24

August

Packers News: Anthony Hargrove among five cuts

DL Anthony Hargrove

DL Anthony Hargrove

With the first mandatory roster reduction scheduled for Monday, the Packers got an early start to their cuts by releasing five players on Friday.

 

The team’s first five cuts were defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, wide receiver Andrew Brewer, offensive tackle Herb Taylor, and defensive backs Micah Pellerin and Dion Turner.

Hargrove, carrying an eight-game suspension from the Saints’ “bounty-gate” scandal, is the most notable name among the five cuts. The 29-year-old signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent in March in hopes of bolstering the pass rush, but the Packers have clearly decided that they have better options on the defensive line.

Taylor, 27, is a journeyman offensive tackle with 18 career regular season games of experience. After staring left tackle Marshall Newhouse suffered a concussion in the Packers’ Family Night Scrimmage, Taylor was inserted into the starting lineup and provided very little resistance to opposing pass rushers.

Pellerin, 23, and Turner, 23, were clearly two of the Packers’ weakest defensive backs in camp, and neither player made a serious push to make the team in a crowded defensive backfield.

Brewer, 25, was cut after spending just over two weeks in Green Bay. He was claimed off waivers from the Eagles on August 8 but was never a threat to earn a spot on the Packers’ stacked receiving corps, which is perhaps the best unit in the NFL.

Friday’s roster moves leave the team at 85 players, and the roster must be down to 75 by Monday.

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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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10

August

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Chargers 21, Packers 13

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers and the first team offense had a rough day in limited action against the Chargers

First things first: the sky is NOT falling.

Despite losing 21-13 last night to the San Diego Chargers in their exhibition opener, the Green Bay Packers are not doomed.  Some fans have a tendency to put way too much stock in the first preseason game.

Still there was some good, some not-so-good and some downright awful things to take from the defeat.

Here’s a look at some of the good and the bad.

Game Balls

Nick Perry

A nonsense excessive celebration penalty notwithstanding, Perry made a great first impression right out of the blocks with a sack on Philip Rivers.  As the game went on, Perry showed flashes of ability in the pass rush that the Packers hoped he had when they selected him the first round of the draft.

In the words of Mike McCarthy, it’s definitely an experience Perry can grow from. While it’s silly to draw conclusions from one preseason game, Perry has gotten off to a solid start in his rookie season.

Davon House

What else is there to say? The man made plays.  House showed hustle and playmaking ability in breaking up multiple passes.  Wherever the ball was, #31 seemed to be close by.  He definitely outperformed Jarrett Bush, who basically was named the starter for the game by default.

Secondary depth was a big concern for the Packers going into training camp.  House injured his shoulder during the game, and if he’s out for any extended period of time the Packers may be in trouble.  Jarrett Bush looked sloppy and House probably would get the start ahead of him should the season start tomorrow.  Here’s hoping House is back in the house very soon.

Tramon Williams

Speaking of Williams, he flashed some of his 2010 form in his limited playing time against the Chargers.  Again, we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from a single preseason game but when Williams jumped the route to intercept Philip Rivers, it looked like Williams was back in top form after a shoulder injury nagged him for most of 2011.

If Williams returns to form, that is only going to help the Packers’ secondary as Charles Woodson moves to safety and with an unproven (yet promising) House next to him (assuming his shoulder injury is not severe)

9

August

Packers News: Team Adds Veteran Lineman Reggie Wells

Packers OL Reggie Wells

Packers OL Reggie Wells

After being forced to insert Herb Taylor as the starting left tackle in Marshall Newhouse’s absence, the Packers added some veteran depth to their offensive line by signing nine-year veteran Reggie Wells on Wednesday night.

After spending most of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, Wells had a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, and played with the Carolina Panthers last season. Wells has experience at both tackle positions, but his primary position is left guard, where he’s started 79 of his 91 career starts.

The depth on the offensive line has been tested this week after Newhouse left last weekend’s Family Night scrimmage with a concussion. Trying to fill Newhouse’s shoes protecting Aaron Rodgers’s blindside, the Packers have been forced to employ Taylor with the starters.

It’s too early to tell if the Packers are comfortable with Wells playing left tackle, or if they view him as more of an interior lineman, but we’ll soon find out once he joins the team on the practice field. At the very least, Wells adds some stability to the depth of the offensive line which had been lacking veteran experience.

Wells will wear No. 68 with the Packers.

The Packers also claimed wide receiver Andy Brewer off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles, and to clear room for the two additions, the team placed undrafted rookie Jaymes Brooks on the reserve/PUP list and placed fellow undrafted rookie Mike McCabe on injured reserve.

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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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7

August

Packers Training Camp Report: Protecting Aaron Rodgers’ Blind Side a Major Concern

Packers LT Herb Taylor

Herb Taylor: Packers’ starting left tackle

Offensive tackle was a position of strength for the Green Bay Packers at this time last year. Chad Clifton was coming off a resurgent 2010 season, Derek Sherrod was the Packers’ first-round selection, and Marshall Newhouse was perhaps the most pleasant surprise of training camp.

But now, a concussion is keeping Newhouse out of practice, Sherrod still has yet to practice all summer, and Chad Clifton is out of football entirely.

In comes 27-year-old journeyman Herb Taylor.

Although he hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2008, Taylor has been far more consistent than rookie Andrew Datko in practice, thus giving him the nod alongside T.J. Lang on the left side of the line in Newhouse’s absence.

Taylor was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Texas Christian, making one start and appearing in 18 games with the team. After a relatively promising first two seasons in Kansas City, Taylor bounced around between Denver, New York, and even spent some time in the UFL with the Las Vegas Locomotives.

Still, despite Taylor’s tenacity and refusal to give up on his NFL dreams, he simply isn’t ready to be relied upon to protect Aaron Rodgers’s blindside at this point.

At Monday night’s practice at Ray Nitschke field, Taylor faced the daunting task of blocking three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews. On one occasion during a red-zone period, Matthews played Taylor like a puppet, sliding the 305-pound tackle into the Packers backfield and disrupting Rodgers’s throw.

Fortunately for the Packers, Taylor isn’t the regular starter at left tackle, nor will he be the top backup when Derek Sherrod is at full strength. But as things currently stand, the left tackle position is somewhat of a revolving door for pass rushers to blow through–something quite troubling for a team trying to protect the NFL MVP from blindside hits.

Taylor will need to be ready if he’s called upon in game action, but even at full strength, the Packers face question marks at left tackle with Newhouse entering his first full season as a starter.

The Packers seem adamant in keeping Bryan Bulaga at his normal right tackle position, where he’s one of the best in the league. However, the team may need to rethink its strategy if both Newhouse and Sherrod are out of the lineup in the regular season–as Bulaga is surely a safer bet to protect Rodgers’s blindside than the inexperienced Taylor.

21

December

Packers Wednesday Injury Report: No Bryan Bulaga on Sunday vs. Bears

Packers RT Bryan Bulaga was ruled out for Sunday's game with the Chicago Bears.

As expected, the Green Bay Packers will be without right tackle Bryan Bulaga (sprained knee cap) Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Head coach Mike McCarthy announced the news at his Wednesday press conference.

Without Bulaga, the Packers are prepared to start left guard T.J. Lang at right tackle, with Evan Dietrich-Smith at Lang’s natural spot. Dietrich-Smith started two games for Josh Sitton at right guard while Sitton dealt with a knee sprain.

McCarthy also said that new addition Herb Taylor would likely be active as an emergency offensive tackle. Taylor was signed to replace first-round pick Derek Sherrod, who broke his tibia and fibula against the Chiefs and later placed on IR.

Receiver Greg Jennings (knee sprain) was also ruled out. He’s expected back for the Packers first playoff game.

The Packers did welcome back to practice Desmond Bishop (calf), James Starks (ankle), Brandon Saine (concussion) and Chad Clifton (hamstring, back). Starks was a full participant but the other three were all limited. Ryan Pickett (concussion) was held out, and Mike Neal was limited with a new shoulder injury that he suffered during the game Sunday.

McCarthy said that Clifton was “making strides” and wouldn’t rule him out for Sunday, but you’d have to think he’s still a long shot to play. He also said that Bishop would “have a chance to play” if he continues to practice like he did today. It sounded like Pickett was held out solely for cautionary reasons.

Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:

  • On Josh McCown, who the Bears announced Wednesday would start against the Packers: “He’s an exceptional athlete. Can make plays with his feet and has a good arm.” If you remember, McCown was the same quarterback who connected with Nate Poole to knock the Minnesota Vikings out of the playoffs as a member of the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 of 2003.
  • Excited about playing last two games at Lambeau Field, especially with a home playoff game to follow.
  • On Bears defense: “Good tackling team and adjust well to how you attack them.”
  • “Big challenge” playing against their defensive line. Offensive line will be well-prepared.
  • On Aaron Rodgers winning AP Male Athlete of the Year: “Huge award. Speaks for itself what he’s done. Well-deserving. He should be NFL MVP.”
20

December

Packers Sign T Herb Taylor; Derek Sherrod to IR

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson announced Tuesday that the team had signed tackle Herb Taylor to replace first-round pick Derek Sherrod on the Packers active roster. As expected, Sherrod was placed on IR.

Sherrod, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2011 draft, broke his leg Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs and remained in Kansas City to have surgery. It was learned yesterday that Sherrod broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg, which means he’ll miss the rest of this season and potentially some of the next. Recovery time for such an injury is obviously extensive.

Taylor was drafted in sixth round by the Chiefs in 2007 and appeared in 18 games, including one start, from 2007-08. Taylor made the Denver Broncos active roster at the end of ’09 before training camp stints with the New York Giants in ’10 and Broncos again in ’11. Taylor had a work out with the Packers in early December, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In college, Taylor (6-4, 305) started 48 games at TCU and twice earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors.

He’ll wear No. 72.

It was interesting that Thompson choose Taylor, a player without a regular season home for two years, to be the guy that replaces Sherrod. Names such as Mark Tauscher and Chris Campbell, a member of the Packers practice squad, have been thrown around since Sunday’s game as potential short-term replacements.

At this point, however, Thompson has earned the benefit of the doubt when selecting players. In just the past 12 or so months, Thompson has found street free agents such as Erik Walden and Howard Green, both of whom have contributed. And Thompson has plenty of tape available on Taylor from the past two preseasons, so the fact that he hasn’t been on a team in two years isn’t as troubling.

Besides, there’s no guarantees that a player like Tauscher, a veteran who can’t stay healthy, or Campbell, a young player still learning the ropes, were any better selections.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.