Packers Post-Game Post Mortem

Filling in for the usual post-game analysis, so I guess it is time to pull the autopsy slab out of the lab and dissect the third preseason game of the year. It’s always a special treat when it’s the 49ers that are getting the proverbial autopsy. We got our first look at a nearly-intact first team offense. No one left in a body bag, and there were no major injuries. Regardless of the score, I would definitely call that win.

  • Guess who’s back? Back again. Aaron’s back. Tell a friend.
  • Okay, we all got finally see Aaron Rodgers. Happy now? He looks like exactly who we expected him to be. Now can we put him back in bubble wrap so he doesn’t get broken between now and Week 1?
  • That said, it took a little bit for Rodgers and the offense to find a rhythm. But once it happened, Rodgers proved he ain’t dead yet and is ready to take the helm with the opening snap of the season. Sharp, crisp. It doesn’t matter that Jordy Nelson was out there or not. They already have chemistry. He trusts him. Besides, I totally take Rodgers’ word when he says that timing and chemistry is formed in consistent practice and not in a quasi-meaningful preseason game.
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Packers vs 49ers in 3…2…1…

Two weeks are down in the 2016 preseason and we are starting to see what the Packers will all be about. They have run the ball extremely well early on and have shown a strong defense, especially in coverage. After dismantling Cleveland and Oakland in back-to-back weeks at Lambeau, Now they travel across the country to San Francisco to take on a recent nemesis in the 49ers.

The starters, including Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Randall Cobb are slated to play for the first (and likely only) time this preseason. And like the other two games, the key here is to get out of San Francisco healthy. In previous years, it has been Week 3 that has been a serious issue for the Packers for injuries. But this is the last chance for some guys to make a statement before roster cuts Tuesday. And that leads us to this week’s edition of 3…2…1…

For those of you who didn’t read here last year, the 3…2…1… series is a countdown of things the team needs to do to win. I highlight 3 key players (usually not big name guys), 2 bold predictions, and 1 key stat that the Packers need to win. But before I jump into it, let’s take a quick look at last week. Once the regular season starts, I’ll start keeping track week to week to see if I have been effective in predicting the Packers keys. Usually these articles will be on Saturday before the game, but with preseason in the middle of the week, it’s a little different for the timing.

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PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: What to Watch For Tonight

Tonight is the all important third preseason game.  The game in which the starters play the most.  The dress rehearsal.  Fortunately for displaced Packers fans like myself it’s also the only live broadcast on NFL Network this preseason.  Tonight will be the first time in the 2016 preseason that Packers fans will get to see their quarterback play.

There isn’t much else to discuss on this fine Football Friday, because I don’t want to talk about PEDs or Al Jazeera or really anything that has to do with the NFL or the Commissioner’s office, so I’m going to offer some viewing tips for this evening’s game against San Francisco.

Appreciate the chance to watch Rodgers.  It really is a beautiful thing and he won’t play again until the opener in Jacksonville.  He’s hopefully healed from all of the maladies that caused him to be less efficient than in seasons past.

We as Packers fans are probably going to get two quarters of QB1 until he’s wrapped up in bubble wrap again until the opener.  Will we get to see the magic from the 2014 season, if even for just a little bit?

Pay attention to the offensive line.  I think we’ve got a battle here folks.  Matt Rotheram was once considered for a roster spot, but was recently released by the Packers with an injury settlement.  That doesn’t mean the competition is over.

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A Mid-Preseason Packers Roster Prediction

Back in June I posted a way, way too early roster prediction. Let’s see how things are shaping up with half of training camp and the preseason in the books. I’ve ranked players roughly according to depth chart position. And, as always, I take a shot at naming ten players currently on the roster who the Packers might attempt to retain on the practice squad.

Quarterbacks:

Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley

Running Backs:

Eddie Lacy, James Starks, John Crockett

Fullback:

Aaron Ripkowski

Tight Ends:

Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Kennard Backman, Justin Perillo

Offensive Line:

David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, JC Tretter, TJ Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy, Lane Taylor, Don Barclay

Wide Receivers:

Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, Trevor Davis

Defensive Line:

Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Letroy Guion, Dean Lowry, Christian Ringo*

*Mike Pennel does not count against the roster for the first four games of the season due to suspension. I still suspect that Ringo will be waived to make room for Pennel when he returns.

Outside Linebackers:

Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Jayrone Elliott, Kyler Fackrell, Lerentee McCray

Inside Linebackers:

Sam Barrington, Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan, Carl Bradford

Cornerbacks: 

Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Ladarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins

Safeties:

Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Chris Banjo, Micah Hyde

Special Teams:

Mason Crosby, Tim Mathsay, Rick Lovato

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Corey Linsley and Understanding the PUP List

Don’t expect Corey Linsley back soon.

Nothing like a lingering injury to change everything. After starting at center for Green Bay Packers for the past two seasons, center Corey Linsley isn’t moving off the PUP list fast at all. Initially sidelined by a hamstring injury during this past May’s OTAs, Linsley has yet to play a single snap during the 2016 training camp. Instead of snapping the ball to the first team offense, he’s been working daily with the training staff to return. In the meantime, JC Tretter has been named the starting center, and it is his job at this point to lose.
And so Linsley sits on the PUP list, that no-mans land where players either get a little respite to heal or their careers fizzle out all together. While this isn’t a career killer for Linsley by any stretch of the imagination, it is yet another wrench thrown into the offensive front line. Just when you think you’ve got the entire band back together, there’s a question mark as to when exactly Linsley will be cleared to return.
Word on the street is that he does not need surgery. That tells me he likely has what is called a Class II, or partial tear. Remember, that all muscle strains, by their very nature, are muscle tears. The severity of the injury determines the degree of the tear. A class one is the simple muscle strain. There is minimal tearing of the actual muscle fibers, and recover is rather short and are usually better in under two weeks. On the other side of the spectrum, there is the Class III muscle tear where the entire body of the muscle is torn in two. Those are the injuries that invariably need surgery.
HamstringInjuries_SmallAnd then there are Class II muscle tears (the middle graphic.) These type of injuries have a larger tear to the muscle fibers, but it isn’t a complete tear. It’s enough to leave a player very symptomatic. There may be a large bruise on the back of the thigh shortly after the acute injury (muscles, like many tissues bleed when torn.) These type of injuries do not typically require surgery and rely on the RICE regimen (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) as well as a large tincture of time for recovery. Emphasis on tincture of time.
Remember when Rodgers tore his calf two seasons ago and was sidelined forever yet didn’t need surgery? Same severity of injury as what Linsley likely has only in a different muscle group.
Recovery is variable with partial tears. They are typically gauged in terms of weeks to months, depending on the severity of the injury. It appears that Linsley initially tore his hamstring back in May but reinjured the muscle in July. So he’s back to square one with his hamstring. In other words, don’t hold your breath for a timely return before Packers head into week one of regular season play as the Packers head to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars.
So where does this leave the Packers’ injured center? With training camp quickly winding down, it appears that he remains very much in limbo. If he doesn’t make it off the PUP list, that status will automatically transfer over to the regular season. Perhaps that is the best option for him at this point. He wouldn’t necessarily be lost to the season on injured reserve unlike WR Jeff Janis who had practiced and would not be eligible for the PUP list.
The downside would mean he is a guaranteed no-show for the first six weeks of the regular season as per league rules related to PUP athletes. If he doesn’t play, it’s no different than being on IR, but it this would keep the Designated For Return IR position available for if and when they need to use it later in the season for another key player. (No, the Packers will not be using that spot for Janis. There are million ways to use the Designated For Return spot that do not involve burning it up on the WR that is fourth or fifth on the wide receiver depth chart.)
Chances are he will just remain on the PUP list as he is recovering. It makes no sense moving him over to injured reserve.  I honestly don’t see him returning before the end of training camp, but chances are he will be cleared to play some time this season. He’d have six weeks of no daily wear and tear of practice to focus solely on rehabilitation. And he’d be fresh and ready to go about the time other linemen start dropping like flies from other assorted injuries. (There’s nothing wrong with a fresh set of legs at that point in the season!) The team would not even have to tap into the Designated For Return status if they wanted to bring him back. And as far as returning to play goes, the DFR status is really no different than PUP–you have to sit for at least six weeks until you are eligible for return. The PUP is a way to allow a long-term injury to heal. As long as a player like Linsley has not practiced, that spot does have to be used and can be saved for an in-season injury that needs significant time to heal but has a chance to return as the Packers head toward a possible off season.
So in the meantime, it is crucial that Tretter get every snap possible with the first team so that he gels with the line and just assume he is the long-haul guy at center. That’s the nature of offensive lines–next man up. And quite honestly, I’d rather have two healthy options at center over the course of the 16 game regular season and beyond instead of hoping Lang can improvise and going through the disastrous musical chairs with the offensive line like last year.
It’s not a season until someone on the offensive line goes down with an injury that takes weeks to recover from. Looks like this year’s lucky man is center Corey Linsley.
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Kelly Hodgson is a writer for PackersTalk.com and you can listen to her as a Co-Host of Out of the Pocket. You can also follow Kelly on Twitter at @ceallaigh_k

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The Digital Green Bay Packers

I’m taking a break from talking about practice football games to talk about pretend football games! Happy Madden Day everyone!

With the exception of those who pay for the privilege to play the game early, today is the release date for Madden 17. When you finally open the incredibly frustrating packaging, it’s time to dive into a franchise with the 13 time world champions, but what will meet you?

It is no surprise the Green Bay Packers are incredibly deep. You will notice ratings changed this year to create more of a divide between great players and average ones. Most teams will feature several starters with ratings in the mid-to-low 70s.

The Green and Gold are led by the highest rated QB in the game, Aaron Rodgers. At 96 overall, he is one of the best players in the entire game. His 98 throw power rating will make sure you can get the ball deep to Jordy and the gang. Speaking of the playmakers, Jordy Nelson leads the receiving corps as an 89 overall. Randall Cobb is rated an 86, Davante Adams is 75, and Ty Montgomery is a 71. The Packers also feature two highly rated TEs. Jared Cook is an 80 and Richard Rodgers a 79.

The running game has seen a huge improvement in gameplay, and the digital Packers should be able to take advantage. TJ Lang and Josh Sitton both come in at 91 overall, while the rest of the line is in the high 70s and low 80s. Eddie Lacy is rated as a 83, and with a Trucking rating of 88, should be able to take on almost all defensive challengers.

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PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: Packers vs. Raiders Quick Hits

I’ve had a chance to watch and re-watch the Packers vs. Raiders preseason game so I’m going to offer a few quick thoughts here on #FootballFriday.

Stop complaining about all things Jason Spriggs. I can’t believe how angry people were that one, Jason Spriggs couldn’t handle Khalil Mack in one-on-one situations and two, that he was left to block him one-on-one.  Mack is bar-none one of the best edge defenders in the NFL.  Mack recorded 15 sacks a season ago.

Spriggs has always been considered a project at the tackle position.  He was the best athlete at tackle in the entire draft.  If his technique was up to par he would have been a top 10 pick.  The fact that he can’t handle an All-Pro edge rusher on the 50th snap of his career is not at all surprising.

What it is is a good learning experience.  Spriggs now knows what it’s like to take on an elite NFL pass rusher.  He has tape to watch.  He has techniques that he can learn how to defend against.  THIS IS WHAT THE PRESEASON IS FOR.

Secondly, the Packers leave their left tackle without help more often than not, and it has worked just fine since the days of Daryn Colledge filling in for Chad Clifton ended.  Clifton’s career ended as Bakhtiari’s began and Clifton was and DBak has been an absolutely elite pass blocker.

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