18

September

Packers’ Chastin West Signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Chastin West

According to his Twitter Feed,  wide receiver Chastin West has been signed off of the Packers Practice Squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Stats: Attended Fresno State, (6’1”, 216lbs) WR.  Combine Stats: 4.59 40yd time, 2.64 20yd.,  1.61 10yd time, 4.42 20yd shuttle, 7.12 3-cone,  33.5” vertical, 15 reps@225lbs, and a 9’1” broad jump. Ranked 64 out of 276  Wide receivers by NFLDraftScout.com.

West had five catches for 134 yards in the preseason game against the Cardinals, but only managed three catches for 18 yards in the other three preseason games. West flashed some potential at times during camp, but never stood out. West was then signed to the Packers practice squad for the second straight year.

 

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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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25

July

Packers Sign Utah WR/KR Shaky Smithson

The Green Bay Packers have signed Utah wide receiver and returner Shaky Smithson to a deal Monday night, kicking off the undrafted free agent signing period that followed today’s agreement on a new CBA.

Smithson was scouted throughly by the Packers pre-draft, as he was one of 12 players who made an official visit with the Green Bay before April’s NFL draft. At his pro day in Utah, Smithson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, the 20-yard dash in 2.71 and the 10 in 1.65. He also put up 10 reps at 225 pounds and had a vertical leap of 30.5 inches.

Shaky Smithson College summary

Smithson is listed as a receiver but he made his name at Utah as one of the more dynamic returners in the NCAA. While he started just four games on offense and caught only 25 passes for 383 yards his senior year, Smithson’s 19.1 yards per punt return and four 100-yard punt return games led the nation.

He also returned two punts for touchdowns and was 24th in the nation in kick return average (24.1 yards). His 2010 totals on punt returns broke the Mountain West record for a season. For his efforts, Smithson was named second team All-Mountain West in 2010.

Commentary

Smithson is an electrifying return man, but the Packers drafted Randall Cobb in the second round and it’s widely believed that he’ll be the main returner on both punts and kicks. If Cobb has a larger role in the offense than previously expected, Smithson could be asked to be the primary returner. The Packers have been desperate to help their return game for the better part of a decade.

But like any undrafted free agent, Smithson has to be considered a long shot to make the team. He won’t contribute much as a slot receiver, and the Packers haven’t generally kept players who are one dimensional on the roster. Unless Smithson has developed some kind of offensive game, that’d be exactly what he is.

In all likeliness, Smithson will need a terrific camp and some errors from Cobb in the return game to warrant a roster spot.

Video highlights

 

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

27

June

Packing the Stats Follow-Up: Tracking Greg Jennings’ Targets

Last week we took a look at some statistics to help us answer the question, “Did Jermichael Finley Steal Attention From Greg Jennings?” During the first four games of the season, it seemed as if Jennings was losing productivity to Finley, who posted significantly more receiving yards and catches. However, after looking at the number of targets each receiver was getting in the first four weeks, we came to the conclusion that there was little evidence to support this claim.

Many of you responded positively to this presentation of data, and a couple of you – PackersRS and KS_Packer in particular – wanted to see more. Specifically, how did Greg Jennings’ targets change, if at all, during the remainder of the season after Finley was gone?

It was an interesting question, the results of which would definitely bolster our investigation into this quandary.

Let’s jump right in. Below is the raw data I collected in regards to who was targeted by Aaron Rodgers last season. As I did before, the most targets for a specific week are highlighted in green, and the most receptions are highlighted in yellow. Also, the totals for each position group are presented at the bottom of each chart to give an overall indication of how the ball was distributed.

In the interest of readability, I have broken up the data so that each chart represents four games, and they cover the regular season all the way through the Super Bowl run. You can click on each to get a higher resolution:

 

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NOTES ON GREG JENNINGS

Before we get into some other observations, let’s consider our original question: how did Greg Jennings’ targets change after Week 5? To answer this, let’s first extract his specific statistics and get rid of the extraneous information:

For each category, I highlighted both the highest (green) and lowest (red) numbers. Some extra statistical information (mean, median, and standard deviation) is also included for those categories they would help to explain the most.

21

June

Packing the Stats: Did Jermichael Finley Steal Attention From Greg Jennings?

*** Packing the Stats ***

As a new Collective Bargaining Agreement looms hopeful in the future, the return of Jermichael Finley to the Green Bay Packers offense has become an exciting topic of conversation. During the Week 5 game against the Washington Redskins, Finley suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, permanently sidelining him for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Now, after surgery and months of rehabilitation, the match-up nightmare tight end is set to return stronger than ever in 2011. (Even most of our readers agree he’ll be the “Comeback Player of the Year.”)

But some people have wondered: what is going to happen to Greg Jennings’ production with Finley back in the mix?

After not having a 100+ yard game until Week 6 (and after letting his frustrations be known publicly), Jennings seemed like he was being overlooked by offensive play-caller Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers in favor of Finley. Even the fans started wondering why, over the first four games, Jennings only had 12 receptions for 161 yards.

Meanwhile, in that span of time, Finley had 21 receptions for 301 yards.

You can see where the criticism stems from. You’ve got the best receiver on the team apparently playing second fiddle to the best tight end on the team. Not only did Finley gain, on average, 35 more yards per game, he also had two games with 100+ receiving yards. Jennings had none.

 

JENNINGS FINLEY
WK OPP REC YDS REC YDS
1 @PHI 5 82 4 47
2 BUF 3 36 4 103
3 @CHI 2 18 9 115
4 DET 2 25 4 36
TOTAL: 12 161 21 301

 

Do these numbers tell the whole story, though?

I, for one, was skeptical.

Receptions and yards are a nice indicator of how good a receiver is. After all, a player with high stats in these areas is someone who can get open and make plays for the offense. They are the primary measurement of elite receivers.

However, any good Fantasy Football team manager will know that catches and receiving yards aren’t the whole story.

4

May

3 Main Themes Emerge From Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Draft

The 2011 NFL draft is now officially over, and its time to take a look at what the Packers did.  Over the next couple of weeks, fans and analysts alike will sit in front of their computers and grade each team’s draft class; in my opinion this is completely absurd for two reasons.

For one, these players haven’t played a single snap in the NFL yet and no one knows exactly how these players are going to pan out; if anyone did the draft would be a pretty boring affair.

And second, the inherent flaw in grading is that it’s based on a big board typically made by an analyst or the fans themselves.  There are only a few people privy to the actual boards of the 32 teams, and I’m willing to bet that none of the boards you see online are even remotely close to the real things.

Nevertheless, one fact that must be true is that every team drafts with a logical purpose; whether drafting purely on talent, athleticism, speed, need or value, it would be simply foolish for a team to draft a player without an idea of what to do with him and how that player fits into the team.  With that in mind, in the following article I hope to analyze what the Packers were thinking when they drafted each player.

Overall Impressions:

  1. The retooling of the defense is basically complete: Teams set a tone with the players they draft and this year it was all about giving Aaron Rodgers more help.  Many people have forgotten that the Packers are only two years removed from completely changing their defensive scheme from a 4-3 bump and run scheme under Bob Sanders to a 3-4 zone blitz scheme under Dom Capers.The 2009 and 2010 drafts were very defensive heavy, with BJ Raji and Clay Matthews III being drafted in the 1st round in 2009 and Mike Neal and Morgan Burnett being taken in the 2nd and 3rd round in 2010.  This was simply based on the fact that many of the players acquired pre-2009 weren’t ideal for a 3-4 defense (such as DE/OLB Aaron Kampman).  In comparison, the 2011 draft was definitely an offensive draft, with the first 3 picks on the offense and 4 offensive skill positions being addressed overall.
26

April

Packers Prospect Profile – WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky – 2011 NFL Draft

1) Profile:

Randall Cobb

College: Kentucky

Position: WR

Height: 5’11″ Weight: 191 lbs.

Born: August 22, 1990 From: Alcoa, TN

2) High School / College Highlights: At Aloca High School, Cobb was a standout both on and off the field. As a four-year member of the track team, Cobb finished third in Tennessee in the 100-meter dash his senior season with a time of 10.75 seconds. He also was an All-District basketball player his junior and senior years, and a member of the academic honor roll.

Even with all those accolades, football was still the sport where Cobb excelled the most. He earned All-State honors during his last two years, quarterbacking the Tornadoes to a 27-3 over that span. His senior year, the dual-threat quarterback was picked as Tennessee’s “Mr. Football.” Rivals still only rated him as the 18th best prospect in Tennessee, and Scout.com gave him just a two-star rating.

Once at Kentucky, however, Cobb proved his worth. He made the SEC All-Freshman team in 2008 by playing at quarterback, receiver, running back and returner. Cobb was named All-SEC First Team his final three seasons at Kentucky, and an All-American his senior year (2010).

3) College Stats: 144 catches for 1661 yards and 13 TD’s; 228 rushes for 1313 yards and 22 TD’s; 44 kick returns for 1081 yards; 63 punt returns for 619 yards and 2 TD’s; 62 completions for 689 yards and 5 TD’s

4) NFL Combine Results: 4.46-second 40-yard dash, 16 bench-presses at 225 pounds, 33.5″ vertical leap, 115″ broad jump, 7.08-second 3-cone drill, 4.34-second 20-yard shuffle, 11.56-second 60-yard shuffle

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: Cobb is as versatile a player as there is in the 2011 NFL Draft. While his main position in the NFL will be receiver, Cobb has the ability to line up at running back, punt and kick returner or quarterback in the Wildcat formation.

As strictly a receiver, Cobb is best suited to play in the slot. He never shies away from contact and isn’t afraid to go over the middle to make plays. Once he gets the ball in his hands, Cobb is tough to get down. His history at running back and compact frame allow him to break tackles and gain yards after the catch.

12

April

Packers Prospect Profile — WR Jeremy Ross, University of California, Berkeley

1) Profile:

Jeremy Spencer Ross

College: California (University of California, Berkeley)

Position: WR, KR, PR

Height: 6′0″   Weight: 203 lbs.

Born: March 16, 1988 From: Sacramento, CA

2) High School / College Highlights: A dual threat in high school as both a rusher and a receiver, Ross was an All-State selection and Delta League MVP with 964 yards on 99 carries and 718 yards on 45 catches.  Committed to Cal in 2006 but spent the year redshirted and shared offensive scout team player of the year.

In 2007 played in 7 games mostly on special teams but not as a returner.  In 2008 started 5 games and played in all 13 games, mostly as a returner and wide receiver.   In 2009 he came into his own: he was 3rd on the team for all purpose yards and posted a 21.3 yard per punt return average, which would have been a Pac-10 and Cal record had he had enough attempts.  In 2010 he lead Cal in punt return average and was rated as the 5th best draft eligible punt returner.

3) College Stats: 31 games, 57 catches/764 yards/3 TDs, 42 kickoff returns/851 yards/0 TDs, 31 punt returns/471 yards/1 TD

4) NFL Combine Results: Not invited.  Cal pro-day:  4.39 40-yard dash, 4.24 short shuttle, 7.19 3-cone drill, 9’9” broad jump, 39” vertical, 22 bench.

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: A multi-threat player; Ross is a dangerous return man, averaging 20.3 yards per kickoff and 19.07 yards per punt return (18th in the nation).  Also factors in as a wide receiver; at Cal Ross stretched the field as an outside wide receiver but also has the versatility to play in the slot.  Ross was also sometimes used as a runner, most notably on wide receiver reverses such as in his touchdown against Arizona State University.

Ross has deceptive speed for a player of his size and height; his 4.39 40-yard dash time would have tied him for 3rd fastest among wide receivers with Julio Jones at the NFL combine.  Ross also is very strong as he holds several Cal all time records for conditioning for his position, he can push the pile and is hard to take down, his 22 bench press results are impressive for a wide receiver and again would have placed him 3rd at the NFL combine among wide receivers.