3

September

Green Bay Packers Roster Cuts: QB Graham Harrell and G Nick McDonald Released

The Green Bay Packers continue to make cuts in a day-long effort to get their roster to the league-mandated 53-man limit.

Quarterback Graham Harrell and guard/center Nick McDonald headline the most recent cuts the Packers have made.

Harrell was holding down the Packers third quarterback job, but it looks like the team will keep just two on the active roster again in 2011. The Packers will likely attempt to bring Harrell back for a second stint on the practice squad, but he could be claimed by another franchise. Harrell showed flashes this preseason and many thought he had the potential of sticking on the Packers roster. If he is claimed, the Packers will have no alternatives for a No. 3 quarterback, and backup Matt Flynn could leave after 2011 in free agency.

McDonald was an undrafted free agent in 2010 who impressed coaches during his first professional season. A year later, however, it was clear McDonald hadn’t made the necessary improvements and was struggling to grasp the center position. His play Thursday against the Chiefs, in which he airmailed a snap that resulted in a safety and had a false start penalty, was likely his last straw. McDonald still has practice squad eligibility, despite sticking on the Packers 53-man roster for the entire 2010 season. He wasn’t active for a single game and the limit is nine. He could still stick.

Here are more recent cuts:

S Anthony Levine: He had a good shot at making the team but suffered a freak accident that forced him out of action with a concussion. It’s just a guess, but I think Levine makes the team with a full camp and preseason.

WR/KR Shaky Smithson: Expectations were too high for Smithson, who just never possessed the kind of speed to be an impact returner. His botched punt against the Chiefs sealed his fate.

 

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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2

September

Packers vs. Chiefs: Quick Observations from 20-19 Win in Preseason Finale

Photo from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 20-19 Thursday night after Kansas City’s 56-yard field goal attempt with no time remaining was wide left.

Here are some quick observations from the Packers’ preseason finale:

Twos outplay ones:

The Packers can take a lot of positive things away from their preseason finale. They got an incredible amount of positive film on the young guys who needed more evaluation time. The backups played nearly the entire game at most positions. The Chiefs even helped the Packers out by playing their starters well into the second half, which gave Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy the rare opportunity to see how their backups stacked up against the Chiefs starters. For the most part, the Packers twos and threes didin’t look overmatched. In fact, the defense did a number on Kansas City’s offense for a majority of the contest. Overall, to win a preseason game that should have been so undeniably onesided is certainly something to be proud for players and coaches throughout the Packers organization.

So’oto shines

Vic So’oto had the game of his life Thursday when he needed it the most. Many had already pegged him as a player who had a chance to crack the Packers 53-man roster, but his play against the Chiefs all but sealed it. So’oto had 1.5 sacks, another tackle for a loss, a strip of Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave the lead back to the Packers. If that’s not enough to make this team, I don’t know what is. It was an all-around impressive performance from the undrafted rookie out of BYU.

McDonald struggles

While So’oto had a night to remember, backup center Nick McDonald had one to forget. His botched snap inside the 10-yard line gave the Chiefs a safety, but he was also flagged for a false start and got beat up in the running game on several occasions. McDonald hasn’t progressed like the team thought he would after a rookie campaign in which he impressed several of the Packers coaches. Despite his versatility to play both center and guard, McDonald played himself onto the roster bubble Thursday night.

Pat Lee, last game in GB?

28

July

Breaking News: Daryn Colledge Agrees to Terms with Arizona Cardinals

Kevin Kolb wasn’t the only expensive player on the Arizona Cardinals free agent list apparently.  According to Jason Wilde of ESPN Madison, Daryn Colledge has agreed to a 5 year contract worth up to $27.5 million; that deal contains just under $10 million in guaranteed money and could net Colledge over $12 million over the first two years of the contract.

So it looks like Colledge’s agent was telling the truth all along, I can’t believe that Colledge is worth $6 million a year on average, not to mention the $10 million guaranteed.  Another thing that becomes obviously apparent is that there was no way that Packers General Manager Ted Thompson was really in the running.  Just as a point of comparison, Nick Collins, a pro-bowler who is considered one of the best safeties in the league signed a 4 year, $23.4 million dollar contract at the beginning of the season last year.

So what do the Packers do now?  Laugh a little probably.  TJ Lang, Nick McDonald, Marshall Newhouse and Caleb Schaluderaff become the natural candidates to replace Colledge, with Lang as the clear front runner based on his experience and being the back-up left guard on the depth chart.  Ironically, Colledge was probably the weakest link on the offensive line, even with Bryan Bulaga starting as a rookie in a position he’s never played before.  While fans seem split as to whether Mason Crosby is really worth $14.75 million, I think there will be a general consensus that Colledge is definitely not worth $27.5 million

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

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27

July

Agent Says Guard Daryn Colledge Will Leave Packers

Colledge's days in Green Bay appear to be over.

