14

February

Ryan Taylor Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor

1) Introduction:  When fans think of a career special teams player, they typically balk at the idea.  After all, the Packers (especially one lauded for its depth the last couple years), should be filled with potential stars, not guys who will be replaced and forgotten in a year.  However, Packers fans should know that special teams player can make a difference, just look at Desmond Howard or even Jarrett Bush, sure he isn’t all that good as a cornerback but he is really good at his primary job, which is as a gunner on special teams.  Ryan Taylor fits in the same mold, while his skills at tight end have yet to surface, there are spots on the team for a stud special teams player like Taylor was billed to be after getting drafted, the question is: is he any good at special teams in the NFL?

2) Profile:

Ryan Lawrence Taylor

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 11/16/1987 in Winston-Salem, NC
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 254
  • College: North Carolina
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 3

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Moderately low.  Taylor has been largely invisible during his 3 year career, being mostly relegated to special teams play, which was likely the reason Taylor was drafted in the first place since Taylor played most of his college football as a linebacker, only really switching to tight end for his last season with the Tar Heels.  That being said, Taylor has not exactly done much on special teams in the NFL; while he hasn’t been a liability on special teams, he also hasn’t made much of an impact, so he’s sort of the quintessential “just a guy” football player that often comprises the bottom third of a football team.  However, with the expiring contracts of both Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless, the Packers were likely hoping to see some improvement in Taylor that could perhaps justify moving him up to the backup tight end position; Taylor has had some very nice offseason/preseason performances and the hope would have been that he could build a little upon that and become a rotational/part time tight end for the Packers.

16

August

Checking Up on the Packers’ Third-Year Players

Packers RB Alex Green could have the most to lose among third-year players.

Packers RB Alex Green could have the most to lose among third-year players.

At a time where rookies are looking to make an impression, sophomores are trying to make that jump, and veterans are honing their skills, it’s easy to overlook the third-year players. These guys are knee-deep into that transition between being a “young guy” and being a “veteran.” And for many of them, it’s this transition that will make or break their careers. When a football player goes looking to sign his second contract after three or four years, he’s going to know exactly what he’s worth – both to his own team and other teams.

The third-year players for the Green Bay Packers are an interesting group, to say the least. After winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers picked at the 32nd spot in the 2011 NFL Draft. It’s a double-edged sword, because it represents a great achievement, but also provides a great challenge on draft day.

General Manager Ted Thompson ended up taking ten players that day, and four of them are no longer on the roster: G Caleb Schlauderaff (Round 6, No. 179), LB D.J. Smith (Round 6, No. 186), LB Ricky Elmore (Round 6, No. 197), and their final pick DE Lawrence Guy (Round 7, No. 233). Schlauderaff was traded to the New York Jets at the beginning of the regular season, Elmore was a disappointment who left with the cuts, Guy spent a year on injured reserve before being signed from the practice squad by the Indianapolis Colts, and D.J. Smith was a semi-surprising cut by the Packers last April.

The remaining six picks and two undrafted rookie free agents have made it this far, so let’s take a quick look at where they might be headed:

T Derek Sherrod (Round 1, No. 32)

  • Fate hasn’t been kind to Sherrod. No matter what people gleaned about his abilities from his short time in training and practices, there’s no avoiding the fact that his injury killed the value of Thompson’s first round pick. Sherrod’s been off the field since December 2011, and there’s no telling when he’ll get back on, not to mention how he will perform if he does. The Packers will be as patient as possible, but the outlook just isn’t promising.

WR Randall Cobb (Round 2, No. 64)

1

August

Puttin’ on the Pads: Packers Training Camp 2013 Day 7 Roundup

Today was the third straight day the Packers have practiced in pads, part of a runup that will total five straight days, culminating in the Family Night Scrimmage on Saturday. I’ve culled through the hundreds of tweets by Packers beat writers (so you don’t have to) to bring you what I consider the most important happenings and observations of the day: Enjoy!

