Category Archives: Special Teams

Articles about the Green Bay Packers Football team – Special Teams

6

November

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Bears 27, Packers 20

With the Bears behind them, the Packers will move on without Aaron Rodgers.

With the Bears behind them, the Packers will move on without Aaron Rodgers.

On top of suffering their third loss of the season, which puts the Green Bay Packers in a three-way atop the NFC North, the team lost its unquestioned leader for at least several weeks.

On the game’s first series, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Bears defensive end Shea McClellin. The hit wasn’t violent, but Rodgers was slammed hard into the Lambeau Field sod and reportedly suffered a fractured left collarbone.

Of course, many Packers will point the finger at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn. Last week, McGinn wrote a column suggesting the Packers could win without Rodgers. The article ran Nov. 2–two days prior to Rodgers suffering what he calls a “significant injury.” If you haven’t yet read McGinn’s piece, you should do so.

Now, obviously, losing Rodgers is a tough blow for the Packers. Rodgers probably the best quarterback in the NFL, and Seneca Wallace is a significant downgrade from the 2011 league MVP, but while expectations for the rest of the Packers’ season are different now than they were Monday, the Wallace-led Green Bay Packers aren’t quite the Curtis Painter-led Indianapolis Colts when the Colts were forced to play without injured quarterback Peyton Manning.

In 2006, Manning led the Colts to a 10-6 record. The following year, which Manning missed with a neck injury, the Colts plummeted to 2-14 and “earned” the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. In recent years, losing Rodgers for any amount of time may have been a fatal blow to the Packers’ season.

But now, I’m with McGinn. This Packers team can win without Rodgers.

The team’s newfound offensive balance has been a pleasant addition to the team and will now act as the crutch the team will rely on as they tackle the start of the second half of the season without Rodgers. A hungry Eddie Lacy and healthy James Starks, along with a dramatically improved offensive line have the Rodgers-less Packers offense in a much better place than they’ve been in recent years.

After losing Rodgers to injury Monday, Wallace was clearly not ready game action. This much we know. But with a week of preparation, it’s hard to imagine Wallace turning in anything short of an improved performance Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

31

October

The 2013 Class is Packers’ Best Draft Yet Under Thompson

Packers RB Eddie Lacy leads a ridiculously strong 2013 rookie class for the Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson has made a lot of brilliant draft picks since taking over as Green Bay Packers general manager in 2005.

He drafted some guy named Aaron Rodgers in the first round in 2005, Greg Jennings (current issues aside) in the second round in 2006,  Jordy Nelson in the second round in 2008 and both Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji in the first round in 2009. Don’t forget Randall Cobb in the second round of 2011 either.

The middle rounds have seen success too. James Jones was a third rounder in 2007 and Josh Sitton was selected in the fourth round in 2008.  Sitton’s partner-in-crime, T.J. Lang, was a fourth rounder as well in 2009.

This is just a partial list of great picks Thompson has made during his tenure with the Packers.  He’s hit more than he’s missed and has Green Bay poised to be in Super Bowl contention for the next several years.    We could go on and on about how deft Thompson has been at drafting over the years and that doesn’t even include undrafted free agents.

That being said, no draft class of Thompson’s has made quite the impact, especially right out of the gate, as the 2013 class of rookies.  Some of it may not have been planned on due to yet another injury epidemic on the Packers’ roster, but this group of youngsters has come to play and very well could down as Thompson’s finest draft class to date.

To review, here is the 2013 Green Bay Packers draft class:

1. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

4a. David Bakhtiari, T, Colorado

4b. J.C. Tretter, T, Cornell

4c. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

5a. Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa

5b. Josh Boyd, DE, Mississippi State

6. Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois State

7a. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State

7b. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland

7c. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida

Go down that list and you will see many reasons why the Packers are still in control of the NFC North despite Lambeau Field once again doubling as an infirmary.

23

September

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 30, Bengals 34

Aaron Rodgers vs. BengalsOverall, lots of bad but a couple of good things showed up in the Packers loss to the Bengals.  On one hand, we haven’t seen a game as messy as this one since maybe the 18 penalty, 2 turnover night against the Bears in 2010.  Aaron Rodgers looked a little lost amongst all the new faces making an appearance due to injuries and the Packers didn’t look as sharp as they normally did, though having to put a wide reciever/returner at running back is probably as desperate as I’ve ever seen the Packers get.  On the bright side, the Packers look like they may have another viable running back in Johnathan Franklin and the defense was for once the strength of the team.  In fact everything was flipped today; the running game was brutally effective while the passing game was wildly inconsistent and the defense was the reason the Packers stayed in the game while the offense basically blew a huge lead late in the game.

Game Balls

Johnathan Franklin: Give credit where credit is due; many fans had written Franklin off as dead after a dismal showing in the preseason and not seeing the field even in a blowout win against the Redskins last week.  Ironically, that paid big dividends as the Bengals were obviously caught with their pants down in coping with the shiftiness and wiggle of Franklin on stretch plays.  I also don’t really fault Franklin for the failed conversion, if it wasn’t for the fact that Kuhn, Starks, Harris and Lacy were all injured, Franklin would never have been called to make the play, he’s simply not that kind of back (you can fault him for fumbling the ball though).  Personally, I think teams now see what the Packers have in Franklin and I doubt the holes will be as open as they were against the Bengals, but what is perhaps more important is that Franklin does possess the physical capability to be a running back in the NFL, something that wasn’t certain coming into the season.  Franklin still has a ton of work to do on pass protection and running between the tackles, and I don’t see him really being a preferred option at running back this year, but will probably be a force to reckoned with next year when things start to click for him.

31

August

Meet Your 2013 Green Bay Packers

The Packers have confirmed their final roster cuts, as we’ve been tracking all day.

So, here they are, your 2013 Green Bay Packers (for now):

Offense (23)

QB (2): Rodgers, Coleman
RB (3): Lacy, Franklin, Starks
FB (1): Kuhn (6)
TE (4): Finley, Bostick, Quarless, Taylor
WR (5): Cobb, Nelson, Jones, Boykins, Ross
OT (3): Bakhtiari, Barclay, Newhouse
OG (3): Sitton, Lang, Taylor
OC (2): Dietrich-Smith, Van Roten

Defense (27)

NT (3): Raji, Pickett, Jolly
DE (4): Wilson, Daniels, Jones, Boyd
OLB (5): Matthews, Perry, Neal, Mulumba, Palmer
ILB (5): Jones, Hawk, Francois, Lattimore, Barrington
CB (6): Williams, Shields, Hayward, Hyde, House, Bush
S (4): Burnett, McMillian, Jennings, Banjo

Specialists (3):

Crosby, Masthay, Goode

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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.

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31

August

Time for the Turk: A Running List of Green Bay Packers Roster Cuts

The Turk pays the Packers a Visit

The Turk pays the Packers a Visit

The Green Bay Packers have started making moves to cut down their roster to the 53 man mark to open the regular season.

The following players have been released so far according to various reports and sources.  Any reported cuts will not show up here, however, if not reported by a verified member of the media following the Green Bay Packers:

QB Vince Young - Per his Twitter account, Young confirms that he has been released by the Packers. Who’s going to be the Packers backup QB? B.J. Coleman? Trent Edwards? Tim Tebow? Brett Favre? (LOL on the last two…I think.)

CB Loyce Means – Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports he has been released, but told he has a good chance of returning to the practice squad.

FB Jonathan Amosa – Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports a league source confirms Amosa has been cut. Also a PS candidate.

T Kevin Hughes – Via Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press Gazette, Hughes has been cut.

S Chaz Powell - Silverstein reports that Powell has been cut. Does this mean the Packers are keeping the Banjo as a backup safety?

C/G Garth Garhart - Hodkiewicz chimes in again and says Garhart is gone.

S David Fulton - Silverstein reports that Fulton is gone. Things are looking even better for the Banjo.

WR Charles Johnson - Bill Huber of Packer Report tweets.  Silverstein reports team will try to sign him to their practice squad if he clears waivers.

WR Tyrone Walker - Bill Huber reported.  Silverstein reports Packers will attempt to sign Walker to their practice squad if he clears waivers.

OLB Donte Savage - Silverstein reports that a team source has confirmed.

T Andrew Datko - Rob Demovsky at ESPN says Datko is gone. Does he come back for a second year on the practice squad? We shall see.

 OL Patrick Lewis – Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports he has been released.

WR Myles White – Silverstein reports White is gone, tweeting: “That leaves them with Jones, Cobb, Nelson, Boykin and Ross at WR.”

TE D.J. Williams - Per Williams’ Twitter account, he is not longer a Packer.

TE Jake Stoneburner - Ty Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports he has been released, but told he has a good chance of returning to the practice squad.

30

August

Packers News: Kickalicious works out for Green Bay

Havard Rugland was in Green Bay for a workout on Friday morning, according to his Twitter account.

Havard Rugland was in Green Bay for a workout on Friday morning, according to his Twitter account.

According to Havard Rugland’s official Twitter account, the Green Bay Packers worked out the YouTube sensation known as “Kickalicious” on Friday morning.

Rugland spent the summer as a member of the Detroit Lions, but he was cut after being beaten out by established veteran David Akers. Akers, 38, will fill in for 43-year-old Jason Hanson who recently retired after 21 seasons in the NFL.

The workout seems surprising, considering the team just restructured kicker Mason Crosby’s contract this week. After bringing in Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez to challenge Crosby for the job, the Packers turned to financial motivation for their placekicker.

The team bringing Rugland in for a workout could mean trouble for Crosby, especially if the Packers ever have an opportunity to punt the ball through the uprights from 90 yards away. Or kick a ball to a dude standing in a boat on the Fox River.

In all likelihood, the Packers are likely seeing what else is on the free-agent market in case Crosby struggles to start the 2013 season. It’s highly unlikely that the team would replace Crosby after restructuring to an incentive-based deal Thursday.

Through four preseason games, Crosby was a perfect 6-for-6, including a long of 48 yards. After a thoroughly unimpressive Family Night scrimmage, Crosby separated himself from Tavecchio and Ramirez late in training camp.

For now, it would be a surprise if anyone not named Crosby was the kicker to start the season. But again, the Packers appear to be preparing themselves for a backup plan should Crosby falter early in the season.

In three preseason games with the Lions, Kickalicious was three-for-three on field goals with a long of 50 yards. He also converted both of his extra point attempts.

One additional interesting fact: Every NFL team is allowed to add one international player to their practice squad, as a ninth member. However, that international player can not be signed to an NFL contract with any team while on a practice squad. here are the full rules:

Section 1. Practice Squads:

  • (a) The League may elect in any League Year in accordance with this Article to establish Practice Squads not to exceed eight (8) players per Club. The League’s election in any one season shall not determine or affect its election in any subsequent season.
30

August

Packers News: Team to work out Joe McKnight

Joe McKnight will work out for the Packers on Saturday morning.

Joe McKnight will work out for the Packers on Saturday morning.

Running back Joe McKnight, formerly of the New York Jets, announced via Twitter that he is headed to Green Bay.

(UPDATE: According to ProFootballTalk, citing multiple sources, McKnight is only in Green Bay for a tryout.)

McKnight, 25, was cut during the 75-man reduction last week, which makes the timing of the signing a little odd.  McKnight has been the backup running back and primary kick returner for the Jets since 2010 after being drafted in the 4th round by New York.  Overall, he’s returned nine punts with a 9.9 yard average (long of 25 yards) and 76 kick off returns with a 29.0 yard average (long of 107 yards).

One possible explanation for the Jets decision to cut McKnight have been a lingering concussion injury that McKnight suffered this offseason and a bizarre off-the-field incident involving twitter and the media.

As no corresponding moves or cuts have been made by the Packers as they work to get to the 53 man roster limit, it will be surprising to see how the Packers work McKnight unto their roster.  Perhaps most in danger of losing their spots are back up running backs James Starks, Alex Green and kick returner/wide receiver Jeremy Ross.

Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin might also be in danger of being cut, but that’s less likely considering his 4th-round draft status during the last draft.  Either way it’s a telling piece of information; the Packers are likely not happy with either their running back and/or their returner situation and are looking at other options.

This might be Thompson is just keeping his emergency list up to date or might be an indication that he’s not all that happy at running back and/or returner.

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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