15

February

Jake Stoneburner Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction:  As one of the bigger name rookie free agents that Ted Thompson managed to sign this offseason, Stoneburner was expected to be another “diamond in the rough” for the Packers.  A productive player at Ohio State, Stoneburner bounced back from wide receiver to tight end during his career and made most of his highlights not with his blazing speed or freak of nature measurables but with his soft hands and penchant for getting into the endzone.  Stoneburner declared for the NFL after gaining a paltry 714 yards in 53 games but with an astounding 13 touchdown receptions.

2) Profile:

Jake Stoneburner

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 9/9/1989 in Dublin, OH
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 249
  • College: Ohio State
  • Rookie Year: 2013
  • NFL Experience: Rookie

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Low.  After being cut by the Packers at the 53-man roster deadline, Stoneburner was quickly resigned to the practice squad, where he would spend the first 6 weeks of the season.  The Packers activated Stoneburner after putting Randall Cobb and Greg Van Roten on IR, but Stoneburner would only see the field infrequently; he only recorded 9 snaps during the regular season with no more than 2 in any game and did not record any meaningful statistics including receiving or blocking.  Most practice squad/rookie free agents make their pay on special teams and ironically Stoneburner was even worse in that regard, recording 2 tackles and one assisted tackle, but also drawing two penalties and a missed tackle.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: None of either sort; Stoneburner was obviously not ready to be even an auxiliary contributor on the Packers offense and the Packers used him in the definition of “sparingly”.  Missed tackles and penalties on special teams are likely due to the nature of playing special teams (special teams ace and veteran Jarrett Bush also had two penalties) and overall inexperience playing on special teams (which is usually the case with more successful college players), so Stoneburner can be given a pass on that regard.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  None.  Stoneburner was a injury replacement that apparently wasn’t ready to play in the NFL, which isn’t to say that Stoneburner can’t be a productive player in the future, only at the present he’s not ready yet.  So while he does get a failing grade this season, considering the situation he was put in and his overall experience in the NFL, it should not be used as an indication of his future with the Packers or in the NFL.

23

October

If Finley is out for the season, can Quarless do the job?

Andrew Quarless was visibly shaken by Jermichael Finley's injury. Should Packers fans worry about Quarless as the No. 1 tight end?

Andrew Quarless was visibly shaken by Jermichael Finley’s injury. Should Packers fans worry about Quarless as the No. 1 tight end?

Three years ago in 2010, the Green Bay Packers won a Super Bowl with a rookie Andrew Quarless as their starting tight end.

That year, Jermichael Finley suffered a knee injury in week six against Washington and was forced to miss the remainder of the season; Quarless stepped in and the role of the Packers’ tight end shrunk within the offense. Prior to going down, Finley was on pace for 84 receptions and 1,204 receiving yards–an average of five catches and 75 yards per game.

After Finley was lost for the season, Quarless caught two or fewer passes in 14 of the team’s remaining 16 games, including playoffs.

Fast forward to October 2013, and Finley, again, faces an uncertain future after suffering a bruised spinal cord Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Finley is out of intensive care and walking on his own, but he’ll undergo more tests before a decision is made on his future for this season and beyond.

According to sources via ESPN, there is “no specific timetable for Finley’s return to the field, but indications are that he likely will miss at least four to six weeks.” Ed Werder tweeted Tuesday that Finley’s injury was not believed to be career-threatening, although the Packers could consider placing him on the injured reserve sometime later this week.

Clearly, at this point, no decision has been made on Finley’s availability this season.

The most optimistic will point to 2010 and suggest that plugging Quarless into the lineup for Finley will be enough. But as things currently stand, the Packers’ group of wide receivers is certainly not as strong as it was in 2010.

Then, the Packers made up for losing Finley by featuring Greg Jennings as the No. 1 target, while Jordy Nelson was exceptional in the stretch run and into the playoffs. James Jones and Donald Driver held their own as the third and fourth options.

Right now, the Packers will likely head into their matchup in Minnesota with Nelson and Jarrett Boykin as their starting receivers. At tight end, it’ll be Quarless along with a combination of Brandon Bostick and others. Myles White will likely be the No. 3 receiver, like he was last week against Cleveland.

17

October

Green Bay’s Health Woes: Who Is The Next Man Up?

Brandon Bostick

Bostick’s time is here with several injuries to key offensive players

This has surely been an interesting week for the Green Bay Packers, as far as player-personnel goes.  Entering Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, there was already some concern over how well the team’s defense would play without the services of linebacker Clay Matthews, who is expected to miss about a month with a broken thumb.

Missing their top defensive playmaker was enough to create some doubt about how the team would respond and created an outpouring of concern.  Surely things couldn’t get worse, could they?  But the Packers and their fans should know better by now.  The injury bug keeps on biting.

That very bug had already reared its ugly head in Green Bay all the way back in August,  taking down several players during training camp.  Rookie offensive lineman J.C. Tretter was injured on the first day of training camp in a non-contact drill and he was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.  It turned out that was just the beginning for the Packers.

Since then, the team has lost a few key starters to season-ending injured reserve in that of offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, running back DuJuan Harris, and linebacker Robert Francois.  Along with Tretter, defensive lineman Jerel Worthy and safety Sean Richardson are also on PUP.  Their statuses are unknown as they recover from their injuries.

Then came Sunday’s game against the Ravens and if you went by your Twitter timeline during the game, you could have sworn that Armageddon was here.  One by one, Packers fell to the turf and limped off the field.  Receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb and linebacker Nick Perry were done for the day by halftime.  It was announced during the week that tight end Ryan Taylor needed knee surgery and will likely miss a few weeks.

How bad is Green Bay’s luck with health?  Perry was injured on the great sack play that caused a fumble that was recovered by the Packers and led to three crucial points late in the first half.  Matthews suffered his injury just one week prior, also after a big sack play.  Even when it’s good, it’s bad.  But we should have been reminded of that when the Packers finally got a blocked punt only to lose possession and great field position because of a gaffe by fullback John Kuhn, who also recently returned from an injury of his own (did anyone bother to check his head before clearing him to play last week?).

16

October

Packers News: WR Tyrone Walker signed to practice squad

Packers WR Tyrone Walker had a strong preseason, and now he's back for another run with the team.

Packers WR Tyrone Walker had a strong preseason, and now he’s back for another run with the team.

According to the team’s official website, the Green Bay Packers have brought back Tyrone Walker to the practice squad.

The move was announced Wednesday by Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

Walker, 5’10″ 191 pounds, spent training camp with the Packers before being released as part of the team’s final cuts. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks and remained on their practice squad for one game before he was let go.

Walker joins recently re-signed receiver Reggie Dunn, giving the team two wideouts on the eight-man practice squad.

Before signing with the Packers as an undrafted free agent, Walker left Illinois State as the school’s career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Walker will, again, wear No. 83 with the team.

In the preseason, Walker led the Packers with 11 catches; Walker’s 86 receiving yards ranked third on the team behind Myles White and Jermichael Finley.

While certainly not the biggest or fastest receiver on the roster, Walker proved to have reliable hands throughout training camp and the preseason. Given his stature and lack of top-end speed, Walker faces long odds to make a significant impact, but the receiver-needy Packers could be his best opportunity to catch on (pun intended) with a NFL team.

Including the injured James Jones, the Packers currently have four wide receivers on the roster to go along with five tight ends. Jones’ status for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns is still up in the air, although earlier this week, head coach Mike McCarthy said Jones “might be able to play.”

——————

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.

——————

15

October

Packers News: Team signs TE Stoneburner to active roster

The Packers have promoted tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster.

The Packers have promoted tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster.

According to Jason La Canfora’s official Twitter account, the Green Bay Packers have signed tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster following their recent rash of injuries.

Last week against the Baltimore Ravens, the Packers lost wide receiver Randall Cobb for six-to-eight weeks with a fractured fibula. Fellow wide receiver James Jones suffered a sprained MCL and appears questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Stoneburner’s promotion to the 53-man roster gives the Packers five tight ends and three wide receivers, including Jones.

An athletic rookie tight end from Ohio State, Stoneburner was often split out wide in Urban Meyer’s offense. He clocked a 4.53 forty-yard dash at Ohio State’s Pro Day Mar. 8, which would suggest an ability to stretch the field; however, Stoneburner only caught 53 passes in his four-year collegiate career.

In his junior season in 2011, seven of Stoneburner’s were for touchdowns.

Without Cobb in the slot, starting tight end Jermichael Finley will likely be split out more often than usual with Andrew Quarless filling Finley’s shoes as an in-line blocker. Finley, at 6’5″ 250 pounds, isn’t capable of taking on all of Cobb’s responsibilities in the Packers’ offense, but at this point, he may be the team’s best option to stretch the field from the slot.

Last week, the Browns signed wide receiver Charles Johnson off the Packers’ practice squad, leaving Myles White and the recently re-signed Reggie Dunn as the team’s two wide receivers on the practice squad.

As of right now, the Packers have not announced the necessary roster move to promote Stoneburner, but one would figure that Cobb is a logical candidate for the I.R./Designated to Return list.

The Packers reportedly tried to sign wide receiver Tavarres King off the Denver Broncos’ practice squad, but King has since been promoted to Denver’s active roster. More moves could be on the horizon for the Packers, but for now, it looks like they’ll go heavy at tight end and light at wide receiver for the near future.

4

September

This year’s Packers Practice Squad Unusual for Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson looked outside of his own cuts to assemble this year's practice squad.

Ted Thompson looked outside of his own cuts to assemble this year’s practice squad.

Ted Thompson, almost to a fault, likes to keep “his guys” around for as long as possible. And this year’s practice squad looks very different than those of years past.

The team’s 2013 practice squad features four players from outside the Packers’ final cuts, along with wide receiver Charles Johnson, cornerback James Nixon, tight end Jake Stoneburner and wide receiver Myles White. Perhaps Thompson wanted some of his cuts to return to the practice squad before they were ultimately claimed by other teams.

Last year, seven members of the team’s practice squad spent training camp in Green Bay. Offensive lineman Chris Scott, signed from the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the lone member of the practice squad who didn’t spend the summer in Green Bay.

By the numbers, the eight-man practice squad tilts heavily towards the offense. Seven of the eight practice-squad spots are held by offensive players, leaving Nixon as the lone defender. On the other hand, the defense holds 28 of the 53 active roster spots.

Half of the practice squad spent the summer (or longer) with the Packers. Here they are:

WR Charles Johnson #17

A seventh-round draft pick from Grand Valley State, Johnson struggled to stay on the field throughout the summer. Hampered by injuries, the 6-foot-2 215-pound receiver showed flashes of his potential but didn’t show enough to merit a spot on the 53-man roster. It will be interesting to see whether or not Johnson or undrafted rookie Myles White is called upon if the injury bug bites the receiving corps.

CB James Nixon #25

Nixon was signed to the practice squad Sept. 20, 2012. A college running back and wide receiver, Nixon certainly has enough athleticism to make it at the professional level. He began his college career at Temple before transferring to the University of California in Pennsylvania for his senior season. After Mason Crosby, Nixon was the story of this year’s Family Night Scrimmage, thanks to an interception and a 66-yard return for a touchdown.

TE Jake Stoneburner #45

The former Ohio State tight end found himself buried on the training-camp depth chart behind veterans Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor. Stoneburner is not as athletic as Finley or second-year prospect Brandon Bostick, but he had a steady camp, which played a role in the team letting Williams walk. Thanks to his name, there’s a perception that Stoneburner is a throwback, in-your-face-type player, but he clocked a 4.53 in the forty-yard dash at Ohio State’s Pro Day.

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.