Category Archives: Packers Roster

27

June

2014 Packers Roster Analysis June 2014: Youth Will Be Served Again

packers roster I printed up a copy of the Green Bay Packers roster last Saturday, the 14th of June. After looking through the 90-man list I came up with a few information odds and ends that might interest their die-hard fans who don’t want to comb through and spend their time accumulating such mundane numbers. I confess I am a detail geek, which is part of having an anal personality. So let’s get on with it.

Did you realize:

The current roster contains only 6 players who are 30 or older. A few more will turn 30 between now and the end of the season, but not many my friends.

There are only 2 players with double digit years of playing experience on the roster. JULIUS PEPPERS, who you will get used to as DR PEPPERS in my writings, is entering his 13th NFL season, and AARON RODGERS who is about to start season 10. My how the time does fly. I certainly realized RODGERS sat some seasons while getting ready to replace FAVRE, but a 10-year vet already?! No wonder I feel old most days. As another aside it should be noted that RODGERS is still only 30, turning 31 late in the upcoming season.

In keeping with the age/experience theme I will also note that of the 90 current roster members, 27 are Rookies and 26 are entering their second NFL seasons. I should point out that I consider these 1-year vet listings as second year guys, because that’s how long most have been out of college. That means that 53 out of 90 players (59%) have been in the League less than 2 years.

Most of the above numbers are far from the NFL average for age and experience, especially on a perennial Play-Off team like the PACKERS. During the TED THOMPSON regime the roster has been one of the 5 youngest teams around every season, once the SHERMAN era roster purge was completed. They have ranked youngest overall on multiple occasions.

As any good PACKERS fan realizes, the team also prides itself on acquiring and keeping their own players. No change in that regard this year. I count 71 of the 90 players on the present roster as having been originally signed or drafted by the PACK. MATT FLYNN/QB was their draft pick, went away and came back, so he counts. And a few current players like AARON ADAMS/OT, CHRIS BANJO/S, JARRETT BOYKIN/WR and others never played a down for another team, but did originally sign elsewhere. They aren’t even included in this count.

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16

May

Cory’s Corner: NFC North is ganging up to stop Packers

Kyle Fuller (17) was one of the best cornerbacks in the draft and the Bears took him 14th overall.

Kyle Fuller (17) was the second cornerback off the board, taken 14th overall by the Bears.

Taking a peek at the rest of the draft picks in the NFC North, it’s apparent where the priorities lie.

Of the Packers nine picks, four of them were offensive skill players. Green Bay went with defense to open up the draft but then quickly reloaded Aaron Rodgers with capable weapons.

While Green Bay’s defense wasn’t exactly dynamite last year, the addition of Julius Peppers is going to change the pass rush and pass coverage.

The Bears knew exactly which way they had to go after suffering through the humiliating 48-yard Rodgers bomb to Randall Cobb — defense. And that’s exactly what Chicago did. The Bears only picked two offensive skill positions and they waited until the fourth round to pick their first one.

While everyone was dogging Detroit for making the questionable first round selection of tight Eric Ebron, the Lions responded after that. They addressed their defensive and offensive lines, secondary and linebacking corps. Just like Chicago, Detroit only picked two offensive skill positions.

That brings me to the worst team in the NFC North last year. The Vikings have a lot of holes — namely at quarterback. But after taking Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the first round, Minnesota only took one more offensive skill position but really stressed its pass rush after losing Jared Allen to Chicago.

So what does this all mean? Everyone, as they should, respects the heck out of the Packers’ offense. They are sick and tired of watching Eddie Lacy run through them and Rodgers pass over them.

Which is why it’s pretty comical that when the other teams in the division collectively loaded up to stop the formidable Green Bay offense, the Packers simply shrug and add even more offense.

And that is why Ted Thompson will always keep you guessing. You may think you have an idea of what direction he is going to go, but he was throwing curveballs for two days — after the obvious Ha Ha Clinton-Dix pick to kick things off.

Obviously the X-factor is Peppers. Without acquiring Peppers prior to the draft, Thompson would have likely beefed up the defensive line or probably traded up to make sure that Ryan Shazier or C.J. Mosley secured the defensive front seven.

13

May

Cory Corner: It’s not sexy but Ted Thompson got the job done

In Ted Thompson's 10th NFL Draft as the general manager for the Packers, he got great value out his middle and late round picks.

In Ted Thompson’s 10th NFL Draft as the general manager for the Packers, he got great value out his middle and late round picks.

The more I look at Ted Thompson’s nine draft picks the more impressed I am with his middle to late-round selections.

