26

March

Why Haven’t The Packers Resigned Matt Flynn?

Matt Flynn

In case anyone forgot, the 2013 Packers will always be remembered as the “oh shit, Aaron Rodgers got hurt” season.  After Rodgers broke his clavicle against the Bears, it became quite apparent that the Packers front office had been unusually caught with its collective pants off by having no viable backup to keep the team afloat.  This all started in training camp and the preseason as the Packers cut incumbent backup quarterbacks Graham Harrell and BJ Coleman, leaving former 1st round pick and overall bust Vince Young as the presumed backup, only to release him at the 53 man cut deadline.  After all that, the Packers front office signed Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien to actually backup the season.  Obviously the football gods didn’t look favorably to all this as Seneca Wallace got hurt almost immediately into his first start for the Packers and left an unproven and inexperienced Scott Tolzien to start for the Packers against the Giants and part of the Vikings game.  It was only when the Packers got to “plan F” did they get really desperate and call back old buddy Matt Flynn, who took over halfway into the Vikings game, managed to scrape a couple of tight wins against the Falcons and the Cowboys and managed to do just enough to keep the team afloat until Rodgers came back to play the Bears in the season finale with playoff hopes on the line.

This story is something that the Packers can ill afford to repeat; in all honestly the Packers did not get into the playoffs last year, the Bears and Lions were just even less deserving of a playoff berth.  So the question really becomes, why are the Packers repeating 2013 by not resigned Matt Flynn and what reason could they possibly have?

Matt Flynn would not be an expensive backup, after bombing out in Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, its pretty apparent that the only team that has any value for Flynn is the Packers, and thus his asking price would be low due to no competition for his services.  There has been no news of Matt Flynn taking any visits with any other teams and no rumors that any other team is even interested.  Furthermore, Flynn missed out on the free agent signing rush, where some backup quarterbacks commanded as much as a $5 million average over 2-3 years.  As such, the best Flynn will likely see is a 1 year veteran minimum, which for a player with 6 years of experience means $730,000.

9

April

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Quarterback

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

Thanks to Aaron Rodgers, and the guidance of Mike McCarthy, the Packers are set at QB.

Packers quarterbacks:  That Aaron Rodgers guy is pretty good. Should he ever get hurt for an extended stretch (God forbid), things could go south in a hurry. Most teams are in the same boat as the Packers when it comes to quarterback. If the starter gets hurt, they’re screwed. Fans like to get all worked up over the backup quarterback. “Bring in a good backup,” they yell. “I want someone with experience,” they cry. Well, if the backup QB was good, he probably wouldn’t be a backup in the first place. And bringing in a veteran? I’ll take a low-cost young guy with a high ceiling over someone with experience who is overpriced, washed up, and probably no good, anyway.

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects;

Aaron Rodgers (1st round)
Graham Harrell (7th round)
B.J. Coleman (7th round)

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Aaron Rodgers: The most physically gifted quarterback in the game. By now, we all know what Rodgers is good at. If we wanted him to be even better, I suppose we could point to his tendency to hold the ball and ignore underneath receivers. Sometimes it feels like Rodgers is almost too talented for his own good. He’s always trying to wriggle around the pocket and keep his eyes downfield, hoping a receiver comes open deep for a bomb. Sometimes you want to shake Rodgers and tell him that there’s nothing wrong with a “normal” five-yard pass every now and then. That’s getting really nit-picky, though. It’s not like Rodgers never throws underneath and always holds the ball too long.

Graham Harrell: Is Harrell the young QB who can be developed into something useful that I was talking about in the introduction? It didn’t look like it in 2012. Harrell’s arm strength is below average and he looks clumsy. But he’s still young. Real young. Matt Flynn didn’t look like much, either, at first. Don’t count out Mike McCarthy’s ability to make a bad young QB into a useful young QB. I wonder how long of a leash Harrell has. If he doesn’t show significant improvement over the summer and in training camp, do the Packers go with B.J. Coleman, or take another flyer on a QB late in the draft?

1

September

Quick Thoughts on the Packers Roster Cuts

Daniel Muir

The Packers cut DT Daniel Muir.

Packers GM Ted Thompson is likely scouring the waiver wire as I type this, looking to add an offensive lineman and maybe another player or two that could help his team in 2012.

For now, though, the Packers 53-man roster is set after Friday’s final cuts. Here are some quick thoughts on the players who are no longer Packers:

QB B.J. Coleman: Cross your fingers and hope that Coleman clears waivers and ends up on the practice squad. The kid has a good arm and sounds like a crazy hard worker. I’d like to see him in two or three years after McCarthy has had a few years to work with him.

DT Daniel Muir: If you were looking for a surprise cut, this was probably it. Muir had a good training camp and looked like he could get after the quarterback, exactly what the Packers needed up front.

WR Tori Gurley: A strong showing against the Chiefs in the final preseason game wasn’t enough to save Gurley. I changed my mind at the last minute and put Gurley on my predicted 53-man roster because I thought his size would save him, but alas, I was wrong (shocking, I know).

WR Diondre Borel: If Gurley didn’t make it, Borel was supposed to be the guy. After having the sixth receiver spotlight all to himself early in camp, it just didn’t happen. Too many drops/fumbles, and not quite the big-play ability that was advertised. UFA Jarrett Boykin ended up swooping in and claiming the sixth WR slot.

C Sampson Genus: The Packers cut a lot of guys with cool names. Sampson, Herb (Taylor) and Otis (Merrill). I guess if you want to be on this team you need initials for a first name (B.J., D.J, M.D., A.J.).

S Anthony Levine: He’s been on the practice squad for two seasons and got a shot to win the strong safety job in camp, but couldn’t overtake Jerron McMillian or M.D. Jennings.

C/G Tommie Draheim: Versatility will probably land Draheim on the practice squad. He saw time at all five offensive line positions.

T Andrew Datko: I’m 99.9 percent sure he’ll be on the practice squad if he slips through waivers. I still have hope for Datko if he can somehow avoid getting injured.

1

September

Packers QB BJ Coleman and Operation Conceal Coleman

Packers Quarterback BJ Coleman

Packers Quarterback BJ Coleman

The Green Bay Packers have been enamored with BJ Coleman since before the NFL Draft. I was told this by an NFL Scout in the business for many years. He showed me his report on BJ Coleman, and here is just a short except:

SUPER SLEEPER-B.J. COLEMAN, Tennessee-Chattanooga
To me, he’s a poor man’s Philip Rivers, in that he has that moxie to compensate for a few mechanical flaws. Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco went the same route early in his
college career, stepping down from the University of Pittsburgh to turn a stellar career at Delaware into a 2008 first round draft selection. Despite being slowed by a shoulder injury that limited him to just seven games as a senior, Coleman is still projected by many draft analysts as an “under-the-radar” prospect who is an outstanding field general with a great work ethic. Coleman has the athleticism and size that teams covet in a pocket passer. He has the functional mobility to consistently escape pressure. With his raw power, he has done an excellent job of standing tall in the pocket, along the leg drive to carry defenders when he runs between tackles, evident by his seven short area scoring runs for the Mocs. Compares To-MATT FLYNN-Seattle-Coleman is not going to hear his name heard until the draft’s third day, but there is first-day material in this kid waiting for a patient coach to develop. With the Packers history for turning around low draft picks into NFL starters, could this be a match made in heaven?

This, of course prompted me to do some research and watch some tape of Coleman. I saw what he saw, with one difference: I think he’ll be a better QB in a few years than Flynn will ever be. (I’ve never thought Flynn was any more than a career backup, and looks like Russel Wilson has proven that).

In any case, BJ Coleman provides a real dilemma for the Packers – how do they hold on to this kid with a strong arm, who needs a year of schooling RE: mechanics and footwork? The Packers are just not keeping 3 quarterbacks on their roster.  Their M.O. is to keep their two best and always have a third on the practice squad in case of injuries.

31

August

Final 2012 Packers Roster Cuts and Roster Moves Announced

Approximately 20 minutes after roster cuts had to be submitted to the league office, the Packers’ final three moves became known.

