Category Archives: 2010 Offseason

11

February

Morgan Burnett: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers safety Morgan Burnett

Morgan Burnett

1) Introduction: Drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft, Burnett won himself the starting safety job alongside Nick Collins to begin his rookie season. Just four weeks in, however, Burnett blew out his ACL and missed the rest of the year, which included the Packers run to the Super Bowl. The knee was back to full strength in time for the start of Packers’ training camp.

2) Profile:

Morgan Burnett

Position: S
Height: 6-1
Weight: 209 lbs.
AGE: 23

Career Stats:

 

3) Expectations coming into the season: There were a good number of talking heads that thought Burnett could be the Packers breakout defender in 2011. A healthy knee, plus the ball skills Burnett showed both at Georgia Tech and during the four games of his rookie season, gave him a real chance. And despite the Packers giving backup safety Charlie Peprah a two-year deal after the 2010 season, most fully expected Burnett to resume his starting role next to Collins in 2011.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: While the Packers were still giving up boatloads of yards through the first three weeks, Burnett was playing at a high level. He led the team in tackles with 14 against the Saints, intercepted a pass with a sack against the Panthers then picked off Jay Cutler twice in Chicago. In the lead up to Week 4 against the Rams, Burnett broke his hand and was forced to wear a club for several straight weeks. From that point on, the highlights were few and far between. The second-year safety didn’t force another turnover during the final 13 weeks. For a player that wasn’t able to make many plays near the line of scrimmage, that was significant.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Through three weeks, Burnett was making a push towards the Pro Bowl. But after the broken hand, he was just another part in a secondary that gave up more passing yards than any in NFL history. It’s hard to judge what kind of overall impact losing Nick Collins had on Burnett, as the Packers gave up back-to-back 400 yard-games with the pair healthy. But Collins’ injury did force Burnett to play the deep half almost exclusively, and that kept him from making plays near the line of scrimmage like he’s probably best at. Playing alongside Charlie Peprah did Burnett no favors, either. He needs to take a big jump next season, especially if Collins is forced to retire.

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25

May

Can the Green Bay Packers 2011 Draft Picks Stay Healthy?


Mike Neal missed most of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury.

There isn’t much to criticize Ted Thompson for these days. If you’re searching for something, it would probably be the fact that his recent high draft choices, particularly on defense, have gotten themselves injured with some frequency .

Green Bay Packers’ defenders drafted in the first three rounds since 2009 have missed 29 games. That total rises to 39 games if you count Brad Jones, a seventh round pick in 2009.

It’s not like Thompson has been drafting players that had injury issues in college. But for some reason, they get hurt once they join the Packers.

The first three picks in the 2011 draft were all pretty durable in college. Will they stay off the IR once they join the Packers? Hopefully.

Just for fun, lets review the NFL injury history of the first three picks in 2009 and 2010, then take a look at the durability of the 2011 class.

2009

BJ Raji
Raji was hobbled by a sprained ankle early in his rookie season. He missed two games, started only one, and never really got going. He rebounded in 2010 and now looks like one of the more promising interior defenders in the league.

Clay Matthews
Matthews has been slowed by hamstring injuries throughout each of his first two training camps. He’s only missed one regular season game, though, and is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

TJ Lang
Offseason wrist surgery hampered Lang’s progress last season. Lang saw action in all 16 games as a rookie, but was not a factor in 2010.

2010

Bryan Bulaga
Bulaga dealt with a shoulder injury after the wild card win over the Eagles, but didn’t miss any time. He played in all 16 regular season games and will hopefully do the same this season.

Mike Neal
Neal only played in two games because of a shoulder injury. He looked good in those two games, but the Packers need him to stay healthy and contribute this season.

Morgan Burnett
The strong safety tore his ACL in week four and missed the rest of the 2010 season. Like Neal, the Packers need Burnett to come back strong and compete for a starting spot in 2011.

2011

15

March

According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Wide Recievers

Wide Receivers: Here’s the third of a series of articles looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (read here for the rationale for this series and here for quarterbacks and here for running backs).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what wide receivers are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.

Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion. Listed below are two wide receivers in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of wide receivers drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
Terrence Murphy 6’1” 202.00 4.39
Craig Bragg 6’1” 196.00 4.45 36.00
Greg Jennings 5’11” 195.00 4.42 6.69 4.18 36.50 117.00
Cory Rodgers 6’0” 188.00 4.58 7.38 4.19 33.50 110.00
James Jones 6’1” 208.00 4.54 7.06 4.20 34.00 119.00 22.00
David Clowney 6’1” 190.00 4.36 7.00 4.15 32.50 123.00
Jordy Nelson 6’3” 215.00 4.51 7.03 4.35 31.00 123.00
Brett Swain 6’1” 200.00 4.40
Average 6’1″ 199.25 4.46 7.03 4.21 33.92 118.40 22.00
StDev 1.13 9.05 0.08 0.24 0.08 2.08 5.37 N/A

What the Packers are looking for: Ted Thompson is in love with wide receivers; the Packers had arguably the deepest wide receiver core in the league and it definitely helped them during their Super Bowl run.  Add to that Thompson always brings in a couple of wide receivers into camp and the fact that wide receivers are tied for the most drafted with 8 and it becomes apparent that wide receiver position is a big deal for Thompson (ironically, he’s somehow avoided the curse of Matt Millen by drafting 3 wide receivers high in the draft and hasn’t really had a bust)

11

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Quinn Johnson

1.)Introduction: He may not be a folk hero like fellow fullback John “Kuuuuuuuuhn” Kuhn, but Quinn Johnson is no small guy.  Drafted in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers in 2009 out of LSU, Johnson is a beast of a man and has been a key part of bolstering the Packers’ rushing attack.  While he may not be a touchdown machine near the goal line like Kuhn, Johnson took his blocking role seriously even though he was only active for 11 games this season.

2.) Profile:

Quinn Marcus Johnson

Position: RB
Height: 6-0    Weight: 251 lbs.

Born: September 30, 1986 in New Orleans, LA
College: LSU (school history)    (Johnson college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round (145th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 0 (14365th overall since 1950)

3.) Expectations entering the 2010 season: For Johnson, there were very few expectations placed on his shoulders.  With the Packers running an offense that does not feature the fullback very often, Johnson and the others played the role of lead blocker for the running back, whether it was Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson or James Starks.

The mission for Johnson in 2010 was simple: make your blocks and help open lanes for the running backs.

4.)Player’s highlights/lowlights: Basically Non -existent.  Johnson only started four games this year and with no rushes and only 3 catches for 26 yards to his credit, it’s hard to find any noticeable ups and downs for a player.

Still, with the Packers lacking a rushing attack for the majority of the 2010 season, some of that can be thrown on Johnson, I suppose.  Holes were not being opened up and all the blockers share some responsibility.  Johnson was definitely part of that group.

On the plus side though, Johnson helped anchor a backfield that allowed James Starks to set a Packers rookie playoff rushing record in the Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles.  That helped serve notice that the Packers were close to achieving offensive balance and put the Falcons on notice for the next week (not that it helped).

5.) Player’s contribution to the team’s overall success: Again, when you are only active 11 games and start four of those,   it’s hard to make a significant on-field impact.    Johnson was inactive for the Super Bowl.

11

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Offense – John Kuhn

1) Introduction: Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn! It’s surprising that John Kuhn has risen up to be a folk hero with the Green Bay Packers fan base considering it wasn’t even a lock that he would had made the team in 2010. In 2009 the Packers made a highly unusual move by drafting a fullback, and in the 5th round to boot. That created a log jam with incumbents Korey Hall and Kuhn. In a even more unusual move, the Packers chose to retain all 3 for the 2010 season which is surprising since many teams only have one. With the injury to starting running back Ryan Grant in week 1, John Kuhn basically switched to running back for the first half of the season before going back to full back for the second half of the season with the emergence of rookie running back James Starks. But by then Kuhn had not only enamored himself with the fans but also to the offense as he became the primary short yardage back and also clutch goal line receiver for the Packers.

2) Profile:

John Kuhn

Position: FB
Height: 6-0    Weight: 255 lbs.

