NFL Scouting Combine: Day 4 observations

Indianapolis – On Day 4 of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine the media had the opportunity to meet with defensive linemen and linebackers. The wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks all worked out as well on Saturday.

Here are three observations from Day 4 of the combine.

Trio of Badgers

Former Wisconsin linebackers Jack Cichy, Leon Jacobs, and Garret Dooley met with the media on Saturday in Indianapolis. All three were seated at the same table inside the convention center.

The trio also took part in the bench press prior to meeting with the media. Jacobs was the most impressive of the three with 26 reps. Dooley and Cichy trailed behind him with 21 and 18 reps, respectively.

All three are excited to be taking part in the combine, as everyone knows.

“Just being a part of it, I’m definitely blessed,” Dooley said. “To be able to come here and just kind of showcase my skills and my personality is definitely an honor.”

The combine is obviously a huge event for everyone involved, but it might mean the most for Cichy. He missed part of his redshirt junior season with a torn pectoral. Cichy then tore the ACL in his right knee during fall camp causing him to miss the entire 2017 season.

“Honestly, just being to get myself back out there and show what I know,” Cichy said was his favorite part of the combine. “Throughout these years with all the coordinators we’ve had [at Wisconsin] I’ve been able to accrue a lot of good football information and I think I’ve been able to be pretty football savvy. In those interviews, just kind of being able to express that and show teams how I’ve grown in that aspect has been awesome.”

Jacobs was expected to test the best of three. He put up the best number on the bench press and expects to run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash on Sunday.

Both Jacobs and Dooley did say that they have informally met with the Green Bay Packers, Cichy has not.

It is worth noting that Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli did not take part in the on-field workout Saturday.

Wide receivers test on the field

When the wide receivers met with the media on Friday afternoon it seemed as if the Green Bay Packers had met with many of the top prospects in the class. On Saturday those prospects took part the on-field workout portion of the combine.

Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley is regarded as the best in the class. He posted one of the faster 40-yard dash times of the day at 4.43 seconds. Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore was the fastest of the receivers that said he had met with the Packers. He clocked a 4.42 40-yard dash. Moore also had the second-highest vertical jump at 39.5”.

Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown may be the prospect that improved his stock the most with the on-field testing. After measuring nearly 6-foot-5 and 214lbs he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. St. Brown also did well in the bench press on Friday, posting 20 reps.

With the Packers having visited with a number of receivers this week, today could certainly further their interest a few guys. With Moore and St. Brown testing well, it could encourage the Packers to give them a more serious look should Ridley be picked before Green Bay drafts at No. 14 overall.

Shaquem Griffin

The story of Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin has been told relatively frequently over the past few months. Griffin was both with a disorder called amniotic band syndrome that affected his left hand and caused his fingers to not develop fully.

At the age of four Griffin was caught by his mother in the kitchen with a knife trying to self-amputate his fingers. The family then scheduled an appointment and his hand was amputated the following day.

That didn’t stop Griffin from playing college football at a high level, earning the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and being named a Second-team All-American in 2017.

He did enough to earn an invitation to the combine and has unquestionably the best story of anyone in Indianapolis.

Griffin put on a show Saturday afternoon with his performance of 20 reps on the bench press with the help of a prosthetic device that he is able to put on his left wrist in order to grasp the barbell.

“So many people are going to have doubt on things about what I can do,” Griffin said when talking with the media Saturday evening. “Obviously it started at the bench press. Some people didn’t think I could do three, some people didn’t think I could do five, some people didn’t even think I could do the bench press. I went and did the bench press and competed with everybody else and did 20 [reps]. That’s just one step closer to everything that I need to be able to accomplish.”

Despite the outstanding play on the field, there are plenty of questions about him due to his deformity. The fact that he’s competing at the highest level is inspirational to many as it should be.

“I hope I inspire a lot [of people]. I always told everybody, if I can inspire one [person] they can inspire one more and I can inspire a thousand later. If I keep doing what I’m doing now then I can change a lot of minds of a lot of people and be able to inspire more kids every day.”

Rodgers’ Comeback Beats Cowboys

The Green Bay Packers found themselves in a familiar position in Dallas Sunday afternoon. They were locked in a tight battle with the Cowboys, just as they were last January in an NFC divisional round playoff matchup.

Both times, the Packers are glad they have Aaron Rodgers directing the offense. In January, Rodgers set the team on a drive to set up Mason Crosby’s 51-yard field goal. On Sunday, he directed a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped off with a 12-touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining. This drive by Rodgers and the Packers came immediately after Dallas quarterback Das Prescott rushed for a touchdown from 11 yards out to give Dallas a 31-28 lead with 1:13 left to play.

That proved to be too much time for Rodgers and the Packers.

“I just don’t know what else to say about him.” Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy said following the game. “I need to expand my vocabulary. Just a great job by Aaron.”

Green Bay improves to 4-1 with the win, they’re in first place in the NFC North. Dallas drops to 2-3 on the year.

News & Notes

Running back Ty Montgomery did not play after suffering a rib injury against Chicago in week four. Rookie Aaron Jones started in his place Sunday, he carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Adams, who finished with seven grabs for 66 yards and two touchdowns was cleared from concussion protocol Saturday and was able to play. He suffered his concussion in week four against the Bears. Adams had to be taken off the field on a stretcher in what proved to be a scary sight.

Up Next

Green Bay returns to NFC North play next week traveling to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. Kick off is set for next Sunday at 12p.

The Armchair Quarterbacks Podcast: Packers vs. Bengals

A meeting of the minds as our very own Joe Miller and Rob Reischel of BobMcGinnFootball.com sit down and discuss the Packers match-up against the Bengals this Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Take a listen below:

Segment 1:

Segment 2:

Segment 3:

 

Tundra Talk with Blake Martinez: Seahawks WK1

MADISON| The Green Bay Packers welcome in the Seattle Seahawks to Lambeau Field to kick off their season.

Packers inside linebacker, Blake Martinez, joins the Joe & Ebo Show for the entire NFL season and breaks down each week’s match-up.

Get caught up on his thoughts of facing the Seahawks and be sure to tune in Wednesday through Friday at 8AM to hear him live.

Blake catches us up on his offseason:

A preview of the team and his teammates:

Finally, Blake talks Seahawks:

 

Stafford’s record contract could mean bigger pay day for Rodgers

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions made quarterback Matthew Stafford the highest-paid player in the National Football League Monday night, but it could mean bigger things for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Stafford had been patiently waiting for a contract extension as he entered the final year of his most recent deal. He was rewarded with a five-year, $135 million extension with an average annual salary of $27 million.

For Rodgers, he could be paid even higher.

2019 will be the final year of Rodgers’ five-year, $110 million contract, which had previously made Rodgers the richest based on annual salary ($22 million). When asked about his status in June, Rodgers didn’t show much concern for his future contract.

“Well, that stuff usually takes care of itself,”  Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “I have a fantastic agent, he does a great job. He worries about that stuff.”

“When it comes to setting the market values, I let that stuff take care of itself. I know my value in this league, and I know the team appreciates me. I’m going to continue to make myself an indispensable part of this roster. When you do that, when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension.”

As pointed out by Acme Packing Company’s Aaron B. Hirschhorn, Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy addressed Rodgers’ situation during this summer’s annual shareholder’s meeting, saying Green Bay would like to come to an agreement with Rodgers prior to the final year of his current deal in 2019.

By locking Rodgers into a new deal before 2019, the Packers can avoid an even higher price tag by the time the New Orleans Saints have to address Drew Brees’ contract in 2018. That could mean a new deal for Rodgers is finalized within the next calendar year, while the Packers have $19.7 million in salary cap space.

Report: Packers set to visit with OLB Ahmad Brooks

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers are addressing a need at outside linebacker by meeting with former San Francisco 49ers veteran Ahmad Brooks, according to a report from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Packers face an uncertain level of depth at the position after allowing Datone Jones and Julius Peppers to leave the team in free agency. Add in the fact that rookie Vince Biegel has been recovering from foot surgery and it’s understandable Green Bay would be kicking the tires on a 33-year-old.

Brooks is four years removed from a Pro Bowl season in which he had 52 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two fumbles, and one interception. The 49ers released him on Friday to save about $6.1 million in the final year of his contract. He had also become one of the more distracting players on the roster.

Twice in 2014, Brooks was benched for complaining about his playing time. He was benched again the following season. But off the field, he was the focus of a misdemeanor sexual assault investigation, in which he was charged for groping a woman while she was sleeping at teammate Ray McDonald’s house.

The Denver Broncos are also reported to be showing interest in the 11-year NFL veteran.

Hundley sharp in preseason loss to Broncos

DENVER — Packers quarterback Brett Hundley got some extended playing time Saturday night, impressing in a 20-17 preseason loss to the Broncos.

Hundley completed 20 of his 30 passes for 186 yards, also rushing for 14 yards and a touchdown. He replaced Aaron Rodgers after just two offensive series’, playing through to the end and getting experience working with the No. 1 offense in a four-minute situation.

Denver was led by Trevor Siemian, who went 13-of-22 for 127 yards with an interception. But he had plenty of run support, as De’Angelo Henderson, C.J. Anderson, and Jamaal Charles combined for 92 yards and a touchdown. It was Charles’ debut after spending the previous nine years of his career in Kansas City.

Issues on the offensive line were evident for Green Bay. Denver recorded five sacks and eight tackles for loss, some because of the questionable play of second-year offensive lineman Jason Spriggs. A first quarter drive that seemed to be destined for a touchdown ended with a field goal after Spriggs allowed a sack of Rodgers on a third-and-seven.

It didn’t help that the Packer defense was getting carved up after linebacker Nick Perry left with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Following the injury, Denver ended a drive on a 16-yard Anderson touchdown run.

The Packers conclude the preseason schedule Thursday night hosting the Los Angeles Rams.

Legendary Packers RG Jerry Kramer named a senior finalist for HOF

GREEN BAY, Wis. — 50 years after his block during the Ice Bowl, legendary Packers right guard Jerry Kramer has been named a senior finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 class.

Former Tennessee Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile was also announced as a senior finalist Thursday afternoon.

Kramer has long been considered by fans one of the biggest omissions to the Hall, considering his contributions to championship during the Vince Lombardi era. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have happen to you,” Kramer said in Milwaukee in 2015. “Again, I grew up in a little town in northern Idaho and I thought someday if I got really, really lucky I’d be able to drive a logging truck…The whole professional football ride has just been a fantasy land for me.”

Kramer was named All-Pro six times during his career, also being named to three Pro Bowls.

Kramer was the only member of the 1969 50th anniversary team to not be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To be inducted for the class of 2018, Kramer would need to receive at least 80 percent of the votes from the 46-person committee. The inductees will be announced on NBC for a television event tentatively scheduled for Feb. 3, 2018.

Packers hang on for 21-17 win over Redskins

WASHINGTON — After coming out sluggish in the second half, the Green Bay Packers turned it on late for a 21-17 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Saturday night.

Aaron Rodgers saw some time in the first quarter, finishing 6-of-8 for 37 yards and a touchdown. He left the game after connecting with tight end Martellus Bennett for a three-yard touchdown pass.

Brett Hundley took over for Rodgers, ending his night 9-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, though things slowed down in the second half. The first possession after the break saw the offense stall out after a 12-yard completion on 3rd and 9 was negated by a Jason Spriggs hold. Spriggs then allowed a sack on the ensuing 3rd and 23, resulting in a punt. With 9:45 remaining in the game, Green Bay had only put up 17 yards of offense.

But that’s when things started to click again.

Backup quarterback Taysom Hill led Green Bay in rushing, carrying the ball six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. On the scoring drive, Hill had rushes of nine and 23 yards, the latter of which resulted in a score. The next closest yardage leader was Kalif Phillips, a true running back, who collected 17 yards on five carries. Ty Montgomery was sidelined with a knee injury suffered in practice.

Jeff Janis made his case to stick around for a fourth season by leading the team in receiving. He hauled in three passes for 63 yards, but also proved key with his blocking and special teams contributions.

There was still something left to be desired for punter Justin Vogel, who got plenty of work. He had eight punts, averaging 48.3 yards with a long of 63. But the issue was hangtime, with only one punt in the air longer than 4.5 seconds. That was a late 54-yard boomer that stayed up for 6.3 seconds, resulting in a bobbled catch by Washington with the Green Bay coverage unit in his immediate vicinity and ready to bring him down.

The Packers travel to Denver next Saturday night at 8:00 C.T.

Banged up Packers get ready to meet Redskins

WASHINGTON — The Green Bay Packers will be shorthanded Saturday night when they meet the Washington Redskins for preseason game No. 2.

With running back Ty Montgomery nursing a lower leg injury and Davon House (hamstring) and Damarious Randall (concussion) sitting out in the secondary, Saturday’s matchup will be a true test of Green Bay’s depth.

Its backfield will consist of rookies Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, and Devante Mays, while Quinten Rollins and Kevin King figure to be the starting corners. Josh Hawkins could also be in the mix. The Packers’ run game wasn’t very effective against the Eagles in the preseason opener, carrying the ball just 18 times for 47 yards.

The offense will be tested in the passing game, as well. With Aaron Rodgers unlikely to play, it’ll be Brett Hundley under center, backed up by Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill, who will battle for the No. 3 job. But their targets will be few and far between, with receivers DeAngelo Yancey dealing with a groin strain and Malachi Dupre still in the concussion protocol. That should leave plenty of reps for Geronimo Allison, Michael Clark, Trevor Davis, Jeff Janis, and Max McCaffrey to make their cases to make the 53-man roster.

Other areas the Green Bay coaching staff will be focused on include tackling (16 missed tackles vs Philadelphia), turnovers (two fumbles lost, one interception vs Philadelphia), and backup center (Don Barclay out indefinitely with an ankle injury).

Kickoff time from FedEx Field is set for 6:30 p.m. CT. on WKOW | TV.