20

June

Packers Mini Camp and Offseason Recap

Jared Abbrederis

Abbrederis is one of many who need a strong training camp to crack the Packers final roster

The Green Bay Packers wrapped up their final mini camp practice on Thursday and thus ends another offseason in Green Bay.  The next team gathering will be on July 25th at the official opening of training camp.

Quite a few stories have come out during the team’s organized team activities (OTA’s) and this last week at mini camp so here is a recap of the highlights and latest on where the team stands as they prepare for the preseason.

Some of these notes are brought to you by a host of Packers beat writers and media including ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Mike Vandermause and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Ty Dunne.

Early offseason/free agency

The biggest move in terms of the interest and excitement created was the acquisition of defensive lineman and former second-overall draft pick Julius Peppers, who was released by the Chicago Bears shortly after the 2013 season ended.  The signing was significant in that it was the first time since 2006 that Packers general manager Ted Thompson signed a free agent of notable name.  Peppers was said to be in great shape during the offseason workouts and practices and is expected to provide a boost to the pass rush from the “elephant” end position.

Despite Peppers’ age (34), he says he has a lot left in the tank.  Playing in the same division against your former team who released you and may have thought you had nothing left to offer has served many past players in that same scenario.  Jay Cutler, you’ve been warned.

The Packers also signed former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Letroy Guion.  Guion is anything but a lock to make the team’s final roster, but he did choose Green Bay over other offers and if he can become serviceable, he could end up being a bargain.  Remember Howard Green in 2010?

The Packers re-signed cornerback Sam Shields to a four-year, $39 million contract.  The Packers also re-signed defensive lineman B.J. Raji to a one year “prove it” deal worth $4 million.  Other re-signings include Mike Neal, John Kuhn and Chris Banjo and Matt Flynn.  Shields was a must, in my opinion.  He knows the defense and has the speed to make up for errors.  He’s not the best corner in the league but he’s the best corner on the Packers.

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27

February

Thomas Hobbes’ Green Bay Packers Offseason Blueprint

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson
  1. Release LT Chad Clifton: The writing is on the wall.  Even Chad Clifton knew that it was unlikely that he would ever finish his 3 year and had most of the money guaranteed up front (which was helped by the cap-less season before the lockout).  Clifton has had issues staying healthy in the twilight of his career and this year was no different with Clifton being out for the majority of the season.  Added to that a $5.5 million salary in 2012, ascending player in Bryan Bulaga, 1st round draft choice Derek Sherrod and up and at least a serviceable backup in Marshall Newhouse and the Packers have set themselves well for life after Clifton.
  2. Renegotiate Charles Woodson and Donald Driver contracts:
    1. Charles Woodson: Woodson has undeniably lost a step and his high-risk high-reward style of play backfired a couple times last season.  Woodson currently leads the Packers roster with a salary of $11.5 million, some of which was a bonus for a NFL defensive player of the year award in 2009.  But what Woodson is still capable of is shutting down the new breed of tight end, like Jermichael Finley.  For instance, Woodson is still quick enough and physical enough to handle a Jimmy Graham, and I’m not sure who else on the defense could.  Unfortunately Woodson will turn 36 next season and at some point he’s going to have to realize that aging veterans start getting marginalized.  Hopefully Woodson doesn’t let his fiery attitude get in the way of business.
    2. Donald Driver: At 37, Driver has exceeded even the greatest expectations by still being in the NFL at all.  However, his production dropped drastically with the emergence of Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson and has Randall Cobb and James Jones breathing down his neck for more playing time.  What Driver has to his benefit is experience, he’s well versed in the offense and isn’t likely to miss an assignment or a read.  What hurts him is that he’s not player he used to be and he wouldn’t survive playing on special teams.  In my opinion Driver should be retained since consistency at wide receiver (even as the 5th wide receiver) outweighs any benefits a player has on special teams.  Furthermore, I’m not convinced that any free agent/undrafted rookie would be better than Driver.  Are Cobb and Jones better than Driver?  Probably.  Are Tori Gurely or Diondre Biorel better?  I doubt it.
23

June

Looming Questions for the Packers in a Post-Lockout NFL World

With NFL owners set to meet Tuesday in Chicago, a very important week in the sport’s labor situation is about to unfold. Optimism is starting to take hold in this lockout, and while I’d hesitate to say an agreement is imminent, things are finally starting to look like football will be played next season without interruption.

If an agreement is reached—and most of the NFL big-wigs, including Peter King and Adam Schefter, think sometime in July is the best bet—then the Packers and the rest of the NFL will have training camp as scheduled and the 2011 season will be played in its entirety. That also means that we will finally have some answers on the variety of questions about the team that we’ve all pondered over this lockout-striken offseason.

Let’s dive into the biggest questions surrounding the Packers in a post-lockout NFL world, starting with some obvious ones but ending with the most important question of all. And considering I already touched on James Jones in a previous post, I won’t touch that question again in this one.

 

Might the Packers Keep Five Tight Ends on the Roster?

The Packers are no strangers to having uncommon numbers at certain positions, as they’ve recently carried three fullbacks when most NFL teams only have one or two. Could next season see the Packers repeat this trend, but at the tight end position?

They certainly have the talent on board to pull it off.

Jermichael Finley’s spot is secure, and Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree return from 2010. But the Packers added two more tight ends in April’s draft, selecting D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor in the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively. Williams should be a lock, and Taylor appears on paper like the kind of versatile special teams player the Packers favor.

If the Packers don’t decide to keep all five, training camp should feature some kind of roster battle. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that group forced the Packers to keep all five players.

 

Where Will Nick Barnett be Playing in September?

There’s been plenty of discussion over Barnett’s future, but the lockout has robbed us of any clear answer on which way it could play out. I’m not positive that once the lockout ends there’ll be a quick resolution of the situation either. It’s a tough call for the Packers, and one that’s loaded with factors.

18

June

Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers Works Out With His Little Brother Jordan

Brothers Aaron and Jordan Rodgers work out together at Whole Body Fitness in their hometown of Chico, CA.

In what could be heralded as “the feel good movie of the summer” (at least for Green Bay Packers fans), Whole Body Fitness recently released a YouTube video highlighting the combined workouts of Aaron and Jordan Rodgers. These two quarterbacking brothers have been working out together this offseason in their hometown of Chico, California.

Most people know Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. Successor to Brett Favre, and the recent MVP of Super Bowl XLV, his notoriety and abilities have grown exponentially over the past few years. He’s gone through his career with a chip on his shoulder and is finally getting the acclaim he deserves.

Now, in light of his path to success, perhaps it is time to start keeping an eye on Aaron’s little brother, Jordan.

Jordan Rodgers is five years younger than Aaron, but he seems to be following closely in his older brother’s footsteps. Upon graduating from Pleasant Valley High School, where he was the starting quarterback, Jordan went on to play at Butte Junior College. Knowledgeable fans will know this as the same place Aaron attended before going to the University of California, Berkeley, and eventually the Green Bay Packers.

While at Butte, Jordan led the team as a freshman to their first undefeated season in school history, and after two years in the program, he was recruited to play for the Vanderbilt Commodores in 2010. Though Jordan redshirted his first year and had to deal with a shoulder injury, working out with his older brother this summer will assuredly help him on his path.

“It gives me the opportunity to pick his brain about trying to be a better quarterback, be a better person,” Jordan says in the video.

And while this has certainly been a great opportunity for Jordan to grow as a quarterback and spend some quality time with his brother, he’s not the only one in his family to ever seek out a sibling for help.

In the weeks leading up to his eventual signing with the Packers in 2005, Aaron Rodgers practiced throwing the football daily in the back yard of his new Green Bay home. And who was there to catch those passes? None other than his older brother of two years, Luke Rodgers.

2

May

The Complete Green Bay Packers NFL Draft Class of 2011

Round 1 (32): Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State (@dsherrod78)

Sherrod measured 6’5” 321 lbs with a 35 3/8 inch wingspan and at the combine and posted a 5.18 second 40-yard dash, 23 bench presses, 28 inch vertical jump, 97 inch broad jump, 7.43 second 3-cone drill and 4.63 second 20-yard shuttle. Sherrod is one of the most decorated college football players in the nation both on and off the field; he was named to seven All-American teams this year as well as winning the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Award, which is given to the top 16 players in the nation for their academic and leadership ability.  Sherrod graduated in August of 2010 with a 3.54 grade point average in business.

Round 2 (64): Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky (@rcobb18)

Cobb measures in at 5-11, 196 pounds with 31″ arms. He posted a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, 16 bench-presses, 33.5″ vertical leap, 115″ broad jump, 7.08-second 3 cone drill, 4.34-second 20-yard shuttle and 11.56-second 60-yard shuttle.  Over his three years in college, Cobb racked up 5,000 all-purpose yards, including 1,661 receiving and 1,313 rushing. In his final year, Cobb posted 84 catches for 1,017 yards and was selected as a First Team All-American for his efforts.

Round 3 (96): Alex Green, RB, Hawaii
Green measures in at 6-0, 225 pounds with 32″ arms. Green posted a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, 20 bench-presses, 34″ vertical leap, 114″ broad jump, 6.91-second 3 cone drill and 4.15-second 20-yard shuttle. Playing in Hawaii’s pass-happy offense, Green was able to rush for 1,199 yards on 146 carries (8.2 ypc) and 18 touchdowns his senior season. He also caught 27 passes for 363 yards and another touchdown. Green was named Second Team All-WAC in 2010.

Round 4 (131): Davon House, CB, New Mexico State (@davonhouse4)

House measures in at 6-1, 200 pounds.  At the NFL Combine, he posted a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, 14 bench-presses, 4.12-second 20-yard shuttle and a 33.5″ vertical leap. House played 12 games as a true freshman and continued to improve throughout his entire college career. He intercepted 11 passes in four years and returned three for touchdowns. He also demonstrated an ability to stop the run, racking up 202 solo tackles.

Round 5 (141): D. J. Williams, TE, Arkansas (@dj45williams)

1

May

Presenting… The Position by Position 2011 Green Bay Packers Post-Draft Roster

During the 2011 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers added an additional 10 players to their team roster, with six going to the offense and four going to the defense. They now have a roster of 85 players, which they must cut down to 80 by training camp. (These details are, of course, subject to change based on the labor negotiations.)

With the lockout currently prohibiting teams from signing undrafted rookies, this is currently the best picture of the players that Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff will have to work with. Also note that there are currently 14 free agents on the roster (restriction status pending for some). In the far off chance they let every single free agent leave, that would give them 9 spots to fill by camp. If they managed to keep all of them, they would have to cut 5 players by then.

So enjoy perusing the current roster, and feel free to post your thoughts below. If you would like a printable version, I have posted both Excel and PDF versions below:

Packers 2011 Post-Draft Roster (*.XLSX)
Packers 2011 Post-Draft Roster (*.PDF)

*** Players in RED are free agents.
*** Players in GREEN are drafted rookies.

2011 GREEN BAY PACKERS ROSTER
(POST-DRAFT)
# Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Age Exp. College
QUARTERBACK
10 Flynn, Matt QB 6-2 225 25 4 Louisiana State
6 Harrell, Graham QB 6-2 215 25 1 Texas Tech
12 Rodgers, Aaron QB 6-2 225 27 7 California
RUNNING BACK
25 Grant, Ryan RB 6-1 222 28 5 Notre Dame
  Green, Alex RB 6-0 225 22 R Hawaii
32 Jackson, Brandon RB 5-10 216 25 5 Nebraska
30 Kuhn, John RB 6-0 250 28 6 Shippensburg
23 Nance, Dimitri RB 5-10 219 23 2 Arizona State
44 Starks, James RB 6-2 218 25 2 Buffalo
35 Hall, Korey FB 6-0 236 27 5 Boise State
45 Johnson, Quinn FB 6-1 263 24 3 Louisiana State
WIDE RECEIVER
  Cobb, Randall WR 5-10 191 20 R Kentucky
80 Driver, Donald WR 6-0 194 36 13 Alcorn State
85 Jennings, Greg WR 5-11 198 27 6 Western Michigan