1) Introduction: With the departure of Cullen Jenkins to the Eagles via free agency after the 2010 Super Bowl campaign, the Packers drafted the Purdue lineman in the 2nd round. After that, nothing has really gone right in his career. Neal has constantly been hurt, often landing on IR and to make matters worse, Neal was suspended for the 1st 4 games of the season for taking a banned substance, later found out to be Adderall (which also ironically started a trend in the NFL players using Adderall).
Michael Jamel Neal
- Age: 25
- Born: 06/26/1987, in Merrillville, IN
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 294
- College: Purdue
- Rookie Year: 2010
- NFL Experience: 3 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: Optimistic skepticism was probably all that Neal garnered at the beginning of the year. While Neal has the physique and strength to dominate the 3-4 DE spot, the fact that Neal could never stay on the field contributed to the Packers lack of faith in relying on Neal alone. Added to the fact that he was banned from the 1st 4 games left many feeling that anything positive from Neal was good enough
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Neal’s best performance was definitely against the Bear in week 15 where he recorded 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries and 1 negative offensive play (though it should be said that Jay Cutler does seem to love getting sacked by the Packers for some reason). His low-light was definitely getting banned for the 1st 4 games of the year and hoping that the Packers still wanted him enough to drop Philip Merling, his replacement.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: While Neal didn’t do all that much in the 1st half of the season, once he got settled down, Neal was fairly consistent as the pass rusher opposite to Clay Matthews. Neal will have to work on his run defense (which is odd considering his massive strength), but Neal was arguably the best pass rusher on the defensive line.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Neal played fairly well against the Vikings, recording 1 quarterback hit and 4 hurries but again was part of the line that was destroyed by Colin Kaepernick in the divisional round.
Season Report Card:
(C) Level of expectations met during the season
(C-) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: C——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.