Discussion Board
Zero2Cool
2020-03-23T03:03:22Z
Some good points here. You want to disagree, I know you do. SO, go ahead.
CheeseheadTV wrote:

The most difficult decisions for NFL general managers and coaches have to be whether to cut or let established players walk. This offseason, Green Bay Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst made what must have been the gut-wrenching call to wave good bye to starting players Brian Bulaga, Blake Martinez and Jimmy Graham.  All three immediately signed lucrative contracts with other teams.

As frustrating as this may be for us Packer fans, we can take consolation in the fact that the Packers track record in this area has been pretty good in recent years. The old adage is "better a year too early than a year too late".  Here is a cross section of decisions that proved to be wise, followed by a few which did not:

 

THE GOOD DECISIONS

 

Josh Sitton:  After eight stellar years with the Packers, Sitton was judged to be a complainer and bad locker room influence and was a surprise cut in 2016.  The three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman immediately signed with the Bears and went on to a fourth Pro Bowl season.  But plagued by injuries, his play went rapidly downhill in 2017.  After suffering a season ending torn rotator cuff in September of 2018, Sitton was let go by Chicago in March of 2019.  He retired as a Packer this past December.

 

T. J. Lang:  Similar to Sitton, Lang was allowed to leave in 2016 after seven seasons and a Pro Bowl in Green Bay.  The veteran guard signed with Detroit and made another Pro Bowl in 2017.  But his 2018 season was limited to 6 games with a bevy of injuries and the Lions released him.  Lang retired in March of 2019.

 

Jordy Nelson:  One of the best receivers in team history, Jordy was allowed to walk after the 2018 campaign.  He signed with Oakland but despite a fair year of 739 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, the Raiders judged him over the hill and let him go.  He retired as a Packer in August of 2019.

 

Eddie Lacy:  After four years in green and gold which included Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors, the bruising running back was shown the door after the 2016 season.  He joined the Seattle Seahawks but got lost in a crowded backfield and rushed for just 179 yards in 2017.  The Seahawks did not resign him.

 

Randall Cobb:  One of the most popular and productive receivers in recent years, Cobb was allowed to walk after 2018 when it was decided his production and availability was not worth his considerable salary.  Some may argue with my decision to put Cobb in the Good Decision category after a decent season with the Dallas Cowboys where he amassed 828 receiving yards and three touchdowns.  But Dallas did not think enough of him to keep him around despite the possibility of a reunion with Coach Mike McCarthy.  Cobb signed with Houston for good money but it remains to be seen if there is gas left in the tank.

 

Clay Matthews:  The legendary linebacker with the long blonde hair reached the end of the line in Green Bay after eleven seasons in 2018.  He signed with the Rams and went on to register eight sacks.  But the salary cap strapped Rams let him go this off season, judging his play did not justify his pay.

 

Nick Perry:  The Packers gave up on the first round linebacker in March of 2019 after seven inconsistent and injury plagued seasons.  He has not been resigned by any other team.

 

THE BAD DECISIONS

 

Micah Hyde:  After four solid years as a safety and kick returner with the Pack, Hyde became a free agent in 2017.  He signed with the Buffalo Bills and went on to a Pro Bowl year, setting career highs in all defensive categories.  He has been a steady, quality player for the Bills ever since and could have been a stable influence in Green Bay's defensive backfield.

 

Casey Hayward:  The Packers thought the oft injured Hayward was expendable after drafting two defensive backs at the top of the 2015 draft.  Hayward signed with the (at that time) San Diego Chargers and went on to lead the league in interceptions on the way to being named second team all pro.  He has played so well that in 2018 the Chargers resigned him to a deal averaging 11 million dollars per year.  Meanwhile the Packers had to redraft defensive backs at the top of the 2018 draft.

 

Jared Cook:  After coming back from injury during the 2016 season, it was obvious Cook was becoming one of  Aaron Rodgers' favorite receivers in clutch situations.  But Ted Thompson felt his asking price was too high and Cook went to Oakland.  He caught six touchdown passes for the Raiders in 2018, and 9 TD's for the New Orleans Saints in 2019.  Meanwhile the Packers have failed to find an answer at the tight end position ever since.

 

There are many other examples of course.  As you see, the personnel game is one of hits and misses.  But if you add them all up, the Packers have been right more often than wrong in recent years.  It should give Packer fans hope that Brian Gutekunst will push the right buttons this year and beyond.

 


Continue Reading @ CheeseheadTV 

KRK
  • KRK
  • Veteran Member
2020-03-23T03:16:42Z
It is hard to root for guys, then say they should be cut....but that is the business.

Nice column with great perspective. Thanks for posting.
beast
2020-03-23T04:14:06Z
Very good article, though Hyde was a CB while with the Packers... and didn't mention Haywards first Chargers contract which is what I argued, if he was under a certain price (and he was), resign him.

Though I'm sure most will disagree, but I would consider Cobb in the bad decision pile, not because we didn't resign him, but because we did resign him to that second contract... IMO he didn't live up to it. He should have been gone before Nelson.
Nonstopdrivel
2020-03-23T05:32:34Z
I would be greatly surprised if the decision to let Graham go was in any way gut wrenching. He never came anywhere close to living up to his top-of-the-line contract, and he made a number of bad plays that arguably hurt the team's prospects. (Admittedly, Rodgers didn't always do him any favors, but there were other times he laid it right in Graham's breadbasket, and Graham still couldn't make the connection.) Whether Graham is over the hill or he simply wasn't a good fit on Rodgers' offense, it's well past time to move on. I would have preferred for Gutekunst to not have even brought him back for the 2019 season.
Zero2Cool
2020-03-23T11:47:20Z
I think letting Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward leave was the right choice. This is assuming they drafted best avail player and thus they had young secondary players coming in. I also think both needed a different scheme to reach the success they have had. Which bothers me that it seems we used to find guys to fit scheme rather than best football players and adapt scheme to their talents.
beast
2020-03-23T13:36:59Z
Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 

I think letting Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward leave was the right choice. This is assuming they drafted best avail player and thus they had young secondary players coming in. I also think both needed a different scheme to reach the success they have had.


I agree that they probably needed a heavy zone scheme to be at their absolute best, though I still wonder how Hyde (and Randall for that matter), would have done at Safety for the Packers.

Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 

Which bothers me that it seems we used to find guys to fit scheme rather than best football players and adapt scheme to their talents.


I'm not sure about that... because if they were finding guys to fit a scheme, then they did it wrong, because clearly they were finding guys that fit THE WRONG scheme. Which would suggest to me that either they were finding the best players no matter the scheme.

Also with that, we saw one problem with always trying to adapt your scheme to your talent... as our best two CBs were Shields and Hayward.

Shields basically being a man coverage specialist and Hayward being a zone coverage specialist...

They couldn't adapt the scheme to fit both as they had to pick one scheme or the other. So when grabbing the BPA and adjusting to the strengths of the players, Sometimes leads to the trouble of different talented players not working in the same type of scheme.

PS: Back then when searching for a solution, I finally found a scheme that did both.... for years VA Tech ran a scheme where half of the field (with their best CB) was in man coverage, and the other half was in zone. But that's the only place I've ever seen if successful done often, and I'm not sure if that would work in the pros.

gbguy20
2020-03-23T14:14:41Z
Another thread to rehash how terrible Micah Hyde was in GB. Lets not act like we expected him to be great anywhere he went. Lets also not act like we wouldn't have been outraged had we given him the contract that buffalo did.
Zero2Cool
2020-03-23T14:37:38Z
Originally Posted by: beast 

I agree that they probably needed a heavy zone scheme to be at their absolute best, though I still wonder how Hyde (and Randall for that matter), would have done at Safety for the Packers.


I'm not sure about that... because if they were finding guys to fit a scheme, then they did it wrong, because clearly they were finding guys that fit THE WRONG scheme. Which would suggest to me that either they were finding the best players no matter the scheme.

Also with that, we saw one problem with always trying to adapt your scheme to your talent... as our best two CBs were Shields and Hayward.

Shields basically being a man coverage specialist and Hayward being a zone coverage specialist...

They couldn't adapt the scheme to fit both as they had to pick one scheme or the other. So when grabbing the BPA and adjusting to the strengths of the players, Sometimes leads to the trouble of different talented players not working in the same type of scheme.

PS: Back then when searching for a solution, I finally found a scheme that did both.... for years VA Tech ran a scheme where half of the field (with their best CB) was in man coverage, and the other half was in zone. But that's the only place I've ever seen if successful done often, and I'm not sure if that would work in the pros.



I'm not sure I follow the perceived issue mentioned. If Shields is better at man, you lock him on WR2 and if Hayward (who was slot I believe) is better at Zone, you have him cover WR1 with Safety help. This is a fairly common strategy and I'm not sure why it wouldn't have worked other than Hayward and hamstrings had a love/hate relationship.
Cheesey
2020-03-23T18:42:59Z
Hyde and Hayward.....just what I have said in the past. Letting good players go, and trying to fill those voids in the draft. Kids coming out of college rarely make a huge impact right away. Some not for several seasons. So you let known good guys leave for “best player available” hopes. Hopes that may never develop.
I know you can’t keep everyone. And I agree that better 1year early then 1 year late. But guys that are good and not over the hill, you need to hold onto if you want a shot at a championship.
beast
2020-03-23T21:23:11Z
Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 

I'm not sure I follow the perceived issue mentioned. If Shields is better at man, you lock him on WR2 and if Hayward (who was slot I believe) is better at Zone, you have him cover WR1 with Safety help. This is a fairly common strategy and I'm not sure why it wouldn't have worked other than Hayward and hamstrings had a love/hate relationship.



Have you actually seen any team do that for an entire season? Or even 8 games?

I know they it's a fairly common short term strategy to deal with certain players it certain teams, but I haven't seen (or if I did, didn't realize it) that any team has consistently done it the majority of muliple back to back to back games.

I believe the reason for that is because it can create even more problems with different half of the field working differently than the other, so just get the WRs to cross, and the guy in man wants to stay in man, and the guy in zone wants to stay in zone... so now you can two guys on one WR and a WR running free and wide open.
TheKanataThrilla
2020-03-23T22:59:18Z
Originally Posted by: Cheesey 

Hyde and Hayward.....just what I have said in the past. Letting good players go, and trying to fill those voids in the draft. Kids coming out of college rarely make a huge impact right away. Some not for several seasons. So you let known good guys leave for “best player available” hopes. Hopes that may never develop.
I know you can’t keep everyone. And I agree that better 1year early then 1 year late. But guys that are good and not over the hill, you need to hold onto if you want a shot at a championship.



But Randall and Rollins both had decent rookie years which made losing Hayward and Hyde palatable. Hayward was injured quite a bit and Hyde was decent, but got big bucks by the Bills for what he provided to Green Bay. Unfortunately that was likely because he was not in the correct position.
Zero2Cool
2020-03-24T13:08:25Z
Originally Posted by: beast 

Have you actually seen any team do that for an entire season? Or even 8 games?


Asking a loaded question says more about the one asking, and the one asked.

Originally Posted by: beast 

I know they it's a fairly common short term strategy to deal with certain players it certain teams, but I haven't seen (or if I did, didn't realize it) that any team has consistently done it the majority of multiple back to back to back games.

I believe the reason for that is because it can create even more problems with different half of the field working differently than the other, so just get the WRs to cross, and the guy in man wants to stay in man, and the guy in zone wants to stay in zone... so now you can two guys on one WR and a WR running free and wide open.



My point is if you have someone who is good at Man and someone who is good at Zone, there are options to utilize both.

Random thought ... When Jets had Darrelle Revis and locked him on someone, did they play zone or man? I am not saying Hayward or Shields were Revis level, just using an example that I think most can be familiar with.
Zero2Cool
2020-03-24T13:11:55Z
Originally Posted by: Cheesey 

Hyde and Hayward.....just what I have said in the past. Letting good players go, and trying to fill those voids in the draft. Kids coming out of college rarely make a huge impact right away. Some not for several seasons. So you let known good guys leave for “best player available” hopes. Hopes that may never develop.
I know you can’t keep everyone. And I agree that better 1year early then 1 year late. But guys that are good and not over the hill, you need to hold onto if you want a shot at a championship.



The (speculating based on actions taken) belief was they had reached their ceiling with the Packers. And they drafted (more speculating) best player available and that made Hyde and Hayward expendable. If you have youth coming in that you perceive to have a higher ceiling than those who are commanding large contracts and have hit their ceiling, your decision is made for you.

I'm not at all upset about Hyde or Hayward. Hyde I thought was a great utility guy. Hayward I thought was over rated by us Packers fans.


Jared Cook ... that guy I would have liked to have retained. Something fishy happened there. I read reports the Packers offered something similar to Raiders and because the Packers didn't offer it fast enough, Cook was pissed and left. Remind me of Cullen Jenkins situation.
Cheesey
2020-03-24T17:31:08Z
Zero, I also thought something was goofy with Cook.
But I sure wish it wouldn’t have ended the way it did.
beast
2020-03-25T05:26:34Z
Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 

Asking a loaded question says more about the one asking, and the one asked.

Except that wasn't a loaded question, I was serious wondering and if someone said yes (and we could find proof), my inner football need would be so darn excited...

As I said, I looked hard for it, and only could find VT Tech that had done it over the long term if every snap for multiple games (and they did it for years), but I haven't seen anywhere else even attempt it other than short term.

I believe because it creates system eras, in which another team in theory could easily take advantage of, though VA Tech wanted you to take those chances as they bet you couldn't complete them on their talented DBs, but I'm not sure that would work in the pros.

Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 

My point is if you have someone who is good at Man and someone who is good at Zone, there are options to utilize both.

Random thought ... When Jets had Darrelle Revis and locked him on someone, did they play zone or man? I am not saying Hayward or Shields were Revis level, just using an example that I think most can be familiar with.

I get your point, and really like and enjoy the out of the box thinking, but while there are options, considering that an extremely extremely rare option, I don't think the coaches believe it's a smart option for some reason.

Revis and Cromartie basically always locked up in man coverage, they weren't zone guys at all...

Of course, by definition, locking someone up on a WR is man coverage, because you stick with them in man coverage, you stick with your zone in zone coverage... which is why mixing the two clash against each other when used at the same time.

beast
2020-03-25T05:48:56Z
Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 


Jared Cook ... that guy I would have liked to have retained. Something fishy happened there. I read reports the Packers offered something similar to Raiders and because the Packers didn't offer it fast enough, Cook was pissed and left. Remind me of Cullen Jenkins situation.



Cook, Jenkins and Jennings are rumored to all be cases of players/agents over valuing their free agency market... basically the players bet on themselves and loss (well Jennings might of been breaking even).

But Packers made their best offer to Cook and the agent held out trying to an even bigger contract, and Packers got their highest rated FA TE to sign for slighty higher deal than what Cook's group rejected... and Cook ended up taking a good bit less than he rejected with the Raiders.

Same thing with Jenkins, but that happened in season, and Jenkins was reported pissed with the low ball offer he received in season... turns out that low ball offer was more than anyone else would offer him come FA, and still pissed at the Packers he signed with the Eagles, who after they restricted his contact (or release him if he didn't), he earned less than the offer too.

Jennings reported turned down, I think 11 million per year... but based on Twitter from him and his family, they KNEW the Dolphins were going to sign him to a mega deal (Jennings 'sister was already semi publicly planning her trip to visit her brother in South Beach lol). because they REALLY needed a #1 WR, they had a lot of cap cash to spend and because Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman were head offensive guys with the Dolphins now...

One problem, GM had control and he preferred and got Mike Wallace instead...

Then Vikings got into the mix, and Packers offered him 10 million, Vikings offered less, but Jennings was upset at Packers, so they kept talking to the Vikings, and comparing the better Packers offer to them, and they ended up getting the Vikings to match the $10 million and Jennings signed with them.



Zero2Cool
2020-03-25T12:14:05Z
Sure is crazy how much the human element affects signing deals at times. I think we fans often times think it's 100% dollars.

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