Keeping 53 could be Pack’s problem

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From the Rockford Register Star:

Keeping 53 could be Pack’s problem

GREEN BAY, Wis. — General managers in the NFL always say they agonize over trimming their roster to 53 players. The most difficult part for Green Bay’s Ted Thompson might be that he has to keep that many.

He’ll explain today why he kept so and so, and how bad he feels about letting so and so go. Then watch him scour the waiver wire and see who’s cut around the league, because some other team’s leftovers will look like sumptuous morsels to him.

The Packers do not look like they possess 53 NFL-caliber players. There’s a partial explanation — they might begin the season as the youngest team in the league, hence their talent level might reflect that.

It certainly did during the entire preseason, including Friday’s 35-21 thumping at home against equally woeful Tennessee.

You can only look as bad as the Packers have if you’re either 1) that bad, or 2) play conservatively on purpose. The latter, of course, is not the case. New head coaches, like Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy, want to see progress.

McCarthy did witness some early encouragement Friday, and it was important. The first-team offense was only on the field for 20 seconds. But that was long enough for Brett Favre to connect with wide-open rookie Greg Jennings for 89 yards, then for Ahman Green to run three yards for a touchdown on the ensuing snap.

The busiest Packer was punter Jon Ryan. That’s because backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers directed Green Bay to all of three first downs on his first eight possessions. Again, either the Packers backups are that inept or they were totally vanilla by design.

Or a mix of both, to be fair.

The Packers tried to run again. And failed. They never established a ground game all preseason, and there’s no obvious backup to Green. It will be Najeh Davenport or Samkon Gado by default instead of accomplishment.

The defensive starters struggled against everyone — aside from holding the Titans to 20 yards on their first drive. Even in Green Bay’s 38-10 win over Atlanta, the Falcons’ first-stringers produced all the points early on.

There’s no one area Packers fans can feel comfortable about heading into the Sept. 10 home season-opener against Chicago. Granted, Green Bay’s first-team offense will feel hopeful after its short but sweet success Friday. That’s the best thing that came out of the entire exhibition schedule.

Other bright spots? How about spot? Jennings as a receiver looks as valuable to Green Bay as rookie punt returner Devin Hester does to the Bears.

As poorly as Green Bay’s offense and defense have looked, special teams have been close-your-eyes-you-don’t-want-to-see-this bad — not counting Ryan’s punting.

The following numbers are not misprints — Ryan’s punts traveled 53, 51, 60, 69, 51, 48, 47 and 49 yards Friday. And they were returned 22, 14, 24, 24, 27, 41, 18 and, somehow, minus-1.

Green Bay, by comparison, had six yards total on four punt returns to the Titans’ 165 yards on eight chances.

Not only didn’t Green Bay go anywhere on punt returns, rookies Cory Rodgers and Carlton Brewster each fumbled a punt.

There’s just so much work that appears to need doing, and not nearly enough time — or proven talent — to get it done.

But, hey, it’s preseason and it really doesn’t mean much. Packers fans have no choice but to think like that.

There’s potential to better last year’s 4-12 record. There’s little hope for playoffs. The best scenario would be that they end the season on the upswing, so that there’s reason for optimism going into 2007.

At least they’re not an old team with no future. That’s the advantage of youth, which the Packers have. They could be good someday, whenever that is.

The journey to improvement just might be a bit painful in the present. Prepare yourself for another 4-12 season, and be tickled with anything better than that.

Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. He can be reached at 815-987-1381 or [email protected].
 

porky88

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Yeah this happens every year. Every team usually goes through the waiver wire and picks guys up. No different this year. I think Green Bay might be a little more active. We have no depth at Safety and O-line.
 

pyledriver80

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This guy hit it right on the head! It's the same opinion every objective sportswriter around the NFL has about this team.


Now let's bash this guys credibility!
 

packedhouse01

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The defense concerns me because they should be decent at least. They can't cover anyone. I watched the first three quarters yesterday and I was furious with our tackling. Honestly I learned how to tackle in high school. I have not idea where this grabbying stuff started, but this defense doesn't hit anyone. The d-backs are playing so far off that getting a first down on third and long is no problem. IThe linebackers don't fill the hole at all. I thought this was going to be a strength for us, maybe not. I just know if we can't stop anyone it's going to be a very long year.

On the offensive side of the ball, I'm worried about our offensive line. This is the absolute worse offensive line I've ever seen at any level of play. Rogers was getting sacked on a 3 step drop. It was like we didn't even have anyone blocking at all. That's why it's so hard to evaluate the running backs. We have a run play called and our offensive line, which incidentally is offensive to me, is pushed back 3 and 4 yards into our backfield. How are you going to run with that?

Specail teams, it's just all about tackling and running through blocks. We don't do that. When we receive the ball we don't block either. We sometimes get in the way, but I haven't seen anyone layout a block on special teams yet.

I'll end this by saying this. All of these comments are based only on what I've seen in pre-season games. I hope we come out next Sunday and pour it on the Bears, but just like under Sherman the last two years, I don't see anything that makes me believe we're ready for the season. Unless Thompson can pick up some quality stud that slipped through someone else's offensive line or defensive backfield, we could be in real trouble.
 

tromadz

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Some things ignored, by the objective writer.

1 of them being how preseason special teams coverage are a lot of no name guys who are trying to make the team mostly on that, and a lot won't be on the team 3 days after the game is played. Lets not mention that though.

Also, don't mention how "The Green Bay Starters" were without Harris AND Woodson, and also had Poppinga in at LB(when is he a 'starter?' )

But lets ignore those thing.

I bet pyle loves this guy (looks up). Oh. Nevermind.
 

pyledriver80

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tromadz said:
Some things ignored, by the objective writer.

1 of them being how preseason special teams coverage are a lot of no name guys who are trying to make the team mostly on that, and a lot won't be on the team 3 days after the game is played. Lets not mention that though.

Also, don't mention how "The Green Bay Starters" were without Harris AND Woodson, and also had Poppinga in at LB(when is he a 'starter?' )

But lets ignore those thing.

I bet pyle loves this guy (looks up). Oh. Nevermind.


Amazing! You just love to use my name in every post, its great!

Good point on Special Teams though, now if you could find excuses for the other 30 trouble spots.

By the way, Woodson and Harris played against Cinci. The guy was judging the pre-season as a whole. I know you were to eager to respond with "pyle this" or "pyle that" but at least try to read the whole column before responding.


Packedhouse you are exactly right. Great post.
 
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wpr

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tromadz said:
Some things ignored, by the objective writer.

1 of them being how preseason special teams coverage are a lot of no name guys who are trying to make the team mostly on that, and a lot won't be on the team 3 days after the game is played. Lets not mention that though.

Also, don't mention how "The Green Bay Starters" were without Harris AND Woodson, and also had Poppinga in at LB(when is he a 'starter?' )

But lets ignore those thing.

I bet pyle loves this guy (looks up). Oh. Nevermind.


Trom I usually enjoy reading your posts. I agree with your comments some of the time. I also disagree w/ you on other occasions.
this time I am more in the middle based on your comments.

I have read Reed's work for years. He is not like some of the columnists who like to sensationalize their articles and try and churn up trash. I think he is trying hard to say good things about GB. A writer you is trying to burn a team would not use words like "to be fair" or " there is an explanation" and "there is potential (for GB) to be better"

I think he is trying to point out that to no one's surprise GB needs depth.

As far as not commenting on the missing DB's I don't think it was his intent to comment position by position for the entire preseason. He was speaking in general that the team is young and they need more help. His comment is, and I think even you can agree with it, unless they get a whole lot better don't look for them in the Super Bowl.
One of Reed's main points was
"The Packers do not look like they possess 53 NFL-caliber players."
So I ask you- Does GB have 53 players that can play on every other NFL team? I don't think so. Once you get past the 22 starters and let's say another 20 or so back ups you will find guys who are very raw talent wise.
 

tromadz

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GB definitely has its weaknesses.

but to ignore simple facts just to nail his point home is irresponsible.

I wont\cant argue we have players who could end up not being NFL-Caliber.
 

TOPackerFan

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The tackling especially in the secondary is awful (could it be because Kurt Schottenheimer is back coaching - and I use that term loosely - the secondary?)
 

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