Packers Release RB Brandon Saine and LB DJ Smith

Brandon Saine and DJ Smith

Saine and Smith were both released by the Packers on Wednesday

According to the Green Bay Packers team website, the team has released running back Brandon Saine and linebacker DJ Smith. The transactions were announced by Packers GM Ted Thompson.

Both were lost to season-ending knee injuries last season and even more ironically, during the same week six game against the Houston Texans.  Both players reportedly failed a physical exam.

Saine appeared in a handful of games in 2011 and 2012.  He was acquired as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2011.

Smith was drafted in 2011 with one of the team’s three sixth-round pick.  Smith played in 22 games and had claimed a starting role after the loss of inside linebacker Desmond Bishop during the 2012 pre season.  Smith appeared in six games in 2012 before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Houston in Week 6.



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Packers Draft Needs: Time to Start the Conversation

What would Ted do? - Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson has plenty of directions he could go in the 2013 NFL draft.

The Packers lost to the 49ers in the NFL playoffs. Badly. Embarrasingly. Frustratingly. Think of some other negative adverbs and they would probably also apply.

But in the fast-paced world of the NFL, that loss is already ancient history. We’ve dissected it to death on this site and other media outlets and blogs have done the same. It’s time to move on.

In the coming weeks, the ALLGBP.com staff will have complete reviews and grades of everyone on the Packers roster for the 2012-13 season. We will also begin breaking down prospects in the the April NFL draft that may fit the Packers needs.

This post is meant to start the discussion on what the Packers needs in the draft may be.

If everything was equal, what position group should the Packers focus on when they pick 26th in the upcoming draft? If there was at least one player from each position group on the board when Ted Thompson’s turn came up, and they were all equally talented, which position group should Thompson bolster?

I realize this is a very general and broad question, but remember, we’re just starting the conversation. There will plenty of specific prospect breakdowns and more focused discussion in the coming months. For now, let’s focus on the big picture and moving on from the 49ers loss.

Here’s how I see things.

  1. Inside linebacker: Yes, Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith should be back, but will there be lingering effects from the major injuries that ended their 2012 seasons early? The NFL seems to be cyclical. Just when we think a position group isn’t as valuable as it used to be, it makes a little bit of a comeback. With the rise of spread offenses and passing attacks, inside linebackers don’t seem as important as they once were. But then you don’t have one and you realize how valuable they can be. It’d be nice to have a linebacker on the inside that can ocassaionaly cover a tight, move well enough to deal with quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Colin Kapernick, and be a solid tackler. Another good inside linebacker would allow Thompson to cut A.J. Hawk and use Brad Jones as a versatile backup and situational player, perhaps at all four linebacker spots.


Packers Defensive Struggles Go Beyond Capers

Are Dom Capers’ days in Green Bay over?

Before you read further, I want to make one thing clear: This post is not a defense of Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers. After the Packers got shredded for almost 600 yards on Saturday night, Capers cannot be defended.

Go ahead and call for Capers’ firing and criticize him all you want. He deserves it.

However, Green Bay’s problems on defense go much deeper than Capers. I don’t think there was any magical scheme that Capers could have come up with that would have stopped the 49ers from winning Saturday. San Francisco was bigger, stronger, faster and tougher than the Packers. It’s too simple to just pin that performance solely on the guy with weird hair who sits in a booth high above the field.

Look at the Packers’ linebackers. Brad Jones, Erik Walden and A.J. Hawk are no match for a team like the 49ers. An elite offensive line combined with an athletic quarterback, bruising running back, and talented tight ends? The 49ers had to be salivating all week while watching film and preparing to face that unfearsome trio.

The Packers are built to take a lead, then play aggressive defense that relies on blitzes and creating turnovers. They’re not the type of team that is able to stand toe-to-toe against physical teams and out-tough them. That’s extremely frustrating, but true.

I suppose Capers deserves some blame for his defense’s lack of toughness, but I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do to prevent Walden from losing contain over and over or Jones looking helpless trying to chase down Colin Kaepernick.

Again, Capers’ gameplan was pathetic on Saturday (no spy on Kaepernick?). There’s no excuse for it. He probably deserves to get canned.

But even if he gameplanned better, I’m not sure if the Packers could have pulled that one off. The 49ers are a better team, a tougher team. Regardless of who is calling the plays, the Packers are not a team that is able to line up and feel confident that they’re better physically than their opponent.

Getting Desmond Bishop, Nick Perry and D.J. Smith back should make the Packers defense tougher next season. Further development from Jerron McMillian should also help.

Go ahead and vent about Capers. He deserves it. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that some magic scheme could have shut the 49ers down on Saturday.



Packers Activate TE Andrew Quarless; Place LB Nick Perry on IR

Nick Perry

Green Bay Packers rookie LB Nick Perry is out for the rest of the 2012 season with a wrist injury.

The Green Bay Packers have announced that the team hasactivated tight end Andrew Quarless from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and have placed rookie linebacker Nick Perry on season-ending injured reserve for a wrist injury.

Perry reportedly sought a second opinion on the wrist he injured earlier this season and apparently opted for surgery that will cost him the remainder of what was a promising rookie campaign.   With D.J. Smith and Desmond Bishop already out for the season and Clay Matthews dealing with a hamstring injury that could keep him out for a few weeks, the Packers find themselves dangerously thin at linebacker.   Rookie Dezman Moses will likely get a chance to prove that fans’ excitement over his potential is warranted.

As for Quarless, this is a moment many have been waiting for since he went down last December with a knee injury.  He was not ready for training camp so the Packers put him on the PUP list until this week.  It’s unclear how large of a role Quarless will immediately have, but if Jermichael Finley continues to struggle then it’s possible Quarless could earn some playing time along with Tom Crabtree.



Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke




Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 6 at Texans

I think it’s time to do a Hobbjective Analysis on a group that has always been overlooked: linemen.  I’m guilty of it myself; line play is very complicated and nuanced and I will be the first to admit that I don’t know very much about it; if you want to see what sort of technicians and athletes these guys truly are, I highly recommend you check out the “Word of Muth” column over at Football Outsiders (one of my favorite columns by the way).  Nevertheless, I personally think that while Aaron Rodgers throwing 6 touchdowns probably was a big factor as to why the Packers were able to clobber the Houston Texans, I think the defensive line deserves even more credit than Rodgers in winning the game for the Packers.

The Situation: It’s 11:44 in the second quarter with the Packers taking the early lead in with a 14-0 advantage.  Early in the game the Texans had curiously attempted to get their offense started with a pass-heavy strategy but ended up with quarterback Matt Schaub running for his life.  By the time the second quarter rolls around, it appears as if the Texans have abandoned this idea and go back to their bread and butter strategy of getting good down and distance situations with All-Pro RB Arian Foster, and setting up the play action pass with QB Matt Schaub and All-Pro WR Andre Johnson.



The formation: The Texans come out in a 2-1-2 formation (2WR-1TE-2RB) with WR Johnson aligned out wide to the left and WR Kevin Walter aligned in the slot to the right.  TE Owen Daniels lines up inline along side the right tackle while RB Foster is 7 yards directly behind QB Schaub with FB James Casey forming a offset I formation.  The Packers respond with their base 3-4 alignment.  The Packers come out with their standard linebacking core of ROLB Clay Matthews, ILB AJ Hawk, ILB DJ Smith and LOLB Erik Walden.  With NT BJ Raji out of the game due to an injury sustained versus the Colts, DE Ryan Pickett takes his place and lines up as the 0-technique (to the open side shoulder of the center), while DE CJ Wilson aligns to the right of Pickett and plays the 4-technique (between the guard and tackle), while DE Jerel Worthy aligns to Pickett’s left and plays the 3-technique (directly infront of the guard; I admit it’s rather hard to judge the defensive line’s alignment due to the camera angle, traditionally the NT plays the 0 technique while the DEs play the 5 technique).    I’ve excluded labeling the secondary as their are extraneous in this play, especially with SS Charles Woodson outside the box.



Packers Answer Several Questions in Win Over Texans

Jordy Nelson

Packers WR Jordy Nelson caught three TDs against the Texans on Sunday nigh.

The Packers were 2-3 entering Sunday’s game with the Texans and all of Wisconsin was befuddled.

“I thought this was supposed to be a cakewalk to the playoffs,” Packers fans said. “What the heck is wrong with my Packers?”

Week-to-week overreaction is common in the NFL. After a loss you think you’re team is worthless. They’re finished. Done. No good. Time to start preparing for the draft.

After a big win, there’s hope. You’re team is back on track. They finally played with some pride. Mistakes were corrected. Players stepped up. The machine got rolling again.

Truth is, it’s hard to judge teams on a week-to-week basis this early in the season, especially this season. I swear every team is 3-3 like the Packers now are. With the exception of the Falcons (maybe), no team really seems ready to step up and say, “Hey, we’re going to dominate the leage. Good luck trying to slow us down.”

For us Packers fans, our hopes should not have been dashed after losing to Indianapolis last week. And while we’re all wound up about beating the Texans on Sunday night, we shouldn’t be overly excited and think everything is roses back at 1265 Lombardi Ave., either.

The Packers entered Sunday night’s game against Houston with several questions lingering over them. For one night at least, they answered those questions.


Will they continue answering these questions with a resounding YES as the season progresses? We shall see.

For now, let’s see what those questions were and further examine how the Packers answered them on Sunday.

Q: Can the Packers play with emotion and attitude?
A: Yes.
There hasn’t been a sense of urgency with the Packers all season. It seemed like the team almost adopted the mindset of its fans: Let’s just get this regular season out of the way so we can start the playoffs. After playing some tough defenses and choking away a game in Indianapoils, the playoffs suddenly became less than a sure thing. It’s unfortunate that it took all this adversity to get the Packers to show a little grit, but they showed it Sunday night, and the results were impressive.



Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 5 at Colts

If you’ve ever listened to the Green and Gold Today Podcast, I’m sure you’ve heard co-host Bill Johnson complain about the “soft underbelly of the defense”, by which he is referring to the fact that the Packers defense always seems to give up yardage in the middle of the field.  This “soft underbelly” was supposed to be fixed from last year but in the last two games, every time the Saints or Colts offense needed a big gain (often on 3rd and long) it seemed like all they had to do was throw the ball in the general direction of the middle field and one receiver would catch the ball without much trouble.  Marques Colston lit it up with 153 yards and a touchdown in week 4 and Reggie Wayne come out of last weeks game with 212 yards and a touchdown, which is especially disconcerting since the majority of those yards came in large chunks and in the middle of the field.  So what exactly is going on with the Packers defense and why are they giving up so many yards up the middle?

The situation: It’s the beginning of the 4th quarter and the Packers hold a 2 point advantage at 21-19.  The Packers were just forced to punt the ball and punter Tim Masthay pins the Colts at their own 15 yard line.  While the Packers appeared to have the game in the bag with a strong showing in the first half, the tide of success has definitely turned to the Colts as the Packers appear to have a lapse of concentration and accomplish nothing in the 3rd quarter.