Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

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Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football
Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

To survive this particular Sunday, I don’t want to write about Desmond Bishop officially signing with the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers getting shafted on the NFL top 100 list or Aaron Hernandez (allegedly) murdering a guy(s). Instead, let’s do a Packers hypothetical:

If Packers GM Ted Thompson calls you tomorrow, rattles off the names of two players, and says he absolutely has to cut one of  them and is calling you for advice, what would you tell him?

Here are the scenarios:

Tramon Williams or Casey Hayward?
I’d keep Hayward and cut Williams. Not an easy choice because I’m not as down on Williams as others, but I’ll take the young guy who isn’t as afraid of contact as Williams has been lately. Having young CBs like Sam Shields and Davon House on the roster would also help cushion the blow from losing Williams.

Mike Neal or Jerel Worthy?
One guy is prone to injuries, the other is actually injured. I’m keeping Neal and cutting Worthy. Neal has showed flashes of being really damn good when he hasn’t been in the trainer’s room. Worthy didn’t show me much last season when he was healthy — not enough explosiveness. I know Worthy is young and defensive linemen need time to develop, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I like a healthy Neal over a healthy Worthy.

Jermichael Finley or James Jones?
Now this is a tough one. I want to say I’d cut Finley and keep Jones, but for some reason, Finley still strikes fear into other teams. You still see coverage shifted to account for No. 88 even though he hasn’t been what I’d consider a playmaker in his career. He’s been a decent enough tight end, but not really a playmaker. Jones seemed expendable until he went nutso last season and I like his ability to go up and catch a jump ball every now and then. I also value a good wide receiver over a one-dimensional tight end, so I’d cut Finley. I might live to regret that decision, though. It’s a tough one.

Adam Czech, Jersey Al, Kris Burke, Chad Toporski, Thomas Hobbes, Jason Perone or Marcus Eversoll?

Jersey Al is up against the blogger salary cap and needs to cut one of his writers. Who gets the pink slip? Al won’t cut himself, nor should he because he built this empire into what it is today and is a living legend in Packers’ online universe. He can’t cut Chad because Chad just published the awesome series on the Packers defense and is in the prime of his career. Thomas stays because he’s really smart, and draws in the segment of our audience that refuses to join Twitter. Jason stays because he’s got a lot of potential and has the best podcast voice of our entire group. Marcus and Kris are another pair of up and comers and don’t count much against the cap. That leaves me, the guy who mixes in pro wrestling and text baseball simulations with his Packers writing. I’m also old and frequently hold out and ask Al for more money. If Al had to let one of us go, it’d probably be me. Uh oh, I better call my lawyer and my agent, just in case…

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • There is no reason to read anything else this Sunday besides Chad Toporski’s series on the Packers defense. Start here and be sure to read all of the installments. Seriously, forget all the other nonsense swirling around the NFL and the Packers at this moment in the offseason and just read Chad’s series. It focuses on football (imagine that?!) and will make you a smarter fan after reading.
  • I wasn’t kidding. All you need to survive this Sunday is Chad’s series on the Packers defense. Now, go read it!
  • If you’re a fast reader and still need something to help you survive this Sunday, listen to this ALLGBP.com podcast featuring guest Wes Hodkewicz from the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
  • If you need a little bit of drama on your Sunday, I suppose you could read this post from TotalPackers.com going off about ESPN, Internet police, and other stuff
  • A reasoned and  measured look at the lightning rod known as Jermichael Finley can be found over at Acme Packing Company.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

  •  If you still need something to get you through the day, watch this compilation of Ric Flair going nuts or this full Metallica concert from the …And Justice for All tour.
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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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  • Chad Toporski

    You are too kind, Adam… And I’d be happy to restructure my contract so that we didn’t have to cut any of our fellow writers!

    The only cut I disagree with is the James Jones one, and it’s not because of Finley. I just think the WR corps needs Jones to maintain its dominance. I’d put my money on Quarless being able to take over Finley’s job more than a first or second-year being able to take over Jones’.

    • Tarynfor12

      I agree with Chad.

    • Oppy

      Doesn’t Adam say he’d keep Jones and cut Finley?

      Might want to re-read that paragraph’s conclusion.

      • Adam Czech

        Yes, I’d keep Jones over Finley….I think…..

