Thursday, May 23, 2013
Position Review: Offensive Line Guards and Tackles
Position Review: Offensive Line-Center
Starters: Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson. No doubt about it.
The Packers will probably keep three other receivers, two on the 53-man roster and one on the practice squad, and here are the other eight candidates.
Jarrett Boykin. A late season ankle injury ended his rookie campaign early, but before that he looked like a reliable player who ran good routes without dropping passes. He's the early favorite to become the No. 4 wide receiver.
Jeremy Ross. The Packers didn't sign him to the practice squad until October 17, 2012 but he ended up playing in five games (plus playoffs). While he didn't have a single pass thrown to him, he looked like a dynamic return man after big games against the Titans and Vikings. Until this happened against the 49ers. He'll get another chance, but if he drops a punt or two during the preseason, I wouldn't be surprised if he's released.
Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey. The two receivers the Packers drafted in the 7th round. Johnson was a small school guy who impressed Mel Kiper Jr. (and obviously the Packers' scouts) while Dorsey was a No. 1 college wide receiver during an epic quarterback injury situation. They might find themselves on the practice squad at the start of the season.
Sederrik Cunningham, Alex Gillett, Tyrone Walker, Myles White. Gillett was just signed this week as he makes the switch from college QB to NFL WR. All four players are going to have a very hard time making even the practice squad.
In the end, while the players will have to learn the offense and train hard, what's going to separate them is whether they drop passes or fumble the ball during the preseason games. It wouldn't be a surprise to see them all stay in camp until the very last preseason game so the Packers can find out who they can trust with the ball.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Fourth-round draft choice JC Tretter is the Packers’ first casualty of the year: pckrs.com/z9g6Given time, Tretter should make a full recovery. According to the Journal-Sentinel, his recovery should take several months, but he could return to the field this season. Tretter's injury was compared to Ryan Grant's broken ankle that he suffered during the first week of the 2010 season. Grant was placed on I.R. and there were rumors that Grant could have returned for the playoffs, if the Packers hadn't placed him on I.R. However, assuming Tretter can return this season, I can't imagine the Packers relying on an inexperienced lineman who's barely practiced all year during a playoff run. Even if Tretter can return in 2013, his season is effectively over.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) May 21, 2013
It's not a big deal because this is what agent's do, but Tretter's agent did question why his client was practicing to slide anyway. Maybe this will make the coaches re-think some of their drills, but otherwise that probably won't be an issue.
It's too bad to lose a promising young lineman so early in the season, but these things happen in football. We'll just have to wait until 2014 for our first look at him.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Position Review: Offensive Line-Center. Though I wrote earlier about Evan Dietrich-Smith and Greg Van Roten, they're both listed as G/C so it wouldn't be a surprise to see either of them playing guard in the future. But right now, they're the top two centers.
Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod. While their situations are different, Newhouse was displaced by Bulaga on the left side and Sherrod hasn't been able to get his career back on track after a major leg injury, they're probably options 1A and 1B at right tackle. Newhouse can certainly play there but they'd rather see Sherrod show the promise they saw when selected him in the 1st round in 2011. This is a big offseason for both players. The loser will probably wind up on another team's roster in 2014.
David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter. The problem for the winner of the Newhouse/Sherrod battle is that they might only win the starting job for one season before Bakhtiari and Tretter are ready. GM Ted Thompson has had success finding offensive lineman in the 4th round (Sitton, Lang) and he found two more in 2013. Both players look more talented then their draft selection would indicate. They might have been available in the 4th round only because it was a strong draft for offensive lineman and they played at two little watched schools (Bakhtiari at Colorado, Tretter at Cornell). Their futures might be at guard, so they should play both guard and tackle this preseason as the coaches get a better look at them. I wouldn't be surprised to see both of them become long-term answers on the offensive line.
Don Barclay, Andrew Datko, Kevin Hughes, Lane Taylor. Barclay beat out Datko last year to become their emergency starter at right tackle, but Datko might look better this year if the shoulder he injured during his senior season is stronger. The problem for all four players is that the Packers have more depth now then they've had over the past few seasons. There might not be any room for undrafted or former practice squad players this year. I count nine lineman ahead of these four players, and the Packers have only kept seven to eight lineman at the start of the last two seasons. Even if they kept nine, these players probably wouldn't make the cut.
The starting five aren't settled like they were a year ago, but there's more depth then ever and it could lead to a surprising mix on the offensive line in 2013.
"Seriously," he said. "Why not? I know I'm capable."
While Bishop is overall pretty good, I don't think he's that good. He might have a good season, but he won't be an All-Pro type of guy. But on the bright side, at least he seems healthy. That can't be bad.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Starter Evan Dietrich-Smith. I was hoping to see the Packers draft their center of the future while keeping him around as a stop-gap measure. The future is open to debate, but the present belongs to Dietrich-Smith. I don't view him as a starter, and I don't get the impression that many around the NFL do either. The Packers gave him a low tender offer that required no draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere, but no other team pursued him as a restricted free agent. 2013 might be the only year he begins the season as the starter, depending on how the next player develops.
Greg Van Roten. I started my positional reviews at center because I noticed the Packers are now listing Van Roten as a guard and center. Van Roten was an undrafted free agent signed in 2012 who impressed the coaches in training camp. He started the season on the practice squad but finished it on the active roster. I thought rookie 4th round pick JC Tretter would wind up on the inside, but he's starting his NFL career at tackle. Van Roten, and his role on the offensive line, should be a player to watch closely next preseason.
Garth Gerhart (brother of Toby Gerhart) and Patrick Lewis. Gerhart went undrafted in 2012 out of Arizona State and spent the season on the Browns' practice squad. He started 35 games in college, but at 6-1 he's a little short for the NFL. Lewis went undrafted out of Texas A&M after an impressive college career. He's almost identical in size to Gerhart, with similar workout times, and both players lack of elite athleticism and size might be the reason they went undrafted. They won't both stick with the team but they give the Packers their best shot of finding the next Scott Wells (late round/undrafted big college player who developed into a starter).
The Packers might have quietly created a battle for the starting job between Dietrich-Smith and Van Roten, while adding a couple of quality, big school backups. The Packers won't send a center again to the Pro Bowl in 2013, but there might be a good competition at the position.