26

December

Packers Stock Report: Bring on the Seahawks Edition

Sam Shields

Packers CB Sam Shields is on the rise.

I’m writing this week’s Packers stock report while watching the Seahawks destroy the 49ers. After the Seahawks went up 14-0, my wife said that she hopes the Packers do not have to play the Seahawks in the playoffs.

I threatened to take back her Christmas present for uttering such nonsense. I want to play the Seahawks and I want to play them bad. I want to play them right now. Screw the Vikings. Bring on the Seahawks.

Beating the Seahawks in the playoffs would make me giddy. Every Packers fan should want to play the Seahawks again and beat the s**t out of them.

The Seahawks’ attitude after Fail Mary was a disgrace. Plus, Pete Carroll has always been a disgrace and it would be really sweet to beat him.

A Packers vs. Seahawks playoff matchup is what makes football awesome.

I’m getting all fired up just thinking about it. I need to calm down.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
Welcome back to the rising category, sir. Please stay a while. At least through the first Sunday in February.

Sam Shields
Who put a quarter in Sam Shields? He’s like my little nieces and nephews when it’s time to open Christmas presents, all fired up and just attacking everything in sight. This aggression and emotion was nowhere to be found last season. Just like it makes me smile to see my little nieces and nephews tear into their presents, seeing Shields make picks and get to the QB on blitzes also makes me grin from ear to ear.

James Jones
Just another game with a touchdown from Jones. I’m not sure what else there is to say about Jones this season.

Steady

Mike Neal
A pass-rushing threat from the defensive line? This would be the ultimate Packers Christmas present. If you have any tape left over from wrapping Christmas presents, drop it off at Lambeau. The Packers need it to tape up Neal so he stays healthy the rest of the season. (ok, I’m done with the Christmas references now. Promise.)

Brad Jones
How about some love for Brad Jones? He made a few nice sticks at the goal line against the Bears and was tough again against the Titans. Brad Jones at middle linebacker…who woulda thought…

24

December

This is a Very Likable Packers Team

DuJuan Harris

DuJuan Harris is one of the players that makes this a very likable Packers team.

As I was watching the Packers 55-7 win over the Titans on Sunday, I realized that this is the most likable Packers team I’ve seen in a long time.

Of course, it’s the Packers. I’ll like the Packers no matter what. You could make Bernie Maddoff the quarterback and Dick Cheney head coach and I’d still bleed green and gold.

But this team is just really likable. Every category of likability is covered.

There’s Aaron Rodgers, the golden-boy MVP quarterback. Super talented, open with fans, funny, intense, exciting to watch, confident…I could go on and on…

There’s Mike McCarthy, the coach who seems to have a knack for guiding his teams through injury and adversity. McCarthy also isn’t one of those annoying fake tough guy, look-at-me kind of coaches (see: Schwatz, Jim and Carroll, Pete). He also doesn’t completely blow off the media, and every now and then gives us great lines like “We’re nobody’s underdog,” or “Self-pity is a waste of time, it’s a wasted emotion.”

There’s a young secondary that keeps getting better. Every likable team needs players that people do not know much about, but play so well that people are forced to care as the season progresses. That’s what’s happening with Casey Hayward, Jerron McMillian, Sam Shields and M.D. Jennings.

There’s Jermichael Finley and Mike Neal. Even likable teams need guys that fans can yell at incoherently and then cheer for when they make a good play. That’s Finley for sure. Neal has also received his share of scorn, but has played well lately. Consider guys like Finley and Neal the team punching bags. When Packers fans need to let off some steam, yelling about these two usually does the trick.

There’s James Jones. Every likable team needs a guy that went from punching bag to breakout player.

There’s Charles Woodson and Donald Driver. Yeah, their contributions have been minimal, but every likable team needs a veteran or two past his prime to pull for. I think most Packers fans understand that Driver and Woodson likely won’t contribute much the rest of the way, but deep down, we’re all hoping to see them get out there and have one last moment of glory.

There’s Clay Matthews. Because he does stuff like this.

21

December

Packers News: Dietrich-Smith to start over Saturday

Packers C Evan Dietrich-Smith

Packers C Evan Dietrich-Smith

Packers center Jeff Saturday has been benched in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith.

“We’re at two totally different points in our career,” Saturday said. “His is on the up ramp, mine is on the way out.”

Saturday, 37, has not been playing up to his normal high level this season. Pro Football Focus ranks him 30th among 37 centers who have played at least 25 percent of their team’s offensive snaps.

Dietrich-Smith started four games this season after Bryan Bulaga went on the injured reserve with an injured hip. Left guard T.J. Lang bumped over to right tackle, while Dietrich-Smith filled in at left guard.

Saturday has started all 14 of the Packers’ games this season, but it appears the team is ready to go in another direction in the middle of the offensive line.

Saturday had been dealing with a neck/shoulder injury, and head coach Mike McCarthy says he’ll likely be available to play Sunday against the Titans. However, Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee says Saturday confirmed Friday that Dietrich-Smith will be the team’s new starting center.

Saturday has struggled particularly in the running game this season–ranking dead last in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. However, in the passing game, Saturday grades out as PFF’s third most-effective center.

Dietrich-Smith figures to be the team’s best option at center for the future. And Sunday against the Titans figures to be Dietrich-Smith’s audition for the starting job in 2013.

From left to right, the Packers’ offensive line will be Marshall Newhouse, T.J. Lang, Dietrich-Smith, Josh Sitton and Don Barclay.

With Alex Green questionable to play on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how the ground game fares against the Titans. This will be Green Bay’s first game with a new offensive line and perhaps either DuJuan Harris or Ryan Grant handling the majority of the team’s carries.

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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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17

September

Packing the Stats: 2011 Week 1 Pass Defense

After week 1, every fan has the right to be optimistic.  Fans of winning teams will instantly project the same success to the next 16 weeks, fans of losing teams will console themselves that its only one game and fans of teams that got blown out will delude themselves into thinking that their team is the next 2003 Patriots, who got skunked 31-0 by the Buffalo Bills only to finish 14-2 and win the Super Bowl.

Packers fans can count themselves lucky to be part of the 1st group after a thrilling win against the New Orleans Saints but amidst the victory, questions arose. The Packers game up an astounding 477 total yards with Drew Brees shredding the Packers secondary for 398 yards.  Will this be an issue in games to come or just a result of playing one of best quarterbacks along with one of the most powerful  passing offenses in the NFL?

In my opinion no. Take a look at the statistics


Date Points TY R/A RY RTD
2010 Avg Tm/G 22.00 336.00 27.20 114.50 0.80
2010 Week 1 Avg Team 18.25 311.25 26.31 105.72 0.66
2011 Week 1 Avg Team 23.50 350.30 25.60 105.30 0.70
Difference 5.25 39.05 0.71 0.42 0.04
2010 Week 1 League Total 584.00 9,960.00 842.00 3,383.00 21.00
2011 Week 1 League Total 752.00 11,211.00 818.00 3,369.00 21.00
Difference 168.00 1,251.00 24.00 14.00 0.00

 


Date P/C P/A PY PTD INT
2010 Avg Tm/G 20.50 33.70 221.60 1.50 1.00
2010 Week 1 Avg Team 21.06 34.28 219.94 1.22 0.84
2011 Week 1 Avg Team 21.40 34.90 245.10 1.70 0.80
Difference 0.34 0.62 25.16 0.48 0.04
2010 Week 1 League Total 674.00 1,097.00 7,038.00 39.00 27.00
2011 Week 1 League Total 685.00 1,116.00 7,842.00 54.00 24.00
Difference 11.00 19.00 804.00 15.00 3.00

Abbreviations: TY: total yards, R/A: rushing attempts, RY: rushing yards, RTD: rushing touchdowns, P/C: passes completed, P/A: passes attempted, PY: passing yards, PTD: passing TD, INT: interception