Best skill position Packer Player that never was….

By Rick

I was reading a comments section somewhere and it mentioned an ex-Packer, Craig Nall, which I had not thought about in years. I never was on Packernet back then but I was very excited that the Packers took him in the 5th round of 2002 draft. He was a gunslinger southern boy with a strong arm and about the same size and weight as “He That Must Not Be Named”.

To refresh your memories he was a LSU QB that as a redshirt freshman had to come off the bench against Notre Dame and almost upset them. He then got into a three way shoot out for playing time with Josh Booty and Rohan Davey. He said forget it and transferred to a Northwestern State University (LA) and blew up their record books.

He had a great arm and total confidence that he could make any throw. He was like a young #4. In practices, OTA, and training camps he made amazing throws and, other then #4, threw the ball into the smallest windows and made them most of the time. In practice with the Packers he was simply amazing and challenged the defense again and again, sometimes when he didn’t need too. It was like watching a starter in the making at the backup spots that Green Bay seemed to keep producing (Ty Detmer, Hasselbeck, and Brunell to name a few).

But you see that is the key phrase, most of the time. While you can be a gunslinger if you are a 3 time MVP and Superbowl winning QB, you can not be when you are the #2 trying to stay on an NFL roster. That same fearlessness that made #4 famous was also #4s undoing in the Playoffs (the pick against the Giants in the playoffs) and that was present in Nall as well.

When Nall did get on the field he played great. In the 4 games he was in for the Packers he completed 23 of 33 attempts for 314yds and 4TD and 0 INTs. His QB rating was 139.4

After he left Green Bay as a FA he tried to stick with the Bills but pulled a hamstring and was cut by the end of preseason. After a few fill in stints on team’s rosters (Texans and the again with the Packers) he tried to get on with the UFL team in Florida 2 years ago.

Nall was a “HTMNBN” gunslinger QB in the making but with Sherman in charge and no one reigning in #4, Nall came into the wrong organization at the wrong time. After seeing what MM developed Flynn into I shake my head at what could have been…..

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  • 4205

    He’d only be 30 or 31 now – maybe MM should look him up!

  • iccyfan

    What’s with the Lord Voldemort references? :) Did you stay up late to go to the final Harry Potter premiere? Anyway, I prefer “he who shall not be named” (HWSNBN); it’s not that we can’t say his name (BrInt Faver), we opt not to. Apologies in advance to Mark but “BrInt” still makes me laugh when thinking of his final year with the Queens (the year that should never have been – TYTSNHB)…

    I like all Packer players but never carried the high impression of Craig Nall that you did. I was however convinced that Ingle Martin (Furman) was the whole package. ;) I’ve read several articles recently suggesting the Packer could be interested in UDFA QB Scott Tolzien; the kid reminds me of Randy Wright and I’m not eager to return to those days….

    • Rick

      No Potter reference. #4 was one of the best QBs in NFL history. He died but will be reborn as a Packer in a few years as a Hall of Fame Packer QB. At that point I will speak his name.

      The bastard that threw a fit and eventually said screw you and played for the ViQueens, that bastard better not show his head until the Hall of Fame though.

      Could call on another backup QB. I enjoyed Martin as well but the game always was to fast for him at the NFL level.

    • http://Orlando Mark

      Iccy, the guy had a great run. All the stuff at the end of his career turned out great for us. The pick we got for him helped us get CMIII. By bringing him back the Vikes got their coach fired and threw their club into turmoil. Even the Vikes losing at the end to the Giants, Bears and Eagles didn’t screw us up so it’s all good.
      Just wish the players would decide ASAP, either way, without the drama. I like drama on the field or in the movies but nobody’s entertained by this stuff. Why doesn’t Smith just present it to the players, up or down?

  • LarryTex

    Biggest draft disappointment at the position – how about Jerry Taggee? He really started a great trend followed by Barry Smith, Barty Smith, and “nobody” who unfortunately turned out to be the best selection from ’72-’75………!

    • iccyfan

      Article on the main page from “Pro Football Talk” where they list sixteen veteran defenders who could be “cap casualties”, and FOUR of them are Packers (Barnett, Harrell, Jolly, Chillar / Poppinga). Is this a testament to the depth Ted has brought us or what? 32 NFL teams and 25% of the list comes from one team!

      For the record, I still think Justin Harrell makes the team, gets / stays healthy and provides a limited return on investment. I don’t even think in terms of Johnny Jolly being on the team any longer. What a waste…

      Let’s get this CBA signed so the speculation can end and we can see what Ted has planned for this season!!!

    • iccyfan

      Rich Campbell has to trump Jerry Taggee in this category.

      I liked Barty Smith and his running-mate Eric Torkelson…

    • LarryTex

      Good point, started the ’80s just like the ’70s, such promise but couldn’t do anything right. Tork and Barty certainly were Packers and fit right in with the era.

  • Larry

    Cutting Jolly will test the character of MM and TT…I liken this “purple drank” stuff to marijuana…which in this day and age is not the worst offense in the world…(see M Vick, Burress, Pacman or others still in the league or will be.)

    Jolly was a very good lineman and with Jenkins probably leaving could be the best fit at the DT position with Neal, Wilson, Guy as backups. Jolly could also slide inside with Pickett and Green to spell Raji at the nose.

    If traded for a 3rd or 4th at least we get value but if his head is on straight he’s worth more. It’s a way of the NFL that the better you play the more stuff gets overlooked and Jolly had a hell of a 2009 IMO. Now if Harrell can come up to speed that might change my opinion.

  • Larry

    I cast my vote for Brent Fullwood…sub 4.35 not much from that pick and in the for what it’s worth category…anyone realize that T-Buckley has more interceptions than Woodson in his career!!! 50 to 47!!

    • Rick

      Wow, No idea Buckley made that many.

      I guess that is what happens when you have been in the league since 1952………

      jk :)

    • LarryTex

      I’ve heard it said that the “shutdown corners” ala Woodson and now Revis/Asmo don’t get many because QBs don’t throw their way. That is an amazing comparison Larry. Didn’t realize Fullwood had that kind of speed.

    • Steve Cheez

      That sounds about right, with a ratio of one pick for every ten times burned for a TD.

      • Steve Cheez

        Or interference penalty…

        • Steve Cheez

          And in the HTSNBN debut game, didn’t he have both a fumbled punt and a punt return TD?

  • 4205

    T-buck (thanks to ESPN for moniker) lasted longer than I ever thought he would and had a real productive career….just not ever quite as good as he thought he was!

  • LarryTex

    Whoa, the reason I stay in Bush’s corner is because I remember a first rounder named Ahmad Carroll.

    • Rick

      NOW THAT IS THE REAL HE THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED!!! :)

      We drafted a hand checking smaller speed Arkansas CB just when the “hand check” rules were being enforced because of the Patriots mugging Colts WR.

      What a bad bad draft pick. He has had some success in the Arena Football League though…..seriously

  • http://Orlando Mark

    According to reports the CBA has been agreed to. If that’s true, then I think this is the best possible outcome for fans. 10 years, no lost games, a very minimal amount of hard feelings compared to previous work stoppages and best of all a draft pay scale that makes sense. Congratulations all around, players and owners.

  • Larry

    At the risk of stirring negative comments I wonder where the GB player leaders are. A recent article about D.J. Williams, rookie TE states that he’s behind the curve, as all rookies are, having lost OTA’s and such because of the lockout. GB terminology is foreign, formