Monday, September 3, 2007


These guys might have come up with a running back to carry the ball in '07

Why, exactly, has Ted Thompson received a complete pass from the media and most Packers fans for the roster he has assembled prior to the 2007 season?

With the news that Noah Herron was placed on IR today, Green Bay goes into the season with the following at running back: Brandon Jackson, Vernand Morency, Deshaun Wynn and some Grant guy they just picked up from the Giants. Let's examine these players.

Jackson: Has the most potential of the four. Was a part-time player at Nebraska. Wasn't durable in his college career. Has already suffered a concussion in the pre-season.

Morency: Was productive as a change-of-pace back last year when he wasn't hurt. Is an absolute china doll. Missed all of camp with an injury.

Wynn: A top HS running back, had a reputation for being lazy in college, causing him to fall to the 7th round. Was hurt most of camp.

Grant: I have no clue - except I know that he spent his first two years in the league hurt.

How are we feeling about that group? Three players spent significant time hurt in camp, and the fourth just arrived with the Packers after spending two years hurt. If Jackson and Morency can stay healthy all year, maybe this is OK. But given their histories, I think that's a huge assumption. It is an indictment of this group that I feel terrible about losing Noah freaking Herron. At least that guy could be trusted to pick up the blitz, and knew his assignments. This group has disaster written all over it for poor Favre in pass protection.

Ted Thompson could have opened his wallet and signed any number of players in the off-season to avoid this debacle. Travis Henry would have seemed to make sense - he's gone to a zone blocking scheme in Denver and has been a 1,000 yard back for two teams. He does enjoy procreating, however, so perhaps Ted was attempting to spare the state from Travis further spreading his seed across the U.S. Other backs that were available include Willis McGahee, Jamal Lewis, Ahman Green, Domanic Rhodes, Chris Brown...all would have been viable veteran alternatives. But it appears that Ted trusted that he'd get a back in the draft. When Peterson and Lynch were both gone, he was stuck picking from the second tier of backs, which apparently included Brandon Jackson. So here we sit.

It doesn't end at running back, sadly - although that is the position with the most glaring weakness, because there is no solid starter from that group. I would argue that fullback, tight end, linebacker and quarterback are all positions where the Packers are frightfully thin.

At fullback, we apparently are content with a rookie who played linebacker last year. I think they signed a backup from Pittsburgh today, but that's all we've got. Ugh.

The tight ends are Bubba Franks and Donald Lee. That's it. Now, I'm actually OK with that combo as a starting group, comparatively, but what happens if one gets hurt? Ted drafted a TE in the later rounds, but he was an unmitigated disaster and was cut.

At linebacker, I dare you to name a backup at this position with Hodge now on the shelf. You might be able to name Desmond Bishop, because he blew up that guy from Jacksonville, but unfortunately he's not very good. So hopefully none of the starters go down here.

Finally, there's no third-string QB. With Favre at the helm, this wouldn't seem to be a problem, but you never know. Rodgers got hurt last year during his only action, remember.

At least the Packers have 11 defensive lineman. Good thing they blew a first round pick on a tackle that will spend the season inactive because of the positional depth there.

So instead of making some real moves in the offseason to shore up the depth of the team, Ted Thompson collected mid to late round draft picks. This left the team dreadfully thin at several key positions, because the late draft picks were either cut loose completely or put on the practice squad.

Despite all of this, many fans, including some whose opinions I respect, think this team is going at least 8-8, and perhaps competing for the playoffs. If absolutely nobody gets hurt this year, maybe that's a reasonable guess. But we all know that people get hurt, and if the Packers suffer a few injuries at some of these key positions, this is going to be a 3-13 team.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree about the fact that nobody seems to care that we don't have a decent back. This is going to be a long season IMO.

As for only carrying 2 QBs, if something happens where that becomes an issue, the season is pretty much lost at that point anyway.

Goldy said...

Believe me, I think many people care that we don't ahve a decent back.

Somebody needs to find out what the NFL record is for least rushing yards in a season because the 2007 Packers are primed to shatter that.

Honestly, I could see about 800 yards, at best. That is 50 per.

You cannot win in the NFL with no threat of a run. With no viable TEs, that also kills things.

I think I am sliding back into the 2-3 win territory from earlier upping it to 4 wins.

Spot on McManus.

AP said...

....but isn't this just the flipside of the Sherman era? Our offense was stacked then, but we had Jue, Roman, joey Thomas, & Carrol on the defensive side of the ball. The defense was the joke then

All of the problems you listed, of which there are many, do not include one player on the starting defense. What happened to the most overused football cliche of "defense wins championships?" So we have a great D w/ no offense a la Chicago & we win 3-4 games but Chicago should repeat as NFC champs? The Packers were 8-8 last year, and I think this year our O-line is better, the defense is improved, Jones looks to give Favre another option, and Manuel is no longer with the team. I'll definitely take the over on 4 wins, and vegas has the over/under at 7.5.

Tony said...

No Offense ala the bears? I strongly disagree here. The bears have weapons all over the field on offense they just have a douche bag who can’t even consistently handle a snap at QB. The Packers have Farve and ….. some potential at best.

matt said...

The over/under is 7.5 in Vegas because they can't put it high enough to get action on both sides for stupid Packers fans. That's at least a game and a half inflated.

Goldy said...

The over/under victory total on teams like the Packers, Cowboys and Notre Dame are always way too high because the number of numbnutz fans who place money on the over is astounding.

The Bears have decent wepons. Hell, their Adrian Peterson would, by far and away, be the Packers #1 rusher.

AP said...

I'm not saying they're good, but c'mon....3 wins??

Which group of receivers would you rather have? I looked at Yahoo fantasy, Berrian was the highest rated Chicago receiver last year. He ranks an eye popping #35 of all receivers. Our #2 last year Jennings, ranked #33 with an injury. Driver was easily in the top 20. Their group is so bad that they are converting Hester. If Jones does anything at all this year, I'd rather have our guys in a landslide.

Plus, the Favre/Grossman matchup is so far skewed in our favor it is silly.

Anyone want to play Muhammed/Berrian/ & Bradley or Hester in fantasy points VS. my team of Driver/Jennings/Jones and eventually Koren?

The Bears have a better RB....but he's young dude like jackson is. I'd give them the edge at TE too....but again I think our O-line is better overall (Olin Kreutz is great). So overall, I'll take their FB, RB, TE and the other 8 positions (9 in 3 wide) I'll take our guys over Chicago.

AP said...

Favre is also 30 spots ahead of Grossman for fantasy....and QB is the most important position on the field, right?

Dudes, there just isn't a ton of offensive talent in our crappy division, that's why 3 of these teams drafted offense in the 1st round.

Brad said...

The Packers will go 8-8.

AP said...

I agree with brad, mostly. 7-9 wins. They should go 3-1 VS. the Lions/Vikings alone....of course, the 1 loss comes in Detroit's Super Bowl on Thanksgiving.

Is it sad that in the last decade the most meaningful games the Lions play is at the end of November?