Category Archives: 2014 – 2015 Season

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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28

July

Packers Xs and Os: What We Might See From McCarthy’s Up-Tempo Offense (Part 2)

Will Aaron Rodgers be leading an up-tempo or no huddle offense in 2014? (Photo credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today).

Will Aaron Rodgers be leading an up-tempo or no huddle offense in 2014? (Photo credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today).

Last week, we started to discuss some offensive concepts we might see rolled out this year if Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is true to his word about going up-tempo with three-down personnel.

This week, we’ll look at some basic passing route combinations I expect to see the Packers to use in an up-tempo, and possibly no huddle, game plan.

Of course, there is a huge combination of formations and routes an NFL offense can roll out to attack complex defenses. So, for this article, I’m making some very basic assumptions and this carries my standard disclaimer that this is an oversimplification for illustrative purposes only. Also, we’ll only look at some of the most common route combinations found in the west coast offense playbook.

Assumptions

  • The offense is in the 11 personnel (1 running back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers).
  • The offense is in a 2×2 alignment.
  • Even if a play is called in the huddle, sight adjustments at the line of scrimmage during the pre-snap read trump the huddle. The quarterback and receivers will adjust their routes to attack the coverage the defense is showing. This may be from a quarterback audible or automatic sight adjustments.
  • The defenses discussed here will only include man-to-man, man-to-man/blitz, cover 2, and cover 3.
  • Most of the route combinations will spread and attack the defense using the high/low principle to stress the cornerbacks.

Attack Keys

The quarterback and receivers must see the same thing in terms of how the defense is covering the field. Of utmost importance is reading the backpedal of the safeties. For simplicity sake, I’m assuming here that the quarterback and receivers have properly read that. Therefore, the keys of the routes will be reading and stressing the cornerbacks.

The route combinations described below are designed to attack the cornerbacks and make them make a decision and force them into a bad angle or coverage.

All-Purpose Route Combinations

It’s important that the offense has route packages that can attack any coverage the defense rolls out. Not only is the defense really good at disguising their coverage pre-snap, but sometimes the offense also wants to run a play before the defense can even align and get into a coverage. So, it’s good strategy to have route concepts that can attack either man-to-man coverage or zone coverage equally as effective.

27

July

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

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers football

Packers training camp opened Friday and we now have plenty of Packers storylines to analyze and break down. That means today’s “Surviving Sunday” will be the last until the Packers 2014 season comes to an end, hopefully after Feb. 1 and a victory in Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona.

Now that training camp has started, what Packers storyline would you like to see go the way of “Surviving Sunday ” and disappear for the rest of the season?

I’m sick of talking about the defense. I mean really sick of it.

I’m sick of hearing about how bad Packers’ safeties were last season. I’m sick of being worried about having to watch A.J. Hawk for another season. I’m sick of speculation about B.J. Raji ever being a useful player again. I’m sick of wondering if Nick Perry will ever stay healthy. I’m sick of Clay Matthews’ thumb (and his damn hamstring) and I’m sick of trying to figure out if Dom Capers is a good defensive coordinator or not.

The sooner the Packers defense improves, the happier my life will be. I’m not asking for the Packers D to morph into the second coming of the Purple People Eaters or the Steel Curtain, but show enough promise that fans can have reasonable hope that the defense could catch fire late in the season and ignite a Super Bowl run.

That seems to be the formula for success in today’s NFL: Have a good to great quarterback who goes on a run late in the season and back that up with a good defense that heats up as the weather turns cold.

If I have to put up with #FireCapers hashtags and another season of bumbling play from the middle of the defense, it’s going to be a trying season.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Now that I’m done ranting, we can get to some happier news, like the Packers signing Jordy Nelson to a 4-year, $39 million contract extension. I see Nelson as a Cris Carter type of receiver. He has very good physical ability, but stretches those physical tools even further by catching anything he can reach and always thinking a step or two ahead of the defense.
26

July

Packers Sign Jordy Nelson to Four Year Extension

Jordy Nelson gets four-year contract extension from Packers

Jordy Nelson gets four-year contract extension

The Green Bay Packers today took care of wrapping up the first of their potential 2015 free agents, signing first-priority receiver Jordy Nelson to a contract extension.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Nelson received a four year extension for 39  million dollars, just short of the 10 million per season he was looking for. The deal includes 14.2 million of guaranteed money and an 11.5 million signing bonus. Nelson, woefully underpaid in the eyes of most Packers observers, gets a deal roughly equal to that of Pierre Garcon (based on per year average), and slightly below Victor Cruz.

In a statement released by the Packers, Ted Thompson said, “Jordy’s hard work and dedication has made him a good player, teammate and a core member of this team. We are pleased to come to an agreement that will extend his Packers career.”

Coach McCarthy, finding out after today’s practice, said, “Jordy Nelson is an outstanding football player and great ambassador for the Packers. It’s something everybody is excited about. I’m glad to see Jordy will be here for some time. Just made aware of it. I think Jordy is so consistent. He shows up each and every day, performs at a high level consistently. He’s the ultimate pro.”

Last season, Nelson had 85 receptions for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns, mostly without Aaron Rodgers throwing the passes. That put an end to the “Rodgers makes his receivers look better than they are” narrative some of those who doubted Nelson’s worth were putting forth. 

At 29 years old, Nelson is the same age as Greg Jennings and James Jones were when the Packers chose not to re-sign them.Keeping money in reserve for “core” player signings is something Ted Thompson is very aware of and factors into every decision to let someone go. For those still complaining about Evan Dietrich-Smith not being re-signed, this is where that money went. happy now?

And from the perfect timing department. just this morning, our own Cory Jennerjohn predicted Packers GM Ted Thompson would show Nelson the money.

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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

July

More Packers Training Camp Questions

Nick Perry & Clay Matthews

Having a healthy Matthews and Perry at the outside linebacker spots is the best-case scenario for the Packers

The Green Bay Packers begin reporting for this year’s training camp today to take physicals and get settled in.  Practices begin tomorrow and hence the team’s quest for a successful 2014 season.

Last week’s “questions” piece was a success so I thought I’d give it another try.  As  always, thank you to those of you who submitted your questions and I chose that were most recurring.

1.  Which one player has to have the best training camp for either himself or the team?

Always a good question and one that sparks some good debate.  Many could argue that quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs to get in sync with his receivers and is the key.  Others may cite a wide receiver, as that position group has some undecided spots open.  Some would cite most any rookie, since they haven’t taken a single snap during live action yet.

To me, the theme here is on defense and the linebacker position.

From an individual perspective, it’s linebacker Brad Jones.  Head coach Mike McCarthy has said he wants more playmakers on the field and he wants to see more plays made on defense, specifically.  Jones has drawn the ire of some fans and media for his mediocre play since signing a contract extension following the 2012 season.  He is set to make $2.5 million this season and $3.25 million in 2015.

Jones battled some injuries last year and was replaced by Jamari Lattimore during that time.  Jones regained his starting position when he returned, but there was some debate as to whether the Packers would benefit more from having the feisty Lattimore next to A.J. Hawk.  Lattimore will certainly come into training camp ready to fight hard for a bigger role this season.

While I described Jones’ play as mediocre, some of the same could be said for Hawk and the inside linebacker position, as a whole.  Hawk seemed to ratchet up his play a bit last season and, if nothing else, has been very healthy during his career in Green Bay.  He’s not the flashy linebacker that many thought they were getting when he was chosen fifth overall in the 2006 draft, but Hawk has proved valuable in a more subtle way.  Hawk will be a starter this year, without a doubt.

24

July

Everything you need to know about the Packers shareholders meeting in 200 words

Packers shareholders meeting

About 15,000 people attended Thursday’s Packers shareholders meeting and another 10,000 watched online.

The Packers held their annual shareholders meeting on Thursday at Lambeau Field. Here’s everything you need to know in 200 words or less.

  • Packers president Mark Murphy reported that 350,000 stockholders hold more than 5 million shares of Packers stock.
  • The Packers were ninth in total revenues last season at $324.1 million.
  • Ted Thompson put everyone to sleep with his remarks and ended with “Go Pack Go.”
  • The Packers have 112,000 people on their season ticket waiting list.
  • Lambeau Field now holds 80,750 people, second most in the NFL.
  • The playoff ticket policy is changing. Playoff tickets will only be paid for if the game is played. No more holding money to deposit toward next year’s season tickets.
  • Murphy said they’re working on improving in-stadium wi-fi.
  • The Packers are buying up all kinds of property around Lambeau Field and hoping to attract businesses and other development to a “Titletown District.”
  • The average ticket price for a Packers game ranks 17th in the league. Team may move to variable pricing for preseason games next year.
  • It doesn’t sound like the NFL will bring the draft to Green Bay any time soon.
  • The Packers have $272 million in corporate reserves (this team is loaded on the field and at the bank).
  • Murphy said the Cowboys call themselves “America’s team.” The Packers are the “World’s team.”

That about sums it up as succinctly as possible. Players report to training camp on Friday. Who’s ready for some football?

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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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23

July

What Packers Rivals Really Think – Bears Edition

Packers, Bears, fans, interview, NFC North, rivalryAs Packers fans, we know how we view our team and their NFC North Rivals. But I’d guess most of us are curious as to how opposing fans view the same subjects. So to find out, one of our regular readers/commenters here, Jesse Cook (aka Bearmeat) 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.

First up, Chicago Bears:

1.     Let’s start big picture here: What is the fan perception of the Bears organization in the next 5 years? Where is the arrow pointing? Do you approve of the job Emery and Trestman have done so far?

  • “In Emery we Trest”.  That seems to be the motto amongst most Bears fans in town these days.  I would say that the fan perception of the Bears is that this organization has finally joined the modern era of football, both from a General Manager and Coaching standpoint.  As every failed player from the Lovie/Angelo Era is shed, more positivitiy takes its  There is much optimism for the near future of this organization as Emery and Trestman continue their growth together.

2.     What do Bears fans think about the Cutler contract? Seems like a t for (so far) middling production?

  • Cutler has and will always be a polarizing topic in Chicago.  There is some reason for optimism for his 2014-15 season.  Another year under the high-powered Trestman offense, an improved offensive line, most of his top offensive weapons back.
  • In regards to Cutler’s contract, I think it’s beneficial for both sides.  For the Bears, it gives them options on how to handle their future at QB.  It’s basically a 3 year deal (average $18 mil a year *cough*), giving the Bears the option to turn it into a 4-7 year deal as they choose.  If they like what Cutler is doing, they can stick with him, or if they don’t they can cut him. Or maybe they bring him back for an extra year as they groom a potential new QB.  So yes, there’s a lot of money to be handed out the next three years, but they have plenty of wiggle room after that.

3.     A lot of Packer fans wanted Shea McClellin at ROLB 2 years ago. Yo got him and he hasn’t worked out at RDE, so he’s now moving to SLB. How does he look?