Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Packers Cut Roster To 75 and Claim Punter Jacob Schum

The biggest news today was the terrible knee injury to Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater, which ends his 2016 season before it even begins and puts a question mark on the rest of his NFL career. There is an argument to be made that the Vikings offense might still have a good season if they focus on Adrian Peterson.

Meanwhile the Green Bay Packers had to trim their roster down to 75. From ESPN:
Packers movesWaived -- DT Demetris Anderson, CB Randall Jette, WR Jamel Johnson, LB Derrick Mathews, P Peter Mortell, WR Ed Williams, WR Harvey BinfordInjured reserve -- TE Kennard Backman, C Jacob Flores, TE Mitchell Henry, Crockett, Walker. Traded -- McCray.
He looked like the lesser punter this preseason and unfortunately the storybook dream of Peter Mortell is not meant to be. None of the other players released had received much playing time this preseason, and I.R. takes care of a couple tough roster decisions, especially with Backman and Josh Walker.

The conditional 7th round pick received for OLB Lerentee McCray might turn out to be nothing if he can't make the Bills 53-man roster, but it's a nice return for a player that only cost them a $50,000 signing bonus and was playing at one of their deeper positions. They would have probably released him if they hadn't made this trade, despite his good preseason performance as a pass rusher.

And surprisingly the Packers also added a new player:
Masthay is coming off a poor 2015 season and he didn't show much improvement this preseason (though he did punt better than Mortell), so taking a chance on Schum doesn't cost them much. But kicking the tires on the comparison of Schum over Masthay doesn't show why this is a good idea. According to Football Outsiders, the Buccaneers were worse at punting in 2015 than the Packers, and Schum had the worst gross punting average in the NFL last season. Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter praised Schum back in February and said the stats don't define him because he can kick it to a certain spot. But I heard the preseason announcers recently saying that McCarthy praised Mortell for his directional punting, and that didn't win Mortell an NFL job. Also, a month after Koetter spoke glowingly of Schum, the Bucs went out and signed free agent Bryan Anger to replace Schum anyway.

While this should be a low risk move to try and upgrade a weak position, the Derrick Frost situation back in 2008 is the counter-argument that they should stay with the punter (Masthay) who they know instead of the possibly inconsistent punter (Schum) they might have just acquired. I wouldn't have minded them going after a punter who was clearly better than Masthay or Mortell, but they don't seem to have found a clearly better punter in Schum. Of course, the market for proven punters is kind of crazy, like trade a 4th round pick crazy, so Schum is probably the best they could have done.

No comments: