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Confessions of a Polluted Mindset: A Packers Brain Drain

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Confessions of a Polluted Mindset: A Packers Brain Drain

Mike McCarthy: Not sure who kidnapped Mike McCarthy and replaced him with a clone, but thank you. Coach Mike was unseemingly honest in some of his public comments after this last game, telling Larry McCarren after the game "it was hard to watch" and "it was an ugly, ugly, ugly game." The next day, he had more to say, including this:

 

Thanks, Mike, for sparing us the usual "adjustments" or "some pawsitives"  or "clean things up" lines. Tell it like it is more often, please. 

On that same topic, I was doing some google searching and came across this knee-jerk blasting of Mike McCarthy I wrote in November of 2009, right after the horrendous loss to the winless Tamp Bay Buccaneers that prompted the now-famous "Come to Jesus" team meeting. The Packers did turn it around after that game, going from 4-4 to 11-5 and a wild card appearance against the Arizona Cardinals. We won't talk about that game, however...

Antonio Morrison: Say what you will about Antonio Morrison, but the guy started 15 games for the Colts and was in on 108 tackles. With all of the CB additions this off-season, Lenzy Pipkins was just a former UDFA that was not going to make this team. Whatever Morrison gives you, it's more than the nothing you would have gotten from Pipkins. Nice work, Gutey.

Jason Spriggs: Pssst, you didn't hear it from me, but Jason Spriggs actually played pretty well against the Raiders. I blasted Spriggs in this space last week, and rightfully so. His performance against the Steelers was a horror show (As bad as Kyle Murphy looked this week, but Spriggs wasn't playing with an injury like Murphyb was). Like I did last week, I went back and analyzed every one of Spriggs' snaps:  

1st series - There were no "minus" plays in my book, whether in pass protection or run blocking.

2nd series - Arden Key enters for the Raiders and shows his speed on the edge on the first snap, but Spriggs does ok with it. He must have been a bit concerned, though, as he was called for a false start on the next play, obviously looking to get to his spot before Key did.

For the rest of the half, Spriggs looked like a competent NFL offensive tackle. He exhibited a much better first step and kick-slide, anchored well, handled spin moves and bull rushes and was even effective as a run blocker. You couldn't be blamed for thinking someone else was wearing number 78 that night. Really, his performances in the last two games couldn't have been more different. I'm not sure which one to believe.

One more thing on Spriggs - McCarthy says he's playing at a new weight, The roster on Packers.com shows him at 301lbs, the same weight he measured at the Combine. My guess is the roster just hasn't been updated. 

Kyler Fackrell: A bit of a shocker here, but Kyler Fackrell played a pretty nice half of football against the Raiders. I was mostly keeping an eye on Reggie Gilbert when I re-watched the game, but Fackrell kept unexpectedly diverting my attention to what he was doing. Fackrell got consistent pressure when rushing, mostly held the edge well and dropped in coverage without embarrassing himself. He didn't rack up much in the stat department, and I'm not saying you should be excited, but there might be some hope for him.

Ahmad Thomas: Thomas caused a bit of a Twitter firestorm on Sunday with the following tweet.

Admittedly, I fanned the flames a bit by publicly wondering about the timing of the tweet. Most people, including myself, took it as self-motivation and maybe a shot at the Raiders who cut him last year. Had he tweeted this any time Friday Night, Saturday or Sunday morning, that would have been the end of it. But the tweet appeared shortly after the Packers had announced their trade for Antonio Morrison. Was this just bad timing on his part? What do you think?

Hundley - Kizer: I'm no expert on evaluating quarterbacks, but even NFL pros would have a very tough time with that due to the terrible performance of the offensive line. Having said that, I feel like Hundley is playing faster this year and looks more confident with his decision making. Is this just more preseason smoke from Hundley? 

Trevor Davis: the way the Packers coaches have been talkiing up his special teams prowess, it sure sounds like he's making this team, likely at the expense of Jake Kumerow, who offers little in the way of special teams help.

Deangelo Yancy: Has anyone had a quieter camp than Yancy? There has been practically nothing reported about him. He started the Oakland game but was barely heard from - one target, no catches. M.I.A.

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Lphill's picture

All I know is the Packers need to get off to a fast start especially winning the first two at home and MM needs to stop taking his foot off the gas this season we all want to see a lot of Rodgers to Graham , cuts will be hard and there will be some head scratching from us but again improved defense and no Capers is a step in the right direction , go Pack go !

Coldworld's picture

Random musings prompted by your thoughts above ....

Hundley is playing against Vanilla defenses. Has he really been notably better than Kizer? Would he win more games in season? I find them to be very close allowing for who they have played with and against.

Spriggs was considerably better than it seemed against the Raiders, I agree.

Murphy was not the player we saw last year. I wonder how much of this was his injury sustained in the game and how much may be a result of his season ending injury last year, if any?

Yancey has effectively played himself off the team. He has looked to have less potential this preseason than last. If Kumerow doesn’t make the roster I would far rather offer him a PS berth than Yancey based on what I have seen.

I do not see the value in a FB we have on our roster over an extra TE. Is the perceived need for a FB (on our current roster) really ST driven?

Davis seems to be seen as a potential game changer on ST by the coaches (about which I am sceptical). The best gunner I have seen in preseason is Goodson. Neither have demonstrated a case for inclusion for any other reason. Is it perhaps a minor knock on Gutekunst that we may end up keeping one or two players because we have not found better options who can contribute on O or D?

dobber's picture

"Is it perhaps a minor knock on Gutekunst that we may end up keeping one or two players because we have not found better options who can contribute on O or D?"

I wouldn't judge the GM in that way. Every team has one or maybe two roster spots occupied by special teams specialists. I agree that you'd much rather have guys in those roles who are--or are developing into--regular contributors on O or D, but it doesn't bother me that player number 52 on the roster got bumped by a Davis or a Goodson assuming that those specialists really are exceptionally good at what they're giving on ST.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Very disappointed if Davis makes the team at thrme expense of Kumerow.

We need WRs more than a KR, after losing Jordy and Cobb is hurt so often.
Kumerow runs great routes.
He gets open.
And he catches the ball.

Oppy's picture

I really don't see it as "Davis or Kumerow" because I view Kumerow as a WR and I see Davis as a ST player, but since people insist on comparing them as though they're the same:

Do you believe Jake Kumerow will contribute 1,000 yards on offense as the #4 (even as a #3) WR in 2018?

1,000 yards is what you're giving up when you cut Davis from the roster.

Bearmeat's picture

Gross.

KOR yards are important, yes. But give me a 10 yard run on 3rd and 3 over starting at the 35 vs the 27 on a KOR. Davis is no better than Cobb or J Jackson at PRs.

Gunner? That I can see an argument for.

dobber's picture

We're going to draft a hot-shot, field-flipping young punter so we don't need to keep an elite gunner like Jeff Janis who doesn't contribute to the offensive depth chart.

We're going to keep Dimitri Goodson/Trevor Davis because they are really good gunners that help in punt game field position, even though they don't give us anything else.

What's wrong with these two statements?

Oppy's picture

What's wrong is nobody is asking what that free loader JK Scott is doing for the team besides contributing to Special Teams play. I'm pretty sure Davante Adams can punt good enough, and at least he contributes to the offense.

All sarcasm aside, what's wrong with those two statements is we didn't draft JK Scott to omit the need for sound ST players, we drafted JK Scott to further improve on it.

Oppy's picture

The last time Cobb handled a significant number of punts- more than 20- was 2012, and he averaged almost 3 ypp less than Davisdid in 2017.

2014 was the last time he touched more than ten punts. He averaged 4 YPP less.

He is a better Kick returner, but he hasn't done that since 2012, either. But punts? No, Cobb's not a better Punt Returner than Trevor Davis.

As far as Jackson is concerned.. What, we've seen two PR's from him in preseason? Come on, man. I think he showed promise- at least more so than anyone else on the Packers this offseason- but the sample size is way too small.

As far as preferring a 10 yard run on 3rd and 3 over starting at the 35 vs. the 27 on a return? Just imagine if you didn't even have to make 3rd and 3, because you scored a 7 yard touchdown on 2nd down.

Bearmeat's picture

The KOR is going the way of the dodo. It's already a pretty boring play. PR: I'd rather have Jackson and another roster spot at S/OT/OLB/ILB etc...

Just my .02. I think Davis is not a good football player.

croatpackfan's picture

Well you should build team roster for 2018 season, not for future seasons. KOR & PR are still important, as starting position is important. So you pick team who can gives you the best chances...

SJ EC's picture

Not trying to be rude, but could you please explain how getting rid of Davis results in a loss of 1,000 yards of production?

Oppy's picture

SJ EC,

Davis accounted for 1,079 All purpose yards in 2017. That’s return yardage on STs and receiving yardage.

Bottom line, yards are yards.

D.D. Driver's picture

That's an interesting argument, but its not as if the replacement returner will net 0 AP yards. So you aren't "giving up 1000 yards."

Oppy's picture

That's a fair point, D.D.

Of course, that works the other way, too- if Kumerow doesn't make the team, certainly someone else will take his yardage.

dobber's picture

I think we need to take into account that roster building has a lot to do with individual performance: that's what we see and what we put the most stock in. But it also has a lot to do with how individual pieces fit together and how they can put together active rosters on game day...especially when it comes down to those last few roster spots.

RobinsonDavis's picture

I think the arguments on all sides, above, are valid. It probably equates to what the Packers staff is considering as well.

Another point to ponder is who do they believe will be the 7 scratches come the first two weeks. In other words, who are they looking to simply protect vs. needing to play. This normally revolves around ST performance, albeit coupled with positional value/need.

Tim Backes's picture

It's encouraging to see Spriggs not play like complete garbage, given he's going to be on the roster this year and, in all likelihood, will see playing time (the whole line isn't going to make it through the year fully healthy).

There's probably a reason we haven't heard much about Yancey--there are like eight receivers over him on the depth chart at the moment.

dobber's picture

Yancey's inability to make a statement against lousy, vanilla defenses, when other receivers like MVS and Kumerow ARE making statements, really makes a statement.

Tarynfor12's picture

Silence is Golden...and here's proof.

https://youtu.be/xa-p5D_FfbA

Bert's picture

Yeah, I have to admit I was wrong about Yancey. I thought he would be develop into a pretty good WR when he was drafted. Just based on what I saw of him in college I thought he had pretty good tools. Oh well. Another reason I'm not an NFL scout or GM.

Tundraboy's picture

Or he could be a Trojan Horse they are holding back film on.

dobber's picture

He's full of Greek soldiers?

BradHTX's picture

Beware of WRs bearing gifts.

Packer Dave's picture

One can hold out hope that something clicks with Spriggs and ups his game. Maybe just leave him at LT as much as possible? Still need a RT for the future...

If Davis makes this team at the expense of one of the rookies something has gone wrong. Also, Kumerow knows where to be and when to be there (with Jordy-like measureables). Rodgers can put the ball where he wants it when he wants to. What better combo can you ask? I would argue that Kumerow could do some serious damage with AR under center, we just haven't seen it yet.

dobber's picture

Not to downplay what Kumerow has done--I've become a fan--but just about any WR who can reasonably catch the ball is going to be elevated by #12.

It's starting to sound like the "Sophie's Choice" scenario is going to play out: do you keep the very consistent UDFA with the lower athletic ceiling (who, frankly, hurt his shoulder being stupid and put his own roster spot on the line) at the expense of the younger, haven't-shown-as-much-consistency-but-are-athletically-more-gifted-with-higher-ceilings rookie draft picks? If Davis makes the roster, it's likely not at the expense of a WR per se unless that other WR happened to be player number 53 on the roster....in which case: what have you really lost?

BradHTX's picture

"...the Sophie's Choice scenario..."

Meryl Streep playing wide receiver?

(Not disagreeing with your analysis at all, btw, just trying to seriously figure out what that means...)

Chris Vachio's picture

She'd be WR1 for the Bears...

Guam's picture

I think the answer to the Davis question will tell us a great deal about Gute's philosophy on players. Gute already let one special team's ace go (Janis) and if he cuts Davis we will have a clear indication that Gute values versatility over very good one trick ponies.

Personally I think much of Davis' production could be replaced by Jackson who I believe returned punts for Iowa last year. This would allow the Packers to keep a more productive WR which Davis has never been.

Johnblood27's picture

Follow the money.

Janis was up for a second contract, Davis is on his rookie deal.

Which one will be a gunner?

First contract guy stays.

Thats why Janis was let walk, nothing to do with ability.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

In terms of Thomas tweet....players should simply stay off social media PERIOD to avoid PR disasters like this. Without having any way of knowing I'd suggest he was communicating his frustration with Oakland that he was happier on the Packers. He is a competitor!

Every year, we all (me included) have strong beliefs about how certain players should be drafted over others, or a certain player should be picked up in FA, or some player or another should make the 53, or the practice squad. The Packers have dozens of finely honed football minds analyzing every player and every need they have. I bow to their expertise even though it doesn't mean I'm immune to frustration at times.

For example the whole WR situation has me emotionally charged as the potential of all 3 rookies along with Kumerow has the Pack's arrow pointing upward. You cannot keep everyone but hopefully the Pack cut Kendricks, and RIP. I'm very conflicted about the Davis situation but believe he stays and the Pack tries to put a couple of the above WR's on the Practice Squad. Undoubtedly, at least one will not make it. There is a very fine balance between winning today and building for tomorrow and sometimes sacrifices may not make sense to us because of these reasons.

I believe a perfect example might be the Favre/Rogers situation. Long-term Rogers was obviously the right decision but was it the right decision the first year Rogers started with the powerhouse team the Pack had the previous year losing at the end of the game in the NFC Championship game? Could be debated endlessly and it undoubtedly has been.

Tim Backes's picture

Characterizing the Thomas tweet as a PR disaster seems to be a little bit of an exaggeration to me.

RCPackerFan's picture

It really feels like the Packers have a new mindset heading into the season. It just feels different from past years. Its clear that the changes in the front office and coaching has really made a difference.

The Morrison trade was a good one. They get a player that started 15 games last year, and gave up a player that played in 12 and started 1. While I liked Pipkins and think he could develop into a quality player, I am not even sure if he was going to make the 53 this year.

I thought Spriggs played a good game. Though how much of that was the fact that Murphy was so terrible that it made him look better?

I'm not sure if Davis will make the 53, but I think he is going to have to show something in the final to make it. It sounds like they want him on it.
If it does truly come down between him and Kumerow, special teams will be the final decision.

Don Hutson's picture

I am so glad that the Packer GM doesn't post comments on CHTV.

Oppy's picture

It would be great if he did.
It would be better if his screen name was "COW"

dobber's picture

LOL...you made my day, Oppy!

Demon's picture

I think it' ridiculous that someone like Davis is even in the discussion for a roster spot. There are some articles stating that Davis is the number 1 or 2 PR in the NFL. Somehow I missed that level of superstardom every Sunday. Same with him being the best gunner on the team.
Davis is a 1 trick pony who could easily be replaced by other players on the team that actually can play another position.

Tarynfor12's picture

" I think it' ridiculous that someone like Davis is even in the discussion for a roster spot. There are some articles stating that Davis is the number 1 or 2 PR in the NFL"

It's called..misinterpretation. : )

Oppy's picture

It's called.. only two other qualifying punt returners averaged more yards per punt return than Davis.

That's not misinterpretation. That's a fact.

Oppy's picture

Kizer could easily replace Aaron Rodgers at QB, but I'm guessing there would be a noticeable drop off in production.

Only 2 primary punt returners in the NFL averaged more yards per punt return than Davis in 2017. But I'm sure we have a number of guys who are top 3 punt return men in camp.

Wait, did you see all the botched and muffed punts during TC and preseason? Maybe we don't.

4thand1's picture

One more scrimmage left. Which QB will perform the best under pressure because there will be a lot of it? Which 0 lineman will survive final cuts? There are tons of players on the bubble around the league that will be cut. Some good ones will be cut , hopefully we can find one or two to fill team needs. If Spriggs plays well he will be the best back up LT we have, so he makes it IMO. PR will be key if the defense gets more stops than in the past. Is MM banking on this, thus the praise for Davis? I would rather sacrifice some ST's players for all around better players on the final 53. A lot of guys can play ST's if needed.

TXCHEESE's picture

Totally agree with your assessment WT. I hold my breath anytime Davis is back for punt returns, fearing a muff or a boneheaded decision...i.e. fielding it at the 2 yard line ala the Bears game last year. I don't think he's developed his body to withstand the physicality it takes for the gunner position, and we sure haven't seen anything as a receiver that makes me think he'll contribute.

Demon's picture

UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

The packers just traded Hunley to the Seahags!! Someone check to see it hell froze over please.

Demon's picture

To get a draft pick for that schlub? Wow, I wouldn't want to buy a used car from Gute.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Hundley has just been traded to Seattle

Tundraboy's picture

No F'n way

Tundraboy's picture

I can see from so many of the comments, especially over the last few days,and in nearly every article, that WE are already up to game speed!

Makes sense as we have much more to be hopeful about this season. picks that appear to be solid and a GM that's proactive and not's scouring the scrap cuts the last week,trying to fill needs as holes pop up.

I know I'm ready ,and hope the team is as much as we are. and especially McCarthy. Philbin's back, we have more weapons,and even the defense seems to be improved and chomping at the bit,so why the hell not us this year.

Two TEs that we didnt have as weapons for too long to remember, taller fast receivers,and a weapon in our new punter. Lots to be excited about.

billybobton's picture

maybe the fact that you write the truth one week and the opposite truth the next week means something and you should think about that

how many snaps did Sprigg's take at RT this week?
gee do you think that might matter?

Jersey Al's picture

He was horrible at left tackle last week. Do you think that matters?

Imafan's picture

Kumerow gets open and catches the ball, Davis questionable on both!

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