Category Archives: Jeremy Ross

21

May

Packing The Stats: What Makes a Returner?

Packing the StatsWith the selection of Jared Abbrederis by the Packers in the 5th round, fans all over Wisconsin gushed that one of their own was finally picked by the Packers.  Fans were quick to heap praise on Abbreferis’ try hard attitude, underdog story and “little engine that could” mentality.  Others however questioned the logic, Abbrederis was going into a loaded position and doesn’t have the physical tools to really contribute right away.  How about as a returner?

Lacks elusiveness and is a straight line athlete. He will catch the ball and get some yards (what its blocked for) but he won’t be a good returner that can make plays, just a guy that won’t make mistakes. If your ok w/ that from a return man that’s up to you. I prefer a little more.  - Stroh 2014/05/10 17:51

Challenge accepted!  I think the question before addressing whether Abbrederis could be a good returner for the Packers is first to look at what kind of players the Packers typically like.  I would argue that the Packers do not seem to be very fond of speed/jitter-bug returners that are currently in vogue like Dexter McCluster, Quintin Demps, Trindon Holliday, Tavon Austin etc (interestingly not many of these types of players did all that well in returning last year).  Randall Cobb might be the closest player to that mold, but I would argue that Cobb had a much better and diverse skill set than any of the players I just listed.  What I decided to compare combine/pro day results of notable Packers returners from 2008-2013 to the top ranked returners from the 2013 season based on ProFootballFocus metrics (I excluded some players who had incomplete combine/pro day numbers to make analysis a little more straight forward).

The combine/pro day drills I chose to look at were the 40 yard days, which measures straight line speed, the 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone, which measures agility/flexibility and finally the broad and vertical jumps, which measure acceleration.  I didn’t analyze bench press for instance because I felt it was largely irrelevant to being a good returner, who typically don’t block or tackle anyone.

Workbook1

 

Data 1

Data 2

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30

November

Packers Stock Report: Time to Prepare for the NFL Draft Edition

Not even a mustachioed Aaron Rodgers would have saved the Packers on Thanksgiving.

Would Aaron Rodgers even be able to save this Packers team?

The former MVP can cover up a lot of blemishes, but I don’t think even he could patch up the festering wound that is 2013 Green Bay Packers.

The Packers can’t tackle, cover the middle of the field, prevent big plays, get off the field on third down, contain the run, pass block, pass, or stop Jeremy Freaking Ross on special teams.

Yeah, I know. If Rodgers turns just one of the Lions turnovers into a touchdown and a two-score lead in the first half, the entire game changes.

But even if he did that, the Packers defense was so overmatched that I don’t think it would have mattered.

I could go on and on wondering if having Rodgers would have mattered on Thanksgiving, but it’s a pointless exercise. At this point, Packers fans are better off just preparing for the NFL draft in April.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Nobody.

Steady

Sam Shields
Shields had absolutely no chance stopping the slant to Calvin Johnson, but neither does anyone else when they’re lined up one-on-one against one of the best receivers of all time. When Johnson and Matthew Stafford challenged Shields down the field, the free-agent-to-be stood strong and even out-battled Johnson for an interception in the end zone.

Clay Matthews
We haven’t seen him dominate a game for four quarters since returning from a broken thumb, but he’s making something happen every now and then.

Josh Sitton
Kudos to Sitton for calling the Lions a bunch of names before the game. Extra kudos to Sitton for standing behind what he said after the game. I never understand why we ask athletes questions, then get mad when they either a) give an honest answer like Sitton did or b) recite some mind-numbingly boring cliche. I’ll take open and honest over boring and cliched any day.

Mason Crosby
No offense to Crosby, but I’m sick of seeing him in the rising or steady categories. When a kicker or punter ends up in one of these categories, it means there aren’t many offensive or defensive players playing well.

27

November

Packers Periscope: Thanksgiving Edition vs. Lions

The Past: Last time these two teams met was punctuated by All Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, namely because he was absent from the game; the Lions did a fantastic job covering, deflecting and obfuscating Johnson’s knee injury up to the point that it was pretty evident that the Packers defense thew out their defensive plan right before kick off because many defensive players looked little confused as to what their new roles would be.

But the Lions offense was also left scrambling with quarterback Matthew Stafford doing his best impersonation of Aaron Rodgers, spreading out the ball to 8 different receivers for 262 yards and 1 touchdown, going 25 out of 40 but lacked the big play potential, something that’s almost unheard of since the Stafford-Johnson connection came into being.  Also without Johnson spreading out the defense, Reggie Bush found little room to run, only getting 44 yards on 13 attempts.

The Packers on the other hand were consistent but not flashy; Rodgers passed for 274 yards and one beautiful 83 yard bomb to James Jones while Eddie Lacy just missed out on his first 100 yard game of his career with 99 yards on 23 attempts.  On defense, the Packers managed to record 5 sacks, including 2 from Nick Perry, however Clay Matthews’ 1 sack also resulted in a Bennett fracture to his hand, which he still has to wear a cast for.

Overall, this game wasn’t the typical aerial bombing that has typically characterized Packers-Lions games recently, the Packers hadn’t really found their new balanced identity while the Lions were naturally adjusting to life without Calvin Johnson and it was the much maligned Mason Crosby whostole show, going 5 for 5 with a long completion of 52 yards.  In a game where only two touchdowns were scored by both teams, Crosby’s field goals were the difference.

The Present: The Lions are still perhaps the most inconsistent team in the NFL; they have the talent to easily win the NFC North but can’t get out of their own way when it comes to success.  Last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have taken over the Lions as the most mismanaged franchise in the NFL (owner siphoning funds for his “other” football team, the MRSA debacle, the mismanagement of Josh Freeman, “going for it” on knee downs etc.) the Lions gave up the opportunity to essentially win the NFC North crown and instead turned the ball over 5 times, including 4 interceptions by Matthew Stafford.  Guess who gave up the other turnover?  None other than former Packers return man Jeremy Ross who luckily didn’t cost his team any points when he fumbled the ball out of bounds.

23

September

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 30, Bengals 34

Aaron Rodgers vs. BengalsOverall, lots of bad but a couple of good things showed up in the Packers loss to the Bengals.  On one hand, we haven’t seen a game as messy as this one since maybe the 18 penalty, 2 turnover night against the Bears in 2010.  Aaron Rodgers looked a little lost amongst all the new faces making an appearance due to injuries and the Packers didn’t look as sharp as they normally did, though having to put a wide reciever/returner at running back is probably as desperate as I’ve ever seen the Packers get.  On the bright side, the Packers look like they may have another viable running back in Johnathan Franklin and the defense was for once the strength of the team.  In fact everything was flipped today; the running game was brutally effective while the passing game was wildly inconsistent and the defense was the reason the Packers stayed in the game while the offense basically blew a huge lead late in the game.

Game Balls

Johnathan Franklin: Give credit where credit is due; many fans had written Franklin off as dead after a dismal showing in the preseason and not seeing the field even in a blowout win against the Redskins last week.  Ironically, that paid big dividends as the Bengals were obviously caught with their pants down in coping with the shiftiness and wiggle of Franklin on stretch plays.  I also don’t really fault Franklin for the failed conversion, if it wasn’t for the fact that Kuhn, Starks, Harris and Lacy were all injured, Franklin would never have been called to make the play, he’s simply not that kind of back (you can fault him for fumbling the ball though).  Personally, I think teams now see what the Packers have in Franklin and I doubt the holes will be as open as they were against the Bengals, but what is perhaps more important is that Franklin does possess the physical capability to be a running back in the NFL, something that wasn’t certain coming into the season.  Franklin still has a ton of work to do on pass protection and running between the tackles, and I don’t see him really being a preferred option at running back this year, but will probably be a force to reckoned with next year when things start to click for him.

18

September

Packers Stock Report: Flashback to 2011 Edition

Only this end zone pylon slowed down Packers WR James Jones on Sunday.

Anyone else have flashbacks to 2011 as the Packers cruised to an easy win over the Redskins on Sunday?

The lasers from Aaron Rodgers. Jordy, Randall, James and Jermichael making tacklers look like fools after the catch. The defense forcing a couple of turnovers. Sloppy tackling from the Packers defense. Not quite delivering the knockout punch.

Even though many of the players are different, the sentences in the previous paragraph would have summarized a lot of the Packers’ 15 wins during the 2011 season. The Packers aren’t about to rattle off 14 straight wins and repeat their run from 2011, but the overall stock of this team is rising right now.

Let’s take a closer look at exactly why that is:

Rising

James Jones
You could easily put Nelson and Cobb in the rising category as well, but they were risers last week and investors snatched up all the available shares. Investors who bought low on Jones — shutout in the season opener — are cashing in big time after his 11-catch game against Washington. The only thing that stopped Jones on Sunday was a fumble-inducing end zone pylon (hat tip to whomever I stole that joke from on Twitter).

Aaron Rodgers
I hate putting Rodgers in the rising category because it’s just assumed that the best QB in the world belongs in the rising category every week. After a game like the one Rodgers had on Sunday, though, he deserves to have someone physically take the time to type his name in the rising category. Rodgers obviously decided to take a couple of sacks early in the game just to make things a little more challenging for himself. That didn’t even slow him down.

Ryan Pickett
Now Big Grease is swatting down passes while filling gaps and squashing running backs. Nasty.

Steady

Mike Neal
I was a serious doubter about the Mike Neal at LB experiment, but I’m starting to come around. He can move a little better than I thought and he’s tough to get off the edge against the run. Raise your hand if you predicted that Neal would drop into coverage and get an interception sometime this season? Those of you that raised your hands, go sit in the corner and take a timeout for lying.

8

September

Packers vs. 49ers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: SF 34 GB 28

Matthews late hit on Kaepernick

Matthews late hit on Kaepernick – (Getty images)

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers:  2013 Game 1

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

 

GAME NOTES:

All eyes (or at least these) will be on the Packers offensive line. Can they keep the 49ers away from Aaron Rodgers or create some running lanes for Eddie Lacy? They are my key to the game on the field.

Off the field, Mike McCarthy has to show he and his coordinators can hang with Harbaugh and his guys. MM had his lunch absolutely handed to him by Harbaugh twice last season. Let’s see what you have, Mike.

Of the two players listed as “questionable,” Morgan Burnett is out and Brad Jones is in. Would gladly reverse those two…

 

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
29 CB Casey Hayward
42 S Morgan Burnett
51 LB Nate Palmer
58 LB Sam Barrington
65 G Lane Taylor
86 TE Brandon Bostick
93 DE Josh Boyd

With Burnett out, 22 S Jerron McMillian and 43 S M.D. Jennings will be the two starting safeties.

San Francisco 49ers
5 QB B.J. Daniels
13 WR Chris Harper
23 RB LaMichael James
48 FB/DT Will Tukuafu
56 LB Nate Stupar
78 G Joe Looney
84 WR Jon Baldwin

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Camp: I feel like we were able to get through a lot of different concepts and packages.

Happy with young players: It’s about a football game, about the 46 we’re going to dress, it’s going to be emotional and chippy, we have to stay above that stuff.

How long to have a fee of your team: If you have the same group lining up every game, you know by the first quarter of the season who you are.

injutries: Morgan unfortuante thing that popped up late in the week, casey, Dr,. McKenzie hasn’t givenb us a timetable.

MD and McMillian – they’ve played a bunch in the preseason. Morgan has been our quarterback back there so they have to step up.

young players on OL: Well, I’m extrenmely confortable witrh them – they’re all starting today.

CK & read/optin: Colin is one of the young studs at the QB position. he can make the throws to every quadrant and of course, we’re aware of his mobility . Read/option will frankly be a non-issue today.

22

August

Micah Hyde and Jeremy Ross Battling For a Roster Spot?

Micah Hyde Training Camp

Is Packers CB Micah Hyde pushing WR Jeremy Ross out of a roster spot?

Green Bay Packers rookie cornerback Micah Hyde and second-year wide receiver Jeremy Ross could be battling for the same roster spot, despite holding two different positions on two different units. The one thing they do have in common, however, is that they’re both getting looks as punt returners on special teams. In fact, according to JSOnline’s Wednesday camp report, both Hyde and Ross will be returning “most if not all the punts against Seattle.”

Micah Hyde has been making a lot of splashes this preseason. He has taken full advantage of the injuries to Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward by making the most of his reps during practice and exhibition games. While he has a couple things to refine in coverage, he has shown great things as a blitzing defensive back. Overall, his praise has been well-earned. ProFootballFocus.com (PFF) even highlighted his performance against the St. Louis Rams last week: “Leading that group (of young corners), in spite of being involved in Chris Givens’ 57 yard reception, was 5th round pick Micah Hyde (+2.4) who outside of that catch surrendered only six yards on five targets. He also broke up two passes and registered four stops including a sack.”

As a punt returner, Hyde has had only a few opportunities to make an impact; however, his 13-yard (and only) return against the Rams was the longest by a Packers player so far this preseason. Head coach Mike McCarthy likes his ability to field balls, too. According to Rob Demovsky at ESPN’s NFC North Blog, McCarthy recalled a drill from rookie orientation camp: “Just to see (Hyde’s) ability to catch the ball on the run and do different things, hell, I was tempted to put him on offense. I think he has that type of ball-skill ability.”

With the cornerback group as deep as it is with Williams, Shields, House, and Hayward, it might take some extra duties for Hyde to really lock down a significant role on the roster.

Then there’s Jeremy Ross. Not too long ago, I wrote about Ross’ problems with ball security, but since that time there have been few reports about dropped catches. After Jonathan Franklin’s failure to field the third-quarter punt against St. Louis that resulted in a turnover (according to special teams coach Shawn Slocum), Ross has one fewer competitor to take the main job.