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The 2nd Year Jump, As In, Off a Cliff

Richard Rodgers

Before the start of the season, I wrote an article talking about the “develop” part of the “draft and develop” formula. Since the philosophy typically means little reliance on outside help, that means young players must develop into better players for the team to get better from one year to the next. The second year is quite often the year when many are expected to “make the leap” into being productive players or even better, into playmakers.

When we look at the season that players I talked about in that article are having, we get a strong indication of why the Packers have struggled lately.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – I singled out Clinton-Dix as the most important second year player because he is an every down player. HaHa has had an up-and-down season so far, not far different than his rookie campaign. I love the physicality that HaHa brings to the defense, but I don’t like his coverage skills this season. He still appears to be better near the line of scrimmage, except in Morgan Burnett, the Packers already have a safety who is better near the line of scrimmage. On the plus side, the safety position probably has the longest learning curve of any position in football except for quarterback. Nick Collins was much better in his third and fourth year, and we can hope the same for Clinton-Dix.

Davante Adams – A little theory of mine that isn’t talked about a lot is the value of every player in the league isn’t determined by how good they are, it is determined by how good the guy playing behind them is. If Adams had managed just a solid season this year, then Jordy Nelson would not be as badly missed as he is. Unfortunately, Adam’s second year leap has been right off a pier. Adams clearly has looked slowed by his injury, and A-Rodge was too busy calling preseason games meaningless to bother developing any timing with Adams. They have been off all season, and the Packer offense has suffered greatly because of it.

Richard Rodgers –  As much abuse as we’ve given Rich Rodgers, he is actually the 2nd year player who is the closest to actually delivering on showing some development. He is on pace for a 64 catches, 600+ yards and 9 TDs. That is pretty good numbers for a second year tight end. It is hard to say his blocking has been any better than last year. Still needs some work there and between the 20s. In the redzone, he has been about as good as anyone on the team.

Corey Linsley – Linsley had a good enough rookie season to suggest he might develop into a Pro Bowl type center. After performing around that level for the first five weeks, he hit a wall that culminated in the debacle at Carolina. When Linsley was injured, JC Tretter came in and looked like a better center. Linsley is fortunate to have his job back.

Eddie Lacy – Right, Lacy is not a second year player. However, I believed that there was another level to Eddie’s game. Many fantasy football publications thought the same when some even suggested he might be the overall #1 pick. Well, if you picked Lacy #1 in one of those lame snake drafts, then you might as well donated your money to charity. Lacy is showing a new level to his game: the cellar. The highlight was going out on the town with third stringer Alonzo Harris and missing curfew. In Detroit of all places? Monty says Lacy performs when he gets the ball more. I say that is the chicken vs. the egg argument. Does Lacy perform better when he gets the ball more or does he get the ball more when he performs better? Lacy has a habit of starting fast, cooling off in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and then being strong in the fourth. So, going away from Lacy when he doesn’t have a good first quarter sounds logical to me. Oh, and the effin guy needs to stop fumbling the football.

All I can say for these guys and the hopes of Packer Nation is late would be better than never.


Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

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  1. I steal fish December 7, 2015

    Good post

  2. Kato December 7, 2015

    Good writeup. I would agree with pretty much everything you said.

  3. billabong December 7, 2015

    Lacy fading in games….overweight and asthma, not a good combination…hope he starts to take getting in shape seriously.

  4. icebowl December 7, 2015

    Good points Shawn.
    It would be good to see the “more experienced” players like Datone to step it up…..

  5. Icebowler December 7, 2015

    I think the mental pressure of “trying” to replace Jordy as the No.1 outside receiver has been too much for a second year player like Adams and has slowed his development. I hope that he can remain injury free the rest of the year and try to relax a little bit. If not, I hope that he can put this years struggles behind him and come back stronger next year.

  6. Deepsky December 7, 2015

    A couple of weeks ago I would have called Richard Rodgers another sophomore slump candidate, but he’s made plays in the last couple weeks. The Packers need to realize he’;s best utilized around the end zone and not try to make him into a Jermichael Finley.

  7. Howard December 7, 2015

    Very good Shawn. Great point about Rodgers and the preseason games. Injuries have also not helped development. There is one second year guy who has been climbing the ladder and that is Pennell. Pennell is slowly getting more snaps each game and is showing up in the run D. Get your hands up Mike if you can’t get to the passer. You may knock some down.

  8. Salazar December 7, 2015

    Great point, Deepsky.

  9. Fritz fm WI December 7, 2015

    “Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while that we can never attain it. But along the way we shall catch excellence.”

    the above historical quote, known to all here on TP, raises a hypothesis: does it REALLY take a once in a thousand year coaching talent to execute that?

    or is it just not elevent in the current age of unrestricted free agency?

    or do players managers coach them on how to “goldbrick” and save them selves for a more lucrative contract offer when their current team decides to give up on them?

    WTF is it? is it really a plague that infests ALL the teams? is modern NFL just a world class poker analogy to nfl owners playing fantasy football??

  10. knucklehead December 7, 2015

    Solid post Shawn. It’s nice to see something constructive and intelligent on this site.

    Lacy is a 25 year old guy and has to learn to have his fun in the off season. He’s still my favorite Packer and we all know what kind of grit and selfless determination that young man possesses. Let’s hope he’ll be able to focus more from here on out through the rest of the season and start living up to his potential.

    I think his performance this season will be a valuable lesson on the importance of off season conditioning.

    Rodgers seems to be blooming now and no matter what happens, no one will ever be able to take away that catch he made. I hope he can continue to build on what he’s done.

    Yeah Deepsky,

    I like your comment too on RRodgers not being a Finely.


    Try and stay on topic. This is one post on this site that hasn’t been inundated by all the crack head posters because it is too intelligent and succinct for them.

    1. Fritz December 8, 2015

      Ditto 4 U 2.