21

July

Packers Undrafted Free Agent Running Back Quinn Porter Looking to Surprise

In the second of this multi-part series, I will examine the only Green Bay Packers 2010 undrafted free agent running back (Quinn Porter) and his chances of making the 53-man roster or practice squad.

(You can find Part 1 of this series HERE)

Will Porter’s spin of the wheel land the Packers a big jackpot or will they hit bankrupt and go away empty-handed?

In each of the last five  years, at least one UFA has made the Packers’ 53-man roster. Will Porter be the one to continue the trend in 2010? Lets take a closer look at Porter and what he is up against.

Part Two – OFFENSE – Running Backs

The Packers kept three running backs last year, stashed Kregg Lumpkin on the practice squad, and of course kept the now infamous trio of fullbacks.  While many are assuming they won’t do the same this year, I say it’s just as possible as it was last year.

UDFA Rookies:

Quinn Porter,  Stillman College, 6’0″, 205 lbs, 4.48 40yd time. Signed by Green Bay as a non-drafted free agent on April 30, 2010……

VIDEO: (FF to 2:30 mark)

AUDIO INTERVIEW:

Originally walked on at Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) before eventually earning a scholarship and lettering all four years. After spending his redshirt season and first four games of his freshman year at WR, asked the coaches if he could move to RB due to injuries at that position… Made his collegiate debut at RB at Miles College (Sept. 24), and stayed there for the rest of his career.  Rushed for 2,788 yards and 24 TDs on 511 carries (5.5 avg.) in 37 games… Added 68 receptions for 887 yards (13.0 avg.) and 12 TDs and posted a 32.0-yard average on 19 kickoff returns. Porter was also the starting punter soph & junior years (35 yd avg) and was 2 for 2 on passes thrown for over 50 yds each and 1 TD.

As a senior, received honorable mention All-America honors from D2Football.com. His average of 138.1 rushing yards per game ranked fifth in Division II. Posted a 39.8-yard average on 10 kickoff returns, highlighted by a pair of 90-yard TDs.

20

July

Green Bay Packers Brandon Jackson: Do They Really Have to Keep Him?

My Postulate: Brandon Jackson has not done enough to just be handed a spot on the Green Bay Packers 2010  roster.

Everywhere I look, I see Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson mentioned as the two “locks” at the running back spot for the Packers.  I say, not so fast

This started out innocently enough as a look at the battle for the last running back spot on the Packers (that will be coming soon), but soon diverted into a full-fledged disparagement of Brandon Jackson. See, I admit it.

Now certainly, I can be fickle. There are certain things I expect from players at certain positions. Pretty key for a running back is to be productive when he gets the ball. Even though Ryan Grant doesn’t fit my perfect running back mold, I’ll never deny that he’s been productive and has done a good job for the Packers.

As for Jackson, his failures as a productive ground gainer and as a receiver are disturbing. One would think he would be perfect for the screen game, yet, with a few exceptions, he has mostly struggled there.

This past season, he  contributed to the team in just one significant way – pass blocking. I know this, of course, because I’ve seen many  a sportswriter or blogger proclaim Jackson as having done  a “great” job in pass protection last season. So it must be true, right?

Well, I’m not ready to anoint Jackson as a great pass blocker. He certainly made huge strides last season to become a dependable pass blocker. But listening to most writers and fans speak, you’d think this guy was lights out every time.

I’ve been spending some time e-watching last season’s games, and here’s what I’ve seen. In situations where he’s been able to square up to the defender, he has dug in and held his ground very well. On plays where he had to go find a rusher or extend his body to block someone, not so good.

In the meantime, he’s been a disappointment as a running back, as a receiver and on special teams. If I’m the Packers, I work extra hard with James Starks, Kregg Lumpkin and even Quinn Porter on pass-blocking . If they can be satisfied with one of those three in that role, then there’s really no reason to keep Jackson, since any of those three are all more versatile than Jackson (whether Porter can make the jump from Div II remains to be seen).

4

September

The Packers Turk Says: Whack Wynn, Leave Lumpkin

This is my final plea.

I am writing this on the eve of the final NFL roster cuts. By 4PM ET on Saturday, 22 Packers will be off the team. Some will return via the practice squad. Some will be picked up by other teams. Maybe some will be traded and some will take that long drive home to Realityville.

But there’s one guy that shouldn’t be doing any of those things. One guy that I think would be the perfect #2 running back on the Packers. Kregg Lumpkin. OK, you can stop rolling your eyes. Sure you’ve heard this from me before. But hey, I really believe it.

And yet, it seems that everyone is in love with DeShawn Wynn and has Lumpkin gone. Why? What do you all see that I don’t?

Both Lumpkin and Wynn have had their injury problems, so lets throw that out. Is he a better receiver that Lumpkin? NO. Is he a better blocker than Lumpkin? YES. Is he a better runner than Lumpkin? NO.

Oh, you don’t believe that last one? We’ll to me, a good running back is one that gains yards when he has the ball. Lets look at some facts:

In the 2008 preseason, Lumpkin was the Packers leading rusher (38 carries, 153 yards, 4.0-yard average, one touchdown) and also added seven receptions for 59 yards and another TD. DeShawn Wynn was CUT by the Packers in favor of: Kregg Lumpkin.

In this preseason, lets look at these numbers:

Wynn, 17 carries, 49 yards, 2.8 YPC
Lumpkin, 27 carries, 95 yards, 3.8 YPC
Sutton, 40 carries, 191 yards, 4.8 YPC

Obviously, Sutton deserves to make the team. But getting down to that last RB spot (and like Brian Carriveau at Railbird Central, I think the Packers may keep four), Lumpkin offers much more. Lumpkin has moves, picks a hole quickly and is able to bounce outside if needed. Wynn just plods forward.

Watching tape of the Tennessee game, I often spotted Wynn not following his lead blocker, and instead, “running to darkness”. Yes, he had six carries for 11 yards in that game. Watching that same tape, you’ll see Kregg Lumpkin with some great moves and “running to daylight”. He had 9 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown.

7

August

Green Bay Packers Offense: 2009 Training Camp Improvements to Wish For

As the Packers’ 2009 training camp begins, here are the developments I want to see on the offensive side of the ball by the time the Packers break camp.

Developments I want to see on Offense:

Quinn Johnson wins at least a portion of the fullback job: For the Packers offense to be successful, the running game has to improve, especially the power running game. Protecting a lead late in games was a key failure point for the Packers last year.

The ability to grind out the tough yards late in games is a demoralizing dagger to your opponent. A power fullback leading those runs is just that much better. John Kuhn and Korey Hall have done an adequate job as blockers, but neither one would scare me. Quinn Johnson, however, is big, powerful, and would definitely put a little fear in me.

Johnson caught the eye of Packers scouts, leading to his selection by the Packers in the fifth round.

Says head coach Mike McCarthy, “Quinn, when you watch him play at LSU, when he hits you, he keeps moving forward. He definitely has that lead blocking ability that you’re definitely looking for in tight situations, whether it be short-yardage, goal-line, or first and second down, getting up and leading on those linebackers.”

So, I’m looking for the Mighty Quinn to live up to the hype (sounds weird for a 5th round draft pick, I know). If he is half of what he has been made out to be in the Packers Blogosphere, then we should be able to lessen the three-and-outs and keep those lead-keeping, time-eating late drives going.


Running Backs: Kregg Lumpkin makes the roster. OK, so this is blatantly self-serving, being that I wrote an article making the outlandish declaration that he is the best running back on the team.

But putting that aside, Lumpkin is a power runner like Ryan Grant, but with better vision and moves. He can make defenders miss, doesn’t run into his blockers (unlike Grant) and can push the pile when a hole isn’t there.

As Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press Gazette recently wrote “RB Kregg Lumpkin is the picture of form…he gets low while also keeping the ball high…” He is also a very good receiver, something else “Hands of Stone” Grant is not.

6

July

The Green Bay Packers’ Best Running Back Is Not Who You Think…

In any discussion I have seen of the current Green Bay Packers running backs, the theme is the same: Can Ryan Grant return to the form of his rookie year and if not, will they finally give Brandon Jackson a chance to start?

In a recent interview, Packers beat writer Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal was asked why Brandon Jackson did not get more of an opportunity to play last year. Bedard stated without hesitation that there were people in the Packer organization that wanted Ryan Grant to be the starter last year, even as he was struggling on the field and battling a hamstring injury.

All indications are that it was not the coaches, but the Packers front office pushing Grant as the starter to justify the new contract he was given.

So as Packer fans continue arguing Grant vs. Jackson, I am here to throw a monkey wrench into the debate. Neither one of them is the best running back on the Packers. Lurking in the wings and waiting for his chance could very well be the best running back on the Green Bay Packers roster—Kregg Lumpkin.

As a running back from the University of Georgia, Kregg Lumpkin is in good company. Herschel Walker, Terrell Davis, Rodney Hampton, Garrison Hearst and other top NFL running backs have all came out of “Tailback U”.

Lumpkin was expected to have as good a college career as any of them. But that did not happen. Lumpkin made the Packers roster as an undrafted rookie, and then ended up spending most of the season on injured reserve.

So what has he done for me to say he is the Packers’ best running back? Why would I go out on such a precarious limb? What evidence is there to support this hypothesis?

Well, a lot of it may be circumstantial, but let me present my case.

Kregg Antonio Lumpkin was born in Albany, Georgia, about 60 miles North of Talahassee, Florida. His family later relocated to Stone Mountain Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Lumpkin played High School football there at Stephenson HS.

He started all four year at running back, and rushed for 2,088 yards during his junior season and 1,456 yards with 15 touchdowns as a senior.