2017 March : Packers Insider

Opposing Defenses Do Not Want to See Adrian Peterson Join Aaron Rodgers

March 25, 2017 by  
Filed under News

From Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider Senior Editor

~Forget the pundits who say “Adrian Peterson’s running style is a bad fit with the Packers’ offense.”
This is nonsense.

adrian 3
Anyone who says that fails to realize that the “styles” of running between Eddie Lacy and Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael and James Starks are dramatically different.

What matters most is this: What does it do to the overall offense, and what do all the opposing defenses do to defend against it?

Starks and Lacy are somewhat similar to Peterson in their running style. Starks has terrible hands.
Michael can’t remember his assignments. And Montgomery is a wide receiver now playing running back, and doing a fine job. But he’s not a workhorse. He never has been, and he never will be. Most aren’t.

Michael was just re-signed, but his deal is a cheap one and he’s not expected to be the main man.

adrian 5
Peterson would be “the man”. And the defenses do not want to see him lining up in a green number 28 jersey, behind the best quarterback in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers. You don’t believe that? Ask the Bears’ and Lions’ linebackers and defensive backs.

Some armchair quarterbacks are saying that “Peterson sucks now”.
“Did you see him last year in Minnesota? He was terrible!”

Well, did you see their offensive line? Did you review the film and see the blocking? Did you notice the Vikings have let 3/5th of that offensive line go?
Did you notice the eight and nine-man fronts constantly gearing up to stop Peterson?

Do you think those defenses feared and game-planned for Sam Bradford (and Teddy Bridgewater before him) like those defenses would with Aaron Rodgers at QB? No. Defenses against those Vikings had 11 guys with their eyes and mind on #28 anytime he lined up behind the QB.

With Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb all showing they are capable of making long catches, and now tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks brought aboard, the defense has to pick their poison.

Adrian Peterson still commands the respect of every defense.

With that respect comes choices to be made. If they move some defensive backs and linebackers up too much, Nelson and Bennett are going to make them pay by running past them. Or Cobb or Adams.

If those defenses worry about Nelson, Adams, Cobb and Bennett too much, Peterson will find more space than he’s seen in  years, and pound them.

adrian damarious

Peyton Manning won his last (his second) Super Bowl behind a good running game. So did John Elway. Brett Favre should have won his second Super Bowl with Peterson leading the way. Last year, Tom Brady had running back LeGarrette Blount scoring 15 touchdowns with his bruising running style. Remember, Blount had been thrown out, given away by a few teams before the Patriots brought him on board.

Marshawn Lynch, Jerome Bettis, and Marshall Faulk won Super Bowls with their second NFL teams.

How fitting would it be for the Packers to take a play out of the Vikings playbook, and sign the former Viking, and win the Super Bowl this season? Remember, the Super Bowl is in the Vikings beautiful new Stadium. And remember, they have still never won a single Super Bowl.

If Peterson gets one in his first year in the enemy uniform, in their stadium, that would be the ultimate salt-in-the-wound for Grape Ape Nation.

Ted Thompson, please do it. The possible upside is well worth the risk.

Despite a down season last year, opposing defenses do not want to see this man in this jersey anytime soon. Just ask them if you think you disagree.

Despite a down season last year, opposing defenses do not want to see this man in this jersey anytime soon. Just ask them if you think you disagree.

Why Adrian Peterson and the Packers makes sense

March 25, 2017 by  
Filed under News

From John Holler, Scout.com

~The idea of Adrian Peterson playing for Green Bay seems far-fetched, but so did the prospect of Brett Favre playing for the Vikings and that happened.

1/28/2017

~Much of the last week in Packers Country has been spent trying to come up with explanations as to why Green Bay lost in the NFC Championship. As can be the habit of Packers fans, they refuse to take into account the possibility that Atlanta was the better team and would have beaten Green Bay even if the offense had a stellar day.

One of the immediate takeaways from the game, from Aaron Rodgers on up, is that the Packers would have to break from their longstanding tradition of refusing to go to the outside to add an impact free agent. As most fans are aware, Green Bay is an organization that has been constructed almost exclusively through the draft. Rare is the occasion when the Packers sign an impact free agent from the outside.

Could the Minnesota Vikings hold the key to that potential?

The next several weeks are going to determine the future of running back Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. While Peterson has made it clear he isn’t done with football, given his $18 million salary, he is more likely than not to be done as a Viking, as the team prepares to move forward with a young team in need of salary cap space. General manager Rick Spielman says he would like Peterson to finish his career as a Viking, but the reality is that there are some significant obstacles that would need to be overcome to make that happen.

While this may sound to some like a crazy offseason space-filler on a Vikings website, it’s worthy of serious consideration given the history of the Packers, the Vikings and Peterson.

For starters, you need to look at the Packer model of handling free agency. They’ve rarely dipped their organizational toe in the cold March water of big-time free agency, but, when they have, they have targeted veteran players who have earned their bone in the NFL and were regarded as having their best years behind them.

The first major splash the Packers made in free agency was in 1993, when full-blown free agency was still in its infancy. Reggie White, who was a pioneer in the battle to start free agency, was a 32-year-old defensive end whom the Eagles knew had good football left in him (plenty as it would turn out), but was quickly approaching that teams tend to balk at giving out big-money, long-term contracts – much less in the early days of free agency where big money wasn’t handed out nearly as freely as it is now.

The Packers made the move and White would go on to play six seasons with the Packers, averaging 11 sacks a year in that span and helping Green Bay win its first Super Bowl since the Lombardi era.

Green Bay wouldn’t take its next big foray into outside free agency again until 2006. Cornerback Charles Woodson had been a star in Oakland, but not only had he hit the not-so-magic number of 30 – an age when elite CBs are known to lose a step –  injuries had plagued him in recent years. He hadn’t played all 16 games in the previous four seasons and, of a possible 64 games, he had missed 22 of them – including 10 in 2005. The Raiders were unwilling to pay top dollar for a defensive back that had earned an injury reputation, but the Packers recognized talent and believed that, if Woodson could stay healthy, he was as likely to defy the odds, whether he played cornerback or safety.

Peterson has found the Lambeau Field End zone many times already. Could we see many more, this time in a Packers uniform, resulting in friendly Lambeau Leaps?

Peterson has found the Lambeau Field End zone many times already. Could we see many more, this time in a Packers uniform, resulting in friendly Lambeau Leaps?

Woodson ended up playing seven seasons for the Packers after turning 30 and, in the first six seasons, he missed just three games, leading the league twice in interceptions and bringing back nine of those picks for touchdowns.

The last time Green Bay made a splash to sign a big-name free agent with a pedigree was in 2014 when they signed edge rusher Julius Peppers. After spending eight years with the Panthers and the previous four in Chicago, there was some question as to how much gas Peppers had left in the tank at age 34. Three years and 25 sacks later, he has shown that, even age 36, he could still bring it.

Given Green Bay’s success of signing free agents that conventional wisdom would tell you were Hall of Famers on the back side of their career, it leads into the next element to the equation.

Peterson is adamant that he has not reached the cliché expiration date for running backs over the age of 30. He is going to have to accept less money because the market value for running backs has plummeted in the pass-happy era of the NFL and even former league rushing leaders like DeMarco Murray and Shady McCoy had to learn that lesson the hard way when they were due big contracts.

There has been a lot of underlying tension between the organization and Peterson stemming from the charges of child abuse from his disciplining of his son in 2014. The Vikings paid Peterson during the majority of his suspension, as fans learned that something called the Commissioner’s Exempt List was a real thing.

Bringing Peterson back in 2015 wasn’t a unanimous decision given the public relations hit the Vikings took when the charges came to light a year earlier. There were some in the front office – Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren among them – that has reservations at the time. Two years and a significant injury later, there are likely more front office types that are weighing the value of Peterson in the new-look Vikings offense against the salary he will be looking for.

If Peterson hits the open market, he will do so with a chip on his shoulder, which leads to the third piece of the puzzle – revenge.

The revenge factor can work two ways in this scenario. Peterson wants to prove to the world (again) that he is still the preeminent running back in the NFL. He did it in 2012. He did it again in 2015. With his lofty career expectations, he is convinced he can play at a high level for five more years, whether anyone else believes it or not.

You have a motivated player looking to do damage in the NFL to opposing defenses. In Green Bay, you have a team in need of a star running back and one with some deep-seeded revenge of its own in mind. Throw in that Peterson has pretty consistently owned the Packers over his decade in the NFL, he may be more attractive to Green Bay than some other teams because of the painful memories he has tattooed on the Packers coaches, players and fan base.

The Packers and Brett Favre eventually kissed and made up, but Ted Thompson hasn’t forgotten that the Vikings made a big move to sign Brett Favre. Thompson was no dummy. When he traded Favre to the Jets to make room for Aaron Rodgers to take over, he put a clause in the trade that would require the Jets to give up two first-round picks if they tried an end-run to trade Favre to the Vikings.

When New York released Favre after drafting Mark Sanchez, the Vikings signed him and stuck an organizational knife in the backs of the Packers. Who better to get their revenge with than signing Peterson and putting a Vikings icon in green and gold?

The Packers clearly aren’t far away from making a Super Bowl run. Rodgers remains one of the premier quarterbacks in the league and Green Bay has a mix of young and veteran players on defense. Eddie Lacy (a.k.a Feast Mode) is a question mark to come back and their leading rusher rusher in 2016 wore No. 88 – a number never given to someone expected to be a running back.

It may be a case of connecting dots that aren’t there, but it isn’t far-fetched given the factors in play that the Packers may end up trying to fill a need that fits in their past history of the rare over-30 free agent signing and allows Packers fans to exact a little revenge along the way.

It isn’t overly likely at this point, but there are too many signs to completely ignore the possibility.

Original article here

Packers must Significantly Upgrade Cornerbacks

March 7, 2017 by  
Filed under News

By Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider senior editor

~Aaron Rodgers carried the undermanned Packers to the NFC Championship game. True, Mason Crosby’s foot, and Jared Cook’s toes had a lot to do with taking that final step, but it was Rodgers who put the Packers’ on his back and took them to his third NFC Title game (2010, 2014, 2016).

Had the pass defense been good, or average, perhaps they would have reached the Super Bowl for the second time in Rodgers’ career. Instead of average, or even subpar, they were atrocious. It was evident in Tennessee, in Washington, in Dallas, and in Atlanta twice.  It also was apparent in Minnesota and vs Detroit in Green Bay early in the season.

Losing Sam Shields was devastating, and it had a domino effect. Letting Casey Hayward go seemed logical at the time (unless the team was aware then that Shield’ head was as fragile as a raw egg).

Now it’s quite apparent that the Packers have to significantly bolster their cornerbacks. Yes this is the case despite Head of Scouting Ted Thompson using his number one and number two picks on cornerbacks just two drafts ago.

Remember, it was just two years ago that his first pick was Arizona State ‘free safety’ Damarious Randall.

Then everyone was equally shocked when he grabbed basketball player-turned football player Quinten Rollins with the next selection.

One year ago, cornerback appeared to be a very deep and talented position for the Packers. That all changed when Shields bumped his head in week one and never played again.

Then Randall and Rollins were torched and beaten, and battered, all year long. Only Ladarius Gunter was able to stay on the field, and despite his tenacity, he with his 4.7 speed, was outmatched by the premiere superstar WR’s in the NFL like Julio Jones and Dez Bryant. Gunter cannot be faulted for this.

Thompson can. It’s time for Thompson to dip into the free agency pool and bring in an A-grade, A-priced cornerback like New England’s Logan Ryan, A.J. Bouye from Houston, or Stephon Gilmore from Buffalo.

Bette Marston: Green Bay Packers. Green Bay rarely spends big in free agency, but that makes Gilmore an even better fit. The Packers can probably get away with signing the sixth-year player for less than market value, which would bring crucial stability to the Packers’ secondary.

Bouye is 6-foot-0, 191 pounds and just 25 years old. He had a fantastic season for the Texans last year and is a strong, physical coverage corner. He could command close to $12 million a season to obtain. –I would rather spend 10-12 million on his skills (and age) than I would spend 8+ million for the aging and breaking down T.J. Lang. -Brian E Murphy

A common sight last season.

Packers CB beaten, and opposing WR into the end zone: a common sight last season.

From ESPN.com

Green Bay Packers

Cornerback

The Packers struggled mightily in coverage last season. Sam Shields suffered a concussion in Week 1 and missed the rest of the season; Green Bay has since released the veteran. Neither Damarious Randall nor Quinten Rollins really played up to expectations in their second seasons.

Rollins beaten was a common sight last year.

Rollins beaten was a common sight last year.

Rollins had the third-worst success rate in the NFL among qualified cornerbacks in our charting at just 36 percent, and Randall turned in a sub-50-percent season as well. Both players missed time because of groin injuries throughout the regular season, and neither was at full strength during the playoffs. The injuries and ineffectiveness forced LaDarius Gunter into the spotlight. He had a solid season for an ex-undrafted free agent who played all of eight defensive snaps in 2015, but he doesn’t look like a long-term starter.

Randall gets torched by Pierre Garcon. But it wasn't just Garcon who Randall made look like a Pro Bowler. From Stefon Diggs to Marvin Jones, Randall was often toasted during the season. His rookie season was better, but again, that was with Shields and Hayward often covering the best receivers.

Randall gets torched by Pierre Garcon. But it wasn’t just Garcon who Randall made look like a Pro Bowler. From Stefon Diggs to Marvin Jones, Randall was often toasted during the season. His rookie season was better, but again, that was with Shields and Hayward often covering the best receivers.

Essentially, the unexpected loss of Shields forced everyone else on the roster into a role for which they were not quite ready, and the end result was a porous secondary. Green Bay finished 31st in DVOA covering wide receivers, giving up the second-most passing yards and the fourth-most passing plays of 15 yards or more in the NFL last season.

Dez Bryant and Julio Jones both burned Green Bay’s defense, leading to a stretch where the Packers pathetic defense gave up 8 touchdowns in 12 possessions to end their season.

I love the battler in him, but Micah Hyde cannot be expected to run with the likes of DeSean Jackson. He was asked to last year.

I love the battler in him, but Micah Hyde cannot be expected to run with the likes of DeSean Jackson. He was asked to last year.

It’s worth noting that both Randall and Rollins played better as rookies in 2015, and there is a reason they were drafted in the first and second round, respectively. Still, entering next season with Randall and Rollins as the top two cornerbacks should make Packers fans nervous. — Bryan Knowles