Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Playing catch-up...

It's been a few days.

Here are the updates:

1) Collins and Pickett get the long term deals they were looking for. (4-years apiece I believe)
2) Tauscher signs a 3-year deal.

My thoughts:
1) Good and it is about time. They have been nothing but solid since their arrival in Green Bay and the team couldn't expect to be better without them. There is no one better readily available at either position.  I see Collins being quite good throughout his career, and Pickett transitioning to #2 NT behind Raji over the course of the coming year.

2) I feel this is the smartest move the Packers can make at this point.  Things got better when Tauscher came back. Despite his age, he is coming off of knee surgery, and typically, a player plays better their second season after the surgery. So, a quick run-down of the current state and why re-signing Tauscher is the best decision:

    a) There are arguably no better free agents at the RT position.
    b) The alternatives are to trust players from our current roster to step up, or rely on a rookie.
    c) Tauscher will be further removed from surgery.

So, there aren't any better, more readily available options. Last year showed us that guys we thought were ready, were not. T. J. Lang has shown some promise, but he was our only healthy and capable backup last year.  He may eventually fill the shoes of the RT spot (I'd prefer to try him at center as many scouting reports pre-draft said he would be capable of), but for now, I don't think there is any good argument for not re-signing Tauscher. We now get to go into the new season, with everyone back except for Kampman (where Jones filled in quite well, considering he was a 7th round pick). So in theory, our offensive line should be the same, or slightly better than the end of 2009.  We get Spitz back, and everyone healthy. Unfortunately, all three of our division rivals now possess equal or better defensive lines than last year.  It's a good start, and the starting point we need going into the draft.  We still need to find our future linemen, but the Pack has done the right thing thus far.

From here, and I know I sound like a broken record, but try to swing a deal with the Saints for Jermon Bushrod.  He wasn't absolutely stellar last year, but he filled in at LT well enough to help the Saints to the Super Bowl.  That has to count for something.  He is young, and experienced.  If I were Ted, I'd offer the Saints something like a conditional 3rd rounder in the 2011 draft based on Bushrod's playing time.  If he plays enough, they get our 2nd rounder.  This preserves all of our picks in this years supposedly deep draft class, gives us an instant depth upgrade and possibly our future LT, gives the Saints something since they have a rare excess of young tackles, and gives Bushrod a much brighter future as Clifton has been injured a bit more lately and he doesn't have to wait behind a 28 year old, two-time Pro-Bowler (Jammal Brown).

The above move would help keep the temptation of reaching due to need out of the upcoming draft. I still think it would be a great idea to draft an OT if one of the first-round type of guys is available at number 23 and no one else has really dropped. But I think it would be far better going into the season feeling as though we have some capable depth and a team ready for the future.

As for other guys from the draft I'd love to see in green and gold, three other players are standing out in my mind during mid rounds.  Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota, and Jordan Shippley, WR, Texas.  I know we have some good depth at receiver, but Driver is unfortunately aging a bit, and you can't continue to expect him to go over the middle and sacrifice his body as much as he used to. Decker and Shippley are not really speed demons, but they are excellent route runners and show no fear going over the middle.  Combine that type of receiver with Jennings and Finely and the rest of our WR corp, and you're going to really give defenses a hard time for the next few years. Either one could be available in the third round and would be worth serious consideration.  The other guy that really comes to mind is Myron Rolle.  I still really like Bigby, but he hasn't been very durable.  Getting a guy like Rolle, in say, the fourth round, would be great because he needs a little time to get into football shape (which he'd have behind Bigby), and he's incredibly smart (which is extremely important in a 3-4). In time, it could develop into a nice rotation between he and Bigby, with Rolle playing more passing downs, and Bigby playing the run downs. 

As for guys I don't want to see the Packers take, there aren't too many.  Bruce Campbell jumps to mind.  He's a workout warrior and a great athlete.  He could stand to put on a few pounds if he wants to play tackle at the pro level.  But, his smaller size and athleticism may draw the Packers toward him with their zone-blocking scheme.  I would like to have this guy on the team and I think he would be able to fill in, but after seeing some tape on him, I just feel his chances of becoming an elite, franchise LT are slimmer than those of some of the other projected first round LTs.

How about you guys? Anyone out there you would love to see in green and gold?  How about some names you don't think would be a good fit?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alternate Uniforms and Movies

1. The Packers have announced they will be revealing an alternate, throwback uniform from the 1920's which they'll hopefully be using for one or two home games this year.  The colors are a dark blue and khaki.

