5

September

With The 2011 Packers Roster Set, Ted Thompson’s Odyssey Comes Full Circle

Green Bay Packers GM Ted ThompsonIt’s hard to believe where we were three years ago.

I’m not going to recap the events of training camp in 2008.  They’ve been well documented a thousand times over.  Instead, let’s look in depth at the leader of the Green Bay Packers football operations, general manager Ted Thompson and his transformation from a reviled figure to a revered one.

Heading into the 2008 offseason, Thompson was still not really well liked by a large amount of the Packers fan base despite the team being an ill-fated pass away from a trip to Super Bowl XLII.    Cheesehead Nation had not yet embraced his “draft and develop” method of building a roster and implored Thompson to jump into free agency to bring some “instant talent” to the franchise.  Thompson refused to budge.

Throw in the tumultuous training camp of 2008 where Thompson jettisoned a certain three-time NFL MVP and Thompson’s approval rating amongst Packer fans was at an all-time low.  Throw in a dismal 6-10 season and it was getting close to the pitchforks and torches being brought out and used at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.

Websites and blogs went up on the internet with the sole purpose of leading to Thompson’s ouster.   Some extremists even said they’d refuse to cheer for the Packers until Thompson was terminated.

Entering the 2009, the stakes got even higher for Thompson.  In addition to trying to rebound from the 2008 campaign, Thompson was faced with the prospect of having to face his former quarterback that he traded away twice a season as Brett Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings.

The funny thing is that despite arguably Favre’s best year of his career and his Vikings beating the Packers out for the NFC North title and coming within a hair of the Super Bowl, the tide slowly was beginning to turn in Thompson’s favor.

One key factor was the emergence of Aaron Rodgers as the Packers starting quarterback.  Rodgers put up good numbers in his first season as a starter, but he was overshadowed by a putrid defense that led to the Packers adopting the 3-4 in 2009 under Dom Capers.  In 2009, Rodgers had numbers that nearly equaled Favre’s but the Packers were ousted in the first round by the Cardinals.

9

July

Players on the Packers Roster You May Not Know – Part 3

This third and final look at some lesser-known Packers were all signed as Undrafted Free Agents (UDFAs) after the 2010 NFL draft. All three spent parts of the  season on the Packers practice squad and were signed to futures contracts after the Super Bowl. I guess you could call them the “veterans” of the Packers’ lesser-knowns. Without further ado…

 

Chris Campbell, Eastern Illinois, 6’5”, 328lbs.  Pro day Stats: 5.28 40yd time, 1.77 10yd time, 4,14 20yd shuttle, 8.08 3-cone, 25” vertical, 14 reps@225lbs, and a 8’0” broad jump. Ranked 18 out of 96  Wide receivers by NFLDraftScout.com.

Scouting Report:  Campbell has the talent to become a good starting left tackle, but he has a lot of work to do first. He is a tall, well-built prospect with the long arms, quickness and athleticism to slide out and block edge pass rushers. He also has the agility to move outside and block effectively in space. Despite these positives, Campbell won’t be a high pick because his technique is very raw and he gets beaten too often. He won’t be able to contribute any time soon, which is why he’ll most likely be a seventh-round pick or a free agent.

Signed by Green Bay as a non-drafted free agent on April 30, 2010… Came to Eastern Illinois as a walk-on and finished his career as the starting LT… Played in 30 games with 12 starts during his senior year.  Earned second-team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors as a senior… Played in the Texas vs. The Nation all-star game following his senior season… As a junior in 2008, played in all 12 games on special teams while also serving as a backup LT… nickname is ‘Big Baby’… Born in Chicago.

High school and college coaches have always talked about Campbell’s “potential”, but not until senior year in college did the player nicknamed “Big Baby” start to realize his potential. Even then, his college coach was unsure if he could play at the next level. In stepped agent Joe Linta.

Linta’s reputation in 20 years as an agent has been made by identifying unknowns and turning them into knowns. He’s located the likes of Pro Bowl center Matt Birk from Harvard, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco from Delaware, Steelers starting offensive tackle Willie Colon from Hofstra and Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher from Maine.

8

June

Players on the Packers Roster You May Not Know – Part 2

Today we bring you part 2 of our series on the least-known Green bay Packers currently on the 2011 roster.

Antonio Robinson, WR 6;1″, 195lbs., Nicholls State. From Miami Florida, Robinson went the Community College route before transferring to Nicholls State, which is known for their triple-option running game. Robinson was the team’s leading receiver two years in a row with 20 and 27 catches, which gives you an idea how little they throw the ball. Robinson ran a 4.50 40 yd dash at his pro day with a 36″ vertical leap. He was the 49th ranked WR out of 276 by NFLDraftScout.com

Robinson was signed as an UDFA by the Bears and released with an injury settlement in training camp. He landed on the Seattle practice squad for two weeks in November before being signed to the Packers’ practice squad a few weeks before the Super Bowl and then to a reserve/future contract in February.

 

 

Jay Ross, DT, 6’3″, 302lbs., East Carolina.  C.J. Wilson’s teammate at East Carolina, Jay Ross is a “character” guy with a Capital “C.”  Wilson called him the hardest working guy on the team and his college coach called him the most respected player on the team. He was a three-year starter at East Carolina and earned honorable mention All-Conference USA honors three times. Ross was invited to the NFL Combine, where he ran a 5.10 40 yd dash, a 1.68 10 yd dash and recorded 30 reps on the bench press. Ross was ranked 24th out of 151 DTs by NFLDraftScout.com.

Ross was not selected in the 2010 draft, but was signed by New Orleans as an UDFA  and was with them during the preseason before being released in the final roster cutdown. In October, with the injuries mounting on the Packers defensive line, Ross was signed to the practice squad, where he remained for the entire year before being signed to a reserve/future contract in February.

 

Curtis Young, LB/DE, 6’1″, 270lbs, Cincinnati. Young made the switch from DE to OLB his senior season for the Bearcats, finishing with 50 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 2 sacks despite missing four games with a knee injury. Young was ranked 61st out of 132 DEs by NFLDraftScout.com. At his Pro Day, Young ran a 5.09 40 yd dash, a 1.69 10 yd dash and recorded 31 reps on the bench press.

3

June

Players on the Packers Roster You May Not Know – Part 1

Back in February, the Packers announced the signing of 9 players to reserve/futures contracts. The news understandably got buried under the still-ongoing Super Bowl championship euphoria. So with the lockout dominating football news now, I thought we’d take a quick look at these players, who are all now officially Green Bay Packers.

Adrian Battles, G, 6’3″, 318lbs, Minnesota State. Battles, who grew up in Milwaukee, was signed by the Vikings as a UDFA before the 2010 Season. He was released during the final roster cuts and was out of football until the Packers signed him to the practice squad in December. Battles told Mankato Daily Free Press reporter Chad Courrier, “When you get released, that’s a lot of adversity,” he said. “But I have a lot of people, my mom and friends, who believed in me and kept my spirits up. It made me work hard; I started working out twice a day instead of once. I wanted to make sure that if I got another opportunity, I would be ready. When the call finally came from the Packers, it was like a dream come true, because they had always been my favorite team growing up.  I live 100 miles from this place and it was unbelievable.  When I got this call, it was a dream come true and I came here just ready to work.”

 

Michael Greco, S, 6’3″, 224lbs, Central Florida. Greco was signed an an UDFA by the Giants before the 2010 season. He was cut during preseason and landed on the Packers’ practice squad in October. He was released by the Packers Nov. 9th, spent a few weeks on the Colts practice squad and was then re-signed by the Packers in December. Greco ran a 4.40 40 yard dash at his Pro day and had an amazing vertical jump of 41.5 inches. He was rated 24th out of 75 safeties entering the 2010 draft by NFLDraftScout.com. Greco has possible elite athleticism but his main problem is inexperience – he has only played safety for one year. Up until his senior season in college, Greco had been strictly a quarterback.

 

1

May

Presenting… The Position by Position 2011 Green Bay Packers Post-Draft Roster

During the 2011 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers added an additional 10 players to their team roster, with six going to the offense and four going to the defense. They now have a roster of 85 players, which they must cut down to 80 by training camp. (These details are, of course, subject to change based on the labor negotiations.)

With the lockout currently prohibiting teams from signing undrafted rookies, this is currently the best picture of the players that Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff will have to work with. Also note that there are currently 14 free agents on the roster (restriction status pending for some). In the far off chance they let every single free agent leave, that would give them 9 spots to fill by camp. If they managed to keep all of them, they would have to cut 5 players by then.

So enjoy perusing the current roster, and feel free to post your thoughts below. If you would like a printable version, I have posted both Excel and PDF versions below:

Packers 2011 Post-Draft Roster (*.XLSX)
Packers 2011 Post-Draft Roster (*.PDF)

*** Players in RED are free agents.
*** Players in GREEN are drafted rookies.

2011 GREEN BAY PACKERS ROSTER
(POST-DRAFT)
# Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Age Exp. College
QUARTERBACK
10 Flynn, Matt QB 6-2 225 25 4 Louisiana State
6 Harrell, Graham QB 6-2 215 25 1 Texas Tech
12 Rodgers, Aaron QB 6-2 225 27 7 California
RUNNING BACK
25 Grant, Ryan RB 6-1 222 28 5 Notre Dame
  Green, Alex RB 6-0 225 22 R Hawaii
32 Jackson, Brandon RB 5-10 216 25 5 Nebraska
30 Kuhn, John RB 6-0 250 28 6 Shippensburg
23 Nance, Dimitri RB 5-10 219 23 2 Arizona State
44 Starks, James RB 6-2 218 25 2 Buffalo
35 Hall, Korey FB 6-0 236 27 5 Boise State
45 Johnson, Quinn FB 6-1 263 24 3 Louisiana State
WIDE RECEIVER
  Cobb, Randall WR 5-10 191 20 R Kentucky
80 Driver, Donald WR 6-0 194 36 13 Alcorn State
85 Jennings, Greg WR 5-11 198 27 6 Western Michigan