Green Bay Packers: Robert Francois

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Between now and the Green Bay Packers' first training camp practice on Saturday, we will break down each position group.

Next up, linebackers.

Peppers
Returning players: A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Mike Neal, Nate Palmer, Andy Mulumba, Jamari Lattimore, Sam Barrington

Gone from last season: Victory Aiyewa, Robert Francois

New this season: Julius Peppers (free agent), Carl Bradford (fourth-round pick), Jake Doughty (undrafted rookie), Joe Thomas (undrafted rookie), Jayrone Elliott (undrafted rookie), Adrian Hubbard (undrafted rookie), Shaun Lewis (undrafted rookie)

Position coach: Winston Moss (ninth season)

Biggest issue: The Packers are banking on the 34-year-old Peppers to give them another pass-rushing threat. To do so, they plan to play him at outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. It's the first time they have had a bona fide pass-rushing threat opposite Matthews. What does that mean for Neal and Perry, who combined to play nearly 1,200 snaps at outside linebacker last season? Defensive coordinator Dom Capers might be wise to find a healthy rotation between Peppers, Perry and Neal in order to keep them fresh and effective.

Player to watch: The Packers gave Lattimore the lowest restricted free agent tender offer ($1.431 million), but that does not mean he's an afterthought. Capers would like to get the fourth-year pro more involved in certain packages even if he sticks with Hawk and Jones as his starting inside linebackers.

Matthews
Medical report: Matthews sat out all of the offseason practices while recovering from the second of two surgeries on his broken right thumb. Perry, who missed time last season because of foot and ankle injuries, also did not practice at all this offseason.

Help wanted: While there may not be any starting jobs up for grabs, the competition will be heated, especially at outside linebacker. In addition to Peppers, Matthews, Neal and Perry, the Packers have two other players -- Palmer and Mulumba -- who saw playing time last season. Combine that with the addition of Bradford and Hubbard, and it looks like a loaded group.

Quotable: "There’s only two guys on the field at a time, and it'll be the best two," Moss said of the outside linebackers. "Those other guys are going to have to fight for it. That's why we have an offseason. That's why we have a process. That's why we have a training camp. The guys that prove themselves and are reliable and make plays, they'll be the guys that are going to play."

Previous installments

July 14: Quarterbacks

July 15: Running backs

July 16: Receivers

July 17: Tight ends

July 18: Offensive line

July 21: Defensive line
GREEN BAY, Wis. – If there's a common denominator among the Green Bay Packers' free agents that remain unsigned, it's that none played more than 50 percent of the team's snaps last season.

That's in contrast to the six unrestricted free agents the team has re-signed in the last month. Of the six, four were on the field more than half the time last season.

Six of the Packers' unrestricted free agents remain on the market.

In order of playing time from last season, they are:
  • Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (535 snaps, 48.0 percent of the defensive plays)
  • Quarterback Matt Flynn (324, 27.3 percent of the offensive plays)
  • Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (287, 25.7 percent)
  • Tight end Jermichael Finley (252, 21.3 percent)
  • Quarterback Seneca Wallace (58, 5.0 percent)
  • Linebacker Robert Francois (12, 1.1 percent)

Pickett was the only one to appear in every game but he will turn 35 just a month into this coming season, so his time could be over. Flynn is expected to re-sign, and Jolly could too if he recovers from his neck surgery as expected. Francois is still recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon. Finley still has not received medical clearance following his neck surgery, and Wallace will not be re-signed.

Of their own free agents that they re-signed, only two were on the field less than half of the time. They were:
  • Fullback John Kuhn (333 snaps, 28.1 percent of the offensive plays)
  • Running back James Starks (235, 19.8 percent)

Four played well over half the plays. They were:
Also, of the five former Packers' players who signed with other teams, three played more than half the snaps last season.

They were:
The other two were:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers began this offseason with 17 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

They have re-signed five of them: outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal, tight end Andrew Quarless, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, cornerback Sam Shields and running back James Starks.

Four of them signed with other teams: center Evan Dietrich-Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), receiver James Jones (Oakland Raiders), tackle Marshall Newhouse (Cincinnati Bengals) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (Raiders).

That leaves eight still on the market. Here's an update on where things stand the Packers’ remaining free agents:

Kahlil Bell, RB: With Starks back on a two-year, $3.165 million deal, it’s unlikely Bell, a late-season pickup last year, will be re-signed. The Packers already have five halfbacks with NFL experience on the roster -- Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, DuJuan Harris, Michael Hill and Starks -- plus practice-squad member Orwin Smith.

Jermichael Finley, TE: There's no guarantee Finley will receive medical clearance to resume his career following last season's neck injury. Finley reportedly failed a physical during a free-agent visit to the Seattle Seahawks, and the Packers say they are still monitoring his condition. At this point, Finley's career remains on hold.

Matt Flynn, QB: It's all but a lock that the player who kept last season alive while Aaron Rodgers was sidelined with his broken collarbone will return. Coach Mike McCarthy wants Flynn back and would like to keep three quarterbacks on the roster this season. Expect Flynn to be re-signed soon.

