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Cliff Christl article..

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TomAllen, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. TomAllen

    TomAllen Cheesehead

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    (What do you think, too negative or on the mark?)


    Cliff Christl
    E-MAIL

    Green Bay - If you're into reading tea leaves as we head into the final lull before training camp, they suggest that if Ahman Green doesn't fully recover and come close to performing to his 2003 level, the Green Bay Packers will be hard-pressed to beat last year's record.
    Two minicamps and 14 other practices in late May and June all but verified what most realists probably suspected: Remove Green from the equation and the Packers are all but bankrupt of talent at the offensive skill positions aside from quarterback.

    Green didn't participate in any of the practices, other than during stretching and half-speed teaching periods, as he continues to recover from surgery, performed last October, to repair a ruptured right quadriceps tendon.

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    With injury-prone backup tailback Najeh Davenport also on the mend from ankle surgery, it left Noah Herron and Samkon Gado sharing time with the first offense. And while Gado is clearly the more explosive of the two, he couldn't separate himself from Herron, the embodiment of a run-of-the-mill back, over the past two months.

    The wide receiver corps already was depleted by the pre-draft trade of Javon Walker. While trading Walker might have been the best alternative to a bad situation, it still robbed the Packers of their youngest and maybe most explosive game-breaker.

    Pro Football Weekly recently published its 2006 preview issue and it included its annual player ratings by position. The magazine compiled the ratings with what it described as "a huge assist" from scouts, personnel directors and general managers.

    Brett Favre was still rated the fourth best quarterback behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb, but Favre no longer was rated among the top 50 players in the National Football League.

    As recently as last year, Favre was rated seventh.

    What that means, in turn, is that the Packers don't have a single player ranked among the 50 best. That puts them in the company of only six other teams, none of which made the playoffs last season and only one of which won more than six games. The other six teams without a top 50 player were Buffalo, Houston, Cleveland, Dallas, New Orleans and San Francisco.

    At wide receiver, Donald Driver was ranked 27th, although Jimmy Smith, formerly of Jacksonville, was included in the ratings and has since retired. Delete Smith from the list and 20 of the 32 NFL teams still had a No. 1 receiver ranked higher than Driver. Five teams had two receivers ranked higher.

    Walker was ranked 15th.

    In other words, the Packers had two of the top 26 receivers in the league. Now, they have only one of the top 26.

    That's a Niagara Falls sized drop-off, especially when you consider that the Packers probably don't have a second receiver who would rank among the top 50, maybe even the top 64.

    PFW ranked 33 wide receivers, listed another 13 as emerging veterans and noted that three others weren't ranked due to injuries last season.

    Neither Robert Ferguson nor Rod Gardner was among the 49.

    At tight end, Bubba Franks was rated ninth, but he's hardly a playmaker, other than maybe in the red zone. For whatever reason, the magazine didn't rank fullbacks this year, but there isn't a player at that position in the entire league that's considered a playmaker.

    That leaves running back.

    Green was ranked sixth by PFW, although he played in only five games last year and averaged a career low 3.3 per carry. At age 29, even if Green wasn't coming off surgery, the clock on his career would be ticking down.

    In 77 carries last year, his longest run was 13 yards. His 3.3 average was a yard less than his lowest previous average.

    Add Green's surgery to the mix and there's reason to wonder if he'll ever play again, much less be his old self. It's safe to assume that general manager Ted Thompson wouldn't be banking on Green to make a comeback if he hadn't received encouraging reports from team doctors.

    But the only Packers known to have ruptured a quadriceps in the past 25 years were cornerback Mike McCoy; and defensive tackles Santana Dotson and Steve Warren. McCoy reinjured himself in his first camp back and never played again. Former team doctor Eugene Brusky said later it was an injury with a high risk for recurrence. Dotson and Warren each played one more season, but weren't the same players.

    With the Green of old, the Packers might have a formidable running game.

