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
12

March

Packers News: Team issues Restricted Free Agent tenders

Sam Shields received the second-round tender

Sam Shields received the second-round tender

Today is the day free agency is officially set to kick off, and it’s also the deadline for teams to tender their restricted free agents.

Yesterday, the Packers surprised some by hitting Evan Dietrich-Smith with the lowest possible tender. Because Dietrich-Smith was undrafted, the Packers would get no compensation if they he signed with another team and they opted not to match the contract. If the Packers don’t reach an extension with him before the season, he’ll make $1.323 million next year, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Dietrich-Smith is expected to step in as the team’s starting center if he returns. He replaced Jeff Saturday in the starting lineup in week 16 after starting four games at left guard earlier in the season.

According to Silverstein, Green Bay slapped Sam Shields with the second-round tender worth $2.023 million. If a team signs Shields to an offer sheet and the Packers choose not to match, they’ll get a second-round draft pick in return.

The Packers clearly don’t want to take a chance with Shields, as they are with Dietrich-Smith. Shields bounced back from a poor 2011 season and played well in 2012. Along with Casey Hayward, Tramon Williams and Davon House, Shields makes the team’s cornerback group one of the deepest positions on the team.

While Dietrich-Smith and Shields received their tenders, the team has decided not to tender linebackers Frank Zombo and Robert Francois, or tight end Tom Crabtree. Zombo and Francois would figure to generate only moderate interest on the open market, but Crabtree could garner some interest as a reserve tight end.

With the uncertain future of tight end Jermichael Finley, some were quick to point to Crabtree in identifying the team’s next starting tight end. And while Crabtree had his fair share of big plays in 2012, the team clearly doesn’t view him as a starting-caliber player or they would have handed down a tender.

Zombo, an undrafted rookie in 2010, has appeared in 12 of a possible 32 regular-season games the past two seasons. It’s possible the Packers could bring him back on a minimum contract.

Francois has been open about his desire to return to Green Bay after spending the last three seasons with the Packers. He made two starts in 2011 with Desmond Bishop sidelined with an injury, but his role is primarily on special teams.

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.

5

February

Frank Zombo: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Frank Zombo

Frank Zombo

1) Introduction:  Packers outside linebacker Frank Zombo appeared in just seven games for the Packers in 2012.  Zombo has battled injuries for most of his three seasons in Green Bay and started this past season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.  His first game action did not come until week 11 against the Detroit Lions and he played sparingly from there.  Zombo was not active for either of the team’s two playoff games.

2) Profile:

Frank William Zombo III

  • Age: 25
  • Born:3/5/1987 in Sterling Heights, MI
  • Height: 6’03″
  • Weight: 254
  • College: Central Michigan
  • Rookie Year: 2010
  • NFL Experience: 3 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Zombo injured his hamstring before the team entered training camp and he was eventually placed on PUP.  Having been hurt for most of the 2011 season, Zombo was not slated to be a prominent part of the team’s defensive scheme in 2012.  It was unknown whether the team would get Zombo’s services at all and there had been some talk that the team might put him on season-ending injured reserve.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Zombo did receive a game ball after the week 16 win over the Tennessee Titans but did little beyond that.  Zombo did not appear for many snaps in any of the games in which he was active.  In the week 17 game at the Minnesota Vikings, he played just one snap and was inactive for both playoff games.  Zombo graded out below average overall and did not make any impact plays for the team this past season.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  Zombo did not make any impact plays for the Packers this season.  He was solid in the week 16 game against the Titans but his lengthy hiatus in recovering from the hamstring injury clearly did him no favors.  He was simply not able to stay available and be effective.  I, for one, will be surprised to see Zombo back in Green Bay next season.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Zombo did not appear in either playoff game.

Season Report Card:

(D+) Level of expectations met during the season

(D) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(NA) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  D

12

December

Packers 27, Lions 20: Game Balls and Lame Calls (with Podcast)

Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers celebrates his 27 yard touchdown run, the longest of his career

It started out ugly but the Green Bay Packers pulled out yet another early victory and swept the season series against the Detroit Lions with a 27-20 victory at Lambeau Field.

It was a rather unusual win for the Packers.  They gained nearly as many yards on the ground as they did through the air and after 35 consecutive games, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not throw a touchdown pass at Lambeau Field.

The emergence of the running game was the story of this contest, as well as the Packers not panicking after spotting Detroit an early 14-0 lead.  They showed once again that no team handles adversity better than they do and that will serve them well going into the playoffs.  If the running game can continue to grow, then Rodgers will go from being deadly to unstoppable.   A solid Packers rushing attack is the last thing many opponents want to see.

Here are the good and not-so-good performances from the game against the Lions.

Note: Want to hear our “experts” expand on their selections as well as discuss the game and give you the “Packers Stock Report?” Check out the podcast to hear more reasons for their picks. Listen in using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Game Balls


WR Randall Cobb

What else can be said about Randall Cobb that has not already been said?

On a night where the Packers pretty much ran the ball better than they threw it, Cobb was the game’s leading receiver with six catches for 107 yards including another incredible one handed grab that has gone from stunning to borderline ho-hum for the budding superstar out of Kentucky.

Once Jordy Nelson returns to health, the Packers will once again be at full strength at the receiver position and with a decent running game possibly now in tow, the Packers very well could be hitting their stride offensively at the perfect time.  If the running game takes some pressure off of Cobb, then look out.

RB Alex Green

11

December

Packers Stock Report: Shooing Away the Lions, Bringing on the Bears Edition

Packers CB Casey Hayward played his way onto the rising list this week.

Since the Packers handled the Lions on Sunday, they should be able to handle the Bears this week, right?

Think about it. The Lions have:

  • A talented but erratic QB
  • One dominant receiver
  • A tough defensive line
  • A cover-2 strategy designed to contain the Packers

Sounds very similar to the Bears. The main difference is the Lions have a better offensive line and the Bears have a better secondary and running back. The Bears are also beat up.

That’s my preliminary analysis, anyway. Very in-depth, right?

We’ll see if my perception changes later in the week, but I don’t see many reasons to pick the Bears, especially when you factor in the hopeful return of Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and (maybe) Jordy Nelson.

It was good to get the Lions out of the way. They annoy me for multiple reasons.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Casey Hayward
For some reason, Tony Scheffler was giving the Packers some trouble on Sunday. So the Packers called on Hayward and soon Scheffler wasn’t a problem any more. The rookie played all 84 snaps and had another strong game despite dropping another interception late. Now if he could only get home on blitzes like Charles Woodson used to….

Mike McCarthy
Bashing McCarthy’s decision-making and infatuation with calling downfield passes is a very popular thing to do during games. I do it myself. Every fan gets mad at the head coach of his favorite team on ocassion. But if you’re going to bash, it’s only fair to praise when praise is deserved. McCarthy seems to have the Packers living in their own world, a world where throwing in the towel because of injuries and bad breaks is not acceptable. Having Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback helps make this world a better place to be, but McCarthy still deserves a ton of credit. Getting the most out of reserves and young talent has become the norm with McCarthy. Whatever you’re doing behind the scenes, Mike, keep it up.

6

November

Packers News: Nick Perry has surgery, season over?

Packers OLB Nick Perry

Packers OLB Nick Perry

Just one day after head coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers may be without Clay Matthews for a couple weeks, the team appears to have lost outside linebacker Nick Perry for the rest of the season.

After the Packers selected Perry with the 28th overall pick in the 2012 draft, he entered training camp as the team’s starting left outside linebacker. Perry recorded two sacks in five games for the Packers before being injured.

Perry underwent surgery to repair his wrist, but he also injured his knee in week five at Indianapolis. The rookie outside linebacker reportedly had surgery on Tuesday.

Lance Allan, of WTMJ4 in Milwaukee, tweeted that Perry will likely wind up on the Injured Reserve.

While the Packers are now thin at the position, Erik Walden is quietly enjoying the best season of his career. Fellow outside linebacker Frank Zombo was just activated from the PUP list, and undrafted rookie Dezman Moses has made the most of limited playing time so far this season.

Moses is someone to keep an eye on. He impressed the coaching staff since the moment he arrived in Green Bay and was taking snaps with the second-team as early as June.

With the immediate future of 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod in doubt, the loss of Perry would mean the Packers’ last two first-round selections will have combined for very little impact in 2012.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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