Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rodgers Wants 2014 Center to "Stick For Five or Six Years"

Going into training camp, the Packers don't have a starting Center. 

They have a couple of candidates in sophomore J.C. Tretter and rookie Cory Linsley, but no definite leader.

Despite that, QB Aaron Rodgers doesn't seem to care who wins the competition, but does want whoever does to stay around for a while. 

“Hopefully, we can get a guy who can stick for five or six years,” Rodgers recently told the team's official website. “As a quarterback, you appreciate when you can have some continuity there and some consistency.”

While that last sentence is true, I'd imagine a change at the position wouldn't effect Rodgers too much, as the former MVP has already worked with different guys each of the last two seasons. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Packers, Clinton-Dix Agree to Rookie Contract

The Packers have agreed to a rookie contract with first round draft pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein reports.

Clinton-Dix, a two time Champion Safety out of Alabama, was taken 21st overall by the Pack earlier this month, the same number he will wear on his jersey this season. 

As of now, the financial details of the contract have not been released, although its amount of years has, as it will unsurprisingly follow the four-year with an option for a fifth set-up given annually to all first rounders in hopes that they will eventually become successful.

Packers OTA: First Look at Some of the New Guys

The Packers are finishing up their May OTAs (three days of practice) on Friday. There isn't too much for the fans during these sessions. Any player who's coming off surgery (such as Clay Matthews) is sitting out as a precaution. However, there is something to be learned about who might be the starters.

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.
And medicine ball drills! A classic.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Finley Receives Medical Clearance From Personal Doctor

Free Agent TE Jermichael Finley, coming off a meeting with the Packers yesterday, has received medical clearance from his personal doctor in an unrelated event, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reports. 

Dr. James Maroon, who performed surgery on Finley's spine earlier this offseason, is the one who gave #88 the ok, according to his agent.

Still, this doesn't mean much to what will happen to Finley in the future, as team doctors are the ones who ultimately make the call.

Finley, who will have another meeting with an unknown team tomorrow, has yet to be cleared by anyone this offseason, so in the end, this is a step in the right direction for him, regardless of what it actually becomes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Finley to Meet With Packers' Doctors Today

Free Agent TE Jermichael Finley will meet with Packers team doctors today regarding the current state of his neck injury, ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky reports.

Lately, Finley has sent out multiple tweets about his rehab, possibly the reason for this happening.

Still, according to Demovsky, nothing about this implies that the veteran is close to getting a contract, much less being cleared to play.

Finley, who has spent each of his six NFL seasons with the Packers, suffered the severe injury Week 7 of last year, a game Green Bay won over the Browns, 31-13.

Since then, #88 has come and gone out of the public's eye, reaching an agreement on a one-year deal with the Seahawks earlier this offseason.

However, that contract quickly fell apart after Finley failed his physical, causing him to wait for this moment now, his chance to show the Packers how his health has improved. 

Overall, the odds of this meeting turning out positive for both sides seem unlikely, although, in my opinion, it's still definitely something worth our attention. 

Yes, the injury is serious, but that doesn't mean that Finley recovering from it's impossible. Sooner or later, I'd imagine he'll be back on the field, with or without medical clearance from today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rookie DT Khyri Thornton was a Packers Fan Growing Up

Since the draft happened, so much has been made this offseason about Wisconsin Wide Receiver Jared Abbrederis.

Abbrederis, as we all know by now, grew up rooting for the Packers in the Badger State, making him the guy we all want to succeed.

However, Abbredris actually isn't the only new guy who grew up watching Green Bay, as it was recently revealed to Packers.com Staff Writer Mike Spofford that Southern Miss Defensive Tackle Khyri Thornton was also a Cheesehead fan during his youth.

“It’s a blessing right now. I couldn’t have asked to come to a better team, the Green Bay Packers,” Thornton told Spofford at the team's recent rookie orientation. “Who wouldn’t want to come to the Packers? This was my favorite team growing up, my best friend’s favorite team. I’m enjoying it right now.”
Apparently, Thornton's Uncle Tyrone Bolware played for the Golden Eagles from 1994-1997, just four years after Brett Favre's departure.
So, the youngster watched Favre and the Pack from his Florida home instead of any of the Sunshine State teams, although he did come close to playing college ball at Florida State before failing to meet NCAA requirements, making him go to Southern Miss.

Packers Depth Chart: Defensive Backfield

As much as the Packers knew they needed to upgrade their pass rush (enter Julius Peppers) they've also aggressively targeted players for their defensive backfield, while keeping pretty much the status quo at linebacker (though I do hope they found someone in 4th round LB Carl Bradford).

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

Packers UFA Signee Hubbard was Told He'd Be Taken in Rounds 2-4

It is a well known fact to all of us that things don't always go our way.

We're told constantly that good things will happen, yet we often end up getting the worst case scenario.

In few places is this more true than with recent Packers UFA Signee Adrian Hubbard.

Hubbard, a two time National Champion at Alabama, decided to forgo his last year of NCAA eligibility earlier this offseason, after being told by the draft's advisory committee that he'd likely go sometime between the event's second and fourth rounds, the Outside Linebacker recently revealed to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

And with good reason. During his final two years at the SEC powerhouse, Hubbard was dominant for the always-winning Crimson Tide, collecting an impressive 74 tackles including 16.5 for a loss.

Still, a lack of quickness and a rumored attitude problem caused #42 to go undrafted, forcing him to take the lesser-wanted job with the Packers.

Whether or not the two will get lucky with the unlikely move is obviously yet to be known, although some do consider Hubbard's not being taken a gift for the defensively-bad Pack. 

I guess we'll find out if that's actually true during preseason.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Report: No Change in Finley's Medical Status Despite Recent Tweets

On Thursday, Free Agent TE Jermichael Finley sent out a very convincing tweet.

The injured veteran, still without a team as training camp nears, has yet to be cleared to play this offseason, yet is still constantly in the news. 

This tweet didn't change that.

"Awesome News!" Finley wrote. "#IWillRiseAgain."

It wasn't long or detailed by any means, but it was definitely something to see.

Howevever, according to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky, the message doesn't mean anything, as Finley's medical status has apparently not changed.

"I can tell you that after talking to several people about the matter after those tweets, that there has been no change in either his medical clearance or his contractual status with the Packers," Demovsky stated. "Until the former changes, meaning the Packers' doctors give him the OK to return to the field, nothing will happen with the latter."

Finley, who has played for Green Bay for the last six seasons, has been the center of these kind of rumors since suffering his neck injury back in Week 7, with this just being the latest. In other words, most if not all of these positive reports aren't true, something #88's doctors seem to agree on.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Thompson Not Planning On Retiring Soon

When somebody reaches their 60s in the football business, retirement usually isn't far away.

Packers GM Ted Thompson, 61, has been asked about that multiple times this offseason, yet continues to ignore it.

As of now, Thompson has just two years left on his current contract, although, according to team President Mark Murphy, Green Bay's happy with him and wants to have him back.

The two seem to agree on that. 

“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

New Packers TE Rodgers not worried about walking in #12's shoes

To Packers fans, seeing the team draft another Rodgers out of Cal this year was exciting.

The last time they did so, as you should already know, resulted in them acquiring one of the best QBs in the league, so assuming the best in this year's situation was obviously justified.

To some though, it may downplay how talented new Tight End Richard actually is, something that the youngster apparently doesn't believe. 

"I don't think I need to walk in his shoes," Rodgers, who will wear #89 in the upcoming season, recently told Fox Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig. "Because he plays quarterback."

While what the 98th overall pick in this year's draft says there should be true, as he did have a nice 59 receptions during his three years as a Golden Bear, it isn't.

When a team has a star player with a similar history like Aaron Rodgers, this sort of treatment is to be expected, no matter what Richard ends up doing in the pros. If he's good, he'll only be known as that guy with the same name, and if he's bad, well, you get the point. The prospect's unlucky. It's just something he'll have to deal with.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Abbrederis doesn't consider playing for Packers a distraction

For a fifth-round pick on an NFL powerhouse like the Packers, former Wisconsin Wide Receiver Jared Abbrederis is pretty relaxed. 

The ex-Badger star, who suffered a career-threatening broken femur when he was a sophomore in High School, grew up outside of the small Wisconsin town of Wautoma, making him a big fan of the Pack.

With that, as well as the fact that he's the first UW player drafted by Green Bay since 2001, you'd think the youngster would be nervous going into the upcoming season, although that apparently isn't the case. 

"It's not a distraction to me," Abbrederis told ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky. "I'm more about doing my thing and not really worrying about what people think or anything like that so I don't think it really bothers me."

While it probably shouldn't, as the Packers biggest stars right now come from far away places like California, Alabama, and Kansas, I'm surprised that this guy is so calm going into his rookie season.

Expectations for him shouldn't be so high, since he is just the 176th overall pick, but still, we can't downplay how important a Badger finally being on the roster is to the fans of the state, especially since it's been so long since it last happened. 

Packers Depth Chart: Wide Receiver

At this time of year, it's not surprising to see as many as ten wide receivers on the Green Bay Packers roster. What is surprising is that they selected three wide receivers in one draft. It didn't used to be uncommon for GM Ted Thompson to draft wide receivers (from 2005-2008, the Packers selected two wide receivers in each year's draft, and also used a 2nd or 3rd round pick on one). However, in the five drafts from 2009-2013, only one wide receiver was selected with a high pick (Randall Cobb) and three overall.

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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Murphy: Packers will sign Thompson to extension before McCarthy

I guess all that talk from earlier this offseason was wrong.

Despite the recent rumors circulating about the duo's future, the Packers are apparently not planning to sign Head Coach Mike McCarthy to an extension until they do the same with General Manager Ted Thompson, team President Mark Murphy recently told NFL.com Around the League's Gregg Rosenthal.

"The way we're structured, football reports through Ted," Murphy said. "And then everything reports up through me, so the first step would be to extend Ted, then he would in turn enter in an extension for Mike." 

A few weeks ago, sources were reporting that the Pack wanted to sign McCarthy to a new deal, although now that seems unlikely, especially since Thompson has just two years left on his current contract.

This news also likely destroys the rumor that current Seahawks GM John Schneider will succeed TT in the near future, although really, that probably doesn't matter.

Still, I'd imagine this report sets us up for a boring offseason, especially since it already seems that Green Bay signed their big Free Agent (Julius Peppers) back in March. That doesn't guarantee anything, but considering Thompson's track record it's probably the more likely scenario.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Packers sign Hawaii DB Charles Clay

The Packers have signed Hawaii Defensive Back Charles Clay, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein reports. 

Clay, a native of the Aloha State, has played for the Rainbow Warriors since 2011, spending his freshman year at SMU after redshirting in '09.

In his career at the usually weak Mountain West school, Clay was solid, collecting a total of 113 tackles, 8 pass breakups, and 4 forced fumbles. Despite those nice numbers, the youngster wasn't drafted earlier this month, the reason why this tryout happened.

Impressively, 69 of those tackles and 4 of those pass breakups actually came last season, even though the Warriors went just 1-11.

Overall, I'd say this guy seems like a good acquirement, as he has a reputation for being able to stop opposing ball carriers. Still, the fact that he's from Hawaii and played there has got to be acknowledged, as Honolulu and Green Bay are obviously nothing alike.

Now I'm not saying that this guy's an automatic failure just because he's from a warm place, but it's definitely something to be looked at. I'm no expert on how conditions effect play, but I'm assuming a temperature drop from 70 to 20 during the winter won't exactly help him.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Packers considering signing TE Colt Lyerla

The Packers are considering signing former Oregon TE Colt Lyerla, CSN Northwest's Aaron Fentress reports. 

Lyerla, a 2012 Fiesta Bowl Champion with a recent arrest on his record, worked out for the team earlier this week, apparently making a strong impression. 

According to Fentress, the Pack have previously done research on the undrafted youngster, a big reason why they gave him the chance they did.

“We did a lot of work on Colt,” Green Bay GM Ted Thompson said yesterday. “He’s very talented. We interviewed him at the combine. He’s made some mistakes. We felt he was worth bringing in and taking a look at.”

That last part may be true, as the ex-Duck undoubtedly has potential, but still, the debate on whether or not the risk of signing him is worth taking is there.

As I said in the post I did about Lyerla Saturday, the prospect can be irresponsible off the field, so I guess the Packers just have to decide if they think he's worth it. In my opinion, he probably is, as people who do dumb stuff usually don't mess up twice, but again, you can never be too sure. He could always take a turn for the worst. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Finley still a Packer to HC Mike McCarthy

To most Packers fans, the days of Jermichael Finley are over.

The veteran Tight End, still rehabing from the horrific neck injury he suffered last season, agreed to a contract with the Seahawks earlier this offseason, yet had it revoked after failing his physical.

Due to that, many NFL enthusiasts have begun to assume that Finley will never play again, although Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy doesn't appear to agree.

"In my mind, (Finley) is a Green Bay Packer hopefully and he is going through a tough medical situation," McCarthy told Sirius XM NFL Radio."To my understanding, he is doing everything and beyond to get ready and we will continue to watch that."

In my opinion, having a healthy #88 back this fall would be nice, although really, I don't think it's necessary. After Finley got hurt last year, Andrew Quarless played pretty well, and, considering that Richard Rodgers is also on the roster now, I don't see a reason to go into 2014 with our heads down. The team's fine. Finley or not, I have no doubt in my mind they'll win at least 12 games in the upcoming season, even though I probably shouldn't at this time of year.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Packers Give Former Oregon TE Colt Lyerla a Tryout

The Green Bay Packers have given troubled Oregon TE Colt Lyerla a tryout, NBC Sports' Darin Gantt reports.

Lyerla, once considered College Football's best TE, was kicked off the Ducks near of the middle of last season due to an off-the-field drug arrest, somewhat ruining his career. 

Because of that issue, Lyerla was made ineligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, causing teams like the Packers to sympathetically give him a chance.

During his two and a half seasons at the Pac-12 school, Lyerla was solid for the National Championship contenders, catching 34 passes for 565 yards. Interestingly, 25 of those catches and 392 of those yards came in 2012, meaning that this guy appears to be capable of contributing when he's behaving.

That year, Oregon went a dominant 12-1, winning the Fiesta Bowl easily over Kansas State. 

However, the previously mentioned arrest and controversial tweets ended up knocking #15 out of the public's eye, making his recent tryout with Green Bay very important to his possible NFL future.

Still, even if the showing does pay off it seems unlikely that it'd help him much, as the Pack already have two solid TEs in Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers on their roster.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Packers Continue Signing Draft Picks; Get WR Jared Abbrederis and Center Corey Linsley on Contracts

The Green Bay Packers, in their continuing hurry to sign all of their 2014 draft picks, have gotten WR Jared Abbrederis and Center Corey Linsley on contracts, team GM Ted Thompson announced last night. 

The duo, products of Wisconsin and Ohio State, respectively, were each taken by Green Bay in Saturday's fifth round.

During their times at those Big Ten schools, each put up pretty good numbers, as Abbrederis collected 202 receptions for 3,140 yards and Linsley helped the Buckeyes break multiple school records with 87 touchdowns and 637 points last season. 

Later on at the combine, the two's success continued. There, Linsley, a 296 lb, 6'3" Offensive Lineman, reached 27 inches on the vertical jump, while Abbrederis ran the 40 yard Dash in just 4.50 seconds.

Interestingly, Abbrederis is the first Badger to be taken by the Packers since 2001, when OL Bill Ferrario was drafted in the fourth round. The four-year college star is also the first Wisconsin rookie to head up to Green Bay under Ted Thompson, making him signing today very likable.

As for Linsley, him being acquired is also very intriguing, as he is well known for his ability to control rushing defenders.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Packers sign WR draftee Jeff Janis; cut CB James Nixon

The Green Bay Packers have signed WR draftee Jeff Janis and cut CB James Nixon, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tyler Dunne reports. 

Janis, a seventh-round pick out of Division II's Saginaw Valley State, was dominant last season, catching 83 passes for an impressive 1,572 yards.

As of now, the details of his first pro contract have not been released, although, in my opinion, just hearing that a solid prospect like him is signed is good enough. 

As for the announcement on James Nixon, it's nothing too surprising, as Nixon has never been much of a well-known name. He signed onto the Pack's practice squad back in September 2012, not appearing in a regular season game until last year, when he appeared in three contests (Weeks 6, 7, and 8; all Packers wins) before going down in November with meniscus cartilage damage.

In those three weeks, Nixon surprisingly didn't record a single tackle, likely making the decision to cut him pretty easy. As you all probably already know, Green Bay just drafted another young CB in Baylor's Demetri Goodson, so keeping a banged up guy like Nixon around in 2014 wouldn't make much sense, even if he does have some potential.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thompson: Drafting Rodgers not connected to Finley

While Jermichael Finley's NFL future is currently unclear, there is one aspect of his drama that I consider to be a safe bet: that the Packers don't want to let him go. 

Finley, who suffered a severe, possibly career-ending spine/neck injury in last season's Week 7 win over the Browns, caught 223 passes for 2,785 yards during his six seasons with the team, making him a fan favorite and one of the most feared Tight Ends in the league. 

2013's event, unfortunately, brought that all to a grinding halt, forcing Green Bay to look elsewhere for #88's successor. 

During last weekend's draft, they appear to have finally found him in Cal's Richard Rodgers, although General Manager Ted Thompson insists the two are unrelated. 

“I don’t necessarily think the two are tied at all,” Thompson told the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein earlier this week. “We were just trying to pick a good player.”
While what Thompson says could be true, I'm not necessarily going to buy it. Had Finley stayed healthy throughout last season, it seems unlikely that the team would look for another TE the way they did, especially since they seem to have such bigger needs elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Packers Signed 12 Rookie Free Agents After The 2014 NFL Draft

Once in a while the Green Bay Packers will make a big find in the undrafted free agent pool, but typically there's about a one-in-five chance that they even find a decent backup. Looking back at this list of the undrafted free agents signed in 2012, only RT Don Barclay has been a starter (and that was largely due to necessity after Bryan Bulaga was injured and whatever happened to Marshall Newhouse). The only other notables are S Sean Richardson, who might have a backup role next season, and LB Dezman Moses, who stuck around for one season before being released.

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.

Packers Head Coach McCarthy convinced team is better after draft

Now that the 2014 NFL Draft and its aftermath have officially concluded, the question is raised: what does the staff think of the new guys? 

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy was asked that very question yesterday by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein, giving an overall enthusiastic answer. 

"(We're) absolutely (better)," McCarthy said. "Not a team in the league doesn't feel better. Our players in program is off to a great start. Number of players we've added and now in process of adding new members. Definitely a shot in the arm when these guys come in. We got better (this weekend)."

While it's obvious that the Pack didn't get worse with their acquisitions, I'm still skeptical about this year's rookies. Not because I see any real issues with them (I'm actually pretty excited about Cal's Richard Rodgers), but simply because I'm always doubtful when it comes to draftees. Sometimes they turn out like Aaron Rodgers, but most of the time they turn out like Nick Perry, a guy who came with a lot of hype but ended up being just a frustrating mix of injuries and unproductiveness. 

Now I'm not saying that that always happens, but come on, it's definitely a recurring problem in this league. That can't be denied.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Packers sign Boston College QB Chase Rettig as undrafted FA

The Packers have signed four-year Boston College QB Chase Rettig as an undrafted free agent, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tyler Dunne reports. 

In his career in Chestnut Hill, Rettig completed 55.2% of his passes and 52 TDs, helping his Eagles make it to two bowl games.

Last week, it was reported that Green Bay wanted to bring 4 QBs to training camp, with Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, San Jose State's David Fales, Ball State's Keith Wenning, and North Dakota State's Brock Jensen all being considered as possible acquirements.

Three of those four, however, were surprisingly drafted this weekend, with Jensen also being signed as a UFA by the Miami Dolphins.

So, it seems like Gettig was the best possible arm remaining. He's not incredible by any means, as no team he led in college won more than seven games, but since he is a decent scrambler and possesses a solid arm I guess he's an overall good signing. Again, he's no superstar, but him giving Tolzein a run for the practice squad this year wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, since Gettig obviously wasn't the only prospect the Pack signed yesterday, I'll put a link for the rest here. Make sure to check it out.

2014 NFL Draft, Rounds 4 Through 7: Former Badger Abbrederis In The 5th Round

Most post-draft reviews seemed to like what the Green Bay Packers have done this year. To me, it looks like a typical Ted Thompson draft. He stood pat, took promising talent, and had a couple extra selections because of compensatory picks. He also spread his picks around the roster, as he usually does, and selected players where the Packers needed depth, while managing to uncharacteristically load up on one position with three wide outs. All of them will probably stick in year one, either on the IR, active roster, or practice squad, but it's anyone's guess whether they'll have a long career.

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

Baylor CB Demetri Goodson excited to join Packers

Going into yesterday, Demetri Goodson knew he'd get drafted in the fifth or sixth round. 

The Baylor CB, who spent four seasons in Waco racking up 38 tackles and four interceptions, received calls during his time at the combine from the Titans, Steelers, Broncos, and Dolphins, so you gotta imagine the Packers taking him instead was a little surprising. 

Not that it matters.

"It's the best feeling in the world," Goodson said in a tweet on the Packers team feed. "Made me feel like a little kid."

During his career with the Bears, Goodson reminded me a lot of Green Bay's Tramon Williams, a guy who simply always hustles. He's not recognized for his constant efforts, as the box score rarely finishes in his favor, but still, his speed and athleticism are definitely admirable. 