    That, in turn, would relieve the pressure on Favre and perhaps allow him to make due with an average supporting cast elsewhere. After all, Favre has played with mostly average receivers for most of his career.

    What if Green is removed from the lineup?

    PFW listed Davenport and Gado among 16 young veteran backs who have shown some potential.

    But without Green, the Packers wouldn't have a featured back ranked among the top 30 in the league.

    It doesn't take a football genius to conclude that if a team doesn't have one of the top 30 runners in the league and it has only one of the top 50 receivers, it's going to struggle to score points and win games.

    Couldn't the Packers surprise with a dominating defense?

    Sure, if that was a realistic possibility.

    But the Packers haven't had a dominating defense since 1996 and you can all but forget about them having one this season. To have a special defense requires special players.

    Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was ranked 23rd and Aaron Kampman, 29th, at defensive end. Ryan Pickett was ranked 24th at defensive tackle. Nick Barnett was ranked 20th at inside linebacker. Al Harris was ranked 12th and Charles Woodson, 21st, at cornerback. Those are the only Packers' defenders ranked.

    That's not exactly a lineup that's going to make anybody forget the '85 Chicago Bears. Or even the 2006 Bears.

    They have five defenders ranked among the top 12 at their respective positions: Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, outside linebacker Lance Briggs, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, defensive end Adewale Ogunleye and safety Mike Brown.

    The bottom line here might be where Pro Football Weekly picked the Packers to finish, no doubt based, in part, on what they heard from NFL scouts. The magazine predicted the Packers would finish last in the NFC North with a 4-12 record and be one of the three worst teams in the league, along with San Francisco and New York Jets.
     
  2. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    yw Tom ;)
     
  3. TomAllen

    TomAllen Cheesehead

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    thanks,Zero!
     
  4. mineral723

    mineral723 Cheesehead

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    dead on.
     
  5. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    Could be right on. If so draft Brady Quinn and fire TT. On the other hand if TT's new players and picks come through we finish anywhere from 8-8 to 12-4. Favre stays another year and we make a run at the Lombardi trophy!!!!




    I can read tea leaves about as well as Pro Football Weekly!
     
  6. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    Does anyone else get the feeling that the ranked the Packers WITHOUT looking at the oppents we play this year?

    IMHO, I think if the Packers can gel quickly, they have a soft schedule that will allow them to make a run at a playoff spot.
     
  7. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    Disappointing article. I expect better from Cristl. All he did was look up a bunch of rankings. Anybody could've done that. The rankings are based on previous performances, and with the Packers coming off a 4-12 season, well, what a surprise--they're picked to be 4-12 again.

    I agree that the loss of Javon Walker hurts this team a lot. I do think the offense will struggle, and at this point the Packers are looking like an 8-8 team at best. But this article seems oblivious to the fact that younger players tend to improve, and the Packers have a lot of younger players at key positions right now.
     
  8. 4packgirl

    4packgirl Cheesehead

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    i'm not really sure if we can say losing javon walker hurts the team until we know if he really CAN play at the same level since his injury. other than that, this "article" is just like every other "article" written before training camps - junk!!
     
  9. Lare

    Lare Cheesehead

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    One thing you can say about Christl, he never looks at the team through green & gold glasses.
     
  10. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

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    Fire TT and bringing in another GM where things will get complete worse. That GM will inherit a team that is made up of Ted Thompson's and Mike Sherman's players. TT has to be given at least 3-4 years for a fair shot.

    Once again, it's Aaron Rodgers. If he pays off, GB will be solid. If not then TT is probably gone.
     
  11. rob836

    rob836 Cheesehead

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    Only numbers and numbers don't mean anything. Its the system that will allow you to win or lose.
     
  12. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    I agree with the first part, very true.

