Saturday, May 31, 2014
Friday, May 30, 2014
On ESPN, I saw the coaches working Julius Peppers out at linebacker, having him drop back into pass coverage (he might have never done that before in his career). I've been assuming Peppers will be primarily a lineman and only occasionally a linebacker, but maybe the team is sincere about making him switch to linebacker. Having that added pass rusher as a threat or decoy still seems more valuable to them than the coverage a true linebacker might provide. Micah Hyde got the starting nod at safety while J.C. Tretter was first in line at center. Maybe both Hyde and Tretter will be challenged by rookies (Clinton-Dix in particular), but usually I'd expect the player starting at OTAs to be the starter in Week 1.
One more, of the #Packers RBs, including @Lil_Eazy_Ana_42, tossing medicine balls at OTAs: pic.twitter.com/G1V257Ynj3And medicine ball drills! A classic.
— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) May 30, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
They did draft two more players who should figure into the defensive back rotation next season, and they have also signed a couple of undrafted free agents who may earn a spot. They'll probably keep eight defensive backs (plus one or two on the practice squad) and here's how it breaks down.
Locks: Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. That's six guys right off the bat, and though Williams could be a salary cap casualty some day, it's probably not going to happen in 2014. There's not a lot of room left on the roster after those locks.
Davon House. He played 472 snaps on defense in 2013 but didn't impress (-4.9 grade in coverage according to Pro Football Focus). He'll miss the cut if he has another poor preseason like he did in 2013.
Jarrett Bush. He's still their special teams' ace and he didn't play much in 2013 until late in the season (plus a game ending INT against the Falcons). I don't know if he'll ever lose his roster spot.
Demetri Goodson. It'll be surprising if their 6th round pick will have a long NFL career, but he's probably going to be a favorite for the practice squad. Without a lot of experience in college, he's probably going to need a longer learning curve in the NFL and they'll probably be patient with him for at least one season.
Chris Banjo and Sean Richardson. So far, they've survived the safety purge of 2013 that's led to the departures of M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian, but the Packers have recently signed two more players to compete against them.
Iowa's Tanner Miller. His measurables are just as strong as Clinton-Dix's but the difference between them shows up on game film. Miller played 46 games in college and recorded 7 career INTs, but he also took the blame for allowing some long plays at Iowa. His instincts in the open field might be lacking.
Hawaii's Charles Clay. He's got some speed (4.42 40 time at his Pro Day) but he was a part-time starter (6 in 2013) on a lousy college football team.
They also have three other CBs (Antonio Dennard, Jumal Rolle and Ryan White) who could find themselves on the practice squad after a strong camp, but they probably won't make it past the final cuts. They should get a chance to play this preseason and they'll have to make the most of it.
I'm glad that the Packers have added quantity and quality (Clinton-Dix) to address a major weakness last season. Hopefully the new players will make everyone better and improve this group as a whole in 2014.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Saturday, May 24, 2014
“I’m just getting started,” Thompson told reporters at a recent news conference at Lambeau Field. “No, I feel pretty good.”
Since Thompson took over Green Bay's GM position in 2005, the Packers have done pretty well on the field, compiling an 86-57-1 record while also winning 4 NFC North Titles, 2 Wild Card Spots, and 1 Super Bowl.
The Pack haven't always been dominant during those nine years, as they did have 4-12, 8-8, and 6-10 seasons mixed in with all those successes, but still, it seems obvious that what Thompson's doing in the league's smallest city is working. That doesn't guarantee that anything will continue this way, but if the guy still thinks he can do the job well then I see no reason why the team shouldn't keep him.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
In recent years, the Packers have filled out their wide receiver depth with young veterans or rookie free agents. WR Jarrett Boykin has been a success story but there are at least a dozen other players who didn't work out. The Packers have lost a lot of experience at the position over the past two years (Jennings, Driver, Jones) so it makes sense that they'd want to add some quality in addition to quantity this year.
Roster locks: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams. I'd like to see one more solid season from Boykin before anyone talks about a long-term extension, but he should be a very good No. 3 wide receiver. I won't know if Adams is ready to contribute in 2014 until I see him in a preseason game.
The Packers are probably going to keep six wide receivers, one more on the active roster and another on the practice squad, so the final six players are fighting for just those two spots.
Myles White. He lined up on 125 offensive plays last season which makes him the number five WR last season in terms of snap count. He had a strong 2013 preseason, except he had trouble holding onto the ball, which is a sure fire way to get released. Luckily for him, he was signed to the practice squad at the start of the 2013 season and promoted to the active roster in October after Cobb was hurt. If he can bulk up without losing any quickness (and avoid dropping passes) he could be a roster surprise. However, he's probably not eligible for the practice squad (ESPN.com says he played in 7 games last season and players with over six career active games are ineligible). He's going to have to prove he's worthy of a spot on the 53 man roster, and he might lose his spot to another receiver who's still eligible for the practice squad.
Kevin Dorsey and Alex Gillett. If Cobb hadn't been injured, and Jeremy Ross hadn't earned his release, neither player might have stuck around/returned after the last preseason game. I'm not expecting either of them to stick next season.
Chris Harper. He was a 4th round pick by the Seahawks in 2013, but he's been released twice since then. He only played on two offensive snaps for the Packers last season, but he played a lot on special teams, which makes me believe he's a great athlete but not much of a receiver. I don't think the Packers would have drafted either of the following two players if they really liked Harper.
Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. I really want Abbrederis to succeed, so I hope he wins the No. 5 spot, but he'll be battling a similar player (White) who already has a year of NFL experience under his belt. Janis seems like an obvious choice for the practice squad; an amazing athlete with speed and size who could play offensive and defensive roles on the scout team.
Former #Badger Jared Abbrederis is wearing No. 84 for the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers. pic.twitter.com/bRGsohIDzp
— On Wisconsin Badgers (@wiscybadgers) May 17, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Of the 12 rookie free agents signed in 2014, the first thing that jumps out at me is that they added four more linebackers.
ILB Jake Doughty, Utah State. He appears to be an inside linebacker who will compete against LB Sam Barrington for a backup/special teams role. He's undersized but he was very productive in college.
OLB Jayrone Elliott, Toldeo. An outside pass rusher who will compete against Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba for a backup role. Like Doughty, he's not an exceptional athlete but he was very productive in college.
OLB Adrian Hubbard, Alabama. He's the big name on the list. Unlike the above two linebackers, he was very inconsistent in college (he probably should have stayed in school) but he's an impressive athlete. He mentioned a heart condition, but it doesn't seem to be a concern for him or the Packers.
OLB Joe Thomas, South Carolina State. Another small school guy to compete against Palmer and Mulumba. He's undersized, but he dominated in the NCAA Subdivision.
DE/DT Carlos Gray, North Carolina State. One of two big bodies signed to provide some bulk to the defensive line. He was only a backup last year and a surprising early draft entrant. He seems like a long-shot.
DT Mike Pennel, Colorado State-Pueblo. You can't coach a player to be 6-4 and 332 lbs. He could be a defensive anchor. He also couldn't get on the field at Arizona State, and was suspended after complaining about a lack of playing time.
CB/S Ryan White, Auburn. He wasn't invited to the combine, and he played a backup role at Auburn last season. His 4.51 40 time at his pro day seems slow for a 5-10, 194 pound defensive back.
G Jordan McCray, Central Florida. A big guy (6-3 and 322 pounds) who can play either guard position. The Packers don't have a lot of depth at guard, which helps him, and he can bond with former Central Florida alum Josh Sitton.
RBs Rajion Neal, Tennessee, and LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State. There are a lot of running backs on the roster. I don't know what these two will do other than provide depth during training camp.
TE Justin Perillo, Maine. He appears to be more of a receiver than a blocker. There are a lot of bodies on the roster, but the tight end position seems wide open at the moment. An impressive camp could move him up the depth chart quickly.
QB Chase Rettig, Boston College. The extra camp arm. His best hope is that the Packers only want to keep either Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien, and stash a 3rd QB on the practice squad. His college resume wasn't impressive in a run-heavy offensive scheme, but he does have NFL ability.
Overall, I don't feel like any of these guys have a very good chance of sticking next season. Maybe one of the outside LBs will stand out in practice. McCray, Perillo, and Rettig might have a shot depending on how it goes during training camp.
