Category Archives: ESPN

16

July

Packers Speed Does Not Mean Packers Efficiency

One of these guys is going to lower the Packers offensive snap count.

One of these guys is going to lower the Packers offensive snap count.

Recently, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy stated in an interview with Rob Demovsky that he plans for the Packers to run 75 offensive plays on average per game.  While this might seem like a great idea consider the Packers have one of the most high flying and potentially dangerous offenses in the NFL, one only needs to take a step back to realize how trying to shoot for 75 offensive plays per game on average doesn’t necessarily mean you are winning nor does it mean that your offense will get better.

First off context is important when considering how many plays the offense gets to make on average.  On one hand, obviously converting 3rd downs and extending drives will increase the total number of plays on offense and picking up the tempo of the offense with no huddle and hurry up offenses are things the Packers have done regularly with Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers will also likely increase how many offensive plays the Packers get.

However it’s also important to realize that snap count can also be inversely proportional to Packers offensive efficiency; for instance if the Packers are comfortably in the lead and are grinding out the clock by running the ball 3 times and punting (I like how fans complain when the Packers run the ball 3 times and punt but also complain when the Packers throw the ball when killing the clock as well) their total number of offensive plays will naturally decrease simply because they are waiting until the last second to snap the ball.

Furthermore, teams that are behind tend to play faster because they know they have get more done in a faster amount of time.  While the Denver Broncos, who had the best offense in the NFL last season, did have the highest number of offensive plays per game at 72, teams that also had higher average offensive plays per game were Buffalo (70), Washington (69), Houston (68) and Cleveland (67).  I don’t think anyone would argue that any of these teams fielded a top flight offense last year and it’s likely that playing from behind increases your offensive plays as opposing defenses are also playing more “prevent”/soft defenses in order to kill the clock further.

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12

July

Cory’s Corner: Will teams Johnny Manziel-proof themselves?

Johnny Manziel made this social media post on a  recent trip to Las Vegas. If it affects his play remains to be seen.

Johnny Manziel made this social media post on a recent trip to Las Vegas. If it affects his play remains to be seen.

With the explosion of social media in the last few years, many think that sports teams will need to Johnny Manziel-proof themselves.

Or will they?

By now, everyone has caught a glimpse of Manziel’s mini-vacation photos he took in Las Vegas a few months ago. In it was the usual charade of Vegas: scantily clad women in a party atmosphere with Johnny and his friends.

Now I don’t think this is a big deal. Manziel hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL yet, and he decided to go to Vegas moments after he was issued the Browns playbook.

Yet I was surprised to see and hear about how many people were upset that he wasn’t at home cramming his brain with hot routes, silent counts and hand signals.

First of all, let the players fail before jumping all over them for a decision based on free time.

Taken a step further, what if said player was a veteran? Would Packers fans have a problem if Aaron Rodgers started filling up social media with himself partying in the offseason?

Football players live in a 24/7 media bubble that makes them feel like they are being suffocated. That’s why offensive linemen usually give the most candid quotes, because that group of hard workers hardly ever gets a microphone thrown in his personal space.

Obviously, athletes have to be a little bit more cautious with what they let the world to see. This isn’t high school where you can post a picture of something and only your close friends are going to see it.

But then again, I don’t think it’s fair for athletes to live as hermits. The reason Rodgers is so adored in Green Bay is because he is approachable. He is spotted in the grocery store, restaurants and doing other regular people things. But Packers fans, being in the smallest NFL town, are smart enough not to ruin every public appearance that he makes by splashing it up on social media every time.

What it all comes down to is filtering. Herm Edwards, the ESPN NFL analyst who is outspoken to a fault, had a brief talk at the NFL Rookie Symposium a few years ago. The main thing he said was, “Think twice before you hit send.”

28

May

How Much is Jermichael Finley Worth?

“In my mind he is a Green Bay Packer — hopefully, he is going through a tough medical situation. I think we all recognize that it was a serious injury. My understanding is he is doing everything and beyond to get himself ready. We’ll continue to watch that.” – Mike McCarthy, SiriusXM Radio

Well that’s interesting.  As most of you are quite aware, the Packers are a fairly conservative and tight lipped organization so Mike McCarthy actively wooing Jermichael Finley back might actually have some deeper meaning to it.  Add to that the Packers have reportedly left Finley’s locker room open during the offseason (which is a big deal since the roster limit is at 90 and some players are already have their lockers in a adjacent room) and it is starting to look like the Packers are doing the full court press to keep Finley in the Green and Gold.  But how much money would it take to keep Finley a Packer and how much would the Packers be willing to fork over?  On one hand Finley has the potential to be one of the best tight ends in the league but on the other he’s been wildly inconsistent and now has to worry about a neck injury that left him paralyzed on the field and a cervical fusion surgery that has a iffy prognosis for playing football again?  In the NFL, contracts are weighed by how they stack to other contracts at the position so its good to see what the tight end salary landscape. (contract values courtesy of Over the Cap).

Top 5 tight end average yearly salary – $7.604 million: Keep in mind this number is likely to skyrocket very soon because Jimmy Graham is currently the 5th highest paid tight end, but he’s on the tight end franchise tag at the moment and if arbitration rules in his favor this could rise to as much as $12.312 million; which is probably a moot point either way because the Saints are going to make him the highest paid tight end in the NFL at some point, eclipsing Rob Gronkowski’s $9 million dollar average.  There’s essentially no way that Finley is going to get anywhere near this range, while he has the physical tools to match the production of Gronkowski or Graham, he’s never actually done it and his neck injury was serious enough that no team was willing to take their chances on him during the offseason so far.   Players in this range are Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis and Jason Witten; obviously Gronk, Graham and Davis are better tight ends and Witten and Gates have been consistent enough producers to warrant their high price tag.

16

May

Packers Offer Try-Out to Colt Lyerla

Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky just tweeted a pic of the Packers rookie orientation with one surprising name.  One of the more interesting topics that hasn’t seen much news coverage is where former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla ended up and now we have an answer; namely Lyerla likely didn’t get single offer as a undrafted rookie free agent and now must fight for a spot as a try-out player with the Packers. He will wear #49o during the rookie orientation.

On the football field, there aren’t many tight ends that I enjoyed watching more before the draft; at 6’4″ and 242 lbs, Lyerla is perhaps even more physically gifted than Eric Ebron, the first tight end drafted with the 10th pick by the Lions who is often compared to Vernon Davis himself.  Lyerla tested through the roof at the combine, being among the leaders in the 40 yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump for tight ends.  Lyerla also offers an interesting blend athleticism with the speed to split safeties and outrun linebackers but also the strength to be an aggressive run blocker.  Lyerla also has versatility as a H-back/RB, logging in 7 rushing attempts for 63 yards and a touchdown against Arizona in 2013.  While Lyerla is definitely raw in regards to route running and technique as a receiver and blocker, the physical tools are definitely there in abundance to make a truly complete tight end.

Naturally, players with Lyerla’s physical attributes don’t usually fall out of the draft, let alone not get signed as a rookie free agent and unfortunately Lylera’s positives on the field are overshadowed by the negatives off the field.  First off, Lyerla left the Oregon in middle of the 2013 season for “personal reasons” and was later arrested for cocaine possession.  Furthermore, Lyerla had a very troubled childhood and is often described as prone to emotional outbursts and immaturity.  It should be mentioned that 6 out of 7 ALLGBP staff writers had Lyerla on their 2014 NFL DRAFT “FUBAR” Board (i.e. WOULD NOT DRAFT), however as a try out player who doesn’t even get a contract, this is still a very safe move for the Packers.

22

April

Cory’s Corner: Don’t underestimate Derek Carr

One of the first things that pops into people’s heads when talk turns to Derk Carr is his team’s schedule.

I thought Wichita State buried the schedule theory once and for all this past spring after becoming the first team to enter the NCAA men’s basketball tournament undefeated for the first time since 1991.

Derek Carr is rated as the seventh-best quarterback according to ESPN. He led the nation this year in total offense, passing yards, passing yards per game, passing touchdowns and completions per game.

Derek Carr is rated as the seventh-best quarterback according to ESPN. He led the nation this past year in total offense (5,199), passing yards (5,082), passing yards per game (390.9), passing touchdowns (50) and completions per game (34.85).

Don’t get me wrong, having a solid all-around schedule does help but it shouldn’t be what leads your resume. Production should.

And Carr has certainly been productive as a three-year starter for Fresno State. Carr has 25 school records and 21 Mountain West Conference records after capping off a senior campaign where he led the nation in passing yards (5,082) and passing touchdowns (50).

Carr is rated as the seventh-best quarterback in the NFL Draft according to ESPN, but what I like about Carr is how he moves the chains.

Consider that his average third-down percentage was 58 percent last year compared to his percentage on third down with 10 yards or more to go was 66 percent.

Carr’s career record of 24-15 may not look imposing. But then again, Carr wasn’t playing alongside future top NFL picks like quarterbacks that played at LSU, USC, Alabama and Notre Dame — all schools that recruited him. The last Bulldogs player to be taken in the first round was Ryan Mathews in 2010. Carr has started from 2011-2013 and the highest Fresno State player drafted in that span was the fourth round.

Another negative for Carr, fair or unfair, is that Carr’s brother David didn’t exactly have an enjoyable time in the NFL. In a six-year starting span he only tallied a 23-56 record. But a lot of that was because he played behind a sieve of an offensive line which propelled him to lead the league in number of times sacked in a season three times.

Carr says that he most admires Brett Favre because he never quits, which is why he proudly wears a No. 4 jersey. That never-say-die attitude is easy to spot in wins, but I was glad to see it in a loss. With Fresno State down by 18 with 4:46 left in the game to San Jose State this past year, Carr completed 6 of 10 passes and promptly led his Bulldogs to a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

21

April

Lattimore Remains Unsigned

Jamari Lattimore

Lattimore remains unsigned on the eve of Packers team workouts

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, Green Bay Packers linebacker Jamari Lattimore remains unsigned one day before the Packers will begin offseason workouts.  Without being signed, Lattimore won’t be permitted to join his teammates.

The Packers were not expected to tender Lattimore following the 2013 season, thereby making him an unrestricted free agent.  Instead in early March, the Packers did designate the original round tender on Lattimore.

Under the original round terms, Lattimore can sign an offer sheet with another team.  The Packers then have an opportunity to match those terms and keep Lattimore.  If they do not match another offer sheet, Green Bay would receive no compensation from the receiving team because Lattimore was originally an undrafted free agent back in 2011.

The current offer is for one year and $1.431 million for the 2014 season.

Lattimore filled in last season when starting inside linebacker Brad Jones was forced out with a hamstring injury.  In limited time, Lattimore was adequate and appeared to be making a case for more playing time.  After the 2013 season, there will still talk about whether Lattimore might push for a starting spot in 2014.

With the draft just over two weeks away and with much chatter about what the Packers could do to address the linebacker position, Lattimore’s unresolved contract will continue to hamper his prospects of moving up the depth chart.

In many instances and as former Packers Vice President Andrew Brandt has often said, deadlines spur action.  With the Packers starting to gather tomorrow, this could very well be a non-story soon.

 

 

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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16

April

Matthews Still Recovering From Injury

Clay Matthews

Matthews says he will be ready for training camp. The Packers hope he’s right.

A recent conversation between Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and USA Today’s Tom Pelissero revealed that Matthews is still not 100% healed from a repeat thumb injury suffered late in the 2013 season.  ESPN’s Rob Demovsky featured the conversation in a recent article at ESPN.com.

Matthews explained, in more detail, what happened with each injury and how doctors chose to address the second break in December.  Here is an excerpt:

“And unfortunately, on a sack of Roethlisberger, the tip of my thumb [hit] my teammate’s helmet. All that pressure went down the cast, broke it again. So then, to make it tighter, we took part of the tendon, turned it around, drilled some holes and they almost tied a knot through. It’s stronger than [the left one]. Now it’s super tight.”

The Packers defense is just not the same without Matthews on the field.  Since appearing in at least 15 games in his first three seasons, Matthews has missed 11 games over the past two years, including last season’s wild card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.  Had the Packers advanced and made a serious push for a Super Bowl appearance, Matthews may have returned and played.

It still bears mentioning that a player who plays with the type of intensity as Matthews does is likely to be more vulnerable to injury.  Although Matthews says he will be ready by training camp, everyone heals differently.  The thumb can be a tricky injury with all of the bones and tendons connected to both the hand, wrist and arm.

Matthews should be able to make a return but even if he does and based on averages, he will likely miss some time this upcoming season for whatever reason.  The Packers need to prepare accordingly at the outside linebacker position.  With a healthy Matthews and Nick Perry, the possibilities are many and scary for opposing offenses.  But the “healthy” part has not come easy in the two seasons that tandem has existed.  They have appeared together in just 14 games over those two years.