Robert Francois, LB: The special-teams player is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. If healed, he could be re-signed for a minimum contract later in free agency.

Johnny Jolly, DT: Like Finley, Jolly underwent neck fusion surgery. But Jolly's injury was not as severe as Finley’s and the fusion took place lower in his neck, which makes it safer for him to resume his career. McCarthy said he liked how Jolly played last season, so expect the Packers to bring back Jolly at some point.

John Kuhn, FB: The Packers remain in talks with the fan favorite who completed a three-year, $7 million contract last season. Kuhn is a valuable special teams player and has been their best pass protector out of the backfield the past several seasons. But it's not a given he will return. And if he does, it likely will be for less money than he received three years ago.

Ryan Pickett, DT: The plan to move Raji back to nose tackle might make Pickett expendable. Or perhaps his age (34) has already done that. McCarthy was non-committal when asked about Pickett's status last week at the NFL annual meetings.

Seneca Wallace, QB: McCarthy would like to bring four quarterbacks to training camp, but don't expect the 33-year-old Wallace to be one of them. He couldn't stay healthy when the Packers needed him after Rodgers' injury. Instead, they would like to add another young, developmental prospect.

Meet the coaches: Winston Moss

February, 14, 2014
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last week, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy announced changes to his coaching staff.

This week, some of the new coaches and some of the returning ones with new responsibilities met with reporters.

We'll introduce you to them throughout the week. First, there was running backs coach Sam Gash followed by assistant special teams coach Ron Zook and then assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley.

Moss
Next up is assistant head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss, who added outside linebackers to his duties.

The 48-year-old former NFL linebacker for 11 seasons with the Buccaneers, Raiders and Seahawks has been on McCarthy's staff since the beginning. In 2006 he was the linebackers coach before being promoted to assistant head coach the following season.

When Dom Capers was hired as defensive coordinator in 2009 and converted the Packers from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme, Moss worked exclusively with the inside linebackers. But with the resignation of outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene last month, Moss took over all of the linebackers, along with help from McCurley.

Here's what Moss had to say on:

Consolidating the linebackers into one group: "I'm sure that dynamic will take care of itself. If you've noticed, those guys really get along well. A.J. [Hawk] has really developed as far as being a very good communicator and interacted extremely well with the defense this past year. Now, those guys just being in the same room, I think that they'll really be able to share more than anything. And so, that should really help out, just the continuity, just the chemistry and camaraderie. Those are all positive things."

Evolving as a coach: "I think there's an experience factor. I think I keep it very, very simple. I'm very demanding. I'm very consistent. I'm very fair. The main thing that I focus on is identifying what each and every single person goes about their skill-set and goes about their way differently. I try to identify and I try to push their buttons. I think that I would try to coach A.J. differently than I would try to coach Brad [Jones]. I think that I would speak to Jamari Lattimore differently than the way I spoke to Robert [Francois]. I have experience with Clay [Matthews] and [Nick] Perry and the rest of those [outside linebackers]. Obviously, once I have that one-on-one relationship with them to where on a day-to-basis that I can focus on them, then I will be able to grow with them and find out. It's all going to be a relationship in which it's going to be based upon trusting one another and getting to know one another. From there, we would anticipate everything working out very well."

His interaction with the outside linebackers in the past: "No more than any other position. I think the outside linebackers, as much as the outside linebackers have a coordination with the inside guys, you can say the same thing about the defensive line, the safeties and the corners. I think I have been able to interact with all positions very well, so the outside linebackers will be just one part of my [job]."

This being a good career move: "I wish I can give you a great answer but to be perfectly honest with you, my focus right now has been expanded not to two positions but in essence four positions. So my focus is clearly to get those guys to play at the highest level possible."

Super XLV: Where are they now?

February, 6, 2014
Feb 6
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Exactly three years ago -- on Feb. 6, 2011 -- the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV.

Since then, much has happened to the 53 players who were on the roster for that 31-25 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Arlington, Texas.

Free agency, injuries, retirement and declining performance cause roster turnover.

Still, it’s eye-opening that from the group that suited up for the Packers’ last championship, only 12 players (just 22.6 percent) remain under contract with the team for 2014. Another 11 are still officially members of the Packers, but have contracts that expire next month. There are 13 players with other NFL teams, and 17 are out of football -- perhaps for good.

Here’s a look at the status of every player who was on the active roster three years ago today at Super Bowl XLV:

