Category Archives: Running Backs

21

February

John Kuhn Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

John Kuhn

John Kuhn

1) Introduction:  Green Bay Packers running back John Kuhn is one of only four current Packers players to have played for another NFL team (Ryan Pickett, St. Louis Rams, Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Khalil Bell, Chicago Bears).  Kuhn has been a steady presence in the Packers backfield for the past seven seasons and is one of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ personal favorites on the team.  Kuhn proved very valuable to the Packers in 2013 and has a good chance to be back next season.

2) Profile:

John Allen Kuhn

  • Age: 31
  • Born: 9/9/1982 in Dover, PA
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 250
  • College: Shippensburg
  • Rookie Year: 2006
  • NFL Experience: 8 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  With a crowded backfield and two rookie draft picks entering training camp, Kuhn’s status on the team was unknown.  With all of that youth came the need for a mentor and steady rock in the backfield and hence, Kuhn remained a Packer.  His role was limited to pass protection and lead blocking moreso than carrying the ball.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: One of the reasons the Packers kept Kuhn was for his football intelligence.  Rarely a mental blunder does Kuhn make.  He did have one in particular that he would surely like to forget back in week six against the Baltimore Ravens.  The Packers blocked a punt and in an attempt to recover the ball, Kuhn took a half-hearted swipe at it and allowed a Ravens player to pounce on it and keep a drive alive.  Fortunately the Packers won that game and it didn’t become an infamous mistake.  Kuhn scored his only touchdown of the regular season against his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers (after which he attempted one of the worst Lambeau Leaps we will likely ever see).  But Kuhn’s biggest highlight of the season came in week 17 late in the game against the Chicago Bears.  On a fourth down play and with the Packers trailing, Kuhn alertly slid over to pick up a free running Bears defensive end Julius Peppers and allowed Rodgers to move out and heave the go-ahead touchdown bomb to Randall Cobb.  That play is the epitome of Kuhn’s career and role in Green Bay:  unsung hero.

7

February

Packers Add Two New Coaches to Staff, Re-Assign Others

Packers special teams coach Ron Zook

The Packers will announce the hiring of Zook to coach special teams

The Green Bay Packers reportedly have added two new coaches to head coach Mike McCarthy’s staff.  As reported by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ron Zook comes on as assistant special teams coach.  Zook replaces Chad Morton, who had been on McCarthy’s staff in that capacity since 2010.

Zook has been out of football for the past few years but most recently was head coach at the University of Illinois from 2005 – 2011.  Prior to that, Zook was head coach at the University of Florida.

Zook’s most recent NFL experience came as defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints in 2000 – 2001, where McCarthy was the offensive coordinator.

When this news broke earlier today, it was speculated that Zook would be taking the outside linebackers coaching spot, replacing Kevin Greene.  Silverstein’s report confirmed, however, that Zook will coach under Shawn Slocum, current special teams coordinator.

The Packers will also add Sam Gash as running backs coach.  Gash replaces Alex Van Pelt, who was promoted to quarterbacks coach upon the departure of Ben McAdoo last month.  Gash was the Detroit Lions’ running backs coach from 2008-12.

Gash played 12 years in the NFL with the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens.  He appeared in two Pro Bowls and was the first back selected to a Pro Bowl despite not having carried the ball that season.

UPDATE:  Here are all the coaching changes announced today: The Packers have named Winston Moss assistant head coach/linebackers, Alex Van Pelt quarterbacks coach, Scott McCurley assistant linebackers coach, Jason Simmons defensive/special teams assistant, John Rushing defensive quality control coach, Sam Gash running backs coach, Ron Zook assistant special teams coach, Luke Getsy offensive quality control coach and Chris Gizzi strength and conditioning assistant.

The Packers still have an apparent vacancy at the outside linebackers coaching spot.  The team may hire someone to fill Greene’s old position, promote from within or ask current inside linebackers and assistant head coach Winston Moss to absorb the role.

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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Jason Perone
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15

January

Packers Running Back Gets Pro Bowl Nod

Andrew Quarless (81) and Eddie Lacy (27) turned in big games for the Packers against the Dallas Cowboys, and in the process, may have saved Green Bay's season.

With Adrian Peterson unable to play due to injury, Eddie Lacy joins the Pro Bowl roster

Green Bay Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy was added to the Pro Bowl roster on Wednesday.  Lacy will replace Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who won’t play due to injury.

Lacy becomes the first Packers rookie running back selected to the Pro Bowl since John Brockington in 1971 and the first Packers back to appear on a Pro Bowl roster since Ahman Green in 2004.

Under the new Pro Bowl format, players will no longer represent their conference, but instead will be part of a live draft to take place on January 22nd.  Honorary captains and Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will each draft their own roster.  The game is set for Sunday, January 26th in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

While Lacy is no Adrian Peterson, he proved to be just as valuable as the star Vikings back this season, carrying 284 times for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Lacy also caught 35 balls for nearly 250 yards.

He did all of that while appearing in 15 games, which was really 14 as Lacy was knocked out of the week two game after just one carry with a concussion against the Washington Redskins.  He fumbled only once all season long back in week one against the San Francisco 49ers.

When quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lost for eight games due to injury, Lacy became the centerpiece of the team’s offense.  During that span, Lacy scored eight of his touchdowns and 730 of his total yards on the season.

Earlier this week, the Pro Football Writers Association voted Lacy their rookie of the year.  The Associated Press will soon announce their selections for offensive and defensive rookies of the year, which tend to be more decorated honors than the PFWA’s currently is.  Lacy is said to be one of the frontrunners for the AP’s offensive award along with San Diego Chargers wide receiver Kennan Allen.  Allen received the PFWA award for offensive rookie of the year.  The AP designates a rookie of the year on each side of the ball whereas the PFWA awards an overall rookie as well as an offensive and defensive player.

3

January

Packers Periscope: Wild Card vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Past: Do we really need to remind ourselves of the past?  Sometimes it seems like certainly match-ups become one sided rivalries; in the 1990′s the Packers seemed never able to beat the Dallas Cowboys and recently it’s seemed like the Packers have always gotten better of the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears but the team that seems to give the Aaron Rodgers Packers the most problems is the Jim Harbaugh lead San Francisco 49ers.  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick stole the show in their last playoff meeting, setting a new record for yards on the ground for a quarterback and added 263 yards in the air and two touchdowns.  On the other side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers just couldn’t get anything going against the stout 49ers defense and was stymied into a 1 dimensional passing attack.

The Packers drew the unfortunate luck of having to see their rivals right out of the gate this season with similar results. Again Aaron Rodgers couldn’t get much going against the defense, the running game lead by two rookies just wasn’t ready and the defense fell apart, this time only through the passing game as Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and 3 touchdowns and made aging receiver Anquan Boldin look like the second coming of Jerry Rice.

Since then the Packers have mostly been licking their wounds quietly with bigger issues to fry such as replacing Rodgers for 8 games while his shoulder blade recovered, or having to find a new defensive line and linebacking core as players shuffled in due to injuries.  Getting to the playoffs was essentially a pipe dream until week 17 (the Packers at the lowest had a 6% shot at getting into the playoffs), when they secured their playoff berth with a miracle 4th down touchdown from Rodgers to Randall Cobb, who was also coming back from a horrific bone break of his own.  While neither the Packers nor the Bears were really expected to fare all that well in the playoffs, getting in is an accomplishment on its own, especially considering the wretched season they had to endure just to get to this point.

31

December

Cory’s Corner: Eddie Lacy deserves Rookie of the Year

Eddie Lacy has been a bull this year as he leads the nation with 441 yards after contact.

Eddie Lacy has been a bull this year as he leads the league with 441 yards after contact.

If there was a tinge of doubt before, there shouldn’t be any now.

And no, I’m talking about Aaron Rodgers or Randall Cobb returning from injury — which by the way, was amazing.

I’m talking about handing Eddie Lacy the offensive rookie of the year. It should be all his, no questions asked.

He shrugged off a concussion, nagging right ankle and foot pain and asthma that flares up in winter. He came into an offense that was predicated by the pass and won over the hearts of Packers fans with his grit, coal-churning engine and his stubborn-as-a-mule mentality.

Lacy is the reason the Packers are in the second season. When Aaron Rodgers went down in Week 9, it was Lacy that remained the consistent performer on an offense struggling to find an identity. With a roller coaster ride of four different starting quarterbacks, Lacy has churned out 10 games with 20-plus carries and five with 23 or more.

And to think none of this could’ve happened. Packers general manager Ted Thompson passed on Lacy, who was projected to go in the first round last spring, with Datone Jones in the first round. After Giovanni Bernard, Le’Veon Bell and Montee Ball were taken, Thompson swooped in and took Lacy as the 29th pick in the second round. Lacy was the fourth of five running backs taken in the second round.

The reason Lacy has been such a welcome sight in Green Bay is because the running back position has been an afterthought for 10 years when Ahman Green ran for over 1,800 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in his third Pro Bowl season. Lacy closed out the regular season by running for over 1,100 yards, scored 11 times and he started one less game than Green but didn’t get a Pro Bowl sniff.

Without Lacy, the offense would’ve resembled a ship with unsealable holes. It might’ve been able to move the ball every once in awhile, but when the time would come to get those needed yards, that is where they would’ve been sunk.

19

December

This season, Eddie Lacy over Le’Veon Bell an obvious choice

Eddie Lacy and Mike Daniels celebrate Lacy's fourth-quarter touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys.

Eddie Lacy and Mike Daniels celebrate Lacy’s fourth-quarter touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made headlines earlier in the week when he said it was an “easy” decision to draft former Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell over Alabama bruiser Eddie Lacy.

“It was an easy decision for me,” Tomlin said Tuesday, per ESPN. “Obviously, Lacy’s a top-quality back, but probably it’s a matter of preference — just like I’m sure Cincinnati went through the same discussions and thoughts when they took Giovani Bernard in front of both of them.”

Bernard, Bell and Lacy have each enjoyed a successful first season in the NFL, albeit in different ways. Bernard has served in predominantly a complementary role with the Bengals alongside BenJarvus Green-Ellis, while Bell and Lacy have been “the guy” for their respective teams for as long as they’ve been healthy.

It will be several years before we’re able to determine who’s the best running back from this year’s draft class, but the best running back from the 2013 class–in 2013–is Lacy.

Bell–the 48th pick in April’s draft–has proven to be a well-rounded back who can play all three downs, but Lacy–the 61st pick–has emerged as one of the most reliable runners in the NFL with the Packers, possibly on his way to being named this year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Throwing out the Washington game in which Lacy suffered a concussion on his first carry, Lacy has played 12 of a possible 14 games, while Bell has played in 11. Lacy is averaging 85.6 rushing yards per game compared to Bell’s 58.7 and his 4.1 yards per carry trump Bell’s average of 3.3.

As a rookie, Lacy has been the definition of a “workhorse.” The Packers put an emphasis on running the football this season and have leaned on Lacy even more since Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone Nov. 4 against the Chicago Bears, as Lacy has carried the ball 20 more more times in nine of the past 11 games. Bell has carried the ball 20 times just three times, while Bernard has yet to hit that mark in a game.

2

December

Packers Reportedly Sign Running Back Kahlil Bell

Kahlil Bell

Bell was reportedly signed to replace Johnathan Franklin

The Green Bay Packers have reportedly signed former Chicago Bears and New York Jets running back Kahlil Bell, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.  Bell hasn’t played a down this season, after spending time with the Bears and Jets over the past two seasons.

Bell had his best game as a pro against the Packers on Christmas Day, 2011 when he rushed for over 120 yards in a Bears loss to Green Bay.

Bell’s signing means the Packers will need to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Bell.  Neither Bell’s signing nor any indication of what the next move will be have been announced by the Packers.

One scenario would have the Packers sending a current injured player to injured-reserve.  Among the possibilities are center Evan Dietrich-Smith, receiver Randall Cobb, offensive lineman J.C. Tretter or quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The  move to sign Bell became necessary when the Packers placed rookie running back Johnathan Franklin on season-ending injured reserve after he suffered a neck injury against the Minnesota Vikings in week 12.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

Follow Jason at:

Jason Perone
                Add to Circleson Google+

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