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Rookies getting it done

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by tromadz, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    JS:

    Rookies come of age
    By BOB McGINN


    Green Bay - It was a great year for rookies in the National Football League and the Green Bay Packers' first-year contingent doesn't have to take a back seat to many teams.

    Next month, when the all-rookie squad is selected by Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America, as many as four Packers have a legitimate shot of making it.

    "They've got to be proud of that draft," an executive in personnel for another team in the NFC North Division said at midweek.

    By trading down four times and dealing wide receiver Javon Walker to Denver, general manager Ted Thompson turned seven picks into an eventual 12. Of the 12, four have started almost all season, another has started 10 games and five have contributed as backups.

    "You try to identify quality core players that you want on your team going forward," Thompson said. "I think we have a number in this class that fit that bill. I think that speaks well."

    Entering the final game, the draft choices have logged a total of 63 games started.

    In 2005, the draft picks made 32 starts and safety Nick Collins made all-rookie. Collins is one of the Packers' 12 all-rookie selections in the last 20 years.

    Ron Wolf's great 1995 draft eventually would produce five starters on Super Bowl teams counted just 21 starts when the players were rookies.

    Wide receiver Cory Rodgers, a fourth-round pick this year, flopped and was released Sept. 2.

    He spent three weeks on San Francisco's practice squad in September, was cut Sept. 26 and then suspended Oct. 2 for a week by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He has been out of football since.

    Defensive end Dave Tollefson, who also was cut Sept. 2, is on the Packers' practice-squad injured reserve list.

    A.J. Hawk is one of five players in hot competition for the three all-rookie berths at linebacker.

    New Orleans' Marques Colston (70 catches, 1,038 yards) will be one of two all-rookie wide receivers.

    The only other rookies with more than 20 receptions are Pittsburgh's Santonio Holmes (45-700) and the Packers' Greg Jennings (45-632).

    At guard, Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz would seem to be competing with New Orleans' Jahri Evans and Tampa Bay's Davin Joseph for two berths.

    Offensive and defensive starters are listed in the Packers' media guide dating to the 1961 season.

    Since then, the Packers have had seven seasons with three rookie starters but never one with more.

    Given that Tony Moll has made 10 starts off the bench, the page for '06 probably will designate five rookies as starters.

    This was how Thompson assessed his second class of Packers draftees:

    Round 1, 5th pick, A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State

    "I know a lot has been expected of him but I think he's a very good player. I don't have any doubts that he has stubbed his toe in terms of (coverage) assignments. But I'm talking about being physically able to cover these guys. That's not a problem. I think he takes on guys. He's a square player. He has instincts. And he's a very, very strong tackler in terms of wrapping guys up and finishing plays. Excellent range. He's a good blitzer."

    2-47, Daryn Colledge, G, Boise State

    "He was demoted or something in pre-season. All he did was hang in there and just kept working. Then the cream kind of rose to the top. I think he's been pretty steady. He was always a tackle in college and you never know how that move to guard will work. That caused him some problems initially. He's going to be a good player. He's very good with his hands and he's very athletic with his feet. He fronts 'em up pretty good. And plays hard."

    2-52, Greg Jennings, WR, Western Michigan

    "Unfortunately, he's kind of been playing on a dinged-up ankle probably the last 10 weeks or so. To his credit, he hung in there. I think he has a bright future. It becomes a long season, especially when you're dragging one leg around. He hasn't run as fast later in the season as he was early in the season because he's playing a little dinged up. He's a gifted catcher with the hands. He just does everything very natural. It almost looks like he isn't going fast sometimes but then you realize he's out-running everybody else. He's a real smooth customer."

    3-67, Abdul Hodge, MLB, Iowa

    "He had a great training camp and pre-season. He did a pretty good job on special teams. Then he got banged up. When he did come back right away he had to start a whole game. I don't think he played his best game, and we haven't seen his best football, based on that Seattle game. He got thrust in there without really quite enough preparation time. I like the kid. He's tough. He loves to play the game. I think his game speed will be fine. He'll do just what he did in college. Beat people to the hole and know what's happening before other people. He's a very bright young man. I sure do think he has that potential (to become a starter)."

    3-75, Jason Spitz, G, Louisville

    "He's a rookie starting in the offensive line so there's going to be good times and bad times. But I think he's done all right. He has a bright future. I've liked him from the get-go. He just loves football. He loves being a Packer. He's tough as nails. He battled through some injuries that sometimes take other people a lot longer to come back from. He was one of the few people that came out of college and was strong to begin with."

    4-115, Will Blackmon, CB, Boston College

    "A series of injuries kept him from playing. When he did practice he looks like what we thought we were getting. He's a very bright guy. He knows the defense backwards and forward. We missed a lot of time this year with him. We're certainly counting on him to compete and contribute."

    5-148, Ingle Martin, QB, Furman

    "He's done fine. Obviously, he hasn't played any. But he continues to get better. The coaches seem to be excited about him. I've been down at practice the last few weeks and he looks pretty good. He's young and still trying to figure out where the windows are out there. Good athlete."

    5-165, Tony Moll, T-G, Nevada

    "We moved him around two or three different places. He wants to be good. He's doing OK. Athletically and all that stuff, he's pretty good. He's still learning the game. He's done well holding his weight. He needs to get a little stronger. He has the ability to play certainly four of the five positions. My guess is that with a kid like this we'll zero him in, put him in a spot and that will be his spot. Win or lose."

    6-183, Johnny Jolly, NT, Texas A&M

    "He's done a nice job. He's had some pretty good players in front of him so his play time has been down. He's practiced and worked at it. I think he's got a bright future. At the point of attack he's been up and down. He is a natural player in terms of instincts and knowing what's happening around him. He's a good hands player. He's got some quickness and short-area burst that give him a chance to be an inside pass rusher."

    6-185, Tyrone Culver, S, Fresno State

    "When he's had to go in and play he's done pretty good. He's a pretty good athlete. He's a very smart guy who can make all the calls. He seems to handle being in the NFL pretty well. I think he's just done OK (on special teams). He hasn't shown us anything to think that he couldn't (become a starter)."
     
  2. Cory

    Cory Cheesehead

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    I'll be pissed if AJ doesn't make the all-rookie team. Should be Earnie Sims, Demeco Ryans, and AJ Hawk. They'll probably be assenine and leave AJ off the list for Kamerion Wimbley a designated pass rusher whom doesn't have to do all that AJ or Earnie for that matter have to do for their team.
     
  3. agopackgo4

    agopackgo4 Cheesehead

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    This articale should make some people re-think TT a little bit. If they still dont like him. Im happy to have him
     
  4. slackerbacker

    slackerbacker Cheesehead

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    4-12 and maybe 8-8 this season and two more Favre years wasted. Why should I be excited about Tight Teddy's performance?
     
  5. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    you're right, he sucks
     
  6. Cory

    Cory Cheesehead

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    As opposed to 6 wasted with sherman and 1 wasted with Rhodes. I'm sure Favre is used to it.
     
  7. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    Good article. Glad it was brought to my attention with its posting.

    It shows Ted is building a young talented team, piece by piece. Any knowledgable fan can acknowledge that.
     
  8. Cubanpenguin

    Cubanpenguin Cheesehead

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    I find it kind of funny how TT doesn't sound overly thrilled with any of his picks, he seems very critical of them.
     
  9. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    I'd be disappointed if he was overly thrilled with his picks. They are rookies. Being overly thrilled with them now would or I should say could give them reason to endure a sophomore slump next year.

    They did, but have to do better. Make them try harder to be better. Good is not good enough, the team needs great.
     
  10. slackerbacker

    slackerbacker Cheesehead

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    Really, what in that article proves TT is doing that?? Hawk and Jennings performance have been good and their numbers reflect that. I don't think you can say that about the Gs considering our rushing attack is ranked in the lower 1/3 of the league and TEs and RBs are continually kept in to help pass block.

    If they were truely getting it done as the article suggests, we'd won one or two of the Saints, Bills, Rams or Seahawks games and already be in the playoffs and looking to do some damage instead of hoping for help and struggling to beat the Lions and Viks.
     
  11. packerfan1245

    packerfan1245 Cheesehead

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    We had a great Draft. The o-line really looks good now. Something that really didn't look too good preseason.
     
  12. slackerbacker

    slackerbacker Cheesehead

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    O.K. I guess you're right? Their inability to run block effectively and consistently and failure to pass block w/out help from the TEs and RBs must be a figment of my imagination?
     
  13. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    you're right, dude, we get it.

    our run blocking sucks. Ahman is 12 yards away from 1,000 even though he shares time with morency and has missed 2 games.
     
  14. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

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    The Zone Blocking scheme takes time. Anyone who expected rookie guards to come in and excel right away were holding very high expectations. They are just starting to catch on and you can see it with their play. As the year has went on the offense has added more and your starting to see the backs and tight ends go down the field more. Favre hasn't been sacked that much this year at all and The Packers offense ranks 9th in the NFL. It’s also very rare to find an NFL team that can plug in 3 rookie offensive lineman and all 3 do a respectable job in their 1st year. By no means is this article or anyone crowning them to be great right now but the future looks good with them up front.

    Also Green Bay is 7-8 and REBUILDING. Are people forgetting this? I know most Thompson critics don't like the fact that Thompson is rebuilding Green Bay with Favre in his final years but the absolute truth is Thompson used the 1st season to clear up cap space because it needed to be done. He didn’t have a wide set of options and it needed to be fixed.

    His 2nd year he had one of the better Drafts Green Bay has had in a long time and most around the league from NFC North personnel have made comment on it. Charles Woodson has been the best free agent pickup for this team since Ron Wolf ran things. So while 7-8 isn't overly impressive the future in Green Bay is bright and if Favre commits to 1 or 2 more years, Green Bay has the ability to do something special as the youth grows together and as we add some free agents with the cap we have now. This team is on the up where as two years ago the future wasn’t looking to great.
     
  15. slackerbacker

    slackerbacker Cheesehead

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    That's a pretty big IF isn't it ?? And if Favre doesn't return for another 2 years.......??

    It's all conjecture and opinion and everyone has their own, I'm just not ready to annoint TT like a lot want to. Too many want to puff him up and the rookies on the OL up, yet they love to make excuses that they are rookies and TT had cap problems.

    What's clear to me is TT did have choices and he choose to go the rookie route, so stop making excuses for them and be accountable for that and other moves you did or didn't make.

    I felt this team had the ability to go 8-8 and maybe 10-6 if TT would have added a few more key veterans to the team. He went another direction and it looks like it will cost us a playoff appearance.
     
  16. DakotaT

    DakotaT Cheesehead

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    In the last two years TT has laid the foundation for the future success of the Packers. What is wrong with that? I plan on being a Packer fan the rest of my life. If I have to wait a few years for a better product, I guess it is a little suffering I can endure. Spitz, College and Moll need more time in an NFL weight room, but their talent is there. Give some credit to the people drafting these guys.

    Just for S & G's, who are these key veterens that you speak of Slacker?
     
  17. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    my only critique of Thompson's drafts is how he drafts guys for certain roles...mainly kick returners, '05 it was Craig Bragg, this year, Cory Rodgers...both of whom didnt see the start of the season...more picks like Will Blackmon, just drafting pure talent, are needed...but I love this draft class, I was weary when we traded down from drafting Chad Jackson to draft Greg Jennings but its worked, and hope he's healthy next season
     
  18. Cory

    Cory Cheesehead

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    The Oline zone blocking has been inconsistant for sure, but their pass blocking actually isn't that bad. They can handle a front 4 by themselves which is why guys like green and bubba will end up 5 yards downfield for a checkdown after staying in to help. They are there to help primarily because our young guards can't pickup a blitz very well as of yet. This will come with experience.
     
  19. dxbfan

    dxbfan Cheesehead

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    I think TT had a great draft in 2006 but I think its a bit premature to be breaking out the champagne. Had the rookies beaten out competition to become starters or won starting spots based on spectacular play as back-ups it would be one thing. But the fact that they're getting it done is because there is noone else to get it done. They were thrust into starting roles simply because that was the direction the team wanted to move in. The only exception to this being Hawk and his selection in any case was a no-brainer. The best part about these rookies is that unlike last year fortunately this year none of them have been a bust.
     
  20. hoos

    hoos Cheesehead

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    The jury is still out on TT and MM. Sure we've won 7 games so far this year, but all against the bottom feeders of the NFL and we have been killed by most of the good teams. Our record this year is a testament to our weak schedule more than our progress. Next year will be telling. I hope it works out.
     
  21. Cory

    Cory Cheesehead

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    We really haven't had a weak schedule. Yes we haven't beaten the better teams and that is a concern, but I would say we are more of a middle of the road team. We definitely aren't in the upper echelon, but we aren't pathetic, either. This last game will go a long way to seeing our progress as a team.
     

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