Category Archives: Seasons

30

July

No worries if Packers’ Ha Ha Clinton-Dix isn’t an Immediate Starter

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

If Packers first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix isn’t a day one starter, don’t panic.

Packers general manger Ted Thompson’s batting average on recent first-round draft picks is below the Mendoza Line. For you non-baseball fans, that means Thompson is hitting under .200 with a lot of tappers back to the pitcher or lazy popups instead of line drives to the gap or tape-measure home runs.

Bryan Bulaga: Talented, some good stretches of play, but can’t stay healthy.

Derek Sherrod: Wasn’t overly impressive before breaking his leg and missing most of two seasons.

Nick Perry: Switched to a 3-4 OLB and can’t stay healthy.

Datone Jones: Hyped during training camp, slowed by an ankle injury, passed on the depth chart by fifth-rounder Josh Boyd.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: Currently behind converted slot cornerback Micah Hyde on the Packers safety depth chart.

Should we be worried that Clinton-Dix is behind Hyde to start camp? Did the Packers take another lackluster player in the first round, one who isn’t even talented enough to start the season ahead of a converted corner on a team desperately in need of a competent safety?

Or should we celebrate that the safety position finally has some depth? If Hyde turns out to be good, wonderful! Play him ahead of Clinton-Dix while the rookie improves and learns the defense, waiting to seize his opportunity after an injury to a starter or because Morgan Burnett has another ineffective season.

I can see both sides, but the correct side is probably this: It’s way too early to tell. Yes, Hyde might look good at safety now, but let’s see where he stands after an exhibition game or two. Give Hyde some time to learn the defense, figure out his role and see what he can do when the ball is in the air during an actual game.

While the focus remains on Hyde vs. Ha Ha, don’t be surprised if it turns into a three-way dance with Burnett getting added to the match. The perception seems to be that Burnett is a lock as a starter, but if he resembles the stumbling and too-slow-to-react player we saw last season, his starting shot should be put up for grabs.

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30

July

NFL Suspensions Should Not Be “Cold Turkey”

Packers Jolly FootballJonny Jolly is one of the few bright spots in the NFL of a player who was suspended from the league but managed to make a comeback; in 2008 Jolly was arrested for selling codeine, a control opiate intended to be used typically as a cough suppressant but in this case was being used to make purple drank, a recreational drug.  Jolly was suspended indefinitely and was caught again for attempting to sell codeine again in 2011 and was subsequently sentenced and sent to jail, where he was granted an early release with shock probation.

For most players, no matter how talented, the story ends here.  Teams, rightfully wary of having to deal with more negative press and a out of shape, older player who hasn’t been practicing for years would likely have just released the player and gone about their business.  However the Packers gave Jolly a shot and were rewarded with a very good season in 2013; while Jolly was never a great player at any point in his career, he definitely was a good player and while he might never play again after suffering a neck injury, at least he can exit the game knowing that he didn’t waste his opportunity.

Throughout all of this, Aaron Rodgers offered up an interesting take; yes Jolly had screwed up, but was suspending and barring him from the Packers organization really the best course of action?

“I think the commissioner’s done a great job of cleaning up some of the stuff in the league. That said, if you take a guy away from his support system … I don’t think that’s helping.” – Aaron Rodgers on Johnny Jolly, ESPN Milwaukee

Rodgers isn’t alone in this mentality either.

“It’s a big blow to us. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t, it’s not a big blow.  But the thing is, we have to rally around him. I know all the things people say — ‘he should be cut, he should be this’ — he shouldn’t. He’s a 23-year-old kid. He made some mistakes. A lot of people’s 20-year-old sons make mistakes. We have to help him, and that’s the bottom line. We have to help him collectively. It’s not going be one person that helps him, it’s not going to be two people that help him. I’m talking about from the front office, the coaching staff, the players and his whole family. We have to help him not only for football purposes, but for life purposes to get his life in order.” – Donte Whitner on Josh Gordon, SirusXM NFL Radio

29

July

What Packers Rivals Really Think – Vikings Edition

Packers Vikings RivalryHere’s our second installment of this series that takes a look at the NFC North from the eyes of a rival.  Jesse Cook (aka Bearmeat), one of our regular readers/commenters here, contacted a few friends who are (somewhat) sane fans of our Division rivals and peppered them (pun intended) with questions about our team and theirs.

