May 26, 2019, 04:50:48 PM

Author Topic: Position look: FB/TE  (Read 304 times)

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Offline RT

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Position look: FB/TE
« on: May 20, 2019, 10:33:21 AM »
This combination of positions is always hard to call. In the past their has been a wide range in the number of players kept at this position combo, last season the Packers opened with 4 TE's and no FB's for the first time that I know of. Maybe in their history? We have seen recently as many as 3 FB's with only 2 TE's, in 2010 they opened with 2 FB's and 4 TE'S. With the value these players have for contributing on ST's they are often in the mix for the last handful of roster spots handed out that are given regardless of position because of that potential value.

Depth Chart: (TE)  Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, Robert Tonyan, Davis Koppenhaver, Evan Baylis  (FB) Danny Vitale, Malcolm Johnson

Locks - Jimmy Graham and Jace Sternberger

Some may not see Graham as a lock because of trade rumors that have been tied to him, but I don't believe he is going anywhere. Others may see Lewis as a lock and that would be hard to dispute with the signing bonus the Packers gave him, I just don't think there is anything left in his tank and that was a head scratcher for me. I'm interested to see how that plays out. 

In the Hunt - Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan and Danny Vitale

This is the real puzzle of this group, how many of these players are kept? If they only keep 4, that is my current thought, if Lewis does make it then Tonyan and Vitale and the others would be competing for one roster spot on the 53. That would be some good competition playing out. 

Longshots - Davis Koppenhaver, Evan Baylis and Malcolm Johnson

Like the players at the back of the depth chart at every position these 3 are at long odds, but also every year we see a few players over come the long odds to land on the opening day roster. Never quit, never say never.


Offline dannobanano

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2019, 02:08:09 PM »
I think they will keep 4 TE's:
Graham
Lewis
Sternberger
Tonyan

1) I agree that Graham is as close to a lock at TE as there is on this team. The 2018 season did not sit well with Graham, he's said as much. I look for his effort to be much higher than last year and look for multiple ways MLF can use him to make him much more effective in 2019.
2) I also think Lewis is very likely to make this team. He is, undoubtedly, the best blocking TE that is on the team and this new offnese needs a reliable run blocking TE.
3) Being a 3rd round pick, Sternberger is all but guaranteed a spot on the 53 man roster.
4) IMO, Tonyan stays as well. He showed too much upside last year and has been extremely dedicated this off-season to becoming a much better TE. He's been working out with George Kittle (SF), and the reviews have been positive. Next year the Packers will likely move on from both Lewis and Graham. Continuing to develop Tonyan is a long term plan than makes sense, rather than keep just one TE (Sternberger) to carry into 2020. Tonyan's price tag is friendly as well.


And they will also keep 1 FB/HB:
Vitale

Vitale is an extremely versatile player that can play FB, HB, and TE (he played all those spots at Northwestern). MLF could be planning to use him in much the same manner that Shanahan uses Kyle Juszcsyk at San Fran. His strengths are his route running and he has great hands. He could line up in the backfield, in the slot, inline as a TE, and he can split out. MLF covets versatile players that can be used in multiple roles. Vitale fits that mold


Online OneTwoSixFive

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2019, 02:27:20 PM »
Since the Packers are unlikely to keep either Lewis or Graham after 2019, I cannot see less than 4 TE's on the final 53. When those two are gone it will be another very young group.............maybe the Packers get another vet in, maybe they get another TE in the first three rounds of the 2020 draft.
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Offline RT

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2019, 05:23:27 PM »
Am I the Lone Ranger in doubting that Lewis has anything left to offer? He has had an excellent career as a blocking TE and always graded out at the top or near the top for all TE's year after year, that is until last season when he ended the season with a 52.2 grade (below average) with PFF and in the bottom 20%. Could it be that he is just a campbody to help the young TE's learn the offense, remember the new OC was in Jacksonville with him. That is probably a reach, but I just think he is a name with no game.

Offline dannobanano

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2019, 05:55:37 PM »
Not saying your wrong RT, but by bringing Hackett into the conversation it may mean he knows how to squeeze what little gas there is left in Lewis' tank out of him better than anyone else could.

In Marcedes last year at JAX (and in Hackett's offense) he had just 24 receptions (318 yds; approx. 13 yds/catch), and had 5 TD catches (that's a TD catch every 5 catches. nice ratio). So maybe Hackett still views him as a potential red zone target, and/or maybe his remaining blocking skills better fit what they want to do this year as opposed to last year.

We are all just spitballing. Training camp will shake it out. It will be fun to watch unfold.

Offline craig

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 10:30:44 AM »
Am I the Lone Ranger in doubting that Lewis has anything left to offer? ...Could it be that he is just a campbody to help the young TE's learn the offense, remember the new OC was in Jacksonville with him. That is probably a reach, but I just think he is a name with no game.

No.  But I think the size and structure of his contract suggests that Gute and the Packers think he may have something left to offer?  HIs contract seems too strong for a "camp body" guy.  $500K signing bonus and dead cap seems beyond "camp body".  Gute and the Packers may often be wrong, though; signing him and keeping him and paying him to offer something, doesn't necessarily mean that he'll actually provide what they're hoping he will.  Teams miss all the time. And obviously his deal isn't that great, if he looks dead in camp, they can still cut him. 

A tangent on this is that he seems to be the only lineman-style blocking TE in the room.  Graham isn't, and neither are Tonyan nor Steinberger.  IN the post-draft pressers, Packer management talked up Steinberger's pass-catching potential much more than his run-blocking. 

I mention that because it's been common lore that MLF is really strongly oriented towards the run game, we're going to run more, we're going to have TE's run-blocking more, etc..  But if so, I think it's interesting that I see a room with one run-blocking TE and three long-lean pass-catching-oriented TE's.  I see two simplistic thought options here:
1.  The run-blocking-TE emphasis assumption is true.  Being the only run-blocker in the room, Lewis is a lock to make the roster.  (Whether or not he actually performs well in the role is a different question.  But if they really are committed to run-blocking TE, yet built their roster with Lewis being the only man available, then it would follow that they are strongly committed to Lewis making the roster. 

2.  A contrary option is that perhaps the lore is wrong, and MLF is NOT actually committed to run-blocking TE who is more a 6th o-lineman and has only small role as a pass-catcher.  Maybe MLF actually prefers TE's who are legit pass-receiving options?  Maybe having guys who can lineup and get in the way as blockers or in the run game is desired, but he think it's more needful to have TE's who provide viable option to the QB, and who command serious respect from a defense?  Who can get in the way for a second, then step out and be a target?  Or who can get out intentionally and either catch passes or command serious respect from defenses who have to assign manpower to covering them?  Manpower that is diverted from the blitz, and is pulled away from the line giving running backs more space to operate and make moves?  **IF** MLF really prefers TE's who are receiving threats and thus keep the defense guessing as to their usage on a given play, then perhaps they are NOT at all committed to Lewis on the roster, and cutting him despite the $0.5 signing bonus and dead cap hit i something they'll consider if the younger personnel in the room impress during camp.  (I'd love to see the latter play out, have the young guys look great enough so that you want to keep them and are willing to play them too....)

Offline RT

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 07:15:03 AM »
It looks like just maybe the Packers are not sold on Lewis either. The Packers were one of 5 teams to put in a claim for blocking TE Jordon Leggett who was awarded to Tampa Bay. The 6'5/258 Leggett was a 5th round pick of the Jets in 2017 who was best known for his blocking coming out of Clemson, he was released just days after Mike Maccagnan was fired and HC Adam Gase assumed the acting GM role. Leggett had 14 receptions with the Jets last season in 15 games played.

Offline dannobanano

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 08:44:05 AM »
It looks like just maybe the Packers are not sold on Lewis either. The Packers were one of 5 teams to put in a claim for blocking TE Jordon Leggett who was awarded to Tampa Bay. The 6'5/258 Leggett was a 5th round pick of the Jets in 2017 who was best known for his blocking coming out of Clemson, he was released just days after Mike Maccagnan was fired and HC Adam Gase assumed the acting GM role. Leggett had 14 receptions with the Jets last season in 15 games played.

I was going to post that too RT. Gute is not done trying to tweak the TE group. I remember the year Leggett was drafted, there were early rumors (January, February) that year that he might have been an early round target of the Packers. But his Combine, and other testing, dropped his draft stock dramatically.

If the Packers can claim a combo TE off waivers (or even trade for someone lower on a depth chart) that could be a longer term player for GB, then I could see Lewis being released at some point.

Lewis serves a purpose, at the moment, but he is not the long term answer, and that's what I've said all along.

I still believe that if Hockenson had been on the board when the Packers picked at #12, he would have been the pick. No question in my mind.

Offline dannobanano

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Re: Position look: FB/TE
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 02:11:52 PM »
If it was possible, I'd like to see the Packers send Josh Jones and a 2020 6th round pick to Denver for Troy Fumagalli.

2 cents