Packers' Shortcomings Open the Door for Young Talent

The Green Bay Packers are venturing into uncharted waters as they begin the final two-game stretch that will culminate in them missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

More than half of the roster isn't accustomed to this feeling. Players such as wide receiver Randall Cobb, left tackle David Bakhtiari, outside linebacker Nick Perry -- all of which have played meaningful football in January since their careers began. They've been able to relish the consistent success of the Packers' organization on a yearly basis.

After a franchise-record eight playoff appearances, however, the doom-and-gloom is beginning to set in.

"There's always an energy level, just the chatter level, whether it's high or confident," said coach Mike McCarthy, who often recognizes the overall mood of his team whether it be after a win or a loss. "Usually after a big win, they're pretty chatty. If we don't play well, it's really quiet.

"It's definitely not chatty, that's for sure."

After being officially eliminated from postseason contention with the Atlanta Falcons' win on Monday night, the Packers on Tuesday moved Aaron Rodgers back to injured reserve after activating him from that same list just three days prior. His season was ended for the second time; an indicator that the unforeseen fate of the team this season is officially a reality.

With wide receiver Davante Adams still in the concussion protocol, he may very well be moved to injured reserve as well. After three concussions in 14 months, it may be for the best seen through the lens of his long-term health.

These roster moves -- and potential roster moves -- could open the door for younger talent to see the field these last two games. It's an opportunity for the Packers to see what they have in undrafted cornerbacks Donatello Brown and Lenzy Pipkins, or seventh-round running back Devante Mays.

It's a chance to try those corner fades to 6-6 wide receiver Michael Clark, who took running back Ty Montgomery's spot on the roster at the beginning of the month and has yet to be on the 46-man gameday roster.

There's nothing left to lose at this point other than draft position.

"There's a lot of things we do pre-practice [for young players]," McCarthy said. "We call them 'young guy meetings.' Young guy meetings are every Wednesday and Thursday -- Friday during the course of the year. That's going to benefit the backup players that don't get the reps. ... It was designed seven, eight, nine years ago when we started really trying to advance our rookies."

Whichever manner in which the Packers choose to allocate playing time for their young players, there's one thing for certain: it'll be with Brett Hundley at quarterback.

Hundley helped lead the Packers to a 3-4 record in his seven starts without Rodgers and excelled significantly on the road. Giving younger players a chance to mesh with him on offense could prove catastrophic, but it would still give the Packers a better understanding as to just where most of these rookies and undrafted skill position players rank in terms of talent.

McCarthy was adamant that Hundley is the guy the team is rolling with against the Minnesota Vikings this Saturday and Detroit Lions on Dec. 31st to end the season, all but putting to bed any chance the team decides to roll with journeyman quarterback Joe Callahan. He was re-signed to the roster officially after the Rodgers-to-IR swap was made.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (37)

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The TKstinator's picture

December 21, 2017 at 06:06 am

Once again, Pipkins ain’t easy.

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:51 am

...but he is cheap.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

For every 12, there's gotta be a few 41's.

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2017 at 05:10 pm

I'm just glad there's a 12.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 22, 2017 at 06:28 am

Sign me up too.

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Nick Perry's picture

December 21, 2017 at 06:23 am

IMO there's absolutely no reason to play Adams. He's proven without a shadow of doubt he's the best WR the Packers currently have. IMO the Packers can't afford to let Adams walk in Free Agency but 3 concussions in 14 months is heading into a Sam Shields type direction. If you let him walk what do you have left on the current roster? I mean if you though the WR's had a problem getting open in 2015, it will probably be a much tougher challenge in 2018 without Adams. I think they HAVE to sign him but I wouldn't want to have to make that decision.

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stockholder's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:06 am

Talent- sharpe,Lofton,Jeter,Freeman,Dale,Driver,Dowler,Jennings, ODom, Nelson, Jefferson, Preston, Cobb, Walker, These guys were All -Pros. TT traded Walker. The list includes Cobb and Nelson. Adams is not on it. TT should have traded Adams. Fair market Value for a WR is 11-12 mil. snub? Nothing to do with it. !000 yard club.? Adams has yet to achieve it. 8 years straight of making the playoffs. ( he has yet to be a factor in them). WE see other packers TT has not signed. Yes they went on to be All-pros. Let's give Adams his chance to go on and be an All-pro. Before he ends up in the hospital again.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 21, 2017 at 06:52 am

Completely agree.

IMO, I would shut him down, put him on IR and bring up Yancey to take his place, or another player off the PS to see what they can do in real games.

In all honesty there is no real reason to play him. The games are meaningless, and in all honesty they would benefit more from having players like Clark, Davis, or Yancey playing more.

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Since'61's picture

December 21, 2017 at 06:53 am

Nick - I concur. He may not be medically cleared which would make it easier on the Packers to move him to IR. Just like with Rodgers playing Adams at this point is all risk and no reward. There is enough tape on Adams to prove that he has earned a top WR contract. Let him heal up. Thanks, Since '61

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rdent's picture

December 21, 2017 at 11:11 am

I agree completely,shelve Adams for the year. They signed Micheal Clark to the 53, what is up with Montravias Adams? why not, with 2 meaningless games left, get an idea of what they have going into next year. There is no saving face for TT and company and the decisions they now face should shape into one of if not the most important off seasons for that franchise in a long time.

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Dzehren's picture

December 21, 2017 at 01:28 pm

Devonte Adams ruled out for Sunday’s game vs Vikings source ESPN

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 21, 2017 at 06:41 am

These next 2 games should be used as auditions for next year. Simply let the young players play.
These are the guys I really want to see get extended looks.

I want to see Mays get some meaningful snaps. I want to see him carry the ball for 10+ times in each game. I want to know if he can be counted on come next year, or if they should look to go in another direction during the draft. They already have Williams and Jones, but we all know that RB is not an easy position to play and they have to have at least 3 RB's for the entire year.

Michael Clark was my most intriguing player when they signed him as an UDFA. His size and basketball background were intriguing. He ran a good 40 for a guy that was 6'6. He was very raw, but he has some natural abilities that can't be taught. Then we started to hear about how he was shining during training camp. We haven't seen or heard much about him since then. But then just before he was brought up House was comparing Clark to Mike Evans and giving him a ton of praise. Which must have meant he was shining.

Trevor Davis - We have seen his explosive pun returns. I want to see him get some extended looks at WR. I want to know if he can be a WR for us next year or if he simply will be a return specialist.

Montravius Adams - He hasn't played a lot, but these next 2 games he should get a lot of action. His rookie year was hurt by an injury. When he has played he has flashed some talent though. He needs the experience.

Vince Biegel - the same way as Adams. Get him more playing time. Turn him loose to. He needs more playing time.

Pipkins/Brown - With the uncertainty at CB year in and year out, why not see what they have in the 2 UDFA's.
I thought Pipkins when he did get on the field this season looked really good. He comes up and hits people and is a really solid tackler. I still don't know why when they have had injury issues he hasn't played. If he comes in and plays well, I think that's another nail in the Capers coffin.
Brown we haven't see yet, at least that I know of. But he was coming on strong at the end of training camp. They brought him up from the PS for a reason. So lets see him play to show us why he was brought up.

Now is the time to get these guys playing time. No reason not to.

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Razer's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:35 am

I agree. The only reason not to play these guys is to protect the coaches from further scrutiny. If these players get into the game and don't know what to do then it is a comment on the systems and preparation that they train in. By now you should know what your role and assignment is in a scheme. Let's see if Devante Mays know which way to run.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:47 am

I agree.

Lets also see if Mays can hold onto the football. 2 fumbles in 3 carries isn't a good thing for him. But now that the games are meaningless, perhaps he can get some redemption.
McCarthy has said that he is needing to get on the field because of the way he has practiced. So lets see it.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 21, 2017 at 08:25 am

Agreed, but I would also fire Dom Capers now and give Wintson Moss 2 games to show what he can do.

There is also a chance I would want to keep Michael Clarks public tape to a minimum. If I was privy to all of his practice tape.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 21, 2017 at 09:17 am

While I agree that they should, I know they won't fire him now. McCarthy has to much respect for him to do that.
I do wonder if he will ask to have someone else do the play calling. Perhaps Winston? To me that would accomplish the same type of thing without actually making the change.

The way I look at it. I want to see what Clark can do against other teams. He needs that game action to learn some things. Also they say that you can't simulate game speed. Clark needs to get a taste of that. And they control his future so there is no real point of hiding him anymore.

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cuervo's picture

December 21, 2017 at 09:54 am

"Agreed, but I would also fire Dom Capers now and give Wintson Moss 2 games to show what he can do."

Winston Moss is part of the problem...he's been here as long as MM and is the "assistant Head Coach". If he had any ability to make any changes that made the defense better, it would have, and should have happened a long time ago. If Winston Moss had anything to offer, he'd be a head coach somewhere by now...he hasn't ever even interviewed, which tells you what the rest of the league thinks about him, and that also says something about MM.

You have to go outside the organization if you want real change...anything else is window dressing.

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Razer's picture

December 21, 2017 at 01:21 pm

...Winston Moss is part of the problem... he's been here as long as MM and is the "assistant Head Coach". If he had any ability to make any changes that made the defense better, it would have, and should have happened a long time ago...

Thank you Cuervo for this insight. Moss is a friend of McCarthy from his New Orleans days. What an assistant head coach does on this team is not evident or, apparently, effective. Time to go.

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2017 at 09:54 am

"Agreed, but I would also fire Dom Capers now and give Wintson Moss 2 games to show what he can do."

I think you only do that if you think Moss is a candidate to be your next DC. If he's not, then why?

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 21, 2017 at 10:07 am

I would say a few guys could possibly do that.

Moss, Perry, Whitt... I think any of them could be considered as possible options.

Having them calling plays I think would give them a bit of a look to see if they could possibly be the guy for the future.

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stockholder's picture

December 21, 2017 at 12:01 pm

No - to moss. Had to many players fail at LB. Greene did a better job. Perry- Picked up for drinking. Things happen. But the safety play has not been stellar. Whitt. I'm still 50/50 here. I guess I'd let him stay. Whitt was the coach I thought wanted to leave.

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nostradanus's picture

December 21, 2017 at 06:44 am

Yep, I hope they get these young guys some reps and see what they have. I'm not talking about sitting all the vet's and tanking the season mind you, there is still the pride factor involved. Just sprinkle these young guys in here and there and give them a look. In the case of Davonte Adams there is no reason to play him right now. I still would like to see the Pack win these last two games over division foe's and serve notice that 2017 was a one year anomaly and in 2018 the Packers will be coming to lay waste to the NFC North, so enjoy it now Queens.
GO PACK!

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2017 at 10:01 am

" I still would like to see the Pack win these last two games over division foe's and serve notice that 2017 was a one year anomaly..."

Yeah, not to be a defeatist, but that ship sailed when #12 went on IR.

Keeping in mind that many of these younger guys have been playing already due to injuries, I'm just hoping that this team can be competitive and not get blown out of the water these last two weeks. If they move guys to IR and drag up more players from the PS and then put them on the field, it will be ugly. Minnesota is a superior team playing for home field throughout the playoffs. They'll be motivated to lay a smackdown on the Packers. It's still a rivalry game, but I'll be happy if the Packers can stay within three TDs on Saturday. If Detroit's eliminated by their week 17 game, they might have a shot there.

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Donster's picture

December 21, 2017 at 06:49 am

Put Davante Adams on IR. The franchise knows what he can do. Bring up DeAngelo Yancey to get some real game experience. Put Goodson back on IR and bring up TE Emanuel Byrd or LB Ahmad Thomas. Get a good look at one of them. You could shut down Nick "I'm always getting hurt" Perry too. I'd like to see Callahan play one half of each game, especially if the game is out of hand. But would love to see, over all the above, the Pack beat the Vikqueens Saturday night! Going to be a cold one I see.

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stockholder's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:13 am

Regardless what you see in the younger WRs. Their still stuck behind All-pros and Adams. Even Allison now. The franchise knows what can happen with Adams. TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN! We have to see what defensive guys can do. Biegel and Adams. And can Hundley keep improving.

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packerbackerjim's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:04 am

I would like to see Hundley go The Longest Yard on Barr.

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Houndog's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:27 am

I'm way too frustrated to be truly objective but I agree with most everything being written here.
The problem with all of this is that what we're seeing and talking about on the field somehow appears differently to those at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.
This mess starts at the top, and an attitude adjustment is the first step towards what we've become accustomed to and what we'd all like to see again.
It appears that Packers' management has become 'A Team' that is content to be a so-called contender each and every year, and Murphy above all seems happy with that.
If the players are getting the same impression not much is going to change until and unless a few heads roll.
Start at the top and say goodbye to Murphy and TT.

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Razer's picture

December 21, 2017 at 09:48 am

...I'm way too frustrated to be truly objective...

I hear you - I cycle between sad and mad.

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Pauly's picture

December 21, 2017 at 11:05 am

Houndog,,
I have been saying for years I think Murphy and TT are only playing to make the Playoffs on the cheap..... Saving money,, all for the purpose of benefiting the city of Green Bay as a tourist destination. Look at the energy put into "TitleTown".
I think it's possible to do both,,,, with a few key FAs, a better D Coordinator, Rodgers may have won more playoff games and even SBs. Or at least not have been so embarrassed in some of the last play off games.

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Razer's picture

December 21, 2017 at 07:52 am

The more I digest this season the more I feel that we should really change-up the coaching staff. When I read about the LA Rams transformation with the arrival of McVay, the more I think this team under performs. 10 men on the field, blown assignments, miscommunication on a team that has been playing the same system for 8 years. How long does it take to learn a stupid system?

The shortcomings on this team are primarily with getting the players to play a creative and cohesive gameplan. This starts with MM and filters down to his coordinators.

So yes, let's play the unplayed and see how the coaches have been doing their jobs.

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2017 at 10:08 am

"The shortcomings on this team are primarily with getting the players to play a creative and cohesive gameplan. This starts with MM and filters down to his coordinators.

So yes, let's play the unplayed and see how the coaches have been doing their jobs."

If this is truly the case, then how do you assess guys in a system or plan that doesn't put them in a situation where they could be successful?

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Razer's picture

December 21, 2017 at 01:26 pm

Chicken or egg dilemma for sure. At this point, a player needs to rise above the distractions and simply show talent, ala Aaron Jones. And, perhaps instinct will be evident enough to warrant future consideration.

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Slim11's picture

December 21, 2017 at 08:28 am

Agree with everything here, especially putting Davante Adams on IR. I also believe his value in free agency will be somewhat diminished given the three concussions in 14 months. A one-year deal may be appropriate.

The 2018 preseason begins Saturday!

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2017 at 10:06 am

I understand the concern over concussions, but he'll laugh at a one-year deal all the way to someone else's bank. People talk about the possibility that the Packers create bad blood among players by low-balling them, that kind of play here would be heard all throughout the locker room. Is it as harsh as a franchise tag? No, because he can just walk away from it...which he would do.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 22, 2017 at 10:37 am

WR Franchise tag in 2017: $15.68M
WR Transition tag in '17: $13.30M
Sportrac's Est on Adams: $12.90M AAV

No team used the transition tag in 2017. Not sure why.

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fthisJack's picture

December 21, 2017 at 09:09 am

pay Adams. if you don't there is another glaring hole on offense. they already need 2 TE, a couple O linemen, a backup QB, and a speedy WR. not to mention the Defense and you know how much is needed on that side of the ball. getting rid of Capers is a no brainer or we will be stuck in neutral until he's in a nursing home.

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A Pickled Packer's picture

December 21, 2017 at 11:21 am

Now that we aren't going to make the playoffs should kick in the gentleman's agreement Coach McCarthy and Capers must have made last year, that Dom will go if the team fails to get in. I see no other reason why this defensive coordinator has been kept for so long. The excuse being how can you argue with making the playoffs, that is not failure that is success. The defense somehow contributed, so Dom stays.
This year, for not making the playoffs there will be too many people breathing down McCarthy's neck for him not to make the move. No playoffs, no excuses... Go Dom Go!

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