So, with that I'd say my point here is clear: I love this acquirement. Like every drafting, it's not guaranteed to work, but if recent history has taught us anything, it's that fifth round CBs nobody's heard of have the potential of becoming really special. I mean, just look at Richard Sherman. In 2011, he was just another prospect, but now, as we all know, he's the highest paid player at his position. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

2014 NFL Draft, Rounds 2 and 3: Packers Select Adams, Thornton, and Rodgers (Not That Rodgers)

There's some merit in the idea of drafting the best player available. Maybe that's what the Green Bay Packers are doing, but it sure looks like they're addressing the positions (other than inside linebacker) where they need help.

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).

Packers draft pick Clinton-Dix on relationship with Eddie Lacy: "We're pretty close"

When the Packers drafted Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Thursday night, you gotta imagine that he and Sophomore RB Eddie Lacy were thinking the same thing. 

The duo, who won two national championships during their two seasons (2011-2012) together with the Crimson Tide, are known to have had a solid relationship during their college days, something Clinton-Dix confirmed during a recent interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tyler Dunne:

"Me and him are pretty good, pretty close," Clinton-Dix said. "Going up against him every day in practice kind of made me upset because he’d give me a little spin move every now and then... I'll be glad to be back with him in Green Bay."

While it's currently unclear how much this familiarity will help the two's chemistry in the foreseeable future, I can't see it hurting anything. The two seem to be friends, so while it may not give the Packers any on-field advantages this fall it's likely that Lacy being on the roster will at least make Clinton-Dix's transition to the pros easier.

I mean, aren't personal relationships worth something in the modern world? They're not necessarily a huge factor in success or lack of success, but they have to matter a little bit, don't they?

Friday, May 09, 2014

Reaction: Packers draft Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in NFL Draft's first round

In case you don't already know, the Packers somewhat surprised us in last night's First Round, drafting Alabama Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the 21st Overall Pick. Going into the round, most mock drafts had the Pack selecting either Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert or Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier, but since those two end up being taken 8th and 15th respectively Green Bay obviously had to choose someone else. 

Anyway, in his three years in Tuscaloosa, Clinton-Dix had a reputation for blowing up box scores, recording a combined 99 tackles and 7 interceptions. Most of those numbers, unsurprisingly, came for the Crimson Tide last season, in which Clinton-Dix collected 51 of those 99 takedowns and 2 of those 7 takeaways. 

Despite those intriguing stats, I still think it's safe to conclude that this guy, though clearly athletic, won't really dominant any games for the Pack anytime soon. In my opinion, he'll still contribute and wind up being a good selection, but due to the increased talent of the NFL he simply won't become what Shazier and Gilbert appear to be capable of: game changers.

In other news, North Carolina TE Eric Ebron, the prospect we Packers fans really wanted to succeed Jermichael Finley, was taken 10th overall by the Lions last night, a move not really surprising but still genuinely upsetting for obvious reasons.

2014 NFL Draft: Packers Select Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the 1st Round

With the necessary departure of former starter M.D. Jennings a few weeks ago, the Packers selected Alabama FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the 21st overall pick in the May 2014 NFL draft. It was expected that Clinton-Dix would be gone by that point, but the Jets chose Calvin Pryor (more of a strong safety) at No. 18 overall and let the "most pure free safety in the draft" fall into the Packers' lap.

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

2014 Mock Draft Roundup: Packers at No. 21 Overall

This list is just looking at the mock draft selections for the Green Bay Packers in the 1st round. 

CBS Sports: Washington St. SS Deone Bucannon, VT CB Kyle Fuller, OSU LB Ryan Shazier.

ESPN: Oklahoma St. CB Justin Gilbert, Alabama ILB C.J. Mosley. Rob Demovsky's post also links to a couple other sites who chose Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (1st round seems too early for him) and Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard (who could be a Top 10 pick).

Journal Sentinel: C.J. Mosley.

SB Nation: Two more picks for C.J. Mosley.

If you noticed a strong Ryan Shazier/C.J. Mosley vibe, you're not alone. No one seems to expect either of the top two safeties (HaHa Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor) to be available when the Packers are on the clock, so a couple of authors think the Packers will draft the best available cornerback (Dennard, Gilbert or Fuller) instead. Assuming TE Eric Ebron is long gone, in addition to Clinton Dix and Pryor, there are a couple of reach selections at safety and tight end, which doesn't seem like a good idea.

In general, there are a couple of constants. First, the various mock drafts are consistent in their inconsistency. I think we'll be surprised by a couple of the players who will still be available at No. 21 for the Packers. Hopefully it'll be one of the quarterbacks, which might make it possible for the Packers to trade down. Also, there shouldn't be a big run on linebackers until the end of the 1st round, so most mock drafts expect that two of the best (Mosley and Shazier) will still be available. Selecting either of them makes the most sense if the Packers are standing pat.

I read multiple stories this offseason about how LB Brad Jones struggled last season and was inconsistent. Maybe the local beat reporters can tell that linebacker is a position the team knows it has to address. Since they didn't add anyone new in free agency, that help would have to come from the draft. Safety is another obvious area that needs improvement, and without an incumbent starter after the release of M.D. Jennings, but the value doesn't seem to be there at the No. 21. I would expect one of those linebackers will be selection, unless the opportunity to trade down with a quarterback needy team presents itself.

Packers take Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert 21st overall in latest ESPN Mock Draft

So far this offseason, plenty of names have been thrown around as possible Packers first round picks, but according to ESPN.com's NFL experts, the Pack Beat Writer Rob Demovsky included, we'll be surprised when tonight comes around. Because, in their opinion, the 21st player taken in this year's draft won't be Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier or North Carolina TE Eric Ebron, but instead will be underrated CB Justin Gilbert, a four-year Oklahoma State star.

In his college career, Gilbert's numbers, though not necessarily as impressive as Shazier's, were pretty good, as the Huntsville, Texas native collected a combined 182 Tackles and 15 Interceptions. If you like math, that's an average of 45.5 takedowns a year, a stat that likely won't translate to the pros yet is still definitely impressive. 

Now if the Packers do end up taking Gilbert with their first pick I won't necessarily be ecstatic(I'm keeping my fingers crossed when it comes to Eric Ebron), but I don't think I'll get too down either. This guy clearly has a lot of talent, so if he ends up being available after Shazier and Ebron have been taken I'd have no problem seeing him get called to the stage.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Could The Packers Trade Up or Down?

If you're hoping the Green Bay Packers will either trade up or trade down, then this might not be the draft for you.

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.
The 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.

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.

Seahawks GM Schneider could end up succeeding Packers Thompson

Seahawks GM John Schneider could end up succeeding the Packers Ted Thompson when the latter retires, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn reports. Schneider, a De Pere, Wisconsin native, was with Green Bay for 8 seasons from 2002-2009, first as a Special Assistant and then later as the club's Director of Football Operations.

In 2010, Schneider was hired by Seattle to his current position where, as we all know, he's done pretty well, helping the Seahawks make 3 playoff appearances (2 NFC West Titles) and win their first ever Super Bowl last year.

According to McGinn, Schneider even considers the Packers GM position his "dream job," meaning that it's likely he won't pass up the spot if it's offered to him.

Still, right now this whole idea is just a possibility, so we have to make sure not to get too ahead of ourselves with it. Thompson's current contract doesn't end until the conclusion of the 2016 Draft, and in that time a lot of stuff could happen. Who knows? Maybe Schneider grows in the Northwest and ends up deciding to stay. From what I've read that's unlikely, but it, along with Thompson just signing a new deal, is still plausible.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Mosley, Nix, Vereen, and Fiedorowicz

My overall problem with the upcoming draft is that I don't see an obvious player or two who could provide an immediate solution to the Green Bay Packers.

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.

Packers likely to bring 4 QBs to training camp

The Packers are likely to bring 4 QBs to training camp, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein reports. Last season, as you all probably remember, Green Bay went into the preseason with this exact same strategy, as backup candidates Vince Young, Graham Harrell, and B.J. Coleman were all cut within the month of August. 

As of now, the Pack are currently eyeing four notable propects: Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, San Jose State's David Fales, Ball State's Keith Wenning, and North Dakota State's Brock Jensen. 

Last season, Wenning put up the most impressive numbers of the group, connecting on 35 TDs for 4,148 yards. Besides him, Fales also showed a lot of promise, throwing 33 TDs for 4,189 yards in the weak Mountain West. 

As for the other two, Savage, being in the most difficult conference, was solid for the Panthers, completing 61.2% of his passes for 2,958 yards. Jenson, on the other hand, was also okay, completing 66.3% of his throws as his Bison won their third consecutive FCS national title.

Now while that three straight championships stat is cool, Jenson did play against pretty easy competition, so it's likely the Pack won't persue him that aggressively. 

As for Savage, his transferring twice makes him a mystery, so I wouldn't count on Green Bay taking him, either. 

So, it seems like Wenning and Fales are the two most likely candidates for the job. That doesn't guarantee that we'll actually get to know them, as the plan right now is just to have someone challenge Tolzein for the No. 3 spot or kick Flynn out if Tolzein impresses, but still, it could happen. I guess that makes it worth our attention. 

Monday, May 05, 2014

Vikings won't pick up Christian Ponder's 2015 option

The Vikings won't pick up QB Christian Ponder's 2015 option, NFL.com's Marc Sessler reports. Ponder, the 2011 Draft's 12th Overall Pick, is due to make $9.6 million this season, despite the fact that he might not even make the team.

Anyway, in his first three NFL seasons in Minnesota, Ponder has struggled pretty badly, throwing just 38 TDs and 34 INTs. To go along with those numbers, the guy has also put together a low 77.3 QBR, another reason why this decision was probably an easy one to make.

Interestingly, Ponder told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune earlier this week that he believes the team's expectation is that Matt Cassel, not him, will be the team's starter in 2014, meaning that even he seems to see himself as being on the decline. 

“I think the expectation is that [Cassel is] going to be a starter," Ponder said. "But for me, I’m competing for the job. That’s what’s going on in my mind. It’s a competition. It’s a clean slate for all of us. I don’t think any of the coaches have made a decision about what’s going on yet, but hopefully the best guy gets to play."

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. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Packers GM Thompson sees "no evidence of any decline" in Peppers' play

Packers GM Ted Thompson sees "no evidence of any decline" in DE Julius Peppers' play, the 61-year old recently told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tyler Dunne. Peppers, an 8-time Pro Bowler, signed a 3-year, $30 million deal with Green Bay March 15, officially ending his time as a rival. 

"Well, 34 is not so old," Thompson said. "Not for some of us. There’s no evidence of any decline in his play, in our opinion. He still has the same athletic traits that he had coming out. He’s had a remarkable history in the NFL in terms of durability. We’re looking forward to it. I think he is, too."

During his four seasons in Chicago, Peppers averaged a solid 35 annual tackles, a slight decline from the 39 he averaged during his time with the Panthers from 2002-2009. Technically something not so great, but still, considering that Green Bay's two main DEs in 2014, Johnny Jolly and B.J. Raji, collected just 21 and 17 tackles respectively this guy is definitely an upgrade. 

And remember, it's not like the Packers need a perfect defense to win this year. They already have arguably the league's best offense, so, in my opinion, a defense ranked somewhere in the middle of the league would be more than enough to help them collect 13+ victories. 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Packers won't exercise Derek Sherrod's 2015 option

According to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky, the Packers won't exercise their 2015 option on Tackle Derek Sherrod. Sherrod, a 2011 first-round draft pick, has been eligible for a fifth year with the team since signing his rookie contract, something that obviously won't be happening now. 

Anyway, Demovsky points out in his article that, beginning in 2011, all first round picks did get 4-year deals with options for fifths, so I guess this move really isn't that surprising. The decision on whether or not that final year will be picked up had to be made by this weekend, so the Pack making this announcement now wasn't exactly random.

Also, considering that Sherrod is somebody with a history of injuries, keeping him probably wouldn't have been the smartest thing to do. So far in his career, the former Mississippi State star is yet to start a regular season game, breaking his leg in December 2011 (causing him to miss the entire 2012 season) before playing just meaningless 6 snaps all of last year.

Interestingly, the Packers keeping Sherrod through 2014 would result in him being paid a pretty hefty $7.438 million, another factor that probably helped their front office reach this decision. 

Friday, May 02, 2014

Packers release Practice Squad RB Orwin Smith

The Packers have released Practice Squad RB Orwin Smith, USA Today reports. Smith, a 23 year old out of Georgia Tech, signed with the team last November, never being promoted to the active roster. 

In his college career at GT, Smith was never necessarily amazing, although he did collect a solid 1,839 rushing yards and 815 receiving yards in his time with the team from 2009-2012. 

After graduating from the Atlanta-based university, Smith underwent shoulder surgery, which pretty much ended his dream of being an NFL star. His rehab took longer than expected, so he ended up having to settle for the previously-mentioned practice squad spot in Green Bay. Not that he didn't still get a chance, but as we all know that area of the league just doesn't get that much attention. 

In the end, this guy had some potential, but I guess he just didn't have enough to make the team wanna keep him. He's only been in the league for one year now, so if he's already been cut it just seems like he wasn't too impressive. Obviously, the draft's coming up, so it appears the Pack would rather use that roster spot on someone new instead of someone not.