25

March

John Kuhn’s time is up in Green Bay

John Kuhn has been a Packers fan favorite for years. But now, it's time for the team to move on.

John Kuhn has been a Packers fan favorite for years. But now, it’s time for the team to move on.

He’s got his own cheer and he’s been one of the Packers’ favorites for years.

But why in the world are the Packers tinkering with bringing back the eight-year fullback John Kuhn.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a performance or chemistry issue. Kuhn has done everything that’s been asked of him since he came to Green Bay in 2007.

However, his role has shrunk significantly since 2010 to the point that last year it was razor thin with just 10 carries. And even when he’s not getting the ball, he isn’t on the field nearly as much as he used to be.

The reason isn’t because fans are tired of belting out “Kuuuuuuhn” every time he gets the rock. But because the Packers have a guy named Eddie Lacy that runs people over by himself — rendering the fullback position useless.

Kuhn has been an outstanding teammate. You’ve never heard that the Shippensburg product was a locker room problem. And the reason the undrafted free agent is so adored by the Packers fans is because he exemplifies everything they all strive to achieve. Things like beating the odds, never giving up, living out your passion and always outworking the other guy.

Kuhn earned himself a Pro Bowl trip and more importantly helped the Packers win a Super Bowl.

Obviously, it’s never easy saying goodbye to someone that not just fellow teammates look up to but fans from around the league look up to as well.

But it’s time for the Packers to move on.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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4

March

Ted Thompson Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson

1) Introduction:  I think the biggest mistake that fans make when criticizing front office personnel like general managers is using the same rubric and time frame as they use for for players.  Take Ted Thompson for instance, whose first pick for the Packers was a quarterback deemed too short with a weak arm when the Packers already had the best quarterback in franchise history.  Naturally, we’re having arguments now on whether Aaron Rodgers is better than Brett Favre (personally, I still think its Starr, but Farve and Rodgers should be legitimately in the conversation).

Thompson was also roundly criticized for picking a cornerback to play safety from a college no one had ever heard of or drafting another wide receiver even when the Packers had fantastic depth but Nick Collins, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have all been fantastic players who have made Thompson look like a very smart man. Overall, Thompson should not be graded per game or even per season, but over a span of 5 years or more.

2) Profile:

Ted Thompson

  • Age: 61
  • Born: 1/17/1953 in Atlanta, Texas (There’s an Atlanta in Texas?)
  • Height: 6’1″ (man, he was a short linebacker)
  • Weight: 220
  • College: Southern Methodist
  • Rookie Year: 1975
  • NFL Experience: 10 years as a player, 22 years as a scout and front office executive

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  High.  In the last 5 years the Packers have won the Super Bowl, been in the playoffs every year and managed a 15-1 season.  Added to that the Packers have always had one of the youngest and deepest rosters in football and always have had a very healthy salary cap situation.  Thompson also has reportedly great rapport with head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff and Packer’s “system” of draft and develop has benefited all parties more often than not.  The Packers were expected to win the NFC North again and make it to the playoffs.

2

February

What Would You be Doing if the Packers were in the Super Bowl today?

Here’s a fun little poll for Packers fans to think about what they might be doing today if the packers were playing the Broncos instead of the Seahawks. Weigh in with your response and come back later for the full results.

What would you be doing today if the Packers were in the Super Bowl?
Sitting in MetLife Stadium cheering them on.0%
Hosting a Super Bowl party at home.0%
Going to a Super Bowl Party wearing Geen and Gold.0%
Locking yourself in your room and watching the game by yourself.0%
Cheering for the Packers to lose.0%
Watching the game at a sports bar in NJ or NY after have spent a few days soaking in the Super Bowl atmosphere.0%
Yelling “McCarthy Sucks” or “Fire Capers” at the TV screen every time something doesn’t go the Packers’ way. 0%
Anything but watching the game.0%
Saying “Favre would have completed that” every time Rodgers throws an incompletion.0%
miss the game because you’re still hung over for the previous 48hrs of non-stop partying.0%

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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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13

December

Packers Periscope: Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys

The Past: In reality, the Packers and Cowboys aren’t all that different; both are storied franchises whose heydays came after hiring relatively unknown New York Giants coordinators.  Both had a renaissance of sorts in the 80s and 90s; Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin for the Cowboys and Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, Reggie White and Desmond Howard for the Packers both lead their respective teams back into relevance.  Both have been successful franchises in the last couple years; obviously Green Bay boasts a Super Bowl over the last couple of years that the Cowboys have no answer for but to call the franchise “unsuccessful” would be glossing over a decent team who are still the highest grossing franchise in the league.

While the Packers and Cowboys have only played each other 24 times in NFL history; perhaps the most historic game of all time occurred in New Years eve, 1967 where the temperature dropped -15F and an unassuming quarterback from Alabama drafted in the 17th round quarterback sneaked his way into the hearts of Packers nation and became a legend.

The Cowboys would probably like to forget the last time they played the Packers, a 45-7 demolition at Lambeau Field that would ultimately lead to the firing of then head coach Wade Phillips, which was punctualized by several coaching mistakes which ultimately lead to a bad call on a fumble returned for a special teams touchdown being unchallenged because the Cowboys had already wasted all their timeouts.  After that, the entire team simply gave up and let the Packers had their way with the Cowboys; Clay Matthews recorded sack/interception returned for a touchdown while James Jones logged 123 yards and a touchdown on 8 receptions.

The Present: Both the Packers and Cowboys are at a crossroads of sorts for their playoff hopes.  Frankly neither should really be in the discussion; the Packers are a completely different team without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Cowboys have been wildly inconsistent, almost beating the Peyton Manning lead Denver Broncos but getting blown out by the Bears last week with a backup quarterback that’s just been benched for Jay Cutler.  Still the Packers are 6-6-1 and have a shot to get into the playoffs (especially if the Lions continue to play poorly) while the Cowboys are 7-6 and again are one game out from 1st place in the NFC East.  However in a league of parity, both teams with essentially .500 records are still in the playoff hunts with a reasonable chance of actually getting in says platitudes about how a team’s fortunes can change in a matter of moments.

20

May

Packers Jarrett Bush has Managed to Stick Around

Jarrett Bush

Packers CB Jarrett Bush has stuck with the team since 2006.

The pitchforks were out and the torches were lit after the 2009 season. Packers fans wanted cornerback Jarrett Bush off the team.

I admit that I was one of those Packers fans holding a torch high in one hand and a pitchfork in the other. I was sick of seeing Bush stumbling three yards behind a receiver after a double move left him in the dust and led to another touchdown against the Packers.

Ted Thompson has never paid much attention to the pitchfork- and torch-wielding sector of the Packers’ fanbase, and he held true to that philosophy with Bush. Now the undrafted free agent out of Utah St. and claimed by the Packers off waivers from Carolina is one of the longest-tenured Packers, a good special teams player and, dare I say it, somewhat beloved by fans.

I say “somewhat” because if Bush ever ends up playing significantly as a defensive back again, it will probably get ugly and fans will turn on him again. But as long as he remains the blue-collar, hard-working leader of the special teams unit, the love for Bush will only get stronger.

Admit it: When Bush picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl, you slapped yourself and wondered aloud if you just watched Jarrett Bush intercept a pass in the Super Bowl. For the Green Bay Packers. In January of 2011.

That play sticks in my mind to this day. Bush, a player who didn’t even get love from the fanbase of the team he played for, kept plugging away and made an impact when called upon to do so on the biggest stage.

If you were paying attention throughout the 2010 season, you would have noticed Bush making an impact on special teams. On Packers teams not known for their physicality and tackling, Bush goes as hard as anyone on special teams and is never afraid to stick his nose in the middle of the action and attempt to make a tackle.

