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

August

Packers – Rams Video Second Look: Offensive Line

Packers offensive line.There were a few things I noticed while watching the first string offensive line as they were blocking for the rather impressive Eddie Lacy. I mentioned a few in my “First Impressions” post, where I give my initial observations without rewinding. It’s a little game I like to play, a way of testing if my perception of what is happening during the game is accurate or not.

I normally get the answers when I go back and watch the game a second time, this time with the benefit of rewind at will.

Time permitting, I’m going to try to pick one or two of those first impressions and look at them together with you, in video form, every week.

Today’s topic is the offensive line’s run blocking. Although Eddie Lacy had some impressive gains, I was noticing Packers offensive linemen getting pushed into the backfield on several occasions, especially Evan Dietrich Smith and TJ Lang.

In this first video, Lacy breaks off an 8 yard run, but no thanks to Evan Dietrich-Smith (EDS), who can not handle the speed of the gap-shooting DL. Lacy. Matthew Mulligan is also beat badly, and Lacy is confronted with two ST. Louis DL in his path, two yards deep in the backfield. For another running back, this is a loss of a few yards. But thanks to his much-renowned spin move, Lacy gets away from that trouble, breaks a tackle past the line of scrimmage and then plows through a few more defenders for some extra yards. It’s good to have a real running back, isn’t it?

(Note: I slowed the play down in the second part of this video. I also recommend using the pause button to stop the action at various points to get a better idea of what is happening.)

 

15

July

Packers Undrafted Rookie Scouting Report: Jake Stoneburner, TE Ohio State

Player Information:

  • Jake Stoneburner, TE Ohio State
  • 6’4”/252 lbs
  • Hometown – Dublin, Ohio

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 4.62
  • 20 yard: 2.65
  • 10 yard: 1.63
  • Bench: 18
  • Vertical: 34.5
  • Broad: 116”
  • Shuttle: 4.27
  • 3-cone: 7.12

Introduction:

Outside of Jermichael Finley, the Packers like their tight ends to be versatile.  Whether it be playing special teams, in the slot, inline, in motion, or even behind the line of scrimmage as a fullback, if the Packers want a jack-of-all-trades, they are going to go with a tight end.  However jack-of-all-trades usually means master of none, and with the Packers, they have a ton of tight ends that all sort of fit the same mold.  Jake Stoneburner is another, a former wide receiver turned tight end from Ohio State, he can do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t shine in any particular spot.  Add to that his arrest for urinating on a building and then hiding from the police (which in light of the recent news Aaron Hernandez has made can be considered a “boys will be boys” mistake) and Stoneburner surprising fell out of the draft after being predicted a late round pick.  Will Stoneburner be another diamond in the rough that Thompson digs up or another tight end who is never good enough at one thing to warrant seeing the field?

Outside Analysis:

CBS: Stoneburner is a tall athlete with good length and catching radius. He plays with excellent body control to adjust and come down with the catch, showing very good field awareness. Stoneburner has usually strong hands and focus to snatch the ball out of the air and make some tough catches look easy. He makes plays after the catch, showing good effort and power to pick up tough yards. Stoneburner has smooth footwork in his routes and straight-line speed to make plays downfield. He displays some tenacity as a blocker and does a nice job on the perimeter. Stoneburner did a nice job finding the end zone with 13 career touchdowns, scoring once every 4.1 times he touched the ball.

28

December

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 16 vs. Tennessee Titans

My, where should we go for Hobbjective analysis this week?  I mean the entire game was essentially a highlight reel for the Packers, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how accurate much of the second half is in terms of execution because it’s pretty obvious that the Titans have stopped trying at some point and just want to go home.

One play that I think hasn’t gotten as much attention as perhaps is warranted is Ryan Grant’s first TD in the 4th quarter.  The reason why I say this is because it’s one occasion where the Titans should be 90% sure that it’s going to be a run but they still manage to get blocked out of the play.

The Situation: The blowout is almost over at 41 to 0 and the Packers just need to burn 12 minutes as the Titans stopped trying back in the 2nd quarter.  To make matters worse, WR Jeremy Ross (he of the “punt, pass and puke” play from last week) rips off a 58 yard return subbing in for an injured Randall Cobb.  The Packers start the play off at the 7 yard line.

The Formation: The Packers are in a “jumbo” 1-2-2 formation (1WR-2TE-2RB) where OG Greg Van Roten (64) is eligible and has lined up as a tight end inline with the right tackle.  Offset to the right of OB Van Roten is TE DJ Williams (84), one of their better run blocking tight ends.  RB Ryan Grant (25) is lined up 7 yards behind QB Graham Harrell (6) with FB John Kuhn (30) lined up directly behind the right tackle.  WR James Jones (89) is the lone receiver split out wide left and isn’t in the screen cap, and for all intents and purposes for this play is irrelevant.  On the offensive line, a further permutation has emerged with LT Marshall Newhouse (74), LG TJ Lang (70), Evan Dietrich-Smith (62), RG Josh Sitton (71) and RT Don Barclay (67) going from left to right.

31

August

Kris Burke: My Initial 53-man Packers Roster Prediction

Packers on the bubble will be seeing this face VERY soon

It’s the time of year every NFL general manager seems to dread.  Selecting your final 53 man roster to bein the regular season.

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson has arguably the toughest job in the league with perhaps the deepest team in the NFL. It’s tough to predict what is going through the mind of the mysterious Packers GM, but I’ll give it my best shot.

OFFENSE-27:

Quarterback -3: Rodgers, Flynn, Harrell

I think you have to keep Graham Harrell around.  The trade speculation around Flynn doesn’t want to go away and the more time he spends learning from McCarthy, the better. He showed promise against the Colts.  I’d be willing to bet this time next year Flynn is elsewhere and Harrell is the number two with a rookie on the practice squad.

Running Back -5: Grant, Starks, Green, Kuhn, Johnson

Pretty easy to see here.  The only question remaining is which order Ryan Grant and James Starks are in on the depth chart against the Saints.  It will start as a shared load but who knows what else will happen as the season unfolds.

Wide Receiver -6: Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Jones, Cobb, West

West locked in his spot after his display of talent against the Cardinals.  Tori Gurley will definitely get some looks from other teams.  After seeing both in practice personally, I knew it would be a tough call for Ted Thompson to make.  This remains the deepest position for the Packers and they go with six instead of five to enable McCarthy to use even more multiple packages.

Tight End -4: Finley, Crabtree, Quarless, Williams

Speaking of tough decisions, it was obvious the Packers were not going to hang onto five tight ends to start the season.  Finley was the only lock and the other spots were up for grabs.  Crabtree has proven his worth in blocking and on special teams and Quarless showed flashes in the passing game last year.  The final spot then comes down to DJ Williams and Ryan Taylor.  Much was said about Williams after the draft and Thompson sticks to his initial convictions and Taylor is gone.

Offensive Line -9: Wells, Sitton, Clifton, Bulaga, Lang, Newhouse, Sherrod, Smith, McDonald

23

August

Packers Fans – Do We All Think Like Ted Thompson Now?

Let’s change the pace a little bit, let’s talk about you.

Let’s talk about you the fan.

Now that General Manager Ted Thompson has won a Super Bowl using the “Thompson Method ™”, he can apparently do no wrong in the eyes of the fans.  People who had been clamoring for years to get more veteran free agents and big name signings have quieted down, ready to admit the error in their ways and venerate the white-haired one.  Even the most staunch Thompson hater is now ready to board the “draft and develop” bandwagon that Thompson preaches.

One interesting fact that I’ve noticed is that almost as adamantly as fans were criticizing him before he won a Super Bowl, fans are now just as adamantly supportive of him now that he has won one.  Fans now seem to think the same way as Thompson now, which brings up a interesting question: are Packers fans now psychologically predisposed to think like Ted Thompson?

It’s an interesting thought.  If you are a Packers fan right now, you couldn’t be happier and you’d like status quo to continue (repeat anyone?).  Obviously Ted Thompson did something right to win a Super Bowl (right?), so it makes sense that people are following in Thompson’s rationale now.

For example, currently one of the big stories in the news is how long veteran wide receiver Donald Driver is going to remain a Packer.   Jason Wilde and Bill Johnson at Green and Gold Today have argued that if you took Driver’s name out of it, he’s one of those players that Thompson typically likes to cut and fans seem to echo that sentiment.  What I think people have forgotten is that Driver beat out Jordy Nelson and James Jones for the #2 wide receiver spot behind Greg Jennings last year and appears to still be the #2 wide receiver in training camp this year.

It’s not like the Packers gave him the spot because of his name either, he’s had to hold off every other wide receiver for that spot just like everyone else.   One other thing to consider is that the only way they will cut Driver (or any player for that matter) is if they get a player with more upside.  Do players like Brett Swain, Shaky Smithson, Tori Gurley etc. have more upside than Driver?

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.