Category Archives: 2012 – 2013 Season

1

November

Packers Periscope: Week 9 vs. Chicago Bears

The Past

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall started it off by bringing in a Charlie Brown Christmas tree to his press conference:

“Right now, metaphorically, our season looks like this tree right now where we’re standing.  Barren. Ugly. But there’s still hope. As a kid, it doesn’t matter how your Christmas tree looks. You’re still waiting for Christmas Day. You have hopes and dreams that Santa’s going to bring you those things you ask for. It’s always a possibility.  Where we stand today, our goal is to win the NFC championship, beat the Green Bay Packers, win the Super Bowl. All of that still can be under this Christmas tree. Whenever you’re down, you’ve got to try to create some type of balance, so this is a perfect little thing for me to keep me going.”

While all of that still could have been under the Christmas tree, the Packers entered the game at 10-4 only needing a win against the Bears to clinch the NFC North and an obvious ticket to the playoffs.  On the other hand, the Bears were reeling after losing 4 games out of their last 5 after starting red hot by winning by 7 of their first 8 games.

James Jones had the game of his career with 3 touchdown catches while Alshon Jeffery had a game to forget after getting called for 3 offensive pass interference calls while Brandon Marshall showed just how physical a wide receiver can be by bulldozing his way 15 yards for the touchdown.  On defense, both teams got pressure on the quarterback, with Rodgers being sacked 3 times while Cutler was sacked 4 times, but perhaps most importantly the Packers offense had zero turnovers while Jay Cutler gift wrapped an interception to Casey Hayward, which lead directly to a James Jones touchdown.  The Packers ultimately prevailed 21-13, clinching the NFC North while the Chicago Bears lost ground on the NFC Wildcard race, which Minnesota eventually won (after beating the Packers in the regular season closer).

 The Present

8

October

Packers Stock Report: Back on Track Edition

Jordy Nelson vs. Detroit Lions

Jordy Nelson- “He will bring it down”

The Packers took a big step in the right direction this week with a boring, but thorough beating of the Lions. The Packers won the game where they haven’t won many lately – in the trenches.

The offensive line, especially the interior three, showed what they are capable of, going up against some of the toughest, baddest (over-rated?) hombres in the NFL and controlling them for pretty much the entire game.

The defensive line was stellar; something we first saw in the preseason and it has been consistently good four games into the season.

So let’s take a look at who’s trending and in what direction after Sunday’s game:

Rising

T.J. Lang
When matched up against Ndomukong Suh and the other bruising interior defensive linemen for the Lions, Lang did exactly what needed to be done: Control their pursuit upfield and use their own momentum against them to create running lanes. It was the second straight solid performance from Lang against a group of elite interior defensive linemen.

Josh Sitton
After a horrible opener against the 49ers and battling back problems against Washington, Sitton has played a key role in shutting down Geno Atkins and quieting Ndomukong Suh. Thanks in part to Sitton’s efforts, the Packers are fifth in the league in rushing and Aaron Rodgers has had a pretty clean pocket to step into. Moving Sitton to the left side has paid off so far.

Jordy Nelson
You could put any of the three receivers in the rising category. I chose Nelson because his toughness is second to none. It doesn’t matter if he’s covered on the sideline or absorbing a big hit over the middle, Nelson makes the catch, then gets up and does it all over again. He hasn’t busted out the Jordy Stiff Arm yet this season, but the Jordy-Makes-a-Miraculous-Catch-With-a-Defender-Draped-All-Over-Him-as-he-Falls-Out-of-Bounds plays have more than made up for it.

Steady

Evan Dietrich-Smith
If we’re going to give Sitton and Lang props for controlling some monster defensive tackles over the last few weeks, it’s only fair that we show Dietrich-Smith some love too. The free-agent-to-be is putting together a nice little season so far. Nothing spectacular, but more than holding his own against some quality interior defensive linemen.

24

September

Packers Need a Signature Win to Get Back Over the Mountain

The Packers beating the Jets was a signature win in 2010.

It seems like forever ago when everyone pegged the Packers as the NFL’s next dynasty.

It was only natural for people – including many in the Packers organization – to talk about a dynasty after winning Super Bowl XLV. A young team with a budding superstar at quarterback had just won it all with a ton of players on injured reserve. Talk of a dynasty was justified.

All that dynasty talk disappeared after the Packers went 15-1 in 2011, only to suffer an embarrassing loss to the Giants in their first playoff game.

Potential to production
Let’s rewind even further, back before the word dynasty was even in the vocabulary of Packers fans. In 2009, the Packers went on a nice run in the second half of the season to make the playoffs before losing a wild-card shootout with the Cardinals.

The 2010 season was supposed to be when the Packers took the next step. All that young talent was primed and ready to go from promising to great. Potential was to be replaced with production. Rebuilding with results. Playoff failure with playoff victory.

After six games, none of that happened. Midway through the 2010 season, Green Bay was 3-3, beat up, and spinning its wheels — stuck near the top of the mountain, unable to vault over it.

Then the Packers rattled off four straight wins, overcame a rough patch down the stretch, made the playoffs, and won the whole damn thing. The Packers not only made it over the mountain, they occupied the mountain, planted a green and gold flag on it, and claimed the mountain as their own.

They even chiseled the faces of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy into the side of the mountain to create their own Packers Mt. Rushmore.

Falling off the mountain
Throughout the entire 2011 season, whenever another team tried to climb Packers Mountain, the Packers kicked them back down.

Then the Giants rolled into Lambeau Field for a divisional round playoff game, kicked the Packers off their own mountain, and sprayed graffiti all over the faces on Packers Mt. Rushmore.

Oh well. It was disappointing, but it happens. Mountains are high and often have difficult terrain. Every now and then, you’re going to slip and fall off.

30

August

Thomas Hobbes: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction

Good luck to Ted Thompson as he whittles down the current Packers roster to 53 players.

Thank god I’m not this guy…

First off, as with every year that I do this, I would like to say upfront I have no idea what I’m doing.  I don’t pretend to able to prognosticate 53-man rosters any more than I can delve in the mind of Ted Thompson.  That being said, this is still a fun yearly exercise and I’m sure we’ll all have a good laugh at my expense about this next week.  Anyways, I wrote an article last year about the 10 points of making a 53 man roster and I’ve tried to follow my own advice.

 

Quarterback (2): Aaron Rodgers, Vince Young

The Packers typically keep 2 quarterbacks on the roster with a 3rd on the practice squad, and with Graham Harrell cut and no longer practice squad eligible, Vince Young becomes the de facto backup.  I’d say it’s a 50-50 split as to whether they keep Coleman on the practice squad; my take is his quick demotion after Family Night signified that he didn’t show enough to warrant further development, and if the Packers were truly trying to “hide away” Coleman’s talent’s they would have kept Harrell for the last preseason game to bury Coleman’s playing time.  But barring any other surprise options they might have to wait for the draft to find their next developmental quarterback.

Running Back (4): Eddie Lacy, Alex Green, John Kuhn, Johnathan Franklin

Lacy is obviously now the starting running back with DuJuan Harris on IR, and the rest of the stable is rather murky.  Green probably gets the first chance to be Lacy’s backup even though he’s probably more of a 3rd down back as the Packers aren’t going to drop a high draft pick that quickly and he has the alibi that knee apparently never healed enough to make him a viable runner last year.  Kuhn stays due to his acumen in special teams, pass protection and security blanket for Rodgers.  Franklin rounds out the group mostly because of his draft status at this point, he hasn’t adjusted to the NFL as quickly as the other rookies, but he might be a decent option later in the season as he gains more experience.  Starks in my opinion has been the odd man out this whole offseason, after Franklin was drafted Starks was the runner placed on the trading block over Green and Starks was the last running back in during the “dress rehearsal” 3rd preseason game and didn’t log a rushing attempt.   

4

August

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Training Camp

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Another week of Packers training camp is in the books. Is it Sept. 8 yet?

Finley pipes down
I’ve never been one of those people who gets all bent out of shape whenever Jermichael Finley says something that stirs the pot — I’ll take honesty and candor over canned cliches any day. But it looks like Finley is at least trying the cliche route…for now. Will a boring Finley in front of the microphones lead to a more exciting Finley on the football field? I don’t think one has anything to do with the other. If Finley becomes a force at tight end, it won’t be because he zipped his lips during training camp. Besides, if he does finally break out, people would probably be more tolerant of whatever does come out of his mouth.

Hawk OK with pay cut
Calling it “more of an ego thing than anything that guys can’t get over,” LB A.J. Hawk spoke about taking a pay cut this offseason in order to stay with the Packers. After the slash in pay, Hawk is due to make $10.6 million over the final three years of his deal. That sounds like more than enough money for a guy who rarely makes impactful plays. It’s good to hear Hawk speak openly about taking a cut and being a team guy, but deep down, even he has to know that there probably wasn’t another team out there that would be willing to pay him over $10 million. It’s still a great deal for Hawk, and the Packers obviously think it’s a fair price for a LB that hasn’t made many flash plays, but is healthy and ready to go every Sunday.