Born: September 9, 1982 in York, PA
College: Shippensburg

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Starter. Kuhn figured to see significant playing time as the starting fullback for the Packers (although Korey Hall typically was listed as the starting fullback Kuhn seemed to be on the field more often), one of the few teams that actually runs the traditional I formation consistently. Kuhn also figured to play on special teams, and even when he became a focal point of the running game he still was on kick offs and as the personal protector for punter Tim Mathsay for punts.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: His highlight was undoubtedly during week 4 against the Detroit Lions, where he covered for the fact that Aaron Rodgers was having an off day by essentially running out the clock on his own on the last drive of the game. It is perhaps the only time in the season where they running game came out clutch and won the game for the Packers.

10

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — James Starks

1) Introduction: When the Packers took James Starks in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, there was probably only a handful of fans who knew who he was. Yet after probing into the history of Starks, many fans became enamored with his untapped talent at running back. However, Starks’ inability to stay healthy was also a concern, and he missed his entire senior season at Buffalo with a shoulder injury.

Those injury worries were confirmed when Starks injured his hamstring before the season. He would spend the first six weeks on the PUP list and didn’t see any game action until Week 13.

2) Profile:

James Darell ‘Buck’ Starks

Position: RB
Height:
6-1   Weight: 203 lbs

Born: February 25, 1986 in Niagara Falls, NY
College: Buffalo (school history)
Drafted
by the Green Bay Packers in the 6th round (193rd overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Low, but also optimistic. With Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson ahead of him on the depth chart, Starks didn’t figure to see the field much in year one. Those expectations were further lowered when Starks hurt his hamstring in OTA’s and missed nearly all of training camp and the preseason. Before the injury however, many thought Starks could add a home run threat to the running back position and possibly contribute on kickoff returns.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Starks didn’t see the field until the Packers’ Week 13 game against the 49ers, and he had a solid showing in his debut (73 yards on 18 carries). He than disappeared again for most of the regular season, contributing only 28 yards rushing and 15 yards receiving while being active in just two of the final four games.

Once the playoffs began, so did Starks’ breakout campaign. In the Wild Card, he rushed for a Packers rookie playoff record 123 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles. Starks’ 123 yards also marked the Packers highest individual rushing total of the season.

Two weeks later, Starks gave the Packers a 14-0 lead over the Bears with a lunging 4-yard touchdown run. He would finish the NFC Championship game with 74 yards against the NFL’s No. 2 rushing defense.

If there was low mark to Starks’ season however, it’d be his 8-yard rushing performance against the Lions in Week 14.

8

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — James Jones

1) Introduction: Drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft, Packers receiver James Jones has battled through an up and down start to his NFL career. Jones started nine games in his rookie season and caught 47 passes for 676 yards, but he only managed 52 catches and 714 yards the next two seasons (2008-09). A lingering knee injury contributed to his lack of production in 2008 as he only saw the field in 10 games.

When healthy, however, Jones can be a difference maker in the passing game. He has a big frame (6’1″, 208 lbs), and underrated straight line speed that often sees him getting behind defenders. Jones might not have the ceiling of a No. 1 receiver, but he’s one of the best No. 3 receivers in the NFL today.

2) Profile:

James Deandre Jones

Position: WR
Height: 6-1    Weight: 208 lbs.

Born: March 31, 1984 in San Jose, CA
College: San Jose State (school history)    (Jones college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 3rd round (78th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Mixed. His rookie season gave us a brief glimpse of what Jones could do over the course of a season, but injuries and a frustrating lack on consistency kept Jones from breaking out in the Packers offense.

In addition, both Greg Jennings and Donald Driver were coming off 1,000 yard seasons, and Jermichael Finley figured to become a bigger part of the offense. While having a bevy of weapons is surely a luxury, there are only so many footballs to go around and it was unsure how many Jones would see in 2010.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: To be honest, the entire 2010 season was a mix of highlights and lowlights for Jones. The Packers bi-polar receiver was either making you say “wow!” after a sure-handed reception or causing you to throw beverages at your television screen after the easiest of drops.

Jones started his highlights in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, as he made a nice adjustment on a back shoulder throw from Aaron Rodgers for a 30-yard touchdown. In Weeks 7 (vs. Minnesota), 8 (vs. Dallas) amd 10 (at Minnesota), Jones caught a combined 15 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns.