11

August

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Preseason

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

If you missed the Packer’s preseason game on Friday Night, good for you! It was about as ugly a display of football as we’ve seen around here for a while.

Luckily, it was the only the first preseason game.  Realistically, when talking about anything that happened in this game, one must start with, “It was only the first preseason game, but…”

So that’s what I’ll do.

It was only the first preseason game, but, the secondary was just awful.

The depth at cornerback we’ve all been talking about might be a mirage. One thing I’ve learned over the last five years, those of us that follow the Packers close enough to know about all 90 players on the training camp roster tend to overvalue the guys on the backend of the roster. We all read articles about this guy or that guy who might be the “unheralded diamond in the rough,” that we tend to convince ourselves that they are better than they really are.  We especially see it every year with the final round of cuts as we try to predict the roster and practice squads. Every year there are players put on the practice squad that we all figured would get snapped up by another team. And you know what, it hardly ever happens. So when it comes to Davon House, Micah Hyde, James Nixon, Loyce Means, Brandon Smith, David Fulton, Chaz Powell and Chris Banjo, they have yet to show they are as good as their press clippings make them out to be.

It was only the first preseason game, but, it became perfectly clear why the Packers felt they needed to bring in another quarterback. Graham Harrell does not have the tools to be anything more than what he’s been, a below-average quarterback who still looks like the game is too fast for him. BJ Coleman, who has the tools, has not made the jump we kept reading about in his second year, at least during game action. Pperhaps in practice he has looked good, but in real game action so far, he has been shockingly bad. I had high hopes for Coleman when the Packers drafted him, and from what I’ve seen so far, he seems to have regressed. Some of his passes were so off the mark, you were left wondering who he was throwing to. Perhaps he was betrayed by a WR running the wrong pattern at times, but overall, he was putrid.

21

July

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

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

I’m filling in today for Adam Czech, who is away enjoying the great outdoors in the wilds of Minnesota. Adam’s got a pretty good arm, so hopefully he’s not kidnapped by desperate Vikings fans looking for a real quarterback. We’ll keep you posted.

This is one of only a few more Surviving Sundays you’ll see this year, as the Packers open their training camp next Friday. What I thought was going to be a long hiatus seems to have flown by. I suppose being incredibly busy with work, a kitchen remodel project and running multiple blogs and a podcast network  will make the time pass quicker.

But here we are, the NFL 2013-2014 season is upon us. If by no other means, I can tell that by the string of excellent training camp battle and positional groups articles I’ve been reading all week on ALLGBP.com and PackersTalk.com. (That sentence was brought to you courtesy of the “Shameless Self-Promotion Department.”)

Of course, there are plenty of other fine sources of information about our Green Bay Packers, and some will be featured in the links below. But first, I want to give a plug to a publication that is near and dear to my heart, and brings back many fond memories, The Packer Report.

Back in the pre-internet days, it wasn’t easy being a Packers fan in NJ. Local newspapers covered, yes, the Giants and Jets, two teams I couldn’t care less about. There wasn’t even a national paper like USA today, where you might hope to see a little snippet about your team. But there was, as it was called back then, Ray Nitschke’s Packer Report.

Once a week during the season and less frequently during the off-season, the Green and Gold covered newspaper would arrive in my mail, usually on a Tuesday. That would have been fantastic if it was covering the game that just happened, but alas, by the time I got it, it was talking about the game that happened two Sundays ago. Still, it didn’t matter. It was information about my Packers I could get nowhere else.

26

May

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived: 5-26-13

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Adam Czech is away in enemy territory this weekend (Chicago). Evidently, they don’t allow any Packers writing on Sundays in Chicago, so I’ll be filling in.

Before he left he mentioned he’d be going to Mike Ditka’s restaurant and not soon after, the news came across the wires that the Bears would be retiring Ditka’s #89. Cooincidence? Or is Czech a Bears double agent? An investigation shall commence.

In the meantime, when I heard the news about Ditka, my first reaction was, “what the heck took them so long?” Shouldn’t this have been done many years ago? He’s a Pro Football Hall of Famer and a Super Bowl Champion as both a player and a coach for the Bears. This should be a no-brainer, right?

Well, it seems that, unbeknownst to me, The Bears have a little problem when it comes to retiring numbers. Seems they have retired too many – more than any other team in the NFL!

Ditka’s No. 89 is the 14th jersey number to be retired by the bears, joining, No. 3 (Bronko Nagurski), 5 (George McAfee), 7 (George Halas), 28 (Willie Galimore), 34 (Walter Payton), 40 (Gale Sayers), 41 (Brian Piccolo), 42 (Sid Luckman), 51 (Dick Butkus), 56 (Bill Hewitt), 61 (Bill George), 66 (Clyde “Bulldog” Turner) and 77 (Harold “Red” Grange).

I can make a case for seven. Some of the others were chosen for sentimental reasons rather than talent. Some had the talent, but were not even with the Bears that long.

In any case, this presents a logistics problem for the Bears, and as such, they’ve announced that Ditka’s #89 is the LAST number they’ll be retiring.

Sorry Brian Urlacher…

Getting back to the Packers, Jason, Marques and Kris have put out another fantastic show, bringing you up to date with OTA news and other recent Packers happening. I promise you it’s worth a listen:

This Week’s ALL Packers Talk Podcast:

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on BlogTalkRadio

If you haven’t yet subscribed to the Packers Talk Radio Network on itunes, you’re going to have some ‘splaining to do… Just click on the link, then “View in Itunes,” then “subscribe.”

Packers News, Notes and Links

10

March

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

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Adam Czech usually puts together this post on Sunday, but he had other commitments this week, so I’ll do my best to pick up the slack.

Last Sunday, Adam called into attention the injury woes of the Packers’ recent first-round picks. Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod and Nick Perry missed a combined 33 regular-season games last year. It’s a concern to a certain degree, but at the same time, all three players will be expected to compete for a major role with the team in 2013.

On the flip side, the Packers have struck gold recently in round two. This past week, the team decided not to place the franchise tag on wide receiver Greg Jennings, a second-round pick in 2006. Jennings played seven years with the Packers, made two Pro Bowls and helped the team to Super Bowl XLV.

This year’s draft may lack elite talent in the top-half of the first round, but it’s an extremely deep class in the first few rounds. The NFL went to a three-day format in 2010, featuring round one on Thursday and rounds two and three on Friday.

Let’s take a look at the Day 2 gems Ted Thompson has brought to Green Bay:

  • 2012: Casey Hayward (2nd, No. 62)
  • 2011: Randall Cobb (2nd, No. 64)
  • 2010: Mike Neal (2nd, No. 56) and Morgan Burnett (3rd, No. 71)
  • 2008: Jordy Nelson (2nd, No. 34) and Jermichael Finley (3rd, No. 91)
  • 2007: James Jones (3rd, No. 78)
  • 2006: Greg Jennings (2nd, No. 52)
  • 2005: Nick Collins (2nd, No. 51)

Every year since taking over as Packers GM in 2005, Thompson has found a starter in either the second or third round. Now, guys like Brian Brohm, Aaron Rouse and Abdul Hodge may not have lived up to their expectations, but Thompson’s track record is impressive nonetheless.

With Jennings on his way out, perhaps wide receiver is a position to consider on Day 2 this year. There will be receivers galore available on in rounds two and three.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Here’s a piece I wrote on Bleacher Report focusing on the depth of the wide receiver position in this year’s draft. They come in all shapes in sizes, and value will certainly be there on Day 2.
17

June

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

Surviving Sunday with no Packers football.

Surviving Sunday with no Packers Football

It’s shorts season in Green Bay once again. That time of year when we read about some unlikely, unknown or underdog player that suddenly flashes a “ton of talent” and is the surprise of OTA or mini-camp practices. Media members, bloggers and fans get themselves all in a tizzy over the possibilities.

I first fell victim to this unrealistic euphoria in the summer of 2009, when this website was not even six months old. The object of my affection that summer was Jeremy Thompson, who while running around in shorts, had supposedly risen to the top of the depth chart at one of the OLB spots in the newly-instituted Dom Capers 3-4 defense. Thompson took the first snaps at the position, even before new first-round draft pick Clay Matthews. If you’d like a humorous stroll down OTA memory lane, you can read the article I wrote about Thompson at the time.

Once the pads came on in training camp, it became obvious the NFL-caliber skills were just not there. Thompson plummeted down the depth chart and saw very limited playing time in six games, recording one tackle. Then in December of 2009, he suffered an unfortunate career-ending neck injury.

The injury notwithstanding, Jeremy Thompson taught me a lesson that year: pay little attention to the unexpected “stars” of OTAs until a few weeks into training camp.

And that brings us to this week’s links, which are all about the players “making impresssions”  at OTAs.  The star of this year’s OTAs has supposedly has been Dezman Moses.  Moses and Terrell Manning were two linebackers mentioned to me as legitimate sleeper prospects by the head of NFL Scouting. The fact that the Packers got both of them excites me, but that’s as far as I’m taking it for now.

Without further ado, here are the best of this week’s Packers links:

From Ty Dunne at JSOnline .com, “Undrafted linebacker Dezman Moses impresses Packers.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN’s NFL North Blog devotes an entire column to the “rookie buzz” on  Packers #1 draft pick Nick Perry.

Texwestern over at AcmePackingCompany.com does a nice job summarizing the stroylines coming out of the first day of Packers OTAs.

Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee explores the new contact rules for OTAs and speaks with Mike McCarthy about where to draw the line.

10

June

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

Surviving Sunday with no Packers football.

Surviving Sunday with no Packers Football

The passing of the torch in the NFL can be cruel and never ceases. I’m referring to players: old and established giving way to players in their prime, all being chased by the up-and-coming new faces.

In Green Bay we have the example of future Packers Hall-of-Famer Donald Driver having ceded territory the last two years to the likes of Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Now fresh faces like Tori Gurley, Diondre Borel, Shakey Smithson, Dale Moss are all trying to get noticed.

I was reminded of this last evening, as I sat (and stood) in my local musical venue watching the still-amazing 75-year old Buddy Guy (video below) fill the air with powerful blues riffs and entertain a crowd like few others can.

Opening for Guy was Jonny Lang, a former child guitar-playing prodigy (now 31) who had his first album released at the age of 14 and was a Grammy-nominated artist at the age of 16. Guy was one of the people responsible for discovering and pushing Lang towards success.

Towards the end of Guy’s show, Lang naturally came out to jam with Guy and they tore the house down (or so we thought). That was until Guy brought out a new guitar-playing prodigy he had first discovered at the age of 7! Now 13, this young boy came onstage looking as uncomfortable as you might expect from a 13 year old, then proceeded to sound like a guitar God from the 60′s. he jammed the blues with Guy and Lang, then veered off into some Hendrix and finished up with some Eric Clapton (Cream-era).

Guy looked on with as wide a smile I’ve seen this side of Donald Driver, mesmerized himself by the talent of this young kid.  Lang was smiling, but looked a little uneasy, as perhaps he saw his status as a modern-day blues virtuoso soon to be eclipsed by some teenager.

And that’s where I make a connection to the NFL and the Packers. Donald Driver is Buddy Guy, the aging veteran who just wants to keep playing and displaying his talent. Guy said to his fans last night, “I don’t come out here and play for Buddy Guy anymore, I come out for you.”

3

June

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

Surviving Sunday with no Packers football.

Surviving Sunday with no Packers Football

Instead of kicking off this edition of Surviving Sunday with the usual long, rambling dissertation on the Packers or football, I’ll start things off with an important life lesson for our younger readers.

I am 3o years old. I went out last night and could barely get out of bed this morning. Those four 16-oz. Surly Cynics I consumed must have went straight to my head and morphed into a giant hammer, which is now pounding away at my brain.

In four hours, I will be going out again. More Surly will be consumed. Probably some other stuff, too (don’t worry, the “other stuff” is perfectly legal). I’ll likely be going out on Sunday, also.

Thirty is way too old to go out drinking on multiple nights during the same week. I have no idea why I’m trying to pull off three days in a row. I might never recover. My family might have to put me in a nursing home on Monday.

Back in my college days, three straight days of drinking was considered a warm-up for the weekend. Now that I’m 30, it’s considered a death sentence.

If you’re still in college or far enough away from 30 to still enjoy going out and getting crazy, congratulations. Make sure you have fun while it lasts, because when it ends, it ends suddenly.

And the ending isn’t pretty.

On to some Packers news:

Finley, Jennings (M.D., not Greg), and Seat Licenses

  • Jermichael Finley spoke this week and, as usual, he was great. Packers fans tend to get up in arms whenever Finley opens his mouth and I can never figure out what the fuss is about. Finley has personality. I’ll take a player who’s open and honest over a player who has been programmed by the team to just regurgitate cliches and nonsense. As long as Aaron Rodgers is the QB and Mike McCarthy is the coach, I don’t think Packers fans need to worry about a player like Finley disrupting team chemistry or causing a rift with his words. The QB and coach know how to handle a guy like Finely.