3

October

Where Are They Now: Following Former Packers

With the 2013 season now a quarter of the way over, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at all the Packers who played for the 2012 team who are now playing somewhere else.  Have the Packers really missed them?  Have they made a contribution to their new teams?  (note: snaps are only counting offense and defense, not special teams)

Alex Green (New York Jets)

  • 2012 season: 343 snaps, 135 attempts for 464 Yds, 3.4ypc, 0 TDs, 1 Fum
  • 2013 season (projected): 40 snaps, 28 rushing attempts for 60 Yds, 2.1ypc, 0 TDs, 0 Fum
  • Alex Green never really was able to overcome the ACL injury he suffered as a rookie and became one of the few high draft picks to be quickly dumped by the Ted Thompson regime.  Green quickly found a new home with the New York Jets, one of the teams that curiously have been linked to the Packers (numerous trades of picks, Caleb Schlauderaff and of course Brett Favre).  As of yet, Green hasn’t been able to make much of an impact even with an apparent opening at the running back position with the Jets; Chris Ivory has been hobbled with injuries, Mike Goodson just returned from suspension and KR/RB Joe McKnight was sent packing.  At the moment, Green is projected as the 3rd running back and is on pace for about 60 yards rushing with a 2.1 average.   For the Packers James Starks has played pretty well and Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin have both showed promise.  the Packers are fine at running back without Green.

Greg Jennings (Minnesota Vikings)

  • 2012 season: 416 snaps, 36 Rec for 366 Yds, 10.2 YPC, 4 TDs, 0 Fum
  • 2013 season (projected): 664 snaps, 56 Rec, 1,008 Yds, 18.0 ypc, 8 TD, 0 Fum
20

February

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Outside Linebacker

Clay Matthews and Nick Perry

Matthews and Perry will anchor the Outside Linebacker spots in 2013

Packers Outside Linebackers:  This is a group that had a lot of promise heading into 2o12 but after an injury to rookie Nick Perry and an underwhelming season from 2011 incumbent Erik Walden, there wasn’t nearly as much production as the defense needed nor wanted.  The Green Bay Packers enter the 2013 offseason with some questions at this vital position.

(Note: Listen to the combined linebackers podcast at the end of this article:)

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects:

Clay Matthews III (1st round)

Nick Perry (1st round)

Erik Walden (UDFA)

Dezman Moses (UDFA)

Frank Zombo (UDFA)

Jamari Lattimore (UDFA)

Matthews was, once again, the steady rock of this group.  He had has second-best season, posting 13 sacks despite missing several games with a hamstring injury.  Not much more can be said of Matthews other than he makes the entire Packers defense better and he has to be a top priority of the team to retain when his contract expires at the end of the 2013 season.

Perry had high expectations after being drafted in the first round.  He showed some flash early in the season but was shelved after just six games due to an injured wrist ligament that required surgery.  It’s hard to say what Perry’s impact would have been but the team will enter the 2013 season program with him slated to start at left outside linebacker.

Walden stepped in as the starter when Perry went down and played very marginally.  He missed the first game due to a suspension for an off-field incident during the 2011 season.  After that, he posted two interceptions and a handful of sacks, but he was largely ineffective in games thata mattered most.  He was virtually non-existent during the playoffs and is now an unrestricted free agent.  He is likely low on the Packers list of priorities to bring back, if even at all.

Moses is another undrafted free agent who made a splash during the 2012 OTA’s and training camp.  He earned a roster spot and platooned with Walden and Zombo when Perry and Matthews were injured.  He wasn’t very flashy and while he surely be in training camp this season, his roster spot is all but locked in.

2

February

Dezman Moses: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Dezman Moses

Dezman Moses

1) Introduction:  Packers outside linebacker Dezman Moses was another of General Manager Ted Thompson’s undrafted free agent gems.  He was signed in spring of 2012 and immediately impressed during the team’s organized team activities.  He was invited to training camp where he continued his surgre and earned a roster spot both with his solid play and when veteran linebacker Frank Zombo was placed on the physically unable to perform list.

