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5 most improved packers

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by tromadz, May 23, 2008.

  1. tromadz
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    tromadz Cheesehead

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    RB Brandon Jackson 2nd round
    WR James Jones 3rd round
    S Aaron Rouse 3rd round
    G Allen Barbre 4th round
    LB Desmond Bishop 6th round

    Article:


    The improve-from-within philosophy Ted Thompson embraces as Green Bay Packers general manager relies on young players' ability to develop quickly and take on prominent roles.
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    So, it has to be considered a good sign for the Packers that, among roughly 60 players who reported for the offseason strength and conditioning program in March, the five who have shown the most improvement hail from the 2007 draft class: Brandon Jackson, James Jones, Aaron Rouse, Allen Barbre and Desmond Bishop.

    "Those five guys have really, really done a great job this offseason," strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson said this week. "You can see their confidence just is growing. You can see that they feel like they're filling into the veteran role and taking the challenge to improve. A lot of times, that's difficult, because the vets kind of watch out for each other a little bit. But of all the guys, those five guys really stick out as guys you'd have to consider for most improved."

    Young players tend to make the biggest strides every offseason, because many begin to plateau physically by the time they're 27 or 28. Second-year players naturally can make major gains in their first full offseason in the program.

    But the progress of last year's draft class, which had 34 starts in 2007, bodes particularly well for the team entering offseason practices in which Barbre is pushing for a starting job and players like Jackson and Jones must fend off challenges for their supporting roles.

    This year, first- and second-year players reported for the offseason program March 17, two weeks before the veterans. The nine-week program is free weight-oriented and emphasizes progressive, functional training, with players evaluated for gains in strength, power, agility, acceleration and explosiveness.

    According to Gullickson, each member of the improved fivesome — Jackson, Jones, Rouse, Barbre and Bishop — stands out in all five categories like "they're a different guy than they were previously."

    "So many times, the case is where these fellas come off their senior years of college, they prepare for the combine and they go off to train a little bit further," Gullickson said. "They don't know exactly what's next and they're drafted and they go to a minicamp, and it's just one thing after the other, and they don't get on a good, solid program to help them specifically for football. Sure, they train for the combine, but there's other ways and other things that they need to take care of. So, all of a sudden, now they're settled down into a program, they know what to expect, they kind of grow into it and feel comfortable with it and know what's expected of them, and they flourish."

    The program continues to evolve, too. Starting next week, the second of organized team activity practices, players for the first time will have a "regenerative" day — core stability work, rotational movements, balance and foot-speed drills — sandwiched between two 45-minute, full-body workouts. Next March, Gullickson hopes to conduct one-on-one interviews at the start of the program to tailor workouts to what players believe are their strengths and weaknesses.

    Only Jones and fullback Korey Hall, a sixth-round pick, started at least half of the Packers' games (including playoffs) as rookies. However, each of the nine 2007 draftees who made the roster — two were cut — appeared in at least seven games, and sixth-round pick Mason Crosby won the place-kicking job.

    Far more players than not need more than one offseason to make the leap on the field. For instance, the Packers' No. 1 pick in 2006, linebacker A.J. Hawk, didn't come on as many expected last season. But if even two members of the 2007 draft class break out this season like receiver Greg Jennings and defensive tackle Johnny Jolly did last season, it would be a welcome boost for a team coming off a 14-4 record and NFC championship game appearance.

    The most obvious candidate is Barbre, a weight-room animal who has a good chance to unseat left guard Daryn Colledge. If Rouse performs well through training camp, coaches will be inclined to get him on the field regularly, at safety or elsewhere. Jackson (No. 2 running back) and Jones (No. 3 receiver) need to continue their progression to hold on to their respective roles, while Bishop could follow Tracy White and Jason Hunter as the latest defensive player to make a name on special teams.

    All that's without mentioning the Packers' top draft pick in 2007, defensive tackle Justin Harrell, who injured a disc in his back while lifting weights last month and won't be cleared for contact until training camp. With Corey Williams' departure via trade and Jolly recovering from shoulder surgery, coaches remain hopeful Harrell can take on a prominent role.

    "You look at him, you think, 'Wow — what could we mold him into?'" Gullickson said of Harrell, who started three games late last season. "The setback is something that, we'll have to start kind of back at square one. But he's going to be fine, and I know he's itching to get started."
  2. PackOne
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    PackOne Cheesehead

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    I'm sticking to my Jackson is going to be a stud comment.
  3. NDPackerFan
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    NDPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I'm glad to see James Jones on this list. I still think the Packers will be stout at WR for many years post-Driver with Jennings, Jones, and Nelson.
  4. Packnic
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    Packnic Cheesehead

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    If Aaron Rouse is improved that much... then you gotta think hes gonna compete heavily for the starting job. cause he was gettin some shine there last year.

    BJack being one of the five is a big deal i think. at least in my mind... it lets me know that we something behind Grant in an injury situation. from what i saw last year and the apparent improvement this offseason already... i think we will be ok.

    Rock Gullickson is the man.
  5. Zombieslayer
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    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Thanks for posting this.
    Glad to see Aaron Rouse on the list. I predicted by mid-season, he'll be a starting Safety and it may be sooner than that then.
  6. PackFanWithTwins
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    PackFanWithTwins Cheesehead

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    Where would this elsewhere be? CB, maybe some time at LB during passing downs?
  7. EarthQuake
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    EarthQuake Cheesehead

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    3 Safety set =D

    kamp, jenkins, picket, kgb
    harris, wood
    hawk, barnett
    rouse, collins, bigby
  8. Profizzle99
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    Profizzle99 Cheesehead

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    Barnett
    Bigby
    Jennings
    Kampman
    Whole O-Line
  9. porky88
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    porky88 Cheesehead

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    There is room for the Rouse starting on week 1 bandwagon. You should join up. I'm always looking for recruits. :D

    All these guys are good names to hear. I think it's also scary to think that guy like Greg Jennings could be a much better player this year too. Everyone forgets that he's only going to be in his 3rd NFL season.

    Barbre is a big one for me. I think Colledge's days as the #1 LG might be numbered. I heard on the radio that Barbre was working as the #1 LG on the first day of OTA's. I'm not sure if I'd put much stock into that but I think at the very least it shows that Colledge is not a lock. Far from it.
  10. Packnic
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    Packnic Cheesehead

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    Jennings shows up even close to what he did last year and ill be happy. so any improvement is gonna be nice.

    Im ok with Colledge being demoted to back up LT. we need a good LT to back up because Ol Cliffy isnt a lock to stay healthy all season and you really need that blind side protection.

    If Barbre is even close to starting ... i would go ahead and make the switch and let Colledge get used to playing Tackle... again.

    Id like to see Clifton / Barbre / Wells / Spitz / Tausch
    Colledge / Coston / Spitz / Sitton / Breno

    That way we get the best combo on the starting line and the guys behind them on the depth chart are gonna be good for years to come i hope.
  11. cheesey
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    cheesey Cheesehead

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    This thread has me pumped!
    Just thinking that all those guys could make big impacts this year will take alot of the pressure off of Rodgers being "the man". A great surrounding cast can make the QB position alot better.
  12. Zombieslayer
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    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    It's still Collins' job to lose. Rouse is showing playmaking ability, but Collins is still more "experienced." That's why I'm guessing Collins will start in the beginning of the season, but Rouse's abilities will start outperforming Collins' experience.
  13. tromadz
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    tromadz Cheesehead

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    That's what I was wondering? What did the reporter mean here? I think it's another example of someone talking out of their ***. He's a safety, will play safety or nothing. Hopefully he replaces Nick Collins(who is average at best unfortunately).
  14. Greg C.
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    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    He must mean special teams or as an extra LB on goal-line defense, which I think he played a little toward the end of last season. Although if that's all he's talking about, what's the big deal?

    It's good to see Brandon Jackson on this list. But will his progress in the weight room translate to better performance on the field? I don't know. What he seemed to lack last year was not physical skills, but just the knack for finding openings. It looked like more of a confidence thing. We won't really know if he's improved until the preseason starts.
  15. retiredgrampa
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    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

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    Naturally I'm happy that these 5 have improved themselves physically which may or may not translate into better performances in 2008. Of the 5 I would hope the most improvement will come from Barbre and Rouse. OG and S need help badly, IMO. "Journeymen" performance will not get the job done there, we need stars there. I know I'm asking a lot but standing pat doesn't mean getting better.
  16. bozz_2006
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    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

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    Jackson had a rough start to the season, but the last few games, i thought he finished strong. I actually think that's a good sign. if anything, rookies usually start strong and fade, but once Jackson got the knack of his position, he filled in nicely. I expect good things from him this season.
  17. favre2driver
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    favre2driver Cheesehead

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    yea, jackson and grant will turn into a good one two punch with jackson being the 3rd down back

    o yea: whos the better blocker jackson or grant?
  18. NDPackerFan
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    NDPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I don't know who's the better blocker but my guess is Grant since he's much bigger...
  19. Danreb
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    Danreb Cheesehead

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    Pass blocking is one of the few things our offensive line is good at. If we need a RB to be blocking for someone as fast as Rodgers, then you're not giving enough credit to the many playmakers on offense.
  20. billv
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    billv Cheesehead

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    I think Tony Moll can still help us on the line as well. he can provide good depth at right tackle/guard.
  21. spardo62
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    spardo62 Cheesehead

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    I have felt for some time that Rouse will make a big push this year for a starting job, but I do not think it is a given that it will be in place of Collins. I am not completely sold on Bigby as of yet. His late season performance kind of washed away some of the warts that were exposed earlier in the year, but it was done against teams with a below average passing game and/or in conditions not friendly to a strong passing attack.

    I would have liked to see Harrell on this list, and wish he would not have been injured yet again further delaying his development.
  22. Zombieslayer
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    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Bigby was downright deadly against Seattle, who are no slouches.

    The thing is, he was good for the entire second half of the season. I am sold on Bigby and think he has a good shot of being a Pro Bowler next year. I'm predicting 6+ INTs from Bigby in '08.
  23. pack_in_black
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    pack_in_black Cheesehead

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    Rouse was a hybrid Safety/Linebacker at VATech. Maybe that's the "elsewhere". Remember opposing TE's bending our secondary over their collective knees and spanking us last season? If Rouse is playing LB, he has a better (I assume) pass-covering skill set than most LB's. Take away the TE as such a go-to receiving threat, and also play the run.
  24. EarthQuake
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    EarthQuake Cheesehead

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    When was the last time we were so excited about the safety play in GB? We have 3 potential starters. I cant remeber feeling this good about a group of safties in GB since Butler/Sharper. Even collins who i personally view as the weak link is a realiable decent safety. And rouse and bigby look ready to really light it up, who knows collins could even come out of nowhere and surprise everyone by catching everything thrown his way this year.
  25. Pack93z
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    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    I think it is a little early to be throwing around the "most" improved tag... they haven't thrown pads on yet.. if only the non contact, workout and weight room improvement gauge played out on Sunday's, this might have merit.. but hey it is the offseason.

    I wonder if I find a quarter lying on the floor today to go with the one in my pocket if I will be considered rich due to the find and doubling my current wealth? ;)

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