Category Archives: Tom Crabtree

12

March

Packers News: Team issues Restricted Free Agent tenders

Sam Shields received the second-round tender

Sam Shields received the second-round tender

Today is the day free agency is officially set to kick off, and it’s also the deadline for teams to tender their restricted free agents.

Yesterday, the Packers surprised some by hitting Evan Dietrich-Smith with the lowest possible tender. Because Dietrich-Smith was undrafted, the Packers would get no compensation if they he signed with another team and they opted not to match the contract. If the Packers don’t reach an extension with him before the season, he’ll make $1.323 million next year, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Dietrich-Smith is expected to step in as the team’s starting center if he returns. He replaced Jeff Saturday in the starting lineup in week 16 after starting four games at left guard earlier in the season.

According to Silverstein, Green Bay slapped Sam Shields with the second-round tender worth $2.023 million. If a team signs Shields to an offer sheet and the Packers choose not to match, they’ll get a second-round draft pick in return.

The Packers clearly don’t want to take a chance with Shields, as they are with Dietrich-Smith. Shields bounced back from a poor 2011 season and played well in 2012. Along with Casey Hayward, Tramon Williams and Davon House, Shields makes the team’s cornerback group one of the deepest positions on the team.

While Dietrich-Smith and Shields received their tenders, the team has decided not to tender linebackers Frank Zombo and Robert Francois, or tight end Tom Crabtree. Zombo and Francois would figure to generate only moderate interest on the open market, but Crabtree could garner some interest as a reserve tight end.

With the uncertain future of tight end Jermichael Finley, some were quick to point to Crabtree in identifying the team’s next starting tight end. And while Crabtree had his fair share of big plays in 2012, the team clearly doesn’t view him as a starting-caliber player or they would have handed down a tender.

Zombo, an undrafted rookie in 2010, has appeared in 12 of a possible 32 regular-season games the past two seasons. It’s possible the Packers could bring him back on a minimum contract.

Francois has been open about his desire to return to Green Bay after spending the last three seasons with the Packers. He made two starts in 2011 with Desmond Bishop sidelined with an injury, but his role is primarily on special teams.

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.
16

February

Packers Tom Crabtree: 2012 Player Evaluation and Report Card

(1) Introduction: Packers TE Tom Crabtree is an old school tight end. You’re more likely to see him blocking along the line than running routes, but the past two seasons Crabtree has focused on improving his pass-catching abilities. A legend on Twitter, Crabtree looked to have his strongest season in 2012 before heading into restricted free agency.

Tom Crabtree

Packers Tight End Tom Crabtree

(2) Profile:

Thomas Lewis Crabtree

  • Age: 27
  • Born: 11/04/1985, in Carroll, OH
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 245
  • College: Miami (OH)
  • Rookie Year: 2009
  • NFL Experience: 4 years

Career Stats and more:

3) Expectations coming into the season: With Andrew Quarless likely to be out for the majority of the 2012 seasons thanks to a knee injury, Crabtree became the team’s primary backup tight end.  He was expected to contribute as an extra blocker and on special teams and occasionally in the passing game.  Crabtree was expected to do the dirty work tight ends sometimes have to do and comfortably made the 2012 roster.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: If the Packers were playing on national television, Crabtree somehow found a way to make a big play.  Perhaps the most stunning was a 27 yard touchdown by Crabtree on a fake field goal in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears.  Crabtree found the end zone in front of a national audience again against the Houston Texans with a 48-yard touchdown.  His longest of the year came on a 72-yard touchdown against the Cardinals when Rodgers found him over the middle. As for lowlights, he did miss two games with injuries and was at times part of a line that gave up 51 sacks of Aaron Rodgers.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  The Packers special teams struggled at times and Crabtree was part of that unit.  His sudden knack however for the big play on offense helped spark the Packers to a win over the Bears and sealed a victory over the Cardinals in a game the Packers should not have had has much trouble with. He had eight catches (a career high) on 12 targets.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  Not much from Crabtree as far as receiving during the playoffs as he had only one catch (against the Minnesota Vikings) for 10 yards. He was targeted only one other time in the playoffs.

Season Report Card:

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.

10

December

Packers Shovel Their Way to First Place in NFC North

 

Packers defense

The Packers defense, grinding out another win on Sunday night. (Photo from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Like many of you who are reading this, I had to go out and shovel snow before the Packers game on Sunday night.

Notice how I said shovel. Not blow or push with a skid loader. Shovel.

I refuse to get a snow blower. I’m 31 years old. I’m more than capable of operating a shovel. I see way too many men under the age of 35 using snow blowers and skid loaders for snow removal these days. Further evidence of the downfall of society, I say.

A shovel is reliable. You don’t need to worry about it not starting after a blizzard.

A shovel is low maintenance. You don’t have to worry about filling it with gas, changing its oil or taking it in for a tune-up.

A shovel is inexpensive. You can pick up a good snow shovel for a couple bucks at just about any store.

A shovel is a great teaching tool. If you have kids, making them shovel snow builds character.

A shovel can be used as a weapon if someone attacks you, or if a Bears fan starts talking trash.

The Packers are a team of shovels right now. We all want them to be the latest fancy model of snow blower, but they’re not. And that’s just fine.

As I was shoveling over a foot of snow off my driveway on Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice a few of my neighbors and their snow blowers. Sure, they were exerting less energy and moving at a faster pace than I was, but I was earning the right to maneuver my car out of my garage without getting stuck.

I had to work harder for it, so I appreciated it more (at least, that’s what I was telling myself as my fingers went numb and my eyes started freezing shut).

The packers have shoveled their way into first place in the NFC North. With the exception of the Giants’ game, guys like Don Barclay, Brad Jones, Casey Hayward, Ryan Pickett, Mike Daniels, DuJuan Harris and Tom Crabtree have helped hold this injury-ravaged team together and put it in position to make a late-season run.

7

December

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 13 vs. Minnesota Vikings

We all knew it was going to happen; with Randall Cobb the Packers got a swiss army knife, he returns kicks, he catches passes, he runs the ball, he slices, dices and even juliennes!  At some point, you knew that “Wild Cobb” was going to show up somewhere and the Packers were going to get him to lob the ball (I know they did this last year, but that was more of an option pass).  Well apparently the Vikings were the team to get the first shot at some Cobb trickeration and the results were pretty comical at best, but what exactly happened and what went wrong?

The Situation: It’s the 3rd quarter with 6:19 left on the clock and the Vikings are desperately holding onto a 1 point lead.  It’s second and five after a five yard Alex Green run and the Packers need to get a touchdown or get into field goal range (though who knows what qualifies for field goal range for Mason Crosby at the moment) in order to keep the game the game close.

The Formation: The Packers come out in a 2-2-1 formation (2WR-2TE-1RB) with WR Greg Jennings (85) split right and WR James Jones (89) in the left slot, TE Tom Crabtree (83) and TE DJ Williams (84) are also aligned in the left slot forming a trips bunch look with WR Jones.  On the offensive line, with TJ Lang out, undrafted rookie Don Barclay (67) is out at right tackle, followed by RG Josh Sitton (71), C Jeff Saturday (63), LG Evan Dietrich-Smith (62) and LT Marshall Newhouse (74).

Pre-Snap: TE Williams motions from the trips bunch into the backfield and becomes the fullback, making it an offset I formation, in essence making it look like a run play.

Snap: QB Aaron Rodgers (12) pitches it to RB Cobb, who initially appears to be running a sweep behind TE Williams.

The Lateral: RB Cobb throws a lateral back to QB Rodgers, who catches the ball, but already has DE Everson Griffin bearing down on him.  Luckily RT Barclay manages to get enough of Griffin that it gives QB Rodgers time to shuffle to his right before throwing a bomb to WR Jennings.

30

November

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 11 at New York Giants

So in an effort to forget about the Packers dismal showing against the Giants, I instead decided to analyze something completely different, namely the first and only pass that one Graham Harrell has thrown in the National Football League.  Some of you might know but Harrell was the only backup quarterback in the NFL who had never thrown a pass in a game (though it has to be said that Saint’s backup quarterback Chase Daniel had one pass under his name).  Also throw in Harrell’s disastrous first outing where he fumbled a handoff to running back Cedric Benson in the red zone that resulted in a touchdown for ironically the Saints as well.

The situation: The Packers aren’t doing too well, down 38 to 10 with only a couple minutes left in the game.  Head coach Mike McCarthy has already thrown in the towel by pulling out starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and has inserted his back up Graham Harrell.  After a slew of running plays, McCarthy finally gives Harrell the green light to chuck the ball.

The formation: The Packers are in a 2-1-2 personel (2WR-1TE-2RB) in a classic I-formation with WR James Jones (89) split out wide to the left, WR Jordy Nelson (87)  split out to the right and TE Tom Crabtree (83) inline with the right tackle.  In the backfield, FB John Kuhn (30) is lined 5 yards directly behind the ball with RB James Starks (44) directly behind FB Kuhn.  Under center is QB Graham Harrell (6), while the offensive line is composed of LT Marshall Newhouse (74), LG Evan Dietrich-Smith (62), C Jeff Saturday (63), RG Josh Sitton (71) and RT TJ Lang (70).

The Snap: QB Harrell play fakes the handoff to Starks while FB Kuhn initially goes behind the right tackle.  After the fake, Starks shifts to his left to help out the LT while FB Kuhn goes to help out the right tackle and TE Crabtree, who has stayed behind to block.  Both WR Jones and WR Nelson both run fade routes.

First read: QB Harrell’s first read immediately after the play fake is to WR Jones to his left.

Second read: QB Harrell decides against throwing to WR Jones resets, and shifts over to his right, looking at WR Nelson.