31

July

Green Bay Packers Free Agent Tracker

Green Bay Packers 2011 free agency tracker:

 

FB John Kuhn: RE-SIGNED WITH PACKERS

The Packers re-signed fullback John Kuhn on a three-year contract worth $7.5 million. The deal puts Kuhn amongst the highest paid NFL fullbacks.

While you may raise your eyebrows a bit at that, I think it actually makes sense. Kuhn contributed in multiple ways beyond blocking last season, including shouldering some of the running back responsibilities, catching passes, short yardage back and special teams contributor. Kuhn is also a popular player among fans and in the locker room.

Kuhn wanted back in Green Bay all along, but he played it smart and let the market set the price for him. With Houston making a strong push for Kuhn to replace the departed Vonta Leach, the Packers most likely paid Kuhn more than they would have liked. That’s not to say he’s not worth it. Kuhn is a valuable asset for the Packers to have in their hip pocket, but this does affect one of the tight ends being looked at as a possible H back.

He won’t be running the ball as much as last season, but I’d expect Kuhn to help cover for the loss of Brandon Jackson on third downs.

WR James Jones: RE-SIGNED WITH PACKERS

The Packers agreed to terms with Jones on a three-year deal worth $9.6 million.

It sounds as if Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver went to bat for Jones, and when teams in receiver market went elsewhere, Jones decided to come back with the Packers.

We heard Rodgers say that Jones should be the Packers No. 1 priority, but I still have doubts that he swayed Thompson in any way. The more likely reason for Jones’ return to Green Bay was the fact that receiver-needy teams such as Minnesota and New York signed other players, with the Vikings acquiring Michael Jenkins and the Jets Plaxico Burress.

Now, the Packers return all their pass-catchers from 2010. With this many toys at their disposal, expectations will be sky-high for this offense.

DE Cullen Jenkins: SIGNED WITH EAGLES 

The Philadelphia Eagles have signed Cullen Jenkins to a five-year, $25 million deal.

28

July

Brandon Jackson Signs With Cleveland Browns, Spitz Goes to Jaguars

Brandon Jackson signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Browns Thursday night.

The Green Bay Packers backfield became a little less crowded when news broke Thursday night  that Brandon Jackson signed with the Cleveland Browns. The deal was reportedly for two years and $4.5 million.

Jackson was good in pass protection and figured to see plenty of action on third downs if he remained with the Packers. Two years and $4.5 million is a reasonable deal and I’m surprised the Packers didn’t make more of an effort to keep him.

Perhaps Jackson didn’t want to battle Ryan Grant, James Starks and Alex Green for playing time and felt he would have a bigger role in Cleveland. I can’t see him overtaking Peyton Hillis anytime soon, but Cleveland’s backfield is a little less crowded than Green Bay’s.

Either way, with G Daryn Colledge gone and now Jackson, the Packers pass protection has taken a bit of a hit. Neither Colledge or Jackson is irreplaceable, but both were better players than most people gave them credit for.

Jason Spitz will not be one of the players filling the pass protection void left by Colledge or Jackson. Spitz reportedly signed a multi-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

To summarize: Colledge, Spitz, Jackson and Korey Hall have signed elsewhere. Mason Crosby resigned with the Packers. Nick Barnett, Brady Poppinga and Justin Harrell were cut. Cullen Jenkins and James Jones appear to be on their way out, but nothing is official yet. The status of Atari Bigby, John Kuhn, Anthony Smith and Matt Wilhelm is unknown.

Did I miss anyone?

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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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4

May

3 Main Themes Emerge From Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Draft

The 2011 NFL draft is now officially over, and its time to take a look at what the Packers did.  Over the next couple of weeks, fans and analysts alike will sit in front of their computers and grade each team’s draft class; in my opinion this is completely absurd for two reasons.

For one, these players haven’t played a single snap in the NFL yet and no one knows exactly how these players are going to pan out; if anyone did the draft would be a pretty boring affair.

And second, the inherent flaw in grading is that it’s based on a big board typically made by an analyst or the fans themselves.  There are only a few people privy to the actual boards of the 32 teams, and I’m willing to bet that none of the boards you see online are even remotely close to the real things.

Nevertheless, one fact that must be true is that every team drafts with a logical purpose; whether drafting purely on talent, athleticism, speed, need or value, it would be simply foolish for a team to draft a player without an idea of what to do with him and how that player fits into the team.  With that in mind, in the following article I hope to analyze what the Packers were thinking when they drafted each player.