Bakhtiari making a move
We’ve been hearing nothing but good things about David Bakhtiari. There are even rumblings that he might end up winning the starting right tackle job. The rookie from Colorado appears to be plenty athletic to be the kind of pass protector the Packers like. And with Marshall Newhouse being, well, Marshall Newhouse, and Don Barclay horsing around at backup center, perhaps the window is open for the rookie to win the job. But remember: We haven’t made it to the first exhibition game yet. All rookies are getting loved up right now because they’re new, they’re fresh, their ceilings are perceived to be high and we don’t know their shortcomings yet.

16

July

Packers 1st Year Free Agent Scouting Report: Garth Gerhart, OC Arizona State/Cleveland Browns

Player Information:

  • Garth Gerhart, OC Arizona State
  • 6’1”/305 lbs
  • Hometown – Norco, California

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 5.38
  • 20 yard: 3.09
  • 10 yard: 1.90
  • Bench: 25
  • Vertical: 30.5
  • Broad: 96
  • Shuttle: 4.27
  • 3-cone: 7.63

Introduction:  While not an undrafted rookie, Garth Gerhart falls into the same category as a player who not many people know about on the Packers squad who has a good chance of making the team.  Garth, brother of current Vikings running back Toby Gerhart, went undrafted out of Arizona State in 2012 and was signed to the Browns practice squad, where he spend the entire season.   Gerhart was signed onto the Packers practice squad 4 days before their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.

Outside Analysis:

Pro Football Weekly: Good arm length and weight-room strength. Has a strong lower body and good base. Flashes a substantial punch. Works to position and get in the way. Smart and aware. Tough and competitive. Good character. Dependable, blue-collar worker. Experienced, three-year starter. Has NFL bloodlines.

Draft Insider: Zone-blocking lineman with marginal athletic skills. Incredibly quick in all aspects, uses effective body positioning and seals defenders from the action. Intelligent and effectively quarterbacks the offensive line. Works to get a pad on defenders and knocks them from their angle of attack.

 

Video:

Analysis:

  • #52, playing center
  • The shotgun snap error was mostly on him
  • It’s very interesting how many times ASU runs the bubble screen, I’m not sure if it’s assignment or coincidence, but Garth doesn’t block anyone on any of occasions shown. Then again, if it’s a bubble screen going to the sideline, what chance does any center have in making a block anyways?
  • Gets good movement up to the second level, but often ends up looking for someone to block.  Again is this coincidence?
  • Does a good job switching assignments and helping out his guards
  • At 3:22, Gerhart actually slides out and blocks the pass rushing defensive end, quite impressive (Ironically, the defensive end turns out to be none other than Nick Perry!)
  • Better technician than athlete, keeps his feet under him and usually stalemates his defender.  He’s not going to throw many pancake blocks or just wall off a defender, but will get the job done.
8

July

After Further Review: Fail Mary Full Of Disgrace

Lancy Easley book "Making the Call"

Former NFL replacement referee Lance Easley’s book hits the stands on August 1st

Just when we had moved on to the 2013 NFL season and were inching further away from the disaster that was dubbed “Fail Mary” last season, shock waves hit Twitter this past weekend.  OK, maybe shock waves is a bit of an exaggeration-unless you’re a Green Bay Packers fan.

It was announced that NFL replacement referee Lance Easley, who infamously awarded a game-winning touchdown to Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate at the end of last year’s Monday Night Football contest against the Packers, has written a book entitled “Making the Call” and it goes on sale starting August 1st.

While Easley’s blown call was what ultimately led to the end of the NFL’s lockout of the regular refs, it obviously came at a cost to both the Packers and the NFL.  Who knows what would have become of Green Bay’s 2012 season had the right call been made and had the Packers left Seattle with the win.

As we know, Easley had no previous experience as a professional referee prior to that game.  He had done some high school and lower division college games and no one knew who he was.  That all changed in the blink of an eye and apparently Easley intends to ride the wave of that fame (infamy, really) all the way to the bank.  Ironically, his day job is as an Executive with Bank of America.  I’m sure many are hoping that he won’t have the luxury of quitting that job and living off of the royalties from the sale of his book.

The book has caused some blood-boiling, judging by the reaction on Twitter from fans and media alike.  While there is uproar among Packers fans and around the NFL, it seems to be another story in Seattle.  A while back, there were rumors that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had invited Easley to be a guest at his celebrity softball game, which took place this past Sunday.  Those rumors were proven true when images of Easley posing with Seahawks players surfaced after the event.  Here is one in particular that ESPN tweeted: