1

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

WR Jordan Matthews

WR Jordan Matthews

Packers prospect profile: WR Jordan Matthews

Player Information:

Jordan Matthews, WR Vanderbilt
6-3, 212 pounds
Hometown: Madison, Al.

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.46
Vertical jump: 35.5″
225 lb. bench: 21 reps
Broad jump: 10′ 0″

News and Notes:

Ended career as the SEC’s all-time leader with 262 career receptions and 3,759 receiving yards … As a senior, the Biletnikoff Award semifinalist established a new SEC record with 112 catches … His receiving yardage total of 1,477 yards in 2013 is the third highest total ever by an SEC receiver … Matthews has had a record-setting junior season for the Commodores in 2012, arguably the greatest season ever by a Vanderbilt wide receiver, until his senior year … Unanimous First Team All-SEC WR by sportswriters and coaches in 2012 and 2013 … As a sophomore in 2011, Matthews emerged to lead the team in catches and receiving yards … After posting just five catches for 63 yards and no TDs through first five games in 2011, Matthews caught fire down the stretch, reeling in 36 passes for 715 yards and five TDs … Cousin of Jerry Rice. (vucommodores.com)

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com: “Chiseled frame that was more impressive than higher-profile names also at the Senior Bowl. Size/speed combination along with his hand/eye coordination and body control makes him an attractive prospect, showing the ability to make plays at all levels of the field and do damage after the catch. Balanced route-runner with a sizeable catching radius. Size allowed him to be moved inside and out in Vandy’s offense, allowing the team to find him favorable matchups. Detailed and reliable route-runner. Very good hand-eye coordination to haul in tough passes, including one-handed catches.”
  • NFL.com: Good length. Big zone target. Good form as a route runner. Sinks his hips and pops out of breaks. Concentrates, tracks and adjusts. Soft hands and sticky fingers. Has leaping ability to compete in the air. Opens up his stride in the clear and shows nice long speed. Good field awareness. Gives effort as a blocker. Competes and plays with intensity. Tough and intelligent. Lined up outside and inside and has punt-return experience. Team captain and four-year starter with record-setting production.

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Cut-ups like this are far more telling than highlight reels. But hey, his highlights are really easy to watch. They look cool.
21

November

Numbers up for Packers receivers, down for Vikings corners

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings rookie Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Numbers never lie. Except when they do.

Numbers lied when they said that Robert Griffin III had a big day against the Packers. After all, 320 yards and three touchdowns isn’t a bad day at the office, but in reality, Griffin really just benefitted from a garbage-time stat stuffer.

But thanks to new-age stats sites like Pro Football Focus, anyone and everyone can access in-depth stats at the click of a mouse. So if I want to see how good/bad a player does in coverage, it’s pretty easy.

And the numbers say Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson is bad. Awfully bad.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 56 of 66 targets on Robinson this season. That’s 84.8 percent of their passes–the worst mark in the NFL for a cornerback, along with a league-high 716 receiving yards. Add three touchdowns and no interceptions, and you’ve got yourself a 127.0 cumulative passer rating.

Robinson’s partner in crime, Chris Cook, has allowed 19 completions on 26 targets–again, a staggering 73.1 percent. Cook has been a sieve as far as allowing touchdowns, as he’s been responsible for four scores, despite being thrown at only 26 times. That’s not good for him, but really good for opposing offenses.

Xavier Rhodes, one of the team’s three first-round picks from last April, has shown flashes of why he was a Day 1 pick, although he’s certainly been exposed. The secondary’s lone bright spot will likely see a heavy dose of Jordy Nelson on Sunday, as the Packers will likely move him all around the formation, including the slot which is where he caught both of his touchdowns when the teams met in the MetroDome Oct. 27.

Of 107 cornerbacks that have played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps, the Vikings have three players who rank 83 or lower on the list, according to Pro Football Focus. Here’s a closer look at how they’ve fared so far this season:

83. Xavier Rhodes (60.8% completion, 293 yards, o TD o INT. 79.3 QB rating)

84. Chris Cook (73.0% completion, 241 yards, 4 TD 0 INT. 141.2 QB rating)

101. Josh Robinson (84.8% completion, 716 yards, 3 TD 0 INT. 127.0 QB rating)

28

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 44, Vikings 31

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

The opening kickoff made it look like the Minnesota Vikings would have a shot to upset the Green Bay Packers in teams’ final meeting at the Metrodome, as Cordarrelle Patterson raced 109 yards for a touchdown.

