10

September

Packers Transactions: The Graham Harrell Story

As a staff writer at AllGreenBayPackers.com, I did my own 53 man roster prediction and as I said at the beginning of that article, I am wondering what the hell I was thinking now.

I thought Chastin West and Tori Gurley had too good of a preseason and one of them would make it onto the team as the 6th wide receiver; neither made the team (but both were signed to the practice squad).  I thought Caleb Schlauderaff would make the team based on his draft status and the lack of depth of the interior offensive line; he was traded to the Jets, but not before being informed that he was going to get cut anyways. Finally I thought Graham Harrell would definitely make the team.

With West, Gurley, Schlauderaff, I wasn’t all that surprised that thing hadn’t turned out the way I predicted; but with Harrell it just didn’t make any sense.  Harrell was supposed to be the insurance policy for an Aaron Rodgers concussion and a Matt Flynn trade.  He had a memorable win against the Colts in week 3 of the preseason and had a good enough training camp that many (including myself) assumed he was good enough to be a backup with the majority of teams.

So when Graham Harrell was first cut by the Packers, then cleared waivers and then re-signed to their practice squad, I met each event with a little disbelief.  How could someone who looked so good at football’s toughest position in the preseason not only get cut, but also not even get claimed?  I would look at the San Francisco 49ers depth chart and wonder, how could Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick be so bad during the preseason and still be on the team, but why no love for Graham Harrell?  What had happened?

My only conclusion was that every other fan, the media and myself had got overzealous.  During the Ted Thompson era, we’ve come to expect a ridiculous amount of depth at all positions.  One prime example was that last year 5 players, an inordinate amount, were signed to 53 man rosters after getting cut by the Packers. (ironically this year no players were claimed by other teams after being cut by the Packers)  Fans and the media a like love to tell stories of how unheralded backups up stepped up and helped win Super Bowl XLV.  But really, in the free agency era, it simply isn’t possible to stockpile good players; there simply isn’t enough money.

3

September

Packers Pulling Off Some Trades: Quinn Johnson, Caleb Schlauderaff

Green Bay Packers Trade Quinn Johnson

Green Bay Packers Trade Quinn Johnson

As many have speculated, Packers players being cut today are coveted and in demand by other NFL teams. Ted Thompson has been fielding offers and has managed to pull off some trades, in effect getting something back for players that were just going to be cut anyway. Here’s what we know so far:

FB Quinn Johnson - The Tennessee Titans are reported to have made a trade for Packers fullback Quinn Johnson. As reported on Twitter by Jim Wyatt, Titans FB Ahmard Hall has been suspended 4 games for violation of policy on performance-enhancing substitutes. Hence, The Titans came knocking on Ted Thompson’s door and the two teams were were able to work out a trade for an undisclosed future draft pick.

Entering his third season with the Packers, Johnson was facing what was probably a make or break preseason for him. He had to show that he could be more versatile than just being a run blocker. There was no evidence to show that he had, so the handwriting was on the wall for Johnson. Luckily for him and the Packers, he now has a new team to play for.

G Caleb Schlauderaff - The Green Bay Packers sixth round draft pick, who was released today in the final round of roster cuts, has been traded to the NY jets for a conditional draft pick. This was reported on twitter by Chase Callahan of Rep1Sports, Schlauderaff’s agent.

In preseason games, Schlauderaff seemed a bit overmatched in the running game, which does not come as a big surprise. His strength was supposed to be pass blocking but did not distinguish himself there either. He would have been a good practice squad candidate for the Packers, but the Jets came calling with a trade and Schlauderaff is now a Jet.

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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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3

September

Green Bay Packers Roster Cuts: Schlauderaff, Borel and Ross Released

Sixth-round pick Caleb Schlauderaff was cut by the Packers on Saturday.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, G Caleb Schlauderaff, CB Bradian Ross and WR Diondre Borel were the first Packers roster cuts on Saturday.

Packers GM Ted Thompson usually tries to keep his draft picks, but chose to cut ties with Schlauderaff, a 6th round pick out of Utah. Does this mean Nick McDonald has a better chance of making the roster? How about Ray Dominguez?

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Schlauderaff back on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Ross and Borel were both undrafted rookie free agents.

Update: Add undrafted rookie G Sampson Genus to the list of 2011 roster cuts.

Keep checking AllGreenBayPackers.com for the latest Packers cuts and roster moves.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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30

July

Green Bay Packers Draft Picks Get Their Numbers

Packers Blank JerseyIn what has been a frantic week of negotiations, trades, and player signings, the Green Bay Packers have finally signed each of their 2011 draft picks. These ten rookies had been waiting anxiously for the end of the lockout so that they could get to Green Bay and start training. And now, with all of their contracts signed, they have earned their uniform numbers and are ready to take to the practice field.

Below is a list of the draft picks, their new numbers, and some information about their contracts:

Derek Sherrod

Drafted: Rd 1, Pick 32 (32)
Position: OL (T)
Number: #78
Contract: Four-year contract total: $6.6 million ($5.32 million guaranteed); Signing bonus: $3,301,456

Randall Cobb

Drafted: Rd 2, Pick 32 (64)
Position: WR
Number: #18
Contract: Four-year contract total: $3.2 million; Signing bonus: $834,000

Alex Green

Drafted: Rd 3, Pick 32 (96)
Position: RB
Number: #20
Contract: Four-year contract

Davon House

Drafted: Rd 4, Pick 34 (131)
Position: DB (CB)
Number: #31
Contract: Four-year contract total: $2.34 million

D.J. Williams

Drafted: Rd 5, Pick 10 (141)
Position: TE
Number: #84
Contract: Four-year contract total: $2.33 million; First-year pay: $424,500; Signing bonus: $198,000

Caleb  Schlauderaff

Drafted: Rd 6, Pick 14 (179)
Position: OL (G)
Number: #68
Contract: Four-year contract total: $2.21 million; First-year pay: $401,450

D.J. Smith

Drafted: Rd 6, Pick 21 (186)
Position: LB
Number: #51
Contract: Four-year contract

Ricky Elmore

Drafted: Rd 6, Pick 32 (197)
Position: DL/LB
Number: #57
Contract: Four-year contract total: $2.18 million; First-year pay: $397,059

Ryan Taylor

Drafted: Rd 7, Pick 15 (218)
Position: TE
Number: #82
Contract: Four-year contract total: $2.14 million; First-year pay: $389,794

Lawrence Guy

Drafted: Rd 7, Pick 30 (233)
Position: DT
Number: #91
Contract: Four-year contract

Our Packers roster here at Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com has also been updated to show these changes. We will keep it current as training camp/preseason continues and cuts are made.

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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27

July

Agent Says Guard Daryn Colledge Will Leave Packers

Colledge's days in Green Bay appear to be over.

According to a tweet from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tom Silverstein, the Green Bay Packers are no longer in the running for free agent guard Daryn Colledge.

Silverstein was in contact with Colledge’s agent, who also said the Cardinals are his likely destination.

“G Daryn Colledge’s days with the Packers are over,” Silverstein’s tweet said. “He’s going elsewhere, his agent said. Leader in the clubhouse is Arizona.”

Briefly afterwards, Silverstein gave Colledge’s reason for leaving.

“College gave Packers last two years to re-sign him and decided that was enough. Packers weren’t involved too much in competition.”

If the reports turn out to be true, then the 2011 season will mark a new era for the Packers at left guard. Colledge had been the starter there since being a second round draft pick in 2006. Possibilities to replace him include T.J. Lang, Nick McDonald and potentially either Marshall Newhouse or Caleb Schlauderaff.

Heading into the offseason, the chances of Colledge returning to Green Bay were 50-50 depending on who you spoke to. It’s clear from Silverstein’s tweet that Colledge was displeased with the Packers refusal to approach him about a contract extension. As a guy who has started 76 of the Packers past 80 regular season games and all of their playoff games since ’06, you can see why there would be some tension there.

It will also be interesting to see what the market ultimately values Colledge, even if his price tag doesn’t appear to be the reason why the Packers strayed away from re-signing him. If he is signed to a manageable price and the Packers have struggles at left guard in 2011, their decision will be questioned.

However, the Packers were obviously comfortable letting Colledge go, whether it be because of price or their own self-scouting of both Colledge and their alternate options at guard.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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5

May

Packers 2011 NFL Draft – What was Ted Thompson Thinking?

With the 2011 NFL Draft in the books, Green Bay Packers fans everywhere are left to speculate on why Ted Thompson chose the players he did. In this article, I will try to delve into the mind of our ‘awkward genius” and present a coherent rational for each pick.

* Derek Sherrod – Offensive Tackle – Round 1, Pick 32 – Replacement for Chad Clifton: The Packers hope that they have their bookends for quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ prime years.  This pick reminds me a lot of Bryan Bulaga, another offensive tackle that was widely respected but not as highly touted as some of the other offensive linemen in the draft and probably fell roughly 10 spots before the being selected by the Packers.  Thompson was thinking value last year with Bryan Bulaga and that applies to Derek Sherrod as well.

At the moment, the Packers claim that they haven’t worked out where Bulaga and Sherrod will be playing, but I think it largely lies with Mark Tauscher.  If Tauscher decides to come back for another year (and beats out Bulaga as the starter), then the Packers will have the option of choosing who goes where.  If on the other hand Tauscher retires, gets cut or becomes the backup, then Bulaga becomes the logical choice for right tackle since he already has experience there and Sherrod gets to learn the ropes behind Clifton and become the future left tackle.

In my opinion this isn’t a snub on Bulaga, nowadays both bookends are equally important, especially with a pass first offense like the Packers; defenses will take advantage of the weakest offensive linemen, not just the blindside tackle.

* Randall Cobb – Wide Receiver – Round 1, Pick 64 – Replacement for James Jones/Donald Driver: The Packers hope to add another wide receiver to their stable to replace James Jones (who is likely to leave for greener pastures) and continue to add depth behind Donald Driver, who just turned 36.  Thompson knows that the Packers are a passing team and keeping multiple receivers on the field gives the Packers the best shot at winning.

While Cobb was seen as a slot receiver, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cobb spends plenty of time outside the numbers. The Packers are rather unconventional in the sense that they don’t really have designated roles for their wide receivers, with every receiver playing every position. For example, Greg Jennings was often most effective coming from the slot, perhaps due to the fact that #1 receivers rarely line up there and often have linebackers or safeties covering them.

4

May

3 Main Themes Emerge From Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Draft

The 2011 NFL draft is now officially over, and its time to take a look at what the Packers did.  Over the next couple of weeks, fans and analysts alike will sit in front of their computers and grade each team’s draft class; in my opinion this is completely absurd for two reasons.

For one, these players haven’t played a single snap in the NFL yet and no one knows exactly how these players are going to pan out; if anyone did the draft would be a pretty boring affair.

And second, the inherent flaw in grading is that it’s based on a big board typically made by an analyst or the fans themselves.  There are only a few people privy to the actual boards of the 32 teams, and I’m willing to bet that none of the boards you see online are even remotely close to the real things.

Nevertheless, one fact that must be true is that every team drafts with a logical purpose; whether drafting purely on talent, athleticism, speed, need or value, it would be simply foolish for a team to draft a player without an idea of what to do with him and how that player fits into the team.  With that in mind, in the following article I hope to analyze what the Packers were thinking when they drafted each player.

Overall Impressions:

  1. The retooling of the defense is basically complete: Teams set a tone with the players they draft and this year it was all about giving Aaron Rodgers more help.  Many people have forgotten that the Packers are only two years removed from completely changing their defensive scheme from a 4-3 bump and run scheme under Bob Sanders to a 3-4 zone blitz scheme under Dom Capers.The 2009 and 2010 drafts were very defensive heavy, with BJ Raji and Clay Matthews III being drafted in the 1st round in 2009 and Mike Neal and Morgan Burnett being taken in the 2nd and 3rd round in 2010.  This was simply based on the fact that many of the players acquired pre-2009 weren’t ideal for a 3-4 defense (such as DE/OLB Aaron Kampman).  In comparison, the 2011 draft was definitely an offensive draft, with the first 3 picks on the offense and 4 offensive skill positions being addressed overall.