Paul Imig’s Sept. 18 Packers mailbag
It’s time for this week’s edition of Packers Mailbag. Soon after Green Bay’s game against the Detroit Lions, look for the form to submit questions for next week’s mailbag.
I love Jordy Nelson, but he can’t do it all. With the best QB in the league, when will we get back to a scary receiver unit like Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, James Jones and Jordy Nelson? – Ed, Iowa
A: Well, it likely won’t be this season that the Packers have a wide receiver group as deep as that. That was one issue with Green Bay’s roster that was apparent before training camp even began, that with Jermichael Finley out of the league due to his neck injury and with James Jones in Oakland and Greg Jennings in Minnesota, even the addition of rookies Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers can’t make up that difference. Jones and Jennings were veteran receivers, and Finley was a middle-of-the-field threat and a target that Aaron Rodgers could rely upon.
Adams, Richard Rodgers, Jeff Janis, Brandon Bostick and even Jarrett Boykin are still developing. It could be a while before any of them can do for the Packers offense what their predecessors did. But that’s part of Ted Thompson’s philosophy of developing a younger group of players and not spending too much money on players nearing age 30.
It’s extremely unlikely that Jordy Nelson will continue to average 15 targets per game, so Rodgers will need his tight ends, Adams, Boykin and Randall Cobb to get open.
Where is Jarrett Boykin? Did Davante Adams already beat him out for the #3 WR spot? I was expecting big things from him this year. – Nick, Oak Creek
A. It’s not that an official announcement is made or anything when there’s a change on the depth chart, but based on the final quarters of the Packers’ win over the Jets, Adams has passed Boykin to be the No. 3 wide receiver. Boykin can look back no further than his drop in the red zone in the game against New York as the moment that gave Adams a chance to step in. And when Adams did, he delivered with five catches for 50 yards. I expected it to take until at least midseason for Adams to surpass Boykin, but the 21-year-old rookie has earned that opportunity after just two regular-season games.
Why don’t we ever pass to our tight ends? The running backs handle the ball a lot already. – Mary, New Berlin
A: One catch and three targets for the tight ends in the Jets game sure wasn’t a lot. However, to the second point, Eddie Lacy only got three targets, DuJuan Harris had two and John Kuhn had one, so the running backs aren’t exactly getting it a lot through the air, either.
The explanation from the team regarding the tight ends is that they’re being used more in pass protection early in the season but that they expect that to gradually change. Once Brandon Bostick is back to 100 percent health, he’s Green Bay’s best pass-catching tight end, and that should help increase the targets to that group.
Do you still think McCarthy’s game plan for Seattle was a smart one after Philip Rivers exposed Richard Sherman this week? I was actually surprised he didn’t go 5 wide against Seattle , meaning McCarthy. – Henry, Kenosha
A: By the standards of which Richard Sherman has set for himself, his performance in the Seahawks’ loss to the San Diego Chargers wasn’t good. Still, though, it wasn’t a bad day. According to data from ProFootballFocus, Sherman was targeted five times against the Chargers, allowing four catches for 54 yards with no touchdowns.
From a Packers perspective, Boykin vs. Sherman is still an incredible mismatch in Seattle’s favor. It likely wasn’t wise for Green Bay to have avoided Sherman altogether, but Nelson vs. Byron Maxwell was and still is a much better matchup for the Packers.
To allow Sherman to respond to this question via his own tweet: "Lmao Exposed?"
I have read that if an assistant coach calls a timeout, it is a penalty. I’ve done more research but can’t find out more info. Do you have any additional info on this question? – Peter, Waukegan, IL
A: Here’s what I know on this topic: Only a head coach or player on the field can call a timeout. Thus, Sheldon Richardson or Marty Mornhinweg should not have been granted a timeout, but it wouldn’t be a penalty on the Jets, either. The struggle for officials is that they’re not supposed to turn their eyes away from the field in order to judge who’s calling the timeout from the sideline, which allows the referees the ability to give the timeout even if they don’t have absolute certainty that it was coming from Rex Ryan.
Any chance of using some lightning, with the thunder, in the running game, how about some speed with Harris, to get around the corner?? – Bruce, Elgin, IL
A: The reason that it hasn’t happened much through two games is simply due to the lack of total running plays. Eddie Lacy has only had 25 total carries, and the Packers as a team have only had 37. James Starks has been handed the ball seven times, there’s been two for Cobb, two for Kuhn and one for Harris. Once Green Bay gets its running game going this season, Lacy will need breathers. That’s when Starks can step in or when Harris can provide the "lightning" to Lacy’s "thunder."
Is Casey Hayward not playing due to injury or performance? I can’t imagine performance due to his breakout season his rookie year. – Mike, Burlington
A: Both. In Week 1, Casey Hayward was called upon when the Packers defense went to nickel and dime. In Week 2, Davon House was given those opportunities. Green Bay has one more quality cornerback than it has playing time to distribute, so most weeks will go by when either Hayward or House play very little, if at all. However, though it wasn’t known by anyone outside the organization as the game against the Jets was ongoing, Hayward suffered a gluteal strain and therefore was withheld from playing defensive snaps as a result. That’s why Jarrett Bush was in on dime rather than Hayward.
Is Nick Perry still on the team? I never see him make a play . . . – Morgan, Packerville
A: He is indeed still on the team. But, Nick Perry has only played 30 snaps in the first two games. Unless something changes drastically, it appears Perry will never live up to his first-round pick status, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a contributing player on this team for several more years. He’s performed fine in his 30 snaps this year, but with Julius Peppers, Mike Neal and Clay Matthews all ahead of him on the depth chart, Perry needs to make the most of his limited opportunities.
** Thanks to everyone for all the questions this week. Sorry that I can’t answer them all, but keep sending them in every week. **
Follow Paul Imig on Twitter