13

February

Derek Sherrod 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

 

1) Introduction: The 32nd pick in round one of the NFL Draft, Derek Sherrod was supposed to be the stud left tackle in Green Bay for the next 10 years.  In my OT ratings for the CheeseheadTV Draft Guide, I ranked him as the second best tackle prospect, behind only Tyron Smith (a Pro Bowl Selection from Dallas this year). I was ecstatic when the Packers drafted Sherrod.

2) Profile:

Derek Sherrod

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 4/23/1989 in Chula Vista, CA
  • Height: 6’6″
  • Weight: 321
  • College: West Virginia
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 3 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:   Four words: GET ON THE FIELD. Recovering from the nasty broken leg he suffered in game 5 of his 2011 rookie season, had proven to be much more difficult than most imagined. Could Sherrod be ready for the start of the season?

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Highlight would have to be the six snaps he played at right tackle against Detroit in the Thanksgiving Massacre – his only 6 snaps of the season. Lowlight would be winding up on the PUP list almost two years after his injury.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Nil. Was active for eight games after coming off the PUP list. The pure definition of “bench warmer.”

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: None. Did not play.

Season Report Card:

It’s really not fair to grade Sherrod, so we’ll just give him an “incomplete” and hope he’s “grade-worthy” next season.

(inc) Level of expectations met during the season

(inc) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(inc) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  INCOMPLETE

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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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12

February

Don Barclay 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

 

Packers Offensive Lineman Don Barclay

Packers Offensive Lineman Don Barclay

1) Introduction: The Packers started the 2012 season with only seven offensive linemen on the roster, showing a tremendous amount of faith in unheralded Evan Dietrich-Smith and Don Barclay. As we now know, both of those players became starters a year later; one could say out of necessity, but with little doubt they earned their spots. Barclay had competition for his spot and won out with blue collar work ethic and a never-say die determination.

2) Profile:

Don Barclay

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 4/18/1989 in Newport News, VA
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 305
  • College: West Virginia
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:   Having ended the 2012 season with 4 starts at right tackle and Bryan Bulaga being moved to left tackle, Barclay would be challenged by Marshall Newhouse and David Bakhtiari for the starting right tackle job.When Bulaga went down and Sherrod proved still not ready to play, Bakhtiari became the starting left tackle and Barclay was left to compete with Marshall Newhouse for the right tackle job.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Barclay’s season lowlight was in the playoff game against the 49ers.  He was on his heels early and often, allowing a good amount of pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Barclay’s cleanest game was against the Cowboys. Barclay pitched a shutout in that game – no sacks, no QB hits and no QB pressures.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: In terms of pass protection, Barclay was the most ineffective of the Packers starters. In 15 games, according to ProFootballFocus, Barclay surrendered 9 sacks, 6 GB Hits and 27 QB Hurries. Barclay’s tenacity as a run blocker was a big asset to the Packers’ new found running game with Eddie Lacy.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: As stated previously, Barclay had a tough time in the playoffs against the 49ers. Ahmad Brooks was able to get consistent pressure on Rodgers and Barclay was ”
credited” with giving up 1.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.

Season Report Card:

(B-) Level of expectations met during the season

(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(C-) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  C

11

February

TJ Lang 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

 

Packers offensive lineman TJ Lang

Packers OG TJ Lang

1) Introduction: Entering his fifth year with the Packers and third straight as a starter, TJ Lang has proven himself to be the dependable, gritty, tough son-of-a-gun every offensive line needs. He was rewarded with a four year contract extension last season and has not given the Packers any reason to regret that move.

2) Profile:

TJ Lang

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 9/20/1987 in Royal Oak, MI
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 318
  • College: Eastern Michigan
  • Rookie Year: 2009
  • NFL Experience: 5 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  TJ Lang came into 2013 needing to quickly acclimate to the right guard position, previously manned by Josh Sitton. With either inexperienced Don Barclay or shaky Marshall Newhouse as the starting right tackle, Lang would be expected to be the glue to keep the right side of the line together. Lang would also need to be ready, if called upon, to act as an emergency offensive tackle or even center should game day injuries require it.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: While he earned a season-best 4.8 grade from Pro Football Focus for his game 2 performance against the Redskins, perhaps his most impressive day was the following week against Cincinnati. Lang completely shut down the very tough Geno Atkins, leaving him with a string of goose eggs. No tackles, no sacks, no QB hurries… zippo. On the downside, after performing well against the Lions front four in their first meeting, Lang struggled mightily (as did the entire Packers OL) in the rematch on Thanksgiving day.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: The move to the right side seemed to agree with Lang, who showed some improvement in his game in all areas, according to ProFootballFocus. The most notable change was cutting down his sacks allowed, from nine in 2012 to three last season.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Lang was mostly solid against the 49ers, allowing only 2 QB hurries and for the most part, playing well against the very tough 49ers front.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season

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

(B+) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  B+

10

February

Josh Sitton 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers OL Josh Sitton

Packers OL Josh Sitton

1) Introduction: The elder statesman on the Packers’ offensive line with 6 seasons under his belt, Sitton has established himself as one of the top guards in the league. Sitton was asked to move from his customary right guard spot to the left side, and despite some initial reluctance and a slow start, validated the coaches’ decision as a good one.

2) Profile:

Josh Sitton

  • Age: 27
  • Born: 6/16/1986 in Jacksonville, FL
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 318
  • College: Central Florida
  • Rookie Year: 2008
  • NFL Experience: 6 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Sitton was expected to solidify the Packers’ left side after an expected acclimation period, especially in pass blocking. Sitton’s other goal for the year was to show some improvement in his drive blocking, the result of purposely adding 12 pounds in the offseason.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Sitton got off to a slow start and struggled in game one versus the 49ers. Sitton uncharacteristically was called for three penalties and allowed three quarterback hurries in that game, according to ProFootballFocus. You could see he was a little slow to react in pass protection, probably a result of still having to think about things like proper hand and foot placement. While he had higher rated games against some bad defenses like Dallas and Washington, Sitton’s season highlight would come in the playoffs. He acquitted himself nicely against the same team he had been so shaky against. The difference in Sitton’s play from game 1 to game 17 was as big as his belly.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Sitton recovered nicely from that shaky start, got his bearings and looked more comfortable week to week. Over the second half of the season, Sitton was  a rock. He made few mistakes and didn’t miss an offensive snap the entire season.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: As stated previously, Sitton came up big when it mattered most. He had the difficult task of lining up against Justin Smith much of the game (and occasionally Aldon Smith) yet graded out highly in both run and pass blocking.  Sitton gained some measure of personal redemption against the 49ers, even if the team could not.

Season Report Card:

(A-) Level of expectations met during the season

(A) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

10

February

Evan Dietrich-Smith 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers OL Evan Dietrich-Smith

Packers OL Evan Dietrich-Smith

1) Introduction: Dietrich-Smith is one of those guys that unexpectedly hang around for a few years (even after being cut once) and finally get their chance. When Jeff Saturday wore down last season, the Packers promoted Dietrich-Smith to starter for game 15. Smith was expected to compete with some UDFA centers and conversion project draftee JC Tretter in camp, but won the job by default when Tretter went down in July with a broken fibula. He’s received a vote of confidence from Aaron Rodgers, who badly wants to not have to work with a new center every year.

2) Profile:

Evan Dietrich-Smith

  • Age: 27
  • Born: 7/19/1986 in Salinas, CA
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 308
  • College: Idaho St.
  • Rookie Year: 2009
  • NFL Experience: 4 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Dietrich Smith was being looked upon to continue his steady, if not impressive, play manning the center of the Packers’ offensive line. Improving his run blocking and his knowledge of the offense was a priority for 2013.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: According to ProFootballFocus. Dietrich-Smith had his worst game against the Ravens, but I’m going to go with the Cincinnati game as his low light. The Packers offensive line struggled mightily against the Bengals’ front (except for TJ Lang, who completely shut out Geno Atkins). Dietrich-Smith was charged with two of the Bengal’s four sacks and had a negative grade in run blocking, as well. His season highlight would have to be how he finished out the season in the run blocking department. Over the last three games, Dietrich-Smith was more effective at winning his battles than he had been all season.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Aaron Rodgers has said he considers the center position one of the most important of the offensive 11. Certainly, when Dietrich-Smith missed parts of two games, the results (with TJ Lang at emergency center) were less than stellar (remember the Thanksgiving Day massacre?).  Dietrich-Smith brought a measure of reliability to the center position, although I wouldn’t say he played at a high level.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Dietrich-Smith did not allow a sack or a quarterback hit against the 49ers. As previously mentioned, his run blocking was better than usual against a tough 49er defensive line.

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

27

January

Jarrett Bush 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers CB Jarrett Bush

Packers CB Jarrett Bush

1) Introduction: Despite being a special teams ace and, along with Tramon Williams, a veteran presence among a young group of cornerbacks, Bush wasn’t necessarily a lock to make the team in 2013. The Packers spent a fifth-round pick on what they thought was a NFL-ready corner in Micah Hyde, and they were already stacked at the position with Williams, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward. But as always seems to be the case, Bush was asked to play a fairly prominent role on defense at several points throughout the season. That said, Bush’s time in Green Bay may be waning, as the veteran defensive back will turn 30 before the 2014 season kicks off.

2) Profile: Jarrett Bush

  • Age: 29
  • Born: 5/21/1984 in Vacaville , CA
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 200
  • College: Utah State
  • Rookie Year: 2006
  • NFL Experience: 8 year

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: While probably not the most popular player among the Packers’ fan base, most, at this point, know Bush is what he is. He’s a guy who prepares as well as anyone in the locker room and can play a defensive role if need be, but his primary impact would come on special teams. Once Bush made the roster, his expectations for the upcoming season were a carbon copy of what they are every season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: If there’s one highlight that came out of Bush’s 2013-14 season, it’s his clutch interception of Matt Ryan on the Atlanta Falcons’ final possession. The way the Packers’ season had been going at the time, it looked like the Falcons may be on the verge of a Hail Mary road win, but Bush put an end to that. The Falcons game (+1.4) was Bush’s best of the season, according to Pro Football Focus, while the Vikings game in Minnesota (-1.1) was his worst.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Jarrett Bush was Jarrett Bush. He played a lot on special teams and a little on defense; never more than 23 defensive snaps in a game and never less than zero. Bush, however, missed four games in 2013 after missing just two in his first seven seasons.

27

January

Davon House 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers CB Davon House

Packers CB Davon House

1) Introduction: Since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, House, while often showing flashes in training camp, had only suited up for 11 games in his first two seasons. Part of a crowded group of cornerbacks along with Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde, the injury bug forced House into the lineup, as he was able to avoid the training room in his third year, appearing in all 16 games for the Packers. House is cut out of the Al Harris mold–from his 6’1″ frame to his No. 31 and dreadlocks. House could be a beneficiary of the trickle-down effect should Williams and/or Shields move on from Green Bay.

2) Profile: Davon House

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 7/10/1989 in Van Nuys , CA
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 195
  • College: New Mexico State
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 3 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Before the season, the rookie (Hyde) wasn’t expected to play a significant role on defense, so the three “starters” were expected to come out of a four-man battle fought between House, Williams, Shields and Hayward. Obviously, Hayward’s bid for early-season playing time was exterminated by injury, and Hyde stepped up to the plate. After not winning a starting job to start the season, the outlook for House’s season was cloudy.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Pro Football Focus would say House played the best game of his career against the Cleveland Browns in October. He helped blanket breakout-star Josh Gordon, limiting the All-Pro to just two catches on the day; House, himself, caught a pass, as he intercepted Brandon Weeden on fourth down. But while appearing in all 16 games was a big step for House, he went through a rough patch late in the season. After playing 67 snaps on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions, House’s playing time fizzled as the regular season wrapped up, playing just five snaps over the course of the final four games. At one point, the coaching staff opted for Jarrett Bush over House.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: House failed the earn a starting job in training camp, but opportunities were plentiful as the season went on. With Shields out of the lineup for two games, Hayward on the sideline for all but 88 plays and Hyde still a rookie, House played more than he may have anticipated and did a solid job overall. Did he do enough to make the front office and coaching staff believe he’s a starting-caliber player? Probably not, but we’ll find out.