10

September

Finding Perspective in Packers Loss to 49ers

Jordy Nelson Sideline Catch vs. 49ers

Packers WR Jordy Nelson proves once again he’s master of the sidelines.

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I witnessed one great game on Sunday afternoon between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. Am I bummed that the Packers lost? Absolutely. They were a fourth-down stop away from winning.

(Okay, okay… plus an additional scoring drive…)

It was an exciting match from beginning to end, and although the Packers only took the lead for a brief moment, they never let the 49ers get more than a touchdown’s score out of reach. We got to see Aaron Rodgers at some of his best, not to mention the fantastically tough trio of receivers in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley.

Did you SEE that sideline catch by Nelson? That highlight will be played all season.

Now, some might call me an overly optimistic person. I tend to see the best in everyone, even though I get burned by it sometimes. Nevertheless, I don’t mind the burns, because they heal, and it’s much more enjoyable living in a world of positivity than wallowing in a world of despair.

Perhaps that’s why I was confident the Packers could pull off the upset this past weekend. So confident, in fact, that I predicted it would be on the leg of Mason Crosby. (Okay, that was just trying to be bold for its own sake, but you get the idea.)

What I don’t understand are the herds of fans who are acting like Chicken Little after the disheartening loss. I mean, really, how many of you are actually surprised that the 49ers won that game? If you are, then you are either (a) living in an ice fishing shed somewhere in northern Canada, or (b) lying to yourself. Not only did Vegas have the 49ers as a 4.5-point favorite, but our own team of writers here at AllGreenBayPackers.com were also evenly split in their predictions.

For some strange reason, this fan base lacks some perspective. Is it because we’ve seen so much success over the decades? Or is it because we’ve also seen so many postseason blunders? (And I’m not just talking about the years with McCarthy and Rodgers.)

Whatever the case might be, I submit that it’s high time we start seeing things from a different perspective. Perhaps even a more positive one.

8

September

Packers vs. 49ers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: SF 34 GB 28

Matthews late hit on Kaepernick

Matthews late hit on Kaepernick – (Getty images)

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers:  2013 Game 1

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

 

GAME NOTES:

All eyes (or at least these) will be on the Packers offensive line. Can they keep the 49ers away from Aaron Rodgers or create some running lanes for Eddie Lacy? They are my key to the game on the field.

Off the field, Mike McCarthy has to show he and his coordinators can hang with Harbaugh and his guys. MM had his lunch absolutely handed to him by Harbaugh twice last season. Let’s see what you have, Mike.

Of the two players listed as “questionable,” Morgan Burnett is out and Brad Jones is in. Would gladly reverse those two…

 

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
29 CB Casey Hayward
42 S Morgan Burnett
51 LB Nate Palmer
58 LB Sam Barrington
65 G Lane Taylor
86 TE Brandon Bostick
93 DE Josh Boyd

With Burnett out, 22 S Jerron McMillian and 43 S M.D. Jennings will be the two starting safeties.

San Francisco 49ers
5 QB B.J. Daniels
13 WR Chris Harper
23 RB LaMichael James
48 FB/DT Will Tukuafu
56 LB Nate Stupar
78 G Joe Looney
84 WR Jon Baldwin

———————————————

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Camp: I feel like we were able to get through a lot of different concepts and packages.

Happy with young players: It’s about a football game, about the 46 we’re going to dress, it’s going to be emotional and chippy, we have to stay above that stuff.

How long to have a fee of your team: If you have the same group lining up every game, you know by the first quarter of the season who you are.

injutries: Morgan unfortuante thing that popped up late in the week, casey, Dr,. McKenzie hasn’t givenb us a timetable.

MD and McMillian – they’ve played a bunch in the preseason. Morgan has been our quarterback back there so they have to step up.

young players on OL: Well, I’m extrenmely confortable witrh them – they’re all starting today.

CK & read/optin: Colin is one of the young studs at the QB position. he can make the throws to every quadrant and of course, we’re aware of his mobility . Read/option will frankly be a non-issue today.

8

September

Packers at 49ers: Keys to the Game

Colin Kaepernick ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards against the Packers in the playoffs.

Colin Kaepernick ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards against the Packers in the playoffs.

Well, Green Bay Packers fans, game day is almost here!  The last time the Packers played in a meaningful game, it was in San Francisco and against the 49ers.  It’s only fitting that Green Bay returns to the scene and really test how much this year’s team has improved.

Both teams have undergone changes since that last matchup.  The Packers have gotten a bit younger and added more to their defensive front in that of first round pick Datone Jones and with the return of veteran Johnny Jolly.  They also added another potential diamond in the rough at cornerback in that of fifth-rounder Micah Hyde.  With Casey Hayward ruled out for this week’s game, Hyde could see some spot duty at defensive back.

The 49ers are without stud receiver Michael Crabtree (torn Achilles) and will rely on newly-acquired veteran Anquan Boldin, to fill in.  San Francisco also lost a key piece of their secondary with hard-hitting safety Dashon Goldson moving on to Tampa Bay in free agency.  They looked to veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and rookie Eric Reid to fill that void.

With all of those changes, let’s look at some of the key factors that will play a role in the outcome of Sunday’s game.

Defend the Read Option/Dom Capers

If you’re getting tired of reading about this, also know that I’m getting tired of writing about it.  But still, it’s important and warrants attention.  The Packers were shredded by 9ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the divisional playoff game.  They were flat-out unprepared and that responsibility falls, first and foremost, on defensive coordinator Dom Capers and head coach Mike McCarthy.

Before we harp on defending the read option as the bible to the Packers’ success this weekend, let’s not forget that Jim Harbaugh is San Francisco’s head coach.  He thrives on outsmarting his opponent and keeping them off balance.  While I expect to see read option and Kaepernick trying to take advantage of anything the Packers defense gives him, the 9ers aren’t going to line up and run this scheme all day long.

6

September

Packers vs. 49ers Week 1 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 1: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 0-0 Green Bay Packers 24-21
Probably the toughest game to pick on the schedule and it’s only the first one.  Everyone is going crazy over the 49ers, much like how everyone treated the Packers after 2010. Mike McCarthy has put much focus on beating the 49ers and I think they do it this time, but barely. Notice will be served that the Packers are still among the NFC elite.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 0-0 Green Bay Packers 31-27
While everything on paper is telling me the 49ers are the safe bet here, something inside me feels the Packers will come out on fire against the team that booted them out of the playoffs. I feel good about the Defense – the big question for me is the offensive line. If they can hold up against the 49ers front seven, the Packers are more than capable of winning this game.
Adam Czech 0-0 San Francisco 49ers 27-24
I’m more confident in the Packers today than I was earlier in the week — the 49ers WRs are terrible and their secondary looks weaker than last season — but their front seven will steamroll the Packers offensive line to victory.
Marques Eversoll 0-0 San Francisco 49ers 27-24
This is going to be very interesting. Although it’s only one week in a long season, the Packers (specifically the defense) will certainly be out to prove they’re better and more physical than they were in January. I think this is a close game, but the 49ers probably win a close one at home.
Thomas Hobbes 0-0 Green Bay Packers 21-17
I’m calling it right here; I’m picking the Packers every game no matter what.  The difference this time around is the Packers defense, which will have more pass rushing options outside of Clay Matthews, which is a focus of a Dom Caper’s 3-4 blitzburgh defense.  On offense, more “shh” from Aaron Rodgers will show that’s he’s already honed in the passing game.
Cory Jennerjohn 0-0 San Francisco 49ers 23-20
6

May

Packing the Stats: The 49ers, Ted Thompson, and Draft Class Contributions

Packing the StatsYou know what’s been bugging me about some fans’ reactions to the 2013 NFL Draft? They look at the San Francisco 49ers, who have been lauded for their draft results, and feel like the Green Bay Packers’ selections were utterly underwhelming by comparison.

Yes, the 49ers had a great draft. They were able to get some highly regarded players who could definitely make their great team even better. But I have a few counterpoints to the assertion that the Packers had a terrible draft in comparison. First and foremost, the 49ers started out with thirteen picks to the Packers’ eight. According to the traditional trade value chart, San Francisco’s total value of picks was about 1,958 points, compared to Green Bay’s total value of about 1,318 points.

In other words, the 49ers started out with 48.6% more draft value than the Packers. Of course they’re going to be able to get more out of it!

Secondly, these players have yet to play a single down in the pro arena. We should very well know by now that high draft picks can be phenomenal busts, while low draft picks can be hidden diamonds in the rough. It’s worthwhile to compare draft value based on scouting grades and reports; however, it’s rather silly to make concrete future predictions based on that.

Which leads to my third and most important point: a team’s draft picks don’t contribute that much in their rookie season. We call it “draft and develop” because these players don’t come ready-made for the NFL. They have to be coached, and they have to improve their technique and football knowledge in order to be effective at the professional level.

Let’s take the San Francisco 49ers for example. They reached the Super Bowl in 2012, but do you recognize any of these names from their rookie draft class? A.J. Jenkins, LaMichael James, Joe Looney, Darius Fleming, Trent Robinson, Jason Slowey, and Cam Johnson played a combined total of 12 games and zero starts. That means the 49ers were a Super Bowl team in the making over several years and that drafted players take time to really make an impact.

Of course, I don’t want to rest my assertion on that one example. I wanted to make sure that this claim actually has some validation to it, so I started doing some research.

30

April

The Reasons Behind The 2013 Packers Draft: First Impressions

I actually got my first shot writing for AllGreenBayPackers.com when Al allowed me to post my draft rationale on his site and 3 years later I’m continuing the tradition.  As before I’m not going to be assigning draft grades or projections, I agree with the idea that grading picks now is something akin to being graded on a test you haven’t taken.  In this article I want to point out some more broad observations I noticed during the draft

 

Aaron Rodgers dictated the Packers 2013 draft: And Clay Matthews III to some extent as well.  Simply put the Packers are now in a mini-rebuilding year, not due to a lack of talent but due to a lack of money.  While Rodgers’ $110 million and Matthews’ $66 million contracts were both necessary and in my opinion great deals for the Packers, let’s not kid ourselves and think that the Packers are going to be awash with saved money over the next couple years, Rodgers and Matthews are still two of the highest paid players in the NFL and that will have financial ramifications down the road; maybe not as bad as Joe Flacco and DeMarcus Ware bad, but Ted Thompson probably isn’t going to be able to keep everyone he wants.  This is why I think this is the start of a mini-rebuild; teams typically trade down and stockpile draft picks in order to stock the team with young, cheap players who can be the foundation long term and perhaps become stars.

Thompson used this approach when he was hired in 2005 to fix the salary cap mess left by Mike Sherman and he’s doing it again to proactively protect the Packers from the next couple years.  The notable players who are set to become free agents in the next two years are Morgan Burnett, Ryan Pickett, BJ Raji, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, CJ Wilson, Mike Neal, Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Tramon Williams and Bryan Bulaga.  The next two years are perhaps the toughest because they also are when Rodgers’ and Matthews’ cap hits are the highest. Furthermore veterans who occupy a niche, like John Kuhn and Jarrett Bush are probably on the bubble now.  Needless to say, Thompson is going to have to be very judicial when it comes to keeping his own players, therefore this draft (and probably the next one) are looking to build the foundation of the team for the next 5 years, not just “put the cherry on the top” for the team now.  Thompson can now do this is that Rodger’s contract gives him a window where he can expect the team to be competitive; Rodgers probably has at least another 5 good years left in his career and now it’s important to have talent around him throughout all 5 years and not just right now.

28

April

Tracking the Trades in the Green Bay Packers 2013 NFL Draft

Packers GM Ted Thompson made a total of four trades during the 2013 NFL Draft.

Packers GM Ted Thompson made a total of four trades during the 2013 NFL Draft.

With the 2013 NFL Draft now in the books, let’s take a look at what “Trader” Ted Thompson did with his eight original picks to turn them into eleven total selections. He made a total of four trades, three of which being “down” and the final one being a trade “up.” Overall, he gained eight picks for the price of five, netting three.

Below I’ve detailed each of the trades, as well as updated what the draft board looked like at that moment. Picks in bold are the ones that were added during the trade, while the struck-through selections were already made by that point.

Original Draft Picks:

  1. Round 1, 26 (26)
  2. Round 2, 25  (55)
  3. Round 3, 26 (88)
  4. Round 4, 25 (122)
  5. Round 5, 26 (159)
  6. Round 5, 34 (167) [comp.]
  7. Round 6, 25 (193)
  8. Round 7, 26 (232)

Trade #1 (DOWN):

Gave the San Francisco 49ers No. 55 (Rd. 2) for Nos. 61 (Rd. 2) and 173 (Rd. 6).

  1. Round 1, 26 (26): Datone Jones, DE
  2. Round 2, 29  (61)
  3. Round 3, 26 (88)
  4. Round 4, 25 (122)
  5. Round 5, 26 (159)
  6. Round 5, 34 (167) [comp.]
  7. Round 6, 5 (173)
  8. Round 6, 25 (193)
  9. Round 7, 26 (232)

Trade #2 (DOWN):

Gave the San Francisco 49ers No. 88 (Rd. 3) for Nos. 93 (Rd. 3) and 216 (Rd. 7).

  1. Round 1, 26 (26): Datone Jones, DE
  2. Round 2, 29  (61): Eddie Lacy, RB
  3. Round 3, 31 (93)
  4. Round 4, 25 (122)
  5. Round 5, 26 (159)
  6. Round 5, 34 (167) [comp.]
  7. Round 6, 5 (173)
  8. Round 6, 25 (193)
  9. Round 7, 10 (216)
  10. Round 7, 26 (232)

Trade #3 (DOWN):

Gave the Miami Dolphins No. 93 (Rd. 3) for Nos. 109 (Rd. 4), 146 (Rd. 5), and 224 (Rd. 7).

  1. Round 1, 26 (26): Datone Jones, DE
  2. Round 2, 29  (61): Eddie Lacy, RB
  3. Round 4, 12 (109)
  4. Round 4, 25 (122)
  5. Round 5, 13 (146)
  6. Round 5, 26 (159)
  7. Round 5, 34 (167) [comp.]
  8. Round 6, 5 (173)
  9. Round 6, 25 (193)
  10. Round 7, 10 (216)