      • Chad Toporski

        Wow… How the hell did I miss that?

        I agree with you 100% then!

        • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

          It was a little grey, the way it was left, but I think Adam had his contract negotiations on his mind:) As the newest guy on the team, I have to believe my minimum deal is just too cap-friendly to dump. I have been told I have a face for radio, too:)

    • Stroh

      I don’t see Quarless being much better than he is now. He’s never really even shown glimpses of being TE that can force teams to gameplan for him. Quarless hasn’t made any plays in the passing game a la Finley. It would be a mistake IMO to let Finley leave for Jones to stay. Jones is a good WR, nothing more. He’ll never again approach anything like the season he had last year. 14 TD’s from him was a total anomaly.

      I Think Boykin has a much better chance of being Jones, than Quarless has of being anything like Finley.

      Other than that, Hayward is an easy choice being 8x’s less expensive and 8 yrs younger. Now if you could only keep Hayward or Shields that would be an interesting question.

      Can’t disagree w/ you logic on Neal over Worthy, but that’s a toss up. Gun to head, probably go w/ Worthy, due to Neals being injured so much. But Neal showed a bit more on the field, even tho Worthy was injured too. If Neal proves to be able to play some OLB it changes things considerably.

      • Oppy

        Disagree with your take on Jones.

        Since day 1 with James Jones, he has consistently beat coverages deep down field with his ability to leverage defenders and find soft spots in zones despite the lack of elite speed, and is built for, and a willing, physical receiver on underneath routes as well.

        The only issues Jones has had that kept him from seasons like last year were 1) play time opportunities and 2) FOCUS.

        Nearly all of the drops that plagued him in his career were cases of not looking the ball in, turning his head and attention upfield before securing the catch. Last year, he had increased opportunity due to Driver’s greatly decreased role plus snap-loss injuries to both Nelson and Jennings.

        Watching Jones closely, he has always been deceptively good at beating coverages, putting himself consistently in position for big-plays, but his desire for YAC was consistently getting him ahead of himself and dropping balls. He corrected that last year.

        Do I think Jones will lead the league in TD receptions by WRs again next year? No.. But I strongly feel last season was an indication of a player finally catching up with his talent and ability rather than a player who had a fluke season.

        I’ve always had this opinion of Jones- made many comments on it over his career right here on AGBP.. and I strongly feel the film backs up this assertion.

        • Stroh

          IMO, Boykin is a Jones clone. Neither has great speed, only adequate. Jones gets open using his size and strength. Boykin is same speed and quickness as Jones, has huge hands and with a year or two in an NFL weight program will be able to get as strong as Jones. That’s the biggest difference between Jones and Boykin is strength. Give Boykin a year or two in the weight room and more experience and I see him being as good as Jones. Take a look at their combine/Pro day and you’ll see 2 WR that are very much alike.

          IMO, Jones will be allowed to leave as a FA next year. It been my opinion that Jones is a good WR, Tho he’ll never be a WR that teams gameplan for, a la Finley. I feel as strongly that Jones had a memorable year that he won’t be able to duplicate again.

          • Oppy

            Watch Jones run his routes. He’s more than just physical. He has a feel for the game that enables him to beat coverage.

            • Stroh

              I’ve been watching him for 6 yrs. He’s a good WR, but he’ll never be a WR teams have to game plan for. I appreciate him but he is in no way a special player or difference maker. Don’t try to act like your some special evalutator. Jones is what he is and will always be. A good, certainly not great WR. Your going way over-board on him. He’ll continue to be at best the #3 WR and #4 overall receiver, behind Nelson, Cobb an Finley. Others make him look better than your making him out to be. He continually faces the #3 CB the D has and it makes his job considerably easier. He doesn’t draw coverage to him to free up others as Nelson, Cobb and Finley can. He’s a good WR, who is replacable.

              • Oppy

                First, Jones certainly wasn’t facing nickle backs the majority of his snaps last season as Driver and Jennings played little-to-none and Jordy was banged up most of the season. With Cobb working the slot, that puts Jones on the outside frequently vs. team’s #2 cbs frequently.