According to a tweet from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tom Silverstein, the Green Bay Packers are no longer in the running for free agent guard Daryn Colledge.

Silverstein was in contact with Colledge’s agent, who also said the Cardinals are his likely destination.

“G Daryn Colledge’s days with the Packers are over,” Silverstein’s tweet said. “He’s going elsewhere, his agent said. Leader in the clubhouse is Arizona.”

Briefly afterwards, Silverstein gave Colledge’s reason for leaving.

“College gave Packers last two years to re-sign him and decided that was enough. Packers weren’t involved too much in competition.”

If the reports turn out to be true, then the 2011 season will mark a new era for the Packers at left guard. Colledge had been the starter there since being a second round draft pick in 2006. Possibilities to replace him include T.J. Lang, Nick McDonald and potentially either Marshall Newhouse or Caleb Schlauderaff.

Heading into the offseason, the chances of Colledge returning to Green Bay were 50-50 depending on who you spoke to. It’s clear from Silverstein’s tweet that Colledge was displeased with the Packers refusal to approach him about a contract extension. As a guy who has started 76 of the Packers past 80 regular season games and all of their playoff games since ’06, you can see why there would be some tension there.

It will also be interesting to see what the market ultimately values Colledge, even if his price tag doesn’t appear to be the reason why the Packers strayed away from re-signing him. If he is signed to a manageable price and the Packers have struggles at left guard in 2011, their decision will be questioned.

However, the Packers were obviously comfortable letting Colledge go, whether it be because of price or their own self-scouting of both Colledge and their alternate options at guard.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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25

July

Packers Sign South Florida Center Sampson Genus

The Green Bay Packers signed South Florida center Sampson Genus Monday night.

Genus was not on the Packers official visit list prior to April’s NFL draft. He weighs in at 315 pounds and stands 6-1, prototypical measurements for a center.

At his pro day, Genus ran the 40-yard dash in 5.51 seconds, bench-pressed 225 pounds 28 times and had a vertical leap of 27 inches. His 20-yard shuffle time was 4.80 seconds. He was invited to the NFL combine but didn’t workout.

College summary

Genus arrived at South Florida as an offensive line prospect, but switched to defensive tackle in the spring of 2008 (sophomore year). While he was attracted attention at that position, Genus switched back to the offensive side of the ball in ’09.

Starting at center for the Bulls, Genus was a second-team All-Big East in ’09 and followed that performance up with a first-team selection in 2010. He started all 12 games in ’10 and was named team captain.

Commentary

The Packers are always in search of bodies along the offensive line, and Genus looks like one of those for camp. CBS Sports ranked him as their 21st best center for the 2011 draft, but it’s hard to judge him without seeing more tape and time in practice.

The Packers have two, and possibly three, capable centers in Scott Wells, Evan Dietrich-Smith and Nick McDonald. McDonald may be more of a guard, but he does have a past at the position. Genus could be a practice squad possibility.

Video Highlights

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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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.

5

April

According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Offensive Interior Linemen

Offensive Interior Linemen: Here’s the sixth of a series of articles and final for the offense, looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (read here for the rationale for this serieshere for quarterbackshere for running backs, here for wide receivershere for tight ends and here for offensive tackles).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what offensive interior linemen are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.

Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion.  Also listed below are also two offensive interior linemen in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of offensive interior linemen drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
Junius Coston 6’3” 317.00 5.31 7.93 4.64 29.50 102.00 21.00
Will Whitticker 6’5” 338.00 5.35 7.90 4.75 29.50 97.00 29.00
Daryn Colledge 6’4” 300.00 5.05 7.46 4.60 32.50 110.00 21.00
Jason Spitz 6’4” 310.00 5.40 7.82 4.56 28.50 102.00 25.00
Tony Moll 6’4” 285.00 18.00
Josh Sitton 6’4” 320.00 5.30 7.55 4.50 29.00 108.00 28.00
Marshall Newhouse 6’3” 319.00 5.00 7.40 4.60 25.00 97.00 25.00
Average 6’4” 312.71 5.24 7.68 4.61 29.00 102.67 23.86
StDev 0.69 16.77 0.17 0.23 0.08 2.41 5.43 4.02

What the Packers are looking for: Offensive interior are considered incredibly safe picks, perhaps even more than offensive tackles; offensive linemen are the most likely to start as rookies of any position and probably command the cheapest contracts of any 1st round pick.  I’ve decided to combine offensive guards and centers together since it seems like many of the players that the Packers use have the ability to play any one of three positions.

Thompson has never traditionally been very high on interior offensive linemen, the average draft pick for an offensive interior linemen is in the middle of the 4th round, and it always seems as if a undrafted rookie free agent offensive interior linemen sneaks onto the active roster, with Evan Detrich-Smith getting in last year and Nick McDonald getting in this year (both who were developmental guard-centers that the Packers think highly of).