Sunday, May 01, 2005

There is a lot of Packers news out post-draft, but the most interesting news I've read is how defensive coordinator Jim Bates plays his safeties. Most teams play with a strong safety, who is ready to drop back in coverage but is very likely to cheat up closer to the line of scrimmage on possible running plays for added run support, while a free safety plays deeper and is primarily responsible for pass coverage. reported, however, that Bates plays his safeties the same, and that each safety may move up or drop back depending on the offensive formation and motion. Recently signed safeties Earl Little and Arturo Freeman are probably the two starting safeties, but neither seemed a typical strong safety because both have played primarily at free safety, and 2nd round pick Nick Collins also appeared to be a more likely free safety. Returning starting safety Mark Logan played strong safety in 2004, but he is a former cornerback, and was miscast in 2004 as a strong safety. But in Bates system, both safeties play essentially the same role, and should have similar skill sets. It had appeared that the Packers had possibly mismanaged the roster for lack of a strong safety, but the goal from the beginning was to not have a traditional strong safety at all.

It was reported as big news surrounded that QB Brett Favre missed mini-camp, but it was way over reported; Favre rarely played any snaps, or was recovering from some the previous season's injuries in the last few mini-camps anyway. Making it official gave Favre more time with his family and the coaches more chances to kick the tires on QB Aaron Rodgers. Sounds like a good idea.

What is going on with RB Ahman Green? Arrest for domestic violence and then a divorce filed the next day? Wow. Good luck Ahman, hopefully you can work through this difficult time in your life, and we will see you at training camp.

Of all the holdouts in the NFL right now, WR Javon Walker might be the most vocal. reported that Walker was doing a tour of talk radio studios to voice his case. This didn't work out well with former CB Mike McKenzie last season, but hopefully this goes better. The Packers would have to bust their salary cap to pay Walker a new contract at his current value. Someone better tell Walker to stop worring about his contract because of what TE Bubba Franks is going through this offseason. According to, Franks was the 10th best tight end in the NFL in 2004, up from his anemic 25th place in 2003. Did Franks really improve in 2004? Not really. His TD receptions jumped from 4 to 7, but he really wasn't anymore involved in the offense. Teams are probably taking a pass on offering Franks a contract because his stats are inflated by playing with Favre, who has always done a great job of helping ordinary tight ends boost their stats and play in the Pro Bowl. On the other hand, Walker was ranked as the 8th best wide receiver by in 2004, a much tougher positional competition, and he is a young superstar receiver. If the Packers let Walker play out his contract, then placed the transition free agency tag on him, Walker would be given a giant contract offer by another team the next day. You can't compare yourself to Franks; there is no comparison.

I was down on the Packers selection of CB Mike Hawkins from Oklahoma in the 5th round, because Oklahoma's secondary wasn't very good in 2004, at least compared to the rest of Oklahoma's team, but Hawkins didn't actually play for Oklahoma in 2004. He used to attend Oklahoma, but left the team for a reason unknown to me, and has spent the last two seasons in the Arena league, according to, which further reported that Packers coaches are very impressed with Hawkins in mini-camp. Hawkins is only 21, so this was the first year he was eligible for the draft; read about RB Maurice Clarett if anyone is confused why Hawkins had to wait. Hawkins might be a case of the Packers doing some outstanding scouting, however, the Packers snagged CB Jason Horton out of Canada in 2004, raved about his play in training camp, and he look overmatched whenever the rare opportunity presented itself that he got into a game. So maybe there is no reason to get excited about Hawkins either.

No comments: