Well, I had a column about Michael Sam and his misguided decision to become a reality TV star ready to publish, but since Sam wisely chose to eschew his reality TV career for the time being, that column wouldn’t have made much sense.
So, it’s 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, the in-laws are on the couch watching the Marty Stuart show on something called RFD-TV, and I have to come up with something else to write about.
It might be kind of a cop out, but how about I take a look at the entire post-draft Packers roster and share some general thoughts?
Too boring, you say? Too bad, I say. The Marty Stuart show is almost over and I need to crank something out quickly.
I’ve copied and pasted Bob McGinn’s Packers depth chart from earlier this week in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. My thoughts on each position group will follow.
(Oh, and if you really wanted to read something about Michael Sam, Chad Toporski came out of retirement to write about him on Saturday for ALLGBP.com. Check it out.)
WR — Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Kevin Dorsey, Myles White, Jeff Janis, Chris Harper, Alex Gillett.
Until the end of 2011, the Packers had been fortunate with their injury luck at receiver. That luck appears to have run out. Greg Jennings was gimpy at the end of 2011 and into 2012. Nelson hobbled through 2012. Cobb wasn’t himself in the playoffs in 2012. Cobb and James Jones missed significant time in 2013.
If nothing else, the Packers three draft picks at receiver should provide some insurance in case of another injury outbreak. Longer term, if any of the three picks turns out to be a stud, it gives the Packers some leverage and flexibility with Nelson and Cobb hitting unrestricted free agency after this season.
Key training camp battle: Boykin vs. Adams for the No. 3 receiving job.
TE — Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor, Richard Rodgers, Jake Stoneburner, Raymond Webber, Justin Perillo.
Who, if anybody, is going to emerge and provide a threat down the seam now that Jermichael Finley is likely gone? In my opinion, the only player with the speed and size to do it is Bostick, but he’s got a long ways to go and needs to improve his hands. Quarless showed signs of life late in 2013, but I don’t think he’s a down the seam type of tight end.
Key training camp battle: He needs to get through a tryout first, but what if Colt Lyerla makes it into camp and enters himself into the training camp battle royal?
T — Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, Don Barclay, Derek Sherrod, Jeremy Vujnovich, Aaron Adams, John Fullington.
Mike McCarthy might as well move Bulaga back to the right side now that Bakhtiari has a year under his belt and looked promising. If Bulaga gets hurt again, Barclay has the experience at right tackle to step in.
Key training camp battle: Derek Sherrod vs. himself. If Sherrod flops in camp, he will reserve his spot next to Justin Harrell in the Ted Thompson first-round flop hall of fame.
G — Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Lane Taylor, Andrew Tiller, Jordan McCray.
No worries about Sitton and Lang. I do wonder if Barclay and newly drafted center Corey Linsley will see time at guard as well.
Key training camp battle: Sitton vs. Lang to see who can have the funniest quotes and tweets from training camp.
C — JC Tretter, Corey Linsley, Garth Gerhart.
I have nothing against Tretter — it sounds like he’s a talented and bright player. But on a team torn apart by injuries every season, it’s nerve-wrecking to open camp with a guy who snapped his ankle in a non-contact fumble-recovery drill as the leading candidate to snap the ball to Aaron Rodgers.
Key training camp battle: Tretter vs. Linsley. The Packers drafted an actual center for a change in Linsley. He’s an undersized mauler, so we’ll see what kind of fight he gives Tretter.
QB — Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien, Chase Rettig.
Stay healthy, Aaron Rodgers.
RB — Eddie Lacy, James Starks, DuJuan Harris, Johnathan Franklin, Michael Hill, Rajion Neal, LaDarius Perkins.
FB — John Kuhn, Ina Liaina.
This is probably the deepest the Packers have been at running back in the Favre/Rodgers era. Lacy is a legit No. 1. Starks was on turbo speed last season and is less prone to injury as a backup. Harris, aka the used car salesman, will be back and Franklin will try to rebound after a lost rookie season.
Key training camp battle: Harris vs. Franklin. I think the edge here goes to the used car salesman, but you never know how he’ll look post-knee injury.
DE — Josh Boyd, Datone Jones, Khyri Thornton, Jerel Worthy, Carlos Gray.
Wow, the Packers don’t have any proven defensive ends. Zip. Zero. Nadda. Someone has to step up here, preferably Jones since he appears to have the athleticism to get after the quarterback.
Key training camp battle: Thornton vs. Worthy. If Worthy loses, does he also lose his spot on the roster?
DT — Mike Daniels, B.J. Raji, Letroy Guion, Mike Pennel.
I like this group, mainly because Raji can’t play any worse than he did in the second half of last season. If Daniels is his usual disruptive self and Raji bounces back at least a little bit, this group should do the job.
