Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting To Know WR Tyrone Walker

I don't read too much into the first week of training camp but sometimes unknown players jump out. That might be happening to undrafted free agent WR Tyrone Walker.
He was signed in May after a tryout during rookie orientation. He played at Illinois State, so he wasn't very well known, and he ran a 4.59 40 at his pro day, which isn't very fast. He still has a very tough road ahead of him, he has to move ahead of at least three other players to make the roster, but both 7th round picks (Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey) have missed some practice time and given Walker an opportunity.

His main talent, via Jersey Al's, is that he's a solid route runner who makes good adjustments on the ball. That should help him make his quarterbacks look better, especially when he's catching passes from Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman, who aren't known for their accuracy.

Aaron Rodgers said Walker's a good route runner who reminds him of former Packer WR Antonio Chatman. If Walker can do the same as Chatman, who ended up having a nice six year career with the Packers and Bengals while recording 114 career receptions, that would probably be the best case scenario for him.

Eddie Lacy facing criticism for apparent weight gain; McCarthy says he's fine

When Eddie Lacy played for the Alabama Crimson Tide, he was pretty big for his height (5-11). But yesterday, a photo was released of him in which he looked a lot bigger. This led to a lot of fat jokes online and needed responses from Packers coaches, who said that Lacy's conditioning is fine. 

"If we had any concerns about any of our guys conditioning-wise, they wouldn't be on the field," said head coach Mike McCarthy. 

It's weird how quickly people start to care about you when it appears that you gained a little weight. This a perfect example of how horrible this generation is. Lacy hasn't done anything, so leave him alone. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Position Review: Safety

This position has been constantly changing since Nick Collins and Atari Bigby were the starters from 2007 through 2009. Even then, there was a parade of different strong safeties (Aaron Rouse, Derrick Martin, Jarrett Bush) who filled in for all the times that Bigby was injured. Collins's 2011 career ending neck injury forced another change, but now the position seems settled for the near future.

Position Reviews (Defense): Inside LinebackerDefensive Line, Outside Linebacker
Position Reviews: Offense

Morgan Burnett. He's still got some room to grow, but at age 24 he's just entering his prime and it can take safeties a little longer to develop. Collins didn't become a Pro Bowl performer until his fourth season, which is the same point that Burnett will be at in 2013. A break out season won't cause any salary cap troubles either because he just signed a five-year extension.

M.D. Jennings. The Packers employ an unusual safety rotation in which he's the starter but he's not always on the field (unlike Burnett). He'll be the deep coverage safety, and while it would seem that he should be in a battle for the starting job, he's not because McMillian plays a different role on defense.

Jerron McMillian. The unknown college safety from Maine did so well as Charles Woodson's replacement that Woodson was released. He might never be as good as Woodson, but he should be better than him over the next few years (assuming Woodson keeps playing that long). He'll be asked to play like a pseudo linebacker, looking to help out in run support and in coverage against the slot receiver.

While Burnett will never leave the field, both Jennings and McMillian will come off at times, and sometimes they'll play together. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers isn't afraid to shake up the rotation depending on the opponent. I'm not sure I'm expecting great things from them, but they're going to be a solid unit.

The Packers should expect to keep at least one more safety on the roster but there isn't an obvious candidate. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the cornerbacks was asked to play at both positions this season.

Sean Richardson. The formerly undrafted free agent was a surprise addition to the 2012 roster, but his NFL future is in doubt after offseason neck surgery. I expect he'll be released soon.

David Fulton, Chaz Powell, Chris Banjo. A collection of undrafted players; Fulton in 2013, Powell and Banjo in 2012. Banjo was signed this week after Richardson's prognostic looked bleak. Which one of the three players might emerge as a keeper is anyone's guess. Powell probably has a slight lead because he was actually invited to the NFL combine after finishing college at Penn State and he ended last season on the Packers's practice squad.

Depth at safety has been a concern of mine for the past few years, especially with all the injuries, but the top three safeties appear set for the first time in years. The depth behind them is still an issue, but they should find someone worthy among the collection of young players at corner and safety.

Johnny Jolly: "I wouldn't say that I need (football), but I love it"

When asked by ESPNWisconsin if his newfound sobriety is because of his return to the NFL, Packers NT Johnny Jolly denied that speculation, but still praised the game. 

“I wouldn’t say that I need it, but I love the sport, so I want to play,” the Green Bay Packers defensive lineman said Sunday, following the first in-pads practice of training camp. “I’ve been through so much stuff, it’s made me a better person, a wiser person. There are things in life you just have to go through and learn from and I’m a better man from it now. I’m just going to keep rolling with it.”

In my opinion, Jolly is forgiven. He's clearly sorry and it's time for us all to just forgive and forget. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

How Good Are The Bears Going To Be In 2013?

Not that this is a problem for the Green Bay Packers, but I've been down on the Bears this offseason. New head coach Marc Trestman seems like a relic of the 1980s who's going to have some bumps patching together a messed up offensive line with no skill players outside of Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall. Their defense has been getting old for a while, the departure of Brian Urlacher was only Step One in that process, and the last few drafts from former GM Jerry Angelo left the Bears with few future starters on the horizon. So when I read a tweet like this one, it just seemed to confirm that the Bears are in decline:
Losing backup lineman, and former first round busts, like Sedrick Ellis and Turk McBride isn't devastating news for any team, but the fact that the Bears might have been counting on them isn't a good sign.

However, after I read the chapter on the Bears in the 2013 Football Outsiders Almanac, it looks like things might not be that bad for them. They liked the addition of two legitimate offensive lineman (Jermon Bushrod, Kyle Long) and their great 2012 defense is largely intact. The loss of Urlacher, who slipped badly in last season, could actually become an upgrade if their second round pick (LB Jon Bostic) works out.

In the end, the Outsiders predict there's an 8% chance the Bears will wind up with the first overall pick in 2014 and a 16% chance they'll be in the Super Bowl hunt. Their title hopes aren't as strong as the Packers (1% chance of first pick, 52% chance of a Super Bowl run), but much better than the Lions (15% chance of first pick, 11% chance of Super Bowl run) or the Vikings (37% chance of first pick, 3% chance of Super Bowl run).

The Lions have some major injury risks that are probably holding down their projection, but I was surprised by the extent their projection system hated the Vikings. However, the Vikings did have the third overall pick in 2012 for a (bad) reason and I'm certainly not a Christian Ponder believer. Giving the Bears four games against two teams that might struggle next season would certainly give them a boost.

The Bears were only one game behind the Packers last season for the NFC North crown, those two wins over the Bears last season loomed large, but while I'm not sure about the changes they made last offseason, they still appear to be the team most likely to challenge the Packers for the division title.

Jones on Jennings: "Everybody has their own opinions"

For the past few years, Packers current WR James Jones and now former WR Greg Jennings were good friends. But now that Jennings has taken shots at not only Rodgers but the team itself, that friendship was expected to weaken. But apparently it hasn't. 

"Everybody has their own opinion," Jones said Sunday. 'G’s' (Jennings)  still my dog. A-Rod is still my dog. G ain’t my dog when I play him on Sunday."

So, Jones clearly still considers Greg his "dog"(that's how cool this guy is). At least this won't carry onto Sundays, but C'mon Jones, at least say you're disappointed. Don't downplay it.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rodgers: "I'm not concerned about Jennings' opinions"

In an article published today over on, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers made clear to the media that he doesn't care about what Greg Jennings has said lately, and only cares about what his teammates think of him. 

"You know what, to me I’m concerned with the opinions of the guys in this locker room and the guys we have here," Rodgers said. "We have 90 guys right now. It’s exciting to be able to be one of the leaders of this football team. I’m very confident in my style, I think the guys respond well to it. It’s fun being the oldest, longest tenured guy on the team. I’ve seen a lot, been around a lot, learned a lot of lessons and I think one of the lessons you learn is you can’t control everything and you shouldn’t worry too much about the things that are said outside the building. You worry about the opinions of your teammates and how they feel about you.”

Good for him. Now I'm not an Aaron Rodgers worshiper like Greg Jennings thinks, but #12 handled this perfectly. He didn't make it bigger, he just blew it off. That's what athletes should do. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Yep, more Greg Jennings stuff

Now that I've calmed down from what I would consider a lengthy "rant" yesterday, I feel like I have to talk about the way Greg Jennings is now trying to defend himself. In an article posted on Bleacher Report tonight (I still consider this tonight but I am writing this past midnight), Jennings tried the classic, "don't get me wrong" defense. Enjoy it. 

"Don’t get me wrong, "12" is a great person. But when you hear all positives, all positives, all positives all the time, it’s hard for you to sit down when one of your teammates says, "Man, come on, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable for this. It’s hard for someone to see that now because all they’ve heard is I’m doing it the right way, I’m perfect. In actuality, we all have flaws."

Really Greg, really. Do you seriously thinks that there's a single Packers fan out there who hasn't ever gotten mad at Rodgers. Hell, I get frustrated whenever anybody makes a mistake. I don't view him as perfect. The only kinda person who would view him as perfect would be the annoying housewife who goes to the game just because her husband's a die hard fan and screams for all four quarters. Or, it could be one of those "I bet he's trying his hardest out there" guys who you can't stand sitting next to throughout any sporting event. Basically what I'm trying to say is, NO REAL FAN EVER HAS THOUGHT OF AN ATHLETE AS PERFECT. When Rodgers fell apart in the divisional playoff a few years ago, I got pretty mad. So this defense won't work. I highly doubt that Rodgers is as cocky as Jennings is portraying him. All Greg is doing here is trying to demonize a former teammate for God knows why. So again I'll say, shut up Jennings before you make me hate you more. I'm out. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Position Review: Outside Linebacker

I was hoping to get through my review of every position before training camp practices began (Today! July 26th!) but it was not meant to be. It looks like training camp is starting out muggy and with a chance of thunderstorms, but not blazingly hot.

Position Reviews (Defense): Inside Linebacker, Defensive Line
Position Reviews: Offense

Clay Matthews. The Claymaker is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, but even a die-hard Packer fan like myself has to admit he's probably a step behind J.J. Watt's unbelievable 2012 season.

Nick Perry. Though he played last preseason and six regular season games, it felt like a lost season. The transition from college defensive end to NFL linebacker was going to have some rough patches, but coach Kevin Greene likes what he sees in Perry and thought he had figured out pass coverage by Week 5 (right before he was out for the year after wrist surgery). His pass rush ability has been always been there, he opened the 2012 preseason with a sack against the Chargers, and he could become a major factor because he won't command many double-teams. The return of Perry (replacing the little that Erik Walden did), plus the addition of first round pick DE Datone Jones, could transform their pass rush next season.

Dezman Moses. An outstanding training camp brought him to the forefront last preseason, but by the end of the regular season, he wasn't offering much more than Walden. Still, he recorded four sacks as a part-time player. He's got the potential, but he's got to show improvement.

6th round pick Nate Palmer. He's the highest profile college DE converting to NFL OLB in camp. He seems like a bit of a project, drafted more based on his pro day results than his play at Illinois State, but I expect he'll make the roster because they need someone to replace Walden and Frank Zombo.

7th round pick Sam Barrington. Back in April, I wrote that he looked like an inside linebacker prospect. But there are at least five inside backers ahead of him on the depth chart. So while I expect him to make the roster, his short-term future might be outside. We'll have to wait for the preseason to begin and see where he lines up.

If the Packers keep all the guys who were on the team last year, plus their two new draft picks, that's ten linebackers for the 53-man roster. They won't keep more linebackers than ten. The last three guys are either in case of injury or fighting for the practice squad spot.

Andy Mulumba, Donte Savage, Jarvis Reed. This year's group of undrafted college DEs who will get a chance at OLB. It looks like Reed, the player formerly known as Jarvis Wilson, did play some linebacker in college too. Not much separates them at this point and they'll have to prove themselves on the field starting August 9th against the Cardinals.

If you didn't think Jennings' comments yesterday were bad, you should hear today's

Now yesterday I purposely only showed you guys a part of what Greg Jennings said in that article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune so that I could see how you guys reacted to the whole, "In Green Bay, you couldn't do your own thing" comment. And I bet some of view were mad at him for it and some of you were respecting what he said. But today, I will show you the rest of what he said, and I gotta tell you this makes me mad. Here it is:

"Maybe I need to go back to my college days where the quarterback wasn't just viewed as oh-so-great and still prove that I can be successful,” Jennings said. 
"A lot of times when you have a guy who creates that spotlight for himself and establishes that and takes a lot of that, it becomes so-and-so and the team. It should always be the team.”

First of all, Rodgers didn't make it like it is. He wasn't expected to be a great quarterback, he made himself that way. He's an inspiration. Also, if a team has a great QB that guy is ALWAYS the star of the team. Every team has a player with a bigger fan base than the rest. Just look at the Vikings. When you think of them, the first player you will usually think of is Adrian Peterson. Am I right? So if we agree that Peterson is the star of the Vikings, then how is leaving Green Bay for Minnesota gonna help Jennings get over this problem anyway? He's still gonna be out-shined by the oh-so-great Adrian Peterson, so what's he expecting? Also, since the Vikings running game is clearly better than their passing one, then he'll probably get even less attention now with them, than he did with the Packers. So what's he criticizing Rodgers for? Because he's jealous. And right now, he needs to shut his mouth before he makes fans like me hate him even more for acting like the stuck-up punk that he must be. I'm tired of him. I really am. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Greg Jennings: "Everything was more cookie-cutter in Green Bay"

In an article recently published on, Vikings WR Greg Jennings caused a little controversy by calling the Packers offense a "cookie cutter offense" and saying "here, you can do you own thing." 

"It's not a free-for-all. There's structure," Jennings told the Minneapolis Star Tribune of the Vikings' attack. "But there's liberty. You can breathe. It's like, 'OK, I can do my thing.' You know what you need to do, you get it done. Whereas (in Green Bay), everything was more cookie-cutter. ... It's just different. In a good way. And not knocking what we did there. Because obviously it was successful. But here, no one's walking on egg shells."

It's a little weird to see Jennings diss the offense of the team he's played for for the past seven seasons, but I don't mind it. He'll miss the Packers when they're in the playoffs and the Vikings aren't. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fan who Rodgers owes $4.5 million: "I'd just take a game check"

In an interview with USA Today, Packers fan Todd Sutton, whom Rodgers owes $4.5 million after if turned out that Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun actually was taking steroids, joked that he would just take a game check, worth approximately $281,250.

“I’d just take a game check,” Sutton told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday, laughing. “I’m not really expecting to hear from him. It’d be cool, but I doubt it’s going to happen,” Sutton said.

If Rodgers really wants to look like a nice guy this offseason, giving this fan something would do it. The guy should get at least an autograph. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This whole time Rodgers was wrong about Braun

With the announcement yesterday that Ryan Braun will be suspended for the rest of the 2013 MLB season, Aaron Rodgers looks really dumb. Last year, when Braun was being accused of similar steroid use, Rodgers took to Twitter defending him. But now #12 has been proven wrong, and now he looks dumb because of it. 

“MLB and cable sports tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man,” Rodgers tweeted at the time.  ”Picked the wrong guy to mess with.  Truth will set u free #exonerated.  When its guilty until proven innocent, all u need are the facts. #howsthecrowmlb #exonerated. . .   All u idiots talking about technicality open up for some crow too.  See if Espn gets pressured not to . . . let the people hear the truth.  Should get interesting.  #exonerated #shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

At one point, A-Rod even made a $4.5 million bet with a man on Twitter that Braun was innocent. But again, he was wrong. So now he's $4.5 million poorer.  

Position Review: Inside Linebacker

This looked like a position to watch this preseason, but instead the Green Bay Packers have already made up their mind and recently released Desmond Bishop. With the starters now in place, it's just a matter of figuring out who's going to fill out the backup positions.

Position Reviews-Offense
Position Review-Defensive Line

There are four rookie linebackers currently on the roster, I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two of them move inside, and the Packers have been known to move those guys back and forth from the outside. But at this point, I don't know what the coaches exactly have in mind. I'm going to exclude the rookies at this point.

A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. The two unquestioned starters. While Hawk has never been my favorite player, the coaches spoke highly of him this offseason and he certainly knows the defense. There is an advantage to having a player who rarely misses a game. Jones had a breakout season as an emergency starter and graded out very well by Pro Football Focus. Not a lot of flash, but they're both solid.

Terrell Manning. I was surprised at how limited he looked last preseason, but it was apparently due to the fact that he was really sick. If the Packers had been concerned about their depth, they probably wouldn't have released both Bishop and D.J. Smith. I think Manning's the reason why they let both of them go. He'll be someone to watch this preseason.

Robert Francois. He started some games in 2011, but he was relegated to the special teams last season. He probably won't be given the first chance to start if either Hawk or Jones is injured, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere either.

Jamari Lattimore. The former undrafted free agent has played inside and outside in his first two seasons, but it looks like his future lies on the inside. I expect he's just a special teams player, but Jones and Bishop hid deep on the depth chart for three seasons before they got their chance to start. He's only 24 years old and maybe his opportunity just hasn't happened yet.

Overall, there's not a lot of intrigue while the backup positions are sorted out, but there's been a lot of changes now that one starter is gone (Bishop) and his likely successor (Smith) has been released too.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Packers Rodgers has NFL's 9th most sold jersey

Today, revealed this year's ten most sold jerseys heading into training camp, with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' being ranked number 9. In front on him was Colin Kaepernick's at number 1, Russell Wilson's at number 2, RGIII's at number 3, Adrian Peterson's at number 4, Peyton Manning's at number 5, Ryan Tannehill's at number 6 for some reason, Tom Brady's at number 7, and Ray Lewis' at number 8. Brian Urlacher's was number 10. 

Honestly, I'm a little surprised that Rodgers' jersey ranked behind the rest of those guys, but I guess the amount of jerseys sold doesn't determine how good a player is. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rodgers: "It's different" without Jennings and Driver

In an interview with USA Today, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers talked about how different things are in training camp without Greg Jennings or Donald Driver, who each left the team this offseason. 

"Not having those two and a good friend of mine, Charles Woodson, who I played with for a long time just like those guys — that's different," Rodgers told USA TODAY Sports at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe.

I don't think missing those three will really affect the team's record this year, but I can see how it could easily affect some players' chemistry. Most of the 2013 roster is used to having Driver around, but now he won't be there. It won't be a change that destroys the team, but I can see why Rodgers could be a little upset. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Packers Had Record Profits Last Year

I think the rest of the NFL might be more interested in the Green Bay Packers's annual report than Packer fans. It was noted on Twitter that the CEO of the Dolphins stepped down the day after the Packers released last year's financial information, probably because the Dolphins are losing money. Also, Forbes probably welcomes the information so they can use the data when valuing sports franchises.

On the other hand, Packer fans know all about rising ticket prices at Lambeau and the long waiting list for season tickets. The team just has to be raking it in, and I'm not selling my stock no matter what.
While it was a record year, their revenue only grew by 2% which isn't exactly a huge increase. Also, it's the second consecutive year they've hosted a playoff game, so that's given them a financial boost, and they would take a financial hit if they have to travel for the 2013 playoffs.

The article does point out that player expenses will go up in the current year, after large bonus payouts to Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, but they did just complete the additions of 7,000 sold out seats to offset some of those costs.

Once again, the annual financial report is just confirmation that the team is being well run and it will be able to afford the big signing bonus money it needs to keep players like Rodgers and Matthews around for the long-term.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Position Review: Defensive LIne

Ever since the 2010 season, when B.J. Raji and Cullen Jenkins were a quality pass rush tandem in their nickel package, the Green Bay Packers's defensive line has been a disappointment. It was awful in 2011 and there wasn't much improvement in 2012.

Previously: Position Reviews - Offense.

B.J. Raji. He hasn't regained the form he showed during the 2010 playoffs, but he's still their best lineman and his 2011 decline was caused by massive overuse on an awful line. The Packers have re-stocked their depth and he could return to his 2010 level now that he's surrounded with better teammates.

Ryan Pickett. The 13 year veteran still provides a solid presence against the run, but hardly anything as a pass rusher. He's a free agent after this year and GM Ted Thompson doesn't usually keep veterans in their 30s, but he's still the same player that he was when he joined the team in 2006. I'm expecting more of the same in 2013 and maybe even a return performance in 2014.

Datone Jones. He looked really good at UCLA and could become their best pass rushing lineman since Jenkins left in free agency. All eyes should be on him this preseason.

Mike Neal. He was second on the team last season with 4.5 sacks, but his future on the line looks cloudy after the selection of Jones in the 1st round. He got some work at outside linebacker but that seems like an unlikely transition for a 294 lb. lineman. He's sure to get another chance in 2013 and it'll be up to him to take advantage of it before he hits free agency.

C.J. Wilson and Mike Daniels. They're different types of players, Wilson has more size and Daniels has more hustle, but they were about as equally productive. Neither one is going to be asked to anchor the middle of the 3-4 formation and both of them might have been pushed back by Jones. They both should make the team but it's not clear whether either player has a long-term future.

Jerel Worthy. I had really high hopes for the him after his 2012 selection in 2nd round, but his biggest impact last season was his inability to stay onside before the snap. A late season knee injury will probably keep him out next season so there's nothing to see here until 2014.

Johnny Jolly. If this was 2009, I'd be really writing about how he's a young anchor to build around. But the prime of his career has been wiped out by years of legal problems. At age 30, he's finally back but who knows how he'll look after missing three seasons. I can't think of another healthy player in recent years who has missed three seasons.

Josh Boyd. I'm not sure where he fits on the roster, but I would expect the Packers to keep their 2013 5th round selection. However, I'm not sure if he can overtake either Wilson or Daniels on the depth chart. If he does make the team, I can't imagine he'll do anything except provide depth.

Gilbert Pena. Packer fans should love a big defensive lineman named Gilbert. He's a big run stuffer who probably went undrafted because he's already 26 years old. Maybe he'll turn out to be a young Ryan Pickett type lineman.

Jordan Miller. He was signed to the practice squad late last season and he's probably the longest shot to stick with the team.

Once Worthy goes on I.R., the Packers will have ten lineman for what will likely be six roster spots. It's possible that someone like Neal or Wilson is released/traded depending on what happens during the preseason. That could open up a spot for Jolly, Boyd, or Pena. But probably those three players will be looking to resume their NFL careers somewhere else at the start of the regular season.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Safety Morgan Burnett Agrees To Four-Year Extension

Unlike some recent extension (Rodgers, Matthews), there was not much written about Burnett before the deal was done. Reportedly the Packers have agreed to a four-year extension with one of their young starters.
As is usual for GM Ted Thompson, he gets a player for less guaranteed money. Burnett's contract is about the same as the Colts gave to LaRon Landry with about half as much in guarantees. In Burnett's case, he's giving up potentially more in a signing bonus in order to have an extension in hand a year before he's eligible for free agency. And the $6 million annual average is significantly less than the $8 million ($40 million total) the Buccaneers paid for Deshon Goldson.

The Packers had some salary cap room available this year, so locking up a young veteran they intended to keep anyway is a good move.

But how good is Burnett? He only has six interceptions and 19 pass defenses for his career. He was known for his ball skills (i.e. interceptions) when he was drafted in 2010, but that hasn't yet translated to the pros. The hope is that he's the next Nick Collins. Collins didn't emerge as a Pro Bowl performer until his fourth season (age 25). Burnett will be entering his fourth season (age 24) in 2013. Safeties tend to develop slower than other defensive players, so the hope is that the Packers have locked in Burnett before he takes the leap.

I read on Twitter comparisons to WR Jordy Nelson, who was signed to an extension before his breakout 2011 season, and that's best case scenario for Burnett. If that happens, this will be a bargain for the Packers. But he was a player they were probably going to keep anyway, and plays at a position without an obvious replacement, so this is a necessary deal even if he only maintains his 2011 and 2012 level play.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Position Review: Fullback

The final position review on offense is a short one, and maybe it should have been combined with tight ends. They don't play the same role on the offense, though both play a similar role in the backfield as pass blockers, but they're probably competing for the same number of roster spots. If the Packers decide to keep an extra fullback on the roster this season, unlike in 2012 when they only kept one, it might come at the expense of an extra tight end.

Position Review: Offensive Line Guards and Tackles
Position Review: Offensive Line-Center
Position Review: Wide Receivers
Position Review: Tight End
Position Review: Quarterback
Position Review: Running Backs

John Kuhn. While the former Pro Bowl performer might seem like a lock for the roster, his position doesn't lend itself to a long shelf life. He'll probably make the roster and remain the starter, but the end of his Packer career is coming up sooner than you might expect. He'll turn 31 in September, as he enters the final year of his contract, and GM Ted Thompson isn't known for keeping veterans into their age 30 years. Also, he didn't exactly impress last season, earning a negative ranking from Football Outsiders on running plays in a small sample size. If you enjoy chanting KUUUHHHNNN, this upcoming season might be your last chance.

Jonathan Amosa. Who knows what to expect from an undrafted rookie out of Washington, he wasn't highly regarded, but the Packers might be more interested in keeping him around if this is Kuhn's final year as a Packer. However, I doubt GM Ted Thompson is worried about developing another fullback next year if Amosa doesn't work out.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good bye readers of this blog

Yesterday, I decided that will be leaving this blog to pursue a possible sports writing career elsewhere. I loved writing here and my experiences here will definitely help me out in the future. But the offer I was given was too good to pass up so I made this difficult choice. I don't know how much my missing presence will matter here, seeing as the season's about to start and Brandon's a much better writer than me anyway. But whether I sucked or was the best thing since sliced bread, I enjoyed it. I'm hoping that the readers of this blog will leave their opinions of me in the comments box for me to read. Your opinions mean a lot to me, good or bad. I would like to thank Brandon for giving me this opportunity on his site and allowing me to post whatever whenever. Brandon, your a very talented writer with a very good blog. I consider you a friend and wish you only the best from now on. Despite my decision to leave this site as a writer, I plan to follow it and comment as much as possible. So, with that said, I say goodbye and hope all you readers out there enjoyed my writing. So long. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ditka: Rodgers is the best in football

In an article recently put up on, former Bears coach and current NFL TV Analyst Mike Ditka praised Aaron Rodgers, calling him "the best guy in football."

“The guy up in Green Bay, I think is the best in football,” Ditka said of Rodgers. “But that’s my opinion. I like what he does, and I like his leadership qualities. And I think that’s the other thing you have to look at. He has to be the guy in charge. And the team has to know it."

I'm a little surprised Ditka said this, but he's always praising the Packers on Sunday NFL Countdown, so I guess it's not too wierd. I just don't get why the Packers seem to be his favorite team at times, while he should be, from a Bears fans point of view, ignoring them. But it's not too big a deal, so Rodgers should just take it as another complement. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sitton ready to lead Packers offensive line

In an article published by the Green Bay PG, Packers offensive lineman Josh Sitton talked about how he is ready to lead the team's offensive line, similar to the post I published yesterday about Clay Matthews.

“Yeah, it’s different man,” Sitton said. “I remember just a couple years ago, there were three or four guys older than me and now I’m the oldest. It’s definitely different, but I’m taking that leadership role and really trying to coach up these young guys and make sure we have enough depth, enough guys who can play.”

I like Sitton. I hope he has success at his new role. 

Position Review: Running Backs

This should be one of the most talked about positions since the Green Bay Packers completely shook up the roster. Gone are veteran starters Ryan Grant and Cedric Benson while three rookies have been added.

Position Review: Offensive Line Guards and Tackles
Position Review: Offensive Line-Center
Position Review: Wide Receivers
Position Review: Quarterback

It's not clear who will be the starter. The rookies might be ready to grab the ball and run, but they're probably not up to speed with the overall playbook and pass blocking, which might give the returning veterans an advantage for the first few weeks of the season. It would be a surprise if the Packers kept more than three running backs, so a couple of once promising players might not be with the team much longer.

DuJuan Harris. He might seem like the player with the least upside, but he finished 2012 as the starter and every player and coach seems to rave about him. He was productive last season in six games, rushing for 4.6 ypc during the regular season and four touchdowns (two in the playoffs). He might be the best bet to start the season.

Eddie Lacy. He's the player I want to see on the field, but he comes with legitimate injury risks and not a lot of college experience. He might need some time to get ready (and healthy) for the NFL.

Johnathan Franklin. He was talked about as a potential 2nd round pick, so I was surprised he was still available later (and apparently the Packers were too because they traded up in the 4th round to select him). He's lighter (205 lbs.) than Lacy and might be more of a complementary back but his speed score was solid and it could be a sign that he should hold up just fine as the primary rusher.

Alex Green. Maybe he should be higher on the list now that he's another year removed from his torn ACL, but he didn't impress last season and I don't see how he fits with the Packers anymore. Supposedly, he's at the top of the depth chart, but that June ranking means nothing if he's only averaging a couple yards per carry during the preseason. I thought he could be a trade candidate, but the team seems to be giving him the chance to start, so he'll stay if he runs well. If he flops during the preseason, I doubt the Packers will make room for him or be able to find anything in trade.

James Starks. He came into the NFL after a lost college season due to injury, and he hasn't been able to stay healthy as a pro either. Also, he didn't impress last season when healthy (3.6 ypc, one carry of greater than 20 yards). I doubt he has any trade value, but a strong preseason might encourage another team to take a chance on him as a free agent.

Angelo Pease. Despite playing on Kansas State's high powered offense, he wasn't much of a factor in college (333 rushing yards in 2012). McCarthy likes what he's seen, but Pease's 4.59 40 time is a little slow for a back his size (5-10, 211 lbs.). He might have a better chance of staying due to his eligibility for the practice squad, but the Packers might not need him if they have three other backs on the 53-man roster.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Position Review: Quarterback

With the countdown to training camp underway, it's time for me to wrap up my position reviews for the Green Bay Packers. Here's what I wrote previously:

Position Review: Offensive Line Guards and Tackles
Position Review: Offensive Line-Center
Position Review: Wide Receivers

This one is probably the easiest position to write about but it does involve some speculation about the backups who I've rarely gotten to see play.

QB Aaron Rodgers. As a bonus, he's showing aptitude as a career counselor, so he's got that to fall back on once his playing days are over.

QB Graham Harrell. I'd like to see more from him this preseason. In 2012, he only had a preseason QB rating of 78.2 which was heavily padded by a blowout final game against the worst team in the NFL (Chiefs). Supposedly he's "really improved" but right now I wouldn't trust him to provide even average production if he had to take over.

QB B.J. Coleman. The hope that he's ready to compete against Harrell is really a long shot. He's got an NFL arm, but he has so much to learn that he should focus on keeping ahead of the last guy on the depth chart. Last preseason, Coleman only completed 7 of 18 pass attempts of mostly the dump off variety (4.3 yards per attempt), so he's shown nothing promising so far. He should look better than last year, but that's a really low bar to clear.

QB Matt Brown. The undrafted free agent was a small school guy who was lightly regarded. Sometimes a player like him turns into Tony Romo, but usually he's released during the preseason. He's got his chance, but the odds are very much against him.

Packers Matthews ready to lead

In an article published recently in the Milwaukee JS, Packers LB Clay Matthews talked about how he is ready to lead the team's defense this season. 

"I think it's just the natural progression with leadership on this team," Matthews said. "Obviously the more comfortable I am in the scheme, which I very much am, the longer I'm here, the more tenured I am, the more I have to take that leadership opportunity. In light of what has happened in the off-season with Charles Woodson departing, the new contract shows trust in my leadership and ability on the field. So you're going to see that, especially in light of the last few years for our defense. We're trying to turn it around and get this thing back to where we were when we had the Super Bowl run."

I hope this guy's right. From what I've read, he's done a lot to help out the young guys this offseason. I think he'll be an improvement on Charles Woodson this fall. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lions re-sign Matthew Stafford through 2017

Yesterday, the Detroit Lions announced that they had signed QB Matthew Stafford to a three-year contract extension worth a nice $53 million. $41.5 million of that is guaranteed, while Stafford will also receive a $27.5 million signing bonus. 

In my opinion, signing this guy wasn't worth paying him all that money. While Stafford is solid, he is not elite. The Lions aren't gonna win a title in these next three years. If he would've accepted less, then I'd consider this a good idea. But he didn't. They overpaid a guy that should be on his way out of there. The Lions need a new QB if they seriously want to contend. Stafford just isn't Super Bowl caliber. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Replacement ref who blew call in Seahawks game writes book, defends call

Lance Easley, the infamous replacement ref who blew the interception call last September during the Packers-Seahawks game, has written a book about it, entitled "Making the Call." In the book, Easley defends his decision that it was simultaneous possession, as well as saying his Christian faith helped him see through the controversy, which included death threats from angered Packers fans. 

In my opinion, the call was terrible, but Packers nation could've handled it better. I mean, it's just a game. There are much bigger problems in the world then who won a dumb football game. While I like football, I don't want to get mad about it. If the Packers had won that night, we'd all still go to work the next day and do the same thing. So what Packers fans need to do now is get over it and move on with their lives. 

The Supplemental Draft Is This Week on July 11th

There usually isn't much to see in the annual supplemental draft. However, sometimes a good player is available, and the Green Bay Packers made one of the best supplemental selections ever back in 1998 (LG Mike Wahle).

It was once used as a tool by agents, but now it's reserved for players who are usually academically ineligible or have been kicked off their college team for some reason. These are now players who may have some character concerns that might keep them off a draft board, but the Packers have shown interest in at least one of the six eligible players (South Alabama DB Damond Smith). Via Shutdown Corner:
On the defensive side, Smith might be an intriguing prospect. The 5-foot-11, 181-pound cornerback began his career at Western Michigan before transferring to South Alabama, where he got into a fight with a teammate and was suspended for violating team rules. Smith was invited to tryout for the Green Bay Packers following the 2013 entry draft, but the NFL ruled that he was eligible for the supplemental draft.
He might not sound like a winner, but the Packers haven't shied away from players with troubled pasts (see DE Johnny Jolly as one example). There's usually two sides to the story. I'm sure the Packers have done their research on him, if his talent is enough to justify a roster spot.

He doesn't strike me as a player that would require a high draft choice, though the Packers might just wait and see if he goes undrafted. There's no pressing need for another DB, but it's a long preseason and there's always a need for more bodies (as the roster limits allow). Plus, there's usually room for an undrafted free agent in the secondary (M.D. Jennings in 2011, Sean Richardson in 2012). Smith is someone to watch for later this week.

Monday, July 08, 2013

CBS Sports writer: NFC North third best division in football

In an article published earlier today on, NFL writer John Breech ranked the NFC North the third best division in the league. While I personally disagree with that statement for obvious reasons, he did make a good argument. 

"This is the only division in the NFL last season that had three teams with double-digit wins. If the Lions hadn't fallen flat on their faces in 2012 -- after making the playoffs in 2011 -- we might be calling the NFC North the best division in football. The NFC North is also the only division that has sent all four of its teams to the playoffs in the past three seasons," Breech writes.

In front of the NFC North at spots 1 and 2 on his list was the NFC West and the AFC North. Reading that, I can see why he believes what he believes. But in the end, I feel like the NFC North has the most combined potential of any division in the league. Because even when the Lions are bad, they still put up a good fight. 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Projecting The Packers 2013 Record

One of the few problems with the Green Bay Packers' amazing 15-1 record in 2011 was that it could only go down next season. A perfect 16-0 season was possible, but not likely, and a perfect record isn't much help in the playoffs anyway.

Over at Grantland, Bill Barnwell looks ahead to next season to see which teams may surprise or disappoint based on Pythagorean projections, but first he looked back at the 2011 season:
In last year's primer, I highlighted five teams that had particularly good records in close games in 2011: the Raiders (7-2 in close games in 2011), Packers (5-1), Saints (4-1), 49ers (6-2), and Steelers (5-2). 
Of those five teams, only the 49ers improved because they made a change (for the better) at quarterback. No knock on Aaron Rodgers, but it was nearly impossible for him to improve on an MVP season in 2011.

As Barnwell looks ahead to 2013, he lists the teams with the best and worst 2012 records in one-score games, and the Packers weren't on either list. So while the 15-1 record of 2011 was unsustainable, the 11-5 of last season (which was good enough to win the NFC North) wasn't a fluke and a better indication of the team's actual ability during the regular season.

The Packers had the fourth best point differential in the NFC last season, and tied for the third best record, with no obvious sign that they over or under achieved. While the Packers had a strong 2013 draft, it's not a given that those rookies will make an impact. But based on how the returning veterans played in 2012, it looks like another 11-5 record is the most likely outcome.

Packers to try to retire Favre's number before 2016

In a statement published on the team's website, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy talked about the team's plans regarding the retirement of Brett Favre's iconic number 4. 