    I think Rodgers shouldn't be expected to put up AMAZING numbers right away. Rodgers wasn't the number one pick, so he doesn't need to be an all out playmaker soon time ala Carson Palmer of the Bengals. He just needs to do enough to be able to NOT loose the game for the Packers. (In the beginning part of his career anyways)

    I think if TT has any ounce of intelligence (IMO he does), he will need to surround Rodgers with great players. Specifically, he will need to get Rodgers a top notch RB, a superb #1 WR (someone like Driver), and a on the rise #2 WR (someone like Walker 2 years before). And most importantly, he needs to have a solid O-line protecting the kid (I believe if given a couple of years together, this O-line will be great). That would make things AMAZINGLY easier for Rodgers.
     
  13. Lare

    Lare Cheesehead

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    The problem is, in a couple of years Clifton & Tauscher will be 32 & 31 years old. Although our guards and center will be coming into their prime we'll then be looking at replacing the tackles, probably with rookies. And Jennings is probably the only one of the current WRs and RBs who'll still be on the roster.

    That's the problem with continually trading down in the draft to get marginal players and not utilizing FA to fill holes in your roster. You're always playing catchup with drafted players that take awhile to develop.
     
  14. rob836

    rob836 Cheesehead

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    I think we should let T.T. approach of trading down be given some time to see if it works. So far it looks a lot better then trading up. This team is just weak over the years of doing that.
     
  15. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    Point taken.

    IMO though, I believe at 31 and 32, Cliffy and Tausch won't loost that much of a step (if any). They may last longer in a man to man blocking scheme when compared to zone, but we also have Coston, White, and heck Whitt sounds like he is doing alright at T. There will always be FA to fill the needs, so perhaps TT will dip into that pool.

    IMO, I think Jennings, C-Rog., will still be on the team. If ****** or Gado prove to be capable of handling the team, they will stay too. Otherwise next years draft is deep at RB, so there is the possibility of drafting one and having him come on like Caddi Williams of the Bucs. Franks should provide a solid red-zone target at the least. Lee may develop into a field streching TE.

    I also think TT will have to spend movey in FA. I'd rather get a FA who can do things right now (talking about when Rodgers takes over), as opposed to someone who will develop in time. I think if TT can do that, it won't be as big a problem for Rodgers to do some things as a starter.

    I think C-Rog will be a good player, something along the likes of D-Jack from the Seahawks. He just needs the time. And who knows, maybe another one of our young but raw WRs will pan out too. That'd be awsome.
     
  16. net

    net Cheesehead

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    One of the problems Packers fans face is we often judge the team in a vacuum, i.e., not against the talent of other teams.

    If you look at talent(which is what Christl did) it is fairly clear, the Packers have lost much in the past three years, starting with Mike McKenzie. I'm not talking attitude or circumstances but talent. Was Ahmad Carroll equal to Mike McKenzie's ability? Was Will Whittaker equal to Marco Rivera? Was whoozit at left guard equal to Mike Wahle? etc.

    Some of it was on purpose, as TT wanted to go with youth. The Packers will be one of the youngest teams in the league this year, even with Brett Favre.

    If you look at the team that lost to Philadelphia in the playoffs a few years ago and then look at this team, you will see a team with some aging holdovers, key veterans missing and a number of promising young players.

    That tells me this year's expectations should be fairly low(6 wins) but next year's should be much higher(10 wins).
     
  17. Bobby Roberts

    Bobby Roberts Cheesehead

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    As stated above, this article is just about the current rankings of players. That completely ignors all of the young potential on this team.

    Last season TT kept 15 rookies on the roster. This year we'll probably have a similar turnover. That would mean that over half of the roster has less than 2 years of experience. In that group there are certainly many players who won't make much of an impact, but there are also certainly some very good players.

    This is not a dominating team, but with all the problems GB had last season, we were only a couple plays away from winning every game but 1 or 2. That's impressive considering the number of injured players and rookies who had to fill in. GB is not a great team this year, but they are also no where near as bad as the 'experts' are predicting.

    Predictions are nice, they keep the sports writers working during the offseason. But these predictions are exactly why they play the games.
     

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