24

January

Sean Richardson Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

Sean Richardson

Sean Richardson

1) Introduction:  Green Bay Packers safety Sean Richardson made it off of the physically unable to perform list after having surgery for a herniated disc in early 2013.  He appeared in six games for the Packers in 2013, including the wild card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.  Richardson played well enough to split time with M.D. Jennings down the stretch and should be in the mix for a roster spot in 2014, even if the team drafts or acquires a safety.  My grades for Richardson will be slightly inflated, as he did not appear in as many games.

2) Profile:

Seandre Antonio Richardson

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 1/20/1990 in Fort Campbell, TN
  • Height: 6’02″
  • Weight: 216
  • College: Vanderbilt
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  With a neck injury, there is always an amount of uncertainty regarding a player’s ability to return and play.  With Green Bay’s ultra conservative medical staff, it’s even more uncertain.  Richardson was cleared to return to action during the back half of the season and was expected to provide depth at safety as well as on special teams.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: In Richardson’s case and given his neck injury, the highlight was simply being medically cleared to return to football and the Packers.  According to Pro Football Focus, Richardson graded out at a +.5 overall, which doesn’t tell us much about the impact that he had.  Statistically, his best game came against the Pittsburgh Steelers while his worst was just one week later in the regular season finale against the Chicago Bears.  Neither were memorable and in Richardson’s case, that is not the worst thing.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  After his return, Richardson appeared in 36% of the team’s defensive snaps.  He wasn’t on the field enough for us to make a major assessment of his future value to the team but his size is something the Packers like.  Because Richardson was active for less than half of this season, he was not a big contributor in his play, but he did get Jennings off the field a bit (bad humor, I know).

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  Richardson was credited with a stop against the 49ers in limited action.  He was not much of a factor due to his lack of familiarity with the 49ers as well as his progression since his return from injury.

16

January

Safety First: Packers’ offseason needs start in secondary

Morgan Burnett had a disappointing 2013 season, and the starting spot alongside him is very much up for grabs.

Morgan Burnett had a disappointing 2013 season, and the starting spot alongside him is very much up for grabs.

Injuries, Ted Thompson, Dom Capers, Nick Collins and more injuries. The reasons identified for the Green Bay Packers’ struggles at safety are plentiful, but the current state of the position leaves little room for debate.

The Packers are in less-than-ideal shape at safety. And it’s debatably the team’s most glaring need this offseason.

After missing the first three games of the season, Morgan Burnett was, as usual, an every-down player for the Packers, leading the safeties with 874 snaps played. M.D. Jennings, prior to seeing a reduction in playing time late in the season, finished second among the team’s safeties, as he was on the field for 809 snaps. But with Jennings’ future in doubt as he hits unrestricted free agency, the 2014 depth chart is foggy.

It may be unlikely but still possible that the Packers’ opening-day starter opposite Morgan Burnett is already on the roster, however he’s probably not currently listed as a safety.

Casey Hayward, who missed all of the 2013-14 season except for 88 plays, is set to return in 2014, which brings Micah Hyde’s situation into light. Hayward graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 cornerback as a rookie in 2012 and is at his best operating from the slot–the same spot Hyde saw most of his action this past season.

When he’s healthy, Hayward will be on the field. Given the Packers’ state at safety, Hyde’s best chance to see significant playing time may be at safety. Remember you’re living in a world in which Mike Neal plays outside linebacker.

Despite dropping what would have been a career-defining interception against the 49ers in crunch time a couple weeks ago, Hyde had a terrific rookie season, one in which he proved capable of playing all over the formation. If the Packers give him a full offseason of preparation, perhaps Hyde could be “the guy” alongside Burnett.

Of course, Hyde’s transition to safety hinges on the uncertain futures of cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. And both could be playing elsewhere next season.

Ideally, the Packers want two players who can play both free and strong safety. By committing to Morgan Burnett with a long-term contract, the Packers feel they have one such player already. But other than Burnett, the Packers have just Chris Banjo–and his 192 snaps played in 2013–and Sean Richardson (156) set to return next season at safety, and neither player has proven to be anything more than a solid run defender.

