Category Archives: 2010 Preseason

1

February

B.J. Raji: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

B.J. Raji

B.J. Raji

1) Introduction: This was supposed to the season where Raji established himself as a top defensive lineman. He never made that leap, and it killed the Packers down the stretch.

2) Profile:

Busari Raji Jr.

Position: NT
Height: 6-2
Weight: 337 lbs.
AGE: 25

Career Stats:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Stud. After totaling 39 tackles, 6.5 sacks and dancing his way to the Super Bowl in 2010, Raji appeared to be on the verge of greatness. Unfortunately, he only managed to achieve halfway decentness. Raji’s numbers dropped to 22 tackles and three sacks in 2011 and he never was the consistent game-changing force that the Packers so desperately needed up front.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: With four tackles and a sack against Carolina in week two, Raji got off to a hot start.   He followed that performance by getting shut out next week at Chicago, which was the story of Raji’s season. Just when you thought he was about to get going and show us a new dance move or two, Raji disappeared.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Raji played almost 80 percent of the defensive snaps, so he’s durable. But you also have to wonder if Raji’s workload from the last two seasons wore him down. Looks can be deceiving, but Raji’s doughy body doesn’t appear to conducive to carrying a heavy workload. It’ll be interesting to see what the Packers do with Raji next season. Will they give him more snaps at DE, where he generates a good rush every now and then? Or will they keep him inside, even though he tends to get pushed around more than a player with his size and skills should?

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Filling in this category for the defensive line evaluations has been redundant. Raji didn’t contribute much in the postseason because the Packers pass rush was dismal.

Season Report Card:

(C-) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: C+

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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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1

September

Jersey Al: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction

It’s that time of year again. The time when all of us amateur GMs try make our predictions of how Ted Thompson will shape the 53-man roster.

Here are my initial picks;  my final selections will come after the final preseason game.

Quarterback -3: Rodgers, Flynn, Harrell

Running Back -4: Grant, Starks, Green, Kuhn,

Wide Receiver -6: Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Jones, Cobb, West/Gurley

Tight End -4: Finley, Crabtree, Quarless, Taylor

Offensive Line -9: Wells, Sitton, Clifton, Bulaga, Lang, Newhouse, Sherrod, Smith, McDonald

Defensive Line – 6: Raji, Pickett, Neal, Green, Wynn, Wilson

Linebacker – 9: Matthews, Hawk, Bishop, Walden, Francious, Smith, Jones, Zombo, So’oto

Defensive Back – 9: Woodson, Williams, Shields,  Bush,  House, Collins, Burnett, Peprah, Underwood

Specialist -3: Crosby, Masthay, Goode

Practice Squad: Saine, West/Gurley/Taylor, Campbell, Schlauderaff,  Guy, Lattimore, Gordy, Levine/Jennings,

I hate to have to leave DJ Williams off, but if I’m going to go with 6 wide receivers, I have little option. My thinking could very well change after the Chiefs game. As for going with a sixth WR, I have a few different scenarios, so I’m going to hold off a final decision on that one. I’m also not sold on keeping Harrell, Packers have had no problems rolling the dice with only 2 QBs. Question is, do they like him enough to use a roster spot so they still have him when Flynn leaves via free agency next season?

Then there’s issue of Zombo being injured. That forces me to keep Jones, reducing my DBs to 9 (Pat Lee was the casualty). I do think the Packers will keep 10 DBs, so I may find a way to rework this for my final predictions.

And only keeping four running backs? Kind of risky, and the Packers like Nance, so what to do there?

I read something interesting yesterday:

Packers have never kept less than 2 fullbacks.

Packers have never kept more than 5 wide receivers.

Packers have never kept five tight ends.

I’m really bucking the odds here, aren’t I?

 

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He is a PFWA member who can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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

20

April

According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Inside Linebackers

Inside Linebackers: Here’s the eighth of a series of articles, looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (Read here for the rationale for this series, here for quarterbacks, here for running backs, here for wide receivers, here for tight ends, here for offensive tackles, here for offensive interior linemen, here for defensive ends and here for outside linebackers).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what inside linebackers 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.  Also listed below are also two inside linebackers in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of inside linebackers linemen drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
A.J. Hawk 6’1” 245.00 4.59 6.82 3.96 40.00 115.00 24.00
Abdul Hodge 6’0” 235.00 4.76 7.11 4.35 31.00 108.00 25.00
Desmond Bishop 6’2” 241.00 4.81 7.14 4.65 32.50 112.00 33.00
Average 6’1” 240.33 4.72 7.02 4.32 34.50 111.67 27.33
StDev 1.00 5.03 0.12 0.18 0.35 4.82 3.51 4.93

 

What the Packers are looking for: If its possible to have too much talent at a position in the NFL, the Packers epitomize it with their inside linebackers.  Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar, AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop are all starting caliber inside linebackers and their contracts live up to it.  The Packers have invested over $110 million into the inside linebackers with about $30 million of that guaranteed.  Needless to say, that’s quite an investment for one position.

The conundrum facing the Packers at the moment is that they like all four of their opening day inside linebackers, but they can’t afford to pay them all; of the four, AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop received big contracts after playing in the Super Bowl and are the designated starters; this leaves Brandon Chillar and Nick Barnett, who both ended up on IR, looking in from the outside.  Will Barnett and/or Chillar still be with the team in 2011?  Economically the answer is probably no.

5

April

According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Offensive Interior Linemen

Offensive Interior Linemen: Here’s the sixth of a series of articles and final for the offense, looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (read here for the rationale for this series, here for quarterbacks, here for running backs, here for wide receivers, here for tight ends and here for offensive tackles).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what offensive interior linemen 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.  Also listed below are also two offensive interior linemen in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of offensive interior linemen drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
Junius Coston 6’3” 317.00 5.31 7.93 4.64 29.50 102.00 21.00
Will Whitticker 6’5” 338.00 5.35 7.90 4.75 29.50 97.00 29.00
Daryn Colledge 6’4” 300.00 5.05 7.46 4.60 32.50 110.00 21.00
Jason Spitz 6’4” 310.00 5.40 7.82 4.56 28.50 102.00 25.00
Tony Moll 6’4” 285.00 18.00
Josh Sitton 6’4” 320.00 5.30 7.55 4.50 29.00 108.00 28.00
Marshall Newhouse 6’3” 319.00 5.00 7.40 4.60 25.00 97.00 25.00
Average 6’4” 312.71 5.24 7.68 4.61 29.00 102.67 23.86
StDev 0.69 16.77 0.17 0.23 0.08 2.41 5.43 4.02

What the Packers are looking for: Offensive interior are considered incredibly safe picks, perhaps even more than offensive tackles; offensive linemen are the most likely to start as rookies of any position and probably command the cheapest contracts of any 1st round pick.  I’ve decided to combine offensive guards and centers together since it seems like many of the players that the Packers use have the ability to play any one of three positions.

Thompson has never traditionally been very high on interior offensive linemen, the average draft pick for an offensive interior linemen is in the middle of the 4th round, and it always seems as if a undrafted rookie free agent offensive interior linemen sneaks onto the active roster, with Evan Detrich-Smith getting in last year and Nick McDonald getting in this year (both who were developmental guard-centers that the Packers think highly of).

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.

8

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Jordy Nelson

1) Introduction: A former second round pick in 2008, Packers receiver Jordy Nelson has turned in a few productive yet unspectacular seasons during his first two years in Green Bay. Nelson averaged just over 27 catches and 343 yards per season from 2008-2009—numbers un-befitting a top 40 draft selection.

Heading into the 2010 season, one could have than made the argument that Nelson was the fourth, or maybe fifth, target in the Green Bay Packers passing game. With injuries to both Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley, however, Nelson began to emerge as a potential threat and had a breakout postseason.

2) Profile:

Jordy Ray Nelson

Position: WR
Height: 6-3    Weight: 215 lbs.

Born: May 31, 1985 in Manhattan, KS
College: Kansas State (school history)    (Nelson college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round (36th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Somewhat low, but also unsure. Nelson started the season buried on the depth chart behind Greg Jennings, Driver and James Jones, and Finley was sure to become a focal point of the offense. Still, everyone knew that Nelson was capable of being a play-maker, but his lack of production in two previous seasons tempered any lofty expectations for 2010.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Nelson had plenty of highlights during the season, and he capped it off with an impressive performance in the Super Bowl (9 receptions, 140 yards, 1 TD). Against the Steelers, Nelson caught the game’s first touchdown (29 yards) and set up the Packers final points with a catch-and-run play of 38 yards.

Nelson also had two important catches in the regular season. The first came in Week 12, where Nelson’s 10-yard TD catch in Atlanta tied the game at 17 with 57 seconds left in the game. His second—an 80-yard TD—opened the scoring in a must-win against the Giants in Week 16.

His season also had some low points, however. In Week 4 against the Lions, Nelson lost two fumbles that nearly cost the Packers a victory. He was promptly removed from kickoff return duties after that showing.

And despite his impressive statistical showing at the Super Bowl, Nelson also had three credited drops that potentially kept the Packers off the scoreboard. Overall, Nelson dropped more passes this season (10) than in his two previous years combined.