Don’t get me wrong. Clay Matthews is a fantastic pass rushing outside linebacker, but I was a little surprised when Mike McCarthy stated during his season wrap-up press conference that the team would be looking to move Matthews back outside. Sure Matthews puts up flashier numbers there, and, subsequently, I’m sure he’s much happier playing outside, but is the move in the best interest of the defense? I’m not sold on it.
To put it simply, I think that Clay’s skill set might be better suited to the middle. His best ability is his explosive tenacity. He flies around the field, screaming from one sideline to the other, making tackles all over the place. That’s exactly what the Packers have needed inside, which is why he was moved in the first place.
Matthews is a great pass rusher. I have little doubt that he’s the best pass rushing linebacker on the team. But I’m not convinced that he’s such an elite pass rusher that he must be put in a position primarily to collect sacks. It’s one thing if you have a once-in-a-lifetime pass rusher. You don’t forsake something like that. But in the case of Matthews, oughtn’t he to be lined up where it is most beneficial for the team? Read more...(653 words, estimated 2:37 mins reading time)
With the Green Bay Packers offense struggling for most of last season, they could ill afford to have a bad year at the Punting position. Tim Masthay’s sudden drop in distance and hang time often put the defense in difficult positions, and had a huge negative impact on last season.
The easy solution is to listen to the mob of Packers fans who want Masthay gone. However, as we’ve seen in the past with Mason Crosby, it is possible for a return to career averages after a debacle of a season. Ted Thompson prefers to go with the specialist he knows, so undrafted Peter Mortell will have to soundly beat Masthay in training camp and the preseason.
As a Green Bay native and a former Big Ten Punter, Mortell will be a fan favorite. He was an excellent holder for kicks in college, which is one of the things that helped Masthay hang on to his job the last two seasons. He has a strong leg, but will have to prove he can have the placement and hang time of a NFL punter.
Masthay’s 4.11 second hang time is not a huge obstacle for Mortell, but Special Teams Coordinator Ron Zook placed an emphasis on net average last season. Masthay actually set the franchise mark for net punt average last season, so it is possible the coaching staff does not view last year as the catastrophe fans do. However, much of that net average has to do with the excellent job Jeff Janis and Demetri Goodson did as gunners on the punt team. They made some terrific plays on low punts which could have led to huge returns. Read more...(352 words, estimated 1:24 mins reading time)
OTAs have begun in Green Bay, and with that training camp and preseason football are on the horizon. There is perhaps no one who stands to benefit more from the offseason program and preseason games than quarterback Brett Hundley.
Hundley was taken by the Packers in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL draft. It was a somewhat surprising move. The Packers had no glaring need at QB with two time MVP Aaron Rodgers at the helm and capable back-up Scott Tolzien as QB2. And yet, in just his first preseason, Hundley more than vindicated the pick. He finished the 2015 preseason with 630 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, and just 1 interception. Perhaps most impressive was Hundley’s demeanor in the pocket. He looked calm and confident, displaying veteran like poise as a rookie.
The result of those preseason performances that Hundley has moved up the depth chart, securing the job as Rodgers’ back-up. Tolzien hit free agency and signed with the Colts. After seeing what they had in Hundley, the Packers did not seem overly interested in retaining Tolzien’s services.
Now Hundley may stand to see more preseason action than any other QB in the league, a vital opportunity to see get game action and continue honing his skills and familiarity with the NFL game. With 5 preseason games on the slate (four regular plus the Hall of Fame game) and arguably the league’s best QB on the roster, the Packers will plan on giving him plenty of snaps. Read more...(513 words, estimated 2:03 mins reading time)
Dan Shonka of Ourlads is back to talk Packers 2016 draft. How did Ted Thompson fare in Shonka’s estimation? How much did the Packers improve themselves? Can Kenny Clark replace BJ Raji? Will Kyler Fackrell allow Clay Matthews to move back outside? Is Blake Martinez really that good in coverage? These are just a few of the questions that will get answers on the latest edition of Pulse of the Pack
Pulse of the Pack is your weekly stop for what’s new with the Green Bay Packers. Jacob Westendorf of Today’s Pigskin and Jason Perone of CheeseheadTV bring “Pulse” to the Packers Talk Network. Be sure to follow the guys on Twitter at @JacobWestendorf and @JasonPerone.
When healthy, the Green Bay Packers offensive line has ranged from good to great over the last several years. Health has certainly been an issue, so depth needed to be addressed this offseason. The contracts of David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, and JC Tretter are all set to expire at the end of next season, which shows why the Packers would invest two draft picks on the o-line this year.
Jason Spriggs certainly looks like a guy who could play Left Tackle in the future, and that puts pressure on Bakhtiari to perform this year. Kyle Murphy is a player who could have some positional versatility, which gives Ted Thompson greater flexibility in negotiations.
I don’t believe the Packers are going to be able to afford Lang, Sitton, and Bakhtiari, so they will need to make some decisions. Here is a look at a few options Ted Thompson will have in negotiations:
Option 1: Let Bakhtiari walk and put Spriggs at Left Tackle. Obviously, they would need to be certain Spriggs is the answer before entrusting Aaron Rodgers’ blindside for the remainder of his career to the youngster. As a proven Left Tackle, Bakhtiari will likely be the most expensive offensive line free agent. By letting him leave, the Packers would have the ability to renew both Lang and Sitton. This also means JC Tretter would leave to go to a team where he has a chance to start.
LT – Jason SpriggsRead more...(530 words, estimated 2:07 mins reading time)
For the past two seasons the Green Bay Packers have usually kept about 5 or 6 players on the defensive line. With the departure of BJ Raji and Josh Boyd, as well as the four game suspension of Mike Pennel, the Packers’ defensive front will certainly have a significantly different face in 2016.
It appears that there are four locks coming into training camp: Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, first round rookie Kenny Clark, and fourth round rookie Dean Lowry. Daniels is often lined up at 3-technique defensive end, Clark is slated to move into the nose tackle spot vacated by Raji, Lowry is expected to play 5-technique defensive end, and Guion can play nearly anywhere on the line. That doesn’t leave any glaring holes, but the need for depth and competition is paramount with so much youth at the position.
Mike Pennel is likely to make the final roster give his familiarity with the defense, but his suspension certainly does not help his case. Behind Pennel is a bevvy of young players who’ve had little to no NFL playing experience. Christian Ringo and BJ McBryde come into their second year in the NFL after Ringo spent last season on the practice squad for Green Bay and McBryde was placed on IR for the Philadelphia Eagles before being released in October. Tyler Kuder (Idaho St.), Brian Price (University of Texas – San Antonio), and Demetris Anderson (University of Central Florida) are all undrafted rookies who will face an uphill climb to make the roster, but certainly have a shot with at least one or two roster spots up for grabs. Read more...(547 words, estimated 2:11 mins reading time)