Monday, October 16, 2017

10.16.17 - My impressions after 6 games…

  • Things were going pretty good until the broken collarbone bone.
  • The OL has been decimated by injury!  Hundley could get pounded because of it.
  • Guess we'll see how good Hundley really is…see if he's starting quality.  I think it's going to be a rough go because of the OL.
  • The OL cannot perform well enough with 3 key starters out.
  • Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins are still so damn inconsistent it's maddening.  Lenzy Pipkins is intriguing and plays hard.  Josh Hawkins might be their 3rd best CB; he's certainly one of their fastest, which is important…
  • Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels appear to becoming a dynamic duo at DT/DL.  Daniels is obviously the key player up-front but Clark, IMO, is becoming a really good DL, and similar in style to MD.
  • Playing 3-DL more frequently isn't such a bad idea either…especially when it's Dean Lowry, Clark, and MD.
  • I'm not optimistic and think the Packers are a sub-500/.500 team without AR12…but maybe they will get a better read on some of their players and whether they're worth keeping.
  • …maybe they don't win again either…guess that's why they'll have to play the games!
  • Blake Martinez is becoming a good/very good ILB/MLB.  He doesn't miss many tackles; blitzes pretty good; has pretty good mobility and diagnosis ability.
  • Josh Jones is better suited to the in-box S/LB role than traditional deep safety ATT.  I'm not sure I'd call Josh Jones a safety per se or whether it really matters WRT a positional classification.  I do believe he's a player that needs to be on the field though and I also like seeing Brice on-field at the same time.
  • When Morgan Burnett gets healthy, the "Four Safety" line-up could become a common look.  I'm convinced #21, 27, 29, & 42 are four of the Packers better defensive players regardless of position.  Having them on-field together would be a good thing.
  • CM3, Perry, Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Martinez, HHCD, Burnett, Josh Jones, Kevin King, Davon House; or replace Lowry with Brice and play both Josh Jones and Burnett in the box.
  • Just got a Bleacher Report that Q. Rollins is on IR due to Achilles injury sustained vs Vikes.  Wonder if they'll use his roster spot for Vince Biegel?...does it matter?...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

10.11.17 - Four & one

  • I'll start out bullet style...easiest way to portray random thoughts about the game and season
  • Watched the Dal-GB game a second time just for the pure enjoyment...what a shootout!
  • Enough cannot be said about AR12; still hard to believe the Packers' have had such greatness at QB since Favre...Only the 49ers can say they've had back-to-back HOFers at QB
  • In shootout type games, if the defense can come-up with one or two big plays it can be the difference.  Say what you want about #23 Damarious Randell but that INT return was such a game changer...  I still don't know what to expect from Randell though.  He's very talented (physically) and has good ball skills.  Obviously he's immature...
  • I like the Packers' style of offense and how they're playing.  Obviously, AR12 is the key.  
  • Lane Taylor...he's becoming my favorite OL but I'd still rather see him at LG than LT
  • Aaron!  Now the Packers will have a real nice combo at RB 
  • I don't think the lack of game breaking speed at WR will hurt that much; besides, Jordy can still sneak deep on occasion as well as other players (Kendricks, GMo); the consistency of the passing attack has been apparent and will get a little better with time.  
  • Maintaining control of the ball is always a good thing; scoring is even better.
  • AR12 has a lot of toys at his disposal.  AR12 having 3 TEs to use is very interesting and they've got three that can catch the ball!
  • Yeah, Davante Adams is a stud...will Ted pay him Dez money?  Fortunately, the cap goes up next season, Ted will have roll-over $$ to spend on Davante, but will likely have to make decisions regarding Jordy & Cobb's 2018 cap numbers.  It's going to be hard from a cap perspective to pay huge contracts to three WRs...but they might be able to get away with it for one season.  Jordy's probably good for one more short term (e.g., 3 years) contract.  
  • Cobb hasn't been worth his contract payout the last couple of seasons but is is definitely valuable when healthy.  Extending Cobb a few seasons for cap relief is an option.
  • Whoever said that Mike McCarthy is a stale play caller / Offense Coordinator is clueless.
  • There's people out there who think Dom needs to go (i.e., be fired or needs to retire) I'm not one of them.  I'm not saying he's the best DC there is but I'm certain there are worse.  The grass isn't always greener on the other side.  I also prefer to stay with the "3-4" concept.
  • There's no doubt coaching plays a very important role in wins & losses but ultimately it's up to the players to make plays vs designed schemes that matters the most.
  • The defense needs Kevin King
  • I like Josh Hawkins but he's still very, very raw
  • I'm still amazed by the finish in Dallas...brilliant throw and catch for the win!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