2. ESPN has announced a movie about the legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi.  The film will be called LOMBARDI and will star Robert De Niro as Coach Lombardi.  The film will specifically chronicle his time spent with the Green Bay Packers.

My thoughts:

1) This is pretty cool.  I love seeing the retro uniforms.  I think it brings character and history to the game.  Once or twice a year is enough for me though.  And while I do love the throwbacks, I would really love to see modern alternate uniforms with jerseys which are either black or yellow. 

2) The movie sounds great.  I am looking forward to seeing it.  Vince Lombardi was one of the greatest coaches of all time. Using De Niro gives the movie some credibility and also ensures a great performance.

Unfortunately, neither update is a move to directly improve the team.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Judging Ted's moves...

And no, not his dance moves....

But in all seriousness, I have been reading a lot of articles saying Ted should trade down this year.  At first, I was on board with the idea.  Then I started to really think about it and wanted some more concrete reasoning behind the idea. So, I went back and looked at all of Ted's previous drafts.  

I tried to keep the criteria as general as possible.  I looked at only a few things: Round player was drafted in, if they are currently a starter on any team, if they are a Pro-Bowler, if they are still with the Packers, and if they are still on any roster in the NFL.

I'll skip the individual classes and just post the totals from 2005 - 2009:

Basically, Ted done a pretty good job drafting NFL-caliber players and a pretty good job retaining those players.  He has also done fairly well finding starters in the first two rounds. In fact, those starters have a good chance of becoming Pro-Bowl caliber players.  If you look at the first two rounds, just over half of the starters are drafted there. If you incorporate the third round, almost 75% of Ted's starters are from rounds 1-3.  The other thing about this is that players that are drafted in rounds 1 and 2 are very likely to remain with and contribute to the team.  Ted does a much better job grabbing good players in the 1st round per quantity of players drafted than even in the 2nd. The 3rd is tough due to the small sample size. 

Another thing to note here (and this is seen more from looking at the individual classes), is when Ted trades back, he's managed to add good depth to the roster.  However, when he has retained his first round pick or traded up into the first again, he has done a good job of getting starting caliber players.

Ted has at least one starter per class. In 2007 and 2008 Ted traded back heavily and only produced 3 current starters, one being Mason Crosby.  Last year, when trading up, he produced 3 starters.

So what is the bigger need for the Pack this year? Starters or depth? The age old debate of quantity vs quality. This is a very important year as the Pack tries to make the ultimate "Lambeau Leap".

Also, I'd be more than happy to email anyone the .xls document with my findings if you want it. 

A few thoughts on possible moves at this point

After the first big weekend of free agency, the Packers roster is as predicted.  Clifton re-signed and Kampman gone.

The positions of need for the Packers I would argue are OT, OLB, CB/S, RB, and any other OL.

For OT, I still would love to see some sort of deal made for OT Jermon Bushrod from the Saints.  He stepped in last year for the full year and played well enough to help his team to a Super Bowl.  They only have a second-round tender on him and it has been rumored the Saints are willing to part ways with one of their three RFA OT's. I think he could be gotten for maybe less than a second rounder. I feel it would be worth even a second round pick to get a young, capable, potential LT. He could back up Clifton and it would be no worse than what he is doing in Baltimore, with a greater potential to play and eventually start.  I would also resign Tauscher and look to draft an OT as well.

At OLB in a 3-4 defense, there isn't really anyone worth it in free agency.  This will have to come through the draft.

CB/S is interesting because of the amount of returning players. Lee and Blackmon could do well in the new system.  It wouldn't hurt to draft one as well though.  There just isn't anyone worth the price in free agency(see A. Rolle).

I don't feel RB is as big of an issue because I feel Grant is pretty durable and capable of handling another good season.  But if he were to go down for an extended period of time, I don't feel comfortable with Jackson as an every down back.  I think acquiring a veteran free agent here would be better than spending a draft pick on any of this year's backs unless someone really slips.

Any other OL would be great in the draft.  We could use the depth.

It wouldn't hurt to get some DE depth either.  Maybe a late round project? Maybe, just maybe, Harrell contributes? That would be ideal since he is already on the roster.

Free Agency Updates 3/9/2010

Just wanted to give a quick update.

The Packers re-signed LT Chad Clifton to a 3-year deal.
FS Nick Collins signed his tender sheet.
The Packers signed WR Charles Dillon.

The Jaguars signed DE/OLB Aaron Kampman to a 4-year deal.
The Bears signed DE Julius Peppers to a 6-year deal.
The Lions signed DE Kevin Vanden Bosch and traded for former Packer DE/DT Corey Williams.

What all of this means:
Well, the division just got stacked with better defensive linemen, and the Packers offensive line was already in rough shape handling the last years group of defensive linemen. The Packers had to re-sign Clifton because of that and the fact that without him, there is no true LT on the roster.  If the Lions do indeed draft Suh or McCoy, we will be facing some of the better defensive lines in the entire NFL for 6 games of the year. With the offensive line struggling to buy Rodgers time last year, this is really putting the pressure on Green Bay to fix their largest problem.

Also, the Packers pass rush just lost a great football player and leader.  Kampman was not the best OLB, but he was really coming on quite well before the injury.  He wasn't a fan of the new system though and I'm not surprised he left.  I am surprised there were that many suitors so early, but good for him and I wish him the best. Unfortunately, that increases the need for an OLB through the draft.   

As for Collins signing the tender, this is good news.  It appears he really wants to stay here and both sides are probably nearing a long term deal.

Charles Dillon is an arena football player.  I assume he was signed to see how he fits in as a KR/PR specialist.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mock Draft, First round (part two)

My mock draft predictions continue...

17) 49ers - They still could use some help at OG, DT, or RT

Verdict: Mike Iupati G, Idaho
Why: While there are still some good OT's on the board, the 49ers have Gore and need to keep their running game strong if they want to give Alex Smith a chance.  Need for a OG is a little bit more prominent and I think he is the only worthy first round OG. They could take C.J. Spiller here, but to be honest, Gore is back and Coffee didn't run too poorly in his absence. Spiller would probably require too much money for a minimal impact.

18) Steelers - Boy, what happened last year?  This team has one of the better rosters in the NFL and they couldn't get it together.  They don't have any glaring holes as it stands. They are in position to take the BPA and they could use some depth at RB or CB.

Verdict: C. J. Spiller RB, Clemson
Last year, they got Mendenall and it paid off well.  He is a powerful back and be quite a workhorse.  Spiller compliments him nice and would give Big Ben another weapon (not that he needs any more).

19) Falcons - Their secondary could really use a boost.  They may be getting that soon as they are reportedly linked to Dunta Robinson.  Now would also be a good time to find a successor to Gonzalez's throne.

Verdict: Kyle Wilson CB, Boise State
Why:  Even if they get Robinson, they could still use a quality guy like Wilson. It would be a nice fit as he wouldn't necessarily have to start immediately.

20) Texans - Another team that needs lots of help.  They could afford to trade down here for some more picks.  But anything will help so best player available is...

Verdict: Bryan Bulaga OT, Iowa
Why: They need help everywhere and should be thrilled with anyone at this point outside of a QB or TE.

21) Bengals - They shocked me last season.  It looks like they've got their groove back a bit.  They could really benefit from a skilled, pass-catching TE or a good S.

Verdict: Jermaine Gresham TE, Oklahoma
Why:  I think it is a position teams don't pay much attention to when they play the Bengals.  They need receiving help and getting a good star TE would provide just that. It might be too early for a TE, but he has a lot of upside and the Bengals won't get him otherwise.

22) Patriots - These guys could really use some help on defense.  They still haven't filled the loss of Richard Seymour.

Verdict: Carlos Dunlap DE, Florida
Why: I think he can bulk up a little bit and be quite an effective end in a 3-4. I know he is projected as a 4-3 DE, but if he can pack on a little muscle he might be able to fill in Seymour's shoes.

23) Packers - The highest priority for them should be protecting Aaron Rodgers.  They struggled with it early last year and with the potential of losing both starting tackles in free agency, better get it together.

Verdict: Trent Williams OT, Oklahoma
Why: He's a guy that continues to work to improve.  He also has the potential to come in and help immediately.  He's a bit undersized weight wise, but that may work to his advantage in a zone-blocking scheme. Depending on training camp and preseason work, he could fill in at either OT position.

24) Eagles - Philly needs to get a bit better defensively if they want to be contenders next year.  That is the side of the ball I would guess they would look to pick on.

Verdict: Sergio Kindle OLB, Texas
Why:  LB is not a strong point for the Eagles and getting a good young player in Kindle would be excellent for them.  He played in a tough conference in college and will probably be one of the more NFL ready players coming out of this draft.