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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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.

19

July

Ten Packers Training Camp Topics: #6 — Finley’s finale?

Jermichael Finley came on after the bye week last season. Will this be Finley's last season in Green Bay?

Jermichael Finley came on after the bye week last season. Will this be Finley’s last season in Green Bay?

In five years with the Packers, Jermichael Finley has gone from being the outspoken tight end to a focal point of the offense, and again, back to the outspoken tight end.

And in a circus-cautious locker room such as the one in Green Bay, Finley has been one of the most scrutinized players on the team since being drafted in 2008.

To most fans, for every positive from Finley, there’s two negatives. But to the Packers, for every negative, there’s a plethora positives. And for that reason, the team has committed to (at least) one more year from the 26-year-old tight end.

Finley enjoyed a breakout 2009 season, his second in the NFL. Finley caught 55 passes for 676 yards and five scores. His per-game averages of 4.2 catches and 52 yards are still the highest of his five-year career.

Fan perception of Finley throughout the past two seasons has been predominantly negative.

Due to dropped passes, the 2011 season was largely a disappointment. In total, Finley dropped 14 passes–the most by any tight end in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. But Finley started the season well. Through the first nine games of the season, Finley dropped just three passes and caught 33. Over the final eight games, Finley’s number of drops ballooned to 11.

Still, his season numbers were nothing to scoff at. His 55 receptions tied a career high, and he set new personal bests with 767 yards and eight touchdowns.

This past season was, again, a tale of two halves for Finley.

He dropped nine passes through the Packers’ first 12 games. But after a Week 13 win over the Vikings, Finley didn’t drop another pass the rest of the season. Over that six-game stretch, Finley caught 25 balls on 33 targets.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy took note of the improvement by praising Finley after the season.

“I really felt Jermichael Finley was a different man, a different player from the bye week on,” McCarthy said, per JSOnline.com. “I had an opportunity to talk to him about that at length in his exit interview, so I feel very good about the way he finished the year.”

15

July

Packers Undrafted Rookie Scouting Report: Jake Stoneburner, TE Ohio State

Player Information:

  • Jake Stoneburner, TE Ohio State
  • 6’4”/252 lbs
  • Hometown – Dublin, Ohio

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 4.62
  • 20 yard: 2.65
  • 10 yard: 1.63
  • Bench: 18
  • Vertical: 34.5
  • Broad: 116”
  • Shuttle: 4.27
  • 3-cone: 7.12

Introduction:

Outside of Jermichael Finley, the Packers like their tight ends to be versatile.  Whether it be playing special teams, in the slot, inline, in motion, or even behind the line of scrimmage as a fullback, if the Packers want a jack-of-all-trades, they are going to go with a tight end.  However jack-of-all-trades usually means master of none, and with the Packers, they have a ton of tight ends that all sort of fit the same mold.  Jake Stoneburner is another, a former wide receiver turned tight end from Ohio State, he can do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t shine in any particular spot.  Add to that his arrest for urinating on a building and then hiding from the police (which in light of the recent news Aaron Hernandez has made can be considered a “boys will be boys” mistake) and Stoneburner surprising fell out of the draft after being predicted a late round pick.  Will Stoneburner be another diamond in the rough that Thompson digs up or another tight end who is never good enough at one thing to warrant seeing the field?

Outside Analysis:

CBS: Stoneburner is a tall athlete with good length and catching radius. He plays with excellent body control to adjust and come down with the catch, showing very good field awareness. Stoneburner has usually strong hands and focus to snatch the ball out of the air and make some tough catches look easy. He makes plays after the catch, showing good effort and power to pick up tough yards. Stoneburner has smooth footwork in his routes and straight-line speed to make plays downfield. He displays some tenacity as a blocker and does a nice job on the perimeter. Stoneburner did a nice job finding the end zone with 13 career touchdowns, scoring once every 4.1 times he touched the ball.

1

November

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 7 vs Jacksonville Jaguars

So I’m going to do something a little bit unusual from the usual Packers Playbook series; first off I’m going to breakdown a special teams play, namely Davon House’s blocked punt which turned into a special teams touchdown, but ru because I want to hear your rationale for running this play because frankly I don’t really understand it.

The Situation: The score is 7 to 3 in Green Bay’s favor and the Packers defense has just forced a 4th down.  The Jaguars have stayed in the game longer than most people had predicted but it’s probably more because the Packers seem to be off rather than any offensive firepower displayed by the Jaguars.

The Formation: To be honest I wasn’t able to find any of the position names for any of the positions, so I will be using my best approximations.  Naturally first off is KR Randall Cobb (18), who for obvious reasons is not in the picture and since this is a blocked punt play, is irrelevant to the play.  In the gunner/jammer positions are CB Davon House (31) aligning to the top of the screen and CB Jarrett Bush (24) and CB Casey Hayward (29) aligned to the bottom of the screen.  In terms of linemen (are they called linemen?), at RDE is ILB Jamari Lattimore (57) and at LDE is OLB Dezman Moses.  In the “middle” at DT is ILB Robert Francois (49) and TE Ryan Taylor (82).  In the “backfield” are SS Sean Richardson (28) and FS MD Jennings (43).

For astute readers out there will have noticed that this only adds up to 10 players, which is probably another reason why the Jaguars aren’t probably winning many games.

Pre-snap: SS Richardson approaches the line and looks to blitz while CB Hayward motions from the jammer position to the outside shoulder of LDE Moses.  After that CB House motions to the outside shoulder of RDE Lattimore.  Essentially at this point there are 8 players in the box, which is even with the 8 players the Jaguars have to block.

The Snap: CB Hayward bails out of the blitz to cover WR Kevin Elliot (87) who is the gunner that CB House was originally covering.

“OT” SS Chris Harris (43) blocks DT Francois leaving one of the upbacks, #35 to deal with RDE Moses.

7

May

A Saturday Stroll With Packers TE Tom Crabtree

The author with Packers TE Tom Crabtree

Kris with Tom Crabtree

Tom Crabtree stood on stage and told all of us he hoped never to see us again.

No, the Green Bay Packers tight end didn’t go all “Jay Cutler emo” on us.  What he meant was that he didn’t want to see us at the 2013 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes because he wanted a cure to be found by then and therefore nullifying the need for a walk.   People in attendance, including yours truly, applauded.

That’s why we were there. We weren’t there to talk football (although I sheepishly admit I asked a few football questions), we were there to spend time together and hear stories of people’s heroic battles against Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) of which there obviously is no known cure.

This cause means a great deal to Crabtree personally.  His wife Chelsea was diagnosed with T1D when she was four years old. He lives the disease every single day of his life, and so do many others.  More than 80 people are diagnosed with T1 each day and more than 3 million Americans currently have the disease.

Tom and Chelsea served as ambassadors for the 2012 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Green Bay. However, knowing Tom and his knack for social media and how he enjoys interacting with his fans, you knew he was going to take it up another notch.

Hence, “Team Crabtree” was born.  Tom (and his publicist Alex Tallitsch from First String PR) sent out tweets and Facebook message asking fans to join his team and raise money for the walk which occurred this past Saturday, May 5th.  The goal for the team was $5000.

The team in the ended up raising over $12000. I did my small part and raised $305.00.

I arrived at the walk site in De Pere around 9 am and upon walking up to the registration area, I was immediately greeted with a hearty handshake by Tom.  You could tell how much the event meant to him.  I was honored to be a part of it.

Tom of course brought some of his friends along and by friends I mean Packers.  Offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse took part and so did Tim Masthay and his wife Amanda.  Tight end Ryan Taylor was also there and so was some wide receiver named Jordy Nelson.