Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Brett Swain

1) Introduction: Brett Swain wears the underdog crown very well. A seventh round pick in 2008, Swain spent the entire season on the practice squad.  In 2009, Swain beat out Ruvell Martin for a roster spot, but played only six games  before blowing out his knee. More of a contributor on special teams than a receiver, Swain nonetheless would be more active than most teams’ #5 receivers, given the Packers’ Air McCarthy offense and the injury to Jermichael Finley.

2) Profile:

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: While Swain was the favorite to hold on to the #5 receiver spot, there were serious doubts if he could be even be ready to start the season. He struggled with the leg injury rehab early in camp, but improved dramatically as the preseason progressed. Despite a host of undrafted receivers challenging him, Swain held on to his job, mostly due to his value on special teams. Swain would be expected to continue being steady on coverage teams,  be the emergency fill-in at receiver, and occasionally step onto the field when the Packers went to five wideouts.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Swain caught the first pass of career against the Jets, filling in for an injured Donald Driver. In the Packers’ regular season loss to Atlanta,  Brett Swain saw his most extended action of the season. The Packers went into their “big five” receiver set 15 times in that game, with Swain catching two passes. One was a slant for 31 yards, which was easiest the longest reception of his career. Swain’s lowlight would easily be his drop of  what would have been a key first down on a third and 10 pass in the Super Bowl.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Swain did see action in all of the Packers’ games, mostly on special teams. Swain had a pass thrown his way in six regular season games plus the Super Bowl. He finished with 6 receptions on the year for 72 yards.  On special teams, Swain was credited with three coverage tackles during the regular season.

6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: Other than the Super Bowl, Swain as a receiver over the last six games was  pretty much invisible.  After letting one pass slip through his fingers and the big third down drop, he probably wished he were.  On the other hand, Swain played well on special teams, recording 6 tackles over the Packers’ four postseason games.



Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Matt Flynn

1) Introduction: Matt Flynn has a BCS Championship MVP trophy sitting on his shelf. So while there is little doubt he can perform in a big spot, the question on Flynn has always been, does he have enough talent to be an NFL quarterback?

The seventh round draft choice won the Packers backup QB job as a rookie, beating out second rounder Brian Brohm. At the time, I thought Ted Thompson was crazy to not bring in a veteran backup.  Ted rolled the dice with Flynn, and fortunately, he wasn’t needed.

2) Profile:

Matthew Clayton Flynn

Position: QB
Height: 6-2    Weight: 228 lbs.

Born: June 20, 1985 in Tyler, TX
College: LSU (school history)    (Flynn college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 7th round (209th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Coming into this season, Matt Flynn was expected to once again be nothing more than the emergency #2 QB for the Packers. But this preseason was a bit different. The Packers had Super Bowl aspirations this year. Consequentially there was an undercurrent among Packers fans wanting to know that Flynn could keep the season on track if Rodgers had to miss a few games. I frankly, didn’t have the confidence that he could and he proved me wrong against the Patriots.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Matt Flynn threw more passes in the New England game than he had in his first two years in the league. And for the most part, he threw them well. Coming off the horrible loss to the Lions, most observers didn’t give Flynn or the Packers a chance against New England.  Flynn surprised them all by throwing 3 TD passes and just coming up short against the seemingly invincible Patriots.  Flynn’s lowlight came in the aforementioned loss to the Lions, where Flynn threw 2 INTs, including one in the Lions’ end zone. I don’t blame him for the loss, however, as the entire Packers’ team and coaches were just awful that day.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Well, there’s only one way to evaluate a backup quarterback’s contribution to a team’s success – how he performs when called upon. Flynn got the call twice this season with mixed results; a below-average performance against the Lions and an above-average performance against the Patriots.



Green Bay Packers 2010 Defense – Complete Report Card – Player Grades

Here it is, the COMPLETE list of Green Bay Packers Defense Player Grades for the 2010 season. After a fun week of in-depth evaluations, here is the Cliff Notes version for you. Click on any player’s name to see the full evaluation.

