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Improvements in 2013

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by AmishMafia, May 8, 2013.

  1. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    I think the Packers have improved significantly this season. With the draft, returning IR players, in-house development, and FA aquisitions
    . . .
    (waiting for laughter to die down)
    . . .

    the Packers can expect to be a more talented team on opening day. That got me thinking about where I see our current roster compared to last season.

    I broke it down by position and rated it. 1-10 are improvements, 11,12 are status quo, and 13-15 are where we got worse. If I had done Special teamers, they would have been status quo categories.


    MOST IMPROVED (most improved to least)


    1. Running Back. Obviously we just injected a lot of talent from the draft. Our run game should look entirely different. And keep in mind, I really liked Cedric Benson. He won’t be brought back – I think we go with Lacy, Franklin, and Harris this season.

    2. Center: EDS is a big upgrade over the pro-bowl Saturday. My biggest example of why the probowl is a farce. Saturday had to be replace by EDS towards the end of the season. He retired a year too late. Addition of Tretter should add some good versatile depth.

    3. Defensive End: Getting Jones in the draft was huge. If we can generate some pressure from the DE position, it will make the OLBs jobs that much easier. Daniels and Worthy should be that much better with a year under their belts. If Jolly provides anything it would be a surprise. Williams is still coming into his own.

    4. OLB: Getting Perry back and him having a year under his belt will be huge. The depth may have gotten better with the addition of Palmer and Barrington. I wasn’t too impressed with Walden or Zombo. Moses may take a step as he flashed some pass rush ability at times.


    5. Tackle: Bulaga on the left will be better than Newhouse. Barklay did well and should be better with a year under his belt. Bakhtari should be good depth and we may get Sherrod back.

    6. Cornerback: I think very highly of Shields, House and Hayward (SHH). Williams has a few weeks to show what he has left. Maybe he doesn’t make it. He didn’t play too well, so his loss is not going to drop this rating. But SHH are all young and on the upswing. And that is what they do to WRs. They SHH them. Not sure what to expect from Hyde. Hopefully we can make it SHHH.

    7. Quarterback: Rodgers, to my eye, was not as sharp as he had been in the past. He did not seem to make the quick read/decision as efficiently. Maybe he didn’t study as much this offseason, or maybe the WRs weren’t giving him as many opportunities; or maybe Defenses changed their scheme against him. I’m thinking he and the coaches make some minor adjustments and we see a sharper Rodgers again.
    8. Tight Ends: We lost Crabtree, and that was unfortunate. I think we still have a few guys who are pretty good. Most Packer fans probably don’t appreciate what Finley did. Yes he had some drops, but he also put together a pretty good season. I’m hoping Quarless comes back and has an impact.


    SAME

    9. Wide Reciever: We lost Jennings, but he didn’t add all that much. We also lost Driver, that will hurt most with leadership and not production. Cobb should take another step and alleviate the loss of Jennings. I don’t expect much from our rookies – except maybe Johnson provides some help late in the season.

    10. ILB: Hawk and Jones are our starters. I was surprised they let Smith go. Maybe Bishop is back and playing well. I was hoping for some depth here from the draft and I don’t think we got it.


    DECLINE (least to most)
    11. Guards: Same guys, just switching sides. That has to be a decline in their play. At least till they get used to it. I always thought Sitton should be on the left – so I am very on-board with the switch. As a positive, the addition of Bakhtari/Tretter provides good depth.


    12. Nose Tackle. Raji will hopefully play better. Pickett is in the best shape in some time, but there is only so much you can expect from a big guy this late in his career. I was very surprised we didn’t come away in the draft with a NT type. There were several I thought would help. Giving Raji/Pick some rest during games I thought would benefit their play.

    13. Safety: Woodson was a good player to have because of his versatility. I don’t think he was able to run with many but he still made up for it with smarts. I like our young safeties and they will be better than Woodson at a few things, but overall, we will miss him and his leadership.
     
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  2. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    I think Bishop is our starter rather than Jones at ILB. I would therefore put that area in the improved list.
     
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  3. texaspackerbacker

    texaspackerbacker Cheesehead

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    Basically, I agree. Sherrod, Perry, Bishop, and Bulaga (and don't forget Quarles) coming back healthy - a gigantic IF they really do - gives the Packers huge help. I also am extremely happy with the drafting of Datone Jones. The RB upgrade is more than anyone could have imagined. Getting some big fast receivers is a potential upgrade also.

    I'm looking forward to a SUPER season, even with that brutal schedule.
     
  4. 98Redbird

    98Redbird Cheesehead

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    Nobody knows what Sherrod will be... If he really does come back healthy he should be an immediate improvement on for the T position. But that's a big if. When they mention "nerve damage" on an injury like that I dunno...

    Other than that, the biggest improvement that I'm honestly looking for this year... Is #88. I'm serious. With the WR's that we have, and if Lacy and Franklin can be a legit threat running the ball, enough to where the D has to bring that other safety down to help... Finley has no excuses. Dude should blow up this year. Plus he's in a contract year. He really, really should kill the middle of the field.
     
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  5. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    Not sure why Finley gets all the hate. He set the Packer all-time record for receptions by a TE. More than Coffman, Harris, or Chmura. He is only 26 years old - he came in pretty young. He is a leader - practicing and works out real hard by all accounts. Yes, he has dropped a few. Yes, he says a few silly things. But he also says some good stuff about wanting to be an all-around player; wanting to be known for his blocking; etc.

    I'm with you RedBird - and I made Finley my pick in the Fantasy draft. I think he is going to put up some impressive numbers this season.
     
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  6. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Boyd can NT, Hyde may end up moving to S, and Barrington is a WILB. My only nit picks.
     
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  7. Oshkoshpackfan

    Oshkoshpackfan YUT !!!

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    4295 passing yards, 39 TD passes, 8 INT's and a rating of 108.....???....I don't think Arod had an off season at all, other teams would kill for #'s like that from their QB's.

    * The "issue" IMO, was the pressure once again getting to Arod, and the defense playing different schemes against him. It wasn't until half way through the season that better adjustments on offense were made and we started exploiting the lack of coverage over the short to intermediate middle of the field.

    I would take even LESS stats from Arod this season in trade for our one/two punch at running game having a huge year ( i hope they do ). Having Arod sacked over 200 times in the last 4 season is not good for a QB in longevity terms, this run game should help keep him upright.

    I believe our only major weak spot on defense will be at LB w/ Hawk and brad jones. I don't really see the TT genious behind paying jones as much money as he did considering he does indeed suck. Hawk is better in the respect that he is constantly around the ball and lead the team in tackles, but he too has is short falls.
     
  8. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    Technically, it's only been 181 times. But, only two teams have had more. Chicago at 184 and Arizona at 188. It needs to slow down before he gets knocked out for 6 games. NFL Average, 143. Low 96. New York Giants and New Orleans.
     
  9. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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  10. Oshkoshpackfan

    Oshkoshpackfan YUT !!!

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    Sorry, my bad, 200 times in 5 season....still more than anyone should be getting knocked on their a$$
     
  11. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    Well you answered your own question right there. He's a good player no doubt, but just let's his hands and mouth get in the way sometimes. As for saying that he wants to be an all-around player, I believe that the appropriate phrase is to "show me, don't tell me."

    No doubt, but it's hard to match his magical 15-1 season. I would say that what he did last year was about as much as one could expect. He wasn't as sharp as 2011 but I agree with others that the main culprit may have been the suspect pass blocking. I expect that Viking fans will be talking about AP losing a step this season, assuming he doesn't challenge the record again!

    Your thoughts on the gains and losses are pretty spot on. Overall it tends to be a bit optimistic which I like, but am not sure that we'll see great improvement. Getting all of our injured players back sounds nice, but we will certainly have more injuries this season. The NFL is all about who sustains the least injuries and more importantly, how teams turn lemons into lemonade
     
  12. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    Precisely my point. He had 7 out of the 38 drops. If you say we had 6 recievers most of the time that averages 6 drops per receiver. That's not bad. Question for you, if Rodgers drops back and throws the ball and targets a specific receiver, who is most likely to make a catch (minimum 10 targets)?

    You can't look at statistics to see my issue with Rodgers. In 2011, I was dumbfounded by how sharp he looked. The WR gained an inch on a DB and the ball was out of Rodgers hand in a blink. The WR makes his move and the ball is right there. Honestly, it was some of the best QBing I have ever personally seen. Last season, he was very good, but I just didn't see that same level of play. I don't know how you can blame the OLine as it was just as bad in 2011. Maybe I am wrong, I should put game tape side by side and not rely on my declining memory.


    Anyway, trivia answer: Cobb. Cobb caught 77% of passes he was targeted for. Finley was No. 2 with 70%. More than Nelson, Jones, Driver, and Crabtree. Finley is so big and has such long arms, he can get his hands on more passes. A tipped ball by a DB and the ball is out of reach of Jones. Finley can still get a hand on the ball. That's a tough catch and it doesn't always happen. It counts as a drop for Finley but not against Jones. Finley needs to get better hands, I won't argue that, but I think it is way over-blown by Packer fans. The argument against what I just wrote, Finley does seems to drop the easy ones as well as the tough ones.
     
  13. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    I would add another category I expect to be improved: The DL in sub packages. Since the Packers play sub packages (anything but the base 3-4) more than they play base, #3 for me would be "2-man DL". That's where I think Jones will add the most if he's a capable NFL pass rusher. If he can also succeed at DE in the base D, then Wilson (until they find a replacement) could man the other DE spot and Raji and Pickett could concentrate on NT in the base. Everyone should be fresher if that comes to pass.

    Another area of improvement I expect is the scheme on offense. I expect the Packers to counter the cover 2 D better this year and I think that's what adding the two rookie RBs and the run blocking TE was all about. As Wilde (and others) have talked about, I expect the Packers to be less vertical. That along with a better run game will also provide benefits for the D in time of possession.

    I don't think safety play will decline but it probably won't improve significantly either and that's too bad. But I don't think it has anything to do with Woodson's absence. I saw a stat comparing the performance of the D with and without Woodson and the stats were better without him. Of course that was also a function of their opponents. But I'm not sure Woodson is a safety - his inclination is not to play it "safe". And the "new" Woodson is Hayward - of course he's not as good as Woodson in his prime but Hayward played in the slot and defended a lot of passes and intercepted a few as well. That's why I'm not among those who hope/expect to see Hayward take over at starting CB - I think he's better inside and I'd rather have Shields, Williams, and House battle for the outside jobs.

    BTW, I agree with AmishMafia about Rodgers. From the perspective of my eye test (not stats), Rodgers was "other worldly" good in 2011: It was the best single season of QBing I've ever seen. Last season he was "just" extremely good. BTW#2, the proliferation of the cover 2 last season was a response to how good Rodgers and the Packers' passing attack was in 2011.
     
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  14. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    Excellent point. I have thought for the last few years that Raji would improve if he could take less snaps. I don't like playing him at end. Sending him back to just NT with Pick would do wonders for him.
     
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  15. 98Redbird

    98Redbird Cheesehead

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    I'm not hating on Finley with my statements... Yes, I think he's a moron, but that's not the point. I was simply saying that dude should have a heck of a year.
     
  16. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    20 sacks either way, it's still to many.
     
  17. 5x49er

    5x49er Cheesehead

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    Its Strange that with as many times AR was sacked he WASstill able to pass for 4200yds
    JUST THINK TAKE AWAY HALF THOSE SACKS Ar passes for 5200 EASILY
     
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  18. gbpowner

    gbpowner Cheesehead

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    Less Rodgers in the shot-gun with an empty back field on third and 1, would make my season! Just the threat of cramming the ball down the opposition's throat with a real running game will be an immense improvement.
     
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  19. texaspackerbacker

    texaspackerbacker Cheesehead

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    I'll second that emotion. I'd also like to see a little bit of the old Bart Starr 3rd and 1 play action bomb.
     
  20. Hjalmar Davidson

    Hjalmar Davidson Cheesehead

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    I agree with most of your points here AM. The question marks for me are the ILBs and safetys. And the O-line of course, getting Derrick Sherrod on the field would be huge. I would think the Packers will have to make a decision as to his future with the team before the season starts. It may be time to move on. Hope not though, I'd like to see the guy play. It sounds like Bulaga and Perry are good to go.
    As far Finley goes, he just needs to shut his pie-hole and catch the ball. I think we got excellent quality with our draft picks. TT is the man ! Cant wait to see our pass rush this year. This is going to be fun :)
     
  21. Whatthehellsgoinonouthere

    Whatthehellsgoinonouthere Cheesehead

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    I'm gonna disagree with the O.P. on ILB. As long as AJ Hawk is wearing a helmet with a G on the side we've declined! He's crap in coverage, he's a horrible tackler in the run game, and anytime we give up a big play it's over the middle in the area between he and Burnett. Not to mention that Hawk's what 30 now? He wasn't worth a **** to start with, and now he's getting old. I'm not completely sold on Jones as a starter. To me he's Brandon Chillar from 2010. A good SOLID 5 linebacker. A guy who CAN start if he has to, and who can give all 4 positions a rest if needed. I would go so far as to say with him starting we lose depth in the unit. Letting Smith go was a mistake, I can't say it any simpler. Right now we've got the same starters as last year, and had we kept Smith, who knows, maybe we could've dumped AJ off in a trade to Buffalo or some such other team that doesn't seem to quite have it figured out yet.
     
  22. fanindaup

    fanindaup Cheesehead

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    Smith probably was not going to be ready to start the season, was short and light. A try hard guy that I liked, but a liability in coverage, more so than Hawk or Jones. A lot of people bash Hawk, because he was not worth a top five pick. But had he been drafted a round later we would perceive him differently. He's not great in coverage, but he's also not that bad and not the bad tackler he's made out to be. Not many linebackers can cover down the deep middle against faster tight ends and receivers.
     
  23. Whatthehellsgoinonouthere

    Whatthehellsgoinonouthere Cheesehead

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    I don't "bash" anyone. I tell the absolute truth based on what I see. Hawk is at best a joke in coverage, and don't tell me he's not "that bad and not the bad tackler he's made out to be" please. Hawk is NOT even a below average tackler. He's total and absolute crap! He was below average when he was drafted, and he's gotten worse! LeGarrett Blount ran for a 60 yard TD against us at Lambeau, and AJ should've stopped him after a 7 yard gain with a text book tackle. The way AJ chooses to tackle though by delivering both forearms up under Blount's chin 1.) Got Blount bounced off of AJ, and freed to run the final 50 yards for the TD and 2.) HAD AJ made the tackle that way we would've been flagged for a blow to the head, which I'm surprised we didn't get to start with. It isn't even that he can't keep up with TE's, he doesn't seem to grasp who his man is in coverage, let alone taking correct angles/lanes to be in proper position to defense a pass. Another issue he's had since Ohio State.

    Smith was short, YES granted, but Sam Mills a Fall of Famer was 2 inches shorter than Smith, and still leaps and bounds better than Hawk!
     
  24. fanindaup

    fanindaup Cheesehead

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    I was at that game. Blount was running right toward me. I wanted to jump out of the stands to tackle him. 12, yes, 12 Packers whiffed on that play. I think it was Williams who whiffed twice. That's obviously not a good example to use or you need to indict the whole defense. You obviously have your mind made up, and nothing I say will change your mind so I won't bother digging up stats from PFF to prove my case. Smith was a far cry from Sam Mills, and plays in a different era of football. Obviously the people paid to make these determinations, in other words, professionals, disagree with your point of view regarding AJ & DJ or they wouldn't have made the decision they did. Although they did seem to think AJ was overpaid and asked him to accept a pay cut.
     
  25. Whatthehellsgoinonouthere

    Whatthehellsgoinonouthere Cheesehead

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    I'm not saying that 12 Packers didn't miss Blount. I'm saying from what I saw of the play AJ made the DUMBEST attempt at tackling Blount. As far as AJ, I loved the guy when he was coming in. I actually WANTED AJ as a Packer for the first 2-3 years he was here, and when he was being drafted. Thing is, it's not just his play, anybody remember his first contract with the Packers some of the stuff he had put in there? Not only did he need his 6 million a year, but he needed his hyperbaric chamber, and he wanted the team to pay for it!
     

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