Two of my bigger bits of thunder have already been duly noted by Total Packers.
First, we already reported that Julius Peppers is having a fine year now that he’s back with the Carolina Panthers. Through eight games the ageless wonder has 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He’s accomplished this while taking only 48.6 percent of the defensive snaps.
Second, Micah Hyde is having his best year ever with the Buffalo Bills. In seven games, Hyde has 30 tackles, five interceptions and eight passes defended. His interception total leads the league and he’s tied for 11th in passes defended. No platooning for Hyde in Buffalo. He’s played on all but two of the Bills’ defensive snaps on the year and contributed on special teams too.
Hyde is the acknowledged leader of the revamped Buffalo secondary.
To put this in some unpleasant perspective, Hyde has one fewer interception than the entire Green Bay defense. His eight passes defended are twice the number of any Green Bay player.
Here’s another downer: the Packers’ two touted rookie defensive backs, Kevin King and Josh Jones, have one pass defended each – the same number as Quinton Dial and Kenny Clark.
Has anyone else lately put up notable numbers since leaving Green Bay?
You remember Jared Cook, the hero of the playoff game against the Cowboys. Now with the Oakland Raiders, Cook has 31 catches out of 46 targets, for 373 yards, 12.0 yards per catch, 20 first downs and one touchdown. In contrast, Martellus Bennett, Cook’s replacement, has 24 catches in 38 throws, 233 yards, a 9.7 yard average, no touchdowns and 10 first downs.
But as we detailed way back when (here and here), Cook said the Packers never even offered him a contract. We also noted at the time that Bennett ended up signing for more than Cook was given by Oakland.
Recently departed offensive line players include J.C. Tretter, T.J. Lang and, in 2016, Josh Sitton. Lang has been in on 83 percent of the Lions’ snaps, Sitton has an 82 percent total for the Bears, and Tretter has a perfect 100 percent for the Browns.
Cornerback Casey Hayward is following up on a sensational first year in San Diego. While he’s only intercepted one pass, he’s had 16 tackles and nine passes defended – he’s tied for seventh in the NFL in the latter category
Linebacker Erik Walden, now in his 10th year in the league, has 11 tackles and one sack for his new team, the Tennessee Titans. He’s been battling a hamstring injury.
Eddie Lacy has competed with three other running backs for playing time with the Seahawks. Lacy has 108 yards in 42 attempts (a 2.6 yard average), zero touchdowns, and 18 yards receiving. Need we say more?
Defensive tackle Brian Price has seen significant action in every Dallas game. For the year, he’s been in on just over 30 percent of the Cowboys’ defensive plays. He has seven tackles and one pass defended to date.
Defensive tackle Mike Pennel is with the Jets. He’s played in all eight games and has made 13 tackles.
Scott Tolzien started the Colts’ first game of the season at quarterback. He was 9-of-18 for 128 yards, but threw two costly interceptions, contributing to a 46-9 defeat. He was replaced by Jacoby Brissett, who’s had two wins and five losses while Andrew Luck continues to rehab.
Jared Abbrederis has seen some spot action in each of Detroit’s last five games – 94 offensive snaps in all, plus about a third of the special teams snaps. He has three catches for 44 yards on the year.
Inside linebacker Nate Palmer has now been with the Titans for two years. For 2017, he has recorded six special teams tackles.
John Kuhn has rushed but once, for two yards, with the Saints this year.
Safety Chris Banjo also plays for the Saints, where he was a special teams star last year – but he has no statistics for them so far this season.
Linebacker Jordan Tripp has yet to record a statistic for the Atlanta Falcons.
Taysom Hill, playing behind seldom-injured Drew Brees, has yet to see any quarterback action.
Guard Josh Walker remains buried on the Jaguars’ depth chart.
Linebacker Jayrone Elliott was waived by the Cowboys on September 19.
Defensive tackle Christian Ringo was waived by the Bengals on September 12, but was signed to the Lions’ practice squad two days later.
Datone Jones was released by the Vikings on September 8; he was released by Detroit on October 18; he was signed by the 49ers on October 24.
Max McCaffrey had one catch for four yards while with Jacksonville, but is now back with the Packers – on the practice squad.
On September 21, 2017, running back John Crockett was signed to the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad.
Carl Bradford spent a few weeks on the Bears’ practice squad, but was released on October 28.
Still reportedly out there as free agents are: defensive tackle Letroy Guion, punter Jake Schum, defensive backs Sam Shields, Sean Richardson, and Makinton Dorleant, running backs James Starks, Knile Davis, and Don Jackson, linebackers Mike Neal, Sam Barrington, and Andy Mulumba, defensive end Josh Boyd, tight ends Justin Perillo and Andrew Quarless, and punter Tim Masthay,
The Packers might want to start paying more attention to players’ injury histories. In getting rid of Micah Hyde the Packers let go of a guy who has missed just one game in his pro career. Julius Peppers is another iron man who the Packers let get away.
Linemen T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton have also been injury-free for most of their careers – though Sitton has battled some injuries over the past two years.
Casey Hayward, now in his sixth year, has not missed a game other than in 2013, when he lost almost the entire season due to a hamstring injury. Jared Cook also has had a good health record, though it got tarnished a little when he came to Green Bay.
On the other hand, it’s likely that the extensive injury histories of Eddie Lacy, J.C. Tretter, and Jared Abbrederis contributed greatly to Green Bay’s willingness to part ways with them.