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What should the Packers expect from WR Geronimo Allison? This offseason has been one of the loudest in recent Green Bay Packer history Youth Tramon Williams Jersey , especially at the wide receiver position.Green Bay’s 5th all-time leading receiver Jordy Nelson left for greener dryer pastures in Oakland, and with the #133, #174, and #207 picks of the 2018 draft, Green Bay selected a trio of wide receivers to compete for reserve spots behind Adams and Cobb.The noise among the position has overshadowed a quiet natured player whom many have slotted in as WR3 on the depth chart; Geronimo Allison.Let’s watch some tape.The first thing everyone notices about Allison is his frame.At 6’3” with spaghetti arms, he’s a big target that has a good catch radius.At full extension, he’s able to make some great catches that a smaller defender simply cannot defend.The second thing you’ll notice when watching Allison is his lack of top level athleticism.He’s not an over-the-top burner and he isn’t a quick twitch slot receiver, as he ranks in the 2nd percentile in the 3-cone drill, 8th percentile in the 40-yard dash, and 34th percentile in the 20-yard shuttle.Realistically, the lack of top level athleticism caps his highest possible ceiling, but he’s still a prospect in the sense that he hasn’t been playing top level football for very long.Geronimo had only one year of high-school football, followed by two years at Iowa Western Community College and another two years at the University of Illinois; not exactly your typical elite wide receiver pedigree. 2016 in reviewGeronimo’s first season as a pro was...odd.His first regular season game came in week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons, and his first regular season catch as a professional was a 4 yard TD where he smartly worked himself to open space as Rodgers was forced to evade pressure.From weeks 9-15, Allison managed to amass a whopping two catches.He finished the season strong, though, with four catches for 66 yards in week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings and four more catches for 91 yards and a score in the final game of the regular season against the Detroit Lions.For some reason, the Vikings and Lions failed to keep their eyes on the tallest wide receiver on the field; repeatedly, in both games, Allison found himself wide open for big gains.Consider the last two games an exercise in empty numbers; if not for these wide open catches, the overall totals would be considerably less.He finished the regular season with 202 yards on 12 catches and a pair of touchdowns, and added 65 yards on five catches over three postseason games.2017 in reviewHis second professional season might have been even more strange than his first.After serving a one game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Allison had a pretty poor first game back in week two; an offensive pass interference negated a touchdown and he caused an interception as he stopped running on a route. Week three saw him come up huge in the fourth quarter and overtime against the Bengals, something I highlighted in an earlier article. After week three, though, Geronimo didn’t prove very effective and his production fell off a cliff , at times barely seeing the field.While he saw 18 targets in the final four weeks of the season, he only converted those targets into 12 catches for 86 yards, finishing the season with 253 yards on 23 catches and no touchdowns.Going forwardMoving up the depth chart by default, Allison enters a pivotal season in his career.On the final year of his contract and with a slew of drafted receivers behind him, Allison needs to make big strides to stay in his presumed WR3 spot.Where Allison excels is using his length to provide a large catch radius for his quarterback.He also uses those long arms to avoid jams at the line of scrimmage, and combined with good footwork and head fakes, can get open reasonably well.(Bottom of clip)(2nd receiver from top)Alternate angles here and here.Those are simple one-step release moves, but Allison sells them so well the defenders are literally tripping over themselves to keep up.Allison, when engaged, is also a decent run blocker.He uses his length well to latch on to cornerbacks and puts up a good fight, which is about all you can realistically expect from your receivers.A few things limit Allison’s overall ability.The first is his lack of both short burst quickness and maximum speed; unless his defender falls down or forgets about him, its rare he will beat anyone with a go route.He also has had a problem with drops; his career catch rate is just 57% and while not abysmal, it is not great for a receiver with poor athleticism.Too frequently his drops seem to be on easy catch opportunities; fortunately, these types of drops can typically be coached out.Allison’s usage has evolved as he has gotten more playing time. In 2016, Allison primarily ran deep routes and was used as a blocker on WR screens.In 2017, he was asked more frequently to be the one on the receiving end of the screens and ran more short routes as defenses played more conservative coverage, which is due in large part to the lackluster passing offense Green Bay was trotting out in the later two thirds of the year.There was a lot of this:Overall, Geronimo has his work cut out for him.He is being given a golden opportunity to hold down the #3 WR spot, but so is just about every other receiver on the team, even fellow undrafted wide receiver Jake “The Great Whitewater Hope” Kumerow.While he was specifically praised by Rodgers himself regarding his practices so far, he wasn’t the only one on Rodgers’ good side.If he manages to increase his catch rate and better utilize his long frame, he can be a viable target for the offense. If not, he may find himself quickly supplanted by superior athletic talents that management has spent valuable draft capital on.NFC North 2018 Previews: Minnesota Vikings by the numbers Green Bay Packers fans like to laugh at the Minnesota Vikings and their lone championship, but even though the franchise has been shut out of the big game more than just about anyone else, it’s worth noting they are consistently the rival most likely to cause trouble for Green Bay. Rick Spielman took over the front office in 2012 after a disastrous 3-13 season and immediately turned things around. Replacing Leslie Frazier with the defensive-minded Mike Zimmer was a big first step, in conjunction with taking a very scientific approach to player acquisition and team construction. Few front offices would be deft enough to deal with a severe injury to an up-and-coming quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater) Youth Kentrell Brice Jersey , pull off a trade for an above average replacement (Sam Bradford), and when he was lost the following year, coax a great offensive season out of Case Keenum. Perhaps most impressively, they resisted the urge to overpay any of these people.The Vikings are, unsurprisingly, led by their defense, but few teams have managed to create the balance the Vikings enjoy. Most of their core stars are young and signed through at least 2020. They are one of the most well-run franchises in the NFL, and should be Super Bowl contenders for the foreseeable future.OffenseThe Vikings have a dominant defense and I basically have nothing bad to say about it, so let’s start with the offense, which has more questions than you may expect. On paper, this all looks pretty great. Running back Dalvin Cook will return from a torn ACL, and in the four games he did manage to play last year he was quite good. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry while contributing in the passing game. Most would agree that Kirk Cousins is an overall upgrade on Case Keenum, while Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are among the best receivers in football, and likely the top duo. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is fine.Last season, the Vikings were excellent as Keenum, of all people, led the league in DVOA. The run game struggled a bit with the loss of Cook, but overall they were the 5th best offense in football. That’s a great accomplishment for a team that was highly successful last season, eventually running into the Philly buzzsaw, but the Vikings are very likely to come back to the pack, and back behind the Pack of offense this season.The Cousins ConundrumEven if Cousins were to be a top five quarterback, the odds of replicating Keenum’s season from a year before would still be remote. Keenum, due to talented receivers and a highly intelligent coaching staff, played well above his true talent level and produced a sensational season. Keenum was especially deadly in the red zone, where Minnesota as a whole ranked 2nd in passing DVOA, 70.1% above average. Only Philadelphia was better Cheap Mike Daniels Jersey , which should tell you just how important Red Zone passing is. The Rams were 3rd, New England 4th. Last June I wrote a piece about this very thing, as Aaron Rodgers is one of the best all time at passing in the red zone, and in goal-to-go situations. It is one of the key things the separates him from average quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins, for all of his attributes, sticks out just as much as Rodgers, but not how you’d like it:Cousins doesn’t have great arm-strength, and as windows start to tighten near the end zone, he becomes less effective in a hurry. He wasn’t the quite as bad last season, but Washington still ranked 18th in passing DVOA in the red zone, and they fell to 23rd in goal-to-go situations. Cousins throws an accurate deep ball and, for a team that realizes his limitations, he can be an effective player. If Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray can power the ball in in goal-to-go situations, it won’t matter as much if Cousins struggles. The problem is that replacing passing with running, even in near the end zone, isn’t efficient, and even a good offense will lose something without the threat of a pass. The fact is that Cousins is likely to be worse than Keenum in general, just because Keenum was so good a year ago, but he’s also likely to be worse in this very specific way. It’s a hidden weakness of Cousins that can really derail an offense, and Minnesota has to deal with it.What About Diggs and ThielenDiggs and Thielen are great, and they are much of what made Keenum so good. The problem is that the Vikings have a big depth problem behind them. Laquon Treadwell has been a total bust so far, and while Kendall Wright is a decent backup, that’s all he is. They haven’t spent a high pick on receiver since Treadwell, and Stacy Coley hasn’t really impressed yet either. The fact is that the Vikings are paper thin behind their big two, and because Cousins will be so reliant on his weapons for production, an injury to either would be devastating. They’re also working with a new offensive coordinator with John DeFilippo taking over for Pat Shurmur , and while DeFilippo may be just fine, change isn’t always good for an offense — especially an offense that was clicking nicely thank you very much. The Vikings are likely to field an above average offense, and maybe even a top 10 unit, but there’s now some ceiling based on their choice of quarterback, and a pretty low floor based on lack of depth.DefenseThe defense, on the other hand, is outstanding, and weaknesses are few and far between. The Vikings may have gotten lit up by the Eagles in the playoffs, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. The Eagles are one of the smartest teams in the league, and they figured out everyone last year. Mike Zimmer knows how to put a defense together, and he has the talent to execute, with Shelden Richardson (late of Seattle) joining Everson Griffen, run-stuffer Linval Joseph, and Danielle Hunter to form a truly outstanding line. Quarterback-injurer Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are both above average, and the secondary outside of Tre Waynes is one of the best in the league and is as deep as it is good. Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith make life easier on even the weaker players, and the secondary ranked in the top 10 in DVOA guarding every receiver category except the slot, where they were 15th. They are bringing back every core player from that defense, and most of the truly important pieces are under contract for the next three years. The Minnesota defense is well-constructed and smartly run. They are likely to be a thorn in the side of the Packers and every other North team for years to come, and beating them will take the kind of creativity that you really only get out of Philly and New England. OverallThe Vikings’ defense will keep them in almost any game, and automatically gives them a solid eight-win base, but there are some cracks in the offense, and I expect them to take a fair step back. If Cousins is his normal self they’ll likely be an 11-12 win team, but if anything goes wrong and if they wind up kicking more field goals than they score touchdowns, they may find themselves in a very competitive NFC wild card chase.
01-10-2019, 11:16 PM
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