Tag: Jordy Nelson

The Aftermath: What Needs to Happen For Brett Hundley to Succeed

The Packers season was dealt a major blow but here is how they can survive

As Aaron Rodgers was carted off the field on Sunday afternoon it felt like the 2017 season went along with him. No one denies that Rodgers is a hall of fame player and the main reason for Green Bay’s success over the last decade. The Packers can not dwell in the past though, the injury happened and it is what it is and opponents are not going to let up on the Packers. Brett Hundley is the man going forward whether we like it or not. We have not have seen much of Hundley over the years so it is difficult to know what to expect. Here are a few things the team can do to help Hundley succeed.

Good Protection

Green Bay was finally able to see their starting line in action in Minnesota, but boy it did not last long. David Bahktiari, Bryan Bulaga, and Lane Taylor were all sidelined by the games end. The extent of the injuries is unknown but this is the biggest concern going forward. Brett Hundley may or not may not be a good quarterback, but he has no chance if he’s getting crushed on every pass attempt. In Minnesota Hundley was under constant duress which no doubt hurt his final line which included 3 interceptions. The Packers need to find a way to get healthy and give Hundley time to go through his progressions. If not, Mike McCarthy needs to scheme a way to get the ball out of Hundley’s hand quickly. Otherwise he might be joining Rodgers in the trainers room.

Skill Players going above and beyond

The Packers have a wealth of talent at wide receiver and these players will need to play at an extremely high level to help Hundley. Jordy Nelson was around when Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn took snaps in 2013 and still finished with solid numbers. He along with Randall Cobb and Davante Adams will need to get open and be the dependable targets Hundley needs. The receivers do not worry me, however the running backs could take a huge load off Hundley by being effective. Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones, and the offensive line absolutely needs to be productive and maintain offensive balance. The Packers can not ask Hundley to step in and win games on his own the way Rodgers can. Martellus Bennett also needs to ramp up his production and give Hundley a reliable target in the middle of the field.

Time For The Defense To Step Up

If the Packers are going to stay in the playoff hunt they will need their defense to play well. There really should be no excuses for Dom Capers group at this point. The Packers defense is stock full of high draft picks. There are five first round picks alone among the starting 11. Many others were selected in rounds two through four. It is time for these players to play at the level they are capable of. The defense did keep the Packers in the Vikings game by forcing two turnovers in the 2nd quarter. Overall they did not break as the Vikings were limited to 23 points, but the next two games are against Drew Brees and Matt Stafford. Brett Hundley can not get into a shootout against QBs of that caliber, the Packers defense will need to make impact plays and get off the field on third down.

Final Outlook

There is no point denying reality, the injury to Rodgers is bleak. With him the Packers were looking at home field advantage, now it’s fair to wonder if they will make the playoffs. Brett Hundley has a great chance to help the team as well as himself. If he plays well he could be traded next offseason and start for another team. As fans we can only cling to hope right now. Maybe Hundley plays well enough to win the Packers some games. Nonetheless he will need help from the rest of the squad. Football is the ultimate team game, that is never more apparent than now.

 

The NFL's Deepest Receiving Corps Propel Green Bay Past New York

Embed from Getty ImagesTEWES

By: Bill Tewes

The Green Bay Packers looked like they were on their way to another lackluster playoff performance, until the deepest receiving corps in the NFL turned up the heat in the frigid cold. Aaron Rodgers and company struck back against a stout New York Giants secondary that had shut them out throughout most of the first half.

The second quarter almost spelled doom for Green Bay, as Jordy Nelson took flight to make what should have been a spectacular catch down the sideline. Instead, Nelson dropped the ball and took a punishing (and illegal) hit from defensive back Leon Hall. Nelson crawled over to the sideline and was down for a long time. It looked like Green Bay’s offense, which at that point was floundering, was completely doomed.

Enter Davante Adams, who became Rodgers’ first read after Nelson went out. The Packers marched down the field after a nice punt return from Micah Hyde and this drive would be all Adams. After getting no traction with Adams throughout much of the first half, Rodgers hit a huge pass to him down the sideline, with Adams shaking coverage en route to a 31 yard gain. The drive resulted in the most important sequence of the game, as the offensive line gave Aaron Rodgers all day. Rodgers, showing legendary pocket presence, took nearly nine seconds to find Adams in the end-zone, who is proving to be Mr. January by coming up big in playoff games.

