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Morency Hoping To Follow Green's Steps

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by PackFanInSC, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. PackFanInSC

    PackFanInSC Cheesehead

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    CBS Sportsline




    Morency hopes to follow in Green's footsteps to stardom


    Pete Prisco June 5, 2007
    By Pete Prisco
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer



    The stories are out there, and Vernand Morency knows all of them, reciting name after name of NFL running backs who had success following a slow start to their careers.

    He knows all about Priest Holmes leaving the Baltimore Ravens and going to the Kansas City Chiefs and becoming a star -- even if briefly.

    He's fully aware of how Larry Johnson sat on the bench behind Holmes, getting shopped around the league for the asking price of a ham sandwich with no takers, only to move into the lineup when Holmes was hurt and he subsequently became a Pro Bowl back.

    On and on it goes.

    Willie Parker? Morency mentions him, too. Even the guy he's trying to replace with the Green Bay Packers, Ahman Green, is a player who became a Pro Bowl back after a trade from Seattle. That is the same path Morency is trying to follow after being traded to the Packers from the Houston Texans last year.

    "It's just about getting the chance to do your thing," Morency said. "I learned a lot from Ahman Green and what he went through. He came to Green Bay and he became a star. It happens. It's just a matter of getting the chance to be the guy."

    Morency now has his chance.

    But admit it. Of all the starters listed at running back around the league as we get closer to training camp, he might be the most questioned of them all. How the heck did he get the job?

    Here's how: The Packers decided not to re-sign Green, who left for a big contract with the Houston Texans, Morency's old team. That left a huge hole at running back. Many personnel people around the league still wonder if it's filled. Morency, who came over during the 2006 season, is now listed first on the depth chart, taking handoffs from Brett Favre, atop a group of inexperienced runners.

    "They have some castoffs and a second-round pick who they really don't know much about," said an NFC personnel director. "Now Green wasn't worth a big-money deal, but you would think with Brett Favre in his last year, they'd have a better situation than what they have now."

    That second-round pick is Brandon Jackson from Nebraska. But he has a lot of catching up to do if he's to take the job from Morency.

    "I really don't pay a lot of attention to what people are saying or what's in the newspapers," Morency said. "People questioning me is something that has been with me my whole life. In high school (in Miami), I had to follow my brother as the running back. Then in college at Oklahoma State, it was Tatum Bell. There's always been uncertainty about me replacing somebody. That doesn't affect me. I just go out and work harder."

    His work days are as intense as any at this time of year. During the team's offseason work, he arrives at the facility at 6:30 a.m. and stays all day, trying to cash in on the opportunity presented to him.

    A year ago at this time, he was in Houston playing for the Texans, hoping for a chance to be more than just a spot player, which he was as a rookie backing up Domanick Davis. Morency expected more carries in 2006, especially with the Texans passing on Reggie Bush in the draft, but they never came.


    Instead, he was traded to Green Bay after the first week of the regular season for Samkon Gado, another young runner.

    "Hey Mo," Texans coach Gary Kubiak yelled to him on the practice field that day. "You've been traded."

    He had two hours to get to the plane for his trip to Green Bay, so he went in, showered up, grabbed some stuff and off he went, never stopping to go home and pack.

    How's that NFL life, kid?

    "I didn't want to miss the plane," Morency said. "That wouldn't have been a good way to start."

    The trade meant learning a third new offense in two seasons in the league. It also meant playing behind Green, one of the NFC's top rushers, which likely meant more time on the bench.

    "But at least I was somewhere where I was wanted," Morency said.

    When Green went down with a hamstring injury, Morency was forced into a starting role. He responded with a 99-yard game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but followed that up with six-carry, 15-yard game in his only other start, against the St. Louis Rams.

    For the season, Morency carried 96 times for 434 yards and a 4.5 average. Green's per-rush average was 4.0. Morency had four runs of 20 yards or more on his 96 carries, while Green had three in 266 carries.

    When Green left, Morency slid into the top spot on the Packers' depth chart. To prepare himself for the opportunity, he has consulted with Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas, two Hall of Famers who played at Oklahoma State. He has also spent a lot of time with Packers running backs coach Edgar Bennett, himself a former NFL runner with Green Bay.

    "Every day you're learning," Morency said. "When I came over here, I thought I knew a lot about the position. But spending all the extra time with Edgar has helped me with the technical stuff. It's helped make me a better running back."

    Instead of his head spinning, he can now focus on spinning away from defenders. He's excited about showing those who say he's too small to handle a 25-carry load that he can indeed do it. At 5-feet-10 and 212 pounds, Morency said it won't be a problem.

    "You can't stop the critics," Morency said. "You just have to do what you can to make them wrong. You can't get complacent. It's all about putting in the time."

    It helps that he doesn't read the sports pages. Instead, this is a man focused on business. He reads business publications and the Wall Street Journal. He has studied real-estate development at The Wharton Schools of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in two workshops.

    If he's the next Holmes or Johnson or Green, he will be able to put that business acumen to use when he gets a new deal. So is Vernand Morency the next Priest Holmes or Ahman Green, or is he just keeping the spot warm for somebody else?

    Time will tell, but if hard work and drive have something to do with it, we just might be seeing history repeat itself again.
     
  2. PackFanInSC

    PackFanInSC Cheesehead

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    They should hang that in the locker room for inspiration. Must have been someone in the Bears front office.


    Has Brett said that this is, in fact, his last year??
     
  3. packerfan1245

    packerfan1245 Cheesehead

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    I sure am gonna miss Green. I'm still trying to move past his trade, he was my favorite....
     
  4. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    Green was traded?
     
  5. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Cut him a little slack please... young fan... Green left as a free agent...
     
  6. packerfan1245

    packerfan1245 Cheesehead

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    Why did i say trade lol. I knew he was a free agent, I'm not a tard. Just wasnt thinking at the time!
     
  7. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    Okay with that said he just got another fan on his bandwagon.
     
  8. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I liked the flashes he showed last year. Now he's had a year in our system. I really expect big things from the man.
    I'm not as "doom and gloom" about our RB situation as some people are.
     
  9. Tiger

    Tiger Cheesehead

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    I just hope Mo is extremely lucky in avoiding injuries this year, hes gonna be taking alot of punishment, if he stays healthy he will produce.
     
  10. digsthepack

    digsthepack Cheesehead

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    I think we will be just fine at RB. Morency is very underrated and Jackson looks like he could be a good one. I look forward to seeing a healthy Arliss Beach dishing out the punishment, and the yards, that intrigued me last pre-season. As well, if he remains motivated, DeShawn Wynn could be a beast.
     
  11. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    I like Morency. The fact that he's been in GB all offseason, has gained a lot of muscle mass, and is ready to fight for that job.
     
  12. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

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    RB is the most dependant position on the field. It will come down to whether or not the offensive line improves. That will define the running game this year. Not losing Ahman Green. If the line improves then I think Morency has the ability to run for 1000 yards. Now I don't believe he's special or anything. In fact he's better suited to be a backup but a good offensive line can make up for that. If that happens the running game will be okay.
     
  13. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    That's exactly how I feel. I liked what I saw from him, but I'm worried about how many carries he could take a game. I'm expecting a committee rather than a #1 back anyways though.
     
  14. RainX

    RainX Cheesehead

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    I'm not saying we'll get the level of production from a committee system like NE got out of Maroney/Dillon or Indy got out of Addai/Rhodes, but I think this young RB corp could surprise some people this year. If a guy like Brandon Jackson could come into his rookie season with a Maurice Jones-Drew sized chip on his shoulder, we might see some good things from our young bunch.
     
  15. NDPackerFan

    NDPackerFan Cheesehead

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    Man, that's a 5'7", 212 lb. chip on Jackson's shoulder. How the hell's he supposed to run with that thing? I personally think it'd slow him down. :rotflmao:

    I agree with what you're sayin' RainX. Morency has something to prove as well as Jackson being a rookie. Players who are hungry to make a name for themselves and land a big deal can be dangerous. If the O-Line is improving like many are saying, it could be less of a problem than it appears from the outside.
     

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