(B)   Cullen Jenkins

(A-)  B. J. Raji

(B)  Ryan Pickett

(C)  Howard Green

(A) Clay Matthews III

(C+)  A. J. Hawk

(C)  Frank Zombo

(B+)  Desmond Bishop

(C)  Erik Walden

(A+)  Tramon Williams

(B+)  Charles Woodson

(B)  Nick Collins

(B)  Sam Shields

(C)  Jarrett Bush

(B-) Charlie Peprah

(D)  Pat Lee


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.




Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – C. J. Wilson

1) Introduction: When the Green Bay Packers drafted C. J. Wilson in the seventh round last season, I immediately went searching for You Tube videos of him. I found some video that really impressed me, leading me to believe he could be as good as Mike Neal, who the Packers took in the second round. Of course, that was a stretch, but my point is, my expectations for Wilson were probably higher than most.

2) Profile:

Clifford James Wilson

Position: DE
Height: 6-4    Weight: 271 lbs.

Born: March 30, 1987 in Bellhaven, NC
College: East Carolina (school history)    (Wilson college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 7th round (230th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: As a seventh round draft pick, just making the roster would normally be exceeding expectations. Wilson, however, showed enough for the Packers to cut Jarius Wynn and keep Wilson on the active roster. And it sure was a good thing they did.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: C.J. Wilson got his first significant playing time when he was thrown into the fire of the Packers’ home game against the Vikings. With both Cullen Jenkins and Ryan Pickett injured and out of the game, the Packers were down to 3 healthy defensive linemen (the others being B. J. Raji and Jarius Wynn). C.J Wilson played like a veteran that day, recording 5 solo tackles and 4 assists. The playoff game against Atlanta, where he had 3 tackles, one assist and a sack was another highlight. As for lowlights, it was difficult coming up with specific examples, so we’ll go with the 5 straight games after the bye where he saw little or no action when the Packers picked up Howard Green.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Wilson’s contributions were limited, but when called upon, he did an adequate job for a seventh round draft pick from a small college. He proved to be a bit more than just a warm body.

6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: Wilson found some playing time down the stretch  when Dom Capers mixed in a 4-man defensive front, mostly against strong running teams like the Giants Falcons and Steelers.

Season Report Card:

(B-) Level of expectations met during the season
(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)



Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Erik Walden

1) Introduction: Erik Walden, a third-year player out of Middle Tennessee State, played in 28 career games before being signed by the Green Bay Packers. Drafted in the sixth round by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, he was claimed by Kansas City after being released by Dallas in the final August roster cutdown. Miami would eventually claim him after a short stint with the Chiefs. In what would be an omen of things to come, the Dolphins cut Walden a week prior to their historic Special Teams meltdown against the New England Patriots. He was part of the Packers’ “mass signing”  in October that included Diyral Briggs, Matt Wilhelm, and Howard Green.

Erik Walden2) Profile:

Erik Walden

Position: DE
Height: 6-2 Weight: 238 lbs.

Born: August 21, 1985 in Dublin, GA
College: Middle Tenn. State
Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 6th round (167th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season: No expectations for Walden coming into the season, since he was picked up after Week 7; however, as a mid-season signing, he was projected to work behind Frank Zombo on the OLB depth chart. (Brad Jones had been placed on IR the week he was signed.) Additionally, his reputation as arguably the best special teams player from the Miami Dolphins increased his prospects in that phase of the game for the Packers.

4) Highlights / Lowlights: The biggest game of the season for Erik Walden was also the biggest of his NFL career. In a must-win Week 17 showdown against the Chicago Bears, Walden could have easily been named the defensive MVP of the game. He recorded 11 solo tackles and three sacks, one of which was an amazing delayed blitz on a replayed third-and-long. Walden seemed to be everywhere on the field making plays. Unfortunately, his next outing against the Bears in the NFC Championship game was cut short by an ankle injury. It ended up costing him the opportunity to play in Super Bowl XLV.

