22

May

Packers LB Desmond Bishop: DPOY or Playing for a Different Team?

Desmond Bishop

Will Packers LB recover from his injury and be on the team come September?

This story from Tyler Dunne in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop is extremely well written. After reading it, you can’t help but like the guy even more than you probably already do.

In the story, Bishop says one of his goals is to win defensive player of the year in 2013.

Unfortunately, as entertaining as the story is, it doesn’t really address the main question I have about Bishop as the Packers open OTAs: What are the odds that he’s actually on the team once the season starts?

Reports surfaced during the NFL draft that the Packers were trying to trade Bishop. Several moves the Packers made in the offseason — bringing back A.J. Hawk, re-signing Brad Jones for $4 million, adding another inside linebacker in the draft — made it appear that the Packers might not be too confident in Bishop’s chances of returning from the torn hamstring he suffered last preseason.

“Trade or release Bishop?” you’re probably asking. “But I thought he was supposed to boost the Packers physicality and automatically improve the inside linebacker corp?”

In a perfect world, that’s exactly what would happen. But how perfect is the Packers’ world when it comes to injuries lately? Not very. J.C. Tretter, one of Green Bay’s fourth-round draft picks, just snapped his ankle in a fumble-recovery drill. Two of the past three seasons have seen the team ravaged by injuries. The scuttle around the Packers is that Ted Thompson won’t hesitate to jettison players who are hampered by injuries.

I suppose the release of D.J. Smith last month is a good sign for Bishop staying in Green Bay. Then again, Smith was also coming off a season-ending injury. Perhaps the Packers also won’t hesitate to cut ties with Bishop like they did with Smith if doubts about Bishop’s health linger further into the summer.

Look, it’s still May. This Bishop story has several chapters that have yet to be written. If you want to read another positive piece on Bishop’s outlook, check this out from Jason Hirschhorn at Acme Packing Company.

Dunne and Hirschhorn’s rosy outlook on Bishop could very well prove to be true. I hope it does. A healthy Bishop playing like he did in 2011 would do wonders for the defense.

17

June

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sunday with no Packers football.

Surviving Sunday with no Packers Football

It’s shorts season in Green Bay once again. That time of year when we read about some unlikely, unknown or underdog player that suddenly flashes a “ton of talent” and is the surprise of OTA or mini-camp practices. Media members, bloggers and fans get themselves all in a tizzy over the possibilities.

I first fell victim to this unrealistic euphoria in the summer of 2009, when this website was not even six months old. The object of my affection that summer was Jeremy Thompson, who while running around in shorts, had supposedly risen to the top of the depth chart at one of the OLB spots in the newly-instituted Dom Capers 3-4 defense. Thompson took the first snaps at the position, even before new first-round draft pick Clay Matthews. If you’d like a humorous stroll down OTA memory lane, you can read the article I wrote about Thompson at the time.

Once the pads came on in training camp, it became obvious the NFL-caliber skills were just not there. Thompson plummeted down the depth chart and saw very limited playing time in six games, recording one tackle. Then in December of 2009, he suffered an unfortunate career-ending neck injury.

The injury notwithstanding, Jeremy Thompson taught me a lesson that year: pay little attention to the unexpected “stars” of OTAs until a few weeks into training camp.

And that brings us to this week’s links, which are all about the players “making impresssions”  at OTAs.  The star of this year’s OTAs has supposedly has been Dezman Moses.  Moses and Terrell Manning were two linebackers mentioned to me as legitimate sleeper prospects by the head of NFL Scouting. The fact that the Packers got both of them excites me, but that’s as far as I’m taking it for now.

Without further ado, here are the best of this week’s Packers links:

From Ty Dunne at JSOnline .com, “Undrafted linebacker Dezman Moses impresses Packers.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN’s NFL North Blog devotes an entire column to the “rookie buzz” on  Packers #1 draft pick Nick Perry.

Texwestern over at AcmePackingCompany.com does a nice job summarizing the stroylines coming out of the first day of Packers OTAs.

Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee explores the new contact rules for OTAs and speaks with Mike McCarthy about where to draw the line.

9

June

Packers Video 3-pack: OTA Practices – 2012

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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.

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24

May

A Way-Too-Early Packers 53-man Roster and Depth Chart Prediction

Here’s my way-too-early Packers 53-man roster prediction and depth chart. It’s presented without comment because I’d rather see what all of you have to say about it in the comments section.

(And spare the “it’s way too early to be talking about this” comments). I know it’s way too early. Hence the title. In my opinion, this topic is much better than rehashing the same old stories that come out of OTAs every year.)

QB
Rodgers
Harrell
Coleman

RB
Starks
Saine
Green

FB
Kuhn

TE
Finley
Taylor
Crabtree
Williams

WR
Jennings
Nelson
Jones
Cobb
Driver
Gurley

LT
Newhouse
Sherrod

LG
Lang
Dietrich-Smith

C
Saturday
Genus

RG
Sitton

RT
Bulaga
Datko

D-line
Raji
Pickett
Worthy
Wilson
Daniels
Guy

OLB
Matthews
Perry
Walden
So’oto

ILB
Bishop
Hawk
Smith
Jones

CB
Williams
Woodson
Shields
Hayward
House

S
Burnett
McMillian
Peprah
Bush
Jennings

P
Masthay

K
Crosby

LS
Goode

Does not count against 53-man roster:

Physically Unable to Perform
Quarless

Suspended
Neal
Hargrove

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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18

June

Green Bay Packers OTAs – Good, Bad or Lombardi?

So are OTAs (Organized Team Activities) really necessary? As we all know, Green Bay Packers bloggers have been known to argue just about any point. I was reminded of this fact today as I briefly checked into my twitter account. (I am trying to avoid twitter during the day so I can make it home and watch my “Tivoed” World Cup games without knowing the scores).

But I decided to take a chance today (no games I was THAT interested in today), and see what’s going on. Well, right off the bat, I run into, say, “a difference of opinion” between Packer blogger extraordinaires Brian Carriveau and Aaron Nagler.

Seems that Aaron is outright questioning the value of OTAs, and Brian felt the need to respond with reasons why he thinks they’re important. Here’s how the discussion went:

Aaron: I have come to the conclusion that OTAs are a total joke. I understand this is not a revolutionary thought. Carry on.
Brian: Give me a break.
Aaron: What is being accomplished? I would love to know.
Brian: Installs, improvements, schemes, reps, fixes, shall I go on.
Aaron: All of which could be done in training camp.
Midwestfan: Did they have/enforce these dumb OTA rules when Lombardi was coaching? I’m thinking, no.
Aaron: They didn’t have OTAs. For a reason.
Brian:  Strength & conditioning, camaraderie, technique, situational work, review from last season…more things accomplished in OTAs
Aaron: # OTAs are a babysitting service.
Brian: This is the pros, not high school anymore. Install in spring & don’t have to in fall.
Aaron: Exactly. It’s called MiniCamp. 3 weeks of running around in shorts is absurd.
Brian: If you take the attitude it’s “running around,” yup, that’s what you’ll get out of it.
Aaron: Teams make it seem like they are splitting the atom – it’s football. You need Minicamp and training camp.
Brian: If I’m a player or a coach, I want to work for an organization that strives to get better every day. That’s OTAs.
Aaron:  If all those thing you list are so important, how do the Vikings have a ton of veterans skip OTAs, have their starting QB show up in late August and still get to the NFC Championship game? That’s impossible! OTAs are so important! (rolls eyes)
Aaron: You can strive to get better without being corralled unnecessarily in the spring and summer.
Brian: Again, if you take the attitude you’re being corralled & it’s unnecessary, that’s exactly what you’ll get out of it.
Aaron: You want to dictate attitudes, which is impossible and kind of proves my point. You’re babysitting.
Brian: Nope, I want to foster a community of teamwork & work ethic & goal setting
Aaron:  So have a rookie camp and then a mini camp. 3 weeks of otas is asinine.

14

June

Green Bay Packers’ Biggest OTA Surprise: OLB Jeremy Thompson

As the Packers OTAs have progressed, one of the most surprising stories has been the rapid ascension up the depth chart of Jeremy Thompson. A fourth-round draft pick out of Wake Forest (102nd overall) in 2008, Thompson saw limited action in his rookie season.

Thompson was inactive for the Packers first four games, but when Cullen Jenkins’ season came to an early end, Thompson stepped into defensive end rotation. He eventually started three games, but was hampered for much of the last seven games with an assortment of injuries.

Thompson didn’t get a chance to show very much in 2008, but the Packers coaches thought he could be a contributor at DE in 2009 if he bulked up and added another 15 pounds to his 270lbs frame.

Then of course, the defensive coaching purge hit Green Bay on Jan 5, 2009. Soon after, new coaches and a new 3-4 defensive system were introduced.

In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened for Jeremy Thompson. He is now being asked to play a position the new Packer coaches feel he is a natural for.

Thompson changed his training regimen over the offseason, emphasizing speed and hip-flexibility drills. He also abandoned the need to put on more weight, instead focusing on becoming leaner and stronger at the same time. The end result was he actually dropped 10 pounds, while gaining speed, flexibility and strength.

Thompson has also been working extensively since January with linebackers coach Kevin Greene on techniques and tactics. He says every day Coach Greene will pick one aspect of his game that needs improving and work on it extensively. Greene has commented that he is “excited” by Thompson’s athletic ability.

Evidently, all these factors have sent Thompson rocketing up the depth chart. He was installed as the first team right OLB at OTAs even before 2009 No. 1 pick Clay Matthews III injured his hamstring.

There have been a multitude of positive quotes about Jeremy Thompson coming out of Green Bay. Mike McCarthy called him “a natural fit for this defense.” Dom Capers said, “He’s made progress and, through just a short period of time we’ve been around him, has been encouraging. I think he has the ability to play the position.”

Capers also warned, however, not to read too much into who’s on the No. 1 unit during OTAs, because there will be significant competition for the job in training camp.

23

May

Green Bay Packers 2009 OTAs Begin—And So Do The Surprises

packerotas-300x200

To start with, Justin Harrell made it onto the field. While we don’t know to what extent he participated, his presence indicates he has at least passed his physical. Harrell said he has been “pain- free for about four weeks.” My first reaction was “what the hell took so long”, but now I’m going with “well, that’s a start.”

Cullen Jenkins, Chad Clifton, Atari Bigby, Scott Wells and Nick Barnett were all kept out of activities as they continue to rehab injuries.

2009 draft picks Clay Matthews III (hamstring) and Brad Jones (groin) both missed the second day. Neither injury was serious and both are listed as day-to-day.

The first team defense had several early surprises. BJ Raji was at left end, Ryan Pickett at NT and Harrell at right end. Jeremy Thompson was the first team right outside linebacker, ahead of Brady Poppinga and the injured Clay matthews III. Kevin Greene seemed very enthusiastic with Thompson’s play during the practice. Could Poppinga be in trouble?

The Packers announced that they had signed exclusive rights free agent Tramon Williams to a one-year contract. This came not long after Packer Coach Mike McCarthy lauded Williams for his work ethic, “how he goes about his business”, and participating in OTAs without a contract. McCarthy thinks Williams has a “big future in front of him”. Al Harris, get your seat cushion ready…

It appears Matt Flynn has held onto his #2 QB spot on the depth chart, practicing with the second string offense while Brian Brohm saw a bit of action with the third stringers. That certainly doesn’t help the possibilty of getting any value for Brohm in a trade. I still feel the Packers need a more experienced backup.

Ryan Pickett said the coaches have not talked to him at all about possibly playing some defensive end. Sounds like Pickett is the primary NT and BJ Raji will be used at several positions on the defensive line.

Aaron Kampman isn’t talking. Since Dom Capers was hired, he has turned down several opportunities to talk to the media, specifically about the 3-4 defense and how his conversion to OLB is going. Speculation is running rampant that he’s not happy and trade rumors are even beginning to surface.