The Packers waived QB BJ Coleman, placed OT Derek Sherrod on IR/PUP and LB Vic So ‘oto on IR (he suffered an ankle injury in last night’s game)

View the complete list of all the Packers roster moves here:

 

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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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9

August

Packers – Chargers Preseason Preview: Answers Are Coming

Aaron Rodgers

The Packers open up the 2012 preseason tonight against the Chargers

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re here.  Green Bay Packers football is back.

Yes it’s only the preseason opener, but after a long offseason and a few weeks of the Packers playing against the Packers in training camp the Green and Gold finally get to face off against someone in a uniform of a different color.

Tonight the Packers face off against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in the first of four exhibition games.   Last season, the Packers beat the Chargers 45-38 in Week 9 to move to 8-0 on the year.  The Packers nearly blew the game in the fourth quarter but hung on for the win.

With starters for both teams only expected to see only a few series of action, this is a game in which the second and third string units get a chance to shine and prove that they belong on the roster when the regular season kicks off in earnest on September 9.

The Packers face a plethora of questions as they begin to shape their opening day roster.  Will they keep six wide receivers? How about the tight ends?  Who will be starting at cornerback opposite Tramon Williams with Charles Woodson now at safety in the base defense?  Will the pass rush be improved?

Those questions and more have been at the forefront of Packer fans’ minds all offseason and tonight’s game is only the first small step towards answering them.

Here are some things to watch as the Packers open the 2012 preseason:

The corner battle:  Many a fan shuddered when the Packers released their initial depth chart and showed Jarrett Bush as the starter opposite Williams.  Bush is known as a decent special teams player but has been shaky to say the least in pass protection.  After Sam Shields’ well documented struggles in 2011, Bush is the next man up to take a shot at the starting job vacated by Woodson’s move to safety.

The questioning entering this (and the following) preseason game is how Bush will hold up.  He faces a challenge in Philip Rivers and his cast of receivers.  Even though Vincent Jackson is no longer on the roster, Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal should give Bush a chance to show off his skills in pass coverage.

14

May

Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Draft: The Reasons Behind the Picks Part II

NFL Draft Logo Image

2012 NFL Draft

So here is part II of the reasons behind the draft picks (see part I here)  Again, I’m not assigning grades to the draft or to the players because I don’t believe you can tell whether or not a player will pan out within the first 30 something days.  What I am interested in is what the Packers were thinking of when they decided to draft a player; with that in mind, this is what I think the Packers want to accomplish with each draft pick and which player each rookie could be potentially be replacing.

Jeron McMillian – Projected Strong Safety – Round 4, Pick #38 (#133 overall) – Replaces Pat Lee

Rationale: First off let’s be honest here, I don’t think we have the next Nick Collins in McMillian; I was actually very surprised that McMillian was drafted at all by the Packers simply because he doesn’t fit into the mold of what the Packers look for in safeties.  The Packers are probably more interested in playing two free safeties (which there really wasn’t one this year in the draft), consider their preferred pairing of Collins and Morgan Burnett (who ironically never really played together): both have good ball skills and the ability to jump passing routes.  What McMillian does best is run support, which is almost the exact opposite of a ball hawk.   Then again even if McMillian is the next Collins I highly doubt that the Packers can afford to stick him out there in his first year, which is even more reason why I think Woodson will have to make the move to safety.

What McMillian can do, and almost immediately, is play on special teams.  One of the less covered bits of news in the offseason was that cornerback Pat Lee was not resigned by the Packers but was curiously signed by the Oakland Raiders; many assumed this was just because of new Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie’s background knowledge of Lee, but I think its apparent that Lee is always going to be a liability in coverage so more realistically McKenzie wanted his special teams ability.  Lee actually was the gunner opposite of Jarrett Bush and it’s an important position, just look at who was the Packers priority signing this offseason (and it wasn’t Matt Flynn).  My assumption is that the Packers are hoping that McMillian contributes immediately to special teams as a gunner while refining his coverage technique and perhaps becomes a starter on the defense in the future, but anything more than special teams ace in his first couple of years is probably wishful thinking.