Under contract for 2014

  • [+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
    Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesThree years after being named MVP of Super Bowl XLV, Aaron Rodgers is still leading the Packers.
    QB Aaron Rodgers: Threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on the way to winning the Super Bowl XLV MVP, then won the NFL MVP award the next season. Signed a five-year, $110 million contract extension last April.
  • G Josh Sitton: Started Super Bowl XLV at right guard, but moved to left guard in 2013 and was a second-team, All-Pro selection. Signed a five-year contract extension on Sept. 2, 2011 that averages $6.75 million per season.
  • T Bryan Bulaga: Started at right tackle, but moved to left tackle last offseason. A training camp knee injury ended his 2013 season, and he now enters the final year of his rookie contract.
  • G: T.J. Lang: Served as a backup, but became the starting left guard the next season. Signed a four-year contract extension on Aug. 14, 2012 that averages $5.2 million per season. Moved to right guard last season.
  • WR Jordy Nelson: Caught nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and went on to post 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of the next three years. Entering the final year of his contract in 2014.
  • OLB Clay Matthews: Forced a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl that the Packers recovered and turned into a touchdown to pad the lead. Four-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension last April.
  • LB A.J. Hawk: Started and made seven tackles in the Super Bowl. Was released two months later, only to re-sign a more salary-cap friendly deal. Is under contract through 2015.
  • CB Tramon Williams: Broke up three passes in the Super Bowl, including the one that sealed the game on fourth-and-5 from the Steelers’ 33-yard line in the final minute. Entering the final year of his contract. Scheduled to make $7.5 million in 2014, and could be a candidate to be released or restructured despite a strong finish to last season.
  • K Mason Crosby: Made a 23-yard field goal in the game and signed a five-year, $14.75 million contract on July 29, 2011. Struggled in 2012, but bounced back last year to post his best season.
  • P Tim Masthay: Capped his first season with the Packers by averaging 40.5 yards and allowing the Steelers just 5 yards on punt returns in the game. Signed a four-year, $5.465 million contract extension on July 26, 2012.
  • LS Brett Goode: Has been the long snapper since 2008 and signed a three-year, $2.715 million contract extension on Oct. 13, 2012.
  • CB Jarrett Bush: Special teams player who was pressed into defensive duty in the game after injuries to Sam Shields and Charles Woodson, and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the second quarter. Signed a three-year, $5.25 million contract on March 26, 2012.
Headed for free agency next month

  • RB James Starks: Started the Super Bowl and rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries. Battled injuries most of his career, and might not be re-signed.
  • WR James Jones: Caught five passes for 50 yards in the game, and signed a three-year, $9.6 million contract on Aug. 2, 2011. Caught 59 passes for a career-high 817 yards in 2013, and could be a re-signed despite his age (will turn 30 next month).
  • DT Ryan Pickett: Started the game, made two tackles and was in on the play in which Matthews forced Rashard Mendehall's fourth-quarter fumble. Played in all 16 games last season with a base salary of $5.4 million, but might be at the age (34) where the Packers let him walk.
  • DT B.J. Raji: Capped a strong 2010 postseason with a pair of tackles in the game. Finished his rookie contract in 2013, and reportedly turned down an $8 million-per-year offer last season.
  • DE C.J. Wilson: Started the game, but played only 14 snaps. Biggest impact came the night before the game, when he kept things loose in the team hotel by playing piano and leading a team sign-along. Finished his rookie contract in 2013.
  • FB John Kuhn: Played on both offense and special teams in the game. Signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract on Aug. 1, 2011.
  • CB Sam Shields: Suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the game. Had his best season in 2013 while playing under the restricted free agent tender of $2.023 million. Will command a big contract either from the Packers or another team in free agency.
  • LB Robert Francois: Went back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster throughout the 2010 season, and played on special teams in the game. Played last season under a one-year, $725,000 deal, but tore his Achilles tendon on Oct. 6.
  • TE Andrew Quarless: Caught one pass for 5 yards in the game. Suffered a major knee injury the next season and missed all of 2012. Returned last season to catch 32 passes for 312 yards (both career highs) in the final year of his rookie deal.
  • QB Matt Flynn: Served as Rodgers’ backup but did not play in the Super Bowl. Left after the 2011 season as a free agent, and after stints with Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, he returned to the Packers last season for a one-year minimum deal and played in five games after Rodgers broke his collarbone.
  • C Evan Dietrich-Smith: Was inactive for the Super Bowl. Became a starter late in 2012 and for all of 2013, when he played under the restricted free agent tender of $1.323 million deal.
With other teams

  • [+] EnlargeMcCarthy
    Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsCoach Mike McCarthy and the Packers have seen a lot of roster turnover since winning Super Bowl XLV.
    WR Greg Jennings: Started and became just the third player in team history to catch multiple touchdowns in a Super Bowl by recording touchdowns of 21 and 8 yards. Signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Vikings last March.
  • G Daryn Colledge: Started at left guard, but left in free agency a few months later to sign a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Cardinals. Has started every game for the Cardinals since.
  • C Scott Wells: Started at center and remained with the Packers through the 2011 season before signing a four-year, $24 million contract with the Rams. Has missed 13 games over the past two seasons because of injuries.
  • LB Desmond Bishop: Became a starter earlier in 2010 after Nick Barnett's wrist injury and made nine tackles in the Super Bowl. Also recovered the fumble that Matthews forced. Signed a four-year, $19 million contract in 2011, but was released after missing the entire 2012 season because of a hamstring injury. Signed with the Vikings last offseason, but appeared in only four games.
  • OLB Frank Zombo: Started the game and had the Packers’ only sack of Roethlisberger but battled injuries the next two years and was released. Signed with the Chiefs last year and appeared in all 16 games.
  • CB Charles Woodson: Started at cornerback, but broke his collarbone late in the second quarter and missed the remainder of the game. Played two more seasons with the Packers, who released him last year. Returned to his old team, the Raiders, and played in all 16 games last season.
  • DE Cullen Jenkins: Played 36 snaps and had a pair of quarterback pressures. Left in free agency the following year and signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Eagles, who released him after two years. Signed a three-year, $8 million contract with the Giants last season.
  • TE Tom Crabtree: Played on both offense and special teams in the Super Bowl, catching one pass. Left last year to sign with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent, but was limited to seven games because of injuries.
  • CB Josh Gordy: Was inactive for the game, and the next season was signed off the practice squad the by the Rams. Spent the past two seasons with the Colts.
  • G Nick McDonald: Was inactive for the game, like he was for every game that season. Was released in training camp the next year, and spent parts of the next two seasons with the Patriots. Did not play in 2013, but was recently signed by the Chargers.
  • OLB Erik Walden: Was inactive after suffering an ankle injury in the NFC Championship Game. Played the next two seasons before signing a four-year, $16 million contract with the Colts last year.
  • DE: Jarius Wynn: Was active but did not play. Played in Green Bay through 2011, and with the Titans and Chargers before landing with the Cowboys last season.
  • FB Quinn Johnson: Inactive for the game. Was traded to the Titans in 2011. Has played in 24 games for the Titans over the past three years.
Out of football

  • T Chad Clifton: Started at left tackle, but his long career with the Packers ended when they released him after he played in only six games in 2011. Was never signed by another team.
  • WR Donald Driver: Started the game and caught two passes for 28 yards before leaving with an ankle injury in the second quarter. Retired after the 2012 season as the team’s all-time leading receiver.
  • S Nick Collins: Started and made a key early play when he returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Suffered a neck injury in Week 2 of 2011 and hasn’t played since.
  • DT Howard Green: Claimed off waivers earlier that season and started the game. His hit on Roethlisberger led to Collins’ interception return for a touchdown. Returned in 2011 and played in all 16 games, but has not played since.
  • WR Brett Swain: Posted a team-high four special teams tackles. Was released the following season and played briefly with the 49ers. Was cut in training camp last season by the Seahawks.
  • S Atari Bigby: Played on special teams. Signed with the Seahawks the following season and played in 15 games. Played in eight games with the Chargers in 2012, but did not play in 2013.
  • CB Pat Lee: Special teams player who saw action on defense after injuries to Woodson and Shields. Played one more season in Green Bay before splitting time in 2012 between the Lions and Raiders. Did not play in 2013.
  • RB Brandon Jackson: Played as the third-down back, but did not have any carries in the game. Caught one pass for 14 yards. Signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Browns in 2011, but missed all of that season and played in only two games in 2012.
  • FB Korey Hall: Caught one pass for 2 yards and made one special teams tackle in the game. He played in 13 games with the Saints in 2011, and retired after going to camp with the Cardinals in 2012.
  • S Charlie Peprah: Led the Packers with 10 tackles (including nine solo stops). Returned as a starter in 2011, when he had five interceptions, but was released shortly before training camp in 2012. Played in five games for the Cowboys in 2012.
  • LB Diyral Briggs: Made one special teams tackle in the game, but never played in another NFL game.
  • LB Matt Wilhelm: Made two special teams tackles, but seven-year career ended after that game.
  • G Jason Spitz: Played on special teams. Left in free agency the next year and signed a three-year, $4.05 million contract with the Jaguars, who released him in training camp last summer. He signed with the Seahawks, but was released on Oct. 12.
  • TE Donald Lee: Played in the game, but did not have a catch and was released two months later. Played in nine games for the Bengals in 2001.
  • QB Graham Harrell: Inactive for the game. Remained with the Packers until he was released in training camp last summer. Also spent time briefly with the Jets before being released.
  • RB Dimitri Nance: Inactive for the game. Was released by the Packers the following summer and never played in another NFL game.
  • CB Brandon Underwood: Inactive for the game. Was released in 2011. Went to camp with the Raiders in 2012 and Cowboys in 2013, but did not make either team.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We’re in the second week of our position-by-position look at what the Green Bay Packers have and what they need.

We can revisit this process before the draft based on what -- if anything -- general manager Ted Thompson does in free agency.

So far, we’ve looked at quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, tight ends, offensive tackles, centers/guards and defensive linemen.

Next up, linebackers.

2014 free agents: Mike Neal, Robert Francois and Jamari Lattimore (restricted free agent).

The good: Inside linebacker A.J. Hawk had perhaps his best season. The ultra-reliable veteran led the Packers in tackles and posted a career-high five sacks. On the outside, Clay Matthews, when healthy, was productive. Neal, who made the transition from defensive end, showed some promise. Rookies Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer look like developmental prospects on the outside, while Lattimore and Sam Barrington could be the same at the inside positions.

