On the Packers calendar today, it's the third day of the Green Bay Packers Youth Football Camps being held in Glendale/Whitefish Bay and Kenosha. Among the former players that help out is linebacker Noel Jenke ...
Contract details of third-round draft choice Morgan Burnett have become public. "According to a league source, Burnett’s four-year deal has a base value of $2.665 million dollars," according to Cheesehead TV's own Brian McIntyre. "In addition to base salaries of $320,000 (2010), $405,000 (2011), $490,000 (2012), and $575,000 (2013), Burnett received a signing bonus of $875,100." According to McIntyre, a fourth-year escalator can increase the contract's worth to $3.398 million. With that out of the way, Burnett can now focus on learning the safety position and winning a job during training camp.
The NFL is considering making hip, knee and thigh pads mandatory. "It's not mandated for 2010. But we anticipate we'll need to mandate it going forward," NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson is quoted as saying in a USA Today article. "We're not going to relinquish on player safety. Particularly when we know we can prevent lost workdays and help players stay on the field. That's to their benefit and the club's benefit." The league deserves credit for trying to make the league safer, but to make these pads mandatory is ridiculous. They're simply not necessary for perimeter players. Knee pads don't prevent torn ACLs. These grown-ups should be allowed to make decisions whether to wear these pads or not. I don't see a problem wearing them during practice. Football is a contact sport that's always going to have its bumps and bruises, which is just about the only thing knee, hip and thigh pads are going to prevent. Bruises are not injuries.
Donald Lee is interviewed on the Packers official website. Despite facing mounting pressure to perform with a roster spot on the line, Lee has kept a good attitude and claims to be working hard on all aspects of his game. Mike Spofford of Packers.com makes a good point that works in Lee's favor in terms of making the team in 2010. "Lee's other fundamentals, such as blocking skills, remain sound," writes Spofford. "It's commonly said that blocking responsibilities are the hardest for a young tight end to learn, and with the combined NFL game experience of Finley (27 games), Havner (20) and Quarless (zero) nowhere near Lee's 109 games, his reliability in that area is a huge asset to the offense." Lee's blocking skills will be his most valuable asset when it comes to making cuts. That may make him tough to let go.
The player-by-player ranking of every single Green Bay Packer continues by Bill Huber of Packer Report. However, I think the article misses the boat and really fails to take advantage of an opportunity by lumping together all the fullbacks tied for 37th on the team and the punters are tied for 31st. "Last year, all three fullbacks made the roster, with Kuhn and Hall based on proven production and Johnson on pure potential," writes Huber. "This year, it’s almost certain that only two will make it. They’ll enter camp in the same pecking order as last year — Kuhn, Hall, then Johnson — but not much separates them." While he's right that not much separates them, it's my opinion that if you're going to go so far as ranking every player on the roster, I, as a reader, don't want political answers. I'm reading the article for insight and want to know who the writer thinks has the edge. I want to know who's going to make that 53-man roster. And while we're at it, two unproven punters are ranked ahead of the fullbacks? And James Jones? It's quite early for those kinds of proclamations.
A good perspective is provided into a subculture of women preying on professional athletes in the wake of cornerback Brandon Underwood's recent incident in the Wisconsin Dells is provided by Vanessa Guillemette, the daughter of "Pigskin" Paul Guillemette. "I couldn’t believe it myself when I first saw it, but it’s not a joke," writes Vanessa. "I’ve seen girls with team rosters in their cell phones, scrolling through to find out which player is standing across the club from them. I’ve met girls who know every player’s name, age, weight, birthday, how many kids they have, where they went to college, what position they play. There are girls who know every player’s salary better than the team GM’s. I’ve met girls that know who is getting traded or released before even the players know." Seems like this would be a good topic for something like ESPN's Outside the Lines.
A Q&A feature with rookie defensive lineman Mike Neal is published at Packers.com. In it, Neal talks about the difference between training camp in college and the pros. "In college you only go through two straight weeks of training camp, where here it is almost like four," said Neal. "Here you have the preseason added into it and then the length of the meetings. The meetings will definitely be a big adjustment and then adding in the preseason games will be a big adjustment for me." I have to imagine that's a huge adjustment for rookies who don't play a single preseason game in college and then play four in the NFL.
A list of players the Packers could possibly trade is provided by Ol' Bag of Donuts. One I particularly agree with is the loser of the Daryn Colledge/Jason Spitz battle. "On the surface, it makes sense for Thompson to keep whomever loses the battle," writes Chris Lempesis. "Spitz has struggled with injuries and Colledge has been, well, Colledge, an extremely hot-and-cold player. Keeping the loser insures coverage. And both come fairly cheap in a capless season (each is due $1.759 million this season under their respective RFA tenders). But if Thompson feels the team needs help elsewhere, either player would be able to bring back value in a trade. Both have started for much of their careers and each player still has upside (and, again, both would come cheap). It’d be nice to keep both, but if the team is in dire need of help elsewhere, he’d have to consider moving one of these two." I think the Packers did a fantastic job adding depth along the line with the drafting of Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse. I'm also a big fan of the undrafted rookie offensive lineman. There is plenty of depth and a trade could be made to help the team in other areas. As I've said before, the Raiders make sense as a trading partner.
Jerry Kramer is the best player not in the NFL Hall of Fame says Steve Sabol of NFL Films according to ProFootballTalk. "Sabol lists five-time All-Pro selection Packers guard Jerry Kramer as the best player not in the Hall of Fame, which should get some voters' attention," writes Gregg Rosenthal. "He is the only member of the NFL's 50th Anniversary All-Time team that isn't in Canton." No arguments here.
The guys on the NFL Network discuss the same topic and Jamie Dukes lists another former Packer. "Dukes pointed to two players who he believes have yet to get elected for various reasons: Charles Haley and Sterling Sharpe," writes Frank Tadych of NFL.com. Video of their discussion is provided on the NFL's website. Jerry Kramer didn't come up in their discussion.
An early prediction at the 53-man roster is provided at Acme Packing Company. "Breno [Giacomini] made it," according to the article. "Right now the coaching staff seems pretty high on him. Who knows, if Breno can push Tausch for the starting job like Campen thinks, he may even be a vital asset and bring some much needed depth. That's the main reason why he made the list. In this case I'm assuming the Packers think they can sneak Newhouse to the Practice Squad for this year." As of this moment, I'd personally be more inclined to keep Newhouse ahead of Giacomini, but training camp could change my mind.
Donald's Designated Driver is back at the blog All Kinds of Time (about time!), and he doesn't think Aaron Rodgers will drop in third-down efficiency as much as Football Outsiders believes he will. "FO still thinks that Rodgers, individually, cannot sustain his third-down production boldly stating that Rodgers third-down production is 'dramatic outlier' that is 'unsustainable in any way,'" writes D.D. Driver. "Now, I will concede that Rodgers was insanely good on third-down last season (especially on third and long), and if I had to lay money, I would of course predict that he will slip at least a little, but I doubt it will be nearly as much as FO would anticipate. Aggressive third down play calling will continue to skew the third down averages, both for Rodgers and the offense as a whole."
While Johnny Jolly now suspended, Michael Rodney of Packer Update says the young defensive linemen need to grow up fast. "Wasn’t drafted until the seventh round because he’s not an ideal fit at any one position," writes Rodney. "What he is, however, is a good football player. Wilson looked more comfortable than Neal during the spring. This isn’t all that surprising since he lined up at defensive end in college – albeit in a 4-3 scheme. He’s a bit undersized and a little stiff, but he’s powerful and plays with outstanding balance – traits that should serve him well in the NFL."
"Jersey" Al Bracco argues against keeping running back Brandon Jackson around. "In situations where he’s been able to square up to the defender, he has dug in and held his ground very well," writes Bracco about Jackson's pass blocking. "On plays where he had to go find a rusher or extend his body to block someone, not so good." I personally think James Starks may eventually surpass Jackson in the running back rotation, but I also think Jackson is a good bet to make the team. It would take a huge effort by Kregg Lumpkin or Quinn Porter to unseat him.
Bill Huber at Packer Report continues his position-by-position analysis on the offensive line. "We continue our pre-training camp positional breakdown of the Packers by looking at what's right and what's wrong at left guard and right guard," writes Huber (subscription required). "We tell you who will start and why, and use our 20/20 general manager's hindsight to find better (and worse) options."
I can't begin to explain how many things are wrong with this article by MJ Kasprzak over at Packer Chatters. A) Just because the Packers don't pay dividends on their stock doesn't mean they are a non-profit organization, as the article suggests. B) The Packers do not have one of the league's lowest payrolls as the article also says they do. In fact, they're one of the highest this year. And C) the Packers are not decrying financial gains of nearly $10 million as the author writes. They're basically only lamenting that player salaries are outpacing revenue.
The Greg Jennings Foundation is building a home in his college alma mater of Kalamazoo, Mich. through Habitat for Humanity.
Green Bay Press-Gazette Packers beat writer Kareem Copeland was a guest on yesterday's Clubhouse Live in Appleton. Video is here, although the sound quality leaves something to be desired.
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