27

August

Packers Cut Roster to 75 Players

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson made his roster cuts on Tuesday to make the 75-player limit.

The Green Bay Packers announced on Tuesday afternoon that their roster had been reduced to 75 players, per NFL rules. Four players were placed on injured reserve, four were placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform), and one was released. The players removed from the active roster were:

  • T Bryan Bulaga (IR)
  • WR Kevin Dorsey (IR)
  • RB DuJuan Harris (IR)
  • LB Jarvis Reed (IR)
  • S Sean Richardson (PUP)
  • T Derek Sherrod (PUP)
  • T J.C. Tretter (PUP)
  • DE Jerel Worthy (PUP)
  • K Zach Ramirez (released)

This is in addition to the six players already released since Saturday:

  • QB Graham Harrell
  • WR Justin Wilson
  • WR Omarius Hines
  • WR Alex Gillett
  • DL Gilbert Peña
  • RB Angelo Pease
  • K Giorgio Tavecchio

The players placed on injured lists (PUP and IR) were largely expected to end up there. DuJuan Harris was the one surprising move reported earlier this afternoon. Zach Ramirez was somewhat surprising considering his very recent signing; however, Packers beat reporters noted that he only made 6 of 16 field goal attempts during today’s practice. Mason Crosby connected on all 14 of his, suggesting that he might have finally won the preseason battle for good.

One more important note is that players placed on injured reserve today can not be “Designated for Return” later on in the season. This means that Bryan Bulaga and DuJuan Harris are effectively done for the year. Players on the PUP, as always, will have the opportunity to return to practice six weeks into the regular season.

Ted Thompson and the Packers must further reduce the roster to 53 players by the end of business on Saturday, August 31st.

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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31

May

Who Is Green Bay’s Other Starting Safety?

Packers rookie S Jerron McMillian

McMillian appears to be a frontrunner to claim one of the starting safety spots

One of the position battles that is and will continue to be a heavy focus in Green Bay is at safety.  Entrenched in one starting role is Morgan Burnett, who enters his fourth season and appears poised to take a step forward in becoming one of the team’s best defensive players.  The other safety position is still up for grabs amongst Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings and Sean Richardson.  This week, the team also signed undrafted free agent David Fulton from Chowan University (in North Carolina for those wondering).

With safety having been one of the team’s bigger needs heading into last month’s draft, the question seemed to be not “if” but “when” they would address the position.  Among the top prospects were Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, LSU’s Eric Reid, Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien and Florida’s Matt Elam.  Surely one of those would be available when Green Bay picked at the 26th spot.  That pick came and went, along with 10 others, and not one safety was selected.

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has had a knack for standing pat at a position that he feels already has the depth and talent necessary to be effective.  In 2010 and after starting running back Ryan Grant went down early in the season, the team seemingly needed another option.  Marshawn Lynch and DeAngelo Williams were both rumored to be available via trade.  Instead, Thompson stuck with the rotation of Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn and James Starks.  It’s no secret, by now, that Thompson prefers his own players and to develop them versus playing in free agency year in and year out.  It appears that the Packers are, once again, exercising that mindset at safety.

Just prior to the draft, the Packers parted ways with long-time veteran Charles Woodson, who was moved to safety before last season.  That left a hole and only raised more speculation that the team would look to add a safety early in the draft.  Instead, they entered this spring’s organized team activities with Burnett, McMillian, Jennings and Richardson all splitting reps at practice.

11

April

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Two weeks until Draft Day

FIU safety Jonathan Cyprien

FIU safety Jonathan Cyprien

The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft will take place two weeks from today. That’s a good thing.

Trades are sure to shake up the order of round one, but no trades will be projected in this first-round mock. Things just get messy when projecting trades.

This mock will be updated in a week before the final version is released on draft day.

Some great value presented itself when the Packers were on the board at No. 26 in this projection. But what position of need would they choose to address if the  board fell this way? Read on.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

KC: No surprise at the top. The Chiefs tagged Branden Albert, but they can’t pass on a guy like Joeckel. They’ll move Albert to right tackle and plug Joeckel in as the starting left tackle from Day 1. Had they not traded for Alex Smith, I think Geno Smith would be the guy. But clearly, the Chiefs aren’t enamored with this quarterback class.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

JAX: Jaguars GM David Caldwell has hinted that it’s down to two players at No. 2. Those two players are likely quarterback Geno Smith and pass rusher Dion Jordan. Jacksonville invested a first-round pick on Blaine Gabbert a few years ago, but he’s been a bust thus far. It’s a new regime, and I think Geno Smith is their guy.

3. Oakland Raiders: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida

OAK: Ever since the draft order was finalized, I’ve been saying the Raiders should trade down. They have needs all over the roster and would be wise to trade down, add some picks and continue to overhaul the roster. That said, Floyd has to be the pick if they stay at No. 3.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon

PHI: For the Eagles, I think it’ll be one of three players: Dion Jordan, Geno Smith or Eric Fisher. Smith is off the board in this projection, so the pick would come down to Jordan or Fisher. The offensive line was atrocious last season, but the Eagles are transitioning to the 3-4 defense, so Jordan makes a lot of sense. The Chip Kelly-Oregon connection doesn’t hurt, either.

5. Detroit Lions: DE Ziggy Ansah, BYU

28

February

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Safety

Morgan Burnett

Burnett returns as a leader of both the safety group as well as the Packers team as a whole in 2013

Packers Safeties:  One of the youngest groups on the current Green Bay Packers roster, this is a position that is expected to take a big step forward in 2013.  The team will be without long-time veteran Charles Woodson and will rely on Morgan Burnett to assume that leadership role.  Third-year player M.D. Jennings joins second-year player Jerron McMillian opposite Burnett with Sean Richardson likely in the fold as well.

For expanded coverage of this topic, listen to the podcast using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects:

Morgan Burnett (3rd round)

M.D. Jennings (UDFA)

Jerron McMillian (4th round)

Sean Richardson (UDFA)

Burnett was a steady rock for the Packers in 2012, playing in all 16 regular season games and both playoff games.  After missing most of his rookie season of 2010 and being hampered by a hand injury in 2011, Burnett showed that he can be counted on and durable enough to play a full season.  His play improved both in coverage and run support.  The assumption is that he will continue that trend in 2013 and become one of the defensive leaders on this team.

Jennings platooned with the rookie McMillian opposite Burnett after Woodson went down.  He doesn’t have blazing speed but he has a knack for sticking his nose into the play and is not afraid to get after the ball.  He scored the team’s first interception return for a touchdown and had seemingly sealed a tough road win at Seattle before. . well, we all know that story by now.  Jennings will certainly be a part of the team’s plans at safety in 2013 in one capacity or another.  He is also a contributor on special teams so I fully expect him on the 2013 roster.  For an undrafted free agent, Jennings has, at the very least, matched the expectations he had when he was brought in.  He is trending upward and should continue on the path to exceeding them if he can stay healthy.

1

December

Packers News: Harris, Ross to 53, Quarless, Richardson to I.R.

Packers TE Andrew Quarless

Packers TE Andrew Quarless

The Green Bay Packers have placed tight end Andrew Quarless and rookie safety Sean Richardson on the season-ending injured reserve.

Quarless had not played at all in 2012 due to swelling in his knee after suffering a torn ACL and MCL last season. He came off the physically unable to perform list Nov. 7 but was never able to get back to full strength.

Richardson had been active for five games this season and ranked sixth on the team in special teams tackles. He was on the injury report this week with a back injury but didn’t appear to be in jeopardy of missing the rest of the season.

Richardson missed six games with a hamstring injury.

To fill the void on the 53-man roster, the Packers signed running back DuJuan Harris and wide receiver Jeremy Ross from the practice squad. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Harris had been impressive on the practice squad, even earning some snaps with the No. 1 offense.

Harris is expected to see play on special teams and be the team’s No. 3 running back Sunday against the Vikings.

Ross was signed to the Packers’ practice squad a week before Harris. His role is expected to be primarily on special teams.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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