The Best and the Wurst: Packers at Vikings

the-best

Mike Daniels

Make no mistake about it, Clay Matthews is still a superstar and an essential part of this team. With that being said, Mike Daniels is the best defensive player on the Green Bay Packers. He has become an absolutely disruptive force on the defensive line. As good as he is as a pass-rusher, I’m not so sure that he isn’t even better in run defense. Daniels and Letroy Guion were absolutely man-handling the Viking’s offensive line. Throughout the first half, they had complete control of Adrian Peterson, allowing him only 14 yards on 11 carries before Peterson left the game with an injury.

Joe Thomas

Thomas is making this list for the second week in a row. There is no one on the Green Bay Packers right now who has made a bigger jump from 2015 than Joe Thomas. While the inside linebacker group as a whole played considerably better this week than last, it is Thomas who is leading the group. He looks comfortable playing in Capers’ defense. He’s quick, taking good angles to the ballcarrier, and making tackles. He’s playing with the sort of instinct that you want to see from the position.

Often relegated to the Dime linebacker role, Capers needs to find a way to get Thomas on the field even more. Although Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan have played well so far, Thomas has outplayed them both.

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Early Bird Breakdown Week 1 – Packers @ Jaguars

Early Bird Breakdown Week 1 – Packers @ Jaguars

Hello and welcome back for another season of Early Bird Breakdown! We will be diving straight into the match ups this week.

The Breakdown:

Packers’ Offense vs Jaguars’ Defense:

The Packers enter this game healthy and confidant. The Packers’ offense floundered last season without a reliable way to stretch the field. The return of Jordy Nelson from his season-ending ACL tear last pre-season should fix those issues for Green Bay. Week one Nelson gets to try and get back into the swing of things against a rookie but this is not going to necessarily be a walk in the park for him. Jacksonville will intrust their first round selection (and fourth overall pick) in the NFL draft Jalen Ramsey to cover Nelson, and physically he is up to the task. He is 6’1″ and ran a 4.41, giving him the height and speed to matchup with Nelson. Ramsey has no fear of the situation either, this week daring Rodgers to throw his way. However, as many Packer fans know it is not Nelson’s athleticism but his guile that results in the big plays; he has the best double move in football & always has perfect timing with Rodgers. In fact, Ramsey would be better off squaring off against more athletic wide receivers at this point in his career vs a savvy veteran like Nelson. I expect Nelson will get off one-to-two big plays on the rookie who most likely will not be ready for the crisp routes Nelson runs.

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Forecasting Three Storylines leading into the 2016 NFL Season

There are always a few central storylines that exist within the NFL offseason — and each NFL team is a microcosm of intrigue, each filled with its own quirky narratives. Here are three of MANY that will likely take place as the Green Bay Packers approach the 2016 NFL regular season:

The Packers will flirt with keeping seven receivers, but ultimately keep six

I can hear the cries to keep Jared Abbrederis already. And really, based on very palpable statistics, they probably should in lieu of Davante Adams. And I anticipate that in his third season, Abby will probably have a strong preseason. So right now, these are the seven receivers who will be in the mix to make the 53-man roster.

  • Jordy Nelson
  • Randall Cobb
  • Davante Adams
  • Jeff Janis
  • Ty Montgomery
  • Trevor Davis
  • Jared Abbrederis

It’s rare that a team keeps any number other than five or six receivers. In fact, 17 teams kept six receivers to start last season, while 10 kept five. Three teams actually only kept four receivers, leaving only two of the 32 NFL teams (the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills) as teams to enter the 2015 season with seven wide outs on the depth chart.

So it does happen – but the Bills and the Browns’ models are seldom wise to follow.

But the Packers will be faced with a tough decision – cut one of the seven guys listed above, or dedicate an important roster spot to an extra receiver.

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Packers Safety Kentrell Brice Turning Heads

Former Louisiana Tech safety Kentrell Brice didn’t get a lot of opportunities to make an NFL roster, but he certainly made the most of the ones that he got. The 5’10”, 200 lb. defensive back wasn’t invited to the NFL scouting combine nor did he play in any all-star games. That meant that he had to impress at the Louisiana Tech pro day, which drew scouts from across the NFL given Brice’s high profile team mates like defensive tackle Vernon Butler and running back Kenneth Dixon.

Brice took the opportunity and ran with it, putting up stellar measurables. He ran a 4.38 and 4.4 forty yard dash. He also finished with a 42″ vertical and an 11-1 broad jump. According to Bill Huber, “Among defensive backs at the Scouting Combine, Brice’s vertical would have ranked No. 1, his broad jump would have trailed only first-round pick Jalen Ramsey’s 11-3 and his bench press would have trailed only Utah State’s Miles Killebrew’s 22.”

Brice received interest from multiple teams but ultimately signed with the Packers. During OTAs, Brice turned heads in Green Bay. He’s garnered attention from beat writers after making multiple plays during public practices.

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Will the Green Bay Packers lose in 2016?

OK, I’m sure they’ll lose in 2016 – but should they?

The Packers strength of schedule based on opponents’ over/under win totals gives them the easiest 16-game season. According to CG Technology Sports Book, the opponents they’ll face in 2016 average a three percent chance of winning the Super Bowl LI, which ties the Packers with the Dallas Cowboys for the lowest level of championship-caliber teams they’ll face.

Among those facts – the Packers return Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson, have a slimmed down Eddie Lacy after an offseason program with Tony Horton, a bolstered offensive line after moving up in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft to grab Jason Spriggs, and a defense that is another year experienced and used the draft to fill front seven voids.

All things considered, the Packers should be vastly improved from their disappointing 2015 campaign (that still left them a shovel pass away from the NFC Championship Game).

But when we examine the 2016 season, which game is a legitimate concern? According to Bovada, the Packers presumed over/under win total opened at 10.5, tying them with the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the highest mark.

Let’s look at all 16 regular season games and try to form a reasonable argument that the Packers will falter.

 

Week 1 – Sunday, September 11 @ Jacksonville

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Early Packers Defensive Line Preview and Prediction

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.

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BREAKING: Green Bay Packers take Indiana OT Jason Spriggs, 48

Analysis (Kelly Hodgson): In classic Ted Thompson fashion, the Green Bay Packers moved up in the second round to take the 48th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft to select Indiana OT Jason Spriggs. In a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, the Packers moved up in exchange for picks 57, 125 and 248, the Packers chose to protect their franchise player quarterback Aaron Rodgers and elected to tap the 6’6′, 301 pound Hoosier brick wall. He’s taller and leaner than anyone else currently on the offensive line, and may be the insurance policy keeping Rodgers upright through the end of the season.

Thompson always seems to be on the hunt for the next tackle to shore up the offensive line and may have found that long-term investment in Spriggs, and with a fairly shallow depth chart on the OL, the Packers pulled the trigger to shore up that deficit and add both speed and strength to the line. A four-year starter, he brings a wealth of experience to the table and will be ready to get to work day one of training camp.

A second-team All-American (Pro Football Writers of America) and Associated Press third team, Spriggs can technically play both the blindside and the right. But he is known as a formidable blindside blocker that will give his all through the entire play. Pro Football Focus ranks him as having the third highest pass blocking efficiency among the Power-5 left tackles and could very well give David Bakhtiari a run for his money.

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