But from then on, it was all Packers.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense moved the ball up and down the field with ease throughout the game. Despite having Myles White as his No. 3 receiver and Andrew Quarless as the starting tight end, Rodgers threw for 285 yards and a pair of scores to go along with just five incompletions.

His two touchdowns–both to Jordy Nelson–were perfect. There’s no other way to put it, really. Rodgers zipped the ball right past the defender’s earhole on each throw, leaving the defender with no chance at deflecting the pass.

After the first scoring connection from Rodgers to Nelson, I tweeted, “If I’m Aaron Rodgers, I’m putting an ongoing loop of that throw on a projection screen. Maybe in every room of my house.” And I meant it.

Then, after Nelson’s 76-yard score, I, again, wanted share my admiration. However, I just couldn’t seem to think of the words. It was simply another perfect throw by one of the best quarterbacks in football.

That touchdown, ironically, reminded me of Rodgers’ crucial third-down dart to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV. Jennings, now with quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and the Minnesota Vikings, was targeted three times Sunday night and only caught one pass for nine yards.

It’s safe to say that, while wealthier, Jennings is not having a lot of fun wearing purple this season. And that’s nothing against the color.

Speaking of Jordy Nelson, I think it’s worth revisiting the unwritten rule that you can’t compare white wide receivers to anyone other than white wide receivers. Nelson isn’t Eric Decker or Ed McCaffrey. He’s not Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker.

The guy is every bit of 6’3″ 217 pounds. He’s not the fastest receiver in the world, but he does everything you could possibly ask a wide receiver to do, and he does it well.

16

October

Packers News: WR Tyrone Walker signed to practice squad

Packers WR Tyrone Walker had a strong preseason, and now he's back for another run with the team.

Packers WR Tyrone Walker had a strong preseason, and now he’s back for another run with the team.

According to the team’s official website, the Green Bay Packers have brought back Tyrone Walker to the practice squad.

The move was announced Wednesday by Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

Walker, 5’10″ 191 pounds, spent training camp with the Packers before being released as part of the team’s final cuts. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks and remained on their practice squad for one game before he was let go.

Walker joins recently re-signed receiver Reggie Dunn, giving the team two wideouts on the eight-man practice squad.

Before signing with the Packers as an undrafted free agent, Walker left Illinois State as the school’s career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Walker will, again, wear No. 83 with the team.

In the preseason, Walker led the Packers with 11 catches; Walker’s 86 receiving yards ranked third on the team behind Myles White and Jermichael Finley.

While certainly not the biggest or fastest receiver on the roster, Walker proved to have reliable hands throughout training camp and the preseason. Given his stature and lack of top-end speed, Walker faces long odds to make a significant impact, but the receiver-needy Packers could be his best opportunity to catch on (pun intended) with a NFL team.

Including the injured James Jones, the Packers currently have four wide receivers on the roster to go along with five tight ends. Jones’ status for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns is still up in the air, although earlier this week, head coach Mike McCarthy said Jones “might be able to play.”

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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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15

October

Packers News: Team signs TE Stoneburner to active roster

The Packers have promoted tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster.

The Packers have promoted tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster.

According to Jason La Canfora’s official Twitter account, the Green Bay Packers have signed tight end Jake Stoneburner to the active roster following their recent rash of injuries.

Last week against the Baltimore Ravens, the Packers lost wide receiver Randall Cobb for six-to-eight weeks with a fractured fibula. Fellow wide receiver James Jones suffered a sprained MCL and appears questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Stoneburner’s promotion to the 53-man roster gives the Packers five tight ends and three wide receivers, including Jones.

An athletic rookie tight end from Ohio State, Stoneburner was often split out wide in Urban Meyer’s offense. He clocked a 4.53 forty-yard dash at Ohio State’s Pro Day Mar. 8, which would suggest an ability to stretch the field; however, Stoneburner only caught 53 passes in his four-year collegiate career.

In his junior season in 2011, seven of Stoneburner’s were for touchdowns.

Without Cobb in the slot, starting tight end Jermichael Finley will likely be split out more often than usual with Andrew Quarless filling Finley’s shoes as an in-line blocker. Finley, at 6’5″ 250 pounds, isn’t capable of taking on all of Cobb’s responsibilities in the Packers’ offense, but at this point, he may be the team’s best option to stretch the field from the slot.

Last week, the Browns signed wide receiver Charles Johnson off the Packers’ practice squad, leaving Myles White and the recently re-signed Reggie Dunn as the team’s two wide receivers on the practice squad.

As of right now, the Packers have not announced the necessary roster move to promote Stoneburner, but one would figure that Cobb is a logical candidate for the I.R./Designated to Return list.

The Packers reportedly tried to sign wide receiver Tavarres King off the Denver Broncos’ practice squad, but King has since been promoted to Denver’s active roster. More moves could be on the horizon for the Packers, but for now, it looks like they’ll go heavy at tight end and light at wide receiver for the near future.

14

October

Packers News: Cobb to miss 6-8 weeks with fractured fibula

Ravens safety Matt Elam went low and knocked Randall Cobb out of the game. And apparently, the injury will sideline him for 6-8 weeks.

Ravens safety Matt Elam went low and knocked Randall Cobb out of the game. And apparently, the injury will sideline him for 6-8 weeks.

According to Ty Dunne, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb suffered a fractured fibula Sunday and will miss 6-8 weeks.

At Monday’s press conference, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Cobb would miss “multiple weeks” with the injury but did not go into detail. Originally, it was thought to have been a knee injury, but it turns out Cobb nearly broke entirely through his fibula.

The Packers play host to the Cleveland Browns this week. If Cobb is to miss six games, he’ll be set to return on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions. Following the Lions game, the Packers will host the Atlanta Falcons before traveling to Dallas to play the Cowboys.

Depending on playoff implications, it’s possible that the Packers would keep Cobb out for the remainder of the regular season. But things change, and only time will tell how long Cobb will be sidelined.

After McCarthy’s press conference, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the thought was that Cobb would only miss two weeks. Around the same time, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggested Cobb could be sidelined for about a month. Turns out, the injury is more severe than Schefter and Rapoport led on, and Cobb will miss nearly two months with the injury.

In related news, the Packers have re-signed wide receiver Reggie Dunn to the practice squad. Schefter hinted at the Packers’ interest in rookie receiver Tavarres King, who is currently on the Denver Broncos’ practice squad.

——————

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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2

September

NostraMarques: Statistical predictions for Packers offense

Channeling Randall Cobb himself, it's time to put my nerd glasses on and get statistical.

Channeling Randall Cobb himself, it’s time to put my nerd glasses on and get statistical.

The preseason is officially over. So the next time the Green Bay Packers take the field, the games will actually matter.

On offense, the Packers figure to have one of the most feared attacks in football. Since taking over as the starter in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has been fortunate to play with one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL. And now, he may be playing alongside the best running back of his six-year starting career in rookie Eddie Lacy.

There are plenty of concerns along the offensive line, but if Rodgers stays upright, it’s going to be another great year for Green Bay’s offense.

Rodgers said that Randall Cobb has the potential to be a 100-catch guy for the Packers, but with so many capable weapons on the same offense, it may be tough for him to reach triple digits. However, with Greg Jennings now playing for the Vikings, Cobb will enter the season as the odds-on favorite to lead the team in targets. So by that logic, 100 catches could certainly happen.

Adam Czech recently posted his own Vegas-style over/unders for the Packers’ upcoming season. Between that and our annual staff 53-man roster predictions, it’s clearly crystal ball time at ALLGBP.com.

In the comments section, chime in and say whether you think the player will outproduce my prediction (over) or if they’ll fall short (under) of my fearless forecast.

All statistical projections are based on each player playing a full 16-game season. And it’s much more interesting to project Rodgers to throw for 4,316 yards instead of 4,300. So, that explains that.

Rodgers: 4,316 passing yards, 38 TD 6 INT. 280 rushing yards, 3 TD.

With what should be an improved running game, I think this could be Rodgers’ most efficient season to date. But from a statistical standpoint in terms of yards and touchdowns, it’s hard to see Rodgers ever topping his MVP season in 2011 in which he threw for over 4,600 yards and 45 touchdowns in just 15 games. He may not contend for league MVP this season if he puts up numbers similar to these, but let’s be honest, 4,300 yards, 38 touchdowns and just six interceptions isn’t too shabby. It’s crazy that those numbers don’t stand out, but that’s the standard he’s set. As long as the offensive line can keep him upright, Rodgers is going to have another really, really good season. And if Eddie Lacy is everything the Packers hope he is, the offense is going to be really, really good, too.