Sunday, September 6, 2009

Farewell, Tyrell...We Barely Knew Thee...

I am going to join some other fellow bloggers in displaying my regret in the Packers' choice to keep three fullbacks and to allow Tyrell Sutton to depart for more southern pastures yesterday.

Andy at PackerGeeks says:

I’m tired of the Packers being content with bigger body type runners. Sutton was exciting because he could make people miss better than any back we’ve had in a long time (probably back to DeMond Parker days…yes, Steve, DeMond Parker). I’m frustated by this move...If I hear arguments saying that Kuhn is more versatile and can be used as a halfback etc, I’ll be [ticked]. Sutton would be 10x more effective as a half back.

Brian at Railbird Central agrees:

Did you see this guy play football? I cannot believe they cut him. This one may come back to bite the Packers. Sutton can run, can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he looked decent on kick returns. Sure, he struggled in pass protection. But guess what? He's a rookie! He'll learn and get better. This frustrates me more than any other cut.
I have to agree that there is such an emphasis on special teams that it was driving some of the final decisions for roster spots: Swain over Ruvell, Kuhn over Sutton, Derrick Martin over Anthony Smith. There is definitely some room for concern here. I am all for improving special teams, but not at the cost of damaging the units that are out there for 100 snaps a game.

As for Sutton, I think the Packers missed the boat on this one. I was excited about this kid from early on, despite the knocks on his height and lack of explosive speed. However, speed is overrated. Face it, how often do you see Ryan Grant exploding into his sprint speed? Hardly ever, because in order to get to that gear, you have to choose your blocks and hit your hole. If you have lightning speed, but can't follow a block or hit a hole, your name is LeShon Johnson.

No, Sutton didn't explode any huge plays the last two weeks. All he did was rack up yards. That's it. If you watch him get the ball, his eyes are upfield and quickly processing the blocking ahead of him. He's not fast, but he is agile and able to move laterally very well. You combine field vision with that agility and you have something that the Packers don't have right now.

Ryan Grant is a good ZBS runner (I don't mean that as an insult). He is at his best when he can get the ball, make one cut, and turn it upfield. Last year, that usually meant a run of between 2-4 yards. If you need three yards, Grant got you three yards. If you need eight yards, Grant got you three yards.

Jackson is the third-down back, the receiver out of the backfield.

DeShawn Wynn and Gregg Lumpkin, for as much as I like them, add nothing more to this mix. They are both big-bodied running backs that will take the ball and run forward through the hole, if they can.

When is Wynn going to get playing time? I'll tell you:

* When Ryan Grant or Brandon Jackson is hurt
* When Ryan Grant or Brandon Jackson need a breather.
* When Ryan Grant or Brandon Jackson are being held out because the game is a blowout and they don't want the starters to get hurt.

In other words, the Packers will treat Wynn like the third quarterback, and that's not what Sutton brought to the table. Sutton would have allowed the Packers to have three different backs in the stable, each with their own gifts to bring to the line of scrimmage. Sutton adds a whole new dimension, able to use his vision to stretch out a sweep or change direction on a run...not trademarks of the zone blocking scheme.

Instead of being stashed on the bench and being an emergency guy like Wynn will be, Sutton could have come in a split backfield with Grant or Jackson, forcing linebackers covering him to account for his agility. And, the fact that he had developed a good rapport with fullback-of-the-future shouldn't be looked past, either.

Maybe the Packers naively thought that Sutton would survive the waiver wire and could be hidden on the practice squad, but they had to know a player who had a bidding war for his services following the draft (and then led the team in rushing in the preseason) would have little to no chance of surviving 31 teams' needs. Now, Sutton is a Carolina Panther.

So, we move on. But as Brian stated earlier, this might be a move that the Packers may end up regretting in the future. Best of luck to Tyrell Sutton, a kid who did everything to earn a spot on the Green Bay Packers roster, but looks like he lost out to special teams.


IPB said...

Like you (I think) I will hope Sutton has a good rookie season. Still, most times, whether it's Cadillac Williams or even AP, they do get hurt that first season.

I'll focus on what we have and pray the Injury Bug finds another feeding ground.

Anonymous said...

32 teams in the NFL. The Packers didn't think Sutton was worth keeping on their 53 man squad. 31 other teams also feel he doesn't belong on their 53 man squad.

So the Packers were wrong, and everybody else is too?

C.D. Angeli said...

Tyrell Sutton is the kind of kid who, because he didn't have the measurables (height, 40-time) out of college, wasn't likely to get a picked. Don't forget that he had many offers after the draft for his services. But, knowing TT's penchant for keeping his draft picks, don't you think if he would have spent even a 7th rounder on him, he'd still be here?

Sutton is the kind of kid that can get completely overlooked and dismissed, but I believe is going to thrive if given a chance somewhere. Heck, Donald Driver was buried on the depth chart his rookie year, and had he not been kept on the roster, he may never have caught on anywhere.

It seems silly to have 3 fullbacks and to go into the season with two quarterbacks and leaving a valuable RB prospect to go elsewhere.

Any, only 30 other teams feel he doesn't belong on the 53 man roster, because he is on the Panther 53 man roster.

Anonymous said...

Today, the Packers running attack was as vanilla as it gets, with Grant the only ball carrier. 46 yards on the ground is pathetic, and that's what we had but for Rodgers' 43.

GB could have used Sutton TODAY, to change things up. Instead he was inactive on Carolina's roster behind 2 guys who combined for 190 yards of running and receiving.

An aspect that wasn't mentioned much is that Tyrell was the nation's leading running back in receiving stats during his 4-year college career (149 for 1250). Not that we could have used any of THAT today.

He didn't measure up to Ohio State's standards either, so they passed on "Mr. Football" for the state of Ohio high schools. Then all he did was run for 1,400+ as a college freshman.

His day will come, and the Packers staff will join Ohio State's in the dunce corner. Maybe we'll be able to trade for him some day ... I can hope.

You gotta know Sutton to understand what he brings, and I do. It's one helluva bundle, in a sort of smaller package. There are about 9 of these 5-8 and 5-9 190-210 pounders making noise now in the NFL; it's where the league is going. He'll be on that list.

And if you wanna talk about "intangibles", you won't find any better, period.