopefully) fill in nicely this season and possibly next, but the Packers will still likely draft a center in April, both to solidify the position long-term and provide insurance in case age gets the best of Saturday.

Tim Tebow, Pat Lee/Jarrett Bush, Anthony Hargrove

23

March

Jeff Saturday is Now a Green Bay Packer Person (with videos)

Jeff Saturday and Robert Kraft

Jeff Saturday and Robert Kraft

ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on twitter today that former Colts All-Pro center Jeff Saturday is now “Packer People.”

Looking at Saturday’s career and actions on and off the field, if such a thing as “Packer People” exists, Saturday would certainly embody it.  You may remember Saturday’s heartfelt words thanking Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft for “saving football” while dealing with his wife’s illness at the end of last year’s lockout.

Saturday is a devout Christian and a popular motivational speaker,  speaking on leadership and teamwork.

On the field, Saturday is a 5-time Pro Bowl selection (as recent as 2010) and a 4-time All-Pro.  According to his agent Ralph Cindrich, Saturday signed a two-year deal with the Packers.

Saturday will be 37 years old by the time the season starts and this will most likely be his last contract in the NFL.  Still, I can’t think of a better stop-gap to lead the Packers offensive line while the Packers look to draft and prepare a center for the future.

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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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20

March

Jeff Saturday Could Be Good Stopgap Solution For Packers Offensive Line

Former Colts center Jeff Saturday could be a temporary solution for the Packers offensive line.

The NFL media is atwitter over the latest news and rumors surrounding Peyton Manning, his former center Jeff Saturday, and the Green Bay Packers. In short, Manning has finally chosen the Broncos as his new team, which spells the end of “Tebowmania” in Denver. (But that’s beside the point.) This, of course, sets up the possibility of a “domino effect,” wherein Colts teammates follow Manning to the mountains.

Two players who could have interest in doing this are tight end Dallas Clark and center Jeff Saturday. However, rumbling quietly into this big mill of speculation is that, in addition to the Broncos, Saturday is also scheduled to meet with the Packers. They are, as we all know, trying to fill the void left by Scott Wells, who just signed with the St. Louis Rams.

Keen fans have been quick to question the interest that Ted Thompson apparently has in Saturday. The veteran center will be turning 37 in June and has played his entire 13-year career in front of Peyton Manning – minus last season.

Doesn’t Thompson shun the aging veteran? Isn’t he a bigger proponent of developing his own talent?

Generally speaking, yes.

Nevertheless, there are some valid reasons for the Packers to have interest in Saturday. First and foremost, though, we have to understand that he would be a stopgap lineman – a temporary fix until a long-term replacement could be acquired and/or groomed. Offensive lineman rarely make big impacts their rookie season, especially centers. Even a guy like Peter Konz from Wisconsin would need a healthy amount of time to get used to the offensive system and calls. So drafting a center is more of a long-term solution than a short-term one.

What a lot of people wonder, though, is why Thompson would let a veteran like Scott Wells walk away if he was even going to consider an older player like Saturday. Well, to be frank, it’s not like Wells was given a lot of incentive to return. The Packers stiffed him once when they (stupidly) replaced him with Jason Spitz, and then they obviously couldn’t agree to an extension or new contract before the start of free agency this year.