Take Carl Bradford. The Arizona State linebacker will be a coach’s dream because you know he’s not going to cheat himself and take a play off. He may not succeed in the NFL because of shorter arms, but it won’t be because of heart.

Or how about Jared Abbrederis? I know he had concussions as a wide receiver at Wisconsin but what stood out to me was how well he manhandled Bradley Roby, who was taken 31st overall, at Ohio State this past season. I could easily see Abbrederis as a precision receiver like Wes Welker. Could he have an NFL career like Welkers? Perhaps, but he needs to add some upper body strength so he can separate easier.

Finally there’s Jeff Janis. He’s the epitome of overachiever. He’s the Division II standout that runs like lightning and makes highlight-reel grabs. The biggest question will be if his small-school success can translate to the NFL stage.

I like what Thompson did this year. And it’s not because he addressed needs or added the all-important depth.

It’s because Thompson gave the Packers a huge boost of hope. The Packers have a legitimate shot to win their fourth straight NFC North title and go deep in the playoffs. I would argue that they don’t have the best offensive weapons in the NFC, that honor goes to Chicago, but they have the best quarterback in the league and the defensive front seven is going to be much, much better.

There aren’t a lot of Thompson fans because he rarely attacks the free agent market. The Packers have advanced to the playoffs seven of the last eight years. That kind of production is hard to argue with.

Now Thompson and his scouting team hand off the picks to Mike McCarthy and his staff. Perhaps the two biggest coaching jobs will be third round tight end Richard Rodgers and sixth round cornerback Demetri Goodson. Rodgers started as a wide receiver before being shifted to tight end and Goodson started off his college athletic career playing basketball.

11

May

Cory’s Corner: Jared Abbrederis steals Day 3 for Packers

Jared Abbrederis was a first team All-Big Ten pick, despite playing in a run-first offense.

Jared Abbrederis was a first team All-Big Ten pick, despite playing in a run-first offense.

This draft was hailed as one of the best wide receiving crops ever.

And the Packers proved why on Saturday by getting Jared Abbrederis with the 176th overall pick.

Abbrederis was a first team All-Big Ten selection the last two years — and the most amazing thing is that he did it despite catching passes from an inefficient and inaccurate quarterback. He also didn’t have a legit No. 2 complementary receiver the last two years, but he continued to get better even though defenses were clearly zeroing in on stopping him, and him only, in the passing game.

So how does a wiry kid with Wisconsin roots end up getting better each year in college? The easy answer is that he runs routes very well, which he does run with surgeon-like precision. But the reason he is amazing in the passing game is because he understands the process having won a state title as an option quarterback in high school. He also was a quarterback on the scout team at Wisconsin.

He may be a receiver but he scans the field like a quarterback. He looks to see what the defense is going to allow and then he just attacks it with his crisp route running.

Abbrederis went to Wisconsin with the intention of running track. After asking a football coach if he could walk-on, he was able to get his foot in the door and he hasn’t looked back since.

It’s an excellent pick and not just because he grew up about 85 miles from the Lambeau Field steps. It’s because he has a high football IQ and isn’t afraid to prove people wrong.

Jared Abbrederis: A+

 

Carl Bradford is never light on intensity.

Carl Bradford is never light on intensity.

The Packers already have one heat-seeking ball hawk at outside linebacker.

They just got another one with the 121st overall pick in Carl Bradford. Now, I’m not even saying that Bradford is in Clay Matthews’ stratosphere for talent but he is in the same zip code for intensity. And that’s saying something, because we all know how hard Mathews plays.

6

May

Cory’s Corner: Ted Thompson averages a draft whiff a year

Packers general manager Ted Thompson selected future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers with his first pick as the Green Bay GM.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson selected future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers with his first pick as the Green Bay GM.

This will be Ted Thompson’s 10th NFL Draft as the Packers general manager. He has been arguably the biggest lightning rod for criticism over the years.

There is inherent value in every round of the draft, but the most consistent value lies in rounds 1-3, which is where I also focus my attention.

Thompson did a masterful job early on. When you land a guy like Aaron Rodgers as your first pick to begin your new job, things are looking pretty good. He added safety Nick Collins and wide receiver Terrence Murphy, who were both forced to leave pro football early after suffering neck injuries.

The next year, Thompson did another excellent job by adding fifth overall pick in linebacker A.J. Hawk, second rounders in guard Daryn Colledge and wide receiver Greg Jennings and third round guard Jason Spitz. The only guy that was a question mark was third round linebacker Abdul Hodge because injuries forced him to only start one game in four NFL seasons.