5) Contributions to the overall team success: Until Zombo’s knee injury made Walden the de facto starter at ROLB, he received limited rotations since he was still learning the defense. Even as a starter, Walden split some of his time with Robert Francois. It wasn’t until the Week 17 game that he finally displayed a flash of great play. Walden was very assignment-sure, didn’t draw any penalties, and missed just one tackle.



Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Pat Lee

1) Introduction: As a second round pick in 2008, Pat Lee has been little more than a disappointment. Active as mostly a special teams player in his rookie season, he ended up only being active for five games and was eventually put on injured reserve (IR) due to a lingering knee injury. The 2009 season was a wash for Lee after a preseason knee injury against the Titans forced him again onto IR. Finally, in 2010, Lee was active for most of the season (15 games), though again mostly as a special teamer. He had just one start this season:  Week 5 at Washington.

Pat Lee2) Profile:

Patrick Christopher Lee

Position: DB
Height: 5-11    Weight: 194 lbs.

Born: February 20, 1984 in Miami, FL
College: Auburn (school history)    (Lee college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round (60th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season: Coming into his third season, Pat Lee had already been injured for most of his short NFL career. Competing at cornerback with Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, the rising Sam Shields, and even Brandon Underwood and Jarrett Bush, Lee was left with little hope at playing much in the position. By the time training camp was over and preseason games were under way, it was clear Lee had fallen to the bottom of the totem pole and in danger of maybe being cut. Most of his expectations for the season would be as a gunner for the special teams coverage units.

4) Highlights / Lowlights: It’s hard to find distinctive moments in a year full of mediocrity for Pat Lee. Perhaps his most important contribution of the year was filling in at cornerback during Super Bowl XLV. After losing Woodson and Shields to injury, the Packers were forced to play Bush and Lee in their stead. Neither played exceptionally well, though they did hold their own enough to help the defense in its task. As for Lee’s lowlights, you can probably just take the entire season as a whole.

5) Contributions to the overall team success: It’s tough to say that Pat Lee had any measurable amount of contributions to the team’s success this season. On special teams, he ranked 8th in total tackles (10) and 2nd in missed tackles (5). When he was given the opportunity to return kicks, Lee didn’t provide anything special. He also suffered some minor injuries throughout the season that made him less-than-reliable.



Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Tramon Williams

1) Introduction: Tramon Williams is a very different player in 2010 than he was in 2009. Williams was the second most penalized defensive back in the NFL in 2009, when he stepped into a starting role after Al Harris was lost for the season. He showed some signs of brilliance, but a lack of discipline in his technique, earning him the nickname “Admiral Armbar” from Football Outsiders. Well, he and assistant coach Joe Whitt addressed the technique issues in training camp, and “Admiral Armbar” has not been seen since.

2) Profile:

Tramon Vernell Williams

Position: DB
Height: 5-11    Weight: 191 lbs.

Born: March 16, 1983 in Houma, LA
College: Louisiana Tech (school history)    (Williams college stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 19 (4692nd overall since 1950)
1-time Pro Bowler (fine print)

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Solid starter. One way or another, Tramon Williams was going to be counted on to be a starter. Even if Al Harris was able to return to action this season, the odds of him stepping in right away were slim. Tramon Williams was going to be the Packers’ starting right cornerback in 2010 – sink or swim. Besides changing his coverage techniques, Williams was also going to be expected to improve his tackling, which the Packers’ coaches were not satisfied with in 2009.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: The highlights are easy. Finding  low-lights was rather difficult, especially with his play at cornerback. Perhaps his muffed punt in the Super Bowl would qualify as a low-light. He was very lucky there the Packers stole the ball back. As for his least productive game stat-wise, it would be the New England game. 1 solo tackle, no passes defended and he was pancaked on the BenJarvis Green TD run in the 1st quarter. Highlight for the year would have to be the Atlanta game. An INT in the end zone and a pick-six just before the half that changed the whole complexion of the game. The game-ending INT against the Eagles in the playoffs would be a close second.