3

September

Packers LB Terrell Manning Battled Health Issues Throughout Camp

Packers LB Terrell Manning

Packers LB Terrell Manning

Packers rookie linebacker Terrell Manning had a mysteriously quiet training camp.

Although Manning was just a fifth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, many draft experts had drafted rated much higher than where he ultimately came off the board–ESPN tabbed Manning the tenth-best outside linebacker of the 2012 draft class.

Fast forward to the summer, Manning was buried behind D.J. Smith and Robert Francois on the depth chart and starving for an opportunity to showcase his abilities. When starting linebacker Desmond Bishop suffered a season-ending injury in the team’s first preseason game in San Diego, the door opened for Manning to step into the spotlight.

But the former North Carolina State standout continued to hide in the shadows.

And as Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay-Press Gazette points out–Manning was battling more than just his fellow linebackers this summer:

His problems began the first week of training camp, and the Packers’ medical staff quickly realized this was no ordinary stomach flu or food poisoning. The 6-foot-2, 237-pound Manning was tested for everything from Crohn’s disease to cancer before he was diagnosed with a parasite that caused colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine.

Manning says at one point during training camp, he weight as little as 220 pounds–which is less than the average weight of the Packers’ top four running backs. However, the rookie linebacker refused to use his health as an excuse to sit out of practice, as he was on the field for all 21 training camp practices and all four preseason games.

Now that Bishop is out of the picture for 2012, the Packers will lean on Smith and A.J. Hawk as their starting inside linebackers. But behind them, Manning is competing with Francois and Jamari Lattimore as the Packers’ top reserves in the middle of their 3-4 scheme.

It remains to be seen what a healthy Manning is capable of accomplishing in a Packers uniform, but after what he endured throughout his first training camp, his competitiveness cannot be called into question.

If you haven’t yet read Demovsky’s article about Manning and his mysterious health condition, you really should. If you’re a fan of the Packers, it’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

28

August

Marques Eversoll: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson has some tough decisions to make by Friday.

With the final cuts just around the corner, here are my initial predictions for how things may play out. There are a couple surprises, but overall, I think much of the roster is pretty much decided other than maybe two or three spots.

Although I assumed the Packers would keep six wide receivers all offseason, I simply no longer think that’s the case. Both Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel have been injured for part of training camp, and neither has made the same splash they made last summer at this time. I think they’ll both be let go, and the Packers will look to a different young wide receiver to stash on the practice squad.

Other than that, there aren’t too many surprises. So here goes…

Quarterback (2): Rodgers, Harrell

Although I don’t believe Graham Harrell is a No. 2 quarterback in the NFL right now, I think it’s more likely than not that the Packers will keep the position as is–with Harrell as Rodgers’s top backup. If a late-round pick could pry Colt McCoy away from the Cleveland Browns, Thompson would likely consider making that move. And despite Vince Young being an convenient punch-line for football fans, who would you rather have if you had to win a game without Rodgers: Young or Harrell? I’d take Young, and it’s not even remotely close. It’s highly unlikely that Thompson would bring in Young as a free agent, but then again, Ted hasn’t been typical “Ted” this offseason.

Running Back (5): Benson, Green, Saine, Starks, Kuhn

My oh my, how things have changed for James Starks. After choosing not to bring back veteran Ryan Grant, it appeared the Packers were set to put all their chips in on Starks. But fast forward to August, and Starks is the most likely of the four running backs to be cut. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Packers cut Starks, but I’m not confident enough to make it one of my predictions. I see Cedric Benson as the clear-cut feature back in Green Bay, I’m a believer in Alex Green, and I like Brandon Saine’s versatility. So if there’s one back the Pack will cut, it’s Starks. Kuhn will be the only full back on the roster.

Wide Receiver (5): G. Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, J. Jones, Driver

26

August

Open Invitation to the AllGBP.COM Fantasy Football League

Will this guy be the 1st overall pick in AllGBP's Fantasy Football Draft?

Will this guy be the 1st overall pick in AllGBP’s Fantasy Football Draft?

Attention loyal AllGBP.com readers!

We know you love the Packers, but do you also enjoy Fantasy Football?

If so, you may be interested in joining AllGBP’s Official Fantasy Football League this year. The AllGBP.com staff is starting a 12-team league for the upcoming season, and since there are only six of us writers, we’re opening the final six spots to readers who express interest in the comments on this post.

Here is your chance to match your skills with the staff at AllGreenBayPackers.com!

(P.S. This will be the first year Jersey Al is participating in Fantasy Football, so this is your chance to be a part of history!)

The format of the league will be as follows:

1) Twelve teams split into two divisions

  • “Writers Division” (myself, Jersey Al, Chad, Adam, Kris, Thomas)
  • “Readers Division” (six readers of this site)

2) Standard Yahoo! PPR league (.2 Points Per Reception)

3) Nine roster positions

  • QB
  • WR
  • WR
  • WR
  • RB
  • RB
  • TE
  • WR/RB
  • DEF

4) Playoffs will be Weeks 15 and 16

  • Six of 12 teams make the Playoffs.

5) Division winners get 1st Round byes in Playoffs

  • Remaining 4 playoff spots will be seeded by overall record, regardless of division.

**There is no cash reward, although there could be a prize or two for the winner. Bragging rights will be the only guaranteed prize of the 1st place winner!

IMPORTANT: If you are interested in joining the league, comment on this post and leave your e-mail address. If we get more than six people interested, we will choose six at random . Please don’t join unless you plan to be an active participant.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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24

August

Packers News: Anthony Hargrove among five cuts

DL Anthony Hargrove

DL Anthony Hargrove

With the first mandatory roster reduction scheduled for Monday, the Packers got an early start to their cuts by releasing five players on Friday.