25) Ravens - These guys need a WR like salad needs dressing.  No one just eats lettuce. Well, no one I know of. They could go for a C here too but it may be a bit of a reach.

Verdict: Arrelious Benn WR, Illinois
Why: They have their choice of WR's here and would probably value them higher than anyone else at this point.  Golden Tate has potential, but Benn is a safer choice here. He is a nice big target that Joe Flacco can get comfortable with.

26) Cardinals - Maybe they can trade Leinart to Seattle and move up or accumulate some more picks. It could work out well if Seattle wanted Leinart and the Cards could draft Bradford.  But other than that, they could really use some help on defense.

Verdict: Brian Price DT, UCLA
Why: He'd provide them with a solid upgrade on the DL.

27) Cowboys - Mr. Moneybags could use some fire on his DL.  S wouldn't be a bad pick either.  Unfortunately, there's not much value at any of those spots here for the Boys.  It would be wise to trade up or down here, or take the BPA.

Verdict: Bruce Campbell OT, Maryland
Why: He's a good player and wouldn't be forced to start right away.  He has a nice upside and could help an aging Dallas line.

28) Chargers - The Bolts have really stretched themselves thin at RB.  I have to believe they plan on addressing it in free agency.  They also released DT Jamal Williams without a clear heir.  I am not sure what they are thinking.  I would trade down and draft Terrance Cody maybe?

Verdict: Jared Odrick DT -> DE, Penn State
Why:  He was my original pick for them prior to their crazy cutting. He could make a nice transition to a 3-4 DE and keep the Bolts strong on the defensive side of the ball.

29) Jets - Pretty solid team.  If Sanchez develops well, they could be a force.  They could use another WR and some depth at CB even though they just traded for Antonio Cromartie.

Verdict: Nate Allen S, South Florida
Why: Well I can't really see them spending a first rounder on a CB now.  However, it appears Rhodes is on his way out so a good S would be a nice addition to keep the secondary strong, in case teams start game-planning for Revis island.

30) Vikings - This is pretty easy for the Vikings.  They need a QB for the future, and Washington is looking for a first round pick for Campbell.  If I'm the Vikings, this is the best move.  If Favre decides he has another year in him, that's fine. Campbell stands the possibility of the Skins drafting a QB and him riding pine anyway.  If Favre actually hangs it up, Campbell has starting NFL experience and despite a poor record, has some great potential.  I've read plenty of scouts think he can still be a really good QB for a team that isn't a circus show.  If not, LB or CB could be a good pick here.

Verdict: Patrick Robinson CB, Florida State
Why: A given here since he's a good value and they need help at CB. Winfield isn't getting any younger and has questions surrounding his health.  They would welcome the depth.

31) Colts - They are in pretty rough shape at LB and DT. Lucky for them....

Verdict: Brandon Graham OLB, Michigan
Why:  He could be a steal at this point.  Other teams just don't need him and I've heard his stock is falling a bit.  He could have the upside the Colts need.

32) Saints - The Super Bowl Champs look pretty good across the board yet.  They have some questions at LB and C though.

Verdict: Maurkice Pouncey C, Florida
Why:  He's arguably the best player available here and would give the Saints some good depth on their already good OL.

Some may argue that this mock is too need-based.  To an extent, that may be true. Truth is, teams grade people differently.  This is just what I would do at each position.

Mock Draft, First round (part one)

Just a warning, this is going to be a long one.  I am going to step into each GM's shoes and give what I think makes sense for this years first round of the NFL draft.  I wrote this prior to the start of free agency but I'll update it as I go.

1) Rams - I would take a QB or trade down if I can.  There are too many holes in the depth chart and playing one guy that much doesn't really help them enough. Not to mention that the best two players are not the Rams biggest position needs.  If you have to take the pick though and pay someone that much money, I would make it a QB.

Verdict: Jimmy Clausen QB, Notre Dame
Why: The first pick of the draft is a lot of money.  Bradford may be as good or better than Clausen, but Clausen is not coming off of shoulder surgery.  It's too risky to guarantee a guy that much. Suh and McCoy are tempting and I am a firm believer in building your lines first, but realistically, the Rams play a 4-3 style defense where DT is not as important as in a 3-4 or getting a franchise QB.

2) Lions - The Lions are making a lot of moves and really trying to improve. OL and DL need to be improved, specifically OT and DT.  Lots of holes yet though and trading down could pay off. Again, this guy is going to get lots of guaranteed money.

