John Kuhn: 2011 Green Bay Packers Player Evaluation and Report Card
1) Introduction: One of the more popular players on the team, Kuhn went from being a record-breaker at Shippensburg to an Arena League draft pick to folk hero at the NFL’s most storied franchise. Needless to say, it’s been a long and winding journey for Kuhn to get where he’s at today. Now, 70,000 plus at Lambeau Field yell “Kuhnnnnnnnnnnnn” in unison when the 250-pound fullback gets a touch or the Packers get near the goal line.
John Allen Kuhn
Weight:Â 250 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season: A year after the Packers asked Kuhn to be a full-time ball carrier to cover for injuries, Kuhn was back in his role as the leading full back in 2011. His role in that position was fortified when the Packers re-signed Kuhn while letting Korey Hall walk before the season and trading Quinn Johnson during the final cut-down day. The three-headed fullback monster that once was quickly became just Kuhn. The Packers were also expected to lean on Kuhn in third down situations after Brandon Jackson left Green Bay for Cleveland.
4) Playerâ€™s highlights/low-lights: Kuhn had over 200 fewer rushing yards (281 in 2010 to 78), a worse rushing average (3.3 to 2.6) and 20 fewer receiving yards (97 to 77) this season but was still elected as the NFC’s Pro Bowl fullback. Name recognition and touchdowns will do that for a fullback, as Kuhn scored seven times (four rushing, three receiving) and was popular at home and on the road. The Packers routinely used Kuhn in short-yard and goal line situations despite everyone on the field knowing who the football was going to. It cost Kuhn and the Packers on a couple of occasions, but he normally got the job done. His top rushing total came against Oakland, when he carried the ball 10 times for 46 yards. In the Packers’ playoff game, Kuhn lost his first fumble of the season and ended up hurting his MCL, an injury that kept him out of the Pro Bowl.
5) Playerâ€™s contribution to the overall team success: As a run blocker, Kuhn leaves a lot to be desired. Pro Football Focus had Kuhn’s run blocking grade at -9.5, which ranks him near the bottom of players at his position. But Kuhn did other things to help compensate for his lack of quality as a hole-opener. Few fullbacks are as talented running the football as Kuhn, and he once again showed an ability to handle roles as a receiver, special teams player and pass protector on third downs. There’s a trust level with Kuhn among the Packers offensive staff, mostly because he’s so assignment sure. Even so, Kuhn still doesn’t play a role on the Packers’ offense that couldn’t be replaced.
6) Playerâ€™s contributions in the playoffs: The NFC Divisional Round was a forgettable end to Kuhn’s 2011 season. Despite catching an early touchdown pass, Kuhn had an inexcusable fumble that led to Giants’ points and later left the game with a knee injury. He played 25 snaps but struggled overall as a run blocker.
Season Report Card:
(B-)Â Level of expectations met during the season
(C+)Â Contributions to teamâ€™s overall success.
(C)Â Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: C+â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2