                Second, I know people are all about this “game-planning for” a certain player, but realistically, teams break down every player and every formation they are likely to encounter from an opponent. With the kind of year Jones had last season, if you don’t believe teams were aware of him, studied him, and actively trying to limit him, you’re fooling yourself. One of the strongest focal points a defense gameplans for is red zone defense. Jones scored 11 of his 14 TD’s in from the red zone. I’m pretty sure his name came up. Let’s just say, teams were definitely trying to stop James Jones.

                Lastly, I don’t think I’m some sort of special talent evaluator. However, I do know the game somewhat, and I do pay attention to players even when they might not be in the spotlight. I don’t base my opinions on how a player plays the game by their combine results. I watch the play the game. That is all.

                I take no issue with anyone disagreeing with my opinions. However, you have a tendency to lash out at people when you don’t agree with them that truly rubs me the wrong way.

              • Stroh

                Yeah teams do breakdown all players. But they only game plan for a few of them. Finley is on the do plan for and Jones is as surely one they do not. I didn’t say Jones never faced #2 CB, he has, but more often than not he isn’t facing the best CB and he will continue to get favorable matchups due to it. Jones on most teams would be a good #2 WR, not a #1. Its debatable if he was always the #2 how well he would perform. On one hand is opportunities would surely increase, on the other he would consistently see a starting caliber CB on the D. If teams wanted to stop Jones or even planning for him, they would put the #1 CB on him and for the most part shut him down. He isn’t a special talent and as much as you want to champion him he is still at best the #4 receiver for the Packers. On other teams that might change, but teams are not game planning for the #4 receiving target. This year they might start to pay more attention to him, given that Jennings is no longer in the Packers plans. But they will be far more worried about Nelson, Cobb and Finley.

                I respect your knowledge, but I think your way over the top on Jones abilities. And I consider myself as educated a fan as you will find. One friend that’s an ESPN anchor and another that played college football both respect my football knowledge as their equal. They as my opinion as much as I theres and they respect it.

  • Gary

    Finley vs Jones is the easy one for Ted because the players will decide for him. If Finley has a good Ted makes him a reasonable offer some other team offers more and he is gone. If Finley has a bad year Ted makes no offer and Finley takes what he can get elsewhere. Jones having seen the play out before accepts Teds offer and resigns with the pack.

  • Gary

    Should read If Finley has a good year, Funny how it looks good before you click send

    • Adam Czech

      No cheating! I’m not asking about next season. I’m asking if Ted called you and said he needed to make the cut today.

  • Mojo

    For even suggesting TT would consider dumping Hayward, I’m cutting Adam from the writers group. :)

    • Adam Czech

      Another letter goes into my personnel file….

  • Oppy

    How about BJ Raji or Mike Neal?

    Johnny Jolly or CJ Wilson?

    Starks or Green?

    Quarless or DJ Smith?

    Sherrod or Newhouse?

    EDS or Barclay?

    • Adam Czech

      I would cut:

      Jolly
      Green
      Smith
      Sherrod
      Barclay (or I would cut EDS and teach Barclay how to snap a football)

      • Oppy

        Surprised by Alex Green and DJ Smith cuts, first because Starks is always sidelined with minor but nagging issues and seems to have pass pro/assignment issues, while I think Alex Green is capable of being more dynamic and a fairly good pass pro back, and I’m surprised by the second scenario cut because Quarless is a huge question mark as far as how his knee is at this point (even though I like the potential and all-around game of a healthy, pre-injury Quarless over the potential and relatively one-dimensional game of DJ Smith.)

        Did you find my scenario of Mike Neal or BJ Raji too outlandish to consider? To be honest, the only iron-clad, no-discussion needed reason to keep Raji over Neal would be purely because we need to have a NT on the roster, and Pickett isn’t getting any younger. Overall talent wise, I don’t know that Raji has proven he’s any more impactful of a player than Mike Neal yet.

        • PatMc

          Raji has shown up on the field and played way more downs. Nike Neal needs to prove that he can show up this year.

          • Oppy

            That’s a fair assesment, Raji has played a ton of football for the Packers while Neal has been unavailable quite a bit.

            I don’t think Raji is a bad player, I just worry he’s not worth what the Packers may offer him to stay eventually, where as I think Mike Neal may have far more upside in the long run. Raji has been a steady contributor but not dominant, Neal has been an inconsistent contributor due to health, but has flashed dominance at times.

            • Adam Czech

              I still think Raji views himself as a pass rusher and it hurts his overall game. The Packers are probably partly to blame for this since they also seem to put him into pass-rushing mode more than they should.

              Raji needs to view himself as the second coming of Ryan Picket and do everything he can to never get blown out of his gap. He’s athletic enough to still get a few sacks anyway.

              Playing as many snaps as he does probably doesn’t help, either.

    • Stroh

      DJ Smith was already released, so that debate has ended before it began. Can only imagine you mean DJ Williams.

      Jolly proved he can be an impact run defender. Wilson isn’t nearly as good as Jolly was. Jolly easily.

      Now that we have Lacy, I’m taking the overall game of Green over Starks injury issues.

      Quarless is easy over Williams. Neither is near the class of Finley, both are role players and Quarless has proven to be a more well rounded player than Williams has.

      Sherrod and Newhouse doesn’t matter, but are probably in the plans this year. Newhouse will probably win the RT job over Barclay, and Sherrod is going to be given every chance.

      EDS over Barclay, due to EDS being easily the best Center on the roster and Barclay being more of an OG not a Center or even OT for that matter.

      • Oppy

        Whoops, yes, meant dj Williams, not ILB Smith. My bad.

        Jolly hasn’t played football in three years, that’s a major question mark and hard to overlook. Also, CJ Wilson is a far better defensive linemen than most people give him credit for, and is actually a quite impactful run defender. The odd thing with Wilson is that in his collegiate career, he was considered a pass rushing lineman, which he hasn’t really shown any knack for in the pros, but he’s quietly been an extremely good lineman on run downs. Again, you’ve got to keep an eye on his play. Not as easily dismissed as you may have made him out to be.

        Lastly, EDS isn’t the best C on the team, he’s the only center on the team at the moment. However, I don’t think he’s special, maybe not even “good”. I think Tretter was supposed to challenge EDS for the center position this season, with EDS being shipped out by next season. That said, I only juxtaposed Barclay and EDS to highlight what I see as a tough decision- EDS, IMO, not being very talented but filling a specialized need, and Barclay, who seems to have a good amount of upside and versatility.

        • Stroh

          As Trgo said, playing DL doesn’t take exceptional skill as a run defender. That’s all Jolly and Wilson are. Jolly missing a few years is a concern, but if he is even remotely close to what he was Jolly is 5x’s the player Wilson is. Jolly was the guy that even Pickett gave credit to for the Packers #1 ranked run D in ’09. He was the driving force of that run D, even the coaches say so. Not to mention that Jolly also had like 12 passes Defensed. That’s a big skill that Wilson doesn’t have. Just ask JJ Watt how much a DL knocking down passes does. Its like a sack in some ways w/o the emotional impact. Its gets a D off the field more times on 3rd down.

          I’m aware of Wilson pass rush in college, but he has had 3 full years and hasn’t shown a pass rush in the NFL. Wilson is an ordinary player, Jolly was the driving force to a #1 ranked run D. Easy choice.

          EDS isn’t special, neither is Barclay and Tretter is unlikely to play much this year if at all. EDS is similar to Wells. Late round or UDFA who has had to struggle to earn a starting job. Wells turned his career into a Pro Bowl Center, after being released by the Packers. EDS has earned the starting job thru years of struggle just like Wells did. Whether he becomes a Pro Bowler a la Wells is unknown, but given Rodgers support of him, I’ll give EDS the chance to continue to develop just like Wells did. Tretter may eventually be the starting Center, but it won’t happen THIS year, and I doubt it happens next either. Center in the NFL is a very demanding position that almost always takes time to develop into, unless drafted in the 1st round w/ exceptional physical ability and Center experience.

          • Oppy

            Tretter is out no matter what, he broke his ankle in OTAs.

            As far as Wells/EDS comparison, waiving a rookie to place them on practice squad is quite a bit different from releasing a player who has been with your team for one full season and another full offseason and allowing him to sign with another team. I actually saw enough to give EDS the benefit of the doubt late last season, but he’s clearly occupying a position that, IMO, needs to be upgraded regardless.