Monday, May 12, 2014
4th round, Arizona State LB Carl Bradford. I really like him. He had a 2nd round grade but slipped because he played outside linebacker in college and he'll probably have to move inside as a pro. Having said that, he's still a better looking outside linebacker than either of their primary backups (Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba), and if he does have to move inside, he looks like a young Desmond Bishop.
5th round, Ohio State C Corey Lindsey. The good news is that he fills a need for a backup interior lineman. Both C Evan Dietrich-Smith (free agent) and Greg Van Roten (released) are gone, and they needed depth. However, Lindsey's an odd player. He's really strong (36 bench press reps) and posted sub-5.00 times in the 40, but he was also the lightest lineman at the combine. Maybe he'll add bulk in the pros. I'm not sure if he's a keeper, but they'll probably need him in the short term.
5th round, Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis. I'm a huge fan, and he was an outstanding Badger. I'd love to see him succeed in the NFL, and just as he was a former walk-on in college, he's going to have to overachieve again in the pros to overcome his limitations in size and speed. I believe in him, but I'm not sure the Packers are the best place for him to make his mark. He's one of three wide receivers in this draft class, and the competition for the fifth WR spot/practice squad now includes another 7th round rookie and three promising holdovers (Dorsey, Harper and White).
6th round, Baylor CB Demetri Goodson. A former starting point guard at Gonzaga, he came back to football in 2011 and finds himself as a 25 year old rookie. He posted some impressive measurables at the combine, but he had trouble staying healthy in college. It doesn't hurt to add some depth in the defensive backfield after a couple of other DBs (Jennings and McMillian) had been released recently, but he seems like an unlikely player to stick because he's not likely to stay healthy.
7th round, Saginaw Valley State, WR Jeff Janis. Small school receivers don't usually stick around for long, but Janis deserves a second look because he's an athletic freak. Big receiver (6-3 and 219 pounds) don't often run a 4.42 in the 40, and he was one of the top receivers in the bench press and the 3 cone drill. He's as raw as they come, but if the Packers can find a spot to stash him for a couple years, it'd be interesting to see what type of player he becomes.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
2nd round, Fresno State WR Davante Adams. He posted obscene numbers in his final college season (131 receptions, 1718 yards, 24 TDs - in one season!) as part of Fresno State's high powered spread offense, which he'll never come close to repeating as a pro. At 6-1 and 212 pounds, he's similar in size to former WR James Jones, though he doesn't have quite as much speed. However, he did record an outstanding 39.5 inch vertical jump at the combine, so he can go up and get the ball away from a defender. Watching the highlights below, he's good at getting yards after contact, another important skill for a Packer receiver. Mike McCarthy's offense has struggled at times when he's been forced to scrape together a group of receivers due to injuries, so keeping the position deep and talented is important.
3rd round, Southern Miss DT Khyri Thornton. Without Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly around, they needed at least one more big body to backup on the defensive line along with second year DL Josh Boyd and free agent Letroy Guion. Thornton's not much of a pass rusher, but he's a high energy guy who was his team's captain. He's a bit of a reach for the 3rd round, but he's agile for a 300 pounder and that probably makes him a good fit for the more flexible scheme DC Dom Capers wants to install next season.
3rd round, California TE Richard Rodgers. Yes, the Packers just drafted another Rodgers from Cal. It's destined to be a great move! Just as Clinton-Dix reminds me of Burnett, and Adams reminds me of Jones, Rodgers reminds me of another Packer; Andrew Quarless. The Packers seem to keep drafting players who are comparable to players they've drafted in the past. This Rodgers is more of a receiver than a blocker, he even slimmed down last year to play a hybrid slot receiver position, which is fine because they really need a tight end who can catch more than they need one who can block. Just like Thornton, he's a bit of a reach for the 3rd round, but there aren't a lot of players like him who are still available, so it's better to get him now.
The Packers have five more picks on Saturday and it's time to find some depth. They could use another interior lineman, and maybe even a tackle depending on the rehab schedules for Bulaga and Sherrod. I'd be surprised if they didn't draft a linebacker, and they could also use another defensive back. Maybe even a quarterback, who could start the regular season on the practice squad, leaving the backup job as a battle between Flynn and Tolzien (with the runner up finding himself released).
