28

August

Packers Stock Report: Roster Bubble Edition

Jamari Lattimore

Packers LB Jamari Lattimore is rising.

It’s time to bring back the Packers stock report.

I’m back in my blogging chair after spending three booze-fueled days and nights in Madison, Wis. I gained about 10 pounds and reduced the functionality of my liver by about 7 percent. A typical weekend in Madison.

The only way to get my body back to where it was pre-Madison is to type a couple hundred words about the Packers. For the first Packers stock report of the 2012 season, I’m going to focus on players who entered training camp on the roster bubble. There will be plenty of stock reports dedicated to guys like Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson during the season, but for now, let’s focus on the guys who may or may not make the team.

Rising

Dezman Moses
The buzz about Moses grew louder during OTAs and he’s lived up to that hype during training camp. Perhaps hype is a poor word choice. I don’t think anyone is expecting Moses to come in and be an All-Pro. But he looks like a wild-card type of player, someone that could show flashes of brilliance and deliver production from a roster spot that you originally didn’t think would yield much of anything. Whichever word you want to use, Moses is definitely rising.

Donald Driver
You’re probably saying to yourself, “Wait a minute. I thought you said this stock report was only going to be about players on the roster bubble.” Why yes, I did say that. And Driver was definitely on the bubble before camp. I have no doubts about that. I also have no doubts that Driver has played well enough to secure a spot on the Packers roster. That makes him rising in my book.

Jamari Lattimore
We haven’t heard all that much about Lattimore, but in the film I’ve watched of his preseason, I like what I see out of him in pass coverage. I like D.J. Smith, but I can see him getting overwhelmed in pass coverage. Lattimore gets good depth on his drops and looks fluid when running in coverage down the middle of the field.

Steady

There is no steady category when we’re talking about players that may or may not make the team. You’re either rising (making the team), or falling (on your way out the door).

3

February

Jamari Lattimore: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers outside linebacker Jamari Lattimore

Jamari Lattimore

1) Introduction: As the “other” outside linebacker from Middle Tennessee State (Erik Walden) on the Packers roster, Jamari Lattimore was perhaps the polar opposite of Vic So’oto.  While So’oto was more powerful that quick, Lattimore was more quick than powerful.  While So’oto exploded onto the scene during the preseason, Lattimore remained relatively unknown.  But perhaps more importantly during the regular season, when So’oto was inactive, it was Lattimore who had taken his spot.

2) Profile:

Jamari Lattimore

Position: OLB
Height: 6-2
Weight: 230 lbs.
AGE: 23
Career Stats

 

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Next to nothing; Lattimore hadn’t shown much during the preseason and many were surprised that he made the team at all.  Lattimore was probably retained due to his special teams potential, which requires speed and agility over power.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Highlights include 2 special teams tackles in the game against the Chicago Bears during week 3, which is the only time he posted more than one tackle in a game (which ended up being 4 total for the season).  Lowlights would probably be during the preseason where more powerful offensive linemen and tight ends consistently outmatched Lattimore; in particular Arizona tight end Jim Dray pancaked Lattimore on one play.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Surprisingly high; considering he lacks the power or experience of an 3-4 linebacker, it’s surprising that Lattimore even made the team, but once on the roster he was active for 9 games and became a welcomed addition to the special teams unit

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Next to nothing; Lattimore was active and part of the special teams unit during the game against the Giants but did not record a tackle and did not see any time on the regular defense.

Season Report Card:

(C+) Level of expectations met during the season
(C-) Contributions to team’s overall success
(C-) Player’s contributions in the playoffs

Overall Grade for the year: C-

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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31

December

Packers vs. Lions Preview: 5 Things to Watch

Packers QB Matt Flynn has a perfect stage in Week 17 for his looming free agent status.

The Green Bay Packers (14-1) and Detroit Lions (10-5) face off in Week 17 of the NFL season Sunday.

The basics 

When: 12:00 CST, Sunday, January 1, 2012.

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

TV: FOX; Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick with the call, Laura Okmin on the sidelines.

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee); Packers Radio Network; NFL Sunday Drive.