10.4.17 - the defense's DBs & the front five

  • Here's an article from CheeseHeadTV that talks about Josh Hawkins' current opportunity for significant PT at the expense of D. Randall.  I've seen lots of opinions regarding what to do with Randall.  We'll see how things transpire... 
  • I've been intrigued with Josh Hawkins pretty much from the start.  I've read (don't have the link) where he patterns his game after Sam Shields.  Hawkins has good speed but he's not as fast as Sam was plus I think Sam's ball awareness was very good (CW's the best ever).
  1. CM3  
  2. Mike Daniels 
  3. Kenny Clark 
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Blake Martinez
  6. Josh Jones
  7. Morgan Burnett
  8. HHCD
  9. Kentrell Brice
  10. Kevin King
  11. Josh Hawkins / Davon House
It appears that using four safeties is becoming Capers' MO with this defense; I think it's a smart move & there's no doubt in my mind safety is the strength of the defense.  Josh Jones and Morgan Burnett are playing great in the box and Capers is scheme diverse for those guys.  It's also important that the defense can start out with two deep with HHCD & Brice and can also move these two around too.

I don't know if this four safety (4S) alignment is unique to the Packers or not but I don't remember the Packers ever using four at the same time.  I love it!  I think all four can/will be play-makers.

Because the Packers have four safeties good enough to start, they only need two CBs that can play the boundary.  Kevin King is obviously the RCB but IMO also the #1 CB.  The #2 is House when he's healthy and until then, it appears Josh Hawkins will get those fill-in snaps.

The front-five need to attack the ball/penetrate the LOS to cause as much disruption as quickly as possible.  The front-five includes an ILB/MLB type plus the front four.  The Packers consistently deploy a front four of 2 OLB and 2 DL or 1 DL plus 3 LB/EDGE guys.  

Can Blake Martinez be replaced with another LB (CM3?), Marwin Evans, or a 3rd CB?

Can Capers deploy CM3 as rover, Nick Perry at ROLB/edge, and three DL to encompass the front-five "heavy" -- the light version is 2 DL & 3 LB.  Here's my ranking of DL/LB

  1. CM3  
  2. Mike Daniels 
  3. Kenny Clark 
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Blake Martinez
  6. Ahmad Brooks
  7. #94 Dean Lowry
  8. #51 Kyler Fackrell
  9. Quinton Dial
  10. Montravious
  11. Ricky Jean
  12. Jake Ryan
  13. Joe Thomas
  14. Chris Odom
  15. Vince Biegel?...will he be off the PUP soon enough or will his rookie season be a wash-out?  Which player will Vince replace in the 14 above?  My guess is Ricky Jean unless the 3 DL is a standard or frequent deployment.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

10.3.17 - @ the 1/4 mark

  • A 3-1 record at this point is a good thing all things considered... It appears to me that ARod's patience has improved regarding accepting that using his quick-release is a good thing; that sustaining drives on a consistent basis is something he can do if he's focused on it.  It reinforces that he really can control games and help his defense out.
  • Playing four safeties -- HHCD, Burnett, Brice, and JJones -- is playing to a defensive strength and I love it! they have depth with Marwin Evans
  • Starting four guards and a worked!  TT's gut feeling on Lane Taylor is noteworthy because he's really playing good...and please no more OL injuries...
  • The offense is diverse and risk adverse because of ARod.  It'll be Jordy as his #1 & maybe it'll be Cobb @ #2...he's looking good ATT anyway.  Marty Bennett has had too many drops but I still think he's going to be a huge contributor the rest-of-the-way.  2-TE set will be a huge
  • Again, a  3-1 record at this point is a good thing all things considered... 
Coming up are two tough road games (Dallas & Minnesota)...very tough teams and very different.  Vikes defense is top 5 IMO & Dallas is all about their OL and Zeke running the rock.  Dallas will be a major challenge for the Packers defense to slow down, much less stop on a consistent basis.  The dynamic in Minnesota changes because of the injury to D. Cook...very unfortunate injury & significantly impacts their offense...he looked to be a very explosive runner.

