26

March

Why Haven’t The Packers Resigned Matt Flynn?

Matt Flynn

In case anyone forgot, the 2013 Packers will always be remembered as the “oh shit, Aaron Rodgers got hurt” season.  After Rodgers broke his clavicle against the Bears, it became quite apparent that the Packers front office had been unusually caught with its collective pants off by having no viable backup to keep the team afloat.  This all started in training camp and the preseason as the Packers cut incumbent backup quarterbacks Graham Harrell and BJ Coleman, leaving former 1st round pick and overall bust Vince Young as the presumed backup, only to release him at the 53 man cut deadline.  After all that, the Packers front office signed Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien to actually backup the season.  Obviously the football gods didn’t look favorably to all this as Seneca Wallace got hurt almost immediately into his first start for the Packers and left an unproven and inexperienced Scott Tolzien to start for the Packers against the Giants and part of the Vikings game.  It was only when the Packers got to “plan F” did they get really desperate and call back old buddy Matt Flynn, who took over halfway into the Vikings game, managed to scrape a couple of tight wins against the Falcons and the Cowboys and managed to do just enough to keep the team afloat until Rodgers came back to play the Bears in the season finale with playoff hopes on the line.

This story is something that the Packers can ill afford to repeat; in all honestly the Packers did not get into the playoffs last year, the Bears and Lions were just even less deserving of a playoff berth.  So the question really becomes, why are the Packers repeating 2013 by not resigned Matt Flynn and what reason could they possibly have?

Matt Flynn would not be an expensive backup, after bombing out in Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, its pretty apparent that the only team that has any value for Flynn is the Packers, and thus his asking price would be low due to no competition for his services.  There has been no news of Matt Flynn taking any visits with any other teams and no rumors that any other team is even interested.  Furthermore, Flynn missed out on the free agent signing rush, where some backup quarterbacks commanded as much as a $5 million average over 2-3 years.  As such, the best Flynn will likely see is a 1 year veteran minimum, which for a player with 6 years of experience means $730,000.

4

September

Does Ben McAdoo deserve blame for Packers’ backup QB blunder?

Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was appointed to his role in 2012, despite having no prior experience at the position.

Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was appointed to his role in 2012, despite having no prior experience at the position.

When the Miami Dolphins hired former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin to be their head coach in 2012, Tom Clements was promoted to offensive coordinator, leaving the team’s quarterbacks coach position vacant.

Ben McAdoo, who served under head coach Mike McCarthy in each of his previous two tenures with New Orleans and San Francisco, had experience coaching various offensive positions at the professional level. But prior to changing roles in 2012, McAdoo had no experience, at any level, working directly with the quarterback position.

Shortly after Philbin’s departure, Aaron Rodgers, who has given Clements a great deal of credit for his ascension to the NFL elite, was asked by Jason Wilde about how their relationship would change if Clements were, in fact, no longer his position coach.

“I don’t see our relationship changing a whole lot. I think if he were to get the coordinator job, he’d still want to spend some time with the quarterbacks,” Rodgers said. “I would guess they would look for someone to be the quarterbacks coach. I know when Tom originally got hired, that one of the names that Mike was interested in was Billy Joe Tolliver.”

Tolliver, whose playing career ended in 2001 after being beaten out by Doug Pederson in a competition to be Brett Favre’s backup, has never coached at the NFL level. However, Rodgers’ assumption that the team would look to a former quarterback to fill Clements’ role as the position coach suggests that he’d prefer to have a coach who has played the position.

Clements quarterbacked Notre Dame to a National Championship in 1973, finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1974 and played professionally for more than a decade, bouncing between the CFL and NFL. But with a quarterback-savvy head coach in McCarthy, along with an offensive coordinator (Clements) who had served as the team’s quarterbacks coach for seven seasons, the Packers opted to promote McAdoo to quarterbacks coach.

Prior to the move, McAdoo had spent the previous six years in Green Bay as the team’s tight ends coach.

The Packers are no strangers to making curious promotions on their coaching staff; wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett played running back in the NFL for eight seasons, running backs coach Alex Van Pelt played 11 seasons as an NFL quarterback, and tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot also coached tight ends in Green Bay despite a 16-year playing career at center.

2

September

The Packers’ Backup Quarterback Derby Must Stop

B.J. Coleman and Vince Young were sent packing in favor of Seneca Wallace.

If the Green Bay Packers had their way, no one else but Aaron Rodgers would take a snap at quarterback during the regular season except in mop up duty during a blowout victory.

That said, they need some kind of a Plan B behind the 2011 NFL MVP in case of a doomsday scenario in which Rodgers is out for multiple games (or perhaps even the duration of the season).  For the first few years Rodgers was the starter, they had a solid plan. Matt Flynn sat at the ready and Graham Harrell was on the practice squad learning the ropes. All was well.

Then came the 2011 regular season finale. The Packers were 14-1 and had home field advantage for the playoffs sewn up. There was no reason to risk an injury to Rodgers in a meaningless game, so Flynn got his second career NFL start.  What followed was a record setting performance by Flynn who finished with 480 passing yards and six touchdowns.

Flynn was scheduled to be a free agent after the season and with that performance plus his 2010 game against the Patriots, Flynn seemed destined for a starting job and could have his pick of any team that wanted him.

Flynn joined the Seahawks and then Russell Wilson came along. The rest is history.

The Packers, meanwhile, went through 2012 with Harrell as Rodgers’ backup after he was promoted off the practice squad in Flynn’s absence.  Harrell left much to be desired in the 2012 preseason and was likely headed towards being cut had he not performed well in the preseason finale.  So Harrell it was in 2012.

During last season’s regular season game against the New Orleans Saints, Rodgers got poked in the eye and Harrell came in for one play. He tripped and fumbled the ball one yard from a touchdown.

Not exactly the kind of performance that inspires confidence.

Coming into 2013, Harrell was expected to face competition from 2012 practice squad quarterback B.J.  Coleman.  When neither showed much in the preseason, the Packers brought in former Titans star Vince Young to compete.

Now all three are no longer Packers.

1

September

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Preseason

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Well, Packers fans, since the 2013 NFL season starts next Sunday, this is the last Surviving Sunday of the year.

NFL football games that actually matter will be keeping us occupied for the next 20 weeks or so, and there won’t be a need for 800-word posts wrapping up the news of the week and mixing in my ramblings about pro wrestling, video games, concussions, the media or whatever other tangent I like to go off on.

As always, thanks for reading. Hopefully the next Surviving Sunday isn’t published until Feb. 9, 2014, the Sunday after the Packers win Super Bowl XLVIII.

Roster cuts
All of the Packers roster cuts are in and there were a few surprises: 1) Vince Young is gone. I thought his ability to run and at least have a chance to make a play every now and then would save him, but I thought wrong. Now who’s going to back up Aaron Rodgers? Your guess is as good as mine. 2. Tyrone Walker didn’t make the team. I suppose that’s not really too big of a surprise, but he had a nice camp and I liked what I saw. Alex Green getting cut wasn’t much of a surprise. Starks has more pop than Green and is just a better back. You can’t play the injury card on Starks when comparing the two, either, because Green has injury issues of his own.

Tramon is back
Tramon Williams returned in Thursday’s preseason finale and had an interception on the Chiefs’ first pass. I’m not worried at all about Williams’ pass coverage. Sure, he gets beat more often than he did in 2010, but the good far outweighs the bad when Williams drops back in coverage. What I need to see from Williams is toughness. The 49ers will look at film of the 2012 Packers this week, see Williams retreat when a run comes his way, and start licking their chops. Williams needs to be a tougher tackler this season. Plain and simple.

31

August

Time for the Turk: A Running List of Green Bay Packers Roster Cuts

The Turk pays the Packers a Visit

The Turk pays the Packers a Visit

The Green Bay Packers have started making moves to cut down their roster to the 53 man mark to open the regular season.

The following players have been released so far according to various reports and sources.  Any reported cuts will not show up here, however, if not reported by a verified member of the media following the Green Bay Packers:

QB Vince Young - Per his Twitter account, Young confirms that he has been released by the Packers. Who’s going to be the Packers backup QB? B.J. Coleman? Trent Edwards? Tim Tebow? Brett Favre? (LOL on the last two…I think.)

CB Loyce Means – Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports he has been released, but told he has a good chance of returning to the practice squad.

FB Jonathan Amosa – Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports a league source confirms Amosa has been cut. Also a PS candidate.

T Kevin Hughes – Via Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press Gazette, Hughes has been cut.

S Chaz Powell - Silverstein reports that Powell has been cut. Does this mean the Packers are keeping the Banjo as a backup safety?

C/G Garth Garhart - Hodkiewicz chimes in again and says Garhart is gone.

S David Fulton - Silverstein reports that Fulton is gone. Things are looking even better for the Banjo.

WR Charles Johnson - Bill Huber of Packer Report tweets.  Silverstein reports team will try to sign him to their practice squad if he clears waivers.

WR Tyrone Walker - Bill Huber reported.  Silverstein reports Packers will attempt to sign Walker to their practice squad if he clears waivers.

OLB Donte Savage - Silverstein reports that a team source has confirmed.

T Andrew Datko - Rob Demovsky at ESPN says Datko is gone. Does he come back for a second year on the practice squad? We shall see.

 OL Patrick Lewis – Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports he has been released.

WR Myles White – Silverstein reports White is gone, tweeting: “That leaves them with Jones, Cobb, Nelson, Boykin and Ross at WR.”

TE D.J. Williams - Per Williams’ Twitter account, he is not longer a Packer.

TE Jake Stoneburner - Ty Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports he has been released, but told he has a good chance of returning to the practice squad.

25

August

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Preseason

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Graham Harrell cut
Somebody alert the Minnesota Vikings, another Packers player has hit the open market. Reports are out there that Graham Harrell is getting cut, meaning Vince Young has won the Packers’ backup QB job. The Packers are effed if Vince Young needs to play for an extended stretch of games, but probably not as effed as they would’ve been with Harrell. I thought Harrell would come around to at least be a Matt Flynn type of backup, but obviously, I was wrong. His accuracy went from bad to worse, and that ultimately did him in.

Knowledge of offense?
The only thing Harrell had going for him was his knowledge of the offense. I suppose it would be nice for Aaron Rodgers to have a backup that is familiar with the offense and can offer insight when needed, but that knowledge didn’t make up for Harrell’s poor play. Besides, the Packers have a QB coach, offensive coordinator, head coach and who knows how many other people that know this offense just as well, if not better than Rodgers. If Vince Young is playing catchup in the classroom, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Meat wagon makes the rounds at Lambeau
Five more Packers were struck down with injuries in Friday’s loss to the Seachickens. Casey Hayward, Brad Jones, Morgan Burnett and Jarvis Reed left the game on defense. On offense, DuJuan Harris re-injured his knee. Of the five, Burnett worries me the most. Who’s going to play safety if Burnett is on the shelf?

Sherrod’s family speaks
Since the Packers and Derek Sherrod aren’t providing any updates on why it’s taking so long for the big tackle to return from a broken leg, Bob McGinn contacted Sherrod’s family to try and learn more about what’s going on. Turns out Sherrod has had to deal with many challenges on his road to recovery. I don’t get why the Packers and/or Sherrod have been so secretive about the injury and recovery process. I get that all teams are paranoid about releasing injury news, but what good has that paranoia done the Packers in Sherrod’s case? All it’s done is frustrated the fan base and caused some misguided people to question Sherrod’s work ethic or toughness as he tries to return.

8

August

Thursday 8/8 Packers practice: Calm before the storm

What I learned at Thursday's practice: Aaron Rodgers can throw a football.

What I learned at Thursday’s practice: Aaron Rodgers can throw a football. Pretty well.

The Packers will kick off the 2013 preseason tomorrow night at home against the Arizona Cardinals.

On Thursday morning at Ray Nitschke Field–the final practice before exhibition games start–the team opted to practice in shells, despite the fact that it was originally scheduled to be in full pads.

It was a slow-paced practice without many memorable plays, highlighted by a mid-practice pep talk from head coach Mike McCarthy. The skipper was dissatisfied with the pace of practice, so he paused the action to get his team going.

In the last couple drills of practice, the pace picked up and guys seemed to be playing with more energy.

Eddie Lacy (sort of) returned to practice

Yesterday, Packers running back Eddie Lacy was in flip-flops at practice. Today, he walked onto the practice field wearing cleats and carrying his helmet. But the walk from Armed Forces Drive to Ray Nitschke Field would be the most action Lacy would get all morning.

Lacy didn’t play a single rep at Thursday’s practice and looks highly unlikely to play in the preseason opener against the Cardinals.

At this point, it’s pretty clear that the coaching staff views Lacy as their No. 1 back. And if that’s the case, it makes sense to keep Lacy off the field in an effort to prevent his hamstring injury from lingering.

Vince Young continued to struggle

In my practice summary from yesterday, I suggested Young is not currently ready for game action. I came away from Thursday morning’s practice thinking the same thing.

During the team portion of practice, Young was intercepted multiple times and sailed a couple more passes well above the receiver’s head. Young did make a nice deep throw to Jeremy Ross, but the receiver couldn’t hang on in the endzone.

According to McCarthy, the Packers would like to get Young into Friday’s game at some point. A brief preseason appearance is one thing, but right now, Young is not ready for regular-season action. What’s the next step after rusty? That’s Vince Young right now.

Johnathan Franklin is quick, crafty in space

With Lacy on the sideline, James Starks and Alex Green got the most snaps with the No. 1 offense. But the most impressive back during Thursday’s (half-speed and unpadded) practice was rookie Johnathan Franklin.