Category Archives: 2011 Preseason

9

January

Is the Packers’ Glass Half Empty Or Half Full?

Beer

Packers and Beer.

Players, coaches, the media and most often the fans like to say “every season that didn’t include a Super Bowl Victory is a failure”.  I get the sentiment, as long as your team wins the Super Bowl, everything is forgiven; it doesn’t matter how many mistakes were made or how many games were lost, as long as your team takes the Lombardi trophy at home, everything else is forgiven.  However, this is really a shortsighted assessment of any team’s season; would anyone argue that the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans had equally failed seasons because neither will win the Super Bowl this year?  Of course not, the Chiefs saw a massive rebound from the worse record in 2012 to one of the best and saw jumps in all analytics to boot.  On the other hand, the Texans were predicted by many pundits to be a Super Bowl contender but lost 15 games in a row and saw their head coach fired mid-season.  Furthermore, fans of the New England Patriots can realistically expect to be in contention for a Super Bowl every year for the foreseeable future, but the same cannot be said for the Oakland Raiders, who are still in the middle of a massive rebuilding process; getting into the playoffs but not the Super Bowl might be considered a failure for the Patriots, but just getting into the playoffs should be considered a successful season for the Raiders.

All that basically points back to the 2013 Packers; should we consider this season a success or a failure?  Or more realistically, do you see the Packers season as a glass half empty or a glass half full?

The Packers were an average team (8-7-1)

Glass half empty: The Packers took a major nose dive this season after posting a 11-5 season in 2012, 15-1 season in 2011 and winning the Super Bowl in 2010.  Especially in the middle of the season it looked like the team was lost and without a goal as they were man handled by the Eagles, Giants and most notably the Lions.  The defense again fell apart and the Packers were forced to learn how to run the ball behind Eddie Lacy, which didn’t happen overnight.  Hell, they couldn’t even truly beat the Minnesota Vikings who threw Christian Ponder back in a quarterback.  Finally, the Packers again proved that they are incapable of beating the 49ers with the 3rd consecutive loss.

2

April

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: The Future of Nick Collins

Packers Beer MugToday is the day – the day when Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins should receive his medical recommendation on whether he can play again the NFL.  After going through a battery of tests in New York this past week, he will finally have the information to start making a decision about his future.

It was Week 2 of last season when Packers fans held their breath as Nick Collins lay still on the turf. The injury seemed minor at first. Collins had stretched himself out to tackle an oncoming Jonathan Stewart when his head collided with the running back’s leg. He felt some numbness in his limbs but fortunately did not suffer any level of paralysis.

Tests would later show that he had a herniated disk between the C-3 and C-4 vertebrae. Collins underwent cervical fusion surgery on Sep. 29, a procedure where the disk is removed and replaced with a bone graft that fuses the vertebrae together over time.

Quarterback Peyton Manning underwent the same surgery less than a month earlier.

Regardless of what information Nick Collins receives today, Mike McCarthy made it apparent that this would just be the start of the decision to return or retire, not the conclusion.

“I anticipate that [the doctors] are going to say it’s a very positive report because I know they felt good about the surgery,” said McCarthy at the NFL owners meeting in Florida last week. “To me, that’s really the first step. Then our doctors have to get involved and we’ll all sit down and talk to Nick and see where Nick is, so it will be a process that we’ll go through.”

Since his injury about 6 months ago, the big question on the mind of Packer Nation has been: Will Nick Collins return to playing football with the Green Bay Packers?

In this installment of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, we’ll take a look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half empty” or “half full.”

THE MUG IS HALF FULL

According to Mike McCarthy, the tests for Nick Collins have been “very positive” up to this point. There stands a good chance that spinal surgeon Dr. Frank Cammisa will return with news that Collins’ chances for serious injury are minimal, or at least no greater than for any football player in his position.

18

February

Josh Sitton: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers offensive lineman Josh Sitton

Josh Sitton

1) Introduction: A fourth round draft pick in 2008, Sitton was a right offensive tackle in College that the Packers moved to guard. Sitton signed a five year contract last September, as the Green Bay moved swiftly to lock up their best offensive lineman.

2) Profile:

Josh James Sitton

Position: G
Height: 6-3
Weight: 318 lbs.
AGE: 25

Career Stats: 

3) Expectations coming into the season: Coming off being named the Offensive Lineman of the year by the NFL Alumni Assn and a Pro Bowl Alternate, expectations for Sitton in 2011 were to continue his domination of defensive linemen.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: The season highlight for Sitton was the opening game against the Saints. He was his normal dominating self, earning his highest ratings from ProFootballFocus.com in both the running game and pass protection.  His lowlight was the game against St. Louis. Playing with a very sore knee, Sitton gave up a sack, 2 QB pressures, and was beaten off the ball all game.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Despite an up and down season hampered by injuries, Sitton was still an important part of the Packers line when healthy. You can divide his season into three parts. The first four injury-free games, he played like Josh Sitton and gave up no sacks. The middle nine games he struggled with the injuries and gave up 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures and was called for 4 penalties, while missing the last two games of that stretch. Finally, the last five game portion (including the playoff game),  started when he returned from sitting out those two games, and Sitton almost looked like his old self.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Sitton was pretty much back to normal by this game. He was solid against whoever the Giants put in front of him and only allowed one play where his man got a hand on Rodgers.

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season
(C+) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: C+

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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.

4

February

D.J. Williams: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers tight end D.J. Williams

D.J. Williams

1) Introduction: When the Packers selected D.J. Williams in the fifth round last April, most were quick to say that “the rich were getting richer,” with the assumption that Williams—the Mackey Award winner in 2010—would step right into a role in the Packers already deep and talented offense. That may still happen in time, but Williams didn’t add much to the Packers’ offensive pot during his rookie season.

2) Profile:

David Edward Williams, Jr. (D.J)

Position: TE
Height: 6-3
Weight: 254 lbs.
AGE: 24

Career Stats

 

3) Expectations coming into the season: In the shorts and helmet start to training camp, Williams looked like a player that was actually going to have an impact on the Packers offense. How could Mike McCarthy possibly keep a guy that looked this good off the field? Once the pads came on and the game sped up, however, Williams quickly reverted into the 5th round rookie he really was. He was then plagued by mental miscues during the preseason, and it was clear by the start of the season that Williams needed time before becoming a bigger factor in the Packers’ offensive plans.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Williams was active for 13 games but played just 104 snaps. His highest number of snaps came against Atlanta (16), St. Louis (20), Oakland (19) and Detroit (21).  Williams caught just three passes for 13 yards but was only used ask to run routes on 26 of 104 snaps. The rest of the 78 snaps were either in run or pass blocking. He allowed one sack (at Atlanta) on 11 pass blocking snaps, but never seemed overwhelmed in his blocking role.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Minimal. The 26 passing opportunities didn’t allow him to make much of an impact, and his blocking was rarely the reason for a positive run. Looking ahead, you’d assume the Packers will want to see big strides in the receiving aspect of Williams’ game next season. He’s of similar size and speed as New England’s Aaron Hernandez, and there’s no reason why he can’t be a more versatile weapon in the passing game. A full offseason in the Packers organization will be important in his development. In the end, Williams may be asked to take on a bigger role regardless after a career-changing injury puts Andrew Quarless’s short-term career in jeopardy.

28

January

Alex Green: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Alex Green

Alex Green

1) Introduction: After limping through the 2010 season at running back, the Packers decided to use their third round pick last April on Hawaii’s Alex Green. A one-cut-and-go type runner with receiving skills, Green was seen as an ideal player to pick up on third downs where departed free agent Brandon Jackson left off.

 

2) Profile:

Alexander Denell Green

Position: RB
Height: 6-0
Weight: 225 lbs.
AGE: 23

Career Stats

 

3) Expectations coming into the season: The expectation when Green was drafted was that of a third down back who could block in pass protection and make a defender or two miss in the open field. Some optimistic observers even thought that Green could steal carries from Ryan Grant and/or make the veteran back expendable.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: The somewhat-lofty expectations for Green were never realized in Year 1. He was a healthy scratch in three of the first seven games, then blew out his knee on a kick return in Minnesota. Green did have one third down catch and conversion in Atlanta that eventually led to points. In seven games, Green had just three carries for 11 yards and one catch for six.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Green played just seven offensive snaps. Six came with the Packers up big against Denver and one other came on his third down catch in Atlanta. You can only contribute so much on that few opportunities. Now, he needs to get his knee healthy so he can participate in camp and earn a role in 2012.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: N/A. Green was put on IR after tearing up his knee against the Vikings in Week 7.

 

Season Report Card:

(F) Level of expectations met during the season
(F) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: Incomplete

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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25

January

Brandon Saine: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Brandon Saine

Brandon Saine

1) Introduction: After an up-and-down career at Ohio State, Saine signed with the Packers as undrafted free agent on July 28. During the 2011 preseason, no skill player saw more touches than Saine (25; 19 rushes for 51 yards, six receptions for 36). A big back that fits the positional mold of Ted Thompson, Saine was retained on the Packers 8-man practice squad to start the 2011 season.

2) Profile:

Brandon Croft Saine

Position: RB
Height: 5-11
Weight: 220 lbs.
AGE: 23

Career Stats

 

3) Expectations coming into the season: Expectations are never high for a player who starts the season on the practice squad. With both Ryan Grant and James Starks healthy, and third-round pick Alex Green showing a capacity to contribute on third downs and special teams, Saine looked destined to spend the 2011 season on the Packers’ practice squad.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Injury spawned him a chance. Saine was promoted off the practice squad on Oct. 31 following a season-ending knee injury to Green against Minnesota in Week 8. Saine didn’t get many opportunities (just 75 snaps) in the nine games he was active but did show an ability to both break tackles (team-high 2.7 yards after contact) and catch the football (10 receptions, no drops). His highest carry totals came against New York (six for 16 yards) and Detroit in Week 17 (eight for 28).

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Hardly measurable. 75 snaps is just too small a sample size to have any kind of real impact on a team’s season. In his limited chances, however, Saine never made any huge mistakes or mental gaffes.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Saine was actually the first running back to spell starter Ryan Grant against the Giants. He had one carry for three yards and played five total snaps. With both Grant and Starks healthy, Saine wasn’t expected to do much.

 

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season
(D) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(D-) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: D+

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

25

January

Ryan Grant: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Ryan Grant

Ryan Grant

1) Introduction: After back-to-back 1,200-yard rushing seasons, Grant came into the 2010 season as the Packers’ unquestioned No. 1 running back. Just halfway into the first game in Philadelphia, all that changed. An ankle injury cost him the entire season — although Grant said he could have came back in the postseason had he not been placed on IR — and he’s fought for playing time ever since.

 

2) Profile:

Ryan Brett Grant

Position: RB
Height: 6-1
Weight: 222 lbs.
AGE: 29

Career Stats

 

3) Expectations coming into the season: There was talk in camp that Grant could potentially be a cap cut, but he re-structured his deal to lower his base salary and cap number. From there, Grant was all but guaranteed a spot on the final roster. Packers coach Mike McCarthy made it clear early on that no back was going to get 25 carries a game, instead opting for a more modern style of two backs that split the workload. Grant and James Starks were the backs who figured into that equation.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: It looked early on in the season that Starks was going to force the Packers into giving him the majority of the carries. Grant looked slow and washed up. In Week 3 in Chicago, Grant got himself right back into the swing of things with a performance  (17 carries, 92 yards) that finally looked more like the Grant of old. A lost fumble in Atlanta then started an 8-game string of 30 rushing yards or less from Grant. Once the injury bug hit Starks, Grant started showing signs of life — including an 88-yard output against the Raiders. Over the last five games, Grant averaged almost five yards a carry and scored three touchdowns.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Save for one Sunday in Chicago, Grant contributed very little early on and the Packers would have been none for the worse had they let Grant go in camp. Then injuries starting hitting the Packers’ backfield. Alex Green went down with a season-ending knee injury, and ankle and knee problems either kept Starks on the sidelines or made him ineffective. The Packers would have been without a viable option at running back had Grant not been retained.