2) Profile:

Dezman Mirrill Moses

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 1/4/1989 in Mount Holly, NJ
  • Height: 6’02″
  • Weight: 249
  • College: Tulane
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 1 year

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Moses was expected to provide depth and outside linebacker and contribute on special teams.  The team hoped he could provide a spark while spelling the team’s starters.  Moses’ solid work ethic and high motor provided hope that the team would finally have a solid rotation of pass rushers and run stoppers at the outside backer position.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Moses played sparingly and had his best games in week seven at St. Louis and in the team’s wild card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.  In the St. Louis game, Moses had a jarring hit in pass coverage on the ball carrier that was ruled a hit on a defenseless receiver.  Replay showed the call was questionable but left everyone realizing that Moses could bring the wood when needed.  During the wild card playoff game, Moses had three quarterback hurries and kept Joe Webb scrambling for options most of the evening.  Unfortunately, Moses lived in anonymity most of the season and was very average during this time on the field.  His worst statistical game of the season came against the Detroit Lions in week 14 when Moses posted a terrible -7.8 rating by Pro Football Focus.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  Moses did help the team win a playoff game and he was able to spell Clay Matthews, Erik Walden and Nick Perry.  But beyond that, he was just a body on the field.  The team will surely have their eye on him this offseason to see if he can develop into more of what they had hoped he would be after a strong 2012 offseason.

16

January

Injuries Took Their Toll on the Packers Linebacker Corps

D.J. Smith Injury 2012

The injury to D.J. Smith was one of many among the Green Bay Packers linebackers.

When the injuries started compounding for the Green Bay Packers this year, fans didn’t seem to flinch. Too fresh in their memories was the story of 2010, when the Packers overcame several key injuries to become Super Bowl champions. “Next man up” became the rally cry for the team, its fans, and the media.

The motto’s resurgence in 2012 showed the confidence of Packers Nation in Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy’s ability to add and develop depth throughout the team. While concerns still brewed in the back of our minds, they were overshadowed by what we’ve come to expect from Green Bay’s second string players.

No more Desmond Bishop? Bring in D.J. Smith. Now Smith goes down? Get Brad Jones in there. Lose Cedric Benson, James Starks, and Brandon Saine? Promote Alex Green and DuJuan Harris, then re-sign Ryan Grant from free agency. Even undrafted rookie Don Barclay surprised us with his ability to take over for Bryan Bulaga and not get Aaron Rodgers killed.

The specific team building philosophy of Thompson and McCarthy have allowed the Green Bay Packers to succeed even when some of their best players end up on injured reserve. Many other teams would struggle to handle such losses, whereas the Packers push through, fill in the holes, and still win their division.

Unfortunately, with all this confidence in the “next man up” mentality, we tend to lose sight of the fact that Green Bay’s offensive, defensive, and special teams units still lose some of their effectiveness from these starters going down.

In 2012, the position group that suffered the most was by far the linebacker corps. If you compare this season’s final roster to last year’s, the differences are striking. Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk didn’t go anywhere, despite Matthews missing a few games; however, the losses of Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith were huge.

Yes, Brad Jones filled in admirably, but he is not the playmaker that Bishop is. (Nor is Smith.) Desmond Bishop is perhaps the biggest playmaker on the defense outside of Clay Matthews. His tough and ruthless attitude brings a punch that helps to balance out the lack of plays made by Hawk. While the “assignment sure” Hawk has been a perennial disappointment to many fans, he and Bishop complement each other extremely well. Without one, the other suffers.

21

December

Packers Drive Rewind: Defense Takes a Stand

Sam Shields

Last week’s Packers Drive Rewind highlighted how a seven-play drive that featured all running plays buried the Lions. Watching it made you want to pound your chest and yell. Loudly.

This week, we’re going to stay with the tough-guy theme and highlight how the Packers defense stood tall with a goal-line stand after Ryan Grant fumbled.

The Situation
Third quarter. Packers 21, Bears 7. Grant just fumbled away a chance to blow the game open. The Bears are on the Packers’ 5-yard line after a 53-yard pass interference penalty against Morgan Burnett.

The Result
Matt Forte can’t get in the end zone on three straight runs and a touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery on fourth down is nullified by offensive pass interference. The Bears settle for a field goal.

Play 1: Forte up the middle for 4 yards


Ryan Pickett gtets stood up by Chris Spencer, but doesn’t get erased from the play. Forte ends up basically running back toward Pickett and getting swallowed up by the big guy. Forte had James Brown pulling to the outside. Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields do a nice job of setting the edge. However, I wonder if Forte would have had better luck following Brown to the outside and taking on Shields near the goal line instead of running back into the teeth of the Packers’ defense?

Play 2: Forte up the middle for no gain

Great stick by Brad Jones. He flows to the other side of the line and meets Forte head on after Dezman Moses occupies two blockers. Pickett torpedoes his gap and B.J. Raji blows up Edwin Williams, taking away any hope for a cutback. Once again, it looked like Forte might have had better luck trying to keep going around the end and taking on Jarrett Bush instead of plowing into the pile.

Play 3: Forte up the middle for no gain

A.J. Hawk fills the gap and Jones comes free to stand up Forte before he can get into the end zone. Everybody up front for the Packers does a nice job of fighting their way to a stalemate, allowing Jones to come in untouched and prevent the touchdown. Another nice play from Jones here. Who knew he would look so smooth flowing to the ball inside?

Play 4: Alshon Jeffery catches a 1-yard touchdown, nullified by offensive pass interference

29

November

Packers Stock Report: Let’s Pretend That Never Happened Edition

Randall Cobb

Not even Randall Cobb could rescue the Packers against the Giants.

I’ve been doing the Packers Stock Report weekly for over two years now. Most of you know how it works.

But just in case, it’s important to know this while you’re reading and agreeing/disagreeing with my selections:

I don’t base the rising/falling/steady selections solely on the most recent game. The most recent game receives the most weight, but I typically factor in the last three games, sometimes more.

For example, if Donald Driver would have caught six passes for 100 yards and a touchdown on Sunday (we can dream, right?), I still probably wouldn’t have put him in the rising category. One good game out of 11 does not necessarily mean you’re rising. It means you had one good game.

I’m trying to identify more long-term patterns or trends that might play out over the next couple of weeks. While it seems like the rising category should be empty this week, remember that I’m factoring in more than the debacle against the Giants.

NOTE: For expanded coverage, listen to the Packers Stock Report Podcast (links below)…

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to this weeks report:

 

Rising

Dezman Moses
He’s done enough to enter the rising category. By no means have we forgotten about Clay Matthews, but it’s nice to see Moses making a few plays with the opportunities he’s had the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing Moses and Matthews on the field together. Fewer snaps for Walden will probably keep him fresher, too.

Clay Matthews
He hasn’t played the last 10 quarters and he’s rising. If the Packers want to beat physical offenses with good quarterbacks, they need Matthews. Eli Manning stood in the pocket and had his way with the Packers secondary on Sunday. I don’t think that happens if Matthews is out there. Matthews also brings toughness and a sense of urgency to the run defense, something that was lacking against the Giants. Yeah, I know the Packers managed five sacks without Matthews against the Lions, but the Giants offense is much more complete than Detroit’s. The Packers defense needs Matthews. Period.

Randall Cobb
There are not many options for another rising player if you just factor in the Giants’ game, but Cobb was decent again (4 catches for 39 yards, 1 carry for 12 yards). He at least did enough to stay in the rising category based on his last month of strong play.

26

November

Giants 38, Packers 10: Game Balls and Lame Calls

Davon House

A typical scene for the Packers against the Giants Sunday Night.

Pathetic, flat, uninspired and unemotional.

These are a just few words that could be used to describe the dud that the Green Bay Packers put up against the New York Giants on national television Sunday night.  It was a game many fans had circled on the calendar since the schedule was released in spring.  The Giants ended the Packers’ season in the playoffs last season and many a player and fan were eager to get some revenge on the Giants in their own house.

Instead, by a score of Giants 38, Packers 10, salt got added to the wound and boy does it burn.

Here’s who stood out and (more likely) stunk it up during the Packers’ fourth loss of the 2012 season.

Game Balls

WR Jordy Nelson

At times, it seemed Nelson was the only wide receiver that showed up to play.  Yes, Randall Cobb made a couple plays out of the backfield but Nelson was really the only one that got anything going downfield.

By “anything going,” I really refer to only one play.

Nelson’s beautiful 61 yard touchdown that tied the game at 7 was really the Packers’ lone highlight of the night so in a sense, Nelson gets a game ball by default.

The good news is that the play Nelson made on the sideline was similar to the plays he made last season during his breakout season.  Hopefully the Packers can get more plays like that from Nelson now that he is healthy again.

FB John Kuhn

Kuhn’s name has not been called much this season as he’s scored only one touchdown, but the Packers fullback made some plays against the Giants that helped provide the Packers an answer to Ahmad Bradshaw.

Kuhn caught three balls for 49 yards to go along with four carries for 17 yards.  It was refreshing to see Kuhn get some work in the screen game.  If the Packers continue to struggle running the ball, perhaps some screen passes to Kuhn will help alleviate the pain.

LB Dezman Moses

The pass rush was abysmal against the Giants, but Moses once again provided some hope in the absence of Clay Matthews.