Category Archives: John Kuhn

4

May

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

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

I finally got around to watching “Last Day at Lambeau, the excellent film that chronicles Brett Favre’s painful separation from the Packers. Even though I am probably the last Packers fan on Earth to see it, it still brought back all the memories I thought it would, plus a few more.

There are many things we will never know about the Favre soap opera, but there is one thing in particular I wish I had the answer to: Why didn’t the Packers just trade Favre to the Vikings? I kept asking myself that question as the drama unfolded in real-time back in 2008, and while I was watching “Last Day at Lambeau.”

Apparently the Packers didn’t want to trade Favre within the division, especially to a division rival like the Vikings. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Ted Thompson should have been sitting by the phone, rubbing his hands together and sneering like Mr. Burns on The Simpsons while he waited for the Vikings to call.

It was obvious the Vikings wanted Favre, so much so that they broke league rules and tampered to try and make it happen. The Vikings are the same franchise that traded a billion draft picks for Herschel Walker. It’s also the franchise with a fanbase that hates the Packers more than they love their own team, and would enjoy nothing more than to get Favre on their team simply out of spite.

The Vikings were a team desperate for a quarterback, and drooling at the possibility of that quarterback being Brett Favre.

The Packers ended up trading Favre to the New York Jets for a measly conditional draft pick, which ended up being a third-rounder. Ted Thompson had no leverage in dealing Favre, except with one team: the Vikings. Who knows what Thompson could have extracted out of the Vikings for Favre. One first round pick? Two first round picks? A first and a third? We’ll never know.

The “you can’t trade him within the division, especially to the Vikings” theory doesn’t fly with me. Why? Because if you didn’t think Favre was good enough to help the Packers win a Super Bowl, why would he be good enough to help the Vikings win a Super Bowl?

Why not try and get the upper-hand on your rival by fleecing them in a Favre trade?

---- Get AddToAny
27

April

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

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

The Packers 2014 schedule was released on Wednesday and it contains five night games. If the Packers have another successful season, odds are another night game or two could happen due to flex scheduling.

Night games are a good thing in my situation. My son is going to turn 1 year old in early October, so I’ll have to watch Packers games with one eye while making sure my boy isn’t putting his fingers in a light socket or trying to open the front door and run out into the middle of an intersection.

Night games mean my son should be sleeping before kickoff. So that gives me five games where I shouldn’t have to worry about him tumbling down the stairs or eating the dog’s food while I yell at my TV about Mike McCarthy calling a John Kuhn fullback dive on an important 4th and 1.

Five night games also might not be a bad thing for the Packers. After the Thursday night season opener, Green Bay gets a 10-day mini bye to savor a victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. Then again, if the Packers lose, it means a week-and-a-half of doom and gloom from the more worrisome sector of the fanbase.

The schedule is fun to talk about now for a couple of reasons: 1) There’s literally nothing else in the NFL world to talk about; and 2) we can begin making plans around Packers games. Throwback Weekend is set for Oct. 18-19 when the Packers play Carolina. Speculation has started about when and if the Packers might retire Brett Favre’s number (Thursday night against the Vikings? Sunday night against the Bears?). Now is the time to try and wriggle out of boring weekend family functions that might interfere with watching the Packers.

But ultimately, while schedule-talk is a fun time filler as we go nuts waiting for the NFL draft that seems like it will never get here, it’s meaningless. We already knew the Packers’ opponents. Does it matter all that much when they play them? It does for our personal plans, but that’s about it.

I can remember talking last April and May (and June, and July and August) about how difficult the Packers 2013 schedule was. You had Washington and RGIII in week two, at the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens in week five, at the always-tough-to-beat Giants in week 10, the perennial contending Falcons in week 13 and the Steelers in week 16.

3

April

Packers Re-Sign Kuhn

John Kuhn

The Packers return John Kuhn on a one-year deal

Fullback and Green Bay Packers cult hero John Kuhn is returning to the team in 2014.  Kuhn has agreed to a one-year deal worth just over $1 million with incentives included.

Kuhn has been with the Packers since 2007 and has become one of the stable veterans on a perpetually young roster.  While Kuhn reportedly had some conversations with other teams, Green Bay seems to be the best fit for him over anywhere else.

Similar to quarterback Matt Flynn, Kuhn flourishes in the Packers offense where he is needed and seems to max out his value potential.

Case in point is last season’s week 17 season finale against the Chicago Bears, when it was Kuhn’s block on defensive end Julius Peppers that allowed Aaron Rodgers to escape the pocket and find receiver Randall Cobb downfield for the go-ahead and game-winning score.  That win helped the Packers secure their third straight NFC North division title.  Now that Peppers is with the Packers, the two can likely share a laugh or two over that monumental play.

The fullback position has changed quite a bit in the NFL overall.  Gone are the days of the I-formation and the need for a bruising fullback to pave the way for the tail back.  With running backs becoming bigger and more versatile and athletic, the traditional fullback is a dying breed.  Green Bay’s offense is no exception.  With the addition of Eddie Lacy in last year’s draft, Kuhn had just 10 rushing attempts in 2013.  In 2010, Kuhn had his career high in carries with 84, mostly due to injuries to other running backs at the time.

Still, keeping Kuhn is valuable for depth purposes and also insurance that there is a wily veteran that can come in on passing downs and help keep Rodgers on his feet.  Kuhn is said to be a great presence in the team’s locker room and will surely assist in bringing the young running backs along as they mature in their early careers.

Of the current Packers backs other than Kuhn, James Starks is the most senior member with four seasons under his belt.  DuJuan Harris, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin and Michael Hill all have just one season to their credit.  Harris was with the team last year but did not play after being placed on season-ending injured reserve during training camp.

31

March

Xs and Os: Introduction to the Packers Running Game

Packers running back was a Pro Bowler and Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Packers running back Eddie Lacy was a Pro Bowler and Offensive Rookie of the Year during 2013-2014.

We’ve heard a lot about the Packers’ run blocking schemes for several years. With the emergence of running back Eddie Lacy, we began to become even more obsessed with them.

The oft-maligned zone blocking scheme (ZBS) suddenly became everyone’s favorite while Lacy was running his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year.

However, the Packers are not strictly a ZBS team. They run multiple looks and concepts, but it just so happens that their bread and butter running play is out of a ZBS concept.

So, let’s take a look at a few of the most common running plays we can expect to see from Eddie Lacy and company.

Disclaimer 1: I have never seen Mike McCarthy’s playbook. All of my conclusions are from watching video. I could be wrong on interpreting his keys.

Disclaimer 2: This is an oversimplification for illustrative purposes only. Different defensive fronts and offensive formations will change the keys. Sight adjustments are too complex for one blog post.

Alright, let’s first inspect a few of the ZBS looks.

Basics of ZBS: Offensive linemen move in a slanting direction with the goal of moving the defensive line. Their job is to get in between their blocking assignment and the sideline. They value making lanes for the running back to choose over opening one specific hole.

21 Inside Zone Strong: This is the Packers’ main running play. It is from the 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE) and the running back chooses a cutback lane on the strong side (TE) of the formation.

Slide1

In this play the offensive line slants to the strong side. The center and back side guard double team the nose tackle, and the running back picks his preferred lane.

While most of the blockers slant to a single defender, whether on the line of scrimmage or off, the center and back side guard work in tandem in their combo block, but also key the Mike linebacker who is originally uncovered.

Slide2

At the snap of the ball, the guard blocks the inside hip (belt buckle region) of the nose tackle and the center aims for the outside hip. Once the guard has control, the center advances to the next level and cuts off the Mike linebacker before the running back arrives.

25

March

John Kuhn’s time is up in Green Bay

John Kuhn has been a Packers fan favorite for years. But now, it's time for the team to move on.

John Kuhn has been a Packers fan favorite for years. But now, it’s time for the team to move on.

He’s got his own cheer and he’s been one of the Packers’ favorites for years.

But why in the world are the Packers tinkering with bringing back the eight-year fullback John Kuhn.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a performance or chemistry issue. Kuhn has done everything that’s been asked of him since he came to Green Bay in 2007.

However, his role has shrunk significantly since 2010 to the point that last year it was razor thin with just 10 carries. And even when he’s not getting the ball, he isn’t on the field nearly as much as he used to be.

The reason isn’t because fans are tired of belting out “Kuuuuuuhn” every time he gets the rock. But because the Packers have a guy named Eddie Lacy that runs people over by himself — rendering the fullback position useless.

Kuhn has been an outstanding teammate. You’ve never heard that the Shippensburg product was a locker room problem. And the reason the undrafted free agent is so adored by the Packers fans is because he exemplifies everything they all strive to achieve. Things like beating the odds, never giving up, living out your passion and always outworking the other guy.

Kuhn earned himself a Pro Bowl trip and more importantly helped the Packers win a Super Bowl.

Obviously, it’s never easy saying goodbye to someone that not just fellow teammates look up to but fans from around the league look up to as well.

But it’s time for the Packers to move on.

——————

Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

——————

21

February

John Kuhn Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

John Kuhn

John Kuhn

1) Introduction:  Green Bay Packers running back John Kuhn is one of only four current Packers players to have played for another NFL team (Ryan Pickett, St. Louis Rams, Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Khalil Bell, Chicago Bears).  Kuhn has been a steady presence in the Packers backfield for the past seven seasons and is one of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ personal favorites on the team.  Kuhn proved very valuable to the Packers in 2013 and has a good chance to be back next season.

2) Profile:

John Allen Kuhn

  • Age: 31
  • Born: 9/9/1982 in Dover, PA
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 250
  • College: Shippensburg
  • Rookie Year: 2006
  • NFL Experience: 8 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  With a crowded backfield and two rookie draft picks entering training camp, Kuhn’s status on the team was unknown.  With all of that youth came the need for a mentor and steady rock in the backfield and hence, Kuhn remained a Packer.  His role was limited to pass protection and lead blocking moreso than carrying the ball.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: One of the reasons the Packers kept Kuhn was for his football intelligence.  Rarely a mental blunder does Kuhn make.  He did have one in particular that he would surely like to forget back in week six against the Baltimore Ravens.  The Packers blocked a punt and in an attempt to recover the ball, Kuhn took a half-hearted swipe at it and allowed a Ravens player to pounce on it and keep a drive alive.  Fortunately the Packers won that game and it didn’t become an infamous mistake.  Kuhn scored his only touchdown of the regular season against his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers (after which he attempted one of the worst Lambeau Leaps we will likely ever see).  But Kuhn’s biggest highlight of the season came in week 17 late in the game against the Chicago Bears.  On a fourth down play and with the Packers trailing, Kuhn alertly slid over to pick up a free running Bears defensive end Julius Peppers and allowed Rodgers to move out and heave the go-ahead touchdown bomb to Randall Cobb.  That play is the epitome of Kuhn’s career and role in Green Bay:  unsung hero.

22

January

Packers Free Agents: Top 10 to Re-Sign

Sam Shields is only the second most important UFA the Packers need to re-sign. Who's number one?

Sam Shields is only the second most important UFA the Packers need to re-sign. Who’s number one?

A couple weeks ago, our own Adam Czech took a look at the Green Bay Packers players hitting free agency this offseason.  Of the 19 offensive and defensive players, 16 are unrestricted and 3 are restricted. What I’ve done below is made a list of the top ten unrestricted players Ted Thompson should consider re-signing. They are listed in descending order of importance.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the ranking? Is there someone you would add or replace? Comment below!

 

10. Ryan Pickett

This could be the first year where Pickett’s age has been noticeable. The “Big Grease” has never been a flashy player, and he’s a true two-gap guy, but even in that role he saw some decline. Pickett could still be useful as a veteran leader and run-stuffer; there’s just not much more than that. If he returns, it shouldn’t be at a price anywhere near his last contract.

9. Matt Flynn

It seems like Matt Flynn is destined to be the back-up to Aaron Rodgers for the majority of his career. He got his payday in Seattle, never really saw the field as a starter, and eventually ended up back in Green Bay. The Packers have Scott Tolzien as a project this offseason, but wouldn’t they want to avoid the mess of a situation they had this year and sign Flynn as insurance?

8. B.J. Raji

This guy is going to be the biggest free agent storyline for the Packers. His performance doesn’t command a big contract, but his draft position does. It will all depend on the market, and I have a feeling Ted Thompson will let him test it. Still, if the price is right, it would be foolish for the Packers not to bring him back on board.

7. James Jones

Yes, James Jones can be considered “replaceable.” But this is the same guy who caught 14 touchdown passes for the Packers in 2012. In 2013, he was second in most statistical categories only to Jordy Nelson, and the only player who had fewer drops than him was Randall Cobb. (And Cobb was out most of the season.) James Jones didn’t get much from the market the last time he was a free agent, and he probably see less interest now that he’s hitting 30.