Category Archives: 2011 Training Camp

7

May

Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Draft: The Reasons Behind the Picks Part I

NFL Draft Logo Image

2012 NFL Draft

So now that the NFL draft is officially over, tons of fans will converge on Packers web sites to air their grievances about not drafting a particular player or reaching for another.  They will hand out grades to teams and players alike; argue with other fans about what should have happened, and how the analysts have no idea what they are talking about.

I frankly am uninterested in such things; you’re typically not going to find out how good a draft class or a player is for 3-5 years and a player’s success has a lot to do with the team and the environment they get drafted in.

Nevertheless, every team drafts a player with a role in mind, and in this article I hope to analyze what role I think each player was drafted for; I am not concerning myself with what I think will likely happen, I have not placed a grade or an analysis of each player’s potential for a reason.  I’ve also included who I think the rookies will be replacing, keep in mind I don’t necessarily think that a rookie will take a veteran’s spot (for instance I have Casey Hayward replacing Charles Woodson) only what type of role that rookie is like to take.

Nick Perry – Projected Outside Linebacker – Round 1, Pick 28 (#28 overall) – Replaces Erik Walden

Rationale: With no pass rushers taken until #15 (Bruce Irvin to Seattle), Ted Thompson probably just sat on his hands and waited for players to drop to him.  From a schematic standpoint I think Perry offers a good foil for fellow Trojan Clay Matthews III; Perry showed impressive strength (which is supposed to translate to explosion) at the combine with 38.5 inch vertical (tied for 2nd among defensive linemen and linebackers) and 35 bench reps (tied for 6th among defensive linemen and linebackers, though really he’s tied for 1st when you exclude defensive tackles) and while that didn’t translate to much of a power game on the field (though it could be argued when you are as fast around the edge as Perry is you’d probably neglect the power game as well), rookies typically get much “functionally” stronger with NFL weight rooms and trainers so Perry could be very good at setting the edge in the future.

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.

20

December

Packers Sign T Herb Taylor; Derek Sherrod to IR

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson announced Tuesday that the team had signed tackle Herb Taylor to replace first-round pick Derek Sherrod on the Packers active roster. As expected, Sherrod was placed on IR.

Sherrod, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2011 draft, broke his leg Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs and remained in Kansas City to have surgery. It was learned yesterday that Sherrod broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg, which means he’ll miss the rest of this season and potentially some of the next. Recovery time for such an injury is obviously extensive.

Taylor was drafted in sixth round by the Chiefs in 2007 and appeared in 18 games, including one start, from 2007-08. Taylor made the Denver Broncos active roster at the end of ’09 before training camp stints with the New York Giants in ’10 and Broncos again in ’11. Taylor had a work out with the Packers in early December, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In college, Taylor (6-4, 305) started 48 games at TCU and twice earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors.

He’ll wear No. 72.

It was interesting that Thompson choose Taylor, a player without a regular season home for two years, to be the guy that replaces Sherrod. Names such as Mark Tauscher and Chris Campbell, a member of the Packers practice squad, have been thrown around since Sunday’s game as potential short-term replacements.

At this point, however, Thompson has earned the benefit of the doubt when selecting players. In just the past 12 or so months, Thompson has found street free agents such as Erik Walden and Howard Green, both of whom have contributed. And Thompson has plenty of tape available on Taylor from the past two preseasons, so the fact that he hasn’t been on a team in two years isn’t as troubling.

Besides, there’s no guarantees that a player like Tauscher, a veteran who can’t stay healthy, or Campbell, a young player still learning the ropes, were any better selections.

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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.

12

December

Source: Packers Likey To Activate WR Tori Gurley Soon

According to a source, Gurley will be promoted to the Packers' active roster soon.

According to a source close to the situation, the Green Bay Packers are working on promoting rookie receiver Tori Gurley from the practice squad to the active roster in the coming days.

The source, speaking on terms of anonymity, said that the Packers are working on a deal to pay him money in the range of an active player. Combined with Greg Jennings’ injury that will keep him out 2-3 weeks, there’s a good chance that the Packers could activate Gurley sometime before Green Bay takes on the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.

Gurley had an extended talk with both quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coaching staff on Monday and came away from the meetings encouraged about the upcoming situation, the source said. That would help explain Gurley’s tweet about an hour before McCarthy’s press conference on Monday that said “God works in mysterious ways ;- ) Go Pack Go.”

The source also said that another team was in talks to claim Gurley off the Packers practice squad. The team wasn’t named, but that likely helped give Gurley even more leverage to get onto the active roster.

To make room for Gurley, it is possible that the Packers will put Vic So’oto, a rookie linebacker who has dealt with a recurring back issue throughout the season, on season-ending injured reserve. Chad Clifton is another option for IR, but McCarthy said on Monday that they still have hope for his return this season. Either way, the Packers will have to trim their current roster by one if they plan to make room for Gurley.

An undrafted free agent from South Carolina, Gurley has impressed coaches and fellow players throughout the season. When asked earlier in the year, many of the veteran players had nothing but glowing reviews for Gurley and his play-making ability. Gurley made a name for himself on the punt unit during the preseason, blocking several kicks.

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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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