Tag: Packers

Green Bay Packers Free Agency 2018 Could See Change in Packers’ Modus Operandi

Green Bay packers Free Agency 2018 Outlook

Green Bay Packers free agency could take a sharp turn in 2018 with the hiring of Brian Gutekunst at General Manager. The Packers announced today that they have made a decision on who will be Ted Thompson’s successor at GM and they have chosen in-house candidate Brian Gutekunst.

Gutekunst has been with the organization for 20 years, as of this upcoming season and was part of Ron Wolf’s hiring tree. There might not be a more deserving candidate as Gutekunst, who no doubt has been Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers approved after there was much turmoil with the rumor that Packers executive Russ Ball was the front-runner for GM.

With that being said, will Gutekunst turn around a franchise that has been timid at best in signing free agents? The ultimate question surrounding Gutekunst will be if he has the killer instinct that Thompson (at let’s be honest Mark Murphy) lacked in looking outside the organization for talent.

One would imagine that a new GM would want to make an immediate impact and look to free agency. The Packers, once again, cannot afford to sift through unproven talent in the draft to fill the holes and needs of the team. So what options does Gutekunst have? Here are some of the impact decisions that he can make that will immediately make it clear that the Packers are ready to make a quick re-build and compete:

Correct Current Roster Issues

The Packers are in desperate need of a current roster makeover. Players such as Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are big cap question marks heading into the off-season. It is almost a no-brainer at this point to cut ties with Matthews, who makes too much money for his current level of production. If the Packers are still concerned that they cannot find replaceable talent via free agency at linebacker, they can ask Matthews to restructure and stay with the team. Which I personally think would be a mistake, but it might be a viable option at this point.

Aaron Rodgers will most certainly get an extension to be the highest paid quarterback in the league. This will be another “difficult” decision for Gutekunst to make, but one that is clearly necessary and will get done no matter what. The interesting part of all of this will be how many years and how they plan on structuring the cap hit.

Nelson and Cobb are two players who are also not living up to their current cap hits. Nelson is an issue of an aging player taking a step back. But Cobb’s $10 million cap hit is not worth his level of production. I would imagine both players are restructure candidates and I could see the organization seeking to keep both. But Cobb would be the most likely outright cut to save cap money and give him an option to truly test free agency to see if he can catch on with another team.

Giving a deal to Morgan Burnett should currently be the Packers top priority. I cannot imagine this secondary succeeding without their most reliable player. Burnett has consistently proven throughout the years that he is a leader on defense. Burnett will be due a 2-3 year deal and I think the Packers can get him for a reasonable price.

Bryan Bulaga could be a potential cut, as he is just too oft-injured to make an impact. I think he is is a fine player and does his job when he is healthy. But his cap hit is too much for the potential that he will suffer yet another season ending injury.

Another aspect that most people will not look at initially is special teams. Mason Crosby will most definitely will be asked to restructure as his cap hit is $5.25 million this upcoming season. His compliance in this cap saving measure will come due to age and wanting to stay with a team that stuck with him through his struggles a few years back.

Finally Look to Free Agency to Fill Holes ahead of draft

The Packers must, and this time I truly mean must, look to free agency to add some talent. This roster is realistically only a few players away from being being good enough to make another playoff push. Gutekunst could make a big splash and prove he is capable of making tough decisions by dipping into free agency. Here are some players the Packers could target to bolster their roster.

Ezekiel Ansah

Ansah could be the answer for Green Bay’s pass rush. The current Detroit Lion is headed to free agency and will certainly be an expensive player. The Packers are waiting on Chicago’s decision to cut ties with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. If they get their guy in Fangio as D-Coordinator, I would imagine he would institute a 3-4 defense, even though it seems we have the personnel to fit a 4-3. The acquisition of Ansah would push both Kenny Clark and Daniels to the interior, where they could thrive. Green Bay would have a true edge rusher, which they have lacked for a while and it would be nice to pry an elite talent away from a division rival.

DeMarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Lawrence is perhaps Dallas’ best defensive piece, will certainly be getting paid this off-season. Lawrence posted career numbers this year on a depleted Dallas defense, with no real notable pass rushers outside of him. Sean Lee was hurt on and off and Lawrence still proved he could get consistent pressure on opposing QBs. At 25 years old, Lawrence is entering his prime years and as long as this year was no fluke, should make good on his market value. According to spotrac.com, Lawrence’s market value is 9 million over 4 years. Lawrence will most likely command more as he is posting Akiem Hicks and Cameron Jordan like numbers. If Dallas chooses not to sign him, he might be an intriguing option for Green Bay’s revamped pass attack.

A look at the similarities between Lawrence and other dynamic pass rushers this season.