Ever since Bush has been able to focus on special teams (albeit for one start in the 2012 season opener that didn’t go well), he’s found a place in Green Bay as a veteran and emotional leader.

21

April

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

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Remember the moment from Super Bowl XLV when Packers assistant coach Kevin Greene looked Clay Matthews in the eyes and told him that “it is time!”

It’s one of the more memorable moments from that Super Bowl victory and something Packers fans won’t forget any time soon.

NFL history is filled with instances when coaches say something memorable or inspiring to players during a key portion of a big game. The emotion and intensity of the moment makes for compelling drama that even the best Hollywood actors could never replicate.

You don’t hear about similar moments involving general managers. In fact, thinking about someone going up to a general manager in his office, looking into his eyes, and telling him “it is time!” sounds downright silly.

Even so, I think it would be perfectly reasonable for someone to do that to Ted Thompson this week.

Not literally, of course. That would just be weird and could lead to an arrest. Without getting right in his face, this week is the perfect week to get the message to Thompson that “it is time!”

Now is the time for Thompson to put himself in the history books as one of the best general managers of all time. He’s already got a Super Bowl. He’s already highly respected. He’s already guided the Packers franchise through the Brett Favre-to-Aaron Rodgers transition. He’s already had a great career and has plenty to be proud of.

But if Thompson wants to separate himself from the pack of very good general managers and join the group of all-time great general managers, it is time for him to make his move.

Thompson talked this week about the draft being his responsibility. Even when Thompson had John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey by his side, I always believed the credit for a great draft, or the blame for a lackluster draft, should be on the general manager, the man in charge.

That’s not to say that input from Schneider, McKenzie and Dorsey — all NFL general managers now — didn’t mean anything. It’s always good to have as many smart people as possible helping you make decisions.

But the Packers success or failure in the personnel departments starts and ends with Thompson. That’s especially true now that Schneider, McKenzie and Dorsey are gone.

7

March

Packing the Stats: Is Aaron Rodgers’ Time Ticking Away?

Packing the StatsIn the shadow of the last two postseason losses, I’ve seen a number of Green Bay Packers fans itching for Ted Thompson to make some big roster moves. Their basic premise is that star quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have much time left to get to another Super Bowl. It’s either now or never if the team wants to make another serious run at it.

Rodgers is, after all, turning 30 this December. By the time the season is over and the playoffs are underway, he’ll have reached that magic age in the NFL when a player’s value suddenly drops like a brand new car being driven off the dealer’s lot. Sure, he hasn’t shown any physical or mental signs of decline in his performance, but time flies when you’re chasing the Lombardi Trophy.

To be perfectly clear, I have been a big skeptic of this line of thinking. This skepticism has actually led me to do a little data mining. How many quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl after they’ve turned 30? How many have even played in a Super Bowl? Is it a foregone conclusion that Rodgers will be battling the odds in the coming years?

So I went all the way back to Super Bowl XXX and compiled the ages of the starting quarterbacks since that year. Just to note, I only went back 18 years for the purposes of time management and the idea that modern rules are helping with durability. Quarterbacks are being protected from physically damaging hits, so they should theoretically have a better chance of playing into their later years.

Here is the raw data I uncovered (click to enlarge):

Super Bowl Starting Quarterback Ages - Raw Data, 1995-2013

Super Bowl Starting Quarterback Ages – Raw Data, 1995-2013

 

After compiling all the data, I went through and calculated some simple statistics to help us measure and understand what we’re seeing:

Super Bowl Starting Quarterback Ages - Statistics, 1995-2013

Super Bowl Starting Quarterback Ages – Statistics, 1995-2013

 

Looking at the numbers, Aaron Rodgers has clearly surpassed the average age for quarterbacks appearing in a Super Bowl. Losing quarterbacks tend to be about a year older than winning ones, while the median age seems to hover around 28. About 60% of all quarterbacks starting in a Super Bowl during the past 18 years were under the age of 30.