Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Packers Minicamp This Week: Kuuuuuuuuhn!

This is the week for the Green Bay Packers minicamp, and it marks the last bit of real Packer news until training camp begins in late July. It'll be marked with some humongous quotes about receivers and how some players live in the gym. The Packers official twitter feed had the following picture of one of the all-time fan favorites who is entering the twilight of his Packer career:
I was a little surprised when the Packers re-signed FB John Kuhn this offseason. He's coming off a Pro Bowl nod because there are very few true full backs playing in today's NFL but the Packers have been decreasing his usage over the past three seasons. The following number of snaps and run blocking rating over the past five seasons is from Pro Football Focus:
Year Snaps Run Blocking
2014 249 5.2
2013 337 5.8
2012 437 -2.4
2011 432 -7.7
2010 420 0.2
My nutshell description of Kuhn is that he's a player who doesn't make mistakes, he can occasionally make a big play (maybe a few per season), and he's not a very good run blocker. I should also add that he's very reliable because he's only missed a few games due to injury since 2008.

But there's been also been a big change in his usage over the past two seasons which can be summed up as thus: Eddie Lacy. Since Lacy's arrival in 2013, the Packers have been using Kuhn less and all of sudden his run blocking rating has shot up. I don't think he's really gotten that much better as a run blocker; it's more about how Lacy's such a powerful runner that he makes his blockers look good.

At age 32, the only older player on the roster is LB Julius Peppers. GM Ted Thompson has preferred a roster full of young players for almost his entire tenure, so Kuhn has to be approaching the end of the line. He'll be playing on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract in 2015 with zero salary cap hit if he was released tomorrow. He wouldn't have been re-signed if he wasn't expected to fill the same role in 2015 as he had in 2014 (blocking, occasional short-yardage carry). But at the same time, this could very well be his last season in Green Bay so enjoy chanting Kuuuuuuhn while you can.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Another Week Of OTA Practice For The Packers

I don't put much stock in the summer OTAs. It does show the current depth chart, but things change quickly once training camp opens and preseason games are played.
Their two most recent 4th round picks (LB Carl Bradford and LB Jake Ryan) are settling in as the backup inside linebackers. Since this is the defensive position that needs the most improvement in 2015, I'm interested on how it's going and if either one of them is ready to be a breakout starter. Though Ryan's a rookie and he hasn't so much as stepped on a field for an NFL game of any sort, in someways Bradford's an even bigger unknown since he didn't play a single snap on defense in his rookie year. Did Bradford need to essentially take a redshirt year to learn how to play on the inside or was the move done to delay his eventual release?

Neither one of them probably has a shot at moving ahead of LB Sam Barrington (or allowing them to move LB Clay Matthews outside full-time) for now, so they're just two guys to watch for the future.

They have several more days of OTAs this week and next before the mandatory mini-camp in two weeks. Though that minicamp will probably be shortened by a day for some team building through bowling or the like.