Friday, May 31, 2013

Packers offseason report lists B.J. Raji as "out of shape"

Yesterday, a Packers offseason report listed nose tackle B.J. Raji as "out of shape." In response to the semi-controversial report, Raji had this to say: 

"I think I'm in pretty good shape," he said. "I'm not going to say I was in tip-top shape coming back, but that's what the off-season's for. So everybody came back, and I know those reports got out there. I can't worry about that. I only worry about three or four people and that's Ted (Thompson), (Mike) McCarthy, Dom (Capers) and 'Trgo' (position coach Mike Trgovac). If anybody else has something to say, that's their business."

Whether he actually is in shape or not, it probably won't matter come preseason.


Position Review: Tight End

When the reporters got a chance to watch practice this week, one of the players who stood out was TE Andrew Quarless, who missed all of 2012 because of a 2011 knee injury.
While the big news in March was that TE Jermichael Finley is staying, and he should be the starter in 2013, he only has one more year on his contract. The future might belong to Quarless, who will turn 25 next season.

Previous Position Reviews: Wide Receivers, Offensive Line-Guards and Tackles, Offensive Line-Center

Quarless has the advantage because he's a complete player. He and free agent signee TE Matthew Mulligan are acknowledged as the blocking tight ends. As a rookie, he didn't shine as Finley's replacement in 2010 (21 catches for 238 yards and 1 TD), but he was a very good receiver in college (41 receptions in 2009). If he earns a featured role this season, he might never come off the field.

Prior to his 2010 knee injury, Finley looked like he was on his way to becoming a dynamic receiving threat. While that hasn't happened, he still had 61 receptions in 2012. Mike McCarthy said it was Finley's best season and he still considers him a "matchup challenge for defenses." He also improved as last season progressed, so it's possible his breakout is still coming (he just turned 26 in March). With WR Greg Jennings's free agent departure, it might lead to more two tight end sets that use both Quarless and Finley as receiving options.

Mulligan was mentioned earlier as the other blocking tight end. He looks like the replacement for TE Tom Crabtree, who received a two-year contract from the Buccaneers. But he'll be challenged for a roster spot by TE Brandon Bostick, who appears to have played fullback/H-back in college, and probably by the other fullbacks because they're just as likely to be used as an extra blocker and special teams player. He's not a lock for the roster and there's no salary cap implications if they release him (one-year, $820,000).

Then there are the receiving tight ends; Ryan Taylor, D.J. Williams, and Jake Stoneburner. I'm down on both Taylor and Williams. Neither one of them has shown much development over their two seasons, and over half of the passes thrown to Williams in his career have been incomplete. Taylor's seen even less playing time (2 career receptions) but I take it as a bad sign that he can't seem to move ahead of Williams. They might both be in trouble if the Packers decide to keep an extra linebacker or fullback instead. I'm a little surprised Stoneburner signed with the Packers, who obviously have a crowd at the position, but he's more potential than performance after an uninspiring college career.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dom Capers wants Packers to force more fumbles in 2013

In an interview with, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers emphasized how much he wants his team to force and recover more fumbles in 2013. So far at the OTAs, the defense has done just that. 

“You see us going to the ball with a little more intensity, you see everybody poking at the ball, trying to get the ball out,” Capers said. “We’re just trying to get them conditioned mentally. You see us every time the ball is on the ground, you see someone scooping it. We’re treating it like it’s (a live ball) just to condition everybody to get to that ball, scoop the ball and to try to get the mentality of taking the ball away. In four years, we’re No. 1 in interceptions but we aren’t close in caused and recovered fumbles.”

In my opinion, the Packers don't necessarily need to force more fumbles to have success, but it'd definitely be a luxury. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Packers, Eddie Lacy agree to four-year deal

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Packers and recently drafted Alabama running back Eddie Lacy have agreed to a four-year deal. Lacy is expected to compete with Alex Green, DuJan Harris, and 4th round draft pick Johnathan Franklin for carries in the Green Bay backfield. 

With the signing of the former SEC star, the Packers now only have one more draft pick left to sign: Datone Jones. While Jones hasn't been signed yet, it's a guarantee he will eventually. It really is only a matter of time. But forgetting Jones for a second, this signing is big. In my opinion, Lacy's the key to the Packers running game's success. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Packers Raji wants to remain with team when his contract ends

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, longtime Packers defender B.J. Raji wants to remain with the team when his current contract ends. Here is his statement:

"Green Bay gave me my first opportunity, my first shot at this thing," Raji said. "Obviously I've had a great run here. I love the people here. It's a great organization, it's a great city for football. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

The good news for him: the Packers and their fans probably want him back too. For his age, he's a very productive player. I see no reason why the Pack won't bring him back. 

