Category Archives: Fumbles

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.

19

January

Green Bay Packers Free Agency: Rating the Packers 2012 FAs

C Scott Wells is one of eight free agents for the Packers in 2012.

It’s far from a Moneyball style stats movement, but the guys over at Pro Football Focus have slowly but surely put together one of the premier stat-organizing sites available for the NFL and its legion of fans. It’s not a fool-proof system, and I occasionally disagree with a rating or two from a given game. But PFF grades every player on every play for all 32 teams, so there’s no shortage of work these guys put into their grades and ratings.

With the 2011 season over in Green Bay, I used PFF’s ratings/grades to analyze the Packers’ eight free agents this offseason. If you’re not familiar with the ratings at PFF, don’t fret—a higher score indicates a better rating, and a negative score obviously isn’t what you’re looking for.

Also, for another look at the Packers’ free agents in 2012, check out this article from AllGBP’s own Adam Czech.

CB Jarrett Bush (-4.0, 321 snaps)

There was a time early in the season that Bush was rated as the Packers’ best cornerback. As the season wore on, however, teams exploited Bush in the passing game more and more. In the Packers’ final regular season game against Detroit, Bush played a season-high 83 snaps and allowed 105 receiving yards on 10 targets. Overall on the season, Bush allowed 19 completions on 38 attempts for 302 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (72.5 passer rating). Bush also finished with seven tackles on special teams, which was good for third on the team.

TE Jermichael Finley (-4.4, 832 snaps)

A couple of factors hurt Finley’s rating in 2011. As you’d expect, one knock was drops. PFF had Finley for 14 on the season, which led tight ends by a wide margin and was fifth overall in the NFL. The other was run blocking, where Finley had just two positive games and finished at -8.3 (46th among tight ends). During a year in which so many tight ends put up shocking numbers across the board, Finley was a big disappointment to PFF’s eyes. He completed the season ranked as the 37th best tight end.

QB Matt Flynn (4.6, 119 snaps)

8

January

NFL Wild Card Weekend: Packers-Eagles Preview: Deja Vu in Philly

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 10-3 last Sunday at Lambeau Field to lock down a wild card berth for the second consecutive season.

The Packers enter the playoffs as the number six seed, but in a conference that features a 7-9 division champion, any team could come out of the NFC and head to Super Bowl XLV.

The first stop for the Packers on the road to Dallas is in Philadelphia for an encore match against the Eagles. In the first game of the regular season, the Packers beat the Eagles 27-20 after knocking then-starting quarterback for the Eagles Kevin Kolb out of the game and giving Michael Vick the opportunity to write one of the great comeback stories in NFL history.

Looking back at that game, the Packers had the Eagles well under control until Vick came into the game. He nearly led the Eagles back, but a couple well-timed sacks stopped the comeback just short and the Packers held on the victory.

With an entire week to game plan for Vick, will the Packers fare better against the elusive Eagles quarterback?

Breaking down the Eagles

Vick carried the Eagles this season. You can’t argue any other way.
In a season where coach Andy Reid was under the microscope after dealing Donovan McNabb away within the division, Vick played brilliantly and leads an incredibly explosive offense. With Vick’s dual running and passing threat, the Packers will have their hands full with No. 7.

Now, Vick is reported to be a little less than fully healthy for this game with him as of early this week saying he was only at 75% but will be ready to go Sunday.

Should the Packers be able to somehow contain Vick to the pocket, they will have to take in account speedy receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Vick also can use tight end Brent Celek as a medium distance threat. Running back LeSean McCoy also is very underrated and will provide another option for Vick in the screen game. Of course, this all depends on if the iffy Eagles offensive line can hold up.

Bottom line: Do not underestimate the Eagles offense. They are one of the few units in the NFL than can keep up on the scoreboard against the Packers’ offense.

7

January

Ditching the Dink and Dunk Approach Paid Off for Packers vs. Bears

I meant to do a post on this topic earlier in the week, but work got the best of me and I also got sucked into this documentary about the White family of West Virginia on one of my free nights (I could not decide if it was sad, disgusting, fascinating, or all of the above).

Anyway, I have been thinking about the Packers approach on offense in Sunday’s win over the Bears. It initially bugged me that the Packers did not stick with the short passes that moved the chains so effectively in the first Bears game, and appeared to be working fairly well early on Sunday. The Packers also showed brief flashes of a competent run game, so I also wondered why they didn’t stick with it a bit more, especially with James Starks in the second half.

I am usually not one of those people that nitpicks at playcalling (unless it’s the fullback dive), but I do like to try and look at the big picture after each game and decide if I liked the approach or not.

In the week three loss, the Bears were content to sit back, let the Packers move down the field, and wait until drives imploded via penalties, turnovers or other miscues. Under no circumstances were they going to let the Packers start connecting on their trademark deep passes.

This is what the Bears do and they do it well. They do it well against almost every team they face, but especially against the Packers.

Early on Sunday, the Packers game plan looked similar to week three. They were moving the ball, and it seemed like only a matter of time before the yards gained through short passes and the occasional run started resulting in points scored.

Then Donald Driver fumbled and everything started looking like week three again.

Instead of sticking with the dink-and-dunk/grind-it-out approach in the second half, McCarthy went back to what the Packers do best: Chucking the ball downfield. Some people might consider that decision impatient or stubborn. Others might call it a necessary adjustment. It is probably a bit of both, but added together, it was the correct move.

How would Packers fans have survived the offseason if Sunday’s game mirrored the week three defeat? If the Packers were going to go down, it was best they went down playing to their strength instead of trying to be something they were not because of who they were up against.

19

December

How Did We Get Here? 5 Plays Responsible for the Green Bay Packers’ 2010 Playoffs Predicament

Having now lost five games this season (all by four points or fewer), the Green Bay Packers  now find themselves in serious danger of missing the playoffs.

How did it come to this for the Packers? Of course we all know about the injuries, but that’s not an excuse. Plenty of playoff-bound teams, like the Patriots for example,  have their share of players on IR.

When you lose close games, you can often target a few key plays or decisions throughout the season that highlight why you are in the position you are in.

1. James Jones’ fumble against the Bears
Even though the Packers were racking up a record number of penalty yards and finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot, Aaron Rodgers appeared poised to lead a fourth-quarter comeback victory against a hated division rival.

Then James Jones reminded us that he’s, well, still James Jones.

You can’t fault Jones for trying to make a play, but where would this season be if he just went out of bounds?

2. Rodgers chooses not to slide and gets a concussion
Some people pin last week’s loss to the Lions on Aaron Rodgers. They say his decision to not slide was selfish and he is now a “concussion prone player.”

Rodgers should have slid, no doubt. But his ill-advised decision does not mean he’s selfish and does not make him more concussion prone than any other player.

Rodgers is playing without arguably his top receiving target, his 1,200-yard rusher and his veteran right tackle. He also lost his starting guard early against the Lions. In order for the Packers to score points, Rodgers has to make plays.

Rodgers chose not to slide because he was trying to make a play. It was not a good decision, but it had nothing to do with acting like a tough guy, proving a point or being selfish.

3. Going for it on 4th and goal against the Redskins
If I was an NFL coach, I would probably be much more conservative than most fans could handle. However, if I coached the Packers, my conservatism would have resulted in an extra win this season.

Thanks to the benefit of hindsight, we realize that Mike McCarthy should have kicked the field goal when faced with a 4th and goal from the Redskins 1-yard line early in the second quarter. Those extra three points likely would have changed the game’s outcome and given the Packers another conference win over an opponent that ended up beating the Bears a few weeks later.

14

December

Green Bay Packers: Receivers Fumble, Team Stumbles

Forget for a minute the Detroit Lions abusing the Green Bay Packers’ front four for 190 yards rushing on 41 carries, if you can. Forget the four sacks, the dominance over the running game, and the utter havoc wreaked on the offensive line by the Lions’ front four.

Forget the 73-yard-oh-wait-how-is-that-not-a-touchdown perpetuated by Greg Jennings, the failed fourth-and-one pass, and everything else but Andrew Quarless’s fumble.

How in the hell have the Packers been fumbling so often this season? And I don’t mean quarterbacks or running backs, either. Our vaunted corps of WRs has been coughing up the football at an astonishing rate this season.

I am absolutely thrilled to be putting up this sort of an image.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Eagles: None.

Bills: James Jones, John Kuhn. Both are recovered by Packers.

Bears: Jones’ infamous fumble on the final drive leads to a Bears victory.

Lions: Jordy Nelson loses two fumbles, both on kickoff returns.

Redskin: Donald Lee coughs it up on the second play from scrimmage.

Dolphins: None.

Vikings: None by receivers, but Brandon Jackson does recover his own fumble.

Jets: None. Hey, we’re on a roll!

Cowboys: Jones fumbles for the third time, but it was a rout, right? Who cares.

Vikings: None. Wait, is this all just smoke and mirrors?

Falcons: Holy sheet, I guess not. Jennings fumbles twice and Rodgers fumbles twice, losing one.

49ers: None.

Lions: Quarless.

How in the devil does a receiving group fumble that often? Counting Jordy Nelson’s malfeasance against the Lions in Week 4, the receivers have collectively tossed the ball away nine times. Five of those times, the other side fell on it.

Running backs and quarterbacks account for another four fumbles, with one (Rodgers against Atlanta) lost. Maybe we need Edgar Bennett to jump over into Jimmy Robinson’s turf and start cracking heads, because I for one think that there is no excuse for that level of fumblitis.

There’s no excuse for any of the problems listed up top, but this one stands out to me as particularly awful. Only six of 13 games in which someone did not cough up the ball?! Gentlemen (and ladies), this is messed up.