14

March

All you Need to Know About Day 1 of NFL Free Agency and the Green Bay Packers

Brandon Marshall

The Bears traded two third-round picks for WR Brandon Marshall.

It’s 11:30 p.m. central time on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. I’m going to read a few pages in my book and go to bed. By the time this publishes around 7 a.m. central time on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, a bunch of other stuff might have happened and the news contained in this post might feel like it’s 10 years old.

Welcome to the start of NFL free agency.

A lot went down on Tuesday when 532 NFL players hit the open market. Let’s take a look at the developments that concern the Green Bay Packers:

  • Packers center Scott Wells is as good as gone according Packer Report. I was a big advocate for bringing Wells back, even if it meant overspending a little. Maybe it’s me accepting the fact that Wells is probably leaving, but I started changing my mind a couple days ago. Is it wise to overspend for a 31-year-old center that’s undersized and isn’t that great of a run blocker? Probably not, especially when there’s extensions for Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews coming up in the near future. The Packers will miss Wells’s pass blocking. They’ll miss his command of the pre-snap calls just as much. But it’s not a devastating loss…I don’t think.
  • And who knows? Maybe the Packers are treating Wells like they treated Clifton a few years ago, letting him explore the market to see what sort of offers are out there and hoping for an opportunity to match.
  • There’s been some scuttle that the Packers might go after Houston center Chris Myers to replace Wells. I’ll believe it when I see it. Myers would be an upgrade over Wells, but replacing his own high-priced free agent with another high-priced free agent isn’t how Ted Thompson typically operates.
  • Packers DE Mike Neal has been suspended four games for using a performance enhancing substance. The injury-prone Neal gets a lot of heat from Packers fans and this won’t make it any better. I always had sympathy for Neal. Why should we get angry at a young player just because he gets hurt? But this changes things. There’s no excuse for taking PEDs. The best thing Neal can do is admit his mistake, take his punishment like a man, and try to come back and salvage his career.
19

January

Green Bay Packers Free Agency: Rating the Packers 2012 FAs

C Scott Wells is one of eight free agents for the Packers in 2012.

It’s far from a Moneyball style stats movement, but the guys over at Pro Football Focus have slowly but surely put together one of the premier stat-organizing sites available for the NFL and its legion of fans. It’s not a fool-proof system, and I occasionally disagree with a rating or two from a given game. But PFF grades every player on every play for all 32 teams, so there’s no shortage of work these guys put into their grades and ratings.

With the 2011 season over in Green Bay, I used PFF’s ratings/grades to analyze the Packers’ eight free agents this offseason. If you’re not familiar with the ratings at PFF, don’t fret—a higher score indicates a better rating, and a negative score obviously isn’t what you’re looking for.

Also, for another look at the Packers’ free agents in 2012, check out this article from AllGBP’s own Adam Czech.

CB Jarrett Bush (-4.0, 321 snaps)

There was a time early in the season that Bush was rated as the Packers’ best cornerback. As the season wore on, however, teams exploited Bush in the passing game more and more. In the Packers’ final regular season game against Detroit, Bush played a season-high 83 snaps and allowed 105 receiving yards on 10 targets. Overall on the season, Bush allowed 19 completions on 38 attempts for 302 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (72.5 passer rating). Bush also finished with seven tackles on special teams, which was good for third on the team.

TE Jermichael Finley (-4.4, 832 snaps)

A couple of factors hurt Finley’s rating in 2011. As you’d expect, one knock was drops. PFF had Finley for 14 on the season, which led tight ends by a wide margin and was fifth overall in the NFL. The other was run blocking, where Finley had just two positive games and finished at -8.3 (46th among tight ends). During a year in which so many tight ends put up shocking numbers across the board, Finley was a big disappointment to PFF’s eyes. He completed the season ranked as the 37th best tight end.

QB Matt Flynn (4.6, 119 snaps)