20

February

Is the Next Jarrett Boykin on the Packers Roster?

Myles White

Could Myles White end up contributing to the Packers next season?

With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb due to hit free agency next offseason, the Packers could be looking to draft a wide receiver in April.

Or maybe they’re confident that they can re-up with Nelson and Cobb and aren’t worried about finding another receiver in the draft.

Or maybe they think they have a capable replacement for Nelson or Cobb already on the roster, and the rest of us just don’t know about him yet.

That last scenario seems by far the least plausible, but you never know. Nobody heard of Jarrett Boykin, but he became a reliable receiver and might step into James Jones’ role in 2014 if Jones signs elsewhere.

Of the Packers four “unknown” wide receivers currently on the roster, which one has the best chance of turning into a player? Here’s what I think:

Myles White
Some were saying White was the fastest receiver in training camp. He was also a hurdling star in high school and was signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech. Speed and athleticism isn’t the issue for White. Size is.

White is barely over 180 pounds and probably needs to buff up if he wants to stick around and have a legitimate shot at cracking the lineup. If White gets bigger and improves, he can potentially be a deep outside burner who would be a nice complement to the bigger Jordy Nelson, Jones (if he re-signs), Boykin and Cobb (who likes to work inside).

White was called up off the practice squad for the middle part of the season and didn’t do much in 123 snaps. Of course, he didn’t have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, either. White’s season came to an end early when he tore cartilage in his knee.

Chris Harper
He used to play for the Seahawks so he must be halfway decent, right? Well, maybe.

Harper has the size (228) to be another Boykin-type of receiver — tough to bring down and holds his own blocking. But there must be a reason he was cut by the Seahawks (and later by the 49ers) not long after getting drafted in the fourth round. Bob McGinn ranked Harper 12th in his pre-draft wide receiver rankings and quoted scouts who said Harper catches well in traffic and can play in the red zone.

2

November

Cory’s Corner: Adversity makes Rodgers MVP worthy

Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn't missed a beat.

Aaron Rodgers has been playing without his top weapons for two weeks and hasn’t missed a beat.

We all know that Aaron Rodgers is good.

But in the last two weeks he’s actually given us a value of how good.

With Randall Cobb and James Jones out with injury, he effortlessly beat Cleveland at home with only nine incompletions as he spread the wealth to eight different receivers.

And then last week, with Jermichael Finley out, he carved up the Vikings. He spread it around to six different receivers and of those, four were still getting used to being thrust into an increased role thanks to a rash of injuries.

Now I know the Browns and Vikings aren’t exactly the cream of any crop whatsoever, but Rodgers proved that he is the Packers’ puppet master.

In a year in which Peyton Manning is taking a machete to the passing record book, Rodgers just put himself in the NFL MVP discussion.

Everyone, including myself, didn’t think it was possible for Rodgers to jell with guys like Jarrett Boykin, a Jacksonville castoff, Myles White, a practice squad promotion, and Andrew Quarless, whose career has been truncated due to injury. The last time Quarless caught five passes in a game was Dec. 2010.

There’s a reason why these guys are backups. Obviously Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are exponentially more talented than this trio. There’s a reason why Rodgers gets all the reps with the No. 1’s in preseason camp so they can quickly get on the same page and develop that needed nonverbal communication that’s so important for success.

Rodgers hasn’t been given that much time with White and Boykin. It’s only been a couple weeks. Usually quarterbacks begin their critical timing at mini-camp and follow that up with more reps at training camp, which lasts five weeks.

And the nice thing about Rodgers is that he hasn’t made any excuses. He keeps plugging along — and winning games for Brett Favre’s fantasy football team.

It looks like it’s going to be the same script again for Rodgers when the Bears come to Lambeau on Monday night. Cobb and Finley are out and Jones isn’t close to making a return. Rodgers’ numbers aren’t going to be as glossy as Manning’s. With a superior running game, Eddie Lacy has been cutting into some of Rodgers’ production, but that shouldn’t detract from Rodgers playing with the Misfit Toys (plus Jordy Nelson) going on three weeks.

31

October

The 2013 Class is Packers’ Best Draft Yet Under Thompson

Packers RB Eddie Lacy leads a ridiculously strong 2013 rookie class for the Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson has made a lot of brilliant draft picks since taking over as Green Bay Packers general manager in 2005.

He drafted some guy named Aaron Rodgers in the first round in 2005, Greg Jennings (current issues aside) in the second round in 2006,  Jordy Nelson in the second round in 2008 and both Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji in the first round in 2009. Don’t forget Randall Cobb in the second round of 2011 either.

The middle rounds have seen success too. James Jones was a third rounder in 2007 and Josh Sitton was selected in the fourth round in 2008.  Sitton’s partner-in-crime, T.J. Lang, was a fourth rounder as well in 2009.

This is just a partial list of great picks Thompson has made during his tenure with the Packers.  He’s hit more than he’s missed and has Green Bay poised to be in Super Bowl contention for the next several years.    We could go on and on about how deft Thompson has been at drafting over the years and that doesn’t even include undrafted free agents.

That being said, no draft class of Thompson’s has made quite the impact, especially right out of the gate, as the 2013 class of rookies.  Some of it may not have been planned on due to yet another injury epidemic on the Packers’ roster, but this group of youngsters has come to play and very well could down as Thompson’s finest draft class to date.

To review, here is the 2013 Green Bay Packers draft class:

1. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

4a. David Bakhtiari, T, Colorado

4b. J.C. Tretter, T, Cornell

4c. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

5a. Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa

5b. Josh Boyd, DE, Mississippi State

6. Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois State

7a. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State

7b. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland

7c. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida

Go down that list and you will see many reasons why the Packers are still in control of the NFC North despite Lambeau Field once again doubling as an infirmary.

28

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 44, Vikings 31

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

The opening kickoff made it look like the Minnesota Vikings would have a shot to upset the Green Bay Packers in teams’ final meeting at the Metrodome, as Cordarrelle Patterson raced 109 yards for a touchdown.

But from then on, it was all Packers.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense moved the ball up and down the field with ease throughout the game. Despite having Myles White as his No. 3 receiver and Andrew Quarless as the starting tight end, Rodgers threw for 285 yards and a pair of scores to go along with just five incompletions.

His two touchdowns–both to Jordy Nelson–were perfect. There’s no other way to put it, really. Rodgers zipped the ball right past the defender’s earhole on each throw, leaving the defender with no chance at deflecting the pass.

After the first scoring connection from Rodgers to Nelson, I tweeted, “If I’m Aaron Rodgers, I’m putting an ongoing loop of that throw on a projection screen. Maybe in every room of my house.” And I meant it.

Then, after Nelson’s 76-yard score, I, again, wanted share my admiration. However, I just couldn’t seem to think of the words. It was simply another perfect throw by one of the best quarterbacks in football.

That touchdown, ironically, reminded me of Rodgers’ crucial third-down dart to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV. Jennings, now with quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and the Minnesota Vikings, was targeted three times Sunday night and only caught one pass for nine yards.

It’s safe to say that, while wealthier, Jennings is not having a lot of fun wearing purple this season. And that’s nothing against the color.

Speaking of Jordy Nelson, I think it’s worth revisiting the unwritten rule that you can’t compare white wide receivers to anyone other than white wide receivers. Nelson isn’t Eric Decker or Ed McCaffrey. He’s not Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker.

The guy is every bit of 6’3″ 217 pounds. He’s not the fastest receiver in the world, but he does everything you could possibly ask a wide receiver to do, and he does it well.

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.”

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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.

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15

October

Myles White Promoted From Practice Squad, Van Roten Placed on Injured Reserve

Myles White

White was promoted from the practice squad after Cobb was placed on injured reserve

The Green Bay Packers continue to make roster moves today.  According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsy, the Packers placed wide receiver Randall Cobb on injured reserve-designated to return, placed offensive lineman Greg Van Roten on season-ending injured reserve and signed receiver Myles White from their practice squad.

With Cobb slated to be out until at least week 15, many questions have surfaced as to what the Packers would do to fill the void on offense.  While replacing a dynamic receiver like Cobb is difficult by itself, the team will also miss his play-making abilities all around.  In addition to his duties as a receiver, Cobb has also carried the ball out of the backfield and returned kicks this season.

The Packers appear content to look to some of their current players and options.  It has been speculated that tight end Jermichael Finley will see extensive time split out at receiver.  This was already a given but was further fueled by the news that the Packers signed another of their practice squad players in that of tight end Jake Stoneburner.

White was signed for depth purposes as without Cobb, the Packers were down to just three receivers on their roster in that of James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin.

With Van Roten’s placement on IR comes some speculation as to how well offensive linemen Derek Sherrod and J.C. Tretter are progressing in their rehab from injury.  Both are on the physically unable to perform list and are now officially eligible to begin practicing with the team.  The Packers have up to three weeks to allow each to begin practicing and up to another three weeks from their first practice to either activate them, put them on season-ending injured reserve, or release them outright.

Sherrod hasn’t seen any football action since December of 2011 while Tretter was injured early in training camp during a non-contact drill.  With Van Roten now out of the mix, the Packers have only rookie Lane Taylor and Marshall Newhouse behind the five offensive line starters.  If Sherrod or Tretter are unable to return this season, the Packers will likely look to add another lineman for added depth.

What the Packers do with Sherrod, Tretter and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, who is also on PUP, will lead to more roster moves in the coming weeks.