The bad: The twice-broken thumb that cost Matthews five regular-season games plus the playoffs left the Packers without a key playmaker at a position that is supposed to make big plays in coordinator Dom Capers’ defense. Thompson also made major investments in two players -- inside linebacker Brad Jones and outside linebacker Nick Perry -- and neither one paid off. He gave Jones a three-year, $11.75 million contract that included a $3 million signing bonus and then cut Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith to hand Jones the starting job. Two years ago, Thompson used a first-round pick on Perry, who played defensive end in college. The transition to outside linebacker has been anything but smooth and has been slowed by injuries.

The money: The Packers have more salary-cap space committed to linebacker ($18.7 million so far) than any other position for 2014. Matthews, who signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension last offseason, accounts for $6.71 million of that followed by Hawk ($5.2 million) and Jones ($2.5 million). Neal would be the only impending free agent who might command any kind of significant money, and it remains to be seen whether the Packers intend to re-sign him.

Draft priority: The Packers need playmakers on defense, but this position might rank behind safety and defensive line in terms of importance.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last week, we graded the Green Bay Packers by position groups as part of our season wrap-up.

This week, we’ll go a little deeper and rank the roster as it stood at season’s end.

The rankings will include 64 players and are based on how those players performed this season -- not their overall importance to the team.

We'll start at the bottom of the roster and work our way up.

Today we’ll address players 51-64:

51. Marshall Newhouse, T: Demoted after starting at left tackle in 2011 and 2012, the fourth-year pro started two games at right tackle after Don Barclay injured his knee and played in spot duty in three other games (including some snaps at right guard). After allowing 18 sacks in the previous two seasons combined, according to ProFootballFocus.com, he allowed three sacks and committed two penalties in essentially six games this past season. An unrestricted free agent who likely won’t be offered a contract to return.

52. Jake Stoneburner, TE: Undrafted rookie who was promoted from the practice squad on Oct. 15. Played mostly on special teams (29.3 percent of the season snaps), where he had three penalties (including two personal fouls). His role diminished late in the season. Played only 10 snaps on offense, and despite a reputation as a good receiver did not catch a pass. Could develop into a receiving threat.

53. Robert Francois, LB: Journeyman backup and special teams player tore his Achilles’ tendon in Week 5 against the Lions in his first action on defense. He played 12 defensive snaps in relief of Brad Jones and made two tackles before getting injured. Was placed on injured reserve the next day. An unrestricted free agent who could return for another minimum contract.

54. Seneca Wallace, QB: Signed on Sept. 2 after the Packers deemed B.J. Coleman, Graham Harrell and Vince Young unfit to back up Aaron Rodgers. Was forced into action when Rodgers broke his collarbone on the first series against the Bears on Nov. 4 and played decently until he tore a groin muscle on the first series the next week against the Eagles and was done for the season. At age 33 and an unrestricted free agent, he’s not likely to return.

55. Kahlil Bell, RB: Veteran was signed on Dec. 3 as insurance after rookie Johnathan Franklin (neck) was placed on injured reserve. Did not appear on offense but played on most special teams units, where he had two tackles and one kickoff return for 22 yards. With all the depth returning at running back, it’s unlikely he will be back next season.

56. Casey Hayward, CB: Second year was derailed from the start when he pulled his hamstring in a pre-training camp workout. Re-injured it two more times and played in only three games before landing on injured reserve. A year after leading all NFL rookies with six interceptions, he was a non-factor.

57. Jerel Worthy, DE: Second-round pick in 2012 was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Nov. 23 after tearing his ACL in Week 17 of his rookie season. Made his season debut with nine snaps the next day and then was a healthy scratch for four straight weeks. Played just four more snaps the rest of the season. So far has been a major disappointment.

58. Sam Barrington, LB: Rookie seventh-round pick played seven games almost exclusively on special teams before a hamstring injury on Nov. 4 ended his season. Could be in the mix for playing time at inside linebacker next season.

59. Derek Sherrod, T: Former first-round draft pick was activated off PUP on Nov. 5 and saw his first action since he broke his right leg on Dec. 18, 2011 when he played on special teams against the Giants in Week 11. Played only six snaps on offense (all at right tackle) in the late stages of the Thanksgiving game against the Lions. Will have a full offseason to work out and compete for a job for the first time since his injury.

60. Chris Harper, WR: Rookie was claimed off waivers on Oct. 18. Was originally a fourth-round pick by the Seahawks. Appeared in just three games, mostly on special teams. He played only two snaps on offense but at 6-foot-1 and 228 pounds, he has good size and will be worth developing.

61. Greg Van Roten, C/G: Second-year pro won a roster spot coming out of training camp and was a backup at all three interior positions. Sustained a season-ending foot injury in practice and was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 15. Depending on whether starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith is re-signed, Van Roten could be in the competition for that job next season.

62. James Nixon, CB: First-year player was promoted from the practice squad on Oct. 7 and played in three games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 11. If the injury doesn’t cost him any of his remarkable speed, he could be in the mix again next season.

63. JC Tretter, C/G: Rookie fourth-round pick broke his ankle in offseason workouts in May and did not return to practice until Nov. 19. Was activated of PUP on Dec. 10 but did not suit up for any games. Late-season practice time could help him compete for the starting center job.

64. Jumal Rolle, CB: Rookie was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 8 and promoted to the roster on Dec. 27 but did not appear in a game. At 6-0 and with decent speed, he has a chance to compete for a backup spot next season.

Not rated because they were placed on injured reserve prior to Week 1: Bryan Bulaga, T; Kevin Dorsey, WR; Sederrick Cunningham, WR; DuJuan Harris, RB.

Coming Tuesday: Players 41-50.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In 16 regular-season games plus the NFC wild-card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers’ special teams was on the field for 511 plays, according to weekly snap counts kept by the NFL.

Hyde
Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum used 58 different players on his units this season. That was four more than in 2012 and explains why coach Mike McCarthy said all the personnel changes caused in large part by injuries caught up with the Packers’ special teams by year’s end.

The Packers finished the regular season ranked seventh in punt return average (thanks largely in part to rookie returner Micah Hyde) but just 30th in kickoff return average. Slocum’s units struggled in coverage, ranking 29th in both punt return and kickoff return average allowed.

The specialists -- kicker Mason Crosby, punter Tim Masthay and long-snapper Brett Goode -- all had strong seasons.

Davon House, who played a team-high 338 snaps on special teams, led the Packers with 12 special teams tackles.

Here are the snap-count leaders on special teams with playing-time percentages in parenthesis. We’re not going to list all 58 players, but rather those who appeared on at least 10 percent of all special teams plays this season. (Earlier, we looked at playing time for every player on offense and on defense this season):
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In 16 regular-season games plus the NFC wild-card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers’ defense was on the field for 1,115 plays, according to weekly snap counts kept by the NFL.

Not one player took them all.

Williams
Cornerback Tramon Williams came the closest, playing all but 14 snaps. The only other player with more than 1,000 snaps this season was linebacker A.J. Hawk, who played all but 57 snaps.

Last season, safety Morgan Burnett played every snap -- one of only four non-offensive linemen across the entire NFL to do so. This year, Burnett missed the first three games because of a hamstring injury. Upon his return, he played in 919 of a possible 921 snaps over the final 14 games.

The Packers used 30 players on defense, two more than they did in 2012.

Here are the total snap counts on defense with playing-time percentages in parenthesis (the offensive breakdown was posted earlier and special teams is still to come):

Defensive line: Linebackers: Defensive backs:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- At least two of the Green Bay Packers’ upcoming free agents on defense will be looking for blockbuster contracts.

The Packers were unable to complete contract extensions during the season for either defensive tackle B.J. Raji or cornerback Sam Shields during the season.

According to a mid-season report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Raji turned down an offer that averaged $8 million per year.

Indications were that the Packers went deep into negotiations with Shields, who avoided a major injury scare against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday when he left with a left knee injury that turned out to be only a bone bruise.

Here's the list of free-agents-to-be on defense (the offensive list was posted earlier):
    Raji
  • B.J. Raji, DT: Turning down $8 million per year could be an indication the former first-round pick would prefer to leave and play for a team that gives its defensive linemen more freedom to rush the passer. He has been unwilling to comment about his future. 2013 base salary: $4.49 million
  • Ryan Pickett, DT: At age 34 and having finished his 13th season, he is the elder statesman on the team. He has expressed his desire to keep playing, but his age may turn off other suitors despite the fact he did not miss a game for the second straight season. 2013 base salary: $5.4 million
  • Johnny Jolly, DT: Returned after a three-year absence due to prison time and an NFL suspension and proved to be an effective run stopper before sustaining a late-season neck injury. At age 30 and with his past, his value has diminished, but the Packers might be interested in bring him back for the right price. 2013 base salary: $715,000
  • C.J. Wilson, DE: Run-stopping lineman who has value as a backup but wouldn't warrant a big contract. 2013 base salary: $630,000
  • Mike Neal, OLB: Successfully transitioned from defensive end and showed promise as an outside rusher. More importantly, the oft-injured former second-round draft pick stayed relatively healthy and when he did have issues he played through them. He did not miss a game for the first time in his career. 2013 base salary: $630,000
  • Robert Francois, LB: Career backup and special teams contributor who tore his Achilles’ tendon on Oct. 16. 2013 base salary: $630,000
  • Sam Shields, CB: Emerged as the Packers’ top cover cornerback and will be looking for a blockbuster deal in free agency, especially considering he entered the league as an undrafted free agent and hasn’t made more than the minimums or the restricted free agent tender. 2013 base salary: $2.023 million
  • *Jamari Lattimore, LB: Core special teams player who could challenge Brad Jones for a starting job if he is tendered. He likely will be offered the lowest restricted free agent tender. 2013 base salary: $550,000
  • *M.D. Jennings, S: Started all 16 games plus the playoff game at free safety, but that’s a position that Packers will be looking to upgrade in the offseason. Likely will be offered the lowest restricted free agent tender. 2013 base salary: $550,000

*restricted free agent
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The only backup linebackers the Green Bay Packers will have available for Sunday’s game at the Baltimore Ravens are a trio of unheralded rookies.

And even they aren't completely healthy.

Rookie Sam Barrington, a seventh-round draft pick and the only available backup for inside linebackers A.J. Hawk and Jamari Lattimore, did not practice on Friday because of a hip injury but was listed as probable.

The Packers lost two inside linebackers in Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions. Starter Brad Jones (hamstring) was ruled out this week and his backup, Robert Francois, sustained a season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon.

On the outside, undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba and rookie sixth-round draft pick Nate Palmer will be the only backups for starters Mike Neal and Nick Perry, one of whom will start in place of Clay Matthews (thumb). Mulumba practiced on Friday for the first time this week after sustaining an ankle injury against the Lions, while Palmer has played in only one of the first four games and saw action only on special teams.

“It’s amazing, the way this business has gone, because it seems like every week it’s a new combination,” Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Friday. “About the time you feel good you think, ‘Well, let’s get this group together and we can kind of get ’em going, we can get a little momentum,’ but it’s not the way it works. We’ve had that happen a lot around here since I’ve been here.”

Cornerback Casey Hayward, who has yet to play this season because of a hamstring injury, practiced for the second straight day but was ruled out again.

“I think Casey is further ahead this week than he was last week, but he’s not ready to go,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’ll do the testing process Monday and Tuesday like we normally do, and then we’ll see where he is as we prepare for Wednesday’s practice.”

Here’s the full injury report:

Probable: LB Sam Barrington (hip, did not practice), LB Andy Mulumba (ankle, limited participation), DT Ryan Pickett (hand, full participation)

Questionable: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, limited participation)

Out: CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), RB James Starks (knee), G/C Greg Van Roten (foot)
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers will start two backup linebackers on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

With all the focus on the loss of starting outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who underwent surgery Monday on his broken right thumb and will miss “multiple weeks,” according to coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers also were forced to deal with another hamstring injury to starting inside linebacker Brad Jones.

Jones
The Packers ruled out Jones for Sunday’s game. Third-year pro Jamari Lattimore, a college defensive end who made the Packers as an undrafted free agent and outside linebacker, will make his first career start. He and Jones both moved from outside linebacker to the inside position before the 2012 season.

Lattimore was actually third on the depth chart last week but played 16 snaps in Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions after Jones went down and his replacement, Robert Francois, sustained a season-ending torn Achilles tendon.

Jones, who was slowed by a hamstring injury during training camp, pulled the hamstring in his other leg against the Lions.

“I have no reason to believe it’s going to be very long based on the discussions [Tuesday] with our medical staff,” McCarthy said. “He will not be available this week, and hopefully we feel better about it next week.”

The Packers had only three outside linebackers available for Wednesday’s practice. In addition to Matthews, they also were without Andy Mulumba (ankle), who played 17 snaps against the Lions. Mike Neal and Nick Perry will start at the two outside spots against the Ravens.

Cornerback Casey Hayward, who appeared close to returning last week from a hamstring injury that has kept him out all season, may try to practice on Thursday, McCarthy said.

“He’s getting better; a little sore after what he went through last week,” McCarthy said. “We’ll see where he is tomorrow. This time last week, he was able to do some individual work on Thursday. So that's the hope.”

Here’s the full injury report:
  • CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, did not practice)
  • CB Casey Hayward (hamstring, did not practice)
  • LB Brad Jones (hamstring, out)
  • OLB Clay Matthews (thumb, out)
  • OLB Andy Mulumba (ankle, did not practice)
  • RB James Starks (knee, out)
  • OL Greg Van Roten (foot, out)

Week 5 playing time breakdown

October, 8, 2013
10/08/13
10:30
AM ET
A look at the snap counts from the Green Bay Packers22-9 win against the Detroit Lions on Sunday:

Offense (67 total plays)

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers 67.

Offensive line: David Bakhtiari 67, Don Barclay 67, Evan Dietrich-Smith 67, T.J. Lang 67, Josh Sitton 67.

Receivers: Randall Cobb 64, Jordy Nelson 63, James Jones 61, Jarrett Boykin 6.

Running backs: Eddie Lacy 54, Johnathan Franklin 7.

Tight ends: Jermichael Finley 45, Andrew Quarless 27, Ryan Taylor 8.

Noteworthy: Franklin did not play another snap on offense after his second-quarter fumble, which was recovered by Rodgers. … Among Taylor’s eight snaps was a drop on what might have been a 34-yard touchdown in the second quarter. … Fullback John Kuhn, who was active after missing the Week 3 game against at Cincinnati because of a hamstring injury, did not play a single snap on offense and was on the field for only three special teams plays. … For the first time this season, Cobb led the receivers in playing time, likely because he got a handful of snaps out of the backfield (from which he had a 67-yard run in the third quarter).

Defense (67 total plays)

Defensive line: B.J. Raji 35, Mike Daniels 30, Datone Jones 23, Ryan Pickett 21, Johnny Jolly 17.

Linebackers: A.J. Hawk 62, Mike Neal 45, Clay Matthews 42, Nick Perry 39, Brad Jones 23, Andy Mulumba 17, Jamari Lattimore 16, Robert Francois 12.

Defensive backs: Morgan Burnett 67, M.D. Jennings 67, Sam Shields 67, Tramon Williams 67, Davon House 62, Jerron McMillian 21, Micah Hyde 4.

Noteworthy: When Brad Jones left because of a hamstring injury, Hawk took over as the signal caller. He also replaced Jones as the lone inside linebacker in the dime defense and therefore played his highest percentage of snaps (93 percent) of the season. … The high volume of nickel and dime snaps meant more playing time for House as the third corner and less up front for Pickett and Jolly, who typically play more in the base 3-4. … Neal played the majority of his snaps standing up as an outside linebacker and only a few with his hand on the ground as a defensive lineman. … Matthews did not play after breaking his right thumb on the final play of the third quarter. … Lattimore, a core special teams player, saw his first action of the season on defense as the third in line behind Brad Jones and Francois (who left with a season-ending torn Achilles).

Top special teams contributors (26 total plays): Sam Barrington 18, Mulumba 18, Lattimore 18, Jarrett Bush 17, Taylor 17, Jennings 17, Tim Masthay 16, Boykin 15, McMillian 14, Francois 13, Chris Banjo 11, Hyde 11, Michael Hill 10.

Locker Room Buzz: Green Bay Packers

October, 6, 2013
10/06/13
5:40
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Observed in the locker room following the Green Bay Packers' 22-9 victory over the Detroit Lions:

Crosby
Crowd around Crosby: Last year when there was a crowd around kicker Mason Crosby’s locker, it usually meant he was being grilled about another shaky performance. On Sunday, it was all smiles after Crosby tied a team record with five field goals against the Lions. Crosby, who made a league-low 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts last season, is 9-for-9 this season. “It feels great,” Crosby said. “It’s just the beginning.”

Lacy’s lament: Across the locker room, rookie running back Eddie Lacy lamented coming up 1 yard short of a 100-yard day. He would have been the third different Packers running back to rush for 100 yards in as many games following James Starks' 132-yard performance in Week 2 against the Washington Redskins and Johnathan Franklin's 103-yard game in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals. “I knew I was close,” Lacy said. “I was trying to get it.” Lacy finished with 99 yards on 23 carries.

On crutches: Robert Francois was in no mood to talk as he hobbled through the locker room on crutches and with a boot on his right foot. The backup linebacker, who filled in after Brad Jones left with a hamstring injury, tore his Achilles tendon and is done for the season.

Quotable: On the way to his postgame news conference, coach Mike McCarthy passed a group of reporters heading into the locker room to speak with the players. Said McCarthy, who isn’t known for being overly interesting at the podium: “You’re going to miss all the good stuff.”

Week 3 playing time breakdown

September, 24, 2013
9/24/13
5:15
PM ET
A look at the snap counts from the Green Bay Packers’ 34-30 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday:

Offense (81 total snaps)

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers 81.

Offensive line: David Bakhtiari 81, Josh Sitton 81, Evan Dietrich-Smith 81, T.J. Lang 81, Don Barclay 81.

Receivers: James Jones 81, Jordy Nelson 80, Randall Cobb 79, Jeremy Ross 4, Jarrett Boykin 3.

Running backs: Johnathan Franklin 43, James Starks 32

Tight ends: Andrew Quarless 43, Ryan Taylor 34, Jermichael Finley 6.

Analysis: Taylor played a career-high 34 snaps on offense, all of which came after Finley sustained a concussion on the Packers’ sixth play from scrimmage. Quarless has played 76 snaps the past two weeks combined after playing only eight in Week 1. … Franklin had not played a snap on offense before Sunday. … Cobb, Jones and Nelson have combined to play 95.8 percent of the snaps this season. Jones has been on the field for 212 of the 215 snaps, Nelson for 210 and Cobb for 196. ... Ross, who also played nine snaps on special teams, was released on Monday after fumbling a kickoff against the Bengals.

Defense (56 total snaps)

Defensive line: B.J. Raji 32, Ryan Pickett 25, Mike Daniels 22, Johnny Jolly 18, C.J. Wilson 11, Datone Jones 10.

Linebackers: Brad Jones 56, Nick Perry 48, A.J. Hawk 48, Mike Neal 35, Clay Matthews 26, Andy Mulumba 6.

Defensive backs: Tramon Williams 56, Chris Banjo 54, Sam Shields 53, M.D. Jennings 52, Davon House 35, Micah Hyde 15, Jerron McMillian 14.

Analysis: Jolly’s playing time has decreased each week. He played 45 percent of the snaps in Week 1, 38 percent in Week 2 and 32 percent in Week 3. … Datone Jones, the first-round draft pick, has played just 24.7 percent of the defensive snaps so far this season. … Most of Neal’s snaps came at outside linebacker after Matthews left with a hamstring injury late in the second quarter.

Top special teams contributors (30 snaps): Robert Francois 23, Hyde 21, Jamari Lattimore 20, Sam Barrington 17, Boykin 17, Taylor 17, Tim Masthay 15, Greg Van Roten 12, Banjo 12, Daniels 12.

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