16

February

Ryan Taylor: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Ryan Taylor

TE Ryan Taylor

1) Introduction:  When Ryan Taylor was drafted in 2011, many wondered what the Packers were thinking.  Could the team possibly head to training camp with five tight ends?  They did and kept four in 2012 with Taylor once again among them.  A special teams ace as much as anything else, Taylor showed enough in camp again to make the team’s 53-man roster heading into the regular season

2) Profile:

Ryan Lawrence Taylor

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 11/16/1987, in Winston-Salem, NC
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 254
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more: 

(3) Expectations coming into the season:  Taylor was expected to once again be mainly a special teams contributor.  He only had one catch in his rookie year (though it was a touchdown) and the Packers had other options above Taylor as a receiving tight end and that was evident in Taylor only playing 130 offensive snaps all season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights:  Just like his rookie year, Taylor only had one catch but this one was longer (11 yards) yet it wasn’t a touchdown.  Taylor’s lowlight came in the form of a $21,000 fine in November for an illegal block against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  Taylor was part of a special teams unit that featured some successful trick plays early in the season but other than that his impact was minimal.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  None.

 Season Report Card:

(C-) Level of expectations met during the season

(D+) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: D+

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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15

February

D.J. Williams: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

D.J. Williams

TE D.J. Williams

1) Introduction:  If the Packers do decide to part ways with Jermichael Finley (a “50/50” proposition at this point according to the tight end himself), his replacement as the starter could already be on the roster.  2011 fifth round draft pick D.J. Williams may very well find himself as Finley’s successor.  Despite being such a late pick, Williams intrigued the Packers enough to keep him on the roster for 2012. Williams is able to line up all over the field including the backfield.  He’s also been a part of the Packers’ special teams.

2) Profile:

David Edward Williams Jr.

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 09/10/1988, in Fort Worth, TX
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 245
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more: 

(3) Expectations coming into the season: Minimal.  With Finley as the starter and Tom Crabtree as a backup, Williams didn’t have the weight of expectations on his shoulders as he continued to develop. A strong training camp however had many thinking Williams would present a strong challenge to Finley but that never fully materialized and Finley was the starter for the season.  Other than that, Williams was expected to improve in his second season and give the Packers another viable option should Finley go down with injury.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights:  Once again, pretty much non-existent for either one given he played 240 snaps all season.  Williams was limited to mainly special teams play but did get some work in the passing game as well.  He is a decent pass blocker but he is a better receiver and had 7 receptions for 57 yards.  Williams’ best game was in the blowout victory over the Titans when he had three catches for 20 yards.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  If Williams did anything this season, it was consistently improve in practice enough that it perhaps pushed Finley to get his act together.  Williams’ special teams work enabled the unit to improve.  He was only active for 13 games, but perhaps his greatest contributions to the team are yet to come.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  None.  The Packers featured Finley more in their game plan so Williams saw very little of the field.

 Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.

15

February

Jermichael Finley: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Jermichael Finley

TE Jermichael Finley

1) Introduction:  Packers fans are already well acquainted with tight end Jermichael Finley.   Finley broke onto the scene late in the 2009 season and had all the potential to become the next all-world tight end.  Three seasons have come and gone since then, and many are still waiting for Finley to realize that potential.  Finley’s 2011 season was his first back from a season-ending knee injury and he had some issues hanging onto the ball as well as things being said outside the locker room.  Fully healthy once again, many hoped 2012 would finally be the year for Finley to develop into the dangerous weapon everyone knows he can be.

2) Profile:

Jermichael Finley

  • Age: 25
  • Born: 03/26/87, in Lufkin, TX
  • Height: 6’5”
  • Weight: 247
  • Rookie Year: 2008
  • NFL Experience: 5 years

Career Stats and more:

(3) Expectations coming into the season: The expectation this past season for Finley were pretty much the same as the previous two—finally put his size and incredible skills together and become one the best tight ends in the game.  The drop issue hopefully was behind Finley and since he was healthy, he was expected to add another dimension to an already dangerous passing game.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights:  For lowlights, Finley had some issues holding onto the ball again but they were not as severe as 2011 per se.  While some fans over exaggerated the issue (Randall Cobb led the team with 11 drops, not Finley), Finley dropped a couple touchdown passes early in the season and didn’t rack up the yardage many thought he would (he had 667 receiving yards this season vs. 767 in 2011).   He also had issues with his mouth (again) including say he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers lacked chemistry. His agent also criticized the quarterback’s leadership, which turned fans even more against Finley.  All that aside, he still had a fair season in 2012. Finley finished the season with 61 receptions (a team record for a tight end) and got better down the stretch with 60 yards or more in four of his last five games.