The Pack will be extremely hard to beat if the defense limits its scoring allowed to the 17 pts range,
  • I think the 17 ppg/allowed is realistic IF the offense can control things and consistently score.
  • I think the offense is capable of scoring (at minimum) 26 ppg maybe 30.
If Cobb stays out, this offense will be exciting because of how he can be deployed...but he's already missed 1 game...and now Davante is in concussion protocol.  Jordy looks great...I like the 2-TE offense or even 3-TE.  Ty Montgomery has broke ribs?...not sure of his status for the Cowboys; Aaron Jones will likely be the #2 RB behind Monty.  Mays will be #3 

Monday, February 13, 2017

2.13.17 - Our pending FA & RFA plus dreaming outside FA?

There's an article @ Bleacher Report written on 2.13.17 by Gary Davenport that ranks the 2017 Free-Agent class by position.   It's an interesting read and covers the full-Monty.  The author states "it's a good year to be in the market for one of those pass-rushers."

Pass rusher will quickly become a huge need if the Packers lose two or more of their following u/rfa players: Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, or Jayrone Elliott.

Pending 2017 FA (UFA/RFA) by position:

  1. Nick Perry - edge
  2. TJ Lang - G
  3. Jared Cook - TE
  4. Datone Jones - edge
  5. Jayrone Elliott - edge
  6. Julius Peppers - edge
  7. Micah Hyde - DB
  8. Eddie Lacy
  9. Demetri Goodson - CB
  10. Don Barclay - G/T
  11. JC Tretter - C/OL
  12. Christine Michael
  13. Jordan Tripp - LB/ST 

As I previously stated, maintaining a pass rusher presence is paramount; Micah Hyde should also be considered as a priority resign because of the amount of time he played in 2016 due to his veteran leadership and versatility. The only other pending defensive FA is Goodson and he might not be ready for 2017 camp because of the knee injury.

The above listing is my prioritization.  I'm indifferent WRT Christine Michael; would rather see Lacy back and also see if John Crockett can make a jump/return (I liked his spunk).  Doesn't matter to me whether they sign TJ or Nick first or second as long as they sign them both.  Barclay is strictly a back-up but maybe a decent veteran minimum back-up because he can play all the spots (like Tretter).  Only need to resign Tretter if TJ goes elsewhere.

Not being able to resign Nick Perry would be a bad thing; not sure what his open market value will be but acknowledge he'll be costly to retain.  Datone hopefully can be retained via a 1-year prove-it contract like Perry was for 2016.  I'd also love to have Peppers back and would take him over Datone.

Here's an "Ask Vic" question on 2.13.17:
Which free agent in the NFL should the Packers be aggressive to try to pick up in free agency?
I won’t brush off these types of questions this year. I acknowledge Aaron Rodgers’ career has reached the point that a premium needs to be put on the present, so if the Packers can find a difference-maker in free agency, I’ll sign off on taking a swing for the fence. Who is that player? We won’t know until the tags go out and potential free agents have re-signed with their current teams.
Read more:

Vic is right that before we can really speculate on "purchasing" outside FAs we need to know who they'll be and we're still a ways off on that.  I still think it's more important, especially going into 2017, to resign our own guys before thinking about outside guys...but they have recouped Sam Shields' $9m cap number and can/should use that for a veteran CB is one becomes available in FA.

That brings me back/full-circle to the Bleacher Report article.  In the article, Gary Davenport lists the following "top players available" at CB as: AJ Bouye (Texans), Trumaine Johnson (Rams), Stephon Gilmore (Bills), Morris Claiborne (Cowboys), and Captain Munnerlyn (Vikings).  Per Spotrac, there are currently nine CBs making $10m or more per season.  Bouye, Trumaine Johnson, Gilmore, and probably Claiborne will command that amount for 2017.

  • Trumaine Johnson was franchised in 2016 and would cost the Rams 120% of his 2016 contract to retain.  He's a big CB @ ~6'1"
  • Stephon Gilmore and Morris Claiborne are also intriguing
  • It's unlikely that all three hit the market
  • Bouye is the wild-card because he would be yet another high $$ investment for the Texans defense...but probably their top off-season priority too.  Bouye is 25.
  • I would resign Micah Hyde before Captain Munnerlyn.

Outside LB / Edge "top players available": Chandler Jones (Cardinals), Melvin Ingram (Chargers), Malcolm Smith (Raiders), Nick Perry (Packers), and Barkevious Mingo (Patriots).

Defensive End "top players available": Calais Campbell (Cardinals), Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants), Jabaal Sheard (Patriots), Andre Branch (Dolphins), and Devin Taylor (Lions).

  • Note: neither Julius Peppers or Datone Jones are listed in the "top players available" for OLB or DE...but Nick Perry is listed at Outside LB / Edge.  Perry is a must resign IMO...and slots $$ wise behind Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, Calais Campbell, and Jason Pierre-Paul.  The Packers also need to resign Julius Peppers or Datone Jones too...ideally both...but if they sign a 2nd premier Edge guy (i.e., Ingram or JPP) I'd be fine with that too.

Inside LB "top players available":  Dont'a Hightower (Patriots), Zach Brown (Bills), Lawrence Timmons (Steelers), Perry Riley (Raiders), and Gerald Hodges (49ers).  

  • I'd love any of the first three on the list but doubt those three will be available.
  • I would move CM3 back inside into the rover LB spot full-time / 100% of time.

Loved watching the 2016 season recap video:

Maybe in 2017 they'll be in the Super Bowl...hope springs eternal.

Go Pack Go!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

01.25.17 - Future at RB in 2017 -- other FA thoughts from an offensive perspective

Snippet from Rob Demovsky:

Eddie Lacy says he wants to come back, but at what price?
Ty Montgomery looks like a full-time running back, but can he handle more than a dozen carries per game -- something he did only once this past season after he converted from receiver
And who knows what’s in the future for James Starks, who hasn’t played since he suffered a concussion in a Dec. 12 car crash, or in-season pickup Christine Michael.
It’s why Lacy, whose rookie contract is set to expire, will be one of the Packers’ most important decisions in free agency.
==[end snippet]==
I think the above statements (by Demovsky) are reasonable at this time.  One thing I believe is we'll have three RBs (not including Ripkowski, who I like very much as a FB & occasionally with the ball).  Ty Montgomery is a given and definitely part of the equation at RB (wish he could keep his #88 as a RB).

I would cut James Starks.  I would consider resigning Christine Michael for veteran's minimum as the 3rd RB.  If not, then they'll either have to draft somebody (not a bad option) or bring in a FA, UDFA, one of their practice squad guys, or maybe even bring John Crockett back (2016 IR).

When last seen around the facility, he looked at least as big as he was at this time last year, when coach Mike McCarthy called him out publicly for being overweight. Perhaps the Packers and Lacy would agree on a short-term deal similar to the two-year, $6 million contract Starks signed last offseason. 2016 pay: $867,602 base salary, no bonuses
==[end snippet]==
I'd love to see Eddie Lacy resigned for the 2nd part of the equation at RB.  I suppose the key to resigning him the the financial aspect...what amount will Eddie resign for is the question.  I think he's worth considerably more than what they offered Starks...maybe in the ~$9-10m range but that's just a WAG at this point.  I think anything less than that is good for the Packers.

Demovsky also discusses other offensive players that are pending 2017 FAs (TJ Lang, Jared Cook, JC Tretter, and Don Barclay).  It's highly unlikely the Packers can/will resign all four of these guys. Barclay is JAG but might be worth while to resign as a bench player for minimum salary.  Jarred Cook is pretty much a must sign but the $$ needs to be reasonable for cap purposes.  I'd definitely resign TJ Lang who IMO is the #1 guy that needs to be resigned from an offensive perspective.

Bottom Line: resign TJ Lang, Jared Cook, and Eddie Lacy.

Defense is next to look another time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1.24.17 - Things I think about the Packers after being blown-out

So much for posting more frequently...LOL.

OK, so it's now Tuesday, 1.24.17 which is a good ~40+ hours after the Packers were massacred in Atlanta.  I haven't posted anything in the CHTV blog responses regarding the loss.  No doubt the loss was hard for Packers' fans to deal with and witness.  Lots of scathing comments...  On the media end, Bob McGinn posted his usual ratings piece...and he was definitely scathing with his comments!

For example: STARS OF THE GAME: 1. T.J. Lang; 2. Jordy Nelson; 3. Don Barclay

OK, so he rates Don Barclay as the 3rd, that says alot.  Granted Barclay played much better than I expected and had to play quite a few snaps but it speaks volumes that nobody else was worthy of McGinn's star label.  His bottom line (last) sentence about Aaron Rodgers was: "Super Bowl berths are hard to achieve with a franchise quarterback playing well below par."

Yeah, not Aaron's best game during the 'run the table' stretch but he didn't have a ton of help from the skill position players either (sans Jordy early on, and Cook).  Cobb made a few plays but was mostly quiet during the game.  Devonte Adams couldn't do much with his bum ankle.  Monty only played 23 snaps due to injury.  Ripkowski's lost fumble was a killer...but I still love the kid!

The Falcons obviously killed the Packers with an air assault that was lightning quick (typically 1.5 - 2.0 seconds before pass release by Matt Ryan) and lethal -- especially on 3rd down.  Julio Jones was unstoppable...and I was expecting that from him because his talent level as a WR is #1 at this time IMO...the combination of his size, speed, strength, and hands is too much for top tier CBs to handle much less Ladarious Gunter or Damarious Randall.

Speaking of Damarious Randall, to say he had a rough and very inconsistent season would be an understatement.  However, he did flash a few times during the year, especially vs the Seahawks.  The deep ball interception show-cased his centerfield ability...but he was drafted to play CB and he really regressed in 2016 compared to his 2015 rookie campaign.  He consistently provided 5-10 yards of cushion which typically resulted in easy completions against him.  He also got caught peaking into the backfield by looking to see where the QB was going with the ball which also resulted in easy completions against him...several big gainers and/or TDs.

I don't think there's any question that the Packers' biggest need going into the 2017 season will be getting more talent at CB for 2017.  Sam Shields says he still wants to play...  I think even if Shields wants to play they'll need to add more talent to the CB position.  Here's the final listing for CBs on the roster for the Falcons game:

36 Gunter, LaDarius CB 6-2 20124 2 Miami
28 Hawkins, Josh CB 5-10 18924 R East Carolina
23 Randall, Damarious CB 5-11 19624 2 Arizona State
24 Rollins, Quinten CB 5-11 19524 2 Miami (Ohio)
26 Waters, Herb CB 6-0 18824 R Miami
33 Hyde, Micah DB 6-0 19726 4 Iowa

Wow...that looks brutal from an experience perspective...talent level needs improvement too!  Only reason both Hawkins and Waters were on the 53 man was due to injuries.  Available roster spots: 2

Injured reserve and practice squad:

37 Shields, Sam CB 5-11 18429 7 Miami
20 Dorleant, Makinton CB 5-11 18224 R Northern Iowa
39 Goodson, Demetri CB 5-11 19727 3 Baylor
31 Benwikere, Bené CB 5-11 19625 3 San Jose State

I hope the Packers let Shields come back if he wants to.  I'd still try to renegotiate his contract if he comes back and would prefer not to cut him if he wants to play.  If Shields comes back they still should draft a CB as early as possible...maybe even double-down at the position.  I also think they should continue to carry six CBs (including Micah Hyde or some other veteran FA).

Hyde is a pending 2017 FA.  I would consider paying him low-end starter's money because of his role in nickel/dime packages.  They shouldn't resign Goodson (pending FA).  Didn't see enough of Makinton Dorleant to determine his worth.

Quick look at the safety listing:

29 Brice, Kentrell S 5-11 20022 R Louisiana Tech
42 Burnett, Morgan S 6-1 20928 7 Georgia Tech
21 Clinton-Dix, Ha Ha S 6-1 20824 3 Alabama
25 Evans, Marwin S 5-11 21123 R Utah State

I actually like the safety group quite a bit.  Granted, the Packers need Cliton-Dix to step-up even more than he did (I think he deserved his pro-bowl spot) but overall, I was very happy with him and Morgan Burnett because they're turning into quite a good safety tandem.  Like many fans, I also like Brice and think he's got a bright future.  Marwin Evans dropped a gift wrapped interception from Matt Ryan that could've kept 7 points off the board.

The Packers obviously have needs at other positions.  Number two on my positions of needs list is at LB, where there are three pending 2017 FAs with Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, and Datone Jones.

95 Jones, Datone DE/LB 6-4 28526 4 UCLA
91 Elliott, Jayrone LB 6-3 25525 3 Toledo
51 Fackrell, Kyler LB 6-5 24525 R Utah State
50 Martinez, Blake LB 6-2 23723 R Stanford
52 Matthews, Clay LB 6-3 25530 8 Southern California
56 Peppers, Julius LB 6-7 28737 15 North Carolina
53 Perry, Nick LB 6-3 26526 5 Southern California
47 Ryan, Jake LB 6-2 24024 2 Michigan
48 Thomas, Joe LB 6-1 22725 2 South Carolina State
58 Tripp, Jordan LB 6-3 23425 3 Montana

Jayrone Elliott will also be a FA in 2017 but he's of the RFA variety.  He's a very good ST player so I'd probably make him an offer (lowest tender).  Perry will cost (and be worth) the most money.  I'd offer Datone a prove-it deal and bring back Peppers (at a reduced rate) if he still wants to play.  

Jordan Tripp is certainly replaceable (and should be) and probably Joe Thomas too.   Available roster spots: 2 

I'd draft another edge rusher and I'd use CM3 strictly in the rover role (his best role).  I didn't see enough from Kyler Fackrell to determine his worth or potential...but I'm hopeful.  If Fackrell can become a starter it'll be huge, especially if he can be moved around like CM3 can.

Offensive skill positions:

32 Michael, Christine RB 5-10 22026 4 Texas A&M
88 Montgomery, Ty RB 6-0 21624 2 Stanford
44 Starks, James RB 6-2 21830 7 Buffalo
89 Cook, Jared TE 6-5 25429 8 South Carolina
82 Rodgers, Richard TE 6-4 25725 3 California
17 Adams, Davante WR 6-1 21524 3 Fresno State
81 Allison, Geronimo WR 6-3 20223 R Illinois
18 Cobb, Randall WR 5-10 19226 6 Kentucky
11 Davis, Trevor WR 6-1 18823 R California
83 Janis, Jeff WR 6-3 21925 3 Saginaw Valley State
13 McCaffrey, Max WR 6-2 20022 R Duke
87 Nelson, Jordy WR 6-3 21731 9 Kansas State
40 Kerridge, Joe FB 6-0 24524 R Michigan
22 Ripkowski, Aaron FB 6-1 24624 2 Oklahoma
Injured reserve:
27Lacy, Eddie         RB5-11234264Alabama

14 offensive skill position players is a doable number.

RB - Both Starks and Christine Michael should be replaced and I'd bring back Eddie Lacy on a prove-it deal.

Max McCaffrey will almost certainly be replaced...but not sure they'll keep 7 WRs again.

TE/FB are treated similarly by McCarthy.  Jared Cook is a priority 2017 FA.

Ted Thompson's mantra is draft & the coaches develop.  Has signed two future HOF players via FA (Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers), other notable signing was Ryan Pickett.  No busts in FA based-on an expenditure perspective.

The Packers lost Casey Hayward via FA and should get a compensatory pick for him (5th?).

I'm not sure if the Packers will receive a draft pick from the Bills for the OLB we traded to them.  If so, that'll be an additional 7th round pick.  That would make nine total picks for Ted.

Speaking of Ted, I've been reading/hearing internet reporting/opines from the media and definitely blogs/tweets regarding Ted Thompson's future.  Expectations, wants, and WAGs abounded with the desired outcome of Ted stepping into a senior scouting role and somebody like Elliot Wolf assuming the GM role.  Other options could be John Dorsey (a long time favorite of mine for GM), possibly raiding Seattle, or maybe even Brian Gutekunst, Director of Player Personnel.  I'd be good with Elliot, John, or Brian taking over...or John Schneider.