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Packers rookie TE D.J. Williams looks the part

One of the early headlines coming out of Packers training camp involves a tight end who fans did not get to see much of in 2010.

But it isn’t Jermichael Finley.

Instead, fifth round draft choice D.J. Williams has been showing off his impressive ball skills in seven-on-seven segments and individual drills, making fans believe that general manager Ted Thompson has once again struck gold in the middle rounds of the draft.

There’s no denying that Finley is a lock to start as long as he is healthy, but the departure of free agent Donald Lee and no apparent back-up could mean that Williams, a junior from Arkansas, could contribute in 2011.

Wondering if Williams defines Ted Thompson’s mantra of “Packer people”? ESPN’s E:60 ran a segment on Williams portraying his extremely difficult childhood. Growing up, Williams dealt with a drug-inflicted, abusive father and eventually escaped with his mother and sister to Arkansas, where the family of three began a new life.

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August 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers-Steelers Super Bowl XLV Preview: Wide receivers and tight ends

With just six days remaining until Super Bowl XLV, it’s time to start comparing both teams to see where advantage lie on the rosters. The Pittsburgh Steelers come into the Super Bowl after taking down the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets as the AFC’s No. 2 seed. They used a balanced attack on offense and a swarming defense to get where they are, as they look for their third Super Bowl title in the last six seasons under head coach Mike Tomlin.

Answering for the NFC are the Green Bay Packers, who enter the Super Bowl as the hotter of the two teams. Road wins over the Eagles, Falcons, and Bears as the No. 6 seed has proved they can play with anyone. That’s exactly what Mike McCarthy and the Packers will have to do when they face Pittsburgh. Just two players have Super Bowl experience, Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett, while John Kuhn holds the lone S.B. ring, when he was a practice squad member with the Steelers back in 2005.

Here’s a comparison breakdown of each offensive position and which team will hold the edge come Super Bowl Sunday. Teams will either have a neutral edge, a slight edge, or a substantial edge.

Wide Receiver: Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antwaan Randle El vs. Green Bay’s Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson

While the Steelers may hold a slight advantage at quarterback Sunday, the guys catching the ball will have a substantial advantage when Green Bay has the ball on offense. As much of a storied career as Hines Ward has had, Greg Jennings comes into Sunday’s game as the best receiver on either team, and maybe the league. After catching just one ball for eight yards against the Eagles, Jennings has gone for 101 and 130 yards through the air the last two games. While he hasn’t found the endzone in the playoffs this year, his big play capability is undeniable.

Answering in the big play department will be Mike Wallace, who has exploded onto the scene for the Steelers. Wallace averaged a ridiculous 21 yards per catch in 2010 and had 26 catches of 20+ yards. To put that in perspective, that’s five more than Jennings had, who averaged 16.6 yards per catch.

Ward has been on the big stage before, picking up MVP honors in Super Bowl XL. Emmanuel Sanders has become a deep threat as well and Antwaan Randle El is versatile, but the quality and depth the Packers’ receivers have gives them a huge advantage. While Donald Driver has slowed some, James Jones and Jordy Nelson are both No. 2 receivers from a skill standpoint, meaning Aaron Rodgers will have plenty of open targets to throw at. Pittsburgh’s receivers aren’t bad in any sense, but the Packers’ receivers are tops in the league and playing very well right now.

Tight End: Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller vs. Green Bay’s Andrew Quarless

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February 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Packers Should Have Done on Draft Day

Make no mistake about it: I am extremely pleased with how the Packers’ 2010 draft went down. They came out of the three-day festivities with a future left tackle, depth on both lines, a potential starting safety, and even more potential threats on an already scary offense. But what’s the fun in agreeing?

By in large, the Packers’ front office knew 1000 times more about the players in the draft than I ever could by reading Mel Kiper’s NFL Draft Preview book or watching Youtube videos, but here’s what I would have done if I was calling the shots on Draft Day.

*Note* Each selection is based on what the Packers actually did leading up to that point. So in round two, I am saying who the Packers should have selected based on taking Bryan Bulaga, etc.

Round 1, pick 23

Who was the pick: Bryan Bulaga, LT, Iowa

Who should have been the pick: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

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May 8, 2010 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NFL Draft: Packers Balance Out Need and Value

Round One: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

Bulaga’s stock was all over the board, but Ted Thompson stuck to his draft board and went with who he hopes will be the team’s future left tackle. They could have gone with the instant upgrade at outside linebacker or safety, but instead chose Bulaga. He has excellent size and can play three positions on the line. The Packers say he will have a chance to compete for the starting left tackle position this year.

Round Two: Michael Neal, DE, Purdue

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April 25, 2010 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL | , , , , , | Leave a comment