29

August

Thomas Hobbes: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction

Well here we go again, last year I was completely off and I don’t expect to be much different this year.  I have however thought a lot about the rationale for creating a NFL roster and I came up with these ideas a couple weeks ago, which I’ll try to use as my baseline rules.

Offense – 24 players

Quarterback (2): Aaron Rodgers, Graham Harrell

Rodgers is obviously a lock and I almost think it’s too late for a backup quarterback switch.  I know some people have been speculating that the Browns will drop the price for Colt McCoy and Thompson will trade for him, but my assumption is that the Brown’s asking price is way too high at the moment (since as far as I can tell no team has been in serious talks with the Browns), and chances are good Thompson will get outbid by some other team if the price does indeed drop into a competitive offer, so I suspect McCoy goes somewhere else and Harrell remains the backup quarterback.

Running Back (5): James Starks, John Kuhn, Cedric Benson, Alex Green, Brandon Saine

I’ve put Starks still as the lead runner, as I think Benson needs more than one good outing to take the pole position in my opinion; but really that might be a moot point if Starks can’t get on the field.  I think Brandon Saine’s spot really depends on the health and performance of Alex Green; if the Packers believe that Green is healthy and productive enough after his ACL injury that he can manage the 3rd down back role by himself (with help from Kuhn), then Saine might be expendable, but personally I think was quietly becoming a very decent pass blocker, which the Packers highly covet.  Kuhn rounds out the group as the sole fullback.

Tight Ends (4): Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, DJ Williams, Ryan Taylor

Nothing really interesting with the tight ends, Finley obviously leads the group, with Crabtree, Williams and Taylor all sort of in a mix for the backup position.  Each has their own strengths, Crabtree and Taylor can operate as a fullback and Williams is capable of playing the “move” tight end or H-back, and all three contribute on special teams.  It will be interesting to see what they do when Andrew Quarless returns (if he does at all, as they may choose to just shut him down for the entire year), my suspicions would be that they add Quarless back by stealing a spot from another position.

17

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Howard Green

1) Introduction: Howard Green can thank for the Jenkins family for the 2010 season; while he started on the Redskins (only to be cut in the offseason), he was scooped by the Jets after starting nose tackle Kris Jenkins went on IR due to a ACL injury. But his time there was short lived as he was cut after the Jets bye week for purportedly coming back at 375 pounds. He chose to drive home in his pickup truck to New Orleans but when he hit the Louisiana border his agent called him to tell him to get his butt to Green Bay since the Packers had just claimed him up off waivers. More driving and a long flight back up north had Green back in Green, only this time to relieve some of the strain on Kris Jenkins’ injured little brother Cullen. Oh yah, and his first game was against the Jets too.

2) Profile:

Howard Green Jr.

Position: DT
Height: 6-2    Weight: 320 lbs.

Born: January 12, 1979 in Donaldsonville, LA
College: LSU (school history)
Drafted by the Houston Texans in the 6th round (190th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Not on the team. If anything the Packers only knew of Howard Green on game tape, but on the other side since the Packers saw the Redskins in week 5 and the Jets in week 8. However after he was cut by the Jets, defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who had initially drafted him in 2002, picked him back up and inserted him as the backup DE behind Cullen Jenkins who was nursing a broken hand and to shore up a decimated defensive line, who had lost Johnny Jolly to suspension, Mike Neal to IR and had Jenkins and Ryan Pickett both playing hurt.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Howard Green started the landslide for the Packers in first half the Super Bowl by man handling Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu, bull rushing him right into quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Green managed to get a hand on Roethlisberger’s hand and the pass fluttered right into the waiting arms of free safety Nick Collins, who weaved the ball back to the end zone for a pick 6.

15

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – AJ Hawk

1) Introduction: AJ Hawk came in as a highly touted 5th overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft. Since then, his career can be described as “steady”; drafted as the most “NFL ready” player in his draft he has been just that, he usually is assignment sure and consistent in tackling and in coverage, but many people have called him out for not being the “impact player” warranting a top 5 pick. It will be interesting to see what the Packers do with perhaps their deepest position. All 4 inside linebackers have sizable contracts (with cover specialist Brandon Chillar receiving one last year and Desmond Bishop receiving one this year). Hawk’s contract included at $10 million base salary in the final year in order to stimulate an extension; he’s definitely not worth that much and it basically comes down to him or Nick Barnett (who has two years left on his contract).

2) Profile:

Aaron James Hawk

Position: LB
Height: 6-1    Weight: 245 lbs.

Born: January 6, 1984 in Centerville, OH
College: Ohio State (school history)    (Hawk college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 1st round (5th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Significant role player – Hawk was a starter in the base 3-4 defense, but much was made by the fact that Dom Capers didn’t play any base 3-4 in the season opener and thus Hawk was on the bench the entire game. With the rise of Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, Capers took advantage of having Charles Woodson in the slot and the nickel defense became more “base” than the base 3-4.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: As stated earlier, Hawk’s steady game play rarely makes for highlights or lowlights. Hawk had a career 3 interceptions but none were of much note; his interception against the Lions was more because of Jahvid Best falling down on the play and his pick against Brett Farve was also a lucky interception as outside linebacker Brad Jones knocked Farve down while he was throwing. But perhaps most damning is the fact that Hawk had an interception against the Giants but the play failed to make it onto the highlights reel on NFL network. On the flip side, there aren’t many plays that show Hawk being straight off beaten due to back technique or mental errors. Overall, Hawks season is basically devoid of highlights but also lowlights.