Friday, May 09, 2014
I thought teams might target safeties earlier this year, but instead they went with quantity. In total four safeties were selected in the 1st round. I thought at first that the Saints were trading up to No. 20 to grab Clinton-Dix before the Packers could, but instead the Saints went for a wide receiver.
The coaches were raving about him after the selection, but that's to be expected. Even if turns out to be another Morgan Burnett, he's still an upgrade over Jennings and allows them to use Micah Hyde in a backup safety/slot corner role, which he might be better suited for.
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Can the Packers trade up? It seems very unlikely. It's starting to get into other teams' heads that trading multiple picks for one player is often a bad idea. Bill Barnwell mentions a few poor decisions, and John Clayton surveys the damage from the 2011 draft. I'm pretty sure that GM Ted Thompson figured this out years ago.
The other big problem is that the Packers' 1st round pick is in a lousy spot at No. 21 overall. There might only be 17 to 18 players who belong in the 1st round. Other teams might view the 21st overall pick as an expensive 2nd round pick, which further devalues it and would require the Packers to offer even more picks (including picks in future years) to move up.
Can the Packers trade down? We probably won't see a lot of teams trying to trade up because this is a deep draft, so other teams can wait and still find a good player at their original spot. There is one exception.
2014 NFL Draft: though it's unlikely to happen, here's how the Packers can trade out of the 21st pick http://t.co/Eqtdz05ldpThe basic gist of Jason Hirschhorn's article is that other teams might trade up into the bottom part of the 1st round to select a quarterback. If a team doesn't have a competent quarterback, they need to acquire one as soon as possible. The NFL has become a passing league that's devalued the running back position and made having at least an average QB even more important. While Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr probably don't have 1st round grades from most teams, a QB desperate team like the Texans, Browns, or Jags need to trade back into the 1st round if they decide to pass on one in the Top 10.
— Acme Packing Company (@acmepackingco) May 1, 2014
But is trading down really a good idea? GM Ted Thompson has traded down on many occasions over the past several drafts, picking up extra picks in the later rounds, but that doesn't always lead to finding a impact player. It shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing if the Packers don't trade down at all. However, based on past history, it's almost guaranteed that the Packers will trade down at some point during the draft. They almost always do.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Kiper and McShay's recent three round mock draft isn't perfect, but it would be solid. The only position of need that isn't addressed is wide receiver, but they can still find a good prospect in the latter rounds.
1st round, Alabama's ILB C.J. Mosley. My initial preference is Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, but Mosley is rated by most sites as the No. 1 inside linebacker, and he would be a solid addition to a position that was poorly manned last season by A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. He'd improve one of their weakest positions from last season.
2nd round, Notre Dame's NT Louis Nix. Basically, he's another B.J. Raji, which might not be a bad thing. They could use more size because they haven't re-signed either Ryan Pickett or Johnny Jolly, and Nix could be Plan B if they decide not to re-sign Raji in 2015. They could look for someone like Tennessee's Daniel McCullers later in the draft too, if they just need another big body to play against the run, but there's nothing wrong with adding Nix, who's generally viewed as the top nose tackle in this year's draft.
They're not slam dunk selections, but Mosley and Nix are arguably the best inside linebacker and nose tackle available in the draft, and those are two positions of need for the Packers. Neither one would be a reach.
3rd round, Minnesota S Brock Vereen. He looks like this draft's version of Micah Hyde, so fans who are content with seeing Hyde as the new free safety might like what they see in Vereen. They need depth at the safety position one way or another.
3rd round, Iowa's TE C.J. Fiedorowicz. He's one of four tight ends (Amaro, Seferian-Jenkins, Niklas are the others) with similar size (6-6 to 6-7, 262 to 270 pounds) and similar draft grades (2nd or 3rd rounds). He's probably the lesser of the four players, but he's a big target with soft hands who's good at fighting off a block. He's not the only option, but with the unknown status of Jermichael Finley, they really need a player like Fiedorowicz.
All in all, this would be a solid first three rounds. Two players who are the best at their positions and two other players who would fill a need. There's no wide receiver among the group, but the main concern is depth at receiver. This would be a good draft.
Monday, May 05, 2014
So yea, I guess our time of knowing who Ponder is is almost over. Don't know if that's good or bad, as Ponder being in Minnesota often caused them to lose, but still, it's happening. I guess that requires our acknowledgement.