29

January

Mike Neal 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Green Bay Packers, Mike Neal, Packers evaluations, Packers report card, Mike Neal report card1) Introduction: Eyebrows were raised during training camp when it was revealed that the Green Bay Packers were giving Mike Neal, formerly a defensive end in their 3-4 defense, a shot to perform at outside linebacker.  After years of showing potential only to be derailed by some sort of an injury, Neal was a man on a mission in training camp and was determined to prove what everyone thought about him (when healthy) was justified.  Moving Neal to outside linebacker seemed like a crazy move but given how badly the Packers needed a pass rush, they were willing to try anything

2) Profile: Mike Neal

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 06/26/1987 in Gary, IN
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 285
  • College: Purdue
  • Rookie Year: 2010
  • NFL Experience: 4 years
  • Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Even before the news about moving Neal to outside linebacker, this was shaping up to be a make-or-break year for him.  He missed all but nine games his first two years in the league and was considered by many to be an injury risk.  2012 was much better as Neal saw action in 11 of the 16 games but he still missed time but this time because of a substance abuse suspension.   If he could just stay healthy, he could be the missing piece in the Packers finally establishing a consistent pass rush.  However, as he adjusts to his new role as an OLB, it was unclear how successful the move might be and what growing pains Neal might encounter.  The initial plan was to have Neal split time between linebacker and subpackage lineman.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Neal notched his first career interception in Week 2 against the Redskins and forced a critical fumble in the Packers’ come from behind 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 14.  Neal struggled against the Vikings in the 26-26 tie in Week 12 and not stopping Adrian Peterson was a big reason the Packers couldn’t get the win against the lowly Vikings.

28

January

Andy Mulumba 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction: Packers fans did not expect to hear the name “Andy Mulumba”  as one of their defensive starters during the 2013 season.  Mulumba was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Michigan.  He was likely initially signed as depth and not much more and he was by no means a lock to even make the roster going into training camp.  Thanks to injuries that decimated the Packers at the linebacker position, Mulumba was called upon in 14 games and started three.

2) Profile: Andy Mulumba

  • Age: 23
  • Born: 01/31/1990 in Luputa, Congo
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 260
  • College: Eastern Michigan
  • Rookie Year: 2013
  • NFL Experience: 1 year
  • Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Signed as an undrafted free agent, there was absolutely no guarantee Mulumba would even make the roster.  With Clay Matthews and Nick Perry set as the Packers’ two outside linebackers, Mulumba’s addition was strictly for depth and that’s about it.  Not many expected Mulumba to make the team, let alone play a role in the season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Well, the earliest highlight for Mulumba was just making the team thanks to a strong showing in the preseason.   He also had a key fumble recovery in the tie against the Minnesota Vikings and recorded a crucial sack in the see saw battle in the Week 17 matchup against the Chicago Bears that the Packers won to clinch the NFC North title.  His lowlight, like much of the Packers’ defense, is in failing to generate a pass rush and letting Colin Kaepernick make critical runs in the postseason defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Since Mulumba was not expected to contribute anything on the field this season, he definitely exceeded a lot of expectations.  He was basically thrown into the fire due to injuries and held his own in the least ideal of circumstances for an undrafted rookie.  He played solid in coverage when needed but struggled in run defense and as a pass rusher.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Mulumba had one assisted tackle during the playoff loss to the 49ers.  He was part of a linebacker unit that could not contain Kaepernick in crucial situations

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

28

January

Nick Perry 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction: When Perry was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, he was expected to take some pressure off of Clay Matthews as far as generating a pass rush.   Unfortunately, a wrist injury derailed his rookie season and found himself on injured reserve in early November.   Expectations were high once again for Perry entering his sophomore season, but once again injuries were the name of the game.  Perry missed significant time for the second consecutive season, raising questions about his long-term viability with the Packers

2) Profile: Nick Perry

  • Age: 23
  • Born: 04/12/1990 in Detroit, MI
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 265
  • College: USC
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 2 years
  • Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Finally healthy again, Perry was expected to rebound and build on some early season successes as a rookie.  His bone jarring hit on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in 2012 had Packers fans salivating at what he could potentially become.  He showed decent ability in coverage, but Green Bay took him for his speed and pass rushing ability.  A higher sack total was in order for Perry along with continuing to adjust to playing as a 3-4 linebacker after playing as a 4-3 defensive end at USC.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: The biggest highlight for Perry was his two-sack performance at home against the Detroit Lions in Week 5.   He had only two sacks for his entire rookie campaign and his two sacks of Matthew Stafford in that game gave Green Bay the edge and got the team’s record back to .500 after some early season struggles.  His low-light was that he once again battled injuries, this time with a broken foot.  Perry missed five games this year and is becoming yet another injury concern for a team that every season seems to face multiple critical injuries.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Perry was part of a linebacker unit that failed to meet expectations this year, mainly due to injuries.  Perry’s injury didn’t help but it was really Clay Matthews’ twice broken thumb that really doomed the unit.  Perry hasn’t yet truly emerged as the Robin to Matthews’ Batman, but he showed progress in the 11 games he played this year.