            • Stroh

              Both were waived. That one was picked up and subsequently released again means little. EDS has the same basic game as Wells had at the same stage. Wells was able to continually get better for a few years at Center, no reason EDS can’t continue on that path either. EDS has earned the chance he’s being given. Just like Wells did for 3+ yrs. The position could as easily be upgraded by EDS as it could by Tretter, by his continued development, just as Wells did. Even McCarren himself says that Centers are developed, over time and experience more than they are by sheer physical ability. That is in line w/ a long line of Packer Centers. McCarren developed into a one time Pro Bowl Center. Frank Winters, Campen, Wells and now EDS are all examples of Centers developed over a couple years. The only one that was drafted in even the mid rounds was Flanagan who was a 3rd.

              • Stroh

                Winters btw, was a plan B FA, who was a 10th round pick, and in the NFL today would have been an UDFA and developed into a very good Center after 5 years of bouncing around from team to team! It wasn’t until his 10th season that he reached a Pro Bowl.

                EDS if given the opportunity has every bit as good a chance to develop as any of those players.

  • Adam Czech

    Green has had a bad knee for two seasons now. How do we know it won’t be a third?

    Fair point on Quarless. I guess I’m desperate for run blocking on this team an will take my chances on Quarless’ knee.

    I’ll respobd about Raji/Neal later, after I am done playing mini golf.

    • Oppy

      Green had an injured knee that knocked him out of his rookie season. ACL’s are typically considered two season recoveries (AP aside); you can play on it the season following the surgery but you’re not fully recovered until the next season. Green played through it last season, I feel he looked like a player that was showing talent but clearly still hobbled somewhat last year (as reports since have indicated with the massive swelling and such last season), so I feel he should be much improved over last year. If he played on it last season without reinjury (although w aggravation, which is normal), he would seem to me to be out of the woods as it were in regards to his knee. So, Green has had one major injury and gone through recovery; Starks has had multiple minor, but chronic injuries and hasn’t shown an ability to stay healthy at all, imo.

      For the record, I’m a huge Quarless fan, I think he’s a greatly talented player. Unfortunately, if the call came in from Teddy, I don’t know if I could gamble on his knee. That was about as bad as you could wreck a knee, every which way you can tear up that joint, he did it.. all at once. I sincerely hope he beats the odds, but I don’t know if I could stake a roster spot on it if I had to.

      • Stroh

        “That was about as bad as you could wreck a knee.”

        It was bad but not unprecedented. And Marcus Lattimore would beg to differ in its being as bad as you can wreck a knee.

        Agree on Green. He was clearly hampered by the knee last year and should be ready this year to quite possibly be a good RB and at the very least a role player. Starks has too many different injuries and isn’t able to play thru them. Green gets a job over Starks easy.

        • Oppy

          Quarless definitely had both an ACL and MCL, confirmed; I have heard it suggested by others that he also suffered an LCL. That would be three of the four structures of the knee, and more than comparable to Lattimore’s injury, so let’s not mince words here.

          “Catastrophic” and “Devastating” were the adjectives frequently used to describe Quarless’ injury. Do not forget, this is professional football. Teams often want to keep the extent of injuries on the DoLo as much as possible without conflicting with league policies surrounding injury report declarations… THe Packers in particular are sensitive to the release of any medical information about their players not required by league mandate out of respect of the players’ right to privacy.

          Gotta say, though, so far the reports on Quarless seem positive for 2013.

          • Stroh

            Seriously dude… I’m very well aware of Quarless’ injury and what was involved. He had what is generally regarded as the Trifecta for ACL injuries. It includes but is not limited to ruptured ACL, MCL and a meniscus tear. Its a bad injury to be sure, and it can be career threatening, tho usually doesn’t end careers anymore.

            Anyone with knowledge of the injuries would say Lattimore’s was worse, not that Quarless’s wasn’t severe, it certainly was. So far his prognosis is positive and he will be able to play again. Whether he regains the same speed and quickness is pretty much up to him and the amount of dedication he has. As a former Strength and Conditioning specialist I’ve worked w/ an athlete w/ a similar injury to help them regain the explosiveness they once had, not to mention a couple other athletes w/ less severe ACL injuries.

  • Adam Czech

    I assumed oppy meant Williams.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WePqyc7iCbI&feature=youtu.be LOWE

    The McDonalds in the Olympic Village and certain other spots in London were like that, you’d pick your options on the screen thingy and then your order would be made.