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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Pulse of the Pack: The Pack Is Back!

The Packers will open training camp this week and Jacob and Jason bring Michelle Bruton of CheeseheadTV and Bleacher Report along for the ride as they dive into the biggest topics facing the Pack this season: the wide receiver battle, Eddie Lacy in a contract year, Jared Cook’s contributions, Aaron Rodgers and his relationships, Clay to the outside, a young secondary and navigating an extra preseason game!  Pulse of the Pack is back and it’s finally time for some football!

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on BlogTalkRadio

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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.

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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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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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Packers Depth Chart: Linebackers

Just over a week from training camp and we are almost through the Packers roster. We have covered six different position groups, and we get to one that has a lot of fans polarized: linebackers. With so many questions in the middle of that position, we have a lot to look at. So let’s not waste any more time.

Previous posts:
Full Roster
Quarterbacks
Offensive Backfield
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Offensive Line
Defensive Line

#52 CLAY MATTHEWS

6’3” 215 lbs. Age 30 (8th Season)

Drafted in the 1st Round (26th Overall) in 2009 from USC

Strengths: Clay is a master pass rusher with every move imaginable. He can turn the corner and beat tackles with speed but can also drive a left tackle into his QB. He also has a good swim move and seems to live in the backfield when lined up outside. He also is a sound run defender and an underrated coverage guy with the speed to cover running backs in the flat. But his biggest strength is his passion and effort. He is a true high motor guy who is flying everywhere during the play.

Weaknesses: While he is high motor, his flying everywhere can sometimes be a detriment as he has gotten the reputation of losing backside contain often and sometimes getting caught up in the wash of the trench play. He also doesn’t have the smoothest hips in coverage and can get beat by the more agile running backs.

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PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: The Eddie Lacy Conundrum

If you’re reading this article, there’s a very good chance that you’re an avid Green Bay Packer fan.  You’re the kind of fan that takes in Packers related media as much as you can.  You’re probably the kind of fan who has listened to Green and Gold Today, formerly hosted by Jason Wilde and Bill Johnson.

Bill Johnson has had a theory about Eddie Lacy for a number of years and it’s starting to come to fruition.  His theory is that Lacy will either disappoint again in 2016 and not be given a serious contract offer from the Packers or he will excel and price himself out of Green Bay.  One way or the other, it’s hard to see Lacy in a Packers uniform in 2017.

It’s for this reason that I believe Green Bay should make Lacy their top priority for a training camp extension, ahead of TJ Lang, Nick Perry, Datone Jones and David Bakhtiari, even ahead of Josh Sitton.

Let’s say the 2017 cap is $166,000,000.  That’s what Spotrac has projected it to be.  It looks like Green Bay will roll over about $8 million into that season.  Setting aside ~$6 of that to sign the 2017 draft class and you’ve got an adjusted cap of $168 million.  Green Bay has $141 million in liabilities before considering any releases or veteran reconstructions.  That’s $27 million in cap room to get deals done.

It’s certainly possible the team could release James Starks or restructure Jordy Nelson in 2017 to find intermediate cap relief.

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