But after hitting so many home runs in his first two seasons, Thompson was due for some whiffs. And that’s exactly what happened in 2007. Justin Harrell, arguably the worst pick of Thompson’s career, started just two of 14 games in his three-year career. It was a little head scratching that the Packers even used a first round pick on Harrell, who entered the league hurt after tearing his biceps at Tennessee.

Brandon Jackson is another strikeout. The former Nebraska track star/football player was able to play bit roles but is now looking for a job. James Jones gave the Packers a good return on its third-round investment. He proved he could start but was never capable of winning the top receiver job. The final whiff of 2007 is Aaron Rouse. The safety played just three seasons before signing with the now-defunct United Football League.

The following year, there were two more whiffs sandwiched in between a couple of home runs. Obviously, second rounder Jordy Nelson has carved out a pretty nice career as one of Rodgers’ go-to targets. However, second rounder Brian Brohm, after not being able to get comfortable with the speed of the NFL game, is now playing quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. The other miss was second round cornerback Patrick Lee, who only started one game in his Green Bay career. The other great get that Thompson secured was third rounder Jermichael Finley. Although his mouth got in the way early on, Finley was one of the most athletic tight ends in the game when healthy.

26

February

Scott Tolzien Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction: Scott Tolzien was waived by the 49ers on Aug. 26 and on Sept. 1 he was signed to the Packers practice squad. Nobody thought he would actually get playing time, let alone make something of it. But that’s exactly what the former Wisconsin Badger, that racked up a 21-5 record at Madison, did.

Scott Tolzien

Scott Tolzien

2) Profile:

Scott Tolzien

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 9/4/1987 in Rolling Meadows, Ill.
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 208
  • College: Wisconsin
  • Rookie Year: 2013
  • NFL Experience: 1

Career stats and notes

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Hardly any. Most people knew how well he could run a team and that he was a winner but they didn’t know how if he had the intangibles to succeed in the NFL.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Getting thrust into a tough spot after backup Seneca Wallace went down with a groin injury on the first drive. Tolzien threw for 280 yards, including an impressive 22-yard touchdown in a 27-13 loss to Philadelphia. The next week, he threw for 339 yards against the Giants but he did it by also throwing three picks. And after struggling the following week to Minnesota, Tolzien was replaced by Matt Flynn midway through the third quarter.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Marginal. He showed that he can make all the throws in the NFL, but he also showed that like many pro quarterbacks, he doesn’t have it all figured out yet. There’s a reason why the Packers kept him on the roster, because they want to see what talent they can unearth from this kid.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: N/A.

Season Report Card:

(C+) Level of expectations met during the season

(B-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  C+

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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

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15

February

Cory’s Corner: Ted Thompson will stick to his script

Ted Thompson is preparing for his 10th NFL Draft as general manager of the Packers.

Ted Thompson is preparing for his 10th NFL Draft as general manager of the Packers.

Now I don’t want to totally dismiss anything that NFL writer and analyst Ian Rapoport said…but I don’t believe any of it.

For those that missed it, Rapoport said that the Packers could sign as many as five free agents to take advantage of the Packers nearly $28 million in cap space.

Anyone who has been around a stale Ted Thompson press conference knows that the Packers general manager prefers to assemble his team through the lower risk, higher reward of the draft, which actually suits a small-market team just fine.

The Packers have not and are not in a position to be like the Redskins or Cowboys who routinely throw money at free agents just because they can. Washington and Dallas are more suited to sign high-priced free agents because they can absorb more mistakes than a team like the Packers.

But that doesn’t mean the draft is an exact science either. There are guys like Brian Brohm, Justin Harrell and Javon Walker in every draft. Obviously the key is finding out which one truly loves the game of football and which one just loves being the star.

The most important free agent signing Thompson has made was Charles Woodson back in 2006. That pales in comparison to Ron Wolf who brought in the hallmark free agent of a generation in Reggie White and then smartly paired him with free agents Sean Jones and Santana Dotson.

Of course Thompson could try and lure the top defensive end in Greg Hardy who has said is looking for a “crapload of money.” Hardy and agent Drew Rosenhaus have already turned down a contract for four years and $32 million. The 25-year-old wants security after netting 15 sacks, which led to his first Pro Bowl bid.

But Thompson cannot do that because dropping that much this year will severely hamper Green Bay’s chances of signing both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, whose contracts expire after the 2015 season.

Basically what Thompson has to weigh is Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ best quarterbacking mind has a limited window of dominance. He will enter his seventh season as a starter next fall and will turn 31 next December. He has four years of being a game-changing quarterback in the NFL. In that time, the roster has to evolve. It not only has to get better around him, but also must prepare itself for Rodgers’ inevitable diminishing return.