When the Green Bay Packers announced in April the release of former Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, many Packers fans began to think of the inevitable: is this the time Charles Woodson moves to safety full time?
A season after intercepting the most passes in the NFL while also giving up the most passing yards, there are many questions surrounding the Green Bay defensive backfield.
Will corners Tramon Williams and Sam Shields return to their 2010 level? How will Morgan Burnett perform after playing his first full season? But the No. 1 question will be at what position the Packers’ defensive captain will be at this year.
Athletic tight ends have become a hot commodity these days in the NFL. That’s why the Patriots have to be happy about locking up pro bowl tight end Rob Gronkonski for six more years at such a “reasonable” price. The Packers hit gold with the financially sound yet short-term contract they handed over to Jermichael Finley in February. However, there is a good chance that Finley will be unaffordable when his two-year contract expires.
Finley’s history of injuries and “me-oriented” playing style make the short-term nature of the contract a positive. Further, players like Finley tend to approach their peak performance around age 27, the same age Finley will be at contract expiration. So, provided with the “rental” nature of Finley’s contract, how do you manage the development of the tight end position behind Finley?
Just as offseason programs got underway, Ted Thompson and the Packers front office opted to bring back DWTS champ and aging veteran receiver Donald Driver. The decision produced mixed reactions from experts as practice squad standouts Tori Gurley, Diondre Borel and Shaky Smithson continue to wait their turn in joining the league’s premier wide receiver corps.
Driver’s resigning doesn’t necessarily shut the door to the youngsters’ hopes in Green Bay; the Packers kept five tight ends on the Week 1 roster last season and – with their emphasis on special teams – could do the same at wide receiver this season. However, any extra receiver retained shares a limited role in the offense for as long as Driver is around.
Ted Thompson’s eighth draft as Packers GM may have been the most interesting of them all, adding six straight defensive players before capping off the weekend with an O-lineman and QB. While both Thompson and McCarthy maintained the notion that selection was based on best player available, the selections fell suspiciously in line with the Packers’ direct needs. Further, Thompson traded up an uncharacteristically high three times. Continue reading →