Assuming the entire team doesn’t get injured before final cutdown day, here is my Packers 53-man roster prediction for the 2013 season.
Quarterback (2): Rodgers, Young
If Rodgers gets hurt, Young at least has the raw talent to make a few plays and maybe keep the Packers’ heads above water until QB1 gets patched up and returns. I never thought I would write such a sentence when the Packers signed Young a few weeks back, but I just wrote it.
Running Back (5): Lacy, Franklin, Green, Starks, Kuhn
I thought Kuhn had a real chance of getting cut during camp, but once it became apparent that Franklin isn’t much of a pass blocker (yet), Kuhn was a lock. Harris getting hurt made predicting the running back situation much easier.
Wide Receiver (6): Nelson, Cobb, Jones, Boykin, Ross, Walker
Do the Packers really need to keep six WRs? With Nelson and Cobb already hurt, I think so.
Tight End (4): Finley, Taylor, Bostick, Quarless
Bye bye Williams and Mulligan. I held out hope for Williams this camp, but I just haven’t seen enough to justify that hope. Mulligan I might be dead wrong on, but he’s injured and the Packers needs roster spots in other areas so I’m guessing that he goes.
Offensive Line (7): Bakhtiari, Sitton, EDS, Lang, Barclay, Newhouse, Van Roten
I wanted to keep Lewis over Van Roten because I think Van Roten is too small to make much of an impact. Also, the Packers already have undersized guys at both tackles — I didn’t want another one at backup center. But Lewis didn’t do much to unseat Van Roten, so Van Roten gets the nod.
Defensive Line (7): Pickett, Raji, Jones, Wilson, Jolly, Daniels, Neal
Who would have thought that both Jolly and Vince Young would be Packers in 2013? Jolly has been too good to cut, especially with Jones still bothered by a bad ankle. Between Jolly, Daniels and Jones, one of the three needs to emerge as a guy who can pressure the QB every now and then.
Linebacker (9): Matthews, Perry, Hawk, Jones, Francois, Lattimore, Manning, Barrington, Mulumba
Matthews is the only spectacular player of the bunch, but this is a nice group of lunch pail type of players. I see a future for Barrington — for sure on special teams and maybe even as a regular if he picks up the defense and improves into next season.
Defensive Back (10): Williams, Shields, Hayward, House, Hyde, Burnett, Jennings, McMillian, Banjo, Bush
I went back and forth on keeping Banjo, but ended up keeping him because I’m not sure what Burnett’s status is. This is a banged up group, but Ted Thompson’s track record of finding young DBs that can contribute is generally good, so let’s see what happens.
Specialist (3): Goode, Masthay, Crosby
Another season of watching Crosby kick. Yay.
Practice Squad (8): OL Taylor, QB Coleman, LB Palmer, CB James Nixon, WR Charles Johnson, DL Josh Boyd, CB Brandon Smith, T Andrew Datko
Of these players, I can see someone possibly snatching away Boyd.
PUP: Worthy, Tretter, Richardson, Sherrod
We’ve been hearing that Sherrod has been making progress for a while now. Does he play this season? I don’t think so. I doubt we’ll see any of the guys on this list until 2014.
IR: WR Cunningham, OL Bulaga, WR Dorsey, RB Harris, LB Reed
Let’s hope this list doesn’t grow too much during the season.
Packers WR James Jones says you better take the over on his line of 11 TDs this season.
Forget the over/under odds that Vegas sets for NFL betting. I’m opening a sports book that only accepts bets involving the Green Bay Packers.
Maybe I’ll name my joint the Acme Swindling Company. Or Hand-Over-All-Your-Green-and-Gold-to Me Inc. Either way, we’re going to have a good time — win lose or draw.
Below are some over/under scenarios involving the 2013 Packers. Let me know which side you’d wager on in the comments section.
(If you want to actually wager on these odds, have your people contact my people. And you better pay up if you lose. I’m going to be a father soon and I don’t want to lose valuable time with my son because I’m busting kneecaps and trying to collect from you deadbeats.)
James Jones: 11 touchdowns
It’s always difficult to predict touchdowns from year to year. A lot of it depends on opportunity and a little bit of luck. Last season, Calvin Johnson had 2,000 receiving yards but — thanks in large part to getting tackled at the 1-yard line five times — only five touchdowns, . Injuries to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson gave Jones an opportunity last season. He seized his larger role in the offense and broke out with 14 touchdowns. Jones’ size and strength make him a nice target in the red zone, so I’m going to say he exceeds 11 touchdowns. It’d be quite the feat to reach 14 TDs again, but you never know.
Aaron Rodgers: 4,500 yards
Rodgers needed only 15 games to exceed 4,600 passing yards in his 2011 MVP season. Last season he “dipped” to 4,300 yards in 16 games. The Packers wide receiving corp and offensive line is already banged up and the season hasn’t even started yet. There also might be a renewed emphasis on running the ball with Eddie Lacy, so I’m going to say Rodgers stays under 4,500 passing yards — but not by much.
David Bakhtiari: 54 Combined sacks, hurries and pressures allowed
In his second season at left tackle, Marshall Newhouse allowed a total of 54 quarterback sacks, hurries and pressures (source: Pro Football Focus). Can Bakhtiari, who will be handing several elite pass rushers throughout the season, do better than that? If he survives the first month of the season without getting overwhelmed, I think Bakhtiari will be fine. Not great, but fine. He’ll be under 54, but there will be stretches — especially early — where it looks like he might double that number. Hang on tight with this kid and remain patient. Allow Rodgers to cover up for a few of his mistakes early and let’s see how he progresses after a few starts.
B.J. Raji contract: Extended by week 10
Will B.J. Raji’s contract be extended by week 10 of the regular season? My thinking here is yes, but a tentative yes. Right now, I think Raji thinks he deserves elite defensive lineman money. I’m talking crazy, obscene money. The Packers think Raji is good, but not crazy, obscene money good. The two sides will keep talking during the season, Raji will play well, but not crazy, obscene money well, and Raji’s people will eventually cave and accept a generous, but not obscene, offer from the Packers.
Green Bay Packers: 100 Adjusted Games Lost (AGL) due to injury
For a full explanation of AGL, visit FootballOutsiders.com. Basically, it’s a way to measure how much teams are affected by injuries in a given season. The Packers had an AGL of 108.1 in 2012, by far the most in the NFL and only the sixth team in the history of the metric to exceed 100. In case you were too lazy to click on the link, that’s not good. It means the Packers were banged up. This preseason, it looks like the Packers are on their way to exceeding 100 yet again. I’m calling the over on this one, unfortunately. For whatever reason — the players they draft, the training staff, bad luck, all of the above — the Packers have a hard time staying healthy and it drives me crazy. By the way, the Packers in AGL in 2010 when they won the Super Bowl was 86.3 (third worst in the league). When they won 15 games in 2011, it was 58.7 (16th).
Kickers used during the season: 3
It’s totally feasible that Crosby wins the job, then craps the bed and gets cut. The Packers would then have to bring in some other kicker off the scrapheap who may or may not work out, making it a real possibility they could pull the plug on him and try someone else. That puts them at three kickers…an injury or a few missed kicks would cause Ted Thompson to roll the dice with someone else…I’m just going to stop there because this is getting too depressing. And it’s depressing because I could see it actually happening.
Jermichael Finley’s stat line: 75 catches, 1,000 yards, 9 TDs
Same old argument about Finley this preseason: A bunch of people think this is the year he breaks out. Another bunch of people snort and laugh at the bunch of people who think this is the year (again) that Finley breaks out. The tight end was good down the stretch last season, but I don’t see him exceeding those numbers in all three categories.
Bonus round: Number of Seahawks players suspended during the season for using PEDs: 47
Are you kidding? This number is way too low. Take the over and go to the bank.
Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football
Graham Harrell cut
Somebody alert the Minnesota Vikings, another Packers player has hit the open market. Reports are out there that Graham Harrell is getting cut, meaning Vince Young has won the Packers’ backup QB job. The Packers are effed if Vince Young needs to play for an extended stretch of games, but probably not as effed as they would’ve been with Harrell. I thought Harrell would come around to at least be a Matt Flynn type of backup, but obviously, I was wrong. His accuracy went from bad to worse, and that ultimately did him in.
Knowledge of offense?
The only thing Harrell had going for him was his knowledge of the offense. I suppose it would be nice for Aaron Rodgers to have a backup that is familiar with the offense and can offer insight when needed, but that knowledge didn’t make up for Harrell’s poor play. Besides, the Packers have a QB coach, offensive coordinator, head coach and who knows how many other people that know this offense just as well, if not better than Rodgers. If Vince Young is playing catchup in the classroom, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
Meat wagon makes the rounds at Lambeau
Five more Packers were struck down with injuries in Friday’s loss to the Seachickens. Casey Hayward, Brad Jones, Morgan Burnett and Jarvis Reed left the game on defense. On offense, DuJuan Harris re-injured his knee. Of the five, Burnett worries me the most. Who’s going to play safety if Burnett is on the shelf?
Sherrod’s family speaks
Since the Packers and Derek Sherrod aren’t providing any updates on why it’s taking so long for the big tackle to return from a broken leg, Bob McGinn contacted Sherrod’s family to try and learn more about what’s going on. Turns out Sherrod has had to deal with many challenges on his road to recovery. I don’t get why the Packers and/or Sherrod have been so secretive about the injury and recovery process. I get that all teams are paranoid about releasing injury news, but what good has that paranoia done the Packers in Sherrod’s case? All it’s done is frustrated the fan base and caused some misguided people to question Sherrod’s work ethic or toughness as he tries to return.
Walker making the final 53
It’s tough to not root for undrafted rookie Tyrone Walker to make the Packers final roster. Jordy Nelson said this week that he may not be back for the opener against San Francisco, and Randall Cobb is still bothered by a bicep injury. Could that open the door for the speedy kid from Illinois State? Walker didn’t catch a pass on Friday night. Might that hurt his chances?
A breakout season for Finley?
Both the local and national media — and many Packers players and coaches — are telling us that this this will be the year for Jermichael Finley to break out. It’s not much different from what we hear about Finley every preseason, but national media seems to really be buying into it this time around. Finley caught two of the six passes thrown his way on Friday. He also dropped a pass from Graham Harrell and failed to reel in a tough grab in the end zone. To me, it sounds like Finley is about right on track with what he’s been most of his career: Moments of brilliance mixed with frustration.
Podcasts, podcasts and more podcasts
With all the good Packers podcasts out there, there is absolutely no reason for you to be bored on your commute to work. On this week’s No Huddle Radio, Jason Perone, Chad Toporski and yours truly captivate the audience with discussions on Eddie Lacy, Nick Perry and the Packers backup QBs. There are all kinds of other quality podcasts to check out over at The Packers Talk Radio Network.
I’m off the Jermichael Finley bandwagon, but could return shortly.
Every offseason I’m as big a supporter of Packers tight end Jermichael Finley as there is.
While many fans get frustrated about what Finley says, or his (lack of) production based on his (perceived) talent, I point out the value that Finley does bring to the Packers’ offense, and remind people that he’s young and probably hasn’t reached his full potential yet.
I backed off that stance this offseason, at least somewhat. I didn’t join the large group of torch and pitchfork carrying Finley haters, but I no longer have a shot at getting elected president of the Finley fan club, either.
I suppose you could say that I got off the Finley bandwagon, but asked the person next to me to save my seat in case I decided to hop back on.
We hear all the typical training camp cliches about Finley every offseason: He’s more mature. He’s grown up. He’s more focused. He looks great in camp. He’s ready to break out. He’s physical. He’s working as hard as ever. This is the year. Finally. No, really — this time it really is his year.
We’re hearing all those things again this training camp. Even Mike McCarthy is piling the love on J-Mike.
I suppose hearing the typical training camp talk about a player being “in the best shape of his life” or being “more focused” is better than hearing that a player is fat and distracted by the new season of “Duck Dynasty.” But forgive me for tuning out all that talk about Finley this offseason. I’m not going to buy any of it until it transfers to actual results.
I won’t be at all surprised if Finley does, in fact, break out this season. I suppose it wouldn’t shock me, either, if he flops. Either way, I won’t be patting myself on the back, telling the world “I told you so.”
A lot of Packers fans are sick of Finley talking. I’m sick of hearing myself and others talk about Finley, so I’m going to zip it. It’s time to stop hoping, prognosticating, predicting, forecasting, wishing, and praying for Finley to break out. Let’s just sit back, watch, and see if he actually does.
We can save all of that other stuff for players like Eddie Lacy and Datone Jones — young guys who have yet to go through the entire training camp media cycle of hype and hope.
The Jermichael Finley bandwagon might be traveling a little faster today because my fat butt is no longer on it.
But if Finley does emerge as a top tight end, I’ll reclaim my seat immediately. I’ve ridden on the bandwagon for so long, I’m allowed to hop off for a little bit if I want to. Hopefully the person saving my seat at least keeps it warm for me.
Hey No. 21, you’re not going to tackle Packers RB Eddie Lacy with one arm.
Before I get started on this week’s Packers stock report, let’s review exactly what the stock report is and why I do it:
- The stock report is based on more than a single game or day of practice. Generally, it takes more than one good performance to become a riser and more than just one bad day to land in the falling category. Of course, there are always exceptions.
- The stock report is also about projecting somewhat into the future. Like any good investor, you want to buy a stock before it hits its peak value so you can sell it at a profit later when it maxes out in price.
- If a player is playing well under the radar and it looks like he could become more visible in the coming weeks, I’ll throw him in the rising category. If he’s been playing well, but slipping a bit of late, he might end up falling.
- The stock report is not about putting my favorite players in the rising category and putting certain players I don’t care for in the falling category. Besides, I love all players who wear the green and gold, which makes all Packers players risers!
- Stock reports after two exhibition games are tricky. See the title to this week’s stock report. Therefore, a few of these rules might get ignored because it’s so early. Actually, all of the rules might be ignored (besides rule No. 4).
Yup, I’m already ignoring one of the rules I laid out above. After only eight carries, I have decided that Eddie Lacy is rising. Did you see him trucking defenders on Saturday?! If that carries into the regular season and all of Lacy’s body parts that are glued on stay together, I no longer will be so scared of 3rd and 1 and the Packers might have a back who can close games in the fourth quarter.
So far, so good for Johnny Jolly. Up until Saturday’s exhibition games, Jolly had been decent, which probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make the team. Then he came up with an interception Saturday and played a great game all around — exactly the kind of playmaking performance the Packers have been lacking from a defensive lineman since Cullen Jenkins left.
He’s got a lot of work to do in coverage, but it looks like he’s more than capable of being a force on special teams and as a blitzer in nickel or dime packages. Also seems to always be around the ball.
The healthy regulars
Aaron Rodgers, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Josh Sitton, Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji, C.J. Wilson. Most of the Packers proven veterans that are healthy have been doing exactly what they need to do this preseason. Nothing too flashy because they’re not playing all that much and no major screw-ups or signs of regressing — just what you want out of your veteran core through two exhibition games.
A pass-catching tight end should fit in nicely on a team with Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback, but Williams is struggling to hang onto the ball when it is thrown to him. The Packers tight ends behind Jermichael Finley are a mess right now, and Williams is the one who needs to clean it up the most.
Packers backup QBs
Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season. Please God keep Aaron Rodgers healthy this season.
Surviving Sundays with no Packers
Packers beat Rams
The Packers got an exhibition win over the Rams on Saturday night. I didn’t get a chance to watch the game, but here is what I gathered about the Packers’ performance from those Tweeting while watching: First-team offense looks good, Johnny Jolly took a giant step forward, Micah Hyde has promise, Eddie Lacy is big and tough, the Packers don’t have a kicker, pass-rush from players on the first-team defense not named Clay Matthews isn’t there, D.J. Williams keeps dropping passes. For a more in-depth recap of the game, be sure to check out Jersey Al’s post.
Williams ready for week 1?
Out with a knee bruise since July 30, cornerback Tramon Williams said he should be ready for the season-opener against the 49ers. Of course, in the same interview, Williams also said he thought he’d be back by now. Never trust a player’s timetable for returning from an injury. Players always claim that the injury “isn’t that bad” or “should only take a couple of days.” They’re rarely right. I’m no doctor myself, but given how cautious the Packers are with injuries, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Williams misses at least the 49ers game.
Woodson praises Rodgers
Former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson doesn’t understand why Greg Jennings and Donald Driver were questioning Aaron Rodgers’ leadership lately. As soon as Jennings started spouting off, I remembered an interview Rob Demovsky — former Packers beat writer with the Green Bay Press Gazette and now at ESPN — did on Packer Transplants where he called the Packers wide receiving corp “the biggest group of frontrunners he’s ever been around.” It’s scary how I remembered that quote, but it’s looking more and more like Mr. Demovsky was spot on.
Grading Packers’ rookies
Here’s a nice report card of the Packers rookies’ through three weeks of training camp. If I was the teacher, I’d probably put tackle David Bakhtiari and Datone Jones at the top of the class. I don’t think any parents need to be called in for a special conference yet.
Greene invents a new word
Outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene thinks Mike Neal has the ability to play both on the defensive line and as an outside linebacker. Greene even invented a new word — “explosibility” — to describe Neal’s game. I suppose Neal has a shot to make this work if they only use him as a pass rusher when he stands up outside. But if they ever ask him to drop into coverage, God help us all. To me, Neal is at his best when operating on the interior of the defensive line. He’s slimmed down to about 275 pounds now, which means moving him back inside full time probably would be tricky. Nightmare scenario: Clay Matthews gets hurt, leaving Nick Perry and Neal to play outside linebacker. Perry and Neal both drop into coverage at the same time. The world ends…
Packers depth slipping
Brian Carriveau over at Cheesehead TV says the Packers quality of depth is deteriorating, and on the surface, he’s right. Depth and getting hot in December and January are the keys to winning in today’s NFL (along with a stud QB, of course), and right now, it’s tough to say that the back end of the Packers roster is filled with quality depth. But how many times have we not considered a Packers player “quality” just because we’ve never heard of him, or he has no previous professional track record to stand on? I’m guilty of falling into this trap myself. Give the Packers depth some time to finish camp and develop. I bet a lot of these guys will turn into quality as long as injuries don’t press them into duty before they’re ready.
News and Notes
- Registration is open for Throwback Weekend III, Oct. 19-20 when the Packers play the Browns. My wife is set to give birth to our first kid on Oct. 5, so doubtful I’ll be there. But don’t let that stop you from attending. It’s a great time and I can’t recommend it enough.
- Randall Cobb’s arm hurts. Cobb’s durability has always worried me. He’s not a big man, and he was obviously hobbled at the end of last season.
- Mike McCarthy views DuJuan Harris as his No. 1 running back. Now that Harris has finally returned to practice, we’ll see if he’s still the No. 1 a few weeks from now.
- Marques Eversoll, Thomas Hobbes and Jason Perone had Green and Gold Today co-host Bill Johnson on No Huddle Radio this week. Be sure to check out the other podcasts this week from the Packers Talk Radio Network.
- I know this is off-topic, but I can’t help myself. Those of you that have read Surviving Sunday throughout the offseason know that I enjoy playing general manager simulation games like Out of the Park Baseball and Fast Break Pro Basketball 2013. I stumbled across a different type of sim this week — Title Bout Championship Boxing. If you’re a fan of the Sweet Science, check it out. It’s a fun game.
Donald Driver made no sense when talking about Aaron Rodgers’ leadership.
Normally I don’t care about off-the-field drama involving the Packers. I like talking and writing about football, not TMZ- or WWE-style storylines involving the Packers.
Unfortunately, Donald Driver decided to weigh in on the squabble between Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings and ended up piling onto the “Lets take shots at Rodgers’ leadership” bandwagon.
I don’t want to discuss what Driver (or Jennings) thinks of Rodgers’ leadership because I don’t care. I do want to address one thing Driver said because it was completely asinine. I’m all for players being honest and blunt in their comments — if you think Rodgers is a bad leader, fine, say so. But one thing Driver said wasn’t blunt, it was just dumb.
Once I’m done filleting Driver for the comment, I’ll go back to respecting him again. Everyone else should do the same. Driver’s a legend in Green Bay. Just ask him.
Driver on if Rodgers is a “me” guy:
We’ve always been in the room and we’ve always said that the quarterback is the one who needs to take the pressure off of everyone else. If a guy runs the wrong route, it’s easy for the quarterback to say, ‘Hey, I told him to run that route,’ than the guy to say, ‘Hey, I ran the wrong route.’ Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off those guys so we don’t look bad. He didn’t want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. That’s the difference. You want that leadership. I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it.
Let’s say you’re a waitress. A group of four sits at one of your tables, orders drinks and food, and waits patiently for you to bring it out. Instead of bringing the group what they ordered, you drink all their drinks, eat all their food, and take a nap on the bathroom floor. When the group complains to the owner about what you did, the owner calls you and your manager into his office.
Is your manager a bad manager if he doesn’t take the fall and tell the owner that the only reason you ate all the customers’ food, drank their drinks and passed out in the bathroom is because he — as your manager, boss and leader — ordered you to do so?
Driver apparently thinks so. What Driver doesn’t understand is that leadership is not covering for someone’s lack of preparedness or stupid mistakes. Leadership is holding people accountable and doing everything you can to make sure they are as prepared as you are so they don’t make stupid mistakes.
If what Driver describes actually is good leadership, then I want Rodgers to remain a “bad” leader for the rest of his time with the Packers.
Now back to football…
Matthew Mulligan has shown his blocking ability so far in Packers training camp.
Matthew Mulligan might not charm fans on Twitter, have arms covered in tattoos or take a fake field goal flip all the way to the end zone against the Packers biggest rival. But so far, it looks like the Packers lone veteran free agent signing is filling in nicely for departed fan favorite Tom Crabtree at tight end.
Bob McGinn wrote in Wednesday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Mulligan has been “solid as a rock” and is close to locking up a roster spot. The journeyman was signed mainly as a blocker, but with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, as long as you have two hands and can take three steps forward without falling over, you might end up eventually becoming part of the passing game.
Crabtree was a durable and scrappy tight end who understood his role and always lined up where he was supposed to. Players like that have value — A.J. Hawk has become a rich man by being that type of player for the Packers on defense. Crabtree and Hawk are also the types of players where you set a value on how much you’re willing to pay them and you don’t exceed that value under any circumstances.
This offseason, the Packers determined Hawk wasn’t worth what he was making, so they told him to take a pay cut or else. Hawks said yes and remains a Packer.
Crabree was a free agent and felt he was worth more than what the Packers were offering (which was something around the league minimum). The Buccaneers agreed with Crabtree, offered him closer to what he thought he deserved, and Crabtree is now trying to build the same rapport with all the blue-hair retirees in Florida that he had with the cheeseheads in Wisconsin.
What does all of this have to do with Mulligan? Even though Crabtree had value, the Packers felt they could find a better player at a more team-friendly price. It’s still early, but it looks like they might have found that player in Mulligan (making $820,000 on a one-year deal).
Pro Football Focus gave Mulligan a 4.9 run blocking rating last season and a 6.5 in 2011. Crabtree was a -7.7 as a run blocker last season and a -8.4 in 2011. Obviously, Pro Football Focus metrics aren’t gospel, but that’s quite the difference. If you believe the reports from training camp, Mulligan is backing up those metrics by passing the eye test as well.
Mulligan is also 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, about 30 pounds heavier than Crabtree.
I’d like to see Don Barclay and Mulligan paving the way for Eddie Lacy on the right side of the line with the Packers leading by four points and trying to kill clock in the fourth quarter.
As much as I’ll miss Crabtree for what he brought both on and off the field, it looks like Mulligan is doing exactly what the Packers signed him to do so far. If he keeps it up, chalk up another clever under-the-radar roster move for Ted Thompson.
Don Barclay winning the right tackle job would help the Packers running game.
I’ve been away from home for the past 10 days and haven’t had much time to consume everything Packers like I normally would as the preseason wears on and opening day gets closer.
I’ve got a few minutes here before I have to cover a baseball game between a terrible team and not-very-good team, so I thought I’d crank out a few thoughts about what I want to see from the Packers in Saturday’s exhibition game against St. Louis.
Remember, I’ve been on the road and out of the loop for 10 days. I’m not as up to speed on Packers storylines and developments as I should be. After you’re done reading about what I want to see on Friday from the Packers, head to the comments section to let me know what I’m missing and what you’d like to see.
- Don Barclay to move another step closer to winning the right tackle job. I’m all-in on Barclay after Bulaga’s injury. I’m glad that David Bakhtiari looks capable of filling in for Bulaga, but I don’t think he’s going to be much of a run blocker (at least not yet). If Newhouse is the right tackle, that means both tackles would be lacking in the run blocking department. I want Barclay to step up because I think he adds to the running game. Sure, he might struggle in pass protection, but Aaron Rodgers is good enough to cover for him most of the time. I’d like another mauler like Barclay on the line, but he needs to step up and take the job and prove he’s actually the mauler I think he is.
- Graham Harrell to air it out. Enough dinking and dunking, Graham. The Packers like to launch bombs and unless you prove that you can air it out once in a while, you won’t be the backup quarterback on this team. I know, I know. If Harrell ever does have to take regular season snaps, Mike McCarthy will adjust the gameplan accordingly, but that doesn’t mean he wants a checkdown machine out there.
- Eddie Lacy to play. I hate getting new toys and not being able to use them. I want to see Lacy play and truck the snot out of defenders.
- The Packers medical staff to be bored as hell. Because that means no Packers got hurt.
- A pass rush from the defensive line. I’ve been asking for this for a long time now. With Datone Jones possibly missing the game, I still might not get it on Friday.
- At least 10 field goal opportunities. It’s time to crank this kicking competition into another gear. I want to see the heat turned up on the Italian kid to see if he truly is a threat to Mason Crosby. Everybody says he’s a threat, but the guy hasn’t attempted a field goal in a game yet. I suppose you could say I’m a threat to Crosby at this point, but I at least want to see Giorgio Tavecchio attempt a field goal in a game before calling this a real competition.
Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football
Another week of Packers training camp is in the books. Is it Sept. 8 yet?
Finley pipes down
I’ve never been one of those people who gets all bent out of shape whenever Jermichael Finley says something that stirs the pot — I’ll take honesty and candor over canned cliches any day. But it looks like Finley is at least trying the cliche route…for now. Will a boring Finley in front of the microphones lead to a more exciting Finley on the football field? I don’t think one has anything to do with the other. If Finley becomes a force at tight end, it won’t be because he zipped his lips during training camp. Besides, if he does finally break out, people would probably be more tolerant of whatever does come out of his mouth.
Hawk OK with pay cut
Calling it “more of an ego thing than anything that guys can’t get over,” LB A.J. Hawk spoke about taking a pay cut this offseason in order to stay with the Packers. After the slash in pay, Hawk is due to make $10.6 million over the final three years of his deal. That sounds like more than enough money for a guy who rarely makes impactful plays. It’s good to hear Hawk speak openly about taking a cut and being a team guy, but deep down, even he has to know that there probably wasn’t another team out there that would be willing to pay him over $10 million. It’s still a great deal for Hawk, and the Packers obviously think it’s a fair price for a LB that hasn’t made many flash plays, but is healthy and ready to go every Sunday.
Bakhtiari making a move
We’ve been hearing nothing but good things about David Bakhtiari. There are even rumblings that he might end up winning the starting right tackle job. The rookie from Colorado appears to be plenty athletic to be the kind of pass protector the Packers like. And with Marshall Newhouse being, well, Marshall Newhouse, and Don Barclay horsing around at backup center, perhaps the window is open for the rookie to win the job. But remember: We haven’t made it to the first exhibition game yet. All rookies are getting loved up right now because they’re new, they’re fresh, their ceilings are perceived to be high and we don’t know their shortcomings yet.
WRs battle royal
Where’s Vince McMahon when you need him? The battle royal to become the Packers Nos. 4, 5 or 6 WR is going strong with Jarrett Boykin likely taking the lead after a couple of nice plays during Friday night’s team session. Jeremy Ross also probably has an edge because of his return ability, but after muffing a key punt in the playoff loss to the 49ers, Ross has also let a few punts bounce off his hands in camp. Of the other candidates, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Charles Johnson intrigues me.
Packers Family Night: Last night was the Packers annual intra-squad scrimmage. The kicking competition turned out to be the highlight of the evening, but not for a good reason. Read about that and other happenings from our own Jersey Al’s First Impressions and Cheesehead TV’s Zach Kruse’s Quick Hits. You can read some comments from Crosby, McCarthy and Tavecchio in this article on Packersnews.com.
- It was encouraging to read reports about Eddie Lacy looking tough in short-yardage situations. No more quick handoffs to John Kuhn on 3rd and 1 would be a very good thing.
- Randall Cobb is dropping a few balls in practice. People are getting wound up. He’d get a case of the dropsies every now and then last season too. It’s something Cobb needs to work on, but I don’t think we need to worry too much about it.
- Ted Thompson spoke about Brett Favre this week. I agree with John Rehor: This reconciliation needs to move forward sooner rather than later.
- Congratulations to Dave Robinson on going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame!