With their eyes on repeating as Super Bowl Champs, the Packers didn’t have much P.T. to offer their rookies in 2011. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t find some keepers though. Here is a look at how the rookies did during the regular season in 2011:
22-year old OT Derek Sherrod was the Packers’ first round pick last April. He only played in 5 games (0 starts) for the Packers in 2011 as his season ended early due to a broken leg. Sherrod will be a starter for the Packers in the near future as long as he can stay healthy.
21-year old WR Randall Cobb was picked in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Cobb played in 15 games for the Packers this year in which he caught 25 passes for 375 yards (15.0 avg) with 1 TD grab and he also carried the ball 2 times for 5 yards (2.5 ypc). He made his biggest mark on special teams for the Packers in 2011. Cobb returned 26 punts for 195 yards (11.3 avg) with 1 TD return and he also returned 34 kickoffs for 941 yards (27.7 avg) with 1 TD return this season. Cobb has a huge upside as he will be the best player the Packers picked in this draft.
23-year old RB Alex Green was picked in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. Green only played in 4 games for the Packers last year and he carried the ball 3 times for 11 yards (3.7 ypc). He also caught 1 pass for 6 yards for the Packers this year. He missed most of last season due to knee surgery.
22-year old CB Davon House was a 4th round pick of the Packers. He played in 2 games for the Packers this year and he had 1 whole tackle.
23-year old TE D.J. Williams was a 5th round pick last April. He played in 13 games for the Packers this year and he caught 2 passes for 13 yards (6.5 avg). He also had 2 tackles for the Packers.
24-year old OG Caleb Schlauderaff was a 6th round pick last April. He played in 6 games (1 start) for the Packers this year. Schlauderaff was a nice find for the Packers so late in the draft as he will likely stick around for a while.
22-year old LB D.J. Smith was a 6th round pick of the Packers. He played in all 16 games for the Packers this year and he had 43 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 interception and 1 pass defensed. Smith could be a starter down the road for the Packers as he was another nice find for Packers’ GM Ted Thompson.
23-year old DE Ricky Elmore was a 6th round pick last April. He was cut by the Packers before the 2011 season began and he wound up with the 49ers. But, he didn’t get into any games for the Niners in 2011.
24-year old TE Ryan Taylor was a 7th round pick of the Packers last April. He played in 15 games for the Packers this year and he caught 1 pass for 4 yards and it was a TD. He also had 7 tackles this year for the Packers.
21-year old DT Lawrence Guy was a 7th round pick last April. He spent his rookie season on the Injured Reserve List due to a concussion.
GRADE FOR 2011: C-
GRADE FOR THE FUTURE: B
The Eagles were expecting big things out of 31-year old Michael Vick in 2011. But, he proved to be the QB he was before his breakout 2010 season. The Eagles were 7-6 in games that Michael Vick started at QB. He played in 13 games (all starts) for the Eagles last year and he completed 253 of 423 passes (59.8%) for 3,303 yards with 18 TD passes and 14 INTs (84.9 QB Rating). He also carried the ball 76 times for 589 yards (7.8 ypc) with 1 TD run last year. Vick has now played in 111 games (91 starts) in his NFL career and he has completed 1,422 of 2,538 passes (56%) for 17,912 yards with 111 TD passes and 72 INTs (80.9 QB Rating). He has also carried the ball 729 times for 5,219 yards (7.2 ypc) with 33 TD runs in his NFL career so far. Vick now has a 53-37-1 (58.9%) record as a starting QB during the regular season.
28-year old Vince Young proved how overrated he has been his whole career when he was forced into action due to Michael Vick’s broken ribs. The Eagles were 1-2 in Young’s 3 starts and they rushed Vick back due to how poorly Young was playing. Young played in 7 games (3 starts) for the Eagles last year and he completed 66 of 114 passes (57.9%) for 866 yards with 4 TD passes and 9 INTs (60.8 QB Rating). He also carried the ball 18 times for 79 yards (4.4 ypc) last year. Young has now played in 61 games (50 starts) in his NFL career and he has completed 755 of 1,304 passes (57.9%) for 8,964 yards with 46 TD passes and 51 INTs (74.4 QB Rating). He has also carried the ball 282 times for 1,459 yards (5.2 ypc) with 12 TD runs so far in his NFL career. Young is now 31-19 (62%) as a starting QB during the regular season in his NFL career.
24-year old Mike Kafka is a developmental #3 QB for the Eagles. He played in 4 games (0 starts) for the Eagles this year and he completed 11 of 16 passes (68.8%) for 107 yards with 0 TD passes and 2 INTs (47.7 QB Rating). Kafka has also carried the ball 3 times for 0 yards in this game.
* Though it may seem like this year’s field of NFL playoff teams is less than stellar, it’s worth noting that 2011 marks just the second year ever that at least six teams enter the playoffs with 12 or more wins (New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, San Francisco, New Orleans). The only other time as many 12+ win teams qualified for the postseason was in 2003.
* Perhaps being in the wild card round isn’t such a bad thing for the Steelers. After all, winners in the opening round of the playoffs have gone on to win it all seven times. And in five of the past six seasons, at least one of the two teams participating in the SB has been forced to win three games beginning in the wild card round to punch their ticket to SB Sunday.
* With the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions both qualifying for the postseason this year, Buffalo now becomes the lone team in the NFL not to have made the playoffs since realignment in 2002. Yes, even Cleveland has been invited to the postseason party. Just once though back in the very first year of realignment (’02).
* Speaking of realignment, the Steelers have made seven playoff berths in the past 10 years since 2002. Those seven playoff appearances are tied with the Green Bay Packers for second most among playoff teams in 2011, trailing only New England who’s been playoff bound eight times in the past ten seasons. Interestingly and impressively enough, the Patriots won the AFC in each of those eight seasons. This will be the second time the Steelers have entered the postseason as a wild card rather than the AFC North champion. The last time, of course, was in 2005, and we all remember how they fared that year.
* And to round out the realignment related tidbits…for the first time since 2002, there were seven new divisional winners. Only the Patriots were repeat winners of their division.
* Exactly one half of this year’s field has won a Super Bowl since 2000. They are? The Steelers (’05, ’08), the Patriots (’01, ’03, ’04), the Ravens (’00), the Giants (’07), the Saints (’08), and the Packers (’10). With the Steelers and Pats winning multiple Lombardis, a total of nine of the past 11 Super Bowls have been won by teams in this year’s playoff field.
* The Steelers qualified for their 27th playoffs, tied for third most with Green Bay, and trailing only the Cowboys (30) and the Giants (31) for most in league history.
* The Steelers may not have been able to gain any ground on the Packers in the previous category, but they can inch closer to the all-time winningest playoff record if they can fare better than the defending champion Packers. Entering this year’s playoffs, the Steelers sport a 33-20 record (.623) compared to Green Bay’s record of 29-16 (.644).
* There’s only one team that can catch the Steelers in all-time SB wins this year. That team is the San Francisco 49ers, who, along with the Cowboys, have captured five SB titles. Green Bay, who seeks to become the ninth repeat champion in NFL history, has four SBs. Their remaining nine league titles came in the pre-SB era.
* I’m not sure this will make for a quality football game, but Saturday’s matchup between the Houston Texans and Cincinnati will be the first time in NFL history that two rookie quarterbacks will face off. T.J. Yates aims to return to lead Houston to a victory at home against the Andy Dalton led Bengals in what will be the first playoff game in franchise history for the Texans.
The gaming editors of CraveOnline choose the 10 best gaming experiences of 2011.
SB Nation has a Vikings vs. Packers Storystream ready to roll and they will be adding highlight videos. Something tells me there will be a few highlights this evening with the Packers on the field.
Who’s watching the game tonight?
The last major hurdle has been cleared before the Dallas Cowboys open the 2011 season against the New York Jets. I don’t know about you, but I am frankly glad to be able to stop guessing and start talking about the players that the Cowboys will take into this year’s campaign. (If you need a quick review, check here.)
It was a relief in some ways. Igor Olshansky was finally cut, a move many of the posters here were calling for no later than three minutes into the Denver preseason game. In others, it was surprising, or perhaps a bit disappointing.
Some of the posters here were certainly let down to see Akwasi Owusu-Ansah not make the teamA lot of the posters here had a very high opinion of his athletic abilities and felt he needed some more time. I was always a bit ambivalent about him and thought he never quite seemed to catch on to his position. But I know it hurts to lose a pet cat. They are such precious little creatures.
More after the jump.
I was a bit disappointed in one name that didn’t get cut, Sam Young. I was just about ready to lay money on the team going with nine offensive linemen, and he was a clear number 10 in my mind. I look at him, and wonder if that spot could have been better spent on Orie Lemon or Josh Thomas. Young players that have shown some flashes in camp are much more valuable to me than someone who I suspect is this year’s answer to Alex Barron. (I know, you hate to see that name. Which is my point.) If there is any decent OT out there who is now available after the cuts, I would look for Young to be the first person to drop off the 53. I actually think he is on the roster to protect Jermey Parnell, another raw young player the coaches seem eager to invest some more coaching in.
That brings up the numbers themselves. 10 linemen, four running backs and four tight ends are all numbers that could be seen as a bit high, although the lack of a pure fullback does offset at least one of those. On the defense, I was really expecting to see one more ILB and one more CB, and another S or OLB would not have been a bad thing, although the talent might not have been there. The one player I think could have definitely made a contribution was Orie Lemon. He could at least have played until Bruce Carter was ready, and then he might have proven himself valuable enough to maybe consider keeping him over Keith Brooking. As I have said, I like Keith, except for those hyper rah-rah speeches before games, but he only has so much left in him. I really hope Lemon can get onto the PS, because I think we may need him in a few weeks.
I do slip into speculation when I see there are seven DL and seven total LB bodies on the team. I wonder if Rob Ryan has some ideas for other ways to use players like Jay Ratliff, Clifton Geathers and Sean Lissemore that don’t fit easily into the standard 3-4 mold. I expect to see several formations this year that have more of a 4-3 look, with the DL getting a chance to go after the quarterback, too.
Although I don’t fully understand all of the decisions here, I don’t find most of them very shocking. The team has by and large gotten rid of all the dead weight and stayed true to the idea of playing the best people. I cannot find one name on the cut list that I can clearly say is better than the players that made the team at that same position.
One thing that does make me bang my head against the wall is going with two kickers. Again. I cannot really see that as anything other than wasting a roster spot. I would much rather see Orie Lemon on the team. But that would have meant keeping one all around capable kicker, and instead we have two half kickers to cover the job. I am one of those who love seeing David Buehler mash a returner, but hopefully he will almost never have to do that. I just cannot understand why we can’t find a competent field goal kicker who can also kick the ball into the back half of the end zone on a regular basis. I tell you, it’s a curse.
Now, the team will be waiting to see who is available from other teams. And it has to sign a practice squad. Todd Archer at ESPN has a take on a possible PS. It’s a pretty good guess, I think, but if one of the current 53 is cut, then the team may bump one of the PS players, depending on who is eligible. And of course, we don’t know who will clear waivers. We snatched Parnell off another team’s PS.
But the main issue is settled. I will watch with interest to see what else may happen, but now it is time to start focusing on the start of the season.
I feel reasonably good about this group. Now to see how they play against the Jets.
28-year old Ryan Grant broke his ankle in the season opener last year and it caused him to miss the rest of the season. Grant will try to make up for lost time in 2011 as he tries to regain his starting job at RB. Grant played in 1 game (1 start) for the Packers last year and he carried the ball 8 times for 45 yards (5.6 ypc). He has now played in 48 games (38 starts) in his first four years in the NFL and he has carried the ball 790 times for 3,457 yards (4.4 ypc) with 23 TD runs. He has also caught 73 passes for 458 yards (6.3 avg) with 1 TD grab so far in his NFL career.
25-year old James Starks is challenging Grant for the starting RB gig in 2011. He as incredible in the post-season as he helped the Packers get to and win the Super Bowl. During the regular season though, Starks was less than impressive. Starks played in 3 games (0 starts) for the Packers last year and he carried the ball 29 times for 101 yards (3.5 ypc). He also caught 2 passes for 15 yards (7.5 avg) last year for the Packers.
23-year old rookie Alex Green was a 3rd round pick out of Hawaii last April by the Packers. He is used to playing in a spread formation so he will likely fit right in on the pass happy Packers. He will have to work his way up the depth chart.
23-year old Dimitri Nance played in 12 games (0 starts) for the Packers in his rookie year in 2010, in which he carried the ball 36 times for 95 yards (2.6 ypc). Nance also caught 3 passes for 30 yards (10.0 avg) last year. Nance is going to have a hard time making the Packers’ roster in 2011.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE PACKERS RBS IN 2011: B
24-year old Rashard Mendenhall is going to be the main man in the running game for the Steelers once again in 2011. Mendenhall played in 16 games (all starts) for the Steelers last year and he carried the ball 324 times for 1,273 yards (3.9 ypc) with 13 TD runs. He also caught 23 passes for 167 yards (7.3 avg) last year. The Steelers will likely look to run the ball at least as much as they did last season and that’s good news for Mendenhall. He has now played in 36 games (29 starts) in his first three years with the Steelers and he has carried the ball 585 times for 2,439 yards (4.2 ypc) with 20 TD runs. Mendenhall has also caught 50 passes for 445 yards (8.9 avg) with 1 TD grab in his NFL career so far.
As a rookie in 2009, 26-year old Isaac Redman only played in 1 game for the Steelers and he didn’t touch the ball. He moved up the depth chart in 2010 and he played in all 16 games for the Steelers in which he carried the ball 53 times for 247 yards (4.7 ypc) with 0 TD carries. He also caught 9 passes for 72 yards (8.0 avg) with 2 TD grabs last year. Redman will likely get more carries in 2011 as the Steelers will be watching Mendenhall’s workload a tad more this year.
29-year old Mewelde Moore is a very solid #3 RB for the Steelers. He played in 15 games (0 starts) for the Steelers last year and he carried the ball 33 times for 99 yards (3.0 ypc). He also caught 26 passes for 205 yards (7.9 avg) last year. Moore should get a little more P.T. in 2011 just like Redman. Moore has played in 101 games (15 starts) in his first 7 years in the NFL and he has carried the ball 472 times for 2,090 yards (4.4 ypc) with 6 TD runs. He has also caught 203 passes for 1,771 yards (8.7 avg) with 6 TD grabs in his NFL career so far.
22-year old Jonathan Dwyer played in 1 game (0 starts) as a rookie for the Steelers last season and he carried the ball 9 times for 28 yards (3.1 ypc). Dwyer is going to have a hard time moving up the depth chart unless the Steelers suffer some injuries at RB.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE STEELERS RBS IN 2011: B
I love Vegas but I would never want to live there, too many 24/7 temptations. I’d probably be an overweight, oversexed, compulsive gambler, definitely not a pretty picture. But it is interesting to look at the future odds to see how Vegas manages it’s book. They aren’t looking to pick winners, they just want to balance their books for effective risk management. So essentially Vegas lines are predictors of the whole betting public doing a SportsNation pole.
Phil Mickelson won a 22 to 1 bet on the Ravens and cashed out 0,000. But there are pretty good rumors that he has had some huge losses and had to sign with Callaway just to pay his bookies. That part if it is true is not something he is likely to brag about:). Phil still talks about the Ravens, i know some people who have played with him and he loved to talk shop about his gambling. Supposedly, he gave up gambling when his son was born, not sure if i buy that one.
But i digress. Last year the Packers started at 12 to 1 & Stillers were 10 to 1. The favorites were the Colts at 6 to 1 with the Chargers 2nd at 7 to 1. Here are the historic winners’ pre-season future odds:
XLV – Packers at 12 to 1
XLIV - Saints at 25 to 1
XLIII - Steelers at 18 to 1
XLII - Giants at 30 to 1
XLI - Colts at 5 to 1 (and they won)
This is mostly a sucker bet unless you are able to hedge and play the bookies lines off each other, there often appear to be some big divergences this early. But if you look at the past five winners, these lines were only right once in the last 5 years. Although, in Super Bowl XLII the pre-season favorite was the Pats at 3 to 1. So these lines picked at least 2 teams correctly to appear in the SB, so they are not always way off. But to pick the eventual winner now is like finding a diamond in a haystack full of needles. Yea, you can get lucky like Mickelson (but maybe he had k on 10 teams so he really only won 0k:) ) but the winners are often a good team maybe ranked 5-10 that gets hot and rolls thru. When was the last time a 90 to 1 (Skins) or a 150 to 1 (Bills & Panthers) actually won?
That would be never.
|Team||2012 Super Bowl XLVI Futures Odds
Money Odds (Payout Per 0 Bet.)
|Arizona Cardinals||+,000 (50 to 1)|
|Atlanta Falcons||+,200 (12 to 1)|
|Baltimore Ravens||+,200 (12 to 1)|
|Buffalo Bills||+,000 (150 to 1)|
|Carolina Panthers||+,000 (150 to 1)|
|Chicago Bears||+,500 (35 to 1)|
|Cincinnati Bengals||+,000 (100 to 1)|
|Cleveland Browns||+,000 (60 to 1)|
|Dallas Cowboys||+,000 (20 to 1)|
|Denver Broncos||+,000 (60 to 1)|
|Detroit Lions||+,200 (22 to 1)|
|Green Bay Packers||+0 (6 to 1)|
|Houston Texans||+,200 (32 to 1)|
|Indianapolis Colts||+,000 (10 to 1)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||+,000 (60 to 1)|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+,000 (30 to 1)|
|Miami Dolphins||+,000 (40 to 1)|
|Minnesota Vikings||+,500 (35 to 1)|
|New England Patriots||+0 (6 to 1)|
|New Orleans Saints||+,200 (12 to 1)|
|New York Giants||+,000 (20 to 1)|
|New York Jets||+,200 (12 to 1)|
|Oakland Raiders||+,000 (50 to 1)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||+0 (6 to 1)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||+,000 (10 to 1)|
|San Diego Chargers||+,300 (13 to 1)|
|San Francisco 49ers||+,000 (40 to 1)|
|Seattle Seahawks||+,000 (80 to 1)|
|St. Louis Rams||+,000 (50 to 1)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+,000 (30 to 1)|
|Tennessee Titans||+,000 (60 to 1)|
|Washington Redskins||+,000 (90 to 1)|
Finish up the open game threads here. The Kansas City Chiefs will reportedly address the Jonathan Baldwin-Thomas Jones fight after the game. We will be covering that.
To get caught up, here are the previous game threads from tonight, which are organized by quarter: