20

December

Packers Periscope: Week 16 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Past: I’ve mentioned notable games of the past in this series (the Ice Bowl, Aaron Rodgers dismantling of the Falcons in the 2010 divisional game), but perhaps the most important game in the last decade for the Packers was their win in Super Bowl XLV in 2010 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Not only did it cement quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ position as one of the NFL’s elite players but it also justified Ted Thompson’s 6 year “draft and develop” philosophy which brought the Packers back from a salary cap nightmare.  Fans will remember Clay Matthew’s “It is time” moment of stripping the ball away from Rashard Mendenhall which preserved a Packers 4 point lead in the 4th quarter, but perhaps the biggest defensive play came from defensive tackle Howard Green, who knocked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s pass into the arms of safety Nick Collins, who returned the ball for a touchdown and at least historically sealed away the fate of the Steelers right then (no team has gotten a interception returned for a touchdown and lost the Super Bowl).

Moving back further, the Steelers and Packers last regular season game occurred in 2009 which quickly became a shootout; Rodgers threw for an impressive 383 yards but Roethlisberger proved even more dangerous, finishing the game with an astonishing 503 yards.  It also marked the rise of Jermichael Finley, who moved from a up and coming player to a serious receiving threat, which would continue until his injury in 2010.

The Present: The Steelers have been effectively eliminated from the playoffs; the Cincinnati Bengals have run away with the AFC North and are almost definitely going to win the division this year.  Baltimore trails behind Cincinnati, but also has a shot at a wild card berth.  Pittsburgh unfortunately only is predicted to get in as a wildcard team .8% of the time according to Football Outsiders, effectively making this game more of a statement game more than anything else.  Furthermore, the Steelers have always been a very deliberate and conservative organization and the coaching staff has not been rumored to be on the hot seat, this game probably does not have much meaning to the Steelers, aside for maybe extracting some revenge against the Packers for their Super Bowl loss.

7

November

Packers Fans Should Blame Injuries, Not Ted Thompson

Clay Matthews towel

How easy is it for Ted Thompson to replace talent at this level?

I feel like I’m listening to a broken record. Except when this record plays, it’s only after the Green Bay Packers lose a game. For some strange reason, I never hear this record after wins. So it’s been a while that this song has played. The Packers won four straight games before losing to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Throw a bye week in there, and it’s been rather blissful for a good solid month.

But now the axe-grinding fans are crawling back out of the woodwork to lambast Ted Thompson for putting together a weak roster.

The last time I addressed this crowd was after the Cincinnati Bengals game, when the Packers blew a gigantic lead to end up losing. While fingers were being pointed in all sorts of directions, there seemed to be few fans dealing sensibly with the problems of the team.

One theme that has persisted between then and now, however, is the injury bug. The Packers have it bad, and it’s starting to cost the team. Yet for some reason, we don’t give this fact its due consideration. Should teams be able to find success beyond their key starters? Absolutely. General managers need to put together a roster that can handle the adversity of a football season. But injuries to enough key players can be crippling.

Take a look at the following names for a moment:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Derek Sherrod
  3. Bryan Bulaga
  4. B.J. Raji
  5. Clay Matthews
  6. A.J. Hawk
  7. Aaron Rodgers

Figure out the common thread yet? Yes, those are all of the Packers’ first round draft picks that are currently on the team’s payroll (listed in reverse chronological order). Now I want you to look back at that list and count the number of players who played a majority of the Packers-Bears game. What do you get?

Yup, two. Out of seven.

That means five first round draft picks were absent from the game on Monday. What do you expect Ted Thompson to do in a situation like this? There aren’t any players wandering around on the streets who can make up for that level of talent. And when one of those players is the highest paid quarterback in the league right now – and arguably one of the best three quarterbacks in the league – then you’ve got a problem on your hands.

27

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft – Seventh Round Pick: Sam Barrington, OLB, South Florida

With their final pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Packers took South Florida OLB Sam Barrington.

With their final pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Packers took South Florida OLB Sam Barrington.

With their final pick in the seventh round (232nd overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Sam Barrington, OLB, South Florida.

 

PLAYER DETAILS: 
Sam Barrington
OLB
South Florida
6’1″/246lbs

CAREER NOTES: From CBSSports:

2012 SEASON

Started 11 games at linebacker, missing the UConn game … earned second-team All-BIG EAST honors … was selected to play in the East-West Shrine game … posted 80 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6.5 TFL, three PBU and two forced fumbles … recorded at least seven tackles in eight of his 11 games … his 7.3 tackles per game ranked eighth in the BIG EAST … the 80 tackles were a career high and ranked second on the team … tallied four tackles, a sack and two TFL in the season opener versus Chattanooga … notched eight tackles, two forced fumbles and a PBU at Nevada … posted nine tackles and a TFL versus Rutgers … added six tackles and a PBU at Ball St. … tallied five tackles and a PBU against Florida St. … recorded eight tackles at Temple … posted 10 tackles and a half TFL at Louisville … added eight tackles versus Syracuse … notched seven tackles and a half sack at Miami … tallied eight tackles and a half TFL at Cincinnati … recorded seven tackles and two sacks in his final game against Pitt.
2011 SEASON
Started all 12 games at linebacker … finished third on the team in tackles with 72 and added 2.5 sacks, 6.5 TFL, two PBU, an INT and a forced fumble … posted nine tackles at Notre Dame … collected seven tackles against Ball State … registered three tackles against FAMU … returned his first career INT 30 yards for a TD against UTEP … established a career-high with nine tackles and a pressure at Pitt … posted six tackles, 1.5 sacks and a PBU at UConn … registered six tackles, a TFL and a pressure against Cincinnati … tied career-high with nine tackles and set a career high with two TFL, including a sack, at Rutgers … posted six tackles and a pressure at Syracuse … added five tackles and a TFL versus Miami … notched six tackles against Louisville … tallied five tackles, a PBU and a forced fumble versus West Virginia.
2010 SEASON
Appeared in 13 games, starting 11, at linebacker … finished third on the team in tackles with 65 to go along with a half sack, 6.5 TFL, a pressure, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and three PBU … tallied eight tackles at Florida … posted a team-high six tackles and a half TFL versus WKU … notched eight tackles, 1.5 TFL, a pressure and a forced fumble against FAU … added seven tackles and a PBU versus Syracuse … posted three tackles at WVU … tallied a career-high nine tackles and a forced fumble at Cincinnati … posted five tackles and a TFL against Rutgers … added three tackles at Louisville … notched two tackles and a TFL versus Pitt … tallied six tackles, a TFL and a PBU at Miami… recorded three tackles and recovered a fumble against Connecticut … notched four tackles, a half sack, 1.5 TFL and a PBU in the Meineke Car Care Bowl victory over Clemson.
2009 SEASON
Appeared in 13 games, starting one, at linebacker as a true freshman … named to All-BIG EAST Freshman Team by ESPN.com … racked up 41 tackles, two TFL and a PBU … opened the season with three tackles against Wofford … added five stops against Charleston Southern … notched four tackles at Florida State … notched five tackles and a half TFL at Pitt … added three tackles and a half TFL at Rutgers … tallied six tackles and a half TFL against Miami … posted a season-high seven tackles and a half TFL against UConn … added three tackles in the International Bowl win over Northern Illinois.

COMBINE:
4.91 40-yard dash, 22 bench, 32.5 inch vertical, 117 inch broad jump

27

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft – Seventh Round Pick: Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland

Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland

Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland

With their seventh round pick (224th overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Kevin Dorsey, a WR from Maryland.

PLAYER DETAILS: 
Kevin Dorsey
WR
Maryland
6’2″/207 lbs

CAREER NOTES:

(from CBSSports.com)

A talented fifth-year player who served as the No. 1 receiver for his final two seasons … an intelligent, polished receiver with excellent size and soft hands … a preseason All-ACC selection … fourth team preseason all-conference pick by Phil Steele … has overcome foot injuries to become a productive performer … played in 47 career games with 23 starts … voted one of four team captains at the end of the spring.

PRO DAY:

40-yd.: 4.47s … bench: 17 reps … vertical: 38″ … broad: 10’10″ … shuttle: 4.28s … 3-cone: 7.08s

SCOUTING REPORT:

(from NationalFootballPost.com)

Strengths:

  • Initial quickness and smooth start from LOS lets him get down field quickly.
  • Plants foot well on slant routes.
  • Good hands and awareness to make plays on the ball.

Weaknesses:

  • Does not get much separation.
  • Unwillingness to block on run plays.
  • Sometimes rounded out his routes – not crisp.

COMMENTARY:

The Packers have now selected two OL, two RBs, and Dorsey makes the second WR. He and the newly acquired Charles Johnson will definitely be battling for a spot on the roster, but it’s interesting to note that they both share a similar height and weight. Johnson’s Pro Day numbers were a little better than Dorsey’s, though. He’ll definitely need to work on his route running if he wants to make it in the Packers offense.

VIDEO:

(NOTE: Dorsey wears #12. This is about the best I could find for some highlights of him.)

——————

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

——————

27

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft – Seventh Round Pick: Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley St.

Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley St.

Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley St.

With their seventh round pick (216th overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Charles Johnson, a WR from Grand Valley St.

PLAYER DETAILS: 
Charles Johnson
WR
Grand Valley St.
6’2″/215 lbs

CAREER NOTES:

(from NFLDraftScout.com)

Johnson does have a red flag, having bounced around between different schools. He initially went to Eastern Kentucky, where he was suspended. He then attended Antelope Valley Community College (Calif.) in 2008, took a season off in 2009, and was at Grand Valley State starting in 2010. On the basis of his strong pro-day workout, Johnson could be selected as high as the fifth round in the 2013 NFL Draft.

(from Grand Valley St. sports profile)

2011: D2Football.com Honorable Mention All-American…Don Hansen’s Super Region 3 third-team…First-Team All-GLIAC…GVSU Offensive Skill Player of the Year…Caught 56 passes for 1,030 yards and 15 TDs…1,030 yards ranks fifth all-time for a single-season at GVSU, while his 15 TD catches is fourth…His 93.6 yards per game receiving was third in the GLIAC and 17th nationally…Ranked 10th in the GLIAC in receptions per game (5.09)…Averaged 18.4 yards per catch…Caught a TD pass in 9-of-11 games…Broke the 100-yard receiving mark five times…Caught six passes for 161 yards and one TD at Hillsdale (9/10), including a long TD reception of 71 yards…Hauled in eight passes for 158 yards and two TDs at Northern Michigan (10/8)…Recorded six receptions for 144 yards and two TDs vs. Ferris State (10/22)…Pulled down five receptions for 103 yards and three TDs at Northwood (11/5).

2010: Redshirted.

Prior to GVSU: Spent one year at Eastern Kentucky University, where he appeared in 11 games and caught three passes for 63 yards…Caught 24 passes for 231 yards and three TDs in one season at Antelope Valley C.C.

 

PRO DAY:

40-yd.: 4.38s … short shuttle: 4.31s … 3-cone: 6.96s … vertical: 39.5″ … broad: 11’1″ … bench: 14 reps

SCOUTING REPORT:

No real scouting reports to be found. There is, however, an article comparing him to Miles Austin and Marques Colston. You can also check out another article concerning his Pro Day performance.

COMMENTARY:

We figured the Packers would be addressing the wide receiver position at some point, with Jennings and Driver gone and James Jones in his contract’s final year. Johnson seems to have the physique and athleticism necessary to be a force on the outside. He visited with the Packers in the weeks leading up to the draft, so they’ve had him in their sights.

27

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft – Sixth Round Pick: Nate Palmer, OLB, Illinois State

Packers sixth round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Nate Palmer, OLB, Illinois St.

Packers sixth round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Nate Palmer, OLB, Illinois St.

With their sixth round pick (193rd overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Nate Palmer, outside linebackers, Illinois State.

 

PLAYER DETAILS: 
Nate Palmer
OLB
Illinoise State
6’3″/240 lbs

Career Notes: Injury issues throughout his career. Broke his ankle as a junior in high school and played just four games. Broke his foot after getting knocked off a motor scooter by a woman in his car during his third and final season at the University of Illinois. Eventually transferred to Illinois State.

Palmer visited the Packers before the draft. Here is a story on Palmer from the Chicago Tribune.

From CBSSports.com.

2012 SEASON

All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Second-Team selection … started all 13 games at defensive end … ranked third on the team and was fifth in the MVFC with 15 TFL … 10.5 of those came in conference play, which tied for third …was second on the team and tied for fourth in MVFC with 7.5 sacks … finished the season with 71 tackles and was credited with 27 quarterback hurries … also forced a team-high three fumbles … posted multiple TFL in four games … tied career-highs with two sacks and three TFL against Southern Illinois … had a career-high nine tackles against Missouri State … had a sack and two TFL in a road win at UNI … posted at TFL in each of ISU’s playoff games.
2011 SEASON
All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Second-Team selection … started all 11 games at defensive end for the Redbirds, who led the conference in total defense (294.8 ypg) … led the team and the MVFC with 9.5 sacks … was 19th in the country in sacks per game (.91) … recorded 46 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and forced two fumbles … posted at least a half sack in nine games … posted a sack and returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown against Morehead State … recorded a career-high eight tackles and a sack at North Dakota State … named the MVFC Newcomer of the Week after registering five tackles, two sacks, three tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble in a win over nationally-ranked Indiana State.
2010 SEASON
Played in nine games for the Illini … recorded six tackles on the season … tallied a pair of stops in the win over Indiana … added one tackle in back-to-back games against No. 6 Ohio State and at Penn State … registered a solo stop in consecutive contests against Northwestern and at Fresno State.
2009 SEASON
Earned Academic All-Big Ten honors … played in all 12 games on special teams … recorded two tackles at Ohio State … had one tackle at Cincinnati.
Combine:
Did not participate. Did have a predraft workout with the Packers.
Scouting Report: 
Not much for scouting reports out there on Palmer. For now, check out this interview he did with New Era Scouting.
He took part in Northwestern’s pro day and ran the 40 in 4.7 to 4.76 seconds, had 20 reps on the bench, a 35.5 inch vertical and 10’5″ broad jump. He also played DE in college, but almost certainly will play OLB for the Packers.
Commentary:
Palmer might be Dezman Moses 2.0. Very raw. Very athletic. A hit or miss kind of guy, with the odds heavy in favor of miss, but you never know. All the injuries throughout his career are a concern, but this is another project type of pick for the Packers. If he sticks with the team through training camp, I don’t expect to hear much from him in 2013. Then again, maybe he’ll get a shot on special teams and make an impact. We shall see.
Video:

27

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft – Fifth Round Pick: Josh Boyd, DT, Mississippi State

The Packers selected Mississippi St. DT Josh Boyd in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

The Packers selected Mississippi St. DT Josh Boyd in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

With their second fifth round pick (167th overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Josh Boyd, defensive tackle, Mississippi State.

PLAYER DETAILS:
Josh Boyd
DT
Mississippi St.
6’3″/310lbs

CAREER NOTES: 

From CBSSports.com: Played in 51 career games, tied for third among active players in the FBS… Including 41 starts, has amassed 125 tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and field goal block … Made an immediate impact on the field as a true freshman and has continued it into his senior campaign … Led all MSU defensive linemen in tackles in the 2011 season by recording 51 in 13 games … Came to Mississippi State following a standout prep career at nearby Philadelphia High School.

COMBINE:
5.14 40 yard dash, 32 bench, 26.5″ vertical, 104.0″ broad, 7.16 3 cone, 4.64 shuttle

SCOUTING REPORT: (from CBS Sports)

Considering how much press linemate Fletcher Cox received a year ago, it is surprising how little Boyd received. After all, he signed with the Bulldogs as a similarly highly regarded prep prospect (turning down the likes of Alabama, LSU, Florida State and Miami among many others), was starting for the third consecutive season and finished last year with just five fewer tackles than the eventual No. 12 overall pick of the 2012 draft.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Cox enjoying so much more fanfare is the fact that he’s a more talented pass rusher than Boyd, whose thick lower body helped make him the more consistent run defender, especially when it came to handling double-teams.

He enjoyed quite the breakout campaign last year (51 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) after registering “only” 24 stops (7.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) in 2010 and 17 tackles in three starts (played in all 12 games) as a true freshman in 2009 and thus must prove it wasn’t a fluke, but make no mistake, Boyd has the talent to warrant top 64 consideration.

Commentary: