Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2 wins & 3 losses...I didn't see that coming...

I didn't envision 2 wins & 3 losses...I just didn't see that coming...players aren't making clutch plays and there's plenty of blame to go around.  All three phases -- offense, defense & ST contributed to the loss.  It's unfortunate for Mason Crosby to be the final goat on final play.

My younger brother almost always defense wins championships...I think the Packers' 2012 defense is too inconsistent as is the offense...but I'm not a coach...just a stockholder and fan.  I'm not sure what percentages to attach towards players/coaching/officiating.

Officiating:  It is what it is...they're human and make mistakes.  Tough judgement call against Nick Perry hurt.

Great first half vs Indy!...less than mediocre second half.  It starts with ARodg but he needs to be more decisive too.  Too many dropped passes has been a continuous problem and they're very inconsistent versus press coverage.  The most inconsistent has been JMike but Jordy certainly needs to clean-up his drops too (plus I'm counting on him in ffl).  There have been some positives so far...like Cobb, James Jones, and Benson.  Even without Benson, M3 cannot give-up on the run and neither should ARodg.  I do not expect the Packers to score 35 points per game but they MUST become more consistent offensively and I believe they're too talented not to.

1 and 8 - GB 811:1112-A. Luck pass to 83-D. Allen for 8 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
4-A. Vinatieri extra point is GOOD.
GB 21    IND 10    Plays: 5    Possession: 2:13
4 and 10 - GB 327:454-A. Vinatieri 50 yard field goal is GOOD. PENALTY on Green Bay, Defensive Offside (declined).
GB 21    IND 13    Plays: 7    Possession: 2:23

3 and 3 - GB 30:2312-A. Luck rush for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
2pt Conversion FAILS.
GB 21    IND 19    Plays: 6    Possession: 2:54

4 and 9 - GB 108:084-A. Vinatieri 28 yard field goal is GOOD.
GB 21    IND 22    Plays: 7    Possession: 3:19

1 and 4 - GB 40:3912-A. Luck pass to 87-R. Wayne for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
2pt conversion SUCCEEDS.
GB 27    IND 30    Plays: 13    Possession: 3:51

That was a brutal second half for the defense.  I have a new respect for Reggie Wayne...he was outstanding but also was targeted 20 freakin' times.  89 total plays by Indy is ridiculous.

Will the Packers get their act together as a team and start winning games is the great unknown.

If it starts with defense, then they need to become more consistent in getting off the field and they also need to capitalize on turn-over opportunities.  Need to eliminate those costly defensive penalties regardless of a perception several have been bad calls involving Sam Shields.

Offense with six consecutive second half drive ending in zero points was pathetic!...when compared to their first half performance.  Even if ARodg eliminates the sacks he's accountable for the blocking scheme still needs to improve.  I also think they need to grind it out more with shorter passes and continue with the run.  They can still run the rock without Benson...just have to stick with it and give it a  chance to develop.  I hope M3 gives Alex Green & James Starks the ~20 touches per game and maybe more.

They also need to increase Randall Cobb's offensive touches.  JMike is on my $#!+ list.  James Jones is not and has become very reliable in 2012.  Jordy should be the most targeted, and has been but his catch rate % of ~63% is 4th place behind Cobb, JJones, & Finley.

 If they don't win ten games it'll be a huge disappointment...obviously...11 games still to go!

Go Pack Go!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012 Cap Space & future extensions

Team-by-team cap space as of June 22

Packers:  $11.25 million.

That's a nice chunk of $$ Ted can use to reinvest in players.  Greg Jennings & TJ Lang are the key pending 2013 UFAs.  I would focus on resigning Lang first because he'll be cheaper and they have better depth at WR than OL.  Worst case with Jennings is they use the franchise tag on him.  The rest of the pending 2013 UFA/RFAs are not high priority guys in my book. ..the exception is Sam Shields.  Next focus group would be guys like CM3, Aaron Rodgers or some other core guys with contracts expiring after 2013-14 seasons.  

How much does Ted want to spend on Greg Jennings?...Some people speculate in the $55m range over five-years.  That speculation is plausible but affects James Jones and possibly JMike's future $$.

TJ Lang will likely be paid less that what Josh Sitton got but it'll be a nice financial package.  Lang is the Packers most versatile OL and IMO could also play center if need be.  

CM3,  BJ Raji & JMike contracts end after 2013 & Aaron Rodgers is 2014.  Aaron Rodgers will be paid big $$, no doubt about it.  CM3 is the next key player!...and will be paid.  I would extend CM3 before Greg Jennings & Raji.  Raji should be cheaper to keep than Jennings.  I would choose Raji over Greg Jennings, if necessary.

My bottom line:  Extend CM3 first...my target cap # for him is ~$6m in 2013 that includes a $12.5m SB over 5-yrs + other bonus $$ each year.  I'd target TJ Lang @ ~$3m cap in 2013 and a SB of ~$4m.  Those two extensions in 2012 would take ~$5.75m of the $11.25m.  The remaining ~$5.5m could remain untouched until needed (used in 2012 or carried forward into 2013).  In this scenario, I think they'll wait until 2013 to extend Aaron Rodgers...and Greg Jennings.    

Pre-training camp positional predictions

Brian Cariveau compiled his thoughts WRT a 2-deep depth chart.

I'm not going to do a two-deep prediction and will focus on positional numbers.

My BL for offense is they keep 26 players + the K, P & LS = 29

QB keep three.
RB/FB (4):  They will only keep FOUR RBs to include John Kuhn.  Starks, Green, & Saine sounds good to me...key is health & I have a gut feeling Starks will be healthy this year as will Green.  These two could provide some excitement at RB if provided opportunities BUT their #1 responsibility is being able to pass protect 1st then become a check-down option.  Saine is the only one they could replace with one of the UDFAs.

WR/TE (10):  Greg Jennings & Jordy Nelson are the studs; Cobb could turn into an offensive stud but they still need him to remain the return guy stud.  I've seen at least one trade rumor WRT James Jones...he's my 4th WR ahead of DD @ #5 and #6 (and final) is Tori Gurley.  Four TEs (Quarless PUP) are the same as 2011 but JMike is obviously unique...a WR/TE hybrid.  DJ Williams will be interesting to watch...especially if his blocking improves.  Crabtree is arguably their best in-line blocker (I think Quarless is) and Ryan Taylor should improve too.  I keep Gurley over Borel because of size...if I need PR/KR I have to keep Borel.

OL (9): It's possible Ted only keeps eight if he needs/wants to split the roster numbers evenly between offense/defense.  Sherrod & Datko fill-out the OTs, Ray Dominguez is my #8 & swing-guard.  Unless Ted accepts taking risk @ back-up center, #9 has to be able to play center (Detrich-Smith, Genus & Tommie Draheim)...

24 for defense

DL (5): After Raji, Pickett & Worthy, it's a total crap-shoot in my book so I commend Brian for giving it a shot.  I concur they start season with only five.  I think they're seriously considering holding Mike Daniels out of practice starting TC...he needs to be 100% healthy to contribute so maybe PUP is an option...if not, he's one of the 5 DL.  I've always liked CJ Wilson but maybe Lawrence Guy (6'4) or Phillip Merling (6'5) stay as the 5th...  Ted has kept six DL since Dom's arrival.  Mike Neal will be the 6th DL when he returns from suspension...so they'll have to drop a LB, DB, or OL for that roster spot.

LB (9): Obviously CM3, Perry, & Des Bishop are the 3 main LBs...AJ is 4th but won't be an every down LB. DJ  Smith is the top back-up IILB...6-9 in no particular order: So'oto, T. Manning, Dezman Moses, and I hope Jamari Lattimore.

NICKLE defense (5-DB) is IMO their main defense and WRT 3-DL being on-field is ~<20% maybe even as low as 10%...DIME (6-DB) defense could be 30-40% of the time with 7 maybe 8 DBs interchangeable for the DIME.  The Packers have ten NFL quality starters/back-up DBs on their pre-season roster.  ...and my #10 is Charlie Peprah...and I know he can play in the NFL!  
DB (10): Who are the six best DBs?...obviously it starts with CW, then TW, Burnett, and then it's debatable for #4...do you go with a safety type of guy or a CB type or a hybrid guy like J.Bush?...mainly on 1st downs?  I'm a big believer in Sam Shields as a boundry man-to-man defender.  Worst case Shields is #5 DB...but I think he's the 4th best DB because of his coverage ability and his speed is such an asset...I just feel he's just too physically talented for him not to be on-field 80% of the time...TW will obviously play #1 CB on the boundry.  CW will obviously be playing the DB in the box during NICKLE and DIME.  Top 5 DBs: CW, TW, Burnett, Shields, Casey Hampton,..J.Bush and House.  If it's a pure safety they want then probably MD Jennings.  Draft pick Jerron McMillian will make the final 53,  I think his biggest contribution will be via ST...otherwise he'll be inactive. Overall, I'm very optimistic about the Packers young DBs teaming with CW, TW & Barnett.  ...and I won't forget about J.Bush either...dude can tackle and has made at least one key take-away in his career...he's definitely a keeper and a guy that can play multiple DB positions...but I'm sold on Shields.  Peprah makes 10.

It's too bad the NFL did not increase the roster size from 53...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Random thoughts...defense

  • I read an interesting article on Tramon Williams and believe his assessment that 2011 was a defensive anomaly.  Hopefully, TW's play in 2012 will be on-par with his 2010 play.  I believe It'll be better than 2011.
  • In general, the defensive backfield must play better...and I believe they will.  However, I have NFI who the 4th starting DB will be.  It's possible Dom could go with three CBs plus Burnett.  
  • Who's the 3rd CB?...there are options and I'll start with Sam Shields and Casey Hampton.  I'm still a big believer in Sam Shields and there's no doubt in my mind he's got upside.  His speed is what makes him special and he has good ball awareness.  Casey Hampton will likely be given many opportunities early to prepare him for the regular season...they need him to be a contributor in nickle/dime.  
  • Bush will be on stand-by and has proven his reserve quality at DB and stand-out ST skills.  Maybe Devon House steps-up in year two...maybe somebody else does (MD Jennings?).  
  • I continue to believe they'll only keep 24 defensive players.  IIRC, they've played nickle over 70% the past two years.  Nickle usually means two DL...so maybe they only keep five going into the season and then add Neal and/or Hargrove after suspension.  I keep thinking they're going to keep 10 DBs...because they have a bunch worth keeping/developing and they play so much nickle (and potentially dime).  I'm now assuming Peprah is the 10th DB (CW, TW, Burnett, Shields, Hampton, 6-9) Bush, MD Jennings, House, & McMillian [...Richardson's size is very intriguing...I think they'll keep two DBs on the PS]
  • Could keep 9 LBs...CM3, Perry, & Bishop are obvious starters & AJ will likely be the 4th.  AJ is a plugger and I believe has pass rush ability and is key to the ILB cross-blitz.  So'oto, DJ Smith, & rookie Terrell Manning are safe bets in my book but the 8/9 spots are up for grabs and highly contested.  My favorite for one of the 8/9 spots is Lattimore because of his speed.
  • I have never predicted the final 53 correctly...but I keep trying.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Post-draft thoughts & 53 man positioning

  • Post-draft thoughts

I liked what Ted did in the draft!...got two players with pass-rush ability and great over-all potential.  He also drafted a ball-hawk in Casey Hayward.  Worst case Ted drafted two immediate starters and possibly a third with Hayward (5th db worst case projection). 

Draft trader Ted...I thought it was interesting that NE traded-up twice and so did Ted.
Ted's 3rd draft-day trade was interesting too but I don’t have high expectations for him in 2012.
I think all eight draft picks make the final 53.
  • 53 man positioning

Quarterbacks: I think Mike & Ted will want to keep three & Graham Harrell becomes the #2 with B.J. Coleman as #3

Running backs: Kuhn, Starks, Green (if healthy), and then the competition begins with Saine vs the two undrafted free-agents (Bennett & Tyler).  Definitely have to keep four but could keep five.  If Green is healthy I’d consider keeping four.

Wide Receiver:  Definitely keep five but could easily keep six; probably the deepest position on team.  Greg Jennings is a pro-bowl player; entering his last season under contract at a very expensively paid position.  Jordy Nelson is my favorite Packers WR; he really stepped-up and stood-out in 2011 and in my view is 1b at WR.  Randall Cobb is an outstanding return man who I believe will also be the 3rd WR.  Not many, if any, teams can boast about having a 4th as talented as James Jones.  I still think Donald Driver can play well in a reserve role plus, more importantly, his leadership should not be underestimated.  Of the remaining WRs, Tori Gurley intrigues me the most because of his size and raw ability.

Tight Ends:  They’ll go with four if Quarless is on PUP (and I think he will be).

Offensive Line:  Eight/nine appears to be the roster limit: 1) Bulaga 2) Sitton 3) Saturday 4) Lang 5) Newhouse 6) Sherrod 7) Dominguez 8/9) Datko/Genus/Dietrich-Smith

Defensive Line:  Raji, Pickett, and Worthy then the competition begins.  They typically keep six but could go five early in the season.  Statistically, it appears Wynn warrants being #5 (Daniels is #4 unless IR’d).  C.J. Wilson or Guy would be the 6th DL.  It will be very interesting to see what happens when Neal and Hargrove return. 

Line Backers:  Have to keep eight but could keep nine (five OLB).  I’ve seen too numerous to count blogs/blog comments regarding A.J. Hawk’s shortfalls.  I realize he has shortfalls but also believe many in the blog-sphere expect too much from him based-on his draft position and pay.  Yeah, he definitely is over-paid but that is not his shortfall!  DJ Smith is a keeper and someone to develop inside; the 4th inside position is up for grabs but my guess is it goes to drafted rookie Terrell Manning.  CM3 & Nick Perry as book-end OLBs is exciting!  Back-up OLB is wide open with Jones, So’oto, Zombo, Lattimore, and Walden competing for two, maybe three spots.  I hope they keep So’oto and Lattimore. 

Defensive Backs:  Keep nine possibly ten.  Obvious hold-over players CW, TW, Burnett, Shields, Bush, probably House, definitely Hayward, probably McMillian, and likely Peprah makes nine.  Keeping M.D. Jennings or Sean Richardson as the 10th DB is questionable but plausible.
I think the Packers will have 26 offensive players, 24 defensive players, and three specialists.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pre-draft thoughts

I'm not a draft expert or draftnik but I really like the draft...anyway, looking forward to whomever Ted picks and expect he'll do another outstanding job in picking players.  He might even gamble on some of the picks.  I think there's good odds he'll make a draft day trade (safe bet); I'd even wager on (small bet) he'll trade-up.  I'm almost confident he'll make at least two trades.

I'm not going to debate BPA vs Need Pick...I believe in a mix of the two philosophies.

If you strictly adhere to one or the other, well I guess in the case of need, I'd take the best available pass rusher (that I think will get better) with my first pick.  Pass-rush/pass defense was their obvious weakness...something that Ted will address with multiple picks.

I certainly don't know if Ted likes these guys, but I'm very intrigued about what I've read about Whitney Mercilus, Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw (I've seen on TV), and Shea McClellin...but I won't complain about whomever Ted takes with his first pick.  I think Ted makes better draft decisions that Ron Wolf did.  

- I'm assuming it's a safe bet Ted makes one or more draft day trade(s)

- I'd flip on coin regarding if he trades up into later 1st but think it's heads and he does so he can target a DL/S he likes plus his pass-rush bookend OLB.  That scenario is plausible to me...

- I think he will do at least one other trade-up...but could easily be wrong

I'll be elated if Ted could get at least one, hopefully two defensive starters immediately.

I think it's obvious the defense needs new starters at ROLB and safety.

I'm not a draft expert or draftnik but I really like the draft...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

26 Mar 2012

In Ted we trust... (author unknown)

I've liked Ted Thompson, as a GM, since the day he was hired.  I think many people consider his Packers tenure as successful.  However, some may also consider his lack of UFA fishing over the years to be a negative...but I don't.  Michael Hunt made some interesting comments WRT Ted's philosophy.

I find it hard to criticize Ted...Draft well, resign your own, and pay your own stars...he's definitely been successful...  He doesn't manage the Cap but has a Cap Guru do it for him (like Ron Wolf did); the Guru's been doing a pretty good job too (IMO)...they've got room to pay their own and play in round two of the NFL's FA period.

  • Signing Jeff Saturday could be a huge pay-off but we'll see...regardless, Saturday was the best available option at the time.  (I do not fault TT for not paying Scott Wells like St. Louis did)
  • I'm really intrigued by the Daniel Muir signing--could be high pay-off/low-risk ($$)
  • Dave Tollefson is visiting the Packers in two days (on Thurs); I'd love to see him signed!
  • Anthony Hargrove has been tweeting he's going to Green Bay...
Cap Management
  • I'm not exactly sure how much cap room the Packers have this hour but I think they're ~$3M (or more) under and could do some restructures for additional room.
  • They have to think about future contracts...here's a few Packers' in contract years:
    • Greg Jennings and T.J. Lang (UFAs)
    • Several RFAs (e.g., Shields, Zombo, & Crabtree)
  • What players are in for healthy contract extensions?...IDK...but I won't be shocked if it isn't GJ.
  • The SOONER they extend Aaron & Clay the BETTER.
Twelve draft picks for Ted to play with...he's going to have fun!  I'll let the draftniks debate how he should/will do it.