Verdict: Russell Okung OT,  Oklahoma State
Why: A few updated reasons here.  The Lions signed Nate Burleson giving them a viable number two receiver and Kyle Vanden Bosch helping their DL.  They also traded for former Packer, Corey Williams, DT.  There are lots of teams hungry for OT this year and there are a lot of quality players this year, but Okung is the cream of the crop.  It will help protect their huge investment in Stafford.  Not to mention, again, money plays a role.  It's far easier to justify handing a huge sum of cash to a franchise OT as opposed to a DT in a 4-3 defense.

3) Buccaneers - I would again trade down here maybe too if at all possible.  There are so many holes in the roster and they could still get high quality players they need more a bit later.  But at the same time, having a choice between the two best players in the draft is pretty nice.

Verdict: Ndamukong Suh DT, Nebraska
Why: It might be easy to find a trading partner if Suh does indeed fall this far, but he is too good at this point to pass up.  You are still going to give him a big contract, but if he's as good as they say, it will be worth it.  the Bucs would be a good fit and their current big man, Chris Hovan, is getting up there in years.

4) Redskins - They need some safety help as well as offensive line help.  Shanahan will likely run a zone-blocking scheme so that could mean later round OL picks.

Verdict: Eric Berry S, Tennessee
Why: Taking an offensive lineman isn't flashy enough for Snyder in the first round.  If they sign Clifton, they'll have a stop-gap player until they can get someone else. Taking Bradford is an option, but Jason Campbell has too much potential to give him the boot.  Eric Berry is projected to be quite the safety and in a 3-4, your safety is like your QB.

5) Chiefs - Not really much of a choice here for them. They need help everywhere and are better off getting one of the two best players of the draft. This may be a time when the Chiefs trade out to get more picks as someone will covet a DT more.

Verdict: Gerald McCoy DT, Oklahoma
Why: He is too good of a value to pass up here. Combine him with another couple of good, young linemen in Glen Dorsey and Tyson Jackson and you will have a nice young DL.  I know they are switching to a 3-4, but I don't think they can pass.  They will have to work out who plays NT.  Maybe just a nice rotation for the first year.

6) Seahawks - Unique in that they have two first round picks withing the top 15.  They need an OT, DE, and QB of the future.  There are lots of possibilities here.

Verdict: Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma
Why:  This move makes sense on lots of levels.  Bradford is considered the only other real first round QB.  There are too many teams between them and their next pick and they wouldn't get him.  He is coming off of shoulder surgery and would get a year or two to develop behind Matt Hasselbeck. Pete Carroll is the new sheriff in town and will get his QB of the future.

7) Browns - Ideally, I would trade this pick down.  They need lots of help specifically in the secondary and at number seven, it may be a little early for anyone left in the secondary.

Verdict: Joe Haden CB, Florida
Why:  There are enough teams that could use corner help behind them that would probably take him. Even though he ran a little slow at the combine, it's not the end of the world.  Holmgren is smart enough to know that tape is a way better indicator than combine workouts.  It's pretty easy to learn if you ever watch Al Davis pick guys. Speaking of him.....

8) Raiders - Funny, in the last few drafts, the Raiders have taken lots of skill position players and oddly enough, those are the positions they need the most help at.  Oh Crazy Al.

Verdict: Taylor Mays S, USC
Why:  He had a great showing at the combine and Al is known for being a little crazy. The Raiders could really use some help at safety and it would surprise people a little bit which I think is Al's style.

9) Bills - They need help badly on their OL and could really use a QB of the future.  New coach usually means new QB in these types of situations.

Verdict: Anthony Davis OT, Rutgers
Why:  There aren't any more QB's that they can't get in the second.  Davis is a great OT and will help protect whoever the Bills get to take the reigns.

10) Jaguars - They really need a WR or DE.  This is a good place for either position, as there are some quality players that meet their needs nicely.

Verdict: Jason Pierre Paul DE, South Florida
Why: He could step in and provide some immediate help to their horrible pass rush.  He is also used to being down in Florida and would probably feel quite comfortable staying.

11) Broncos - They need a quality WR regardless of whether or not Brandon Marshall is around. They could also take a DT here as there are some good ones available.

Verdict: Dez Bryant WR, Oklahoma State
Why: Bryant has too much talent to pass on here.  He is supposedly better than Michael Crabtree. Plus, head coach Josh Daniels is now experienced with "diva" WR and should have a better idea about how to handle Bryant.

12) Dolphins - The Dolphins could really use a true number one WR.  They also need some help on the DL.

Verdict: Dan Williams DT, Tennessee
Why: He's probably the best value here for the Dolphins. Some might say this is a little high for Williams, but truth is that DT's could go quick this year.

13) 49ers - They really look pretty good across the board.  I'd pencil them in for the playoffs next year to be honest if I knew Alex Smith would develop into a viable NFL-level, starting QB.  They aren't too far from having a good team, pending the development of Smith. They could use some help at OG, DT, and FS though.

Verdict: Earl Thomas S, Texas
Why:  They could use some help in the secondary and Singletary is a defense-minded guy.  Thomas would have potential to start contributing at his natural FS position from day one.

14) Seahawks - Now is when they can fill their OL or DE needs and they have plenty of good options.

Verdict: Charles Brown OT, USC
Why: Brown has enough potential to be a good OT and Carroll has coached him and is comfortable with him.  Combined with Bradford, Seattle would be in pretty good shape for quite some time.

15) Giants - They need some help in the secondary on a defense that used to be their strong point.  They have a pretty talented roster though and without anyone filling a position of need perfectly here, they can take whoever they like most.

Verdict: Rolando McClain ILB, Alabama
Why: More depth and a good young ILB never hurt anyone.  The G-men could use the boost and after looking over their roster, offense looks pretty good so you have to figure they value a defensive player a bit more than any offensive player they can get here.

16) Titans - The Titans really can't go wrong taking anyone on the defensive side of the ball(save safety). Another WR would be nice here too.

Verdict: Derrick Morgan DE, Georgia Tech
Why:  They lost Vanden Bosch today.  Their defense is looking thin all around and they have enough to get by on offense.  Getting a guy who can get to Manning would be a good choice here since they see him twice a year.

And now for a break, and on to part two.

Let the madness begin

First off, I would just like to reiterate that it was a terrible mistake not getting our three UFA inked prior to today.  All hope is not entirely lost however.  All three could still be back with the Packers.  Now that they've hit the market, I don't see that as the case though. I know Ted does not like to spend anything on linemen which is a poor choice considering that football begins at the line.  I honestly think it is time for the Packers to scrap the zone blocking scheme all together.  In theory, with the right coaching, it is a good system.  I believe the reason it was successful in the first place was Jeff Jagodzinski.  He learned how to coach it from the master, Alex Gibbs. Since he left, the line has never looked as good.  That being said, I would say it is time to move on, and get some high quality offensive lineman.  Maybe that is the plan.  Who knows?

As for free agents (restricted and not), I think the Packers should take a good long look at Jermon Bushrod of the New Orleans Saints.  He is a RFA with a second round tender.  New Orleans is one of very few teams to have enough tackles on their roster.  Bushrod played well for the Saints this year, and only got better with each game.  If you look up news about him, it is littered with teammates comments about how hard of a worker and a good guy he is.  Seems like a good fit in Green Bay.  He's got experience playing left tackle and is still quite young at 25 years old.  The Saints drafted him in the fourth round and despite having a second round tender, could probably be whisked away for something along the lines of a conditional 2011 third round pick that could turn into a second rounder based on playing time.  It would keep us sitting well with our picks this year and I think he has a huge upside and would come at the right price.  I would still look for more help in the draft, but it would give us a starting point.

Another guy I would like to see would be Willie Parker.  There's LT too, but that's probably too big of a name for Ted.  We need a change of pace from Grant, and while Jackson is coming around, I don't know that he is ready to be an every down back.  Parker and LT may not be the speed demons they once were, but using them on a limited basis might really pay off.  I'm sure both would like to come to a contender.

A final note, there are a couple of good return men out there in Rock Cartwright and Leon Washington.  Cartwright is an UFA and Washington a RFA.  Cartwright might be a good deal and would provide insurance in case Blackmon suffers any setbacks.

Bringing things up to speed

Rather than make all of the previous little posts about what happened since, I decided to just bring this blog up to speed in one post.

The Packers have:

1) Tagged Ryan Pickett.
2) Tendered offers to all restricted free agents except for Kapinos and DeShawn Wynn.
3) Let Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, and Aaron Kampman test the free agent market today.
4) Have yet to make any free agent signing news of their own (big surprise right?)

My thoughts on all of these situations:

1) Good move. Pickett hasn't signed the offer sheet (as far as I've heard) so that means both sides are still trying to work out a long term deal.  Pickett and Raji give some good depth at the keystone position of the 3-4 defense.