The true wildcard in this game was Randall Cobb. No one knew how many snaps he was going to get or if he could perform at a high-level after being out for two games with an ankle injury, but he looked none the worse for wear. Cobb’s touchdown grab of Rodgers’ Hail Mary heave to end the half gave the Packers a monumental boost and some nice separation on the score board after a poor start. Cobb would grab two more touchdowns finishing with five receptions for 116 yards and leaving no question as to his importance to this team.

Green Bay’s receivers absolutely outclassed New York’s all game. Odell Beckham dropped multiple catch-able passes and finished up with four receptions for 28 yards, making him the fifth best statistical receiver for New York Sunday afternoon. Tavarres King, who had two catches in all of the games he played in the regular season, hauled in a nice touchdown grab on broken coverage by Damarious Randall. That catch accounted for 41 of his 73 yards. For all the talk of Green Bay’s secondary collapsing and potentially allowing for one of the more dynamic receivers in the NFL (Beckham) to completely trash them, they held their own and held him in check all game. Outside of King, they did not allow rookie Sterling Shephard to find room to work, as he has become a solid red zone threat for New York with eight touchdowns this year.

The Packers also got solid contributions from Jared Cook and Ty Montgomery. Cook was consistently getting open and even though Rodgers overthrew him a couple times, he connected with Cook on multiple second down conversions for 10+ yards. The Packers will need Cook to step up if Nelson as well as maybe even Montgomery miss time. Montgomery added three catches for 41 yards and if he suits up next week against Dallas, will add a short pass threat out of the backfield.

Geronimo Allison was an afterthought all game, catching only one pass for eight yards after having an impressive game against the Lions last week. Allison took a backseat with Cobb coming back, but still offers a dangerous weapon as well as quality depth at a position that is always seemingly deep for Green Bay. They will need all hands on deck to beat Dallas in Jerry World.

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Taking a look at advance metrics shows Dallas’ secondary ranks 26th in the league according to Pro-Football Reference. There will be plenty of opportunities for Rodgers and this deep receiving corps to do some damage through the air. Dallas’ defense excels in run defense as they are ranked first overall in the entire league, so the Packers will have to find unique ways to utilize Montgomery, Aaron Ripkowski and Christine Michael in the passing game and take what they can get on the ground.

Next Sunday’s game is shaping up to be an instant classic. Will the rookie duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott keep up their incredible maiden season and down the Pack in Dallas? Or will Aaron Rodgers continue his Run-The-Table campaign with a win in the same building he won his first Super Bowl in?

National Fantasy Football Draft Week : 3 Green Bay Packers you should draft

By: Bill Tewes

On the heels of National Draft week for Fantasy football, millions of fans worldwide are scrambling to find a player who most of their league will overlook. We all tend to read articles on sleepers and “can’t miss guys” and still end up missing players we should have drafted all along. With that being said, here are three Green Bay Packers I think will be pleasant surprises this year and all three of these players can be had at the back end of your draft.

Davante Adams

Most people are looking at this name and already laughing at me for suggesting it. Adams had an abysmal season last year while fighting through injuries and dropping balls in big impact situations. The good news is that Adams has more poise this preseason and has shown that he is still capable of making difficult catches as well as running crisp routes. The coaching staff still believes in Adams and so does Aaron Rodgers. It now rests on his shoulders to prove them right. With Jordy Nelson back in the fold and Randall Cobb healthy, I can see Adams taking advantage of the attention those two will get and having a much better season than last year. For drafting him after the 11th round, it is conceivable to get WR3 value out of him and if he really exceeds expectations (which are definitely lower this year), he has the talent to break into the WR2 discussion.

Average Draft Selection (Yahoo): 123.5 (11th Round)

Their Projection: 514 yards, 4 touchdowns

My Projection: 745 yards, 6 touchdowns, 62 receptions

Jared Cook

 All it takes for one to believe in Jared Cook is to see him in action this preseason. Cook is an imposing force to be reckoned with and now has a future Hall of Fame quarterback throwing him the ball. Cook has been consistently impressive in both training camp and all three of Green Bay’s preseason games so far. Cook hauled in four of his five targets for 54 yards and so far has put to sleep any questions about his habit of dropping balls. While Richard Rodgers may steal away a few touchdowns, Cook should be Rodgers’ primary target at the tight end position going forward.

Average Draft Selection (Yahoo): 133 (12th Round)

Their Projection: 527 yards, 4.7 touchdowns

My projection: 620 yards, 5 touchdowns, 46 receptions

Green Bay Def/ST

There are various outlooks when it comes to drafting defenses. Some users prefer drafting one defense and sticking with them, others go week to week and I’ve even seen some users not even draft or start a defense (don’t laugh, its true!). It is not out of the question for the Green Bay Packers’ defense to ascend to the upper echelon of defenses. While some fantasy owners are going to draft the expected top defenses earlier (Seattle, Denver, Arizona etc) as early as the 5th-6th round, you can get a potential top five defense as late as the last round of your draft. Many people are overlooking Green Bay’s defense and not recognizing the strides it’s secondary has made as well as it’s consistent defensive line play. That, coupled with the fact that Green Bay has the “easiest” schedule in all of the league and does not travel out west this year, I can see them turning in a great season as far as fantasy goes.

Average Draft Selection (Yahoo): 132.9 (12th Round)

Their projection: Points allowed: 352, Sack: 40.3, Int: 17.9, Fumb: 8.6, TD: 3.5

My Projection: Points allowed: 295, Sack: 46, Int: 20, Fumb: 8.2, TD: 5

Eddie Lacy Primed For Career Year

Packers running back has multiple factors working in his favor to bounce back in a big way in 2016

By Mark Prott

Enough has already been made about the weight loss during the offseason for Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy. The pictures were evident that the offseason work with fitness guru and P90x founder Tony Horton had paid dividends.  But more importantly Lacy seems to finally be enjoying the fruits of his labor on the gridiron where it all matters. After the Green Bay Packers third preseason game and likely his last action before the regular season, Lacy’s stats stand at 20 carries for 114 yards, good for a 5.7 average per carry.

Any concerns about the power still being there have been put to rest. In fact, I’ll admit Lacy still at times looks more like a linebacker carrying the ball but it’s time to realize that is who he is, a big back with explosive power. Let’s embrace it. The eye test also says he now possesses an extra gear of speed compared to last year in his arsenal. This was evident on his 21 yard scamper against the 49ers, which ended for the first time in his NFL career with a tackle secured by his dreadlocks.

However, maybe the most important weapon gained by Lacy through his offseason workouts and new found healthy eating habits may be his conditioning. Lacy’s run in the 2016 playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals was as embarrassing as a 61 yard run can be. I’m not gonna suggest that he’s now a speed back because that’s never been his calling card. The bigger issue on that play was he seemed to simply run out of gas, which isn’t acceptable for a NFL running back. In a wise move, head coach Mike McCarthy put Lacy on notice at the beginning of the offseason for this reason and from all early returns he has responded. Even his new running backs coach Ben Sirmans has noticed the new found conditioning, as recently as the week 2 preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.

“He said he was pretty surprised that he didn’t feel like he had to come out. I think that bodes well for his fitness level and what we’re asking him to do,” said Sirmans in an interview with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. So why does this bode well for the Packers in 2016? Well when the Packers offense is at their best the result is a no-huddle attack mode going full throttle. This means plenty of opportunities for Lacy to touch the ball in the run game and the pass game, where he might be even more dangerous when smaller players in the back end of defenses, such as cornerbacks are asked to bring the bruising back down. Without having to tap out to backup running back James Starks for a breather, Lacy will likely easily increase his touch total from 2015. I also think the move of J.C. Tretter to the starting center position could make the screen game even more effective, as his athleticism is second to none on the line. His ability to get down the field and block is a weapon that should allow for big plays in both the screen game and run game alike.

Another factor that might not be quite as popular to fans but no doubt has a real factor in performance is the contract status of Lacy. At 26, Lacy is entering the final year of his original deal and no doubt will be looking to cash in on what may be his only chance for a lucrative deal. It’s only natural for it to be on his mind. Running backs have notoriously shorter shelf lives than pretty much any other position and Lacy doesn’t exactly avoid contact.

One final and possibly more important factor than any is the way defenses will be playing the potentially potent Packers offense. With Jordy Nelson on the shelf in 2015, defenses simply didn’t respect the Packers pass game and aimed to stop the run by bringing extra defenders down and playing a lot of 8 men in the box. In the 2016 season, things are likely to change. With Jordy back in the fold and the addition of Jared Cook, who has been electrifying in the preseason and practice, defenses might be forced to pick their poison on what to attempt to stop. The guess here is the majority of defenses will concede to the best player on the Packers’ offense, Aaron Rodgers and try to contain him by playing coverage. Behind a motivated offensive line, containing four starters in the last year of their contracts respectively, you can bet there will be more running lanes created and a motivated running back aiming for new heights in 2016.

 

Make Green Bay's Offense Great Again

By: Jim Boyce

Why Jordy Nelson doesn’t need to match his 2014 totals to take the Packers to new heights.

Have you ever heard the expression that something is “So horrible that you can’t look away”? That was basically the Packers passing game last season. For a multitude of reasons the unit, led by Aaron Rodgers no less, lost its mojo during the 2nd half of week 4 at San Francisco and never got it back. One big reason, and perhaps the most easily identifiable, was the loss of Jordy Nelson before the 2015 season even began.

The easiest assumption to make is that Nelson will step in, post something similar to his fantastic 2014 stat line (98 rec 1519 yards 13 TDs) and everything will go back to normal. This isn’t out of the question and I’ll be happy if it’s that simple, but I’m here to suggest not that Nelson will decline, but that the growth of the young receivers will ease the burden on him to carry the passing game.

Jordy Nelson’s return helps everybody, and perhaps none more than Randall Cobb. Cobb hurt his shoulder in the third preseason game and chances are that affected him deep into the season. Nonetheless his production suffered when he was forced into the number one role without another WR of equal talent on the field. Cobb’s receptions dropped by 12 from 91 to 79, but what is really alarming is that his yardage dropped by 458! Clearly the big plays were missing from Cobb’s game last season. With Nelson back to occupy other teams’ top corners, expect Cobb to have more space to operate and thus get free for some big gainers.

One of the more compelling storylines heading into training camp is the rest of the WR corps. The Packers essentially have 5 players battling for what may only be 4 spots. Davante Adams was expected to take a big leap in Nelson’s absence but it never happened. Injured and inconsistent, even Adams himself understands that last season was not up to the standards expected of him.

“Obviously, the season I had last year, I wasn’t proud of it. So I’ve got to change it and do what I’ve got to do to move forward,” Adams said, via ESPN.com. “It’s a new year. Obviously, not everything goes the way you plan it to go. You can’t control some things. I hurt my ankle, I hurt my knee; I can’t do anything about that. What I can do is bounce back from it. It’s not just [about] proving it to the team but proving it to myself.”

I don’t know what Adams ceiling might be, but I certainly don’t expect him to be as bad as he was last season. Again Jordy Nelsons presence means Adams will be facing 3rd corners, and I believe he can become a serviceable 3rd wide out. As much of a struggle as 2015 was, I have to believe the experience he gained going against starting cornerbacks will help him a ton when he starts matching up against 3rd and 4th corners this season.

Ty Montgomery showed some real promise to start his rookie campaign.  Aside from averaging a shade over 31 yards on 7 kick returns, he showed a knack for making plays, such as his early TD catch versus the Rams and a couple big receptions during a tight game against the Seahawks. (Check out 1:07-1:23 here). Unfortunately he suffered a severe ankle injury week 6 and may not even be ready for the start of this season.

If Montgomery begins the season on the PUP list, that would allow all of Trevor Davis, Jeff
Janis, and Jared Abbrederis to begin the season on the 53 man roster. Frankly all three are deserving. Davis being a 5th round draft choice with a ton of speed seems like a safe bet to make the team as it’s hard to see Ted Thompson just wasting a draft pick. As painful as Nelson being out was last season, the experience gained by Janis and Abbrederis, particularly in the playoffs at Arizona, could pay dividends this season. McCarthy praised Abbrederis recently and Abbrederis has shown good fundamentals in his time in Green Bay, unfortunately he has also battled a myriad of injuries. Jeff Janis may be the most hyped 7th round pick in NFL history, but his heroic plays at the end of the Arizona game certainly showed the physical tools he possesses. With another year in the offseason program I would not be shocked if either one of these players made a leap in 2016.

All in all the 2016 WR group could be deep, which would alleviate pressure on Nelson to put up 100 yards every game coming back off the ACL. There are other factors too. Jared Cook was brought in to add speed to the tight end group. I personally don’t believe Cook even has to put up more than 2 or 3 catches per game to have been a solid addition as long as he accomplishes the goal of forcing linebackers and safeties to respect his speed. Defenses’ playing deep on Cook and Nelson will open up the middle of the field for Cobb, Montgomery etc. to make plays in space.

The Packers finished 25th in passing offense in 2015, which is still difficult to fathom as Aaron Rodgers played in all 16 games. Do not expect a repeat in 2016. Jordy Nelson’s return makes everyone else on the field better, and in turn allows other guys to help Nelson in carrying the passing attack back to the lofty heights we have become used to up in Green Bay. Nelson may or may not match his lofty statistics from 2014, but he is still as important as ever to Green Bay’s title hopes.