CCNorseman: Hey, first off thanks for asking me to do this. We’ve had “Ask the Enemy” features on the Daily Norseman before, and they are always a good time. Let me start off by saying, “I come in peace!” And I’ll do the best I can to answer your questions and give an accurate representation of the Vikings fan experience.

1. Let’s start big picture here: What is the fan perception of the Vikings organization in the next 5 years? Where is the arrow pointing? Do you approve of the job that Spielman has done so far?

The arrow is definitely pointing up, and it all starts with the hiring of a new coaching staff. We are all pretty high on head coach Mike Zimmer, and can’t believe how many times he’s been passed over for head coaching jobs. If you’ve seen any part of his coaching style from HBO’s Hard Knocks, then you understand how much energy and enthusiasm he brings to coaching. He is pretty much the antithesis of mild-mannered Leslie Frazier, which is exactly the kind of change of direction this team needs. We’ve also had three pretty strong drafts in a row with 7 first round picks in the last 3 years. Obviously, the jury is still on out all of those drafts for at least a few more years, but preliminarily, things look pretty good. I’ve been a critic of Rick Spielman in the past, but if these most recent drafts turn out to be as strong as we all hope, then that combined with the new coaching staff definitely has this Viking longboat pointed in the right direction.

2. The most important position in pro sports is undoubtedly the QB: aside from 2009 (and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named), that position has also been a pig’s ear for the Vikings in the past decade. Give me reasons why Teddy B can change the Vikings fortunes in that run of bad luck/mismanagement in the near future. Do you think he will succeed where other Vikings QB draft picks have recently failed (cough..Ponder, TJack…cough)?

29

July

DuJuan Harris could bring some nasty to Packers kickoff return unit

DuJuan Harris bike

This picture of Packers RB DuJuan Harris carrying a little girls’ pink bike to practice on Monday is making the rounds online. I thought it would be funny to pair this sweet picture with my post about how violent and nasty of a runner Harris could be on kickoffs.

After three days of Packers training camp practices, it appears DuJuan Harris will be given an opportunity to win the kick returner job.

It’s way too early for anybody to get a sense of who has the advantage in contested position battles, but the thought of Harris returning kicks intrigues me in an old-school football sort of way.

Harris packs 200-plus pounds onto his 5-foot-8 frame and runs like a burning man sprinting for a nearby lake. A “rolling ball of butcher knives” was the phrase an NFL scout used to describe Harris in a Bob McGinn game review story a few years back.

I want to see Harris take a kick five yards deep in the end zone, build up a head of steam, and plow straight into the first guy who tries to tackle him. If Harris hits a pile of tacklers forming a wall to bring him down, my money is on the wall moving backward before Harris hits the turf.

The NFL has tried to make kick returns safer in recent years. To me, trying to tackle Harris after he’s been charging ahead for 15 yards seems anything but safe.

Harris is the type of player who will bring some violence to the Packers kick return unit and make people who remember what kickoffs were like 10, 15 or 20 years ago smile and nod their heads.

Of course, Harris is coming back after missing last season with a knee injury and various other ailments. Perhaps the promise he showed at the end of 2012 will be long gone.

The former used car salesman deserves a chance, though. With Eddie Lacy and James Starks slotted as the top two running backs, kick returns might be Harris’s best shot at carving out a significant role on this team.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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29

July

Cory’s Corner: Mike McCarthy’s style is perfect for Packers

In eight seasons as the Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy has an 82-45-1 record and a 6-5 playoff record. He has five double-digit win seasons.

In eight seasons as the Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy has an 82-45-1 record and a 6-5 playoff record. He has five double-digit win seasons.

Mike McCarthy has been called a lot of things by a lot of people.

Some may not like his play-calling, while others may not prefer his player development.

But the Packers coach isn’t afraid to think out-of-the-box. How many NFL coaches are approaching NFL training camp with Jell-O? That’s right, the Bill Cosby snack has been infused into Packers practice.

It is evident that McCarthy is sick and tired of seeing nagging injuries pester his players. And if it takes a Jell-O cup and a granola bar to do it, so be it.