 

The team’s first five cuts were defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, wide receiver Andrew Brewer, offensive tackle Herb Taylor, and defensive backs Micah Pellerin and Dion Turner.

Hargrove, carrying an eight-game suspension from the Saints’ “bounty-gate” scandal, is the most notable name among the five cuts. The 29-year-old signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent in March in hopes of bolstering the pass rush, but the Packers have clearly decided that they have better options on the defensive line.

Taylor, 27, is a journeyman offensive tackle with 18 career regular season games of experience. After staring left tackle Marshall Newhouse suffered a concussion in the Packers’ Family Night Scrimmage, Taylor was inserted into the starting lineup and provided very little resistance to opposing pass rushers.

Pellerin, 23, and Turner, 23, were clearly two of the Packers’ weakest defensive backs in camp, and neither player made a serious push to make the team in a crowded defensive backfield.

Brewer, 25, was cut after spending just over two weeks in Green Bay. He was claimed off waivers from the Eagles on August 8 but was never a threat to earn a spot on the Packers’ stacked receiving corps, which is perhaps the best unit in the NFL.

Friday’s roster moves leave the team at 85 players, and the roster must be down to 75 by Monday.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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11

August

Alex Green: Quiet in Return, Benson in Town, but Opportunity Awaits

Packers RB Alex Green

Packers RB Alex Green

Packers running back Alex Green was quiet in his return to the field, but he passed his most important test–he stayed healthy in his first game nine months removed from ACL surgery.

While Green only managed a meager three yards and three carries against the Chargers, starter James Starks performed even worse. The first preseason game of the 2012 season put an exclamation point on Starks’s inconsistent start to training camp. After dropping a pass that surely would have resulted in a first down on the team’s first drive, Starks lost a fumble deep in the Packers’ own territory.

And with Thursday’s news that the Packers are close to signing veteran running back Cedric Benson, it’s clear that the team is worried about the current state of the position.

The Packers’ current trio of running backs is inexperienced to say the least. Starks, Green and Brandon Saine have just 28 games of experience and 759 career rushing yards between the three of them. Benson, 29, has surpassed 1,000 in each of the past three seasons.

If Benson, in fact, signs with the Packers–which he hasn’t yet–his spot on the team would not be guaranteed. It’s unlikely that the Packers would keep more than three running backs, especially because fullback John Kuhn is a capable ball carrier. Kuhn, Starks and Green each has a secure roster spot, so unless the Packers were able to stash Brandon Saine on the Practice Squad, the team would face a tough decision between the veteran Benson, or the young Saine.

Regardless of who wins the job as the Packers’ “feature back,” head coach Mike McCarthy has clearly shown that he’s not afraid to employ a pass-heavy offense–understandably so, with league MVP Aaron Rodgers under center. And assuming the team continues it’s pass-oriented ways in 2012, the running back most capable of making an impact as a receiver is Green.

Hawaii’s spread attack inflated Green’s gaudy 8.2-yards-per-carry average as a senior, but headed into the 2011 NFL Draft, he was viewed as one of the top receiving running backs in the entire class. And because the Packers use a pass-when-you-can-run-when-you-have-to offense with McCarthy and Rodgers in control, Green may surprise some people in 2012.

10

August

Packers News: Team Close to Signing Cedric Benson

RB Cedric Benson

RB Cedric Benson

Several reports suggest that Cedric Benson is close to signing with the Packers.

Benson will be entering his eight season in the NFL. After a disappointing first three seasons in Chicago, Benson joined the Cincinnati Bengals and eclipsed 1,000 yards in three of four seasons.

After a disappointing performance from James Starks in the team’s preseason opener, along with the injury history of Starks and Alex Green, the Packers felt the need to add a veteran at the position–and it appears Benson is the guy.

Benson certainly hasn’t lived up to the bill as the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, but he has been a productive, steady player in recent years.

By no means is Benson’s spot on the team guaranteed. He’ll certainly have to earn a spot on the roster, and it’s unlikely that the Packers would keep more than three running backs on the team, given the fact that John Kuhn is capable of carrying the ball.

Benson is the second veteran player Ted Thompson has added in the past few days. Who is this man posing as the Packers GM, and what has he done with Thompson?

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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9

August

Packers News: Team Adds Veteran Lineman Reggie Wells

Packers OL Reggie Wells

Packers OL Reggie Wells

After being forced to insert Herb Taylor as the starting left tackle in Marshall Newhouse’s absence, the Packers added some veteran depth to their offensive line by signing nine-year veteran Reggie Wells on Wednesday night.

After spending most of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, Wells had a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, and played with the Carolina Panthers last season. Wells has experience at both tackle positions, but his primary position is left guard, where he’s started 79 of his 91 career starts.

The depth on the offensive line has been tested this week after Newhouse left last weekend’s Family Night scrimmage with a concussion. Trying to fill Newhouse’s shoes protecting Aaron Rodgers’s blindside, the Packers have been forced to employ Taylor with the starters.

It’s too early to tell if the Packers are comfortable with Wells playing left tackle, or if they view him as more of an interior lineman, but we’ll soon find out once he joins the team on the practice field. At the very least, Wells adds some stability to the depth of the offensive line which had been lacking veteran experience.

Wells will wear No. 68 with the Packers.

The Packers also claimed wide receiver Andy Brewer off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles, and to clear room for the two additions, the team placed undrafted rookie Jaymes Brooks on the reserve/PUP list and placed fellow undrafted rookie Mike McCabe on injured reserve.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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