2) All good moves.  High tenders on all the right guys.  Kapinos is probably getting a little too much blame for the lackluster special teams performance last year, but he wasn't special enough to hang on to.  Not tendering Wynn could have a few implications.  Either they feel he isn't recovering well enough, financially it doesn't make sense, or we'll be seeing Ahman Green, or a veteran FA in the backfield next year.

3) These were all poor choices. Clifton is in Washington right now, with a coach and team looking for an experienced, zone-blocking LT.  Washington's own, Dan Snyder also has some deep pockets and will probably over pay for him if Shanahan wants him. This is terrible with the news today that Julius Peppers and Kyle Vanden Bosch just entered the NFC North.  Not having a solid LT will more than likely mean more of Aaron Rodgers running around trying not to get crushed. I don't see any logic in Ted's thinking here. I bet Clifton is a Redskin by the end of the weekend.  As for Kampman, I can't see him resigning with the Packers.  He has too many teams that want him at his natural position. And Tauscher has probably had it with the Packers front office.  I don't blame him.  He has been solid and came back from injury well. Things are not looking good for the Packers OL this year.

4) Not really surprised here.  Ted never seems to play the game on the first few days.  Truth be told, there isn't much out there that would help the team anyway that would be worth the price.

Offseason, 2010

>Originally posted on 2/17/10<

I thought about starting this blog mid-season last year, but decided to wait until the offseason.  Fresh start and fresh blog.

To recap, the Pack lost in a crazy-exciting overtime wildcard playoff game.  Was I upset? Sure, but I don't blame the refs or anything like that.  Truth is, overtime never should have happened.  Rackers missed a kick that he shouldn't have missed.  If the Packers would have scored one more touchdown in the first half, they could have won the game.  All in all, it was a great season.  It started a little ugly but finished well and the transition on defense was beautiful.  I don't know that it could have gone much better.  Yes, they got torched by a couple of veteran elite QB's, but those QB's are the kind that pick apart a well-oiled, established, and healthy defensive scheme. So for the first year of the transition, I'm content. 

So now, here we are in the offseason with lots of things to consider.  Here's a list of our UFA and RFA:


Chad Clifton T
Ahman Green HB
Aaron Kampman OLB
Ryan Pickett DT
Mark Tauscher T


Nick Collins, S
Johnny Jolly DE
Daryn Colledge G
Atari Bigby S
Jason Spitz C/G
Derrick Martin S
Will Blackmon CB
John Kuhn FB

Rather than break this list down,  I'm going to look at the current roster situation and give suggestions for improvement and reasons for those suggestions.  So here we go:

QB:  No change.  The reason I say this is because Matt Flynn is really shaping up to be a good QB.  I was really amazed by the changes he made.  He looks like a serviceable backup QB.  The Packers could look to add a QB for the sake of depth, but I doubt it will be a veteran.  They didn't bring one in before, they won't bring one in now.  Plus, Flynn is in the system.  If he makes the kind of improvements he made last year, the Packers should be ok if Rodgers goes down temporarily.

HB: Two words on this one; Free Agency.  I see a lot of stuff about the Packers drafting a HB this year.  I'm not saying that is a terrible idea if we can get a good deal, but this year, there are a lot of good complements for Grant available in the FA market.  Some of these are RFA but could still be available:  LaDanian Tomlinson, Leon Washington, Jerious Norwood, Darren Sproles, and Willie Parker.  These guys all would provide a nice change of pace from Grant, and all are an upgrade from Brandon Jackson.  We don't need to be spending a high draft pick on a guy who only gets maybe 10-15 touches a game.  Grant is the work-horse making work-horse money.  Green at HB3 for two reasons: veteran leadership and cheap.

FB: Keep two of the three. Kuhn looked good this year, but Hall and Johnson are young.  I don't think there would be any huge consequences no matter which two you pick.

WR: Last year I would have driven to Green Bay and smacked Ted across the face if he had drafted Crabtree. After this year, I won't be as upset if he gets a WR.  Jones and Nelson have shown some flashes of light, but I thought last year one or the other would have really shined.  Unfortunately, neither wow-ed me. Driver is getting older and while he may have some good years left in him, his cap number is getting pretty high as well.  This is the one position where I will actually throw out two names:  Eric Decker WR, Minnesota, and Jordan Shippley WR, Texas.  Why? Both show no fear going over the middle. The Packers need Driver's eventual replacement and one of these guys would be perfect.  The other bonus is one or both of these guys will probably be available around our third round pick, and if that's the case, lock one of them down.

TE: No change. If they are smart, they extend Finely now, or early in the season before he hits superstar status.  Lee will be a blocking tight end and has better hands than most blocking TE's in the league.

T: Position needing immediate improvement.  It starts by resigning Clifton and Tauscher.  Should be done before FA starts because they are the top of this years list at UFA.  Can't go into the offseason without something there. Even if they only become insurance. If anyone good becomes available for a decent price either through trade or tendering, the Pack should get him.  If they could get one guy before the draft that they think can come in and compete at the tackle position, and then draft one high, they should be in a lot better shape next season.

G: There's a few more of these who are UFA than tackles, so I think you'd have to at least look there.  Jeremy Bridges only has 6 years under his belt, and proved decent for Arizona this year.  Might be worth a look.  Otherwise, drafting one is an option.  But if Spitz and Colledge return to good form, they could fill the G spot opposite Sitton (who was the bright spot for the Packer OL this year btw).

C: I'm not convinced Wells or Spitz are great centers.  Not much out there in FA that would be an upgrade.  Drafting one here may be the way to go.  One other thought? Try T.J. Lang out here. Scouting reports on him said he has good hand quickness and people argue he's not physically equipped to play T and should be playing inside.

DE: Not much of a change here.  Jolly and Jenkins both transitioned beautifully to 3-4 DE's.  It's not a glory position, but their names were called out quite frequently on Sundays for making big plays.  The Packers need to lock Jolly down.  Wynn looked ok as a backup, but it may be time to draft someone to keep depth.

DT: Re-sign Ryan Pickett. Raji is the future, but Pickett is too good not to resign.  And he's happy in GB. It guarentees depth.  The only other move that I would love to see here is a trade with the Patriots for Ron Brace.  He's a big guy and provided the Patriots re-sign Wilfork, Brace would be a great second DT for years to come behind Raji.

OLB: People are getting down on Jones for his end of year performance, but this guy was drafted in the 7th round.  To fill in the way he did was huge. But all in all, I'd try to get Kampman back.  I doubt he'll come back, but he was starting to get the hang of it and although he wasn't quite getting the stats, he was getting some good pressure on the QB.  Some FA to look for should they become available for the right price would be Merriman(change of scenery might be all it takes to wake him up), Thomas Howard, and Derrick Johnson. Drafting one is also a possibility.

ILB: No changes.  People squaked about Hawk, but he's fine.  He and Barnett handled the inside quite well.  True, Hawk may not be playing up to #5 pick expectations, but when you sit back and look at it, he's a solid ILB.  Not worth spending a draft pick here and not worth the money it would take to bring in an "upgrade".

CB: Draft one.  Not much in the FA market this year.  Depth after Tramon Williams is poor.  Pat Lee may come back and surprise us, but I think its safe to say Bush and Underwood don't look to be the long term answers.

FS: RESIGN NICK COLLINS. PAY THAT MAN HIS MONEY. I consider him, Tauscher, and Clifton(followed closely by Pickett) to be the high priority resignings because there is no one behind them ready to take over.  Collins is a ball hawk. I wish he was a little more like Ed Reed, the way Ed Reed blitzes, but Collins has been a solid Pro-Bowl selection and is putting up stats close to Darren Sharpers first years. PAY THAT MAN HIS MONEY.

SS: Bigby is solid when healthy but seems to be injured a lot lately.  I love the way he plays the game, but drafting a S might be a wise insurance policy this offseason. That and acquiring another one that is at least serviceable as a backup.  There are a lot of UFA safties out there that would provide nice security if Bigby gets injured again.

K: Crosby has potential.  I don't know what happened to him this year. I don't know what happened to a lot of kickers this year. Fact is, there are a lot of potentially good kickers out there in FA.  Bring in a few to hopefully push Crosby.

P: Not much out there in FA. Maybe a late draft pick?

The Packers two biggest negatives from last year:
Rodgers didn't have enough time, and Grant didn't get enough holes. (Improve the offensive line.)
Got torched by elite veteran QB's. (Improve pass rush or coverage)

Two biggest positives:
Went from 6-10 to 11-5.
Had a great first year implementing a new defensive scheme.

Questions, comments, or thoughts?

New Home

 Hey everyone,

This will be the new home for Keeping up with the Pack.  The old one over at the Green Bay Press Gazette wasn't getting any viewers really.  I'm going to go ahead and re-post a couple of older posts here instead.

Blogger Templates by Isnaini Dot Com. Powered by Blogger and Supported by Urban Designs