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Running back stories

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by net, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. net

    net Cheesehead

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    Here's a couple of updates on running backs...other stuff tossed in at the bottom. Mike Florio has Peterson and Lynch gone-Lynch to Buffalo- and the Packers drafting Leon Hall, DB, Michigan. To all you Lynch lovers...this from Florio(who isn't a journalist) at ProFootballTalk:
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    LYNCH HAS CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH

    Several league insiders have contacted us in response to our item from earlier in the day regarding vague questions regarding tailback Marshawn Lynch, to which NFL.com's Pat Kirwan recently referred in his latest mock draft. Apparently, there is talk that Lynch has back problems.

    But a league source tells us that multiple teams have given Lynch a clean bill of health, and the suspicion is that one or more teams are putting out negative information about Lynch in the hopes that he will slide, presumably into their laps.

    It's a common dynamic this time of year. A team who really likes a guy is inclined to bad mouth him so that the team has a better chance of getting him, and a team who doesn't like a guy will talk him up so that he'll be drafted sooner, pushing more of the guys that the team likes down the board.

    But another league source tells us that folks from Lynch's school, Cal, have been privately "brutalizing" Lynch, which is not a good sign. It means that Lynch pissed someone off during his time at Berkeley, which in turn means that he might piss people off in his next location.
    ------

    Next, this item from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel(from a real journalist).


    Backfield seeks help from draft
    By TOM SILVERSTEIN
    tsilverstein@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: March 29, 2007

    Phoenix - Unless a running back falls out of the sky and into the Green Bay Packers' backfield in the next four weeks, chances are they'll be relying heavily on one of their top draft picks to tote the football next season.(Or, as I say, Ted finds one under a cabbage leaf-my comment-net)

    The question they face, however, is whether they can find a rookie who can help them right away.

    Unless the talent is dramatically better at running back this year than it has been the last two years - and it doesn't appear to be - the odds are the Packers won't find a dominant runner on the first day of the draft. Over the last two seasons, only two backs selected in the first three rounds - Indianapolis' Joseph Addai in 2006 and Tampa Bay's Cadillac Williams in '05 - topped 1,000 yards as rookies.

    And of the 16 backs who were first-day picks, only three have topped 1,000 yards in either of their first two seasons, none more than once.

    Assuming the Packers draft a running back to help replace departed free agent Ahman Green, they better not count on him being the answer. Of those 16, six haven't been able to top the 400-yard mark in a season yet.

    Packers coach Mike McCarthy seems to understand the odds, but he isn't ruling out a rookie making a contribution.

    "If you go through the history of guys that have played well (as rookies), a lot of it is they were given an opportunity - maybe even before they were ready - and they overcame that," McCarthy said. "Look at the situations they're put into to succeed. I think that's a huge factor."

    McCarthy appears more than willing to give returning running back Vernand Morency - one of those 16 first-day draftees - an opportunity to rush for 1,000 yards next season. But his desire is only to be productive and if it takes two or three backs to make it happen, he'll go with that.

    Morency, a second-round pick of the Houston Texans in '05 who was traded straight up for Samkon Gado, reported to off-season workouts in peak condition and is taking his status as lead back seriously. But before anyone starts thinking he's ready, Morency has to continue making the adjustment from a lead-draw system to the Packers' zone-blocking scheme.

    "The thing about 'Mo' and Green, they're different runners, different style runners," McCarthy said. "With a lead-zone running game, there's a lot more track running and discipline and 'Mo's' probably been better with lead draws and things like that, where he's setting guys up.

    "So when you have that, obviously when he gets to the second level, he's as good as guys I've had in years at making guys miss in the open field. So it's just the improvement on the lead-zone footwork and discipline. That's going to come with reps."

    And if there's a rookie?

    "You could take and give him opportunities of getting the ball in his hand because obviously if you draft him the first day, he's probably a pretty productive player, so you could do that with him," McCarthy said. "But if you go in and say, 'I need this guy to play first, second and third down,' now you're weighing him down a little bit mentally. So that's where you have to find out about the guy (and) what he can handle."

    Cole signs: Defensive tackle Colin Cole signed his one-year, $435,000 qualifying offer, leaving the Packers with just one exclusive free agent still unsigned.

    The 26-year-old Cole played in 15 games with three starts last season and totaled 53 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. The lone exclusive rights free agent yet to sign his qualifying offer is wide receiver Carlyle Holiday. Running back Noah Herron and tight end Tory Humphrey previously had signed.

    Prescribed role: McCarthy doesn't plan on holding back on receiver Robert Ferguson's special teams work.

    He'll get a full load to go along with whatever role he plays on offense.

    "I really need him to step up and be a core player on special teams because I think he has the ability to be a Pro Bowl-type player in that area," McCarthy said. "He's a unique body type for a receiver because he's a tough son of a gun now. He can do a lot of things with his body type on special teams."

    McCarthy said Ferguson didn't take his demotion to No. 3 well last season and he expects him to be in a better frame of mind this season. He said Ferguson stood to play a lot on offense.

    Making strides: Safety Marviel Underwood, who was having an outstanding training camp last year before tearing his anterior cruciate knee ligament, is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and should be available for training camp.

    McCarthy said he probably would hold him out of the June workouts just to be safe.

    "I'll say this: Almost every time I walked through the weight room during the season, he was always in there," McCarthy said. "He's doing very well."

    Weight and see: Once again, offensive lineman Kevin Barry is above the weight limit the coaches have set for him.

    McCarthy said the powerful Barry could play in the zone system if he got down to a prescribed weight.

    "I'm not sure what we have him at," McCarthy said of Barry's goal. "I don't have that number off the top of my head. It's lower than he's at right now. That's all I know."

    Welcome mat: McCarthy has made it a priority to create an environment where players feel free to make the three-story trek to the coaches' offices and get some one-on-one attention.

    As many people suspected at the time, there weren't many players who even thought about leaving their sanctuary to speak with former coach Mike Sherman. The atmosphere wasn't conducive to having heart-to-hearts.

    "It's amazing last year going through it," McCarthy said. "I've got Brett Favre (who) comes in my office and he's walking around and he goes, 'Well, I've never been up here.' If I had one, I had 20 guys tell me that.

    "I want guys up on that third floor. I want that interaction between the coaches and players. You talk about relationship-building, you talk about group dynamics, that's a key part of it."

    McCarthy said he was not trying to create a social club, but he wants a player who might be afraid of asking questions in a meeting room full of other players to be able to come upstairs and talk to his position coach or coordinator. He said the layout of Lambeau Field didn't promote that kind of intimacy, so he wants to make sure the players know there's an open-door policy.

    "What I don't want is that when they push No. 3 in the elevator, it's, 'Oh (shoot), here I go, I'm going up to the head coach's office for something negative,' and that's part of it," McCarthy said. "I'm not talking about being buddy-buddy. And I told the players that. I'm just trying to promote as much player-coach interaction as possible."



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  2. Timmons

    Timmons Cheesehead

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    I don't think we need a complete back to be successful. Ahman didn't take all the snaps last year and wouldn't have this year. Morency has to step up, that will help, but if we find a FA or rookie who can take some snaps, we'll have a suitable running game. I would say our running game success is more on the o-line than the ball carrier.
     
  3. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

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    I will say that the more the Pack becomes convinced Lynch will NOT be there at #16 the more they will consider Turner.

    I like Mo. I think he will help this team. I do not, however, believe he is a NATURAL for the zone blocking system. I saw the tape on him where he has some difficulty in following the FB and reading the initial lane.

    MM talked about what he still had to work on and I am sure he can get better at it but that's not the same as it is to be a natural part of a RB's style.

    I no longer think Lynch will be there either and I wasn't thrilled with him at #16 anyways BUT he does have the natural running style to fit what we do.

    But what I read sounded like the Pack was the hottest of all the teams looking at Turner and I would be very happy to see that happen.
     

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