Tag:A.J. Hawk
Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:02 am
 

Packers free agents want to get paid

C. Jenkins could be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s never too early to think about the potential free agents that could leave the Super Bowl champion Packers. I mean, it’s only been THREE days since they bathed in confetti in Dallas, and that obviously means it’s time to discuss who’s eligible to leave and if they’re going to do so.*

*The caveat being that if the owners lock out the players, none of this will matter.

Assuming we’re playing by normal rules, here are some of the unrestricted free agents who, if they leave Green Bay, could impact next season’s squad.

K Mason Crosby, RBs John Kuhn and Brandon Jackson, DE Cullen Jenkins, G Daryn Colledge and WR James Jones. Most of them are replaceable (though Kuhn developed a nice little fan following) but Jenkins is an effective pass-rusher and Colledge is certainly above average on the offensive line.

Though Jenkins told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he’d like to stay in Green Bay, he also understands that by not having signed a deal during the season, he’s at far greater risk to leave the squad.

“I understand it’s a business,” Jenkins said. “Hopefully, there’s not a lockout and even if there is, we can get something done. Hopefully, we can get it ironed out quickly.”

One sticking point that the Journal Sentinel points out:

Green Bay will owe LB A.J. Hawk a $10 million base salary next season. What the Packers decide to do with him – keep him, renegotiate his deal or release him to avoid paying him – will impact how they deal with the rest of their unrestricted free agents, all of whom feel they deserve to cash a nice payday after winning the Super Bowl.

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Matchup breakdown: Steelers O vs. Packers D

R. Mendenhall (US Presswire)

Posted by Andy Benoit

In the AFC Championship, the Steelers surprised everyone by coming out running against the Jets. On paper, Pittsburgh’s banged-up offensive line was overmatched against New York’s third-ranked run defense. But on the field, the opposite proved true.

With Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey possibly out this Sunday (ankle/foot), one might think Pittsburgh would be inclined to come out throwing. After all, backup Doug Legursky has a noticeable lack of power, while Green Bay’s nose tackle B.J. Raji has a noticeable abundance of it.
 
But despite the Legursky-Raji mismatch, don’t be surprised if the Steelers once again rely on Rashard Mendenhall early on. Running the ball shortens the game and keeps Aaron Rodgers off the field. More than that, it decreases the number of times lumbering right tackle Flozell Adams has to fend off lightning pass-rusher Clay Matthews (Adams vs. Matthews is a mismatch that makes every member of the Steeler organization shudder; it’s hard to imagine the Steelers won’t concoct some form of tight end help for Adams.)

Early in the season, the Steeler offensive line and third down back Mewelde Moore struggled mightily with blitz identification. They got the pass-blocking issues in order down the stretch, but with two weeks to prepare, you have to figure Dom Capers will design at least a few new complicated zone exchanges and delayed A-gap blitzes.

What’s more, whether he’s blitzing or feigning a blitz, slot cornerback/rover Charles Woodson is the key to Green Bay’s pressure schemes. If it’s Woodson vs. Ben Roethlisberger in a presnap chess match, Steelers lose.

Super Bowl experience will have a pretty huge impact on this game as well. Here's Hines Ward on that subject:


Running the ball would ameliorate those unfavorable passing game matchups for the Steelers. But more than that, the Steelers may very well feel that they have an advantage against the Packer run defense anyway. Yes, Doug Legursky, left tackle Jonathan Scott and right guard Ramon Foster all lack the power necessary to generate downhill movement as run-blockers. But left guard Chris Kemoeatu doesn’t.

Kemoeatu is one of the most mobile blockers in football. When he gets to the second level and faces linebackers, he’s frighteningly nasty .The Packer defense did an excellent job at keeping inside linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk clean from blockers this season. (Why do you think the inexperienced Bishop and resoundingly average Hawk were the only two Packers to record 100-plus tackles?)

But the Steelers, who run two-tight end base personnel, could give those inside linebackers problems by shifting to three-receiver personnel (which would involve replacing Matt Spaeth with wideout Emmanuel Sanders). The Packers almost always use a 2-4-5 alignment in nickel defense. With only two downlinemen, Kemoeatu would have a clear path to Bishop or Hawk (and remember, in nickel, one of those inside ‘backers will be off the field). In that case, Mendenhall could run inside, or, if he’s lucky, get isolated on the edges against outside linebacker Erik Walden (an impressive athlete but very callow run-stopper).

Roethlisberger is Pittsburgh’s best playmaker, but the run game could very well be Pittsburgh’s best chance at a seventh Lombardi trophy.

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 2:24 am
Edited on: February 3, 2011 8:45 am
 

Green Bay Packers defensive roster breakdown

Posted by Will Brinson & Andy Benoit

Perhaps the most fascinating thing if you look (at a glance anyway) at Pittsburgh and Green Bay is that they've built their teams "properly." (AKA "the opposite of Dan Snyder.) They draft smart, and they sign smarter. At least that's what we're lead to believe, right?

Andy and I set out to check the roster breakdown for both teams. En route, we* managed to figure out not only where they're coming from, but what they'll do for their respective teams in the Super Bowl.

Name POS Acquired Scouting Report
Ryan Pickett
DE 
Drafted 29th overall 1st Round 2005, STL; 2006 FA
Tough guy to move in the trenches; never gives up on a play.
B.J. Raji
DT
Drafted 9th overall, 1st Round 2009
Did not truly come on until late in the year, but once he did…wow. Haloti Ngata of the NFC.
Cullen Jenkins
DE
UDFA 2003
Incredibly nimble for a 300-pounder. Can rush the passer (eight sacks on the season despite missing time and fighting through a calf injury) and also anchor against the run.
Howard Green
DL
Drafted 190th, 6th Round, 2002, BAL; FA 2010
Ate himself out of New York but offers some power whenever one of the starters needs some oxygen.
Clay Matthews
LOLB
Drafted 26th overall, 1st Round 2009
Skims the edge with astonishing speed. Can change directions and hunt down the ball in the blink of an eye. (OK…in 10 blinks of the eye. But blink 10 times in a row and you’ll realize that’s still incredibly quick.)
A.J. Hawk
LILB
Drafted 5th overall, 1st Round, 2006
Fundamentally sound system player, but not enough of his tackles come near the line of scrimmage. Plus, you don’t draft “fundamentally sound system players” fifth overall.
Desmond Bishop
RILB
Drafted 192nd overall, 6th Round, 2007
Green Bay’s most dynamic inside linebacker. Instincts aren’t dazzling, but very good at reacting to what he sees. Gets downhill with alacrity.
Erik Walden
ROLB
Drafted 167th overall, 6th Round, 2008, KC; FA 2010
Plays because he’s a better athlete than all of the other “non-injured” outside linebackers.
Frank Zombo
LB
UDFA 2010
Can make the play that’s right there in front of him, but that’s about it.
Tramon Williams
CB
UDFA 2006 Hard to believe he went undrafted given that he’s such a natural talent. Ball skills have flourished now that he’s comfortable with one-on-one technique.
Charles Woodson
CB**
Drafted 4th overall, 1st Round 1998, OAK; FA 2006
Matthews is fantastic, but this is still Green Bay’s most valuable defensive player. His versatility is what makes Dom Capers’ defense thrive.
Charlie Peprah
SS
Drafted 158th overall, 5th Round 2006
Not bad, but completions seem to occur most often in his area of the field.
Nick Collins
FS
Drafted 51st overall, 2nd Round 2005
Excellent range. Has a knack for sniffing out the ball when in attack mode. Very good tackler, too.
Sam Shields
CB
UDFA 2010
Undrafted rookie has terrific speed. Less than two years of cornerbacking experience explains why he sometimes struggles to feel-out his safety help.
Atari Bigby
DB
UDFA 2005
Was looking like the next big thing until injuries derailed much of his 2010 season.

*Scouting smarts credited to Benoit. HTML and research credited to Brinson.

*Classification is really unfair for him.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 12:05 am
 

Super Bowl Scene Monday night

A. Rodgers (US Presswire)

Posted by Andy Benoit

IRVING, Texas -- The media got a police escort from the Sheraton to the Omni Mandalay at Las Colinas in Irving for the Packers’ Monday evening press conference. The three buses that were scheduled to leave at “4:00 sharp” took off around 4:30. As they raced down the empty streets, Dallas denizens lined the sidewalks, waving and snapping photos (they thoughts members of the Green Bay Packers were behind the tinted bus windows).

Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Charles Woodson, A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews were the only players made available. With Mike McCarthy’s press conference taking place a few rooms over, hundreds of media members crammed into a basement lobby to score a prime position around the players’ tables. Some tables were less crowded than others (see photos of Rodgers’ table vs. Jennings’ table….both photos were taken some 15 minutes before the players arrived).

Once the players came in and the questions started firing, the entire scene became somewhat of a cluster….the entire scene became chaotic. Going off strict observation, a reporter’s job is to ask a player a loaded, leading question before any other reporter can ask them a loaded, leading question. More entertaining than the players’ response (which is one of three things: canned, clichéd or politely evasive) are the facial expressions of all the reporters whose questions weren’t heard. A lot of people are left feeling like their toes have been stepped on.

And when a player does go outside the lines, he’s playing with fire. Jennings was asked if he told the guarded Rodgers to let his hair down this week. Jennings’ response – “I told him to spike his hair up” – was met with stone silence. Damn him, he wasn’t making the writers’ jobs easy.

Donald Driver made reports’ jobs easy, if a reporter was looking for a quote that involved the phrase “confidence level is high”. Each table has microphone and a speaker so that players can be heard. No joke: Driver’s speaker sounded like it was replaying the same audio clip again and again.

Back on the bus, writers flipped through notebooks of sloppy handwriting and replayed bites of mildly-garbled sound. They compared quotes and discussed amongst themselves the spin they would put on it (you’d be surprised how much spin is involved).
No police escort on the way back, which explains why the people of Dallas no longer acknowledged the bus.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 8:14 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 10:40 pm
 

Nick Barnett could be done for the season

Posted by Andy Benoit

UPDATE: 10:40 p.m. ET: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Barnett is indeed out for the season with a wrist injury similar to the one Brian Urlacher suffered last season. Read below to learn what went down and what this means.

CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Greg Bedard reports that Packers inside linebacker Nick Barnett could be out for the season. Sources tell Bedard that Barnett needs surgery on his injured right wrist. N. Barnett

The surgery is not a matter of if, but when. As soon as it happens, Barnett will be shelved. Bedard’s sources believe the surgery will occur before the end of the season, though Barnett will get a second opinion on Friday.

Barnett hurt the wrist in the first half of Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions but returned and finished the game wearing a cast.

If Friday’s diagnosis goes against Barnett, it will mark the second time in three years that he’s landed on Injured Reserve (ACL in ’08). Bedard writes, “Barnett, 29, would be a big loss for the defense. The eight-year veteran is one of the vocal and emotional leaders of the unit, and makes the calls in the huddle and adjustments before the play.”

This is true, though it’s worth mentioning that Dom Capers’ scheme puts minimal stock in the inside linebacker position. The defensive line and outside linebackers carry Green Bay’s front seven. Barnett, who has speed to burn, has gone from playmaker to solid contributor in the 3-4 defense.

Because Brandon Chillar is dealing with a shoulder injury, Desmond Bishop would likely start in Barnett’s place next to A.J. Hawk. Bishop, a third-year pro, was given a crack at earning a starting job prior to the season, though coaches were quick to abandon that plan.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com