PFF: 5 Guys That Have to Be Good – Jordy Nelson

This marks the fourth offseason of my 5 guys that have to be good series.  This list is not a top five list of most important Green Bay Packers.  Not only will you find that elsewhere, but ultimately it’s the players on this list that just might define the season.

Aaron Rodgers, Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews are going to play well.  If the offensive line stays healthy, it’s going to play well.  HaHa Clinton-Dix is going to play well.

It’s the players that are “in the margins” that can make the difference between another 11 or 12 win team with a heartbreaking playoff loss and a 14th World Championship.

My old lists are a telling tale.  My 15 guys that have had to be good either weren’t or got hurt for the most part.

2013: Terrell Manning, Greg Van Roten, Bryan Bulaga (ACL), Jeremy Ross, Datone Jones

2014: BJ Raji (torn biceps), Brad Jones, Jared Abbrederis, JC Tretter, Datone Jones

2015: Jared Abbrederis, JC Tretter, BJ Raji, Casey Hayward, Sam Barrington (broken ankle)

These are the guys that needed to be good for the Packers to get back to the promised land.  They weren’t, and Green Bay didn’t.  Who needs to step up for a return to Titletown?

Here’s my first PFF post on Quentin Rollins and my piece on Jay Elliot on Cheesehead TV.

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Fixing the Offense: Play-Calling Edition

The Green Bay Packers struggled from many offensive problems in 2015. The most egregious seemed to be the play calling. It may have been the result of the unsuccessful  transition to Tom Clements calling plays, but the Packers offense spent much of the season sending four receivers running 10 yard curl routes and standing around waiting for Aaron Rodgers to make the perfect throw.

In 2016, there are a few West Coast fundamentals the Packers can get back to in order to be more successful. The first is the screen pass. Quick screens to Wide Receivers were rarely open last season because opposing defenses did not need to respect any of the Packers receivers as deep threats. With Jordy Nelson back and the addition of Jared Cook, Safeties should have to stay deeper. This will allow Rodgers to get the ball out quickly and let the Wide Receivers use their skills after the catch. The Safeties being engaged should also open up the traditional screen passes to the Running Backs, and an in-shape Eddie Lacy can be a serious danger to the defenses if he can get through to the secondary. It also helps to have one of the most athletic Centers in the league in Corey Linsley leading the way.

The Packers also have to get back to throwing more slants and rub plays. Miscommunication and lazy route running ruined many of these plays last season. With an added emphasis on enforcing offensive pass interference, James Jones got called out for blatantly blocking opposing players a few times last year. Packer receivers have to be more precise and less intentional on those routes.

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Does Extension for Schneider Remove Him from Thompson Replacement Talks?

The Seattle Seahawks reached a long-term contraction extension with General Manager John Schneider on Sunday, a former understudy of Ted Thompson and one of the top candidates to replace Thompson as the Green Bay Packers’ next GM.

Schneider began his time with the Packers in 1993, working with the scouting department until 1997 when Schneider left for Kansas City. In 2000, Schneider moved to Seattle, working under the tutelage of Ted Thompson who acted as VP of Football Operations. Schneider then spent a year in Washington before returning to Green Bay in 2002, working as the personal analyst to then Head Coach/GM Mike Sherman. Thompson was brought in from Seattle in 2005 to take over Sherman’s GM duties, reuniting Thompson and Schneider once more. Schneider continued working as Thompson’s personal analyst before being elevated to Director of Football Relations in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, Schneider was tapped to return to Seattle to become GM.

Clearly Thompson and Schneider have a great rapport and have worked well with one another, piecing together the team that would go on to win Super Bowl XLV. Schneider is a Wisconsin native, playing high school football in the shadow of Lambeau Field at Abbot Pennings High School in De Pere. For this reason, Schneider has often been considered one likely heir-apparent to Ted Thompson, whenever he decides to retire. Certainly the prospect of coming back home and leading the Green Packers would be enticing to Schneider. And this was seemingly confirmed last year when it was reported that Schneider has an opt-out clause in his contract with Seattle should the Packers GM spot become available.

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Packers Depth Chart: Secondary

Now just three short days away from training camp and we are almost done with our look through the Packer depth chart. And as we get to the defensive backfield here, there is a new name, signed earlier this week that we can discuss, but we’ll get to him later. For now, let’s look at the 17 defensive backs that are on the roster right now.

Previous posts:

Full Roster
Quarterbacks
Offensive Backfield
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Offensive Line
Defensive Line
Linebackers

CORNERBACKS

#37 SAM SHIELDS

5’11” 184 lbs. Age 28 (7th Season)

Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent on April 24, 2010 from Miami (FL)

Strengths: Blazing speed allows Shields to never be out of the play no matter how badly he’s beat. Has very good ball skills and can pluck the ball out of the air like a receiver. Extremely quick backpedal and flips his hips with incredible fluidity. Smart player who has gotten miles better in his positioning in zone coverage over his career. Also has improved his tackling dramatically over his first six seasons. Extremely athletic with good leaping ability.

Weaknesses: Slim frame and sometimes can get out muscled by the bigger possession receivers. Sometimes flips his hips too much and can get turned around. Can be beaten on double moves as he jumps the first cut. Has had an injury history and has missed at least one game every season.

Underrated Attribute: Hands

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Is Richard Rodgers Really Ahead of Jared Cook?

The Green Bay Packers had their worst offensive season last year since Aaron Rodgers took over at quarterback in 2008, and one of the many reasons that was the case was due to a lack of production from the tight end position.

Richard Rodgers caught 58 passes and scored eight touchdowns, which on the surface are solid numbers, but his 8.8 yards yards per catch leading to only 510 yards tells more of the story. Rodgers is certainly a useful situational tight end — particularly in the red zone and on third downs — with his huge frame and strong hands, but his lack of athletic ability to threaten anybody down the seam or after the catch makes him a pedestrian option as your starting tight end. How many times did we see Rodgers run the slant/flat combo route last year, only to watch him get tackled by a much smaller corner for little gain? Rodgers also rates out poorly as a run blocker, despite his enormous size.

These are the reasons Ted Thompson went out and made what for him is a free agent splash with the signing of Jared Cook on a one-year, $2.75 million. Cook is the polar opposite of Rodgers with the speed and athleticism to challenge defenses vertically and after the catch. However, the flip side to that is he has far too many drops and mental lapses — according to STATS, Cooks dropped 10 of 69 passes last season.

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PFF: 5 Guys That Have to Be Good- Quentin Rollins

This marks the fourth offseason of my 5 guys that have to be good series.  This list is not a top five list of most important Green Bay Packers.  Not only will you find that elsewhere, but ultimately it’s the players on this list that just might define the season.

Aaron Rodgers, Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews are going to play well.  If the offensive line stays healthy, it’s going to play well.  HaHa Clinton-Dix is going to play well.

It’s the players that are “in the margins” that can make the difference between another 11 or 12 win team with a heartbreaking playoff loss and a 14th World Championship.

My old lists are a telling tale.  My 15 guys that have had to be good either weren’t or got hurt for the most part.

2013: Terrell Manning, Greg Van Roten, Bryan Bulaga (ACL), Jeremy Ross, Datone Jones

2014: BJ Raji (torn biceps), Brad Jones, Jared Abbrederis, JC Tretter, Datone Jones

2015: Jared Abbrederis, JC Tretter, BJ Raji, Casey Hayward, Sam Barrington (broken ankle)

These are the guys that needed to be good for the Packers to get back to the promised land.  They weren’t, and Green Bay didn’t.  Who needs to step up for a return to Titletown?

Casey Hayward signed a relatively conservative three year, $15 million dollar contract in the 2016 offseason with the San Diego Chargers.  Hayward was one of the finest inside cornerbacks in the league, and he will certainly be missed.  His inability to hold up outside both limited his earning potential and possibly ended his Packers tenure.

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2016 Training Camp Storylines

As we near Training Camp, there are several storylines that will dominate the Green Bay Packers lead up to the season.

Brett Hundley

Hundley is going to take a large majority of snaps this preseason. He will get every chance to prove Ted Thompson was right to trade up for him in last year’s draft, and for allowing Scott Tolzien to leave in free agency. Hundley will get the opportunity to throw a lot, as the Packers are trying to figure out what to do with their receiving corps. He will look to prove he can be a starter in the NFL, and with another solid effort in the preseason, may even attract some attention on the trade market in the offseason.

http://packerstalk.com/2016/06/21/brett-hundleys-trade-value/

Wide Receiver

Will the Packers keep 7 Wide Receivers? Will they look to trade one of them for a late round pick? The depth the Packers have at wideout has to be intriguing to other teams, but with limited roster spots, the competition should be fierce for the 6th spot. My opinion is, barring injury, it will come down to Jared Abbrederis and Trevor Davis. I also feel undrafted Geronimo Allison will have a big preseason, and the Packers will be lucky to be able to keep him on the Practice Squad.

Battle for the last 10 roster spots

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