Having to face Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte twice each season has forced Ted Thompson to stay invested in his linebacker corps over the years. Fortunately, he has been efficient in drafting the position in April, with the depth chart showing three first-rounder-turned-starters. However, after waiting until Day 3 of this past draft to select a linebacker and witnessing the sudden departures of Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith in the offseason, the Packers appear to be a tad shallow at the position.
The lack of depth at outside linebacker and Mike Neal’s struggles as a down lineman prompted the coaching staff to give the four-year veteran a look at linebacker. Neal’s use at linebacker should be strictly situational, as second-year pass rusher Nick Perry accompanies fellow USC product Clay Matthews as a starter. Veteran linebacker Dezman Moses may see some time in the base defense if Perry struggles but don’t expect to see many other faces at the position.
McCarthy has been giving Mason Crosby more than ample time to overcome… whatever it is that Mason needs to overcome.
One of the reasons McCarthy continues to be positive about Mason is that he has such a strong leg. He went out of his way to point out that Mason gets more height on his field goal kicks than Tavecchio.
But just how important is a strong leg for a field goal kicker? I’m re-thinking that question. Continue reading
Ted Thompson is well-aware of his less-than-stellar track record of selecting defensive linemen in the draft. He whiffed on Justin Harrell in the first round of the 2007 draft and has yet to capture any sort of return on second-rounders Mike Neal and Jerel Worthy. And yet Thompson has maintained his status as a buyer at the position, nabbing UCLA star Datone Jones in this April’s draft. Jones’ ability to make an immediate impact on passing downs will be key to the defense’s success in 2013.
Also instrumental in generating pass rush will be B.J. Raji, who is in his contract year and is one of only two roster-bound linemen capable of playing nose tackle. Like cornerback Tramon Williams, Raji has not been his dominant self since the 2010 Super Bowl run, forcing Thompson to extend the contract of safety Morgan Burnett last month, rather than Raji’s. In all fairness, Thompson has not provided Raji with an adequate supporting cast to-date, which is why many are counting on Jones to step up.
I doubt anyone really questions Vince Young’s talent and ability as a quarterback. Anyone who watched the Titans in 2006 and 2007 knows Vince is gifted and had a great deal of potential… potential that was derailed by some bad choices and some pretty serious distractions.
Vince says he’s matured greatly, but that brings up a couple questions. If Vince has matured why didn’t things work out with the Eagles and Bills, and what might make things different in Green Bay? Continue reading
Often in search of three rushers just worthy of keeping on their 53-man roster, the Packers have a handful of running backs to choose from heading into the 2013 season. The competition centers around three veterans with varying degrees of health problems, and three rookies, each with a unique skill set. Due to the talent in other position groups, the number of running backs retained figures to be capped at four. As always, the coaching staff will keep an eye out for players who can also contribute on special teams.
One player that has the ability to contribute as a special teamer is 2012 late-season sensation, DuJuan Harris, who has been sidelined by a knee injury since the beginning of training camp. The Packers’ other injury-prone back, James Starks, has looked sharp in his reps with the No.1 offense thus far. However, given Starks’ poor track record of staying healthy, many are calling for the marketing of Starks in training camp just to trade him before Week 1.
When the Packers hit the field at family night, they will experience something most other teams in the league have no hope of experiencing. They will get a very near simulation of game day at Lambeau Field.
Family Night is more than just another practice for the Packer players. Family Night is a distinct advantage in preparing for the season. Continue reading
The Packers may not own the league’s best offensive line but the versatility amongst the group will help them get by. Six of the ten-plus linemen are capable of playing more than one position effectively, most notably T.J. Lang and Evan Dietrich-Smith. The Packers have also developed some impressive talent in lower-profile names like Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay. Strange to say, but the Packers may be deeper on the O-Line than they are used to.
I think everyone knows McCarthy would like to replace Randall Cobb in the return game so he can focus on being a wide receiver and avoid all the additional risk that goes with Cobb returning kicks.
But that’s not going to happen until he finds a viable option for replacing Randall. Continue reading
The Packers have picked up another wide receiver. His name is Omarius Hines and he’ll wear #5 for the Packers. The signing itself isn’t earth-shattering. What shocks me is the fact that he’ll be wearing #5.
It’s a little surprising to me that the Packers have not retired that number. I realize we can’t retire every number but the things Paul Hornung did were huge in an era when the Packers were the dominant force in the NFL. Continue reading
Since Mike McCarthy’s arrival in Green Bay, the Packers have been nothing short of well-off at the cornerback position. Charles Woodson was a household name since signing as a free agent and was always paired with at least one other standout, whether it be Al Harris or Tramon Williams. Even without Woodson, this year is no different; the roster boasts impressive depth at cornerback entering the first full week of training camp. However, with great depth eventually come big decisions. These decisions start with Tramon Williams, whose stay in Green Bay may not be as long as we once anticipated.
Since being known as one of the league’s premier cornerbacks in 2010, Williams has shown little to warrant a starting position in the NFC North’s best secondary. The former undrafted free agent received a four-year contract extension at the tail end of the 2010 regular season and followed the deal up with three critical interceptions that postseason. But in 2011 Williams was nagged by a shoulder injury and then, at full health, proceeded to turn in an underwhelming performance in 2012. It’s now clear that Williams is far removed from his 2010 self.