Category Archives: Packers Roster

26

February

Scott Tolzien Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction: Scott Tolzien was waived by the 49ers on Aug. 26 and on Sept. 1 he was signed to the Packers practice squad. Nobody thought he would actually get playing time, let alone make something of it. But that’s exactly what the former Wisconsin Badger, that racked up a 21-5 record at Madison, did.

Scott Tolzien

Scott Tolzien

2) Profile:

Scott Tolzien

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 9/4/1987 in Rolling Meadows, Ill.
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 208
  • College: Wisconsin
  • Rookie Year: 2013
  • NFL Experience: 1

Career stats and notes

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Hardly any. Most people knew how well he could run a team and that he was a winner but they didn’t know how if he had the intangibles to succeed in the NFL.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Getting thrust into a tough spot after backup Seneca Wallace went down with a groin injury on the first drive. Tolzien threw for 280 yards, including an impressive 22-yard touchdown in a 27-13 loss to Philadelphia. The next week, he threw for 339 yards against the Giants but he did it by also throwing three picks. And after struggling the following week to Minnesota, Tolzien was replaced by Matt Flynn midway through the third quarter.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Marginal. He showed that he can make all the throws in the NFL, but he also showed that like many pro quarterbacks, he doesn’t have it all figured out yet. There’s a reason why the Packers kept him on the roster, because they want to see what talent they can unearth from this kid.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: N/A.

Season Report Card:

(C+) Level of expectations met during the season

(B-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  C+

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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15

February

Cory’s Corner: Ted Thompson will stick to his script

Ted Thompson is preparing for his 10th NFL Draft as general manager of the Packers.

Ted Thompson is preparing for his 10th NFL Draft as general manager of the Packers.

Now I don’t want to totally dismiss anything that NFL writer and analyst Ian Rapoport said…but I don’t believe any of it.

For those that missed it, Rapoport said that the Packers could sign as many as five free agents to take advantage of the Packers nearly $28 million in cap space.

Anyone who has been around a stale Ted Thompson press conference knows that the Packers general manager prefers to assemble his team through the lower risk, higher reward of the draft, which actually suits a small-market team just fine.

The Packers have not and are not in a position to be like the Redskins or Cowboys who routinely throw money at free agents just because they can. Washington and Dallas are more suited to sign high-priced free agents because they can absorb more mistakes than a team like the Packers.

But that doesn’t mean the draft is an exact science either. There are guys like Brian Brohm, Justin Harrell and Javon Walker in every draft. Obviously the key is finding out which one truly loves the game of football and which one just loves being the star.

The most important free agent signing Thompson has made was Charles Woodson back in 2006. That pales in comparison to Ron Wolf who brought in the hallmark free agent of a generation in Reggie White and then smartly paired him with free agents Sean Jones and Santana Dotson.

Of course Thompson could try and lure the top defensive end in Greg Hardy who has said is looking for a “crapload of money.” Hardy and agent Drew Rosenhaus have already turned down a contract for four years and $32 million. The 25-year-old wants security after netting 15 sacks, which led to his first Pro Bowl bid.

But Thompson cannot do that because dropping that much this year will severely hamper Green Bay’s chances of signing both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, whose contracts expire after the 2015 season.

Basically what Thompson has to weigh is Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ best quarterbacking mind has a limited window of dominance. He will enter his seventh season as a starter next fall and will turn 31 next December. He has four years of being a game-changing quarterback in the NFL. In that time, the roster has to evolve. It not only has to get better around him, but also must prepare itself for Rodgers’ inevitable diminishing return.

22

January

Packers Free Agents: Top 10 to Re-Sign

Sam Shields is only the second most important UFA the Packers need to re-sign. Who's number one?

Sam Shields is only the second most important UFA the Packers need to re-sign. Who’s number one?

A couple weeks ago, our own Adam Czech took a look at the Green Bay Packers players hitting free agency this offseason.  Of the 19 offensive and defensive players, 16 are unrestricted and 3 are restricted. What I’ve done below is made a list of the top ten unrestricted players Ted Thompson should consider re-signing. They are listed in descending order of importance.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the ranking? Is there someone you would add or replace? Comment below!

 

10. Ryan Pickett

This could be the first year where Pickett’s age has been noticeable. The “Big Grease” has never been a flashy player, and he’s a true two-gap guy, but even in that role he saw some decline. Pickett could still be useful as a veteran leader and run-stuffer; there’s just not much more than that. If he returns, it shouldn’t be at a price anywhere near his last contract.

9. Matt Flynn

It seems like Matt Flynn is destined to be the back-up to Aaron Rodgers for the majority of his career. He got his payday in Seattle, never really saw the field as a starter, and eventually ended up back in Green Bay. The Packers have Scott Tolzien as a project this offseason, but wouldn’t they want to avoid the mess of a situation they had this year and sign Flynn as insurance?

8. B.J. Raji

This guy is going to be the biggest free agent storyline for the Packers. His performance doesn’t command a big contract, but his draft position does. It will all depend on the market, and I have a feeling Ted Thompson will let him test it. Still, if the price is right, it would be foolish for the Packers not to bring him back on board.

7. James Jones

Yes, James Jones can be considered “replaceable.” But this is the same guy who caught 14 touchdown passes for the Packers in 2012. In 2013, he was second in most statistical categories only to Jordy Nelson, and the only player who had fewer drops than him was Randall Cobb. (And Cobb was out most of the season.) James Jones didn’t get much from the market the last time he was a free agent, and he probably see less interest now that he’s hitting 30.

31

October

The 2013 Class is Packers’ Best Draft Yet Under Thompson

Packers RB Eddie Lacy leads a ridiculously strong 2013 rookie class for the Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson has made a lot of brilliant draft picks since taking over as Green Bay Packers general manager in 2005.

He drafted some guy named Aaron Rodgers in the first round in 2005, Greg Jennings (current issues aside) in the second round in 2006,  Jordy Nelson in the second round in 2008 and both Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji in the first round in 2009. Don’t forget Randall Cobb in the second round of 2011 either.

The middle rounds have seen success too. James Jones was a third rounder in 2007 and Josh Sitton was selected in the fourth round in 2008.  Sitton’s partner-in-crime, T.J. Lang, was a fourth rounder as well in 2009.

This is just a partial list of great picks Thompson has made during his tenure with the Packers.  He’s hit more than he’s missed and has Green Bay poised to be in Super Bowl contention for the next several years.    We could go on and on about how deft Thompson has been at drafting over the years and that doesn’t even include undrafted free agents.

That being said, no draft class of Thompson’s has made quite the impact, especially right out of the gate, as the 2013 class of rookies.  Some of it may not have been planned on due to yet another injury epidemic on the Packers’ roster, but this group of youngsters has come to play and very well could down as Thompson’s finest draft class to date.

To review, here is the 2013 Green Bay Packers draft class:

1. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

4a. David Bakhtiari, T, Colorado

4b. J.C. Tretter, T, Cornell

4c. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

5a. Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa

5b. Josh Boyd, DE, Mississippi State

6. Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois State

7a. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State

7b. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland

7c. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida

Go down that list and you will see many reasons why the Packers are still in control of the NFC North despite Lambeau Field once again doubling as an infirmary.

18

October

How will McCarthy Scheme Around Packers Injuries?

The steam is rising off of the head of Packers coach Mike McCarthy as his brain schemes ways around the loss of Randall Cobb and others.

There’s at least one person in Green Bay happy about all the injuries the Packers have suffered this season: The CEO of whichever electric utility provides power to the head coach’s office at Lambeau Field.

The lights will be on at all hours in the coming weeks as Mike McCarthy puts his mad scientist skills to work and tries to compensate for the loss of Randall Cobb, a hobbled James Jones and a slew of other injuries that threaten to disrupt the Packers offense.

If you haven’t already, read this post from Matt Bowen at Bleacher Report about how the Packers have rebuilt their running game and could incorporate more big formations and multiple tight end looks to make up for the loss of Cobb and others.

It’s a great read and makes a ton of sense, but then again, so do a lot of schematic type of things when they’re written on paper. Once the game starts and the bodies start flying, sometimes the game plan that seemed so innovative on Thursday is proven to be worthless after the first quarter of the actual game.

I have no doubt that McCarthy will incorporate a few formations and looks that maybe we haven’t seen out of the Packers recently. It’s one thing to come out with some unique looks. It’s another to use those looks to create mismatches and put players like Jarrett Boykin or Brandon Bostick — players who might be seeing a much bigger role after barely playing so far — in a position to succeed.

No matter what McCarthy comes up with, he’ll be hard-pressed to make it work unless Eddie Lacy and the running game keeps rolling. Assuming Lacy keeps doing what he’s been doing, does McCarthy have the patience to use the running game to set up his shot plays in the passing game?

