27

January

Davon House 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers CB Davon House

Packers CB Davon House

1) Introduction: Since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, House, while often showing flashes in training camp, had only suited up for 11 games in his first two seasons. Part of a crowded group of cornerbacks along with Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde, the injury bug forced House into the lineup, as he was able to avoid the training room in his third year, appearing in all 16 games for the Packers. House is cut out of the Al Harris mold–from his 6’1″ frame to his No. 31 and dreadlocks. House could be a beneficiary of the trickle-down effect should Williams and/or Shields move on from Green Bay.

2) Profile: Davon House

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 7/10/1989 in Van Nuys , CA
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 195
  • College: New Mexico State
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 3 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Before the season, the rookie (Hyde) wasn’t expected to play a significant role on defense, so the three “starters” were expected to come out of a four-man battle fought between House, Williams, Shields and Hayward. Obviously, Hayward’s bid for early-season playing time was exterminated by injury, and Hyde stepped up to the plate. After not winning a starting job to start the season, the outlook for House’s season was cloudy.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Pro Football Focus would say House played the best game of his career against the Cleveland Browns in October. He helped blanket breakout-star Josh Gordon, limiting the All-Pro to just two catches on the day; House, himself, caught a pass, as he intercepted Brandon Weeden on fourth down. But while appearing in all 16 games was a big step for House, he went through a rough patch late in the season. After playing 67 snaps on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions, House’s playing time fizzled as the regular season wrapped up, playing just five snaps over the course of the final four games. At one point, the coaching staff opted for Jarrett Bush over House.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: House failed the earn a starting job in training camp, but opportunities were plentiful as the season went on. With Shields out of the lineup for two games, Hayward on the sideline for all but 88 plays and Hyde still a rookie, House played more than he may have anticipated and did a solid job overall. Did he do enough to make the front office and coaching staff believe he’s a starting-caliber player? Probably not, but we’ll find out.

19

January

Packers, Capers really missed Casey Hayward in 2013

Casey Hayward wasn't the Packers' only missing link in 2013, but he was certainly missed. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Casey Hayward wasn’t the Packers’ only missing link in 2013, but he was certainly missed. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

As a rookie in 2012, Packers cornerback Casey Hayward was one of three finalists for the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-best cornerback–the second-round pick trailed only established veterans Antoine Winfield, Richard Sherman and Charles Tillman.

After Hayward intercepted a team-best six passes and holding opposing passers to an abysmal 31.1 passer rating, the Packers had high hopes for Hayward, as they cut ties with their veteran leader and turnover-creator Charles Woodson following the 2012 season.

But Hayward’s encore was disrupted by a recurring hamstring issue, limiting him to appearing in just three games. He played 88 snaps.

With Woodson playing in Oakland and Hayward on the sideline, the Packers were left searching for a solution in the slot early last season. Sam Shields and Tramon Williams had fine seasons, but both are better suited for the perimeter. Micah Hyde didn’t play like a rookie, as he took over as the primary punt returner while proving to be a reliable run defender and a versatile cover man.

All things considered, the Packers’ cornerbacks fared well, but they were seriously lacking in one area.

For as long as Dom Capers has served as defensive coordinator in Green Bay, the Packers defense has relied heavily on takeaways. Woodson intercepted 19 passes and forced 11 fumbles during Capers’ tenure, which began in 2009. When Capers served as defensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1992-1994, he had another Woodson (Rod), who intercepted 16 passes in three seasons with Capers.

But for the first time since taking over in Green Bay, Capers was without his X-Factor in 2013. He didn’t have a play-maker. He certainly didn’t have a Woodson.

For a defense that had grown accustomed to bending but not breaking, losing its turnover-creating wild card would be like throwing Capers in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without a raft. Hayward’s 88 snaps were a makeshift life vest, but Capers and the defense remained stranded and searching for answers.

It would be foolish to assume Hayward’s career will unfold like Woodson’s, but you don’t let go of your high-school sweetheart without a winner on deck. The Packers had a plan for Life After Woodson, but that plan (Hayward) fell by the wayside thanks to the injury bug.

1

November

Seven games into rookie season, Micah Hyde looks like he belongs

Packers rookie Micah Hyde, just 22 years old, has already proven to be a versatile defender and solid return man.

Packers rookie Micah Hyde, just 22 years old, has already proven to be a versatile defender and solid return man.

Prior to coming off the board in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft, Packers rookie cornerback Micah Hyde had no idea where he’d be selected.

“I was hearing stuff from all different angles, but at the end of the day I really didn’t care,” Hyde said. “As long as I got the opportunity to get on a team somewhere, whether it was first round or free agent, I was going to try and make the best of it.”

On the final day of the draft, Hyde was on the golf course when he got the call from a Green Bay number. He said people looked confused when they saw a group of 20-something-year-old guys throwing balls into the pond and driving across the fairway in a spontaneous celebration.

But for Hyde, who grew up in Ohio and attended college at the University of Iowa, Green Bay seems to be the perfect fit.

“This is exactly where I want to be,” Hyde said. “I was fortunate to be picked by the Packers because this is the perfect place, and the draft, all that stuff is in the past.”

Hyde was pick No. 159 in April’s draft, but there certainly aren’t 158 rookies making a bigger impact than he has thus far.

Talking to second-round pick Eddie Lacy last week, it was clear that Wisconsin’s cool October weather was an adjustment for him, but while Hyde says he doesn’t “like to play in the cold,” he’s grown accustomed to it.

Last week, in the temperature-controlled confines of the Metrodome, Hyde scored his first touchdown on a 93-yard punt return just before halftime. After proving to be a valuable player in the secondary, capable of covering the slot and playing on the perimeter, Hyde stepped up and gave the Packers a splash play on special teams–an area in which such plays have been lacking so far this season.

“It was definitely exciting,” Hyde said. “Especially because it was at Minnesota and it kind of quieted the dome a little bit.”

On his way to the end zone, however, Hyde nearly had a fail of Danny Trevathan proportions. Less than ten yards shy of the goal line, Hyde slowed his stride and strutted as he approached the end zone. He stumbled and nearly faceplanted.

24

October

Packers Stock Report: Greg Jennings Texts Aaron Rodgers Edition

ALLGBP.com intercepted a series of text messages between former Packers teammates Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers.

The staff here at ALLGBP.com managed to intercept a series of text messages between former Packers and current Vikings WR Greg Jennings and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. The following is an exclusive transcript of how their chat went down:

Greg Jennings: sup aaron

Aaron Rodgers: Who is this?

GJ: c’mon man. it’s greg. ur old friend!

AR: Greg from 7th grade? The kid who smelled funny and always ate ketchup and mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch?

GJ: nah man! greg Jennings. number 85! my catches got u ur first super bowl ring, remember? #BeGreat!!!!!!!!!!!

AR: Oh. Hi Greg.

GJ: i knew you’d be glad to hear from me again! so…….how r things?

AR: Fine.

GJ: how r my boys james, randall and Jordy? Do they ever ask about me? Do they ever say damn, it’d sure be nice if No. 85 was still around to provide us some tips on how to #BeGreat!!!!!!!!

AR: They’re also fine. And no.

GJ: that’s ok. Im sure they r overwhelmed with gratitude toward me since I decided to leave GB and give them the chance to get out from under my shadow.

AR: I’m sure that’s exactly how they feel, Greg.

GJ: so……how’s the weather in GB? still cold?

AR: Greg, what do you need? I’m busy. I just signed a $131 million contract extension and it’s a lot of work trying to decide how I want to spend all of this disposable income.

GJ: right, right, right. I signed a big contract 2 ya know? did u see that? i’m now the #1 WR on the Vikings!!!! SKOL!!!!!! they play a loud horn whenever i catch a first down!!!

**30 minutes later**

GJ: u still there, Aaron? u must have lost cell reception???????

AR: Greg, you always knew more about technology than me. Can you tell me how to block someone from ever texting me again?

GJ: Sure, just open ur settings, go into users, tap the block button…..hey, wait a minute! ur not trying to block me r u?????

AR: Ummmmm…..no. I’m asking for a friend…..

GJ: lets meet for dinner on Saturday night and I can show you. my treat. we can catch up since it’s been so long since we’ve hung out!!!!

21

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 31, Browns 13

Packers receiver Jarrett Boykin enjoyed his first career Lambeau Leap following his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Browns.

Packers receiver Jarrett Boykin enjoyed his first career Lambeau Leap following his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Browns.

Already shorthanded on defense the previous week against the Ravens, the Green Bay Packers offense joined the club, heading into their matchup with the Cleveland Browns severely undermanned.

But despite being without receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones, quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers offense up and down the field, scoring 31 points against a solid Browns defense. For Rodgers, it may have been his best performance of the season despite throwing for a modest (by his standards) 260 yards.

Unfortunately for the Packers, the injury bug continued to hang around the team Sunday, as tight end Jermichael Finley suffered a neck injury on a vicious head to the head from Browns safety Tashaun Gipson. Finley was loaded onto a stretcher and taken off the field, although he did show movement in his extremities.

Of course, just a few years after former Packers safety Nick Collins’ career was cut short by a neck injury, many will fear the worst any time a Packers suffers an injury to his head or neck. I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend to assume to know the extent of Finley’s injury, but it certainly looked bad. Originally, I assumed Finley had suffered only(?) another concussion, which would have been his second of the season, but it’s pretty clear that’s not the case.

This is a neck injury, and it’s anyone’s guess as to when he’ll return to the field. If at all.

He stayed in intensive care overnight at the hospital, but according to Mike Garafolo’s official Twitter account, Finley was up and walking as of Monday morning. Walking is a good first step for Finley, but football continues to be an afterthought in the grand scheme of his serious injury.

On the bright side, it was another dominating performance by Dom Capers and the Packers defense.

Sam Shields, once again, shut down the opponent’s No. 1 receiver, Davon House stepped up and picked up a pass on fourth down and A.J. Hawk continues to look like the All-American he was at Ohio State University. Shields, specifically, is deserving of a great deal of credit for his job on Browns receiver Josh Gordon.

23

August

Pre Season Week 3 – Packers vs. Seahawks: Keys to the Game

Packers vs Seahawks

Wilson will provide the Packers with their first test with a mobile quarterback in 2013

Please forgive my hiatus for last week’s Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams contest.  I was temporarily brainwashed to think that my post would write itself.  But I digress. . .

This week’s pre season game has the Seattle Seahawks visiting Lambeau Field to face the Packers on Friday.  As John Rehor of Packers Talk has said, this is not a rematch of last year’s Monday Night Football debacle.  Dubbed the “Fail Mary” game, it incited a lot of controversy and left many Packers fans wanting vengeance against both the man (the Seahawks) and the machine (Roger Gooddell and the NFL).  But alas, as John said, it’s not a rematch.  It’s just a pre season game.

Still, week three of the NFL pre season has long been considered a dress rehearsal for the upcoming season and the starting units typically see their longest stint on the field during this game.  It’s more of a true litmus test to see how a team looks and how prepared they are for the upcoming regular season.  While there may be some chatter from the players and media, the Packers need to drown that out and focus.

During the offseason, the Seahawks got busy in acquiring more pieces to complete their team and get even better than last year when they came within inches and seconds of advancing to the NFC Championship game.  They traded a first round draft pick for receiver Percy Harvin to give quarterback Russell Wilson another solid target.  Harvin promptly injured his hip and had to have surgery, which will prevent his Seattle debut until some time in November, if at all.  Seattle also brought in former Lions defensive end Cliff Avril to help with their pass rush and former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield to add some experience to their defensive backfield.

Seattle comes into this season as not only a favorite to win the NFC West, but they are also considered by many to be front runners for the NFC and the Super Bowl.  This should provide a solid test for the Packers, who also figure to be in the mix for a deep playoff run.  Let’s drill down on the keys for the Packers in this week’s game and also some of the position battles that are still in full swing.

19

August

Revisiting My 10 Top Training Camp Topics for the Packers

Eddie Lacy may not get the first carry of the season, but he's the "starter" in my eyes.

Eddie Lacy may not get the first carry of the season, but he’s the “starter” in my eyes.

About three weeks into camp and halfway through the NFL preseason, many of the Packers’ key question marks are starting to take shape.

Some of such unknowns have since seen new faces (Vince Young) enter the conversation, while other questions (Jermichael Finley) are still completely up in the air.

Prior to training camp, we put ten Packers training-camp topics under the microscope for further review. Now two games into the preseason, it’s time to revisit some of these questions and predictions.

1. Who will be the Packers’ opening-day starter at running back?

Answer: Eddie Lacy, and I feel the same. Kinda.

The Packers clearly didn’t want to (literally) hand the job to a rookie running back without some competition; the team routinely gave veterans Alex Green and James Starks run with the No. 1 offense early in the offseason.

But after the “fat” Eddie Lacy thing blew over, the rookie quickly separated himself from the pack at the position. Coach McCarthy has been effusive in his praise of DuJuan Harris, who returned to practice this week, but if “Fat” is healthy, he’s going to get at least a share of the workload.

Fat was exceptional in his preseason debut against the St. Louis Rams, racking up 51 total yards on nine touches. He broke tackle after tackle, picked up the blitz and caught the ball out of the backfield. It was certainly an impressive showing for the rookie.

But if Harris and Lacy are both available on opening day, I really think both players will get a share of the load. Harris played well against the 49ers in the playoffs, but the Packers abandoned the running game in the second half.

So, in this case, the “starter” label may be a bit subjective. It could be a “starter and closer” or “thunder and lightning”-kinda situation.

2. How many defensive linemen will the Packers keep?

Answer: Six. Now, I think they’ll keep seven, including Mike Neal.

I was cautiously optimistic and mildly skeptical about the Neal-at-outside linebacker thing, but it looks like it’s working so far. Injured second-year defensive end Jerel Worthy told me and Cheesehead TV’s Zach Kruse to “look out” for Neal in his new role, and halfway through the preseason, he certainly looks like one of the team’s best pass rushers.