6

February

Jerel Worthy 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

 

Packers DE Jerel Worthy

Packers DE Jerel Worthy

1) Introduction: Jerel Worthy made it back from a late-season ACL injury suffered in 2012. He didn’t do anything upon returning, but simply making it back onto the field so soon was more than most people expected.

2) Profile:

Jerel Worthy

  • Age: 23
  • Born: 4/28/1990 in Huber Heights, OH
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 308
  • College: Michigan St.
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Get healthy. I don’t think anybody expected Worthy to play a snap, but he made it all the way back and saw some game action.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Walking onto the field to play against the Vikings in week 12 — less than a year removed from a major ACL injury — is a very impressive highlight. We’ll find out next season if Worthy’s highlights go beyond returning from a serious injury.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: It’s tough to contribute when you’re injured. If Worthy is to have a successful NFL career, it will probably come as a Mike Daniels type of player — someone who is explosive enough to rush the passer from the inside but might be a little undersized to anchor gaps in the run defense.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Worthy only played two snaps in the postseason.

Season Report Card:

(Incomplete) Level of expectations met during the season

(Incomplete) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(Incomplete) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  Incomplete (kudos to Worthy for working to return so soon, but there isn’t enough there to give him a proper grade)

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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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27

August

Packers Cut Roster to 75 Players

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson made his roster cuts on Tuesday to make the 75-player limit.

The Green Bay Packers announced on Tuesday afternoon that their roster had been reduced to 75 players, per NFL rules. Four players were placed on injured reserve, four were placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform), and one was released. The players removed from the active roster were:

  • T Bryan Bulaga (IR)
  • WR Kevin Dorsey (IR)
  • RB DuJuan Harris (IR)
  • LB Jarvis Reed (IR)
  • S Sean Richardson (PUP)
  • T Derek Sherrod (PUP)
  • T J.C. Tretter (PUP)
  • DE Jerel Worthy (PUP)
  • K Zach Ramirez (released)

This is in addition to the six players already released since Saturday:

  • QB Graham Harrell
  • WR Justin Wilson
  • WR Omarius Hines
  • WR Alex Gillett
  • DL Gilbert Peña
  • RB Angelo Pease
  • K Giorgio Tavecchio

The players placed on injured lists (PUP and IR) were largely expected to end up there. DuJuan Harris was the one surprising move reported earlier this afternoon. Zach Ramirez was somewhat surprising considering his very recent signing; however, Packers beat reporters noted that he only made 6 of 16 field goal attempts during today’s practice. Mason Crosby connected on all 14 of his, suggesting that he might have finally won the preseason battle for good.

One more important note is that players placed on injured reserve today can not be “Designated for Return” later on in the season. This means that Bryan Bulaga and DuJuan Harris are effectively done for the year. Players on the PUP, as always, will have the opportunity to return to practice six weeks into the regular season.

Ted Thompson and the Packers must further reduce the roster to 53 players by the end of business on Saturday, August 31st.

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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24

August

Cory’s Corner: Packers Defense Will Be Back This Year

Johnny Jolly could add an edge to the Packers defense.

Johnny Jolly could add an edge to the Packers defense.

There are a lot of reasons to feel optimistic about this Packers season. Aaron Rodgers is the game’s best quarterback at the most important position. A capable running game is now firmly in place after drafting Alabama bulldozer Eddie Lacy. And the leaner, stronger Jermichael Finley is keeping his tongue muzzled.

Those are great reasons. But I’m the pegging the defense to have a bounce-back season.

I understand if a lot of you are raising your eyebrows right now. Heck, the Packers were 22nd in the league in defensive yards per game (336) and tied for 30th — that’s second to last — with 123 penalties.

Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy made a bold move by bringing back defensive tackle Johnny Jolly. He hasn’t seen game action in 3 ½ years, spent six months in jail and tried to get his life back after a codeine arrest. But Jolly is looking like the left defensive end that started all 16 games in 2009. He had a sack, a pick, two fumble recoveries and 24 tackles back then.

Jolly has looked great in the preseason, showing that the fire for football never went out. His presence is even more important now that first round pick Datone Jones has been dealing with a pesky ankle injury.

Like Jolly, linebacker Nick Perry is another key cog this year. The first round pick saw his rookie campaign truncated due to nagging knee and wrist injuries. He is trimmer than last year and has a better understanding of the outside linebacker position, which was different than defensive end which is what he played at USC.

That makes two great bookend linebackers in Dom Capers’ 3-4 scheme. Clay Matthews has played out of this universe thanks to his impressive closing speed, his array of moves to get to the quarterback and his seemingly limitless energy. With a solid linebacker on the other side, Matthews will not be double-teamed nearly as often, which will open the door for Matthews to make his fifth Pro Bowl in his fifth NFL season.

The Packers front seven is better. Jolly brings a needed edge and nastiness that hasn’t been seen in awhile and A.J. Hawk brings the necessary leadership because he doesn’t care about the pay cut, he just wants to win. And as he heads into his eighth season, Hawk is like a quasi coach at inside linebacker.

23

July

Ten Packers Training Camp Topics: #2 — Defensive Line Depth

Packers first-round pick Datone Jones will be asked to play a big role as a rookie. Is he ready to be a starter?

Packers first-round pick Datone Jones will be asked to play a big role as a rookie. Is he ready to be a starter?

When the Green Bay Packers took the field against the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, they did so with just five defensive linemen: B.J. Raji, Mike Daniels, Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson and Mike Neal.

This offseason, the Packers have a mess of defensive linemen, competing for six or seven roster spots. Raji, Pickett, Wilson, Daniels, Neal and Jerel Worthy return to the team this year, along new competition from 2013 first-round pick Datone Jones, fifth-round pick Josh Boyd and Johnny Jolly.

With nine defensive linemen competing for spots on the 53-man roster, it’s a foregone conclusion that some players will be let go.

Last year, the Packers kept six defensive linemen: Raji, Pickett, Wilson, Worthy, Daniels and Phillip Merling. Merling only played in three regular-season games, as Neal was forced to serve a four-game suspension to start the season.

The Packers may very well have a similar situation this offseason with Worthy. Coming off a torn ACL suffered in Week 16 of last season, Worthy seems like a candidate to begin the season on the PUP list. If that’s the case, it seems likely that the Packers would, again, keep six linemen before making a decision on who is let go once Worthy returns.

Throughout OTAs, the Packers wanted to get a look at Neal at outside linebacker. And earlier this month on Packers Central, hosted by Zach Kruse and me, Worthy said there’s reason to be excited about Neal standing up.

“All I can say about Mike Neal moving to outside linebacker is look out,” Worthy said. “That’s all I can say. There’s about to be some hell to pay for whoever has to deal with him.”

Whether Neal plays as a true outside linebacker or as an interior pass rusher, it’s clear the team views him as one of its most talented pass rushers. And towards the end of the season, Neal may have been the team’s second-most efficient pass rusher after Clay Matthews.

With a deeper group of defensive linemen this season, players who specialize in the pass-rush department may be able to focus on that more than in years past. Raji and Pickett will assume two starting spots, and the third spot will likely come down to Jones or Wilson.

30

June

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

To survive this particular Sunday, I don’t want to write about Desmond Bishop officially signing with the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers getting shafted on the NFL top 100 list or Aaron Hernandez (allegedly) murdering a guy(s). Instead, let’s do a Packers hypothetical:

If Packers GM Ted Thompson calls you tomorrow, rattles off the names of two players, and says he absolutely has to cut one of  them and is calling you for advice, what would you tell him?

Here are the scenarios:

Tramon Williams or Casey Hayward?
I’d keep Hayward and cut Williams. Not an easy choice because I’m not as down on Williams as others, but I’ll take the young guy who isn’t as afraid of contact as Williams has been lately. Having young CBs like Sam Shields and Davon House on the roster would also help cushion the blow from losing Williams.

Mike Neal or Jerel Worthy?
One guy is prone to injuries, the other is actually injured. I’m keeping Neal and cutting Worthy. Neal has showed flashes of being really damn good when he hasn’t been in the trainer’s room. Worthy didn’t show me much last season when he was healthy — not enough explosiveness. I know Worthy is young and defensive linemen need time to develop, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I like a healthy Neal over a healthy Worthy.