The Press Got To Watch The Packers Practice

The Green Bay Packers are in the middle of their offseason program, which began on April 15th and it will end on June 14. Only a few practices are open to the public, and Tuesday May 28th was supposed to be one of them, until it got moved inside due to rain. So only the press got to watch it.
Mike Neal's move from the defensive line to outside linebacker is probably the biggest story of the last two open practices. It's a little surprising, Neal did record 4.5 sacks last season, but his future probably isn't as a starter since they drafted DE Datone Jones in the 1st round. Of course, they drafted LB Nick Perry in the 1st round in 2012, so his future doesn't look promising as a linebacker either. This looks like a last chance for Neal.

There hasn't been much else to see or report, but Tyler Dunne has a good Twitter feed if you're interested. I'm glad to read that TE Andrew Quarless looks as good as ever, but you never know until you watch the preseason games. OL Don Barclay, after playing almost exclusively at offensive tackle last season, seems to be playing everywhere on the line. It's like they know they've got a good lineman in Barclay but they aren't sure what to do with him. DE Johnny Jolly, who's coming back from a three year suspension, still isn't with the team but Mike McCarthy didn't seem too concerned.

There's never much to see in May, but the coaches and players seem to be keeping busy and working to improve on last season. That's all that can be asked of them at this point.

Packers Ross moving on from crucial muff in playoffs

Remember Jeremy Ross, the guy who muffed that punt in the 49ers game that costed the Packers the lead? Well, today he told the Milwaukee JS that he's over that mistake. 

"I took one day after the game to kind of just feel bad about it, be discouraged about it, be upset, be sad, whatever," said Ross. "Then the next day I flushed it. I just tried my best to move forward. And think about OK, who am I trying to become now. What am I working toward?"

All I can say about this is, I'm happy for him. I hate it when athletes get death threats over stuff like this. Luckily, he didn't get any. If he did, he didn't deserve them. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Packers want Dietrich-Smith to start at Center

According to multiple sources, the Packers want Evan Dietrich-Smith to start at Center for them in 2013. Smith took over the position late last season from Jeff Saturday. 

For the Packers, this move was an easy one. After Smith replaced Saturday last year, Rodgers got better protection and was able to run a much smoother offense. I guess there are some other options available, and I doubt that this decision is already official. But come preseason, expect to see Smith playing the first few series for the offense. If he is throughout the season, the longtime problem of protecting #12 will be near gone. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dumb rumor: Urlacher retired a Packer

It seems like every day this week some website somewhere has to poke fun at the recent retirement of Brian Urlacher. 

On Thursday, reported that the longtime Bears LB had signed a one-day deal with the Packers in order to "go out a winner." Hopefully you already know this, but that report was obviously false. Anybody who's watched him in his career knows that he would never do something like that to Chicago. The article used a photoshopped picture of Urlacher wearing Packers apparel in the Lambeau Field press conference room, which you can see below. I don't know why I'm classifying this as news, but I might as well publish it now that it's done. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rodgers: "Urlacher was my favorite player to play against"

In an interview with CBS Sports' Jim Rome, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers praised former Bears LB Brian Urlacher, calling him "his favorite player to play against."

"I just have the utmost amount of respect for him, the way he plays the game," Rodgers told Rome on Wednesday. "A lot of memories come to mind. He picked me off a couple times, maybe more than anybody else has. But I had one really bad play in the NFC Championship [after the] 2010 season and was able to somehow grab his knee/thigh area enough to trip him up for a tackle [and prevent a touchdown]. One of my favorite memories going against Brian."

I can see why he says this. Urlacher was a good player. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rodgers: Packers should retire Favre's number

According to Bleacher Report, the richest player in the NFL, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, wants the team to retire former QB Brett Favre's signature number 4. 

"I look forward to him being back in the fold, as Mark Murphy has said," Rodgers said, per ESPN. "I think it's time for our fans, this organization and Brett to heal through this and to move forward together before he gets the greatest honor of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

In my opinion, they should do that. It's time for us to forgive Brett. He did a lot for the organization. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Position Review: Wide Receivers

This week, the Green Bay Packers signed another wide receiver to bring the total number of wide receivers in camp up to 11. While the top three are locked in, the bottom six are all rookies who probably have to shine during the preseason to stick with the team.

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.

Free agent LB Brian Urlacher retires

After 13 NFL seasons(all with the Bears), longtime LB Brian Urlacher has retired. Urlacher was expected to play somewhere next year, but couldn't find a team that wanted him enough. 

In those 13 years, Urlacher made 8 Pro-Bowl teams, 5 All-Pro teams, won the Brian Piccolo Award, won the Ed Block courage Award, won the Defensive Player of the year Award, and was a part of the '06 Bears team that made it to the Super Bowl. While everything he did in his career was against and not for the Packers, I will always respect him. He was a great player. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rookie Lineman Tretter Breaks His Ankle

I wrote on Monday about the offensive line and how it was going to be a topic of conversation at the start of OTAs. Unfortunately, I was not hoping that an injury would be the reason it's talked about:
Given 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.

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.

Charles Woodson signs 1-year deal with Raiders

Finally, all this drama is over. In case you didn't hear, the Raiders, the only team who actually wanted Charles Woodson, have signed him to a 1-year deal. Woodson spent the first 8 years of his career in Oakland followed by 7 in Green Bay. 

While I'm happy our old friend finally found a home, I don't care a ton about this. In the upcoming season, Woodson probably won't play much or have a legitimate effect on the team. So again while I'm happy for him, this stuff isn't news. All the Raiders did was sign a guy nobody wanted.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lester Bagley: We'll beat the Packers in the new stadium's opener

In a recent interview with a Minnesota news station, Vikings VP Lester Bagley stated that his team will beat the Packers when their new stadium opens in the fall of 2016. 

"The way the league is structured ... our very first regular-season game likely will be against the Green Bay Packers," Bagley said. "So it will be good to see Adrian Peterson break loose and score the first touchdown in the new stadium and run over Clay Matthews on his way to the end zone. We'll see. Hopefully we'll have the last word when we get to opening day in (September) 2016."

I won't argue this just because it can't be argued. But I do find this story interesting. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Position Review: Offensive Line Guards and Tackles

When the OTAs (organized team activities) start this week for the Green Bay Packers, who's playing where on the offensive line will be a topic of conversation because Mike McCarthy said that Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton are moving to the left side of the line and the Packers drafted two rookie lineman in April. It's clear Bulaga and Sitton will be the starters, along with T.J. Lang at right guard, but the position (guard or tackle) and future of every other lineman on the roster is an open question.

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.

Packers Bishop believes he's "capable" of winning defensive MVP

Around the time of the draft, the Packers were actively shopping their starting linebacker, Desmond Bishop. But now that he's still in Green Bay, the man who got hurt in last year's first preseason game has inflated his ego. Saying that he is "capable" of winning the defensive MVP Award 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

Dwight Freeney signs 2-year deal with Chargers

After 11 seasons, 7 Pro Bowl appearances, and a Super Bowl title with the Colts, veteran NFL linebacker Dwight Freeney is leaving Indianapolis for the Chargers, agreeing to a two-year deal with the team yesterday. The deal is worth at least $8.75 million total plus incentives. 

"It's great to add a solid veteran who brings valuable experience to our defense," said Chargers coach Mike McCoy. "His proven pass-rush ability is a perfect fit for our defense."

In my opinion, this deal won't really help the Chargers but, like with the current Charles Woodson situation, Freeney deserves to play somewhere. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Seahawks Irvin suspended four games for violating league's PED policy

Yesterday, the Seattle Seahawks announced that their second-year defensive end, Bruce Irvin, had been suspended four games without pay by the league for violating the NFL's PED policy. In the wake of the announcement, Irwin had this to say:

"I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake when I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption," Irvin said in a statement released by the team. "I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return."

It's only four games, so it probably won't hurt them too much. But still, it's sad that a problem that we all thought was limited to baseball has stretched into the NFL. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Position Review: Offensive Line-Center

Now that the Green Bay Packers have filled out their roster through the draft and free agency, it's a good time to look ahead at the 2013 roster. They have some roster flexibility but usually it's a consistent number of players at each position. There should be at least two players on the 53-man roster listed as C/G and they could keep one more on the practice squad.

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.

Woodson Updates: Giants?

Well, now the Giants are interested in Charles Woodson. 

According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, the Giants have "put their toe in the water" with Woodson. Shortly after the veteran was released in March, the Giants were known to have interest, but didn't make a move. Due to New York's Super Bowl potential, they are seen as the favorite to sign him. All offseason, Woodson's been saying that he wants to win a little more, so the Giants may be a perfect fit. It'd be weird seeing him wear the red, white, and blue instead of the green and gold, but it's his choice. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vikings' Webb to become full time WR

According to, Vikings backup QB Joe Webb will become a full time wide receiver. Webb started last year's NFC Wild Card game for the team in Green Bay after starter Christian Ponder got hurt, losing 24-10. 
This move is likely being made due to Webb's inability to throw the ball at a moving target, his speed, and the recent signing of former-Chief Matt Cassel. While I'm no Viking fan, this move should definitely help the team compete for the NFC North in 2013. We all saw how fast he is when he finds a hole, so imagine what he'll do when he doesn't have the ball. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Woodson Updates: Former-Packer to meet with Broncos today

After being made an offer by the Raiders yesterday, former Packer Charles Woodson decided to keep his options open by meeting with another AFC West team today, the Denver Broncos, to see if he's a "a good fit" there. Right now, the Broncos needs some defensive players, so Woodson will probably end up playing there. At least I expect him too. 

If he does sign with Denver, he is unsurprisingly not expected to make a ton of money. Right now, he's just near the end of his career. He's at the time when everything goes down. But he can still play the game weekly. 

Packers Sign Two More Tryout Players

I wrote a little about the first three tryout players who were signed over the weekend, and here are two more undrafted rookies signed by the Green Bay Packers.

LB Donte Savage, New Mexico State. If you're looking for this year's Dezman Moses, a former college DE who makes an impression as a pass rushing outside linebacker, Savage could be the guy. His Pro Day Results and college stats (3 sacks last season) were not too impressive, but he obviously stood out in person over the weekend at their rookie orientation camp.

LB Jarvis Wilson, Prairie View A&M. And another Dezman Moses-type college defensive end. It looks like he played linebacker and defensive end in college, but it doesn't matter because he'll be playing linebacker for the Packers. Wilson didn't have a lot of sacks in college either.

The addition of Savage and Wilson brings the total number of linebackers up to fourteen, but that's not really a lot for the Packers since they've known to keep up to ten linebackers on the 53-man roster for the start of the regular season. Five of those fourteen are rookies, who aren't guaranteed a roster spot, so there's an opportunity if either player can stand out in training camp.

The Packers are currently paying three inside linebackers (Hawk, Bishop, and Jones) as starters, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Packers release one of them this preseason. Depending on how the final roster develops, Savage and Wilson might have very good chance of making it, or at least on the practice squad, because there could be fewer veteran linebackers to compete against.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Report: Raiders made offer to Charles Woodson

According to Bleacher Report, the Oakland Raiders have made an offer to former Packers defender Charles Woodson. Woodson started his career in Oakland, playing for them from 1998-2005. 

While I wouldn't consider this report huge news, I am happy that Woodson's at least gaining interest. Ask anyone who knows anything about football, he deserves it. He's had a Hall of Fame career up to this point that might not be over. If signed, I doubt his presence would really be noticeable on the field, but off the field I'm sure he'd be a great guy to have in that clubhouse. 

Randall Cobb Is Really Good, and Really Young

The Journal-Sentinel spoke to WR Randall Cobb about his role next season now that WR Greg Jennings and WR Donald Driver are gone, and whether he'll return kicks and punts next season, but this is the number that blew me away:
I knew he was young, but I hadn't been thinking about it. He's been a very good player in his first two NFL seasons and he's only 22 years old! He will turn 23 by the start of next season, but still. It's reasonable to assume that he can play at the same level (or better) throughout his 20s.

He was a huge part of the offense last season, he led the team with 104 targets, and assuming WR Jordy Nelson plays in all 16 games next season, Cobb might not be targeted more in 2013. He received some help from his role in the offense, which generally featured shorter routes than those ran by Nelson or WR James Jones, but his 77% catch rate was ahead of those other two receivers by at least 10% and he was ranked by Football Outsiders as their best receiver (No. 12 overall).

His role probably won't change next season because the deep sideline routes ran by Jennings last season could go to Jones and Nelson, while the routes he ran from the slot could go to TE Jermichael Finley or another tight end. Even without Jennings, the Packers have left themselves with a lot of receiving options.

Cobb was modest and told the Journal-Sentinel that he still had a lot to learn, which is probably true, so it could very well mean that his best football is still ahead of him. And he could remain a No. 1 wide receiver for the next several seasons. There aren't a lot of teams that have a receiver like that on their roster.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mike Lombardi: Browns won't sign Tebow

In an interview with, Cleveland Browns GM Mike Lombardi(no relation to Vince Lombardi) said that signing free agent QB Tim Tebow is "not the vision of where we're headed." This news adds the Browns to the long list of teams that surprisingly don't want the lefty. 

In my opinion, it's time the media, and me, stop caring about this. It really doesn't matter where this guy goes. If some team does sign him, he probably won't play at all. So why do we all care so much? We don't know. All we know is that we shouldn't. 

Packers Sign Three Players After Rookie Orientation Camp

The Green Bay Packers hosted their annual rookie orientation camp over the weekend.

The main attractions were their recent draft picks. They also invited 27 players in for a tryout but only three of them were signed. Little is known or expected from Illinois State WR Tyrone Walker, Washington FB Jonathan Amosa, or Arizona State CB Brandon Smith but obviously they did something to stand apart from the 24 other players who did not receive a contract offer.

Mike McCarthy didn't always have a camp for rookies after the draft, but this gives them a chance to get a taste of an NFL camp (and what the Packers expect) before the organized team activities this summer. It also provides extra work for young players (like QB B.J. Coleman) who aren't rookies but can attend because they were on the practice squad last season.

Coleman stood out because he seems to have learned so much in the last year. The physical ability has always been there, but now he might have a chance to win the backup quarterback job over Graham Harrell.

You can't read much into what happened over the weekend. At the post-camp press conference, McCarthy said that this camp is about seeing if each player is a fit for what the Packers need. "The real football doesn't start until training camp."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Barkley: I have a shot with Eagles

Ever since USC QB Matt Barkley got drafted by the Eagles, he has been in the media's spot light. Yesterday, Barkley continued his attempt to get some publicity when he said that he "has a shot" to play on the field this year. Here is the full quote:

"You come in as a teammate to them, not as a fan," said Barkley, who told reporters he's data-wiped his disappointing draft tumble: "The fact is that I'm here, and I have a shot to play on the field this year."

I'm never against rookies having confidence, but he's wrong. He'll be on their practice squad in 2013.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Woodson to NFL Network?

This week, former Packers defensive player Charles Woodson appeared on the NFL Network twice. Once to talk about how he's still a free agent, and another time to talk about who he thinks is the best player in the league right now. As of now, Woodson hasn't shown any interest in becoming a TV analyst, but that didn't stop rumors from getting out. In response to the rumors, NFLN released this statement:

"NFL Network is always on the lookout for former NFL players who have an on camera presence and bring passion and energy to analysis of the game," said Alex Riethmiller, vice president of communications-NFL media, on Friday. "We’ve worked with Charles in the past and certainly feel he has a future in sports television should he choose to pursue that path when he is done playing."

In my opinion, Woodson should just retire and join the network. Because let's be honest, he has a better shot at becoming an analyst right now than remaining a player. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Daniel Snyder: Redskins name won't be changed

If you're an NFL fan, you probably know how controversial the Redskins team name is. In historical context, the word "Redskin" is a racial slur that many fans, including myself, believe should be banned from use and changed to something more Native American-friendly. But current team owner Daniel Snyder made it clear today that he doesn't have any intentions of doing such a thing. 

"We will never change the name of the team," the Washington Redskins owner told USA Today this week. "As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season."

With all due respect to him, his "it's history" reasoning is stupid. In American history, a lot of things have happened that we now regret in the modern day. 60 years ago, it was OK to walk the streets spouting out slurs. But not in 2013. It's time for Snyder to let his team become a part of the modern world. 

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Could blacking out games get banned?

According to multiple sources, longtime Republican Senator John McCain is attempting to make blacking out games in a team's local area illegal. The bill is called the "Television Consumer Freedom Act" and is already facing heavy resistance from the television industry. 

The bill, if passed, would obviously only make a team who's stadium is funded by taxpayers broadcast their games. While I personally don't expect it to pass, I think it should. It just seems logical that home fans should be able to watch their team's games, doesn't it? I mean, could you imagine an Eagles or Chargers game not being on in Philly or San Diego? No, because common sense says that a team's home market should get it's games.

The Deeper Reason Why The Packers Moved Bulaga To Left Tackle

When it was first reported that Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton were being moved to the left side of the offensive line, it didn't sound like a bad idea but it wasn't obvious how it would improve their offense either. If Marshall Newhouse was the problem, moving him to the right side, assuming he can win the starting right tackle job, would just move him to a different spot on the field.

Neil Hornsby at Pro Football Focus thought it was high risk, low reward plan that could turn into a disaster. He thought there must be something else to it and he came up with a good theory; "to make Aaron Rodgers more effective on bootlegs to the right."

He published a table of the worst ten quarterbacks on bootlegs to the right last season. It was an interesting list of quarterbacks, which included some elite QBs like Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, and RG III. It also included some of the worst ones like Mark Sanchez and Brandon Weeden. But it was odd seeing Rodgers on the list at all because he's so good at throwing on the run.

For a bootleg to the right to work, the Packers had to sell a run play to the left side. Hornsby points out that the Packers were a half yard better per run before contact to the right side, so those run fakes to the left side didn't worry any defense, even if there really was a run play called. I don't recall any specific plays from last season but the thought of Rodgers on a naked bootleg to the right fills me with dread. Maybe that won't be the case next season.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Ronde Barber retires after 16 seasons with Bucs

Ronde Barber, Buccaneers CB for the past 16 years, retired today. This news isn't all that surprising, but it's still upsetting to say goodbye to one of the great players in our modern era.
In his career, Barber made 5 Pro Bowls and 3 First All Pro teams. In 2001, he led the league in interceptions. In 2006, he led the league in interceptions returned for touchdowns. His most celebrated achievement came in the 2002-2003 season, when he and the Buccaneers beat the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, 48-21. He didn't do much in these last few years, but that doesn't matter. He still deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Packers to wear 1929 uniforms against Browns

Yesterday, the Packers announced that they will again be wearing their 1929 throwback uniforms this season when they host the Browns in Week 7. This news obviously won't affect how they play at all, but it's still fun to report. 

I don't know about you guys, but I like those jerseys much more than the modern day green-and-gold. I'm like that in all sports. I love old stuff. It makes the game feel more special. In my opinion, the Packers should wear them more often. It'd make them a lot more fun to watch. Best of all, they're wearing them against the Browns. That's an easy win.

Who Are These Guys? Illinois State S Ben Ericksen

Update: Ericksen is the one undrafted defensive free agent I write about and it doesn't look like they signed him. He wasn't listed on the official roster at after the rookie minicamp ended on May 12th. 
As one-third of the trio of players drafted and/or signed from Illinois State by the Packers, S Ben Ericksen should see some familiar faces when he's in Green Bay. I'm not sure what it was at their Pro Day, but these three stood out to their scouts.

Ericksen doesn't seem to be much of a ball-hawk for a free safety, he only recorded his first collegiate interception in his senior season, but his size (6-1, 194 lbs.) and Pro Day results (4.54 40, 2.59 20, 1.51 10 yard dash, and 16 bench press reps) seem comparable to highly drafted players like Texas's Kenny Vaccaro. So he has the athleticism to succeed, even though he doesn't have the major college production.

Tyler Dunne recently asked S M.D. Jennings about his situation, which seems more secure after the Packers decided not to draft a safety (though 5th round DB Micah Hyde seems like a better fit at safety than corner):
"I wouldn't look at it like that," Jennings said. "I'm going to go out there and compete every day, just like last year. We have a lot of depth at our position. You just have to go out there and fight for your job."
With rookies like Hyde and Ericksen entering camp, Jennings, a former undrafted free agent in his own right, probably well knows that players like Ericksen can make an impression on the coaches. Ericksen seems more likely to be a miss if he can't keep up with the speed of the NFL, but he does have some potential.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Dolphins sign Tyson Clabo to one-year deal

Yesterday,'s Ian Rapoport reported that the Miami Dolphins had reached an agreement with free agent offensive tackle Tyson Clabo. The deal is worth just one year, and ends Clabo's 8 year run with the Atlanta Falcons.

"We are happy that we have reached an agreement with Tyson," Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said in a team-issued statement. "He will be a great addition to the offensive line both on the field and in the meeting room."

As far as I'm concerned, the Packers had no intentions of signing this guy. But that doesn't mean that I don't think he'd perform well with them.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Eddie Lacy's confidence: Good or Bad?

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published a piece that, while not big news, interested me. Apparently their recently drafted new running back, Eddie Lacy, believes he can do "anything." Here's his quote:

"I'm a bigger guy, a tough runner, a physical runner," Lacy said. "That's just natural. But I'm also shifty and I can make defenders miss and also break long runs. I just feel like I can do anything."

Now while it's great to see the guy thinking he can help the team, I'm worried that statements like that could be become reality. The NFL and the NCAA are two completely different types of football. It's not as easy to fake out a professional who's been playing for 10+ years. And since he's no stranger to injuries, I don't want him accidentally hurting himself and making the Packers regret drafting him.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Former Packer LeRoy Butler appears on "Anderson Cooper 360"

Earlier this week, after NBA player Jason Collins came out and said he was gay, former Packers safety LeRoy Butler publicly supported him. But do to that, Butler lost a high-paying speaking engagement to a church whose name he did not reveal. The church said that Butler could still do the engagement, but that he would have to apologize to God first.

Earlier today, Butler appeared on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" to voice his displeasure with the church's request.

“Some 16-year-old kid is somewhere in a closet with his father’s gun that he found,” Butler told Anderson Cooper. “And he’s thinking about putting it to his head, because he’s been tormented in school every single day. Because they may have found out he was gay, or they suspect that he’s gay. He doesn’t have a voice right now. You’re asking me to take all that back so he doesn’t have a voice. I won’t do that.”

I couldn't agree with him more. Not only is this church discriminating against gays, it's discriminating against a straight man who's supporting gays. Now that's just ridiculous.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Mike McCarthy Shuffles The Offensive Line

There's been a lot written this offseason about LT Marshall Newhouse's future at left tackle and now Mike McCarthy has confirmed a move that had been discussed for a couple years; Bryan Bulaga to left tackle.
The main argument for keeping Bulaga at right tackle is that the team needs a good right tackle too. Bulaga was great on the right side in 2011 so why mess with success? It was a little surprising how secretive Mike McCarthy was about it. Tom Silverstein wrote:
Initially, multiple sources detailed the move, and later after an interview request, coach Mike McCarthy confirmed it and agreed to discuss it.
Or maybe he wasn't trying to keep a secret but he didn't want to talk about it. He might not want to give away any changes in his play calling tendencies. He did say "There was a lot of information that went into this decision" and "you put your athletic guy on the left and the more powerful guy [T.J. Lang] on the right."