Series: Packers lead, 92-65-7 (Packers won last regular season game, 27-17, on Nov. 24, 2011 at Ford Field.)

Five things to watch

1. Money to be made

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he wants all three quarterbacks to play on Sunday, but the middle man in the group has a golden opportunity to bump up his price tag this summer. Matt Flynn, the Packers backup quarterback and a free agent after the season, will likely see the majority of the snaps against the Lions. Another solid performance on the big stage may propel a quarterback-needy team to give Flynn the opportunity to start for their franchise—and the money that goes with it—next season.

2. Who needs receivers?

The Packers offense may be one of the most receiver-dependent outfits in the NFL, but they’ll be down two at that position on Sunday. Both Greg Jennings (knee) and Randall Cobb (groin) were ruled out this week by McCarthy. Their absence should mean an increase in snaps for the Packers’ four tight ends, and more specifically, rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor.  Expect the two first-year players to log career highs in snaps and receptions on Sunday.

3. Clifton’s return

Packers left tackle Chad Clifton has played in some big games during his career, but Sunday’s tilt with the Lions might rank near the top. While the game alone has little overall meaning, how Clifton performs may influence whether or not he can play again in the NFL. The Packers get one chance to see him live before the playoffs begin, and if they don’t like what they see from him, McCarthy may have to go with with Marshall Newhouse as his starting left tackle in the postseason. It wouldn’t be overly surprising if Clifton wasn’t the same guy he was before the torn hamstring, as he’s 35 years old and in his 12th season in the NFL. A dud of a performance or set back with the injury could signal the end of Clifton’s NFL career.

26

December

McCarthy: Packers “Playing to Win Game” on Sunday; Chad Clifton Expected to Play

Mike McCarthy wants LT Chad Clifton to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy made no mistake about his team’s desire to be 15-1, and he might get to try out a few players in the process, including left tackle Chad Clifton, against the Detroit Lions in Week 17.

McCarthy said Monday that the Packers are preparing to “win the game” and that sweeping the NFC North is an important goal to accomplish.

“We have every intention of being 15-1 come Sunday afternoon,” McCarthy said.

No mention was made about how long his starters will play, but McCarthy did say that he wants Clifton, who’s been out since injuring his hamstring in Week 5, to practice this week and play in Sunday’s game. McCarthy acknowledged the importance of Clifton seeing live action before the playoffs begin, and this week represents the last of those opportunities.

The Packers will also look to get more playing time for both Vic So’oto and Jamari Lattimore at outside linebacker, a position that opposite of Clay Matthews has been nothing short of a disaster this season. McCarthy said that So’oto earned his opportunity to play on Sunday, and Frank Zombo’s healthy scratch was partly due to special teams.

McCarthy gave more encouraging news on the injury front, as Ryan Pickett (concussion) and Bryan Bulaga (knee cap sprain) both appear to be getting close to returning. The duo could play this week against the Lions. The return of Bulaga and Clifton would give the Packers the opportunity to play the opening night starters on the offensive line (Clifton, T.J, Lang, Scott Wells, Josh Sitton, Bulaga, left to right) for the first time since Week 3.

Pickett’s return would be just as significant, as McCarthy said that Sunday’s performance in run defense graded out as the “worst in my time here.” The Packers have been gashed since losing Pickett, who McCarthy called their “best run defender,” to his second concussion of the season against the Oakland Raiders. The Bears ran for 199 yards on Sunday night, including 121 from third-string back Kahlil Bell.

Finally, McCarthy said that running back James Starks bruised his ankle in the third quarter on Sunday night’s game. Both of his ankles have been injured this season, and he’ll be challenged to practice on Wednesday.

Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:

2

November

Rating the Rookies: Cobb Leads Packers 2011 Class Through 7 Games

The rookies on the Green Bay Packers roster have yet to complete a half-season in 2011, but the bye week in Week 8 gave us an opportunity to gauge how the Packers’ first-year players look through seven games.

Snap-counts and statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Focus

T Derek Sherrod (R1)

The Packers wanted him to take hold of the left guard position coming into training camp, but that experiment died in a hurry when Sherrod couldn’t handle the switch. He’s a right or left tackle from this point on. The only major action Sherrod has seen this season came against the Falcons in Week 5. After Chad Clifton went down with a hamstring injury, Sherrod filled in at right tackle as Marshall Newhouse slid over to the left side. Of the 51 snaps he played, 36 came on passing plays, and Sherrod allowed just two quarterback pressures and no sacks or hits. That kind of snap distribution shows the confidence that the Packers have in their rookie at right tackle in pass protection. Sherrod also came in on seven snaps (five run, two pass) against the Broncos in Week 4.

WR/KR Randall Cobb (R2)

GM Ted Thompson drafted Cobb in the second round to be the Packers primary return man and a sub-package receiver that can make plays in space. So far, that’s exactly what Cobb has been. He has returned every punt and kick save one, which was a squib kick that Tom Crabtree got his hands on. Cobb has done his best work on kicks, where his 30.5-yard average (13 returns, 396 yards) ranks fifth in the NFL among players with eight or more returns. Of course, his 108-yard TD against the Saints on opening night is the highlight of the season. He also lost a fumble in Carolina that contributed to the Packers falling down by 13 points in the first quarter.

Cobb hasn’t had the same impact on punt returns, where his 12 returns have yielded just 97 yards (8.1 average). Cobb has 11 fair catches. His only muffed punt of the season in Minnesota gave the Vikings good field position to re-take the lead, 14-7.  In the same game, Cobb had a 42-yard punt return that set up a Packers touchdown.

21

October

Packers Friday Practice Report: Newhouse, Pickett No Shows

The Green Bay Packers were without left tackle Marshall Newhouse and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett Friday as the team prepared for their trip to the Metrodome to take on the Minnesota Vikings.

Newhouse, who took over at left tackle when Chad Clifton went down with a hamstring injury, was attending to personal matters outside of Green Bay but is expected to play Sunday. Rookie Derek Sherrod took his snaps at left tackle. After practice, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that “Marshall is ready to play” and that they anticipate him back with the team on Saturday.

McCarthy has preached all week that Newhouse was about to face his toughest challenge in Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who has 9.5 sacks against the Packers over the last two seasons. He’ll now head into Sunday’s game without the final day of preparation from a practice standpoint. It will be interesting to see where Newhouse’s concentration level is at on Sunday, especially considering his personal matter was serious enough to fly out of Green Bay and miss Friday practice.

The defensive line might be missing a key cog in stopping Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Starting defensive lineman Ryan Pickett suffered a concussion during Thursday’s practice and is questionable, although McCarthy sounded optimistic about his chances of playing against the Vikings. He’ll likely be a game-time decision.

G/T Ray Dominguez was also attending to personal matters and missed Friday’s practice. He’s probable.

CB Sam Shields, who suffered a concussion while attempting to take an interception out of the end zone against the Rams, sat out Friday and is listed as doubtful. He’ll undergo his final round of tests tomorrow to see if he can play. Jarrett Bush and Pat Lee will take his snaps if he can’t go Sunday.

Morgan Burnett (hand), Josh Sitton (knee), Charles Woodson (ankle) and Clay Matthews (quad) all were limited but are probable for the game. McCarthy talked about Sitton, Woodson and Matthews expressing some fatigue and that they didn’t need any added workload this week.

Clifton (hamstring), Frank Zombo (knee), Jamari Lattimore (shoulder) and Mike Neal (knee) have all been ruled out. The absence of Lattimore and Zombo creates an opportunity for Vic So’oto, the Packers preseason darling, to see his first regular season NFL action.

4

September

Packers GM Ted Thompson Did Not Claim Anybody off Waivers

Packers GM Ted Thompson did not add any players off the waiver wire.

According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Green Bay Packers did not claim anybody off waivers after Saturday’s roster cuts.

This means the Packers will enter their final days of preparation before facing the New Orleans Saints with an abnormally high number of TEs (5) and LBs (10), and record lows on the OL (8) and RB (4).

I thought the Packers might put in a claim for an OL or a DL and part ways with TE D.J. Williams or LB Jamari Lattimore, but it didn’t happen. I’m guessing Williams and Lattimore will be inactive for the early-season games, but as with everything else on a team built by Ted Thompson, we shall see.

 

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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