“I am often asked questions about Brett Favre, and specifically whether we will retire his number,” Murphy wrote. "We do want to bring Brett back into the fold, and plan on retiring his number. He deserves to have his number retired for what he accomplished, and meant to the Packers, during his time here. I thought Aaron Rodgers and Brett jointly presenting the Comeback Player of the Year Award at the NFL Honors program was a great first step. It is really just a question of timing in terms of retiring his jersey. The timing has to be right for both Brett and the organization. Brett will be a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2016, and we would like to retire his number prior to his induction.”

I agree with Murphy on this subject. Favre did kind of betray the organization, but it really was only for one year. The Packers and Jets don't hate each other, and Brett played a year hurt while in Minnesota. That said I don't care when his number is retired I just hope it is eventually. 

Saturday, July 06, 2013

City of Green Bay delays naming a street after McCarthy

A plan to name part of Ashland Avenue after Packers coach Mike McCarthy has been delayed by the City of Green Bay, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Some of the problems that have been brought up about it is whether or not grant money should be used for it and if it's right to name a street after somebody who hasn't yet retired. 

Brett Favre Pass, a street just south of Lombardi Avenue, was not made until after Favre retired. So it seems logical to wait for McCarthy's career to end. He deserves a street name, but I think he should pad his stats before he gets it. 

Friday, July 05, 2013

Packers WR Nelson to star in new Wisconsin tourism ad

In an article published earlier today on, it was revealed that Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson will soon star in a new Wisconsin tourism ad, along with his wife. The commercial will be directed by Wisconsin native Jerry Zucker, who you may remember for his work on the film "Airplane!"

A special premier party for the commercial will take place at the Meyer theater in Green Bay on August 1. It will not start running until August 9. 

State tourism officials have also said that Nelson will be writing a monthly blog during the upcoming season for 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Davon House: I'll be better this year

In an interview with the Milwaukee JS, Packers CB Davon House assured fans that he'll be even better this year after playing injured for the majority of last season. 

“To me, if you think I did good last year then you have a whole other thing coming," House said. "I won’t have this harness on so it won’t slow me down. So what you saw in the preseason, Week One, there’s going to be a lot of that.”

I hope this guy's right. Last season, he seemed like a bunch of wasted talent. But that was the injured him, now we'll see the healthy him. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Rodgers: "Harrell's really improved"

In an interview with the Green Bay Press- Gazette, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers talked about how his backup, Graham Harrell, has improved over the offseason. 

“I think he’s really improved,” Rodgers told the paper.“I think you saw it last year throughout the season as he became more comfortable. I look at him as being in the same spot that Flynn was when Flynn was in his last year with us. We’re very confident in the offense and it means more to him to be successful every day in practice like you saw just a slight shift with Matt, and it was no surprise when Matt got a chance to play how well he played.”

I'm looking forward to the game, if there is one, where Harrell gets to start. In that game we'll be able to see how good he really is. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Harrell: I feel more comfortable now with the offense

In an interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Packers backup QB Graham Harrell talked about how he feels more comfortable with this year's offense. 

“As a backup, you really get more reps now than you get anytime else,” Harrell told the Press-Gazette. “I think that’s one of the biggest things and I feel more comfortable now than I’ve ever felt, knowing the protection, pretty much the O-line and feeling good with protections, because routes when you play quarterback at some point you check defenses similar ways no matter what system you’re in.”

What this guy says is true. He doesn't play much, but he is still really good. If he's saying that he's confident, then that should make the fans confident. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

More Tight End Rumors: D.J. Williams to the Patriots

While I wasn't impressed with the rumors of trading TE Jermichael Finley to the Patriots, another rumor involving TE D.J. Williams made a lot more sense.
The big difference here is that Finley's a starter, who's coming off a strong season according to Mike McCarthy. The Packers decided to keep him last March at his scheduled salary, when they could have released or traded him. 

On the other hand, Williams is a former 5th round pick who's done little in his first two seasons. Which is why he might be available.

As I wrote back in May, the Packers seem to have too many tight ends. TE Andrew Quarless has recovered from his 2011 ACL injury and he has the potential to excel as a blocker and receiver. He could be better than Finley next season. With Quarless and Finley at the top of the depth chart, there are only so many backup spots behind them, and I haven't seen any reason why Williams (who's a receiver, not a blocker) should be guaranteed one.

So the Packers could be expected to release Williams by the end of training camp anyway. If the Patriots had scouted Williams out of college, and liked what they saw, they could be interested in trading a late round pick now to add depth. If the Packers are thinking Williams is on the bubble, they might be interested in a late round pick now instead of nothing if he were released after the preseason.

I'm guessing that the Patriots won't make any sudden move to replace Hernandez. They'll have the entire preseason to watch other players around the league, players like Williams, and they can see who they like and which team might have too many good players to keep. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots actually show interest in Williams after the preseason is over.

Why Packers shouldn't trade Jermichael Finley to Patriots

Earlier this week, as many of you probably already know, the Patriots were forced to release their TE, Aaron Hernandez, after he was charged with murder. In the wake of the release, rumors sprouted all over the Internet that the Pats were interested in the Packers Jermichael Finley. While there probably isn't any truth to these claims, I still believe it's necessary to make a case for keeping Finley. 

First of all, he's athletic. Yea he drops passes sometimes, but he's still better than most guys in the league. 

Second of all, he's healthy. He got hurt a few years ago, but he's better now. 

Finally, there's nobody else available. If the Packers trade this guy, who will they get in return?