At this point in the NFL offseason, what would you say is your biggest concern about the 2014 Packers?
For me, it’s the safety position. When Morgan Burnett is the best safety on the roster, there are issues. Yes, the draft is right around the corner, but you never know if a) the Packers will be in a position to draft a safety who can start right away or b) if whatever safety they draft will be any good.
But forget about your biggest concern for the time being. What do you see as potential concerns that few people are talking about?
Because those are probably the concerns that will come to fruition in 2014. With all the roster turnover and other unknowns from year-to-year in today’s NFL, it’s impossible to predict in March what an NFL team might be scrambling to try and fix in November.
At this time last year, we were all worried about the Packers not being big enough to stand toe-to-toe with physical teams like the 49ers or Seahawks. Then halfway through the season, we were worried about the Packers being too big to compete with teams like the 49ers and Seahawks.
I remember back before the 2010 season being worried about an undrafted rookie named Sam Shields serving as the Packers nickel cornerback. An undrafted rookie playing a key role on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. That’s insane!
Then Shields goes out and has a good season and picks off two passes in the NFC Championship to send the Packers to the Super Bowl.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Burnett is playing well once November comes around, a young safety is holding his own next to Burnett, and the Packers problems at safety are problems no more.
Teams can make grand plans to plug holes in March, and fans can do the same on blogs and social media, but once the season starts, all bets are off. A few key injuries or important players underperforming ruins the most thought-out plans.
My under-the-radar concern for the Packers is offensive tackle.
David Bakhtiari had a good rookie season, but what if he doesn’t take a step forward in 2014? Or what if the injury bug strikes him down in his second year like it did to Casey Hayward in his second season?
Bryan Bulaga is coming off a nasty knee injury and hasn’t been able to stay healthy his entire career. Derek Sherrod has only been healthy for a handful of games. Don Barclay battles hard, but he’s far from a sure-thing at tackle. Plus, Barclay could be in the mix to take over at center.
It’s perfectly fine to worry about the Packers safety position. Ditto for center and tight end. But keep in mind, it’s only March. There’s a good chance we’ll have other worries come November.
Packers news, notes and links
- It sounds like the Packers might want to use Micah Hyde at multiple positions. There’s also been talk of using Julius Peppers, Nick Perry and/or Mike Neal in multiple spots. If part of the Packers problems on defense is an over-complicated scheme, is asking guys to learn multiple spots really such a good idea?
- Mike McCarthy thinks he’s only at halftime of his Packers coaching career. I hope he’s right. If he’s around for another nine years, it means the Packers are winning. Like with any coach, we like to pick at McCarthy for playcalling and clock management decisions. Often, that criticism is deserved. But McCarthy is a helluva coach. The Packers rarely have to deal with team drama and keep winning despite being wiped out by injuries more often than McCarthy and any of us would like. Give me the even-keeled, focused and no-nonesne McCarthy over someone who is emotional, whiny and confrontational like Jim Harbaugh.
- What was your favorite C.J. Wilson moment?
- Several mock drafts have the Packers taking TE Eric Ebron, LB C.J. Mosley or S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round of the NFL draft. All three are talented players, but all three also have possible red flags. Brian Carriveau at CheeseheadTV has more details.
- Be sure to check out this week’s “From the Benches” podcast at PackersTalk.com.
- The Packers brought in free agent G/C Mike McGlynn for a visit this week. Fortunately, McGlynn has been signed by the Redskins.
- I’m sure you’ve all seen this already, but it’s worth watching again: Aaron Rodgers celebrates with the Wisconsin Badgers after their Sweet 16 victory.
Non-Packers links and other nonsense
- The new version of Action PC Football is out. If you’re looking for an addicting replay text sim, this game fits the bill.
- I’ve enjoyed Nate Silver’s new Fivethirtyeight.com website, but it’s very similar to what Wonkblog was at the Washington Post. Also, why is Silver so damn petty and sensitive?
- 49ers CB Chris Culliver has been charged with felony possession of brass knuckles. They’ve been using brass knuckles in professional wrestling for as long as I can remember and nobody has ever gotten charged with a felony. Sheesh.
- Book recommendation: “Up, Up and Away” Jonah Keri’s history of the Montreal Expos.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .
19 thoughts on “Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived”
The Safety position is going to be 2014’s back-up QB. Hold and hope. For all of Ted’s moves this off-season, not addressing this deficiency is going to dilute the effectiveness of the other moves.
