10

November

A Fan’s Perspective: Packers Bye Week Review

Packers 2012 Season Bye Week Review

Packers 2012 Season Bye Week Review

The Packers 2012 season started off like none before it. I will not dig up too many ugly memories, but the Packers record at this point should not be 6-3.

Be that as it may, the team and some of it’s key players have gotten flak that’s just not deserved. Not that everything is perfect; far from it, for many in my opinion it is fans being unrealistic. But we see it every year no matter what the record; fans calling for players to be traded, coaches fired, this player or that player is nothing, has not impressed me and you hear things like I KNOW what is going to be called. It goes with the game and being a fan for many.

Right now I think that the team is in a very good position, even better when most of the currently injured player do come back. The depth of the team has been shown to us all these last 3 weeks. With a full roster this coaching staff, one I think is the best in the NFL, is going to have options they did not have at the start of the season simply because of the younger players and players changing positions gaining experience.

Lets start with the CB’s and Safeties. One of the players getting flak is Woodson. Now hurt, but him not being on the field hurts the defense. There is just so much he can do that is lost on many fans. No other DB can play CB, Safety, LB like he can.

His coming back to the defense will be a big thing down the stretch. With that I have been impressed with the young DB’s.

The only DB with time that can fill that Woodson role is House. None of the other DB’s have his combination of size, speed and controlled aggression. Hayward does not have the physical ability of some of the others but he has the thing that can make a player great, instincts. Some have said that Shields will not get his job back, what a great position to be in. To have your starting CB returning and having had the younger players step up and play as well as they have. But I have little doubt that Shields will return as the starter.

16

August

Packers Defensive Line: A Healthy Ryan Pickett Commands Respect

Ryan Pickett

Packers D-lineman Ryan Pickett

Packers defensive lineman Ryan Pickett reminds me of two actors in two memorable movies: Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino and Paul Sorvino in Goodfellas.

In Gran Turino, Eastwood plays a retired Detroit auto worker who is trying to cope with his neighborhood changing (i.e. getting younger and more diverse). He also yells at people to get off his lawn and behaves like that crumudgingly (and racist) old white guy many of us probably know in real life.

Sorvino plays a mob boss in Goodfellas who quietly lurks in the shadows and oversees a large-scale crime ring. Sorvino doesn’t have a leading role in the film, but when he’s on screen, there’s little doubt that his character is in charge and that the other characters respect him.

Now don’t take those comparisons too literally. I don’t know Pickett personally and I’m not saying  he’s a racist or a Mafia Don. But when I watch Eastwood’s and Sorvino’s characters, I can’t help but imagine that Pickett has certain traits of both.

Pickett is the elder statesman on the Packers defensive front. Like Eastwood getting annoyed about having to adapt to younger people who might be a little different than him, I can see the older Pickett getting annoyed by Clay Matthews and his long hair or B.J. Raji and his dancing.

I also see a lot of Sorvino in Pickett’s deliberate (some might call it slow) movements and overall presence. Like Sorvino, Pickett might not appear to be very impressive, but everyone looks up to him. He commands respect. Running backs and quarterbacks know that Pickett is too slow to catch them, but they’re scared of him anyway.

On the Field
Analogies are fun, but let’s get to the bottom line: Ryan Pickett is a hellvua football player and very important to the Packers defense.

According to Pro Football Focus, Pickett led all Packers defensive linemen last season with 20 stops, which measures the total number of solo tackles made that lead to an offensive failure. He also finished with a run defense rating of 8.4, second on the team behind Desmond Bishop (10.7) and way ahead of C.J. Wilson, who was the next best d-lineman (3.2).

Pickett finished fourth on the defense with an overall defensive rating of 2.6 and was one of only three defensive starters to finish with a positive overall rating.

30

July

Packers 2012: Randall Cobb is Here, There, Everywhere

Randall Cobb at Packers training camp

The Year of Cobb?

Following along with the twitter training camp reports from Packers beat writers, one name seems to be popping up (pun intended) everywhere: Randall Cobb.

Wide receiver

Kickoff returner

Punt returner

Tailback

Quarterback

Place kick holder

That pretty much covers everything an offensive skill player can do with the football. An impressive list, for sure.

Back in the early spring of 2011, with the Packers having just come off a Super Bowl XLV win in Dallas, there were three positions I considered to be “needs” for the Packers going forward.  One was offensive tackle (In came Derek Sherrod, then cornerback (in came Davon House) and my final need was an all-purpose WR/KR. I had grown so tired of the Packers’ futility in the return game, but beyond that, I felt the Packers offense could be fairly unstoppable with the addition of a different type of wide receiver to their group.

What if the Packers offense had a smaller, quick, shifty receiver with the ability to make defensive backs miss after the catch? A guy you can use on quick wide receiver screens that can make something out of nothing. A guy that could be used for the occasional end-around.  Why not present your opponents with another dimension they’ll need to prepare for? A Percy Harvin-type player, for example.

In my draft research that year, I had narrowed down my WR/KR “wish list” to 2 players; Jerrel Jernigan and Randall Cobb. In all honesty, I preferred Jernigan. Watching tape of these two players, Jernigan looked like the faster and more dynamic of the two. But I would have been pleased if the Packers drafted either one.

When the Packers selected Cobb, I was a happy man, but I could never have envisioned what we are seeing now.  While Jernigan has struggled to see the field in any capacity for the NY Giants, Cobb was an immediate contributor and as listed above, is being looked at in a myriad of ways to help the Packers in 2012.