McCarthy has always used the passing game to set up running plays. That mindset might have to change a little bit, at least for now.

We saw the impact an effective ground attack had in the win over the Ravens. Does the 64-yard TD to Jordy Nelson happen if Lacy hadn’t been rolling and the defense didn’t actually take the play-action fake seriously? Probably not.

15

October

Myles White Promoted From Practice Squad, Van Roten Placed on Injured Reserve

Myles White

White was promoted from the practice squad after Cobb was placed on injured reserve

The Green Bay Packers continue to make roster moves today.  According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsy, the Packers placed wide receiver Randall Cobb on injured reserve-designated to return, placed offensive lineman Greg Van Roten on season-ending injured reserve and signed receiver Myles White from their practice squad.

With Cobb slated to be out until at least week 15, many questions have surfaced as to what the Packers would do to fill the void on offense.  While replacing a dynamic receiver like Cobb is difficult by itself, the team will also miss his play-making abilities all around.  In addition to his duties as a receiver, Cobb has also carried the ball out of the backfield and returned kicks this season.

The Packers appear content to look to some of their current players and options.  It has been speculated that tight end Jermichael Finley will see extensive time split out at receiver.  This was already a given but was further fueled by the news that the Packers signed another of their practice squad players in that of tight end Jake Stoneburner.

White was signed for depth purposes as without Cobb, the Packers were down to just three receivers on their roster in that of James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin.

With Van Roten’s placement on IR comes some speculation as to how well offensive linemen Derek Sherrod and J.C. Tretter are progressing in their rehab from injury.  Both are on the physically unable to perform list and are now officially eligible to begin practicing with the team.  The Packers have up to three weeks to allow each to begin practicing and up to another three weeks from their first practice to either activate them, put them on season-ending injured reserve, or release them outright.

Sherrod hasn’t seen any football action since December of 2011 while Tretter was injured early in training camp during a non-contact drill.  With Van Roten now out of the mix, the Packers have only rookie Lane Taylor and Marshall Newhouse behind the five offensive line starters.  If Sherrod or Tretter are unable to return this season, the Packers will likely look to add another lineman for added depth.

What the Packers do with Sherrod, Tretter and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, who is also on PUP, will lead to more roster moves in the coming weeks.

 

 

1

September

Packers Media Roster Predictions: Hits, Misses, and Winners

Now that the Green Bay Packers have their starting 53-man roster after making 22 player cuts yesterday, it’s time to see how well the media handled their roster predictions. Obviously, this is just a fun activity to see how close we all were; nevertheless, we can also clearly see who the surprise cuts were. Which players were almost unanimously selected by media members to make the roster, but who ended up getting cut on Saturday?

Yet more importantly – at least for bragging rights – who had the closest prediction?

So here it is. I’ve compiled a list of 18 beat writers, media analysts, and bloggers who posted public predictions for their Packers 53-man roster. In addition to their name and affiliation, I’ve included their number of correctly predicted players, the overall average of correct players, as well as which players were incorrectly predicted. I then totaled the number of misses by player to see who the big surprises were. Take a look:

2013 Packers Media 53-Man Roster Prediction Results

2013 Packers Media 53-Man Roster Prediction Results
(Click to enlarge.)

 

First of all, congratulations to Kyle “The Mayor” Cousineau over at Pocket Doppler! Not only did he accurately predict 50 out of 53 players, but he won a heads-up contest between himself and Tom “Backdeck” Knigge.

Kyle was also one of the few to project the release of ILB Terrell Manning. The only other two people to nail this surprise cut were our own Cory Jennerjohn and the staff writers at Acme Packing Company.

The most obvious surprises on Saturday were quarterback Vince Young and running back Alex Green. While none of us were really enamored with either of these players, we generally seemed to feel that the numbers and depth chart had basically secured their place on the roster.

As was mentioned, Manning became the third biggest surprise cut with TE Matthew Mulligan a close fourth. OLB Dezman Moses, WR Tyrone Walker, and TE D.J. Williams were all bubble guys who could have been argued either way. They weren’t really surprise cuts, but it also wouldn’t have been surprising to see them make the roster, either.

So there you have it! Another year down, another set of predictions blown out of the water by Ted Thompson. If there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s that special teams roles really do matter when it comes to the final roster. That’s something will all have to remember when we engage in this silly process of reading Ted Thompson’s mind next year.