Jermichael Finley or James Jones?
Now this is a tough one. I want to say I’d cut Finley and keep Jones, but for some reason, Finley still strikes fear into other teams. You still see coverage shifted to account for No. 88 even though he hasn’t been what I’d consider a playmaker in his career. He’s been a decent enough tight end, but not really a playmaker. Jones seemed expendable until he went nutso last season and I like his ability to go up and catch a jump ball every now and then. I also value a good wide receiver over a one-dimensional tight end, so I’d cut Finley. I might live to regret that decision, though. It’s a tough one.

Adam Czech, Jersey Al, Kris Burke, Chad Toporski, Thomas Hobbes, Jason Perone or Marcus Eversoll?

14

February

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Defensive Line

Next up in the AllGreenBayPackers.com’s positional group analysis is the defensive line, who while showed some improvement from their disastrous 2011 season was still probably the reason behind their playoff collapse this year.

Where Are We Now

Here are the current suspects;

  • BJ Raji (1st round, 2009)
  • Ryan Pickett (1st round, 2001)
  • Mike Neal (2nd round, 2010)
  • CJ Wilson (7th round, 2010)
  • Jerel Worthy (2nd round, 2012)
  • Mike Daniels (4th round, 2012)
  • Philip Merling (2nd round, 2008, cut week 4)

So that’s where we are.  Thompson has made quite an effort to shore up his defensive line, with three 1st or 2nd rounders in the last four years.  However, despite Thompson’s focus on the defensive line, not much good has happened.  BJ Raji hasn’t been as dominant a force as he was in the 2010 Superbowl season, Mike Neal is essentially starting his sophomore campaign with all the injuries he suffered and rookie Jerel Worthy looked like a raw rookie before suffering an ACL injury.

  • Raji: Raji spent considerably more time as a defensive end this year than as a nose tackle (536 snaps at DE vs. 123 at NT) and overall as I’ve written in my previous articles this is probably the best move for the Packers as defensive ends are much more important to a 3-4 defense than nose tackles.  While Raji definitely had a better season than his lackluster 2011 campaign, it still pales in comparison to his 2010 season where he earned the nickname “the freezer”.  One distinct possibility is that Raji is starting to wear down due to all the snaps that he’s had to take since there were no other viable DL around, but the addition of Worthy, Neal and Daniels will hopefully allow the Packers to have a decent DL rotation.
  • Pickett: Pickett again was a consistent performer in the middle, while he’s never going to really get the sacks or tackles to make fans notice, he does hold up double teams and do the dirty work for the rest of the defensive linemen and linebackers.  However at 33 Pickett is certainly in the twilight of his career but surprisingly is playing more snaps ever year since 2009; this obviously can’t continue to happen for a guy at his age and size so chances are good with Raji perhaps spending the majority of time at DE, we could see the Packers look for a replacement at nose tackle.
30

January

Packers Jerel Worthy: 2012 Player Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction: Jerel Worthy was considered to be a pleasant surprise to be there for the Packers to select in round two of last year’s draft. The former Spartan, who left college early, was looked upon to bring some “juice” to the Packers’ inside pass rush.

2) Profile:

Jerel Worthy

  • Age: 22
  • Born: 04/28/1990, in Huber Heights, OH
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 304
  • College: Michigan State
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 0 years

 

Career Stats and more:

 

3) Expectations coming into the season: As a high round draft pick, Worthy was expected to contribute immediately, but expectations were tempered with Worthy’s history of jumping offsides, which while often allowed him to crash through offensive lines before the linemen got set also lead to a lot of encroachment and offsides penalties.  It was expected that Worthy would probably get more penalties than fast starts against superior NFL caliber linemen but hopefully, he would adjust to the NFL and start to make some progress as a viable pass rushing threat.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Worthy’s best game was probably week 2 against the Bears where he recorded his first career sack, 2 tackles and 3 offensive negative plays.  His lowlight was immediately afterwards in week 3 against the Seahawks where played over 50% of the defensive snaps but posted no stats other than a penalty.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Worthy was wildly inconsistent so it’s hard to say how much he contributed.  He often peak and dip in his play in the same game.  Overall, that inconsistency was probably his own undoing as coaches were unsure of what type of player they would see.  Luckily, Worthy did who his talent and presuming he recovers well from his injury and settles down a bit, Worthy can become a dominant player for the Packers

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Worthy injured his knee in week 17 against the Vikings and was ruled out and then placed on IR shortly afterwards.  Worthy was not active for either playoff game.

 

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

(C-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: C-

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

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