Category Archives: 2010 Offseason

7

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Greg Jennings

1.)Introduction: Greg Jennings was the Green Bay Packers second round draft pick in 2006 and almost immediately began delivering results on the field.

Developing an instant rapport with quarterback Brett Favre (and then Aaron Rodgers), Jennings made his presence known early becoming the Packers deep threat.  His physicality and speed turned him into one the league’s best young receivers in only his second season.

Despite not being the tallest of wide receivers, Jennings is not afraid to go up top for a ball and has turned into a touchdown magnet near the goal line.  As could be heard through his microphone during Super Bowl XLV, Jennings also is a very smart football player and isn’t afraid to offer his coaches feedback on the gameplan in-game.

2.) Profile:

Gregory Jennings Jr.

Position: WR
Height: 5-11    Weight: 195 lbs.

Born: September 21, 1983 in Kalamazoo, MI
College: Western Michigan (school history)    (Jennings college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round (52nd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 45 (1774th overall since 1950)
1-time Pro Bowler (fine print)

3.) Expectations entering 2010 season:  Coming of a 2009 season that had Jennings once again over the 1000 yard mark for the season, it was expected that he would duplicate those numbers and increase his touchdown total (he only had four the entire 2009 campaign.)  With Jermichael Finley a budding superstar at the tight end position, Jennings was expected to have a bigger season with so many defenders keying in on Finley.

Another 1,000+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdown passes was about was expected of Jennings during the 2010 season.

4.) Highlights/Lowlights: As it turned out, Jennings once again had to become the offense’s primary playmaker after Finley was lost for the season to a knee injury.  This no doubted suited Jennings just fine as he had begun to publicly show signs of frustration at the lack of balls coming his way with all the attention Finley was getting.

Jennings’ finest hour no doubt was Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers.  His two touchdown passes came at critical time for the Packers.  His first, a 21 yard bullet through the Steelers’ coverage, put the Packers up 21-3 and forced Pittsburgh to play catch-up the rest of the way.  His second, an eight yard catch,  helped stall the Steelers’ momentum that they had built during the third quarter.

7

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Donald Driver

1.)Introduction: Before the start of the 2010 season, one would have thought Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver would have grown sick and tired of playoff heartbreak.

Two years after a nauseating loss at home to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship, Driver had to feel like vomiting after Aaron Rodgers sack and subsequent fumble was returned for a touchdown in overtime of last season’s NFC Wild Card against the Arizona Cardinals.

Still, as Driver always has, he came back and made sure he wouldn’t experience that again.  A 7th round draft pick in 1999 out of Alcorn St, Driver is used to having been counted out.  As he worked his way up the depth chart, Driver’s heart and determination along with his pure class off the field has turned the late round pick into a Packers legend.

Coming into 2010, Driver knew his window of opportunity to get a Super Bowl ring was closing but he felt like this team more than others he had played on gave him the best shot of finally fulfilling that dream.

2.) Profile:

Donald Jerome Driver

Position: WR
Height: 6-0    Weight: 188 lbs.

Born: February 2, 1975 in Houston, TX
College: Alcorn State (school history)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 7th round (213th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 72 (544th overall since 1950)
3-time Pro Bowler (fine print)

3.) Expectations entering 2010 season: Driver has been a model of consistency, racking up over 1,000 yard each of the past six seasons and the same was expected of him again in 2010.   With tight end Jermichael Finley emerging as the league’s next superstar tight end, the Packers were expected to have quite a three-headed receiving monster of Finley, wide receiver Greg Jennings and Driver.

Driver did turn 35 this year but his work ethic in the weight room had many feel like his body was in the condition of someone much younger than he really was.  While injuries are always a threat, people had become accustomed to Driver answering the bell every week as he had missed only one start since 2003.

4.) Highlights/Lowlights: Driver’s entire career could basically be summed up in one single play that happened at home against the San Francisco 49ers in early December.  Driver’s 61 yard touchdown catch and run had the receiver changing directions and breaking more tackles than I could count.  His stubborn refusal to be brought down is a microcosm of his 12 year NFL career.

2

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Chad Clifton

1) Introduction: A couple of games into the 2010 season, many of us were convinced Chad Clifton was finished. He looked old, slow, overmatched and hobbled. Replacing Clifton with rookie Bryan Bulaga seemed like a logical move to avoid getting Aaron Rodgers killed. But Mike McCarthy insisted that Clifton was banged up, and that once he got healthier (we probably will never be able to say Clifton is fully healthy), he would keep his job. That patience paid off.

2) Profile:

Jeffrey Chad Clifton

Position: T
Height: 6-5    Weight: 330 lbs.

Born: June 26, 1976 in Martin, TN
College: Tennessee (school history)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round (44th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Above average. Clifton signed a three-year, $20 million contract in the offseason. Normally those types of salary figures come with high expectations, but I’m not sure that was the case with Clifton. Everyone could see Clifton was aging and breaking down, and he was resigned because he was the only other logical option (unless you were comfortable with Bulaga the rookie). Not many expected a pro bowl season out of the grizzled veteran.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Clifton took on Peppers for most of the season finale and kept him away from Rodgers. He also handled Lamar Woodley and James Harrison during the Super Bowl. Lowlights included a bad first two games and giving up a costly sack late in the Redskins game.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Significant. It was a down year for left tackles in the NFC, but that shouldn’t diminish Clifton’s pro bowl selection too much. Clifton never blinked against the likes of Jared Allen and Julius Peppers. He wasn’t quite lights out in pass protection, but he was very good. Clifton struggled to run block, but he was probably just saving his energy whenever the Packers called a running play so he would be fresh to protect QB1.

6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: Clifton was a big reason why Rodgers played his best football down the stretch. Clifton was left on an island against some solid pass rushers late in the season, and he delivered big time. You could sometimes see Rodgers get a little jumpy when he saw Bulaga engage his man near the line. That was never the case with Clifton.

21

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Tramon Williams

1) Introduction: Tramon Williams is a very different player in 2010 than he was in 2009. Williams was the second most penalized defensive back in the NFL in 2009, when he stepped into a starting role after Al Harris was lost for the season. He showed some signs of brilliance, but a lack of discipline in his technique, earning him the nickname “Admiral Armbar” from Football Outsiders. Well, he and assistant coach Joe Whitt addressed the technique issues in training camp, and “Admiral Armbar” has not been seen since.

2) Profile:

Tramon Vernell Williams

Position: DB
Height: 5-11    Weight: 191 lbs.

Born: March 16, 1983 in Houma, LA
College: Louisiana Tech (school history)    (Williams college stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 19 (4692nd overall since 1950)
1-time Pro Bowler (fine print)

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Solid starter. One way or another, Tramon Williams was going to be counted on to be a starter. Even if Al Harris was able to return to action this season, the odds of him stepping in right away were slim. Tramon Williams was going to be the Packers’ starting right cornerback in 2010 – sink or swim. Besides changing his coverage techniques, Williams was also going to be expected to improve his tackling, which the Packers’ coaches were not satisfied with in 2009.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: The highlights are easy. Finding  low-lights was rather difficult, especially with his play at cornerback. Perhaps his muffed punt in the Super Bowl would qualify as a low-light. He was very lucky there the Packers stole the ball back. As for his least productive game stat-wise, it would be the New England game. 1 solo tackle, no passes defended and he was pancaked on the BenJarvis Green TD run in the 1st quarter. Highlight for the year would have to be the Atlanta game. An INT in the end zone and a pick-six just before the half that changed the whole complexion of the game. The game-ending INT against the Eagles in the playoffs would be a close second.

15

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Sam Shields

 

1) Introduction: Remember back in August when Mike McCarthy and Packers management kept preaching about “improving from within?” As usual, the Packers were not buyers in the free agent market, and most of us wondered how the team’s horrendous pass defense could possibly improve after a rough end to the 2009 season. We were even more skeptical once it became apparent that Sam Shields — an undrafted rookie who played cornerback for only one season in college — was going to be Green Bay’s nickel back. However, once the 2010 season concluded and the Packers hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, everyone that originally questioned why Shields was given such a key role was pointing to the rookie as a major reason why the Packers were world champs.

2) Profile:

Sam Shields

Position: DB
Height: 5-11    Weight: 184 lbs.

Born: December 8, 1987 in Sarasota, FL
College: Miami (FL)

3) Expectations coming into the season: Not screw up too badly. While people questioned Shields’ skills as a DB, nobody questioned his raw ability. It became apparent early in practice that Shields could run with any WR in the NFL and hold his own when it came to quickness. Consistency was the major question mark. Could Shields avoid major mistakes that would cancel out any positive plays he makes?

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Highlights included a two interception, one sack performance in the NFC Championship, a sprawling one-handed interception on a pass from Jon Kitna early in the Cowboys game, and picking off Eli Manning early in the fourth quarter of the Giants game. Lowlights included getting burned by Mike Wallace for a touchdown in the Super Bowl and struggling to help out with perimeter run defense throughout the season.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Major. Shields’ consistency was his biggest contribution. Yes, he made the occasional (undrafted) rookie blunder, but not nearly as many as we thought he would. Shields’ consistency allowed Dom Capers to experiment with his defense and help cover up for a lack of manpower at LB. Because Capers did not have to devise schemes to help a struggling Shields, the Packers defense was able to get creative and take a major leap forward.

6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: Several shining moments. Nothing can top Shields performance in the NFC Championship game. He helped knock out Jay Cutler with a sack, thrwarted a major momentum shift with his interception before halftime, and sealed a trip to the Super Bowl with his pick on the Bears’ final drive.

15

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – AJ Hawk

1) Introduction: AJ Hawk came in as a highly touted 5th overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft. Since then, his career can be described as “steady”; drafted as the most “NFL ready” player in his draft he has been just that, he usually is assignment sure and consistent in tackling and in coverage, but many people have called him out for not being the “impact player” warranting a top 5 pick. It will be interesting to see what the Packers do with perhaps their deepest position. All 4 inside linebackers have sizable contracts (with cover specialist Brandon Chillar receiving one last year and Desmond Bishop receiving one this year). Hawk’s contract included at $10 million base salary in the final year in order to stimulate an extension; he’s definitely not worth that much and it basically comes down to him or Nick Barnett (who has two years left on his contract).

2) Profile:

Aaron James Hawk

Position: LB
Height: 6-1    Weight: 245 lbs.

Born: January 6, 1984 in Centerville, OH
College: Ohio State (school history)    (Hawk college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 1st round (5th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Significant role player – Hawk was a starter in the base 3-4 defense, but much was made by the fact that Dom Capers didn’t play any base 3-4 in the season opener and thus Hawk was on the bench the entire game. With the rise of Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, Capers took advantage of having Charles Woodson in the slot and the nickel defense became more “base” than the base 3-4.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: As stated earlier, Hawk’s steady game play rarely makes for highlights or lowlights. Hawk had a career 3 interceptions but none were of much note; his interception against the Lions was more because of Jahvid Best falling down on the play and his pick against Brett Farve was also a lucky interception as outside linebacker Brad Jones knocked Farve down while he was throwing. But perhaps most damning is the fact that Hawk had an interception against the Giants but the play failed to make it onto the highlights reel on NFL network. On the flip side, there aren’t many plays that show Hawk being straight off beaten due to back technique or mental errors. Overall, Hawks season is basically devoid of highlights but also lowlights.

13

August

Weekly News From the Packers Twitterverse and Beyond – 8/12/10

Weekly Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Holly Phelps. (As heard on Cheesehead Radio. 8/12/10 )

Packers News – 8/5/10 – 8/12/10

Al: Packers coach Mike McCarthy was pretty vocal this week in giving out both praise and criticism. He talked up AJ Hawk for his scrimmage performance and for having an excellent camp in general. At the same time, he was unusually candid about Jarius Wynn, saying Wynn has just been OK and needs to step it up. Not surprisingly, Wynn was seen winning a lot of his one-on-one matchups during the next practice. And thanks to Greg Bedard, you can watch it after the show on jsonline.com, including Wynn’s pancake of Chris Campbell.

{Holly:I guess he got the message.}

Holly: And speaking of motivational factors, Donald Driver has a lot more to play for these days, as in another two years on his contract. The Packers extended Driver’s deal through the 2012 season, prompting Driver to say he wants to prove the Packers right and then retire as a Green Bay Packer.

{Al: That will certainly be a bitter sweet day when Donald hangs up the cleats.}

Al: But what won’t be bitter sweet is when the Packers line up this Saturday for their first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. Having rolled over the Browns in the first preseason game last year, the Packers will be hoping for more of the same. With most first team players getting about a quarter of work at most, the spotlight for this game figures to be on special teams play. Has all the extra work they’ve supposedly put in had the desired effect? We’ll get our first real look on Saturday.

{Holly: Looking forward to that Al. And here’s something else to look forward to …}

Holly: …This Saturday’s game will be the 61st Annual Packers Midwest Shrine game. As they do every year, the Packers will contribute a significant portion of the night’s gate to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Shriners hospitals provide free medical care to needy children with birth defects or who are suffering from serious injuries. It’s a great cause and a great thing that the Packers organization does.

{Al: That’s just one of many things that makes you proud to be a Packers fan.}