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Packers Offseason: Offensive Backfield

Running Backs

The offseason will be officially be upon the NFL in just under 48 hours and that means it’s time to look inward at your own roster to see where you stand. And for the Packers, that stance is still pretty strong. They have a lot of strong spots on the 90-man, but that doesn’t means that these strengths cannot be augmented.

But like all teams, they also have weaknesses, and we will look at them as well. And like the first part in our position be position outlook, we will address potential free agent additions that make sense as well as draftable players that would fit the team. But instead of quarterbacks, we will be looking at the guys who reside in the backfield with him: the halfbacks and fullbacks.

We start with arguably the most scrutinized man in Green Bay over the past season:



2016 Green Bay Packers Draft Prospects: Top Tight Ends

Austin Hooper NFL Draft

One of the highest priorities for the Green Bay Packers this off-season, was improving the lack of production from the Tight End position. However, General Manager Ted Thompson has never drafted a Tight End higher than the 3rd round. In 2008 Thompson took Jermichael Finley in the 3rd and in 2014 grabbed Richard Rodgers in the same round. Rodgers, Justin Perillo, and Andrew Quarless failed to provide a reliable receiving option for Aaron Rodgers throughout the 2015 season.

Would the Packers be willing to take a TE in the 1st or 2nd round pick to help turn around the offense? New position coach Brian Angelichio has demonstrated an ability to coach up lower round players (see: Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge), and Thompson could shock the world and sign a free agent to bolster the position (Barnidge was a free agent, but signed a 3 year contract extension in December). If the Packers decide to draft a tight end in the first three rounds, there are currently several targets that should appeal to Packer fans.

Arkansas’ Hunter Henry tops the list. Henry showed an ability to stretch the field with 51 receptions for 739 yards this season as a Junior. At 6-6 and 255, Henry not only has the size to impact the run game, but more importantly has demonstrated the willingness and ability to be an above average blocker. If Henry runs well at the combine he could work his way into late 1st round consideration.


PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: How To Care About the Super Bowl

Rodgers and Newton square off Sunday in a potential playoff preview.

This is easy for me to say.  For the second straight season I’m going to be at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix, Arizona pretending the “Big Game” isn’t happening after a devastating playoff loss.

You see Brett Favre broke me.  I haven’t really been able to watch the Super Bowls in which the Packers have made the playoffs but not the big game since the 2007 NFC Championship game.  It’s not really his fault.  I’m certainly not running Favre down, or trying to speak badly of him.  I’m just at the point now where I become so emotionally invested in each season that if the Packers don’t make it to the Super Bowl, I’m really not that interested in the ending to the story.

So what do you do if your’e like me?  Maybe not completely like me, because it’s probably not super healthy to care as much as I do at this point.  Do you not really care for Cam Newton, but at the same time aren’t ready for Manning to get ring #2 and for Denver to have any organizational success?

Here are a few ideas:

Bet the game.  It’s the easiest way to become emotionally (and otherwise) invested.  If you can get Denver at +6 or +6.5 that’s probably too many.  Carolina put Arizona down rather violently, but people forget that that Arizona team was pretty beat up, including missing Tyrann Mathieu.


Prospecting Potential Pass-catchers: Sterling Shepard

Prospect Profile Sterling Shepard

Peaking at the right time. It’s usually a really lame narrative about teams heading into the NFL playoffs but in terms of draft stock, it absolutely applies to the former Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

Shepard drew many eyeballs at the Senior Bowl, where he earned Practice Player of the Week and made some highlight reel catches.

Labeled primarily as a slot receiver, the fit for Shepard in the Packers offense is arguable, given the presence of Randall Cobb. But there are elements to Shepard’s game that are still incredibly intriguing, regardless of the current makeup of the Packers roster, where you almost wonder if another slot weapon, and arguably a receiver who can play at any position, would be worth the investment of a second to third round draft pick, as Shepard’s current projections indicate.

At 5’10 191 lbs., he’s already been labeled a slot receiver and the greatest knock on him is size, strength, and ability to win in contested ball situations. These are legitimate concerns, to some degree. But there are also some “little things” that Shepard does that make you feel that he can get away with playing at a less than ideal height and weight for a receiver, regardless of slot or perimeter.

There are numbers other than his standard stats to prove that his production is right up there with some of the top receivers in the 2016 class as well.


Does Thompson Really have a Free Agency Phobia?

The dreaded Ted Thompson stare

The  Green Bay Packers’ season ended a few weeks ago, but the 2015 NFL season will come to a close this weekend with Super Bowl 50. And with that will begin the 2016 season a month later.  With that will begin the guesswork of who stays and who is shown the door. Teams will start bidding and trying to woo free agents with the promises of championship rings, each touted the missing link that will carry their new team all the way to Super Bowl 51.

And the yearly question will arise once again: will Ted Thompson pull the trigger finally and sign some talent that is not homegrown?

Draft and develop, it’s been the Packers’ mantra forever. Find that diamond in the rough and polish it until it shines. There’s no question Thompson hit pay dirt with Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Demarious Randall. But then there are still big question marks over some of his other picks–Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams. And then there were complete busts as well.

By now everyone has read the Bob McGinn article that was published in the wake of the Packers’ loss to Arizona. He pointed fingers at both Mike McCarthy and his deficiencies as the head coach. But he also placed a lot of the blame at the feet of Ted Thompson.

Is Thompson too rigid in his draft and develop mentality that his refusal to search the free agent market for talent is now becoming a boat anchor that will sink the team’s success?


Remembering the curious saga of former Packers receiver Greg Jennings

Jennings, Super Bowl, Packers

Jennings went from receiver No. 1 to Public Enemy No. 1 in Green Bay, and it virtually happened overnight. Here’s a look back at how we got there.




Former Green Bay Packer Greg Jennings is among the best wide receivers to ever don the green and gold – you don’t have much ground to stand on if you argue otherwise.

Jennings ranks No. 5 all time in receiving touchdowns for the Packers, and has played in significantly fewer games than everyone ahead of him on the list. Only Don Hutson and Sterling Sharpe averaged more touchdowns-per-game than Jennings.

Jennings also ranks No. 7 all time in receptions and receiving yards with the Packers, and was pacing to be one of the most productive wide outs the organization had ever seen.

A fan favorite – Jennings seemingly embodied a small town, hardworking mentality. He played college ball at a mid-major university (Western Michigan), is the father of four, and acted humbled to be in the NFL. He always wore a big smile and had a knack for coming up with big, crunch-time catches.

Like this for example…

Brett Favre hits Greg Jennings on the first play from scrimmage in overtime.

2007 — Brett Favre hits Jennings on the first play from scrimmage in overtime at Denver.

And this…

Jennings with his first of two touchdown receptions in SB XLV.

Jennings with his first of two touchdown receptions in SB XLV.

OK, last one…

Aaron Rodgers converts 3rd-and-10 to Jennings to help secure 31-25 victory in SB XLV.

Aaron Rodgers converts 3rd-and-10 to Jennings to help secure 31-25 victory in SB XLV.


Packers’ 6 Biggest Positions of Need for 2016 Offseason

Packers Tight End Richard Rodgers

Below is a list of the top 6 positions of need for the Green Bay Packers coming into the 2016 offseason. This list is fluid and represents the team’s needs right now. This list will vary based upon resignings, retirements, or off-the-field issues. These needs can be filled in the draft or in free agency, but should be treated at some point this off-season in order for the team to show improvement going into the 2016 season.

1. Inside Linebacker

Clay Matthews has played very well at inside linebacker, but with Mike McCarthy stating unequivocally in his post-season press conference that he’d like to see CMIII back at outside linebacker, the Packers are mighty weak on the inside. Thumper Sam Barrington will be back after missing 2015 on IR, but he was merely the best of a bad bunch in 2014. Nate Palmer lost his starting spot to Jake Ryan, a young linebacker who has shown some promise, but is far from a sure-thing starter, especially if he’s not standing next to CMIII. On a much-improved defense, this is the major hole on the roster. The Packers need to place no. 1 priority at this position. If they can sign an impact free agent or spend a high draft pick on an instant contributor, the defense could stand to improve even more than it already has.

2. Tight End