Jarvis Landry

Signing Landry also would come at a considerable price, but might be worth it to give Rodgers another dynamic, sure-handed weapon in the passing game. The Packers are looking at interesting times with their receiving core. They certainly expect Davante Adams to soar to new heights with his 4 year, 58 million dollar contract. As I mentioned earlier, they faced uncertainty with Cobb and Nelson. The receivers at the back end of the depth chart are unproven, or have only shown flashes. The Packers have two dynamic running backs and will not have to look to the draft or free agency to fill that void, so perhaps they could look at a free agent like Landry, or even Sammy Watkins (who should be cheaper) to add another weapon to the aerial attack.

Nigel Bradham

Bradham is another player similar to Lawrence who had a career year this season. The difference with Bradham is that he will not break the bank for Green Bay like Lawrence or Ansah would and would provide a consistent tackler at linebacker. The Eagles very well may keep Bradham and he certainly comes with character concerns. But the Packers would be foolish to not at least take a look at Bradham if he indeed becomes a free agent, after two relatively successful seasons in Philadelphia.

Malcolm Butler

It is no secret that Butler has not been happy with the New England Patriots. Perhaps the signing of Stephone Gilmore really got to Butler, as the Patriots have been pretty mum on what they will do with the former Super Bowl hero. A fresh start with a franchise who desperately needs a playmaker at cornerback, Butler would alleviate the pressure on Kevin King to immediately be Green Bay’s best cornerback. Butler and King would be the dominant forces on the outside and Randall/Rollins could split duties at the slot position or even play their natural position of safety.

A Backup Quarterback

Green Bay’s situation at backup Quarterback leaves much to be desired. While Hundley still has a year on his rookie contract, the Packers have no choice but to look at free agency options to backup Rodgers. Some options include Matt Moore, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown. This team will no doubt invest some money in the backup position, in the event that Rodgers is out more games than they would expect and be better prepared than to roll with Hundley, who clearly is not the quarterback the team thought he would be after 3 years. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they drafted a quarterback and cut Hundley outright, or signed him to the practice squad. His time in Green Bay is most likely coming to an end.

Prince Amukamara

Amukamara could be an interesting prospect if the Packers are looking for secondary depth. Amukamara could be a nice piece to be had if the Packers do indeed bring in Fangio at D-Coordinator. He will not command a big cap when he signed with Chicago. Far from an elite player, Amukamara could be had for a relatively cheap cap hit and would, at the very least, be a similar signing to Davon House this past season.

Green Bay’s off-season Path is Fairly Clear

The Packers will now opearate with a new GM and defensive coordinator. Head Coach Mike McCarthy is here through at least the 2019 season and the offense should not skip a beat. The Packers have enough needs to fill through both free agency and the draft. They will most definitely look for EDGE help and maybe a cornerback with their 1st pick (14th overall) in this year’s draft.

Make no mistake about it, Gutekunst will definitely make a big move to establish his legacy early on. The Packers can no longer sit around and hope that their draft picks develop to be top notch players like in the Thompson era. That does not mean we will foolishly spend in free agency, but acquiring decent talent in the off-season, supplemented by solid drafts will hopefully net the team one more Super Bowl appearance in the Rodgers era.

If the Packers cannot provide a solid off-season contingency plan, one would have to ask why Rodgers would want to stick around? The past few seasons he has been battered and suffered essentially season ending injuries in the two of the last five seasons. Rodgers has a number one receiver in Adams, a player he has been vocal about the team keeping and has two running backs who are capable of supplementing the pass attack. It is now up to management to fix the rest of the team and bring back a winning formula to this team.

NFL Mock Draft 2017: Derek Barnett and Mike Williams Moving Up

By: Bill Tewes

The NFL Mock Draft season is heating up. At Brew City Sports Report, we took a different angle and did a collaborative mock draft. Each of us chose three teams and alternated picks to get a unique twist on the traditional mock drafting process. Take a look at our NFL mock draft below as we discuss in depth the top 10 picks and reveal the rest.

Here are how the teams were split up:

Bill: Chicago, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Detroit, Miami, Kansas City, Dallas.

Mark: San Francisco, Tennessee, Carolina, New Orleans (1), Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, New York Giants, Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans (2).

Jim: Cleveland (1), New York Jets, LA Chargers, Cleveland (2), Arizona, Tennessee (2), Tampa Bay, Oakland, Houston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta.

The top two picks ended up being Garrett and Thomas, which is par for the course with many experts. It seems almost too good to be true for Cleveland to pass up on a cornerstone defensive piece such as Garrett. The 49ers have expressed interest in trading out of the two spot, but they can also use a defensive player and their defensive line is essentially non-existent aside from DeForest Buckner, their 7th overall pick last year.

The Chicago Bears are allegedly interested in trading out of the third overall spot. Teams are fielding offers after seeing what  Tennessee received for trading out of the top spot in the 2016 draft. We have Chicago taking Malik Hooker, to bolster their secondary and get a player who has a nose for the ball, but will need some time to mature. Chicago is a good fit as they are beginning to rebuild and will have plenty of time to get Hooker experience.

Jacksonville needs a defensive end and will happily take Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen. Although I personally think that Allen will be the first player to take a serious tumble down draft boards on opening night.

The Titans definitely have a huge conundrum with having two picks in the top 20. Taking into consideration that they have secondary needs and can also use a dynamic receiving option, our mock has them taking Mike Williams with their first pick and then selecting a cornerback at 18 in Marlon Humphrey.

The first big shakeup in the draft comes with the Jets at 6, taking tight end OJ Howard. In fact, Howard’s stock has been increasing and he would be the first tight end since Vernon Davis to be selected with the 6th overall pick (Davis was 6th in 2006). This pick makes a lot of sense because the Jets will be rebuilding for a few years and should not be hell-bent on over-drafting a QB so early in the draft. I could see them picking up a DeShone Kizer or perhaps a Davis Webb, who is moving up draft boards, in the second round.

The Chargers nab one of the better talents, as Jamal Adams falls to them at pick 7. Most noteworthy is Adam’s leadership skills, which could end up moving him up, ahead of the likes of Hooker and other defensive backs.

Leonard Fournette, this draft’s version of Ezekiel Elliott, is taken by the Carolina Panthers. Carolina can use a running back to compliment an aging Jonathan Stewart. I could also see Christian McCaffrey landing in Carolina and giving Cam Newton a dynamic receiving option out of the backfield.

Another intriguing top 10 pick comes in at 9th overall with Derek Barnett. Barnett has all of the tools to crack into the top five in a really deep draft for defensive lineman. During Barnett’s freshman year, he tallied 10 sacks and 20.5 tackles for a loss. at 6’3″ 260, he ran a 4.88 40 and some mocks have Barnett as high as top 3.

The Green Bay Packers get homegrown hero T.J. Watt after an explosive season at linebacker for Wisconsin. Watt fills an immediate need for Green Bay at linebacker and gives them flexibility in moving Matthews inside or keeping him at his traditional spot of outside linebacker. The obvious concern with Watt is sample size. But he is definitely an intriguing option and will be worth a shot if he is there at 29. Will be interesting to see what Thompson does come draft night.

Here is how the rest of the mock draft shaped up:

11. Marshon Lattimore CB- Buffalo

12. DeShaun Watson QB- Cleveland

13. Reuben Foster LB- Arizona

14. Gareon Conley CB- Philadelphia

15. Dalvin Cook RB- Indianapolis

16. John Ross WR- Baltimore

17. Haason Reddick LB- Washington

18. Marlon Humphrey CB- Tennessee

19. Taco Charlton DE- Tampa Bay

20. Christian McCaffrey RB- Denver

21. Caleb Brantley DT- Detroit

22. Ryan Ramczyk OT- Miami

23. David Njoku TE- New York Giants

24. Malik McDowell DE- Oakland

25. Patrick Mahomes QB- Houston

26. Kevin King CB- Seattle

27. Takkarist McKinley LB/DE- Kansas City

28. Jabrill Peppers S- Dallas

29. T.J. Watt LB- Green Bay

30. Corey Davis WR- Pittsburgh

31. Cam Robinson OT- Atlanta

32. Jarrad Davis LB- New Orleans

 

 

It Doesn't Matter What Position Ty Montgomery Plays

Is Ty Montgomery a running back or a receiver? It doesn’t matter!

By: Bill Tewes

When a player lands on the injured reserve list, it is generally a horrible predicament for many teams, especially when that player is a starter and a star. For the Green Bay Packers, losing Eddie Lacy to injury was a position many thought the team could not afford to be in. While the Packers are certainly hurting without Lacy, the door has been opened for yet another opportunity for Green Bay’s offense to be revitalized.

Enter Ty Montgomery, the second year wide receiver out of Stanford. Up until the Dallas game, Montgomery had seen limited action this season, mostly due to the fact that he was coming off nearly a year removed from playing in an NFL game after suffering a brutal ankle injury against the Chargers last season. Montgomery is also part of a crowded wide receiver corps, but now it appears as if his role is about to expand exponentially.

Montgomery has been thrust into a Swiss army knife type role, where he will be asked to shoulder many of the touches at running back and also function as an essential part of Green Bay’s wide receiver corps. The injury to Lacy has definitely opened up the door for the opportunity at running back, but dating back to last season, head coach Mike McCarthy has been hell-bent on getting both Montgomery and Randall Cobb touches in the backfield. These two receivers have been ready for this role even if it was not necessarily going to be a defined role for them.

Green Bay’s victory versus Chicago showcased what Montgomery is capable of when he is comfortable at running back and given the opportunity to get nearly double digit carries. Montgomery carried the ball a total of nine times for 60 yards (a whopping 6.66 yards per carry) and broke off an impressive run where he found a hole and galloped to a 30 yard-gain.

Montgomery was the feature back throughout the night with practice squad call up Don Jackson suffering a hand injury only six snaps into the game. He also accounted for 66 yards receiving on 10 receptions and should be an essential piece to the revitalization of Green Bay’s offense this season. Teams should expect to see a full dose of Montgomery throughout the rest of this season. If Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was the head coach for the Green Bay Packers and was asked in a press conference if he thought Montgomery was a receiver or a running back, he would simply say “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT POSITION HE PLAYS!”

Many have compared Montgomery to teammate Cobb, but it’s pretty obvious that Montgomery has the better build to handle a full carry load at running back, whereas Cobb could act as a change of pace scat-back type for a little extra speed out of the backfield. Montgomery’s draft profile suggested that he had not lived up to his potential as a wide receiver in college and his measurables better fit the description of a running back. It is safe to say this is the reason why the Packers did not invest a lot of money in the backup running back position, as they already had a player on the roster who is capable of filling this role if need be and that player is Montgomery.

Green Bay Packers win a nail biter against a tough Jacksonville squad on the road: Offensive and Defensive Takeaways

By: Bill Tewes

The Green Bay Packers survived a late push from the Blake Bortles led Jacksonville Jaguars to take a win on the road 27-23. The Packers came out sluggish in the dead Jacksonville heat today, but picked up and showed signs of offensive excellence at the end of the first half and throughout much of the 3rd quarter. So what can we take away from the very first game of the 2016 season? Here are my offensive and defensive takeaways.

Offensive Takeaways:

The Packers offense was looking like a replica of last year’s struggles until they turned it around mid-way through the second quarter. Jordy Nelson hauled in a touchdown and looks to have good burst after suffering an ACL tear last year. Then the play of the game came just before the end of the first half when Aaron Rodgers was being pulled down by Jalen Ramsey and threw a muscled dart to Davante Adams, who hauled it in for the touchdown. Impressive catch from Adams who previously failed to make a difficult catch earlier in the game. The offense finished up with 294 yards and we have to hope as the season progresses, Aaron Rodgers and company being to click and we can capitalize on more scoring opportunities instead of settling for field goals just outside of the red zone.

The offensive line play was solid throughout the entire game. Many questions surrounded Lane Taylor and whether or not he would be an adequate replacement for Josh Sitton. So far, so good! Taylor did not commit any penalties. The o-line gave up only one sack (which was on a play where Rodgers held onto the ball too long and was sacked just short of the line of scrimmage) and looks like they will be pretty effective in both pass and run blocking. The line cleared out a huge hole for Lacy on his longest run of the game and constantly out-muscled the likes of Malik Jackson and Jared Odrick.

Green Bay’s run game was not as effective as the Packers’ probably had hoped it would be. While Eddie Lacy had some nice runs, he was held to 61 yards on 14 carries (4.4 yards per carry). It seemed like Green Bay abandoned the run in spots where they could have continued to pound the rock, especially when their aerial assault began to falter. With more opportunities, Lacy should have no problem cracking 100 yards every game this year.

Defensive Takeaways:

Quinten Rollins’ season got off to a rough start as he got burned multiple times. After having an impressive breakup on Joe Thomas’ interception, he would later give up a touchdown to Julius Thomas and was eventually replaced by Ladarius Gunter. Rollins was forced back into the game when Sam Shields went out with what looked like a concussion. He had a nice break up on what would have been a go ahead touchdown for Jacksonville. on Allen Robinson While Rollins had a rough day, there is still a lot to like about his game and I expect him to turn in some excellent games throughout the season.

Nick Perry had an impressive game and is already making an impact all over the field. Perry had a crucial sack late in the 4th quarter which forced Jacksonville to kick a 50-yard field goal when they were threatening to tie the game. The run defense was superb today and only allowed T.J. Yeldon to 1.9 yards per carry. The defense finished up with three sacks, but will need to get more pressure on opposing QBs. They allowed Bortles to throw for 320 yards after pass defense was supposed to be their strong suit this year. Green Bay did however do a sufficient job of containing Jacksonville’s top weapon in Allen Robinson, holding him to 72 yards on six receptions.

The Packers head to Minnesota next weekend for Sunday night football in Minnesota’s brand new stadium. It will be interesting to see who Minnesota chooses to start at Quarterback and if Rodgers can throw on Minnesota’s staunch secondary.

All stats per ESPN.com

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