Overall Impressions:

  1. The retooling of the defense is basically complete: Teams set a tone with the players they draft and this year it was all about giving Aaron Rodgers more help.  Many people have forgotten that the Packers are only two years removed from completely changing their defensive scheme from a 4-3 bump and run scheme under Bob Sanders to a 3-4 zone blitz scheme under Dom Capers.The 2009 and 2010 drafts were very defensive heavy, with BJ Raji and Clay Matthews III being drafted in the 1st round in 2009 and Mike Neal and Morgan Burnett being taken in the 2nd and 3rd round in 2010.  This was simply based on the fact that many of the players acquired pre-2009 weren’t ideal for a 3-4 defense (such as DE/OLB Aaron Kampman).  In comparison, the 2011 draft was definitely an offensive draft, with the first 3 picks on the offense and 4 offensive skill positions being addressed overall.
11

April

2011 Draft Prep: Green Bay Packers Needs by Position – Offensive Line

In this next installment of our 2011 Draft Prep series looking at the Green Bay Packers’ needs by position, we are going to analyze how the offensive line positions currently stand. Strengths, weaknesses, depth, and uncertainties will all be examined to determine the urgency of need in regards to next season.

This series is meant to help us figure out the needs of the team and how the draft could be used to improve the weaker areas. While Ted Thompson largely uses the “best player available” (BPA) approach, his decision to trade up or down the board is affected by what position players he would prefer to have. Additionally, the picking up of players in the later rounds and in undrafted free agency is often based on need, since the talent is less defined.

CURRENT PLAYERS:

#63 Scott Wells [C]
30 yrs. old / 7 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#62 Evan Dietrich-Smith [C/G]
24 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#67 Nick McDonald [C/G]
23 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2012

#72 Jason Spitz [C/G]
28 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (no tender offered)

#71 Josh Sitton [G]
24 yrs. old / 3 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#64 Adrian Battles [G]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#73 Daryn Colledge [G]
29 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (tender offered)

#74 Marshall Newhouse [G/T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2013

#70 T.J. Lang [T/G]
23 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#76 Chad Clifton [T]
34 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#65 Mark Tauscher [T]
33 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#75 Bryan Bulaga [T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2014

#69 Chris Campbell [T]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

* Contract information acquired from RotoWorld.com

POSITION STRENGTHS:

The offensive line as a unit has come a long way from its dismal 2009 performance. It still has its weak points, but overall the unit does a good job in pass protection.

11

October

Green Bay Packers Offensive Line: Things are not always as they seem.

(From the “Things are not Always as They Seem Department”: Offensive Line Edition)

Perception #1 ” “Jared Allen had 4 sacks so Daryn Colledge was awful against the Vikings…”

When the Green Bay Packers played the Minnesota Vikings last Monday Night, Aaron Rodgers was sacked 8 times, with 4 credited to Jared Allen. Since Daryn Colledge was the man drawing the difficult task of blocking the two-time Pro-Bowler, one would assume he had a bad night. In fact, I have heard many say how awful Colledge played on Monday Night.

But being the curious type, I needed to know if this was really true or just another case of overreaction by Packers beat writers, bloggers and fans. So, I did the only thing that could be done – I went back to the game films and watched Jared Allen on every play.

I learned a lot, mostly that Jared Allen is even better than I thought. Like him or not, he has to be the best speed pass-rusher in the league right now. Allen is that annoying, arrogant jerk that everyone hates, unless he’s on your team. Then you love him. Like Sean Avery in hockey, if you follow hockey at all. He’s a disruptive force and excels at getting into the heads of opposing players.

The other thing I learned was that Daryn College did not do as bad a job as you probably think. In fact, he actually did fairly well, considering he is at tackle only because of Clifton’s injury.

OK, so you’re probably saying to yourself, what is Jersey Al drinking? Well, I did go to a wine tasting last night, but I am completely sober this afternoon and I know what my eyes have seen after watching the film. Let me prove it to you:

Sack #1: Alan Barbre gets beat, Rodgers holds the ball too long and turns right into Jared Allen’s path. Colledge’s job on that play was to just cut-block Allen, as it was a 3-step drop and a quick pass out. Colledge doesn’t get Allen down, but he does force him deep and wide, giving Rodgers plenty of time on the backside to get off his quick pass. If only he did. Sack blame: Barbre and Rogers.