It can’t be both things. You can’t on one-hand have Capers say “Our defense runs complex schemes that takes players a couple of years to master”, and then go out and draft a rookie to fit that requirement. It seems the definition of dis-ingenuous.
Given the paradox that this need/inaction seems to represent, the only path that stops the head-scratching is a conclusion that between Hyde and Richardson, Ted and Mike kind of view them as 2a and 2b.
And that sounds an awful lot like the commentary we heard about Graham Harrell and B J Coleman going into the season last year.
I have posted a couple of times about OT, but my concern is more about the Cap than talent. Bakhtiari did a fine job but he does need to improve before he can be thought of as a solid LT. Bulaga is a free agent after this year. He has been hurt so TT might wait to decide whether to extend him. Sherrod is a 1st Rd talent and should be given a chance to compete at tackle, but even if he blossoms, after next year the packers just have a fairly expensive option for the 2015 season. Barclay should be considered a backup tackle, but we have him backing up other positions. It might be a bit of a luxury, but I note that Drafttek has 11 ROTs listed among its top 120 prospects Its a pretty decent year for tackles. IDK if TT likes any of them.
This team has its share of ‘what ifs’, which is part of the Draft and develop process. Tretter at center, Bostic at TE, Young Bak in his 2nd year at LT, D Jones and Worthy at DE, Hyde at S…..etc. The safety spot is my big concern. I hope this all important position gets fixed soon. It’s been a sore spot for several years now, the confusion and lack of physicality at this position needs to end now!
We will have the second best tackler[Matthews 1st] at safety ,Hyde.
I like what the Packers have done in the off season and I do not have the concerns that most of you are expressing. We have guys on the roster and the draft and post draft acquisitions will top-off the tank.
What I particularly like is our recent tendency to move on from projects and marginal players. Letting MacMillian and Jennings go rids us of weakness and forces us to move forward. Letting C.J. Wilson go says we need to do better. Even letting EDS walk tells me that average is not good enough. I like that our organization and coaching staff are not sitting pat on average even if average is getting you the division crown. Just like our running game, the defense will be better, the ST will improve and this team will be stronger next year. Arrows up Packernation.
I agree wholeheartedly. Good post… Take the safety position. It has 2 players who could easily be able to step into the void opposite Burnett. Hyde and Richardson. That said neither is considered a lock nor have the pedigree of a high draft status to ensure he is given the job. It would have been nice to get a good solid Safety in FA which would help ensure some of the communication issues are cleared up. But both Hyde and Richardson have talent and will be given the opportunity to compete for the job. Its also very likely they won’t sit still at that position and will use a high draft pick on that position.
None of the guys we lost were players that I considered “must” keeps. EDS was closest and while a case can be made to keeping him, one can also be made that it was time to move into the future at the position. I believe Tretter is the future at Center.
I never really got why people felt EDS was so good. Maybe he could really get the line assigned to their blocks well, because when I watch and rewatched games he seemed to get beat more than any other player on the line. He often looked as if he just got blown past. So, I too am not as concerned with his depature as many, though a rough start could change that.
I most concerned with how the Packers address ILB and TE. I feel like success in the NFL can really come down to the running game. If you can stop the run, you make a team on dimensional, and you can focus on stopping the pass. And if you can run, you keep the opposing team off balance. An uber talented ILB with high end speed would be nice to fill gaps.
Shazier or Mosley would be perfect ILB for the Packers. Both are sideline to sideline players. Mosley is the best LB in the draft in coverage. Tho he isn’t as good a blitzer as you might like but he does have exceptional instincts. Shazier doesn’t have the instincts of Mosley but he is faster and is a good blitzer.
I’ll have to disagree about TE. I would like to give Quarless and Bostic a year to show if they can take the job. Rather see them draft a WR to groom for a few years down the line when Jordy might be losing a step. Big fan of Donte Moncrief in the 2nd or 3rd.
We all need to take breath and let the Packer front office evaluate the talent already under contract verses the free agent talent pool. I think by now it’s pretty clear TT and staff liked their own more than any Safety available as a free agent. Let’s see where Micha Hyde plays in 2014.
Signing Peppers may well turn out for the Packers but Peppers is only a stop gap for lack of pass rushing personnel already on staff. As for signing Raji who really knows if he’ll return to 2010 form.
So within the first or second round of the 2014 draft the Packers, as every other NFL team, need to find a beast who can rush the passer as their #1 priority. The Packers need a guy that gets to the quarterback, from either an interior position like DT or ILB or DE or OLB.
Make no mistake a truly great pass rush makes any secondary look better, especially if the rush is accomplished using only four guys.
Just because some kid made plays in college doesn’t mean he’ll do the same in the NFL. Taking the best football player available sounds bla, but it’s the best thing for a team to be built the best player they could get at any position.
I’m hoping the Packers find a Pass Rushing Beast in the 2014 draft, finding one is long overdue.
I think inside linebacker is that spot that we lack production. Yes, we have a guy that makes 100 tackles per year, but 90 of them are six yards down field. We need a guy that can make plays at the line of scrimmage. There will be quality linebackers available to us in the second round of the draft. I think the guy from either Wisconsin or Ohio State could help us.
This is a good observation…
“If part of the Packers problems on defense is an over-complicated scheme, is asking guys to learn multiple spots really such a good idea?”
McCarthy however, has already come out and said that while more player versatility is coming, he’s and Capers are also going to trim the scheme.
What you’ll see is the Packers moving players around but running the same play w/ players in different positions. Its also worth noting that the players being moved around will probably be vets. Peppers, Matthews, Perry, Neal in the front 7 and probably Micah Hyde in the secondary.
Veterans won’t have too much difficulty playing fast at different positions, so I’m not worried about that.
Favorite C J Wilson moment: Remember that time he made a tackle? Man that was good stuff!
Damn… I can’t remember who he tackled. Can you remind me?
#1 Would be safety…Lack of outstanding talent
#2 Line backer….Been quite some time since Green Bay had a linebacker to be feared.
#3 lack of pass rush…should be better with Peppers but still suspect
#4 Coaching on Defense and Special teams both were poor last year and I don’t see much hope for improvement.
#5 Protection for Rodgers should be better without Newhouse but still not outstanding.
#6 Over estimating the talent on defense by MM and tt and thinking that the offense can carry the day.
Nunber one we need ilb that can make tackle behind the line np after the rb made five or six yards nunber one again we need a safety that can make plays and we need a dl that can rush the qb nunber 3 te that can strech the field after that we need a wr a center another db. And hope that we can keep injuries to a minimun @another super bowl win.
Defensive playmakers in general is and has been the Packers biggest need. Regardless of position… Losing players like Collins, Woodson, Bishop and Jenkins has taken the teeth out of the Packers D.
Doesn’t matter what level of the D gets those playmakers, we just need more of them. There are a few players on the verge of making it to that level, but it remains to be seen who and at what positions they will be.
Potential candidates include Datone, Daniels, Perry, Hayward, Hyde, Burnett, Shields and too a lesser extent Worthy.
Tramon and Raji are former playmakers that could find that level of play again. And an ILB or S from the draft.
I agree that GB needs more playmakers, especially on D and preferably in the front 7 or safety, but I would not criticize TT for taking Ebron or Evans at #21, or for taking Dennard or Gilbert at CB at #21.
Is it just me or are there a lot more players moving way up or way down in the mock drafts this year than usual? For example, I saw Moses (LT) mocked at #19 and Tuitt and Amaro down to #42 and #49. There is always considerable movement in the big boards and mocks, but this year seems quite volatile.
I think this column should be called Surviving Free Agency: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Packers football deprived. This is the longest stretch of no news during the year. When every other team is improving itself the Packers (oops I mean Ted Thompson for those who live only to praise him) sits out and re-signs its own players that contributed this year to an 8-7-1 season and a one and out post-season. Now for the biggest Packers free agency news. I’ve thought about the Peppers signing and my thoughts are changing a known commodity to a new position at the age of 34 usually is a recipe for disaster. I hope this won’t be the case, but he will probably turn out to be another Aaron Kampman. The change destroyed his career and he was younger. I hope I’m wrong and we get one or two good years from Thompson’s investment and I will praise him accordingly if that happens. But there were many good to great players out there that would immediately upgraded the defense, but none were even considered. As far as the cap is concerned it is there to spend. Saving it for another day works sometimes, but not adding that one player or two or three that would bring home another Lombardi Trophy is a major missed opportunity. So the long drought of news continues until the draft when Thompson is in his heyday. And this year the wait is even longer. I can’t wait until we finally get some positive news we can sink our teeth into. GO PACK (for those who want to run me out of town for stating some sort of dissention).
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