Packergeeks season grades

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Bob McGinn came out with his season grades. Read here for this article. In his overall summary, he made some good points and some of his grades were dead on. But there was plenty to disagree with. Perhaps the biggest issue I have with how he grades is that he is so dependent on stats. It’s almost like he tries to create a mathematical formula to come up with grades. I know, I know, numbers don’t lie etc etc etc. But they don’t tell the whole story either. Take his D+ for Brandon Jackson based solely on his low 3rd down reception average (doesn’t mention his quality blocking for Rodgers on 3rd downs and his stellar 5.5 yards per carry).

Offense

  • Rodgers – A. McGinn wrong giving Rodgers B. Rodgers great. Inconsistent O-line play, no run game – Rodgers great. Will get clutch victories soon, then it will become routine. Also will become better leader starting next year.
  • Grant – C+. Grant didn’t avoid tackles well this year. Wasn’t terrible though (O-Line didn’t help him much). Should be fine next year if the line improves (and perhaps has a new offensive scheme).
  • Brandon Jackson – B. McGinn was way off here giving Jackson a D+. Jackson was pretty good and only had a low 3rd down reception average because of a shoddy O-Line.
  • DeShawn Wynn – B. Maybe didn’t play enough to get a grade but answered when called upon. He has vision our other RBs don’t have.
  • Korey Hall – D+. Injury problems again. He’s not bad and when healthy could be a valuable player. If not, he may end up being yet another guy who should just play his natural position – LB.
  • John Kuhn – D+. There were too many times when Kuhn didn’t get to the right spot at the right time.
  • Greg Jennings – A. No need for comment, just very good.
  • Donald Driver – A-. Driver is still good and he still gets the job done. I gave him a “-” because he can’t seem to break tackles like he used to.
  • Jordy Nelson – C+. I like Jordy’s attitude and sure hands. He strikes me as a quality #3 receiver. If he gets stronger, he might be able to shed tacklers like I imagine he did in college.
  • James Jones – C+. Jones was too injured almost to be graded. But when he was actually on the field, he showed he still presents a scary option.
  • Ruvell Martin – C+. It is now trendy to talk about Ruvell’s blocking ability ever since Packergeeks gave him the unofficial title of “best WR blocker” last year. But he is a great blocker and a high level team guy.
  • Donald Lee – C. Lee wasn’t too special this year. He’s still a quality TE but I almost wonder if the priority to develop him has given way to what seems like an overwhelming priority by the staff to develop Finley.
  • Tory Humphrey – B-. I can’t pretend to know how good Humphrey was blocking etc, but it seemed to me that whenever he got a chance, this guy came through.
  • Jermichael Finley – D+. His last couple games were encouraging – mostly because I like the way they tried to use him. As he adjusts to the NFL, he could become really good.
  • Colledge – C. Still nothing special to me. McGinn will throw stat after stat at you and it seems “cool” presently to talk about how Colledge was a “bright spot”, but I just didn’t see it very much.
  • Clifton – D. Clifton is just not good enough anymore. Physically his knees don’t work, his hip probably doesn’t work. I’m not sure he makes the team next year.
  • Moll – D-. He is not good. Though yet again, he is another player the Packers tried to convert. Apparently Moll was mostly a TE in college.
  • Tauscher – C-. He really struggled this year. C- is a bad grade from me, but especially bad for a guy whom I’ve given high Bs or even As in the past. Tauscher has been one of our best players over the years, but 2008 was not a good year for him. I do want him back, but I think other teams will come after him looking for a bargain.
  • Spitz – C. I saw in some other post-season grades that Spitz did OK by some. I don’t get that. I like that he can play center in a pinch and I didn’t notice a drop-off at all when he did. But I’m just not sure he’s that good yet.
  • Wells – C-. I don’t see what others see in Wells. I think he is too small and is often responsible for giving up the push up the middle at the line of scrimmage.
  • Barbe and others – who knows.

Defense

  • Woodson – A. Maybe one of the best seasons ever by a Packer corner. His tackling this year was unreal.
  • Harris – B+. Harris is still good. Yes, he is vulnerable against the big/talented guys, but generally he still holds his own.
  • Bigby – incomplete.
  • Collins – B+/A-. Collins was a lot better at actually catching interceptions (though he still dropped a few) but I think the most important thing about the Pro Bowl nod is that he will be even more confident now. I think he had questions about his own skills going into this year and now I think he’ll have more faith in what he’s doing going forward.
  • Peprah – C-. Often injured. Shows signs of talent for tackling at times.
  • Tramon Williams – B-. Was great filling in for Harris but his level of play dropped in the 2nd half. I still think he has the skills to be a starting CB though.
  • Will Blackmon – C-. This grade is for his contributions as a CB, which weren’t great. He had one great tackle play against Jax that caused a fumble but outside of that, I’m not sure he’s that good of a corner. I really like him in the return game and may give him a B to B+ there.
  • Jarrett Bush – C-. His mistakes cause headaches, and overall I’m not sure he should be on the team. I do like his enthusiasm though.
  • Aaron Rouse – D+. Disappointment. I do wonder if Sanders just never found a good way to use him. Rouse has unique LB-like size for a safety and I hope that the new D-Coordinator can maybe find some special ways to use him. I’ve said it before, but I think having Collins, Bigby and Rouse on the field for the same plays at times could be an intriguing combination.
  • Brady Poppinga – A. Just kidding, D. He and Spencer Havner should switch roles.
  • Desmond Bishop – B. If I read again about how he missed a tackle on Chester Taylor (a tackle that only MAYBE Patrick Willis would have made – certainly not Barnett) or about major coverage let downs, I’m going to puke. He did more in his short time out there than any part-time player. He caused 3 forced fumbles in very very limited action. YOU CAN’T KEEP SOMEONE ON THE BENCH WHEN HE’S CAUSING TURNOVERS AND MAKING PLAYS AND YOUR STARTERS AREN’T!!! Sorry, bitterness.
  • Nick Barnett – C-. Barnett was not sharp this year before his injury. Not sure what it was but his level of play dropped significantly from last year when he was pretty darn good.
  • AJ Hawk – D. Gotta wonder if that chest injury affected him more than he let on. Any kind of injury of the chest is kind of scary. Either way, he was bad this year and I think Winston Moss is right when he says that AJ is not playing freely/instinctively because he’s too assignment-focused.
  • Chillar – B. He was good. Yes, he had a few missed tackles and poor plays here and there, but overall, he was probably our best LB.
  • Kampman – B-. Kampman wasn’t as visible this year. I don’t think he was stellar and I think if he rated himself, he would say the same. But I do recognize that he was double-teamed constantly because if opposing lines didn’t do that, they’d have been bored doing nothing.
  • Pickett – C-. Pickett was not the same. Like Tauscher, a C- for a player like Pickett is a bad, bad grade. We expect high “B” performances from him but he didn’t deliver this year.
  • Jolly – D+. I had high hopes for Jolly. I thought he’d be great. He wasn’t. He plays hard and has enthusiasm, but I just don’t know how effective he can be. Perhaps he was affected negatively by having a weak right DE next to him all season.
  • Montgomery – D+. A small part of me was pulling for Montgomery to be a surprise this year. He wasn’t. His rush “moves” are slow and he didn’t contain the edge well against the run.
  • Jeremy Thompson – D+. Lots of development to do for this guy.  Thompson plays hard and is excited about being out there. Just didn’t perform. He consistently over-pursued or just plain got burned on plays. He plays small, more like a LB. If we move to a 3-4, he may actually have a shot at helping at OLB.
  • Colin Cole – C. I can’t say for sure why I believe this but I think Cole came on at the end of the season. For most of the season though, he was pretty absent.
  • Alfred Malone – C+. He’s a guy I’d like to see more of. He took advantage of his chances to play and looked OK.
  • Jason Hunter – C-. Had hopes that he would get more playing time and perform better. I believe an injury sidelined him for a bit. May be another guy who would fit in a 3-4 defense as an OLB.
  • Justin Harrell – D-. Harrell’s injury issues are sad. Considering the ongoing back problems, I’m not sure he’s going to be able to play at all anymore. I’m over the fact that it was a blown draft pick – dumb mistake by TT – more surprising than anything. But this is sad because if you see an interview with Justin, you’ll realize pretty fast that he’s a good kid. He, himself feels badly for letting down Packer nation and has said so.

Special Teams

  • Mason Crosby – C+. Still helps us on kick offs quite a bit. His misses on potential game-winners obviously hurt. But a bigger concern to me was the few kicks he had (like the first miss in the Bears game for example) where it seemed he had no idea how to kick. My unofficial count had this happen 3 times. He came out of his kicking form way early, didn’t focus on the plant foot whatsoever and kicked a low-flying duck-hook type kick each time. Sort of like he was afraid of someone running into him or something. 2 of these were in cold weather, but weather in which the opposing kicker made longer field goals. Still, I like Crosby and am not too worried about him.
  • Derrick Frost – F.
  • Jeremy Kapinos – B-. Came in under tons of pressure and performed OK in poor conditions. His numbers weren’t great but as I said before, numbers don’t tell the whole story. He had big kicks when we needed them and importantly, didn’t hurt us down the stretch. Packers should throw millions at Shane Lechler this off-season.
  • Brett Goode – B+. He was…um…goode. Not sure why McGinn would give this guy a C or whatever he gave him. He was a sure-snapper. I didn’t give him an A only because I’m not sure how he was blocking and coverage-wise.

Coaching

  • McCarthy – C-. Mike McCarthy was off this year. He was distracted by Favre and distracted by having a baby. Neither thing his “fault”, and neither thing a small thing. I think next year he’ll be more focused and get back to being the creative, quality playcaller I think he is. This past year, his game-flow and playcalling was really subpar though.
  • Sanders – D+. Sanders did have a couple outstanding games, like the Colts game and the first Bears game. He was on the money for those games. But he was not consistent and his inability to adapt to changes throughout the course of a game was a major liability for us. Good guy it seems, but we’re ready for a new defensive coordinator.
  • Mike Stock – D. Stock’s fall was interesting. The special teams in 2007 were a key part of our success. They were consistent and solid for the most part. In 2008, however, this was a major weakness. Penalties, weak coverage, the Frost nightmare. Stock’s stock could have gone either way as he was on the rise after 2007.
  • Joe Philbin – ?. Not sure what he does. I’m sure he contributes in some way, but it’s hard to know exactly how because McCarthy is so involved with the offense.

Management

  • Ted Thompson – C. Didn’t like his handling of Favre. Didn’t like the Frost situation. Didn’t like the lack of depth the team ended up having. And still believe he over-emphasizes the draft vs free agency. On the other hand, I liked that he tried at least for Tony Gonzalez. I liked that he got something in return for Favre. I liked that he picked up Chillar. As critical as I’ve been of TT in the past, I am not one of the group calling for his head. He has shown flashes of brilliance and I really want to see if he can help bring the team back from this miserable season. While I’d say that the players and coaches bear the majority of the blame for this past season, I do think TT must do more to improve both our talent and depth, particularly on defense and particularly on the lines. I also think we need more veteran leadership out there in the form of free agents and I hope that TT modifies his approach to accommodate this. If he doesn’t and the team doesn’t show marked improvement next year, I’m not sure TT will be wanted back.
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5 Responses to “Packergeeks season grades”

  1. Ron La Canne Says:

    Pretty solid analysis, overall. Few areas I’d disagree with:

    1. Cole – C to D- Cole had 49 tackles this year. That was the lowest tackle count of any of the regulars or semi-regulars on the D-Line. He was 22 tackles behind Montgomery, his nearest competition.

    2. Bishop – C to D+ Not consistent enough to rate the higher score. Too many mistakes, even though the defensive coaching was a contributor to that consistency. He has a way to go yet, but potential is there.

    3. Malone – C+ to D- 13 tackles, enough said.

    4. Hunter – C- to D- 13 tackles enough said.

    5. Chillar – B to D+ He was the best performer at LB for the Packers. He still wasn’t above average compared to other LB’s in the League.

    6. Wells – C to D- If you go back and review the DVR’s closely he was just plain destroyed on a regular basis. I’m sure his injury effected him more than anyone would let on. However, with a back surgery scheduled, I doubt his return. Better get Birk!

  2. Cindy V Says:

    The Shpherd Express also had a very good article recapping the year. It can be found on http://www.expressmilwaukee.com It’s pretty much a numbers thing but you can see where the Pack stan compared to others in the league.

  3. Aaron Rogders Says:

    LOL, that’s right, Frost doesn’t even need a description.

    I agree with all the grades until I got down to coaching. Giving McCarthy a C- is pretty high in my opinion. The packers were making the same mistakes all season. Am I wrong in saying that the it is the coach’s job to fix those mistakes during practice? The pad level excuse all year long was extremely annoying. He never admitted to any of his own mistakes. Anytime someone challenged him on why he did a certain play call, he always said he believes it was the right call, he was never wrong. His play calling towards the end of EVERY game was the playing not to lose instead of playing to win. He actually believed that his defense could win us a game if we went ahead by a field goal instead of a touchdown…

    TT HAS A C! What have you been smoking?? Besides the Favre situation, Frost, Harrell, and not wanting to acquire Free Agents, the draft wasn’t the most excellent either…

    Can we grade the draft choices? Here are my opinions on them:

    1. Nelson – When announced at Lambeau Field, the large crowd became very quiet. Everyone was going through their draft papers trying to find out who the heck this guy is. Everyone was expecting Brohm with the first pick. It was then announced that the Packers picked Nelson because they were impressed with this hands and athletic ability. I do believe that Nelson was a good pick but was also a little bit of a reach. They could have got him with the other second round pick. It is possible he could have made it to the third round as well. I think the Packers got scared when they saw the Rams and Redskins pickup WR before them. So the Packers made Nelson the third overall selected WR.

    2. Brohm – Yes, I am going to say it now. BUST!

    3. Lee – Had a good college career. He looks good in practice and he looked good the few times he played defense. He did suffer a knee injury though which effected his playing time and was eventually put on IR. I know he didn’t do much this season but this is a good pick.

    4. Finley – Apparently he was considered an “athletic monster” in Texas. He then ran a 4.62 40 yard dash… which I would think a lot of tight ends can do. He should really lose some weight and tryout as a WR because TE is NOT the position he should be playing. Whenever you put Finley on the field, the defense already knows you are going to pass the ball. He should not have been selected in the third round.

    5. Thompson – We did not need a finesse DE. He is from Wake Forest. He needs some proteins shakes and some MYO Shock.

    6. Sitton – He was not on the draft radar. He was not expected to even get picked from the draft. So he must have been excited being picked from the fourth round. He did do everything he was asked to do and a lot of it, so I can’t really say he was a horrible pick either.

    7. Giacomini – Who is this guy?

    8. Flynn – He may be the steal of the draft. BCS champion QB in the seventh round. How did this happen?

    9. Swain – Who knows where he is… don’t think he will ever be a starting NFL WR

  4. Ron La Canne Says:

    I wanted to do TT separately. Your grade of C is too high. Yr 1 4-12 let Wahle and Rivera go. Yr 2 8-8 only after MM was able to string 4 Dec wins together. Yr 3 13-3 Yipee were the youngest team and 1 game away from the Super Bowl. We must be great. Yr. 4 6-10 poor play on the part of both lines and the LB’s created a less than stellar result. 4 years of Ted Thompson leaves us with an overall reg. season record of 31-33.

    Over that period of time the Defensive Line has steadily degraded to a position that leaves them with only one above average player and two slightly below average players. The remainder of the D-line is not even NFL calibre. Similarly, the O-Line has degraded each year to a point now where the last two real Pros on the Line, Clifton and Tauscher are at the end of their careers. A crazy quilt of mid to low round draft choices are all that will remain. Are we ready for Tony Moll and Colledge to start at the tackles next year?

    The Favre affair. The descision to let Favre go was the correct one. The descision to involve MM in the sorid mess with Favre was a stupid blunder on TT’s part. He should have had the guts to be the point on that.

    He does get credit for WR’s selection, Safety selection. and QB. Jury is out on CB’s and kicker (can Crosby make the winning FG?)

    I think Ted Thompson is the perfect example of Murphy’s law. Grade F

  5. Phil Says:

    Poppinga should have his grade adjusted. He gets an A for falling on piles after the play is over.

    If the Packers want to “right the wrong” of the J. Harrell pick, they should try their hardest to get N. Suh out of Nebraska in the draft of 2010. He’s a DT who put up amazing stats this past year, and will very likely be among the best (if not the best) DT in the country next year at the collegiate level. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5h8_dm1hes

    The rest of the grades were spot on.

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