Friday, March 5, 2010

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?


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