McCarthy is entering his ninth season as coach of the Packers. The reason he has been able to be successful is because he is willing to change. In 2006 he changed his practice routine and gave the players more of a break. Usually accustomed to practicing in the morning and afternoon, he slashed practices by only having one workout following days with two workouts.

Last year, McCarthy proved what kind of a coach he really is. The knock on McCarthy has been similar to Phil Jackson when he coached Michael Jordan — any coach can win with arguably the best player in the league in Aaron Rodgers. But the Packers started four different quarterbacks last year and McCarthy made them look pretty good.

Scott Tolzien started zero games coming into last season and McCarthy made him look decent, including lighting up the Giants for 339 yards. Matt Flynn, a career backup journeyman, turned out to be the savior by somehow getting wins against Atlanta and Dallas to keep the slim playoff hopes alive.

And the person that needs to get the credit for that is McCarthy. His preparation and more importantly his positive attitude continually flowed through this team, even though Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews and others were hurting.

And as he proved a couple years ago that he isn’t afraid of taking a risk with an onside kick, fake field goal and fake punt all in the same season.

His biggest job right now is to develop wide receiving depth. It is unclear if Randall Cobb will be back with the Packers following Jordy Nelson’s extension. Also, it is unclear if Jarrett Boykin is in the team’s best interest as the Packers’ No. 3 receiver.

28

July

Packers Training Camp: “The Collisions Have Started”

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams

Rodgers and Adams emerge and prepare for the 2014 season. Adams is one of several young receivers vying for a roster spot (Photo credit: Morry Gash/AP)

Monday brought day three of training camp for the Green Bay Packers and they seemed to pack a lot into a two-and-a-half hour period.  One of the first tweets by the media came from Wed Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette that simply stated “the collisions have started”.

Among those who have already made news in the three days of camp practices are Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, Julius Peppers, Casey Hayward and Colt Lyerla.  Some have made good impressions while others, not so much.

Head coach Mike McCarthy has made some adjustments to this year’s schedule and some changes for the first time in his nine seasons in Green Bay.  These include the timing of practice, specifically as they prepare for their preseason games.

McCarthy will not hold practice two days prior to the game and will instead hold the usual team walkthrough the day prior.  In previous years, the team held their walkthrough two days before the game with no practice the day prior.  He plans to implement this schedule during the regular season as well in the hopes that it reduces the lull before the game and his players will remain more focused.

Monday’s practice lasted about an hour longer than most OTA and mini camp practices so the team is spending a bit more time on the field and preparing for the upcoming season.

There have not been any new nor significant injuries to report.  This may not seem like a big deal this early into the preseason, but over the past few years, the Packers have seen some early injuries that impacted their roster.  At this same point last year, they had already lost offensive lineman J.C. Tretter to an ankle injury that forced him to miss most of the 2013 regular season.

The Packers are using some advanced technology to monitor their players and try to avoid too much stress on their bodies in the hopes that it will also reduce injuries.

Jay Sorgi of 620WTMJ and the Green Bay Packers Radio Network and Dan Koob of the NBC affiliate, WGBA in Green Bay, offered nice recaps of Monday’s work and below is a recap with some commentary.

Camp recap

28

July

So far, Packers TE Colt Lyerla doesn’t look like the next Jimmy Graham

Colt Lyerla

Packers rookie free agent TE Colt Lyerla has struggled the first two days of camp.

When the Packers signed rookie free agent Colt Lyerla, there were a lot of people claiming the troubled tight end from Oregon was a first-round talent who went undrafted because of character concerns and legal issues.

Some people even used Lyerla in the same sentence as Jimmy Graham when talking about his talent and potential production.

Through two days of Packers training camp, reports indicate that Lyerla looks nothing like a first-round talent and shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same book as Graham, let alone sentence.

I thought the hype over Lyerla was way overblown. If he truly was a first-round talent that reminded scouts and GMs of Jimmy Graham, someone would have drafted him, regardless of his attitude and legal issues.

However, we’re only two days into camp. It’s way too early to write players off (or anoint them superstars). Hopefully Lyerla gets his feet under him and starts showing the tremendous talent many people assumed he had.

But for now, let’s give the Jimmy Graham comparisons and first-round talent proclamations a rest.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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