Key training camp battle: Raji vs. Boyd. I don’t see Boyd so much as a defensive end. I think he’ll push Raji for snaps at the nose.
ILB — A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Sam Barrington, Jamari Lattimore, Victor Aiyewa, Jake Doughty, Joe Thomas.
Here is my bold prediction for the season: Sam Barrington will eventually beat out Brand Jones and have a breakout season. I wrote about Barrington after he was drafted and still have high hopes for the kid.
Key training camp battle: Jones vs. Barrington. Watch out, Jones. My man Barrington is coming for ya.
Peppers will probably move around and not play exclusively at OLB, but if he does line up outside, I wouldn’t mind seeing Matthews move around the formation a bit more.
Bradford seems like a mean SOB, something the Packers have missed since losing Desmond Bishop. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bradford get an opportunity to play inside as well.
Key training camp battle: Nick Perry vs. Mike Neal. Neither player is in danger of losing his roster spot, but precious snaps will be at stake for whoever emerges.
CB — Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Davon House, Jarrett Bush, Jumal Rolle, Demetri Goodson, Antonio Dennard, Ryan White.
Another deep group, especially if we get the Williams we got at the end of 2013. Hayward is coming back, Goodson is a wild card and Hyde has a year under his belt. Let’s play.
Key training camp battle: Hayward vs. Hyde. I’m sure Dom Capers will find ways to make sure both players get on the field, but there will still be a battle between these two to play in the slot.
S — Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Sean Richardson, Chris Banjo.
It can’t get any worse, can it?
Key training camp battle: Richardson vs. Banjo vs. someone not yet on the roster or Hyde. The Packers have to bring in another safety to make the battle for the No. 3 job a three-way dance, right? Or does Hyde take snaps at safety?
K — Mason Crosby.
P — Tim Masthay.
LS — Brett Goode.
Will we get the Crosby of 2013 or the Crosby of 2012? Flip a coin, but it’ll probably be something in-between.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- Since the Packers are typically one of the most injured teams in the NFL, I thought it might make sense to compile the injury history of each Packers 2014 draft choice into one spot. Here’s what I came up with. Am I missing any injuries to any of the Packers new players?
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Missed a month after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered in the Iron Bowl loss late in the 2013-14 season to Auburn. Returned in time to play in Alabama’s January bowl game.
Never missed a game due to injury.
Missed final game of career with an undisclosed injury.
Missed one game in 2012 with a sprained foot. Missed one game with a thumb injury in 2013. Limited in spring practice with a shoulder injury suffered during the 2012 season.
I couldn’t find much about Bradford’s injury history. Either he’s been perfectly healthy, or I didn’t look in the right places. Feel free to post in the comments section if Bradford missed any games.
Played all of 2012 with a foot injury that required surgery following the season. Missed both preseason camps in 2013 as he recovered from the foot surgery.
Missed all of one game and part of another with a concussion in 2012. Some reports indicate Abbrederis may have suffered three or four concussions in college. He says he only had one, and it wasn’t that bad. Abbrederis left a game against Northwestern in 2013 with a head injury. Left a game in 2013 against Iowa with a rib injury. Abbrederis also missed the senior bowl after suffering a hamstring injury in practice.
Missed the last eight games with an ankle injury in 2011. Broke his arm and played in just four games in 2012. Missed two games in 2013 with another arm injury.
Didn’t miss a game in college. Did suffer a minor ankle sprain during Senior Bowl practices.
- John Rehor at Packerstalk.com wonders if expectations are too high for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Given the Packers recent run of injured and ineffective first round picks — Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry and Datone Jones — I hope we don’t set the bar too high for Dix.
- The Packers gave Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla a tryout. Here’s a Q&A with the troubled but talented player over at Cheesehead TV.
- Michelle Noyer-Granacki consistently turns out excellent Packers content over at BleacherReport.com. In this piece, she lays out how the Packers bolstered the receiving corp on the cheap using multiple draft picks. Remember, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are unrestricted free agents this offseason.
- I’ve never been into jersey numbers, but a lot of people are. If you are one of those people, be sure to check this out from Acme Packing Co. on the history of Packers draft picks and jersey numbers.
- Opening day vs. Seattle is a long ways away, but his peek at Aaron Rodgers vs. Richard Sherman from LombardiAve.com will make you wish the game was happening tomorrow.
- Our own Kris Burke says the time is now for Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers to finally turn the defense around.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
- When you hear about political correctness run amok, this should be Exhibit A.
- Is there any way to cut down on the number of promising young MLB pitchers who blow out their arms?
- There are some really dumb things in this piece. Yes, after having a kid it’s tougher to get together with friends or do the things you used to do, pre-kid. But it’s not as dire as this piece makes it out to be. With a little bit of effort, you can still maintain a pretty solid balance of being a parent, homebody, friend, and person who enjoys having fun outside of the home/family environment.