Right now, it looks like an equal, three-way race between Newhouse, Don Barclay, and Derek Sherrod (health permitting) for right tackle job. Maybe rookies David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter will join in the competition, but the coaches want to see them in person first.

I don't see a downside to moving Bulaga and Sitton to the left side, but it's not obvious that this will make them any better. They might still line up with the same five players if Newhouse is named as the starting right tackle. Moving their offensive line problems from the left to the right side won't help. Still, it's great to see the coaches address the offensive line and look for ways to make the unit better.

Former-Packer Al Harris comes back; retires a Packer

Earlier this week, former Packers CB Al Harris signed a one-day deal with his old team to retire with them. Harris played for Green Bay from 2003-2010, appearing in two Pro Bowls and making one All-Pro team.

"Just over my career I had an awesome time, but the better part of my years were in Green Bay, (so) it was just important to me to retire as a Packer," Harris said Thursday, nearly 3½ years since he played his final snap for the Packers. "I had a great experience in Philadelphia, great experience in Tampa and everywhere else I played, but Green Bay is a special place to play football."

I honestly don't care where he retires, but I am grateful that I got to see this guy play before he started getting hurt.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: The Rest of The NFC North

Do you think the rest of the NFC North teams helped themselves in the draft? I'm only going to look at the first four rounds for each team, anyone drafted in the last three rounds is a long shot to become a starter for any NFL team, though I found it interesting that both the Lions and Vikings drafted a punter in the 5th round. For what it's worth, according to the Fan Draft Grade at, the Vikings received an A, the Lions a B, and the Bears a C.

Bears. They started out with one of the biggest surprises in the 1st round, selecting Oregon G Kyle Long with the 20th overall selection. He's only played on offensive line the past couple years after converting from defense, so this pick is all about potential. With their 2nd round pick, they selected Florida ILB Jon Bostic, who fills a glaring hole in the middle of their defense after they parted ways with Brian Urlacher. They also lost starting LB Nick Roach in free agency to the Raiders, so they also added Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene in the 4th round and another linebacker in the 6th round.

They addressed their three biggest needs in the draft (linebacker, offensive line, and wide receiver) but they didn't add players at any other position. In the long-run, this draft might produce a couple solid starters but the lack of depth could be a problem.

Lions. BYU DE Ziggy Ansah became the 5th player selected even though he didn't start playing football until 2010, and he didn't become a college starter until 2012. He had a strong showing at the combine and dominated the Senior Bowl. He's replacing DE Cliff Avril, who signed with the Seahawks in free agency, so he's filing a need instead of improving something they didn't have last season. In the 2nd round they selected Mississippi St. CB Darius Slay who already has knee problems, and added a big guard, Kentucky OG Larry Warford, in the 3rd round after losing both starting tackles (LT Jeff Backus retired, RT Gosder Cherlius signed with the Colts). They also took another defensive end, South Carolina DE Devin Taylor, in the 4th round.

All four players have a lot of potential, though drafting a cornerback who already has knee problems is a concern, and they filled multiple needs on their roster. Overall a solid draft, though they're still lacking depth on the offensive line and at wide receiver, but you can't fix everything with one draft.

Vikings. It's hard not to receive an A grade when they had three 1st round draft picks. Florida DT Sharrif Floyd was long thought to be a Top 5 pick, so selecting him at No. 23 overall is a great value. He might only be a rotational player in 2013, but he could be the anchor on their 2014 line if they lose their top three defensive lineman (Jared Allen, Brian Robison, and Kevin Williams) to free agency after next season. Their secondary really needed another cornerback, especially after they released CB Antoine Winfield, so Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes was selected 25th overall. Finally they traded back into the 1st round to select WR Cordarrelle Patterson, who's got exceptional size and speed after playing only one season at Tennessee. They also added OLB Gerald Hodges from Penn State in the 4th round for depth.

The Vikings had the best draft when you look at the players, but I'd give the edge to the Lions because of the high price the Vikings paid to have those three Top 30 selections. Rhodes was chosen with the pick they received for WR Percy Harvin and the Patriots selected a linebacker, cornerback and wide receiver with three of the four picks they received for their 1st round selection. Ironically the Vikings got their 7th round pick back by trading down a few spots in the 6th round. The Vikings might have been better next season with Harvin and two additional rookies taken with mid-round draft picks instead of having two more 1st round selections.

Report: Dolphins won't sign Tebow

This news isn't that surprising, but you know it interests you. According to, the Miami Dolphins will not sign free agent QB Tim Tebow. After Tebow was cut by the Jets earlier this week, many analysts expected a team like Miami to be interested, but it appears they were wrong, again.

In another incident earlier this week, I remember hearing an ESPN NFL analyst(don't remember his name) say that winning teams like the Patriots and Packers should want to sign him. He said that since those teams already have their futures set up, they should attempt to bring up another guy. And I gotta say, as terrible as Tebow is, I would have no problem with that. He wouldn't really play at all, since Graham Harrell is obviously a better guy to backup Rodgers. But he'd be fun to watch in the preseason. And if he wasn't, at least he'd still be helping ticket sales.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Who Are These Guys? Packers 2013 Undrafted Rookie Free Agents - Offense

It's a little hard to find out information on the undrafted rookie free agents signed by the Green Bay Packers because these are not top prospects. But every year, a couple of them find their way into the starting lineup. This post will start with the offense on this list of the 2013 undrafted rookie free agents posted by Jersey Al's:

QB Matt Brown, Illinois State. He tore up Division I (subdivision) and he's got NFL size (6-3, 223 lbs.) I expect he's got a strong arm, which is why they drafted B.J. Coleman last year, but the other backup (Graham Harrell) is a soft tosser by NFL standards, so maybe a strong arm isn't a prerequisite for the Packers. He's not highly regarded even among the undrafted QBs. CBS had him ranked below guys like Penn State's Matt McGloin (who signed with the Redskins) but above players like Nate Montana (he was invited to 49ers camp because, of course he was). Unless Brown shows something in training camp, I don't expect he'll beat out Coleman as the practice squad QB.

C Patrick Lewis, Texas A&M. While he played in college on a winning team alongside the No. 2 overall selection (Luke Joeckel), Lewis wasn't expected to be drafted. He started a whopping 52 games in college and was named All-Big 12 in three seasons. Based on his 40 and shuttle times, he seems agile enough, but he's listed at 6-1 so he's a bit short for an NFL center. I can't find his arm length measurement from the combine, but I'm guessing his arms might be a little short too. He'll probably get a chance to prove himself during the preseason, but he's not going to be given too many opportunities.

RB Angelo Pease, Kansas State. He was the change of pace back for the Wildcats, so it's hard to picture him ever becoming an NFL featured back. At 211 lbs. he ran a 4.50 40 at the combine, which isn't quite big enough or fast enough to stand out from the other backs. While he has almost zero chance of making the 53-man roster, he might stick on the practice squad if the Packers want to keep an extra back.

TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State. Good receiving tight ends like Tyler Eifert were popular this year, so I'm surprised Stoneburner wasn't someone's late round draft selection. He'll have to move ahead of TEs D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor to make the roster, but those two haven't exactly set the world on fire. If he can make some tough catches this preseason and show his value on special teams, he's got a shot at earning a 53-man roster spot.

G Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State. He wasn't considered a college prospect but went onto have a great college career. Now he's hoping to do the same though he was ranked as only the No. 35 prospect at guard by CBS The Packers will have room for a lineman on the practice squad, so he'll have a chance at earning a spot on it.

LS James Winchester, Oklahoma. Watch out Brett Goode! Winchester's a little small at 210 lbs. to snap punts, Goode's 255 lbs., so I'm not sure he can take Goode's role on special teams. Winchester had a great workout at Oklahoma's pro day, with better marks then some skill players, so maybe the Packers are just bringing a great athlete into camp and seeing if they can make something of him.

OT Jeremy Vujnovich, Louisiana College. He's an interesting Division III player with a 6-5 frame and he did 35 reps in the bench press, so he's strong too. He's more likely to become the next Allen Barbre than the next Josh Sitton and he's looking at a steep learning curve from Division III to the NFL. He's only got a tryout but the Packers have some room on their 90 man roster, and they need to improve their depth at tackle, so he'll have a chance.

Vegas: Packers fifth most likely to win Super Bowl

If you believe Las Vegas oddsmakers, then the Packers have a decent chance of winning it all this season. According to the new odds set out by the Sin City, the Packers have 12-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl. Only the 49ers, Broncos, Patriots, and Seahawks have been given better chances. Here is the full list:

1-49ers 6/1

2-Broncos 7/1

3-Patriots 8/1

4-Seahawks 9/1

5-Packers 12/1

6-Falcons 17/1

7-Texans 18/1

7-Saints 18/1

9-Giants 20/1

10-Steelers 25/1

11-Ravens 28/1

12-Cowboys 33/1

13-Bengals 35/1

14-Bears 38/1

15-Redskins 40/1

15-Colts 40/1

15-Dolphins 40/1

18-Buccaneers 45/1

19-Vikings 50/1

19-Chargers 50/1

21-Eagles 55/1

21-Lions 55/1

23-Chiefs 60/1

23-Rams 60/1

25-Panthers 65/1

26-Jets 120/1

27-Browns 125/1

28-Cardinals 140/1

28-Titans 140/1

30-Bills 150/1

31-Raiders 200/1

31-Jaguars 200/1