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  1. #1
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    so there’s reason

    When the Green Bay Packers open training camp in 2019 Kyler Fackrell Jersey , their roster should look significantly different than it does today. Several key players will come back off injured reserve, a new draft class will inject some more youth and talent into the organization, and the team is sure to make some moves in free agency.However, there are a handful of players who are earning themselves bigger roles for next year as the team plays out the string on the 2018 season. Some of them, such as wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, have gradually earned more and more playing time over the year and are angling for major roles next year. Others, such as defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster, are simply demonstrating that they deserve a chance to compete for a spot on next year’s opening 53-man roster.The snap totals for those two players show the value that the team places on them, however. With Kenny Clark out of the lineup on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Lancaster played nearly 90 percent of the team’s snaps. Meanwhile, EQ has taken hold of the second outside receiver role from fellow rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling, out-snapping his teammate 2-to-1 on Sunday.Here’s a look at how playing time broke down in the Packers’ 24-17 loss at Soldier Field.OFFENSE (68 plays)QuarterbackAaron Rodgers 686.5 yards per attempt, multiple misses to open receivers on big-play opportunities, and the snapping of a 402-attempt streak without an interception say it all for Rodgers on Sunday. He also took five sacks in the game, several on third downs as he continued contributing to the Packers’ struggles.Running BacksJamaal Williams 59, Aaron Jones 7, FB Dan Vitale 4Jones had to leave the game early with a knee injury, and his availability for the final two games of the season is in doubt. He carried the football four times for just eight yards before leaving the game.Williams had some nice moments in relief of Jones, however. He gained 55 yards on 12 carries, adding the Packers’ only touchdown of the game, while totaling 42 yards on four receptions as well.Vitale’s only notable play was a whiff on a block that caused Williams to lose a few yards.Wide ReceiversDavante Adams 64, Randall Cobb 47, Equanimeous St. Brown 42, Jake Kumerow 21, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 21It’s now clear that St. Brown is running at the top of the young receiver group. He out-snapped MVS for the second straight week and saw three targets to MVS’ one.Adams was a star as usual in this game, catching eight of 13 targets for 119 yards. His full-season pace now puts him on track for 1 Davante Adams Jersey White ,502 yards, and he needs to average 93 per game over the last two contests to hit that mark. Cobb caught just three passes on seven targets for 30 yards.Tight EndsJimmy Graham 47, Marcedes Lewis 11, Lance Kendricks 9, Robert Tonyan 8While the Packers started the game with two tight ends, they stuck largely to 11 personnel afterwards. Graham had three catches for 32 yards while Kendricks added four receptions for 27 yards on his limited workload. The Packers also rarely used Kendricks in the backfield, only doing so on a handful of occasions.Offensive LinemenDavid Bakhtiari 68, Lane Taylor 68, Corey Linsley 68, Lucas Patrick 68, Jason Spriggs 68Patrick was a surprise starter, taking over for Justin McCray at right guard. It’s tough to break down his game, with Spriggs struggling against Khalil Mack for much of the game. In total, the Bears’ edge rushers shredded the Packers’ line; Mack had 2.5 sacks and Leonard Floyd had two, accounting for all but a half-sack of the five the Bears recorded.DEFENSE (60 plays)Defensive LinemenDean Lowry 53, Tyler Lancaster 51, Montravius Adams 16, Fadol Brown 12, James Looney 1Of all people, it was Lancaster who led the Packers in tackles in this game with seven. He clearly has taken over the top reserve role, as Adams cannot seem to crack the lineup. Lancaster usually does a good job holding his ground at the point of attack and has active hands, and he absolutely should have a spot on the offseason roster and a chance to win a roster spot in training camp.Lowry had a pair of tackles and a fumble recovery, while Brown had a couple of big back-to-back stops, first on a third-down run and then on the Bears’ fake punt attempt. Adams did put in a good effort in his limited snaps, with three tackles and a hit on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.Outside LinebackersKyler Fackrell 51, Clay Matthews 49 Clay Matthews Jersey White , Reggie Gilbert 21Matthews had the Packers’ only sack in this game, bringing down Trubisky late in the fourth quarter and forcing him to fumble the football. Unfortunately the Bears recovered the football, though they fumbled later on in the drive. Fackrell had one solo tackle and a pair of assists, while Gilbert had one solo stop and a pass deflection.Inside LinebackersBlake Martinez 60, Antonio Morrison 8Martinez had a minuscule (by his standards) four tackles in this game. The Packers used a combination of two safeties, Josh Jones and Eddie Pleasant, as Nitro linebackers, however, leading to minimal snaps for Morrison and nothing on defense for rookie Oren Burks.SafetiesTramon Williams 60, Josh Jones 48, Eddie Pleasant 31, Kentrell Brice 18Jones racked up six tackles in this game, including one for loss, and added a pass defense as well. As mentioned above, he played some linebacker, splitting time with Pleasant in that spot. The newcomer also had a tackle for loss, which was one of his two tackles on the day, but he struggled in coverage.Williams added four tackles on the back end while Brice had two in limited playing time.CornerbacksJaire Alexander 60, Bashaud Breeland 53, Josh Jackson 40, Tony Brown 28Breeland missed practice all week, but he played most of the game with solid success; he had one tackle, which went for a loss on a beautiful read from the slot against the run, and added a pass breakup. Alexander had three tackles while Jackson had five and Brown two.The Bears did little damage down the field — their biggest pass play was a 30-yard gain by Allen Robinson. That was a quick pass that Alexander read well, jumping the route, but he was unable to get the football and his gamble allowed Robinson to pick up a huge batch of yardage after the catch. Even with Jimmy Graham expected back Aaron Ripkowski Jersey , Green Bay heads into yet another offseason wondering how to fill the hole at tight end."Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company takes a look at each position group on the Green Bay Packers and provides grades and insight on how they performed in the 2018 season. Today, we examine the tight end position heading into free agency.Ever since Jermichael Finley’s unfortunate, career-ending neck injury, the Green Bay Packers have been a revolving door of sub-standard tight end play. After attempting to make do with mid-round picks and undrafted free agents, in 2016 Ted Thompson signed Jared Cook who was excellent in an injury-shortened season. His agent botched a potential return and the Packers signed Martellus Bennett while Cook’s agent tried unsuccessfully to get a better offer than the one Green Bay made. How did that go? In the words of Pete Campbell, “Not great, Bob.” Last offseason, it was Jimmy Graham, making the third consecutive spring the front office took a big swing with a free-agent tight end. They also signed Marcedes Lewis, added Robert Tonyan after a late-2017 stint on the practice squad and kept Lance Kendricks from the Bennett offseason. It was supposed to be the great fortification of the position the team needed. Narrator: It wasn’t. Lance KendricksNFL Experience: 8 yearsFA Status: Unrestricted free agentExpiring Contract: 2 years, $4 million 2017 Stats: 16 games, 25 targets, 19 catches, 170 yards, 1 TDWhen Kendricks joined the Packers in 2017, he was to be the move tight end to complement Bennett’s dual abilities as a blocker and receiver. Instead, he caught just 18 passes, never became part of the offense even after Bennett’s departure, and struggled overall with Brett Hundley at quarterback. Having Aaron Rodgers didn’t improve things much for him in 2018. Some dreadful drops gave way to a second half of the season in which Kendricks began to find a meaningful role as a dump off tight end and security blanket. Kendricks’ blocking isn’t horrid, but he’s not good enough next to Jimmy Graham to make up for Graham’s deficiencies, nor is he so dynamic as a pass catcher a team can just live with that. Graham is coming back, which means Kendricks can’t be. Marcedes LewisNFL Experience: 13 yearsFA Status: Unrestricted free agentExpiring Contract: 1 year, $2.1 million 2017 Stats: 16 games play, 4 targets, 3 catches Mike Daniels Jersey White , 39 yardsThis one is on McCarthy. One of the best blocking tight ends in football? Nah, Graham will be fine there. A 6-foot-7 monster who caught five touchdowns a year ago? Meh, throw it to him ... like whenever. What was the plan here? How did McCarthy, Philbin, et al look at this player and think, “We can’t use him?” Lewis played just under 18% pf snaps last season and was an afterthought in both phases of the offense. Why? How? For all the consternation about Aaron Jones not getting enough touches, the lack of Lewis in this offense may have been equally puzzling given how poorly Graham and Kendricks played most of last season. Free agency is difficult to predict. Lewis’ old coordinator in Jacksonville will be Matt LaFleur’s OC in a scheme that requires a quality blocking tight end, so there’s reason to think Lewis could be back. He also flamed Mike McCarthy in an interview with Martellus Bennett and admitted Rodgers just calls whatever plays he wants. Is that a betrayal of the team’s confidence to tell tales out of school? And would it prevent the front office from bringing back a player who could still help this team? Robert TonyanNFL Experience: 1 yearFA Status: Exclusive rights free agentExpiring Contract: 1 years, $480,000 2017 Stats: 16 games played, 6 targets, 4 catches, 77 yards, 1 touchdown The amount of Big Bob stock being held on Packers Twitter is enough to cause a run on the banks in the near future and it’s not difficult to see why. The 54-yard bomb he caught against the Seahawks (Rodgers said he thought he was throwing to Graham) was the biggest play a tight end has made for the Packers since Richard Rodgers caught the Hail Mary against the Lions. Tonyan showed excellent receiving skills in preseason, along with body control and athleticism as a former college receiver. He has the frame to get better as a blocker, something he must do if he wants more playing time and there’s an enormous opportunity in front of him to do grab those snaps. But for now, he’s Tight End Janis, a player with estimable promise who has limited regular season success to go with excellent preseason production. Relying on him to be the TE2 for a team hoping to compete for a Super Bowl is a tough ask, but he could be a useful player down the line if he keeps progressing. Given his status as a ERFA, the Packers will almost certainly offer him the one-year tender, which he can either accept or sit out. Even if the Packers draft a tight end this spring, Tonyan will have a huge advantage at a position notorious for slow starts due to the learning curve. We will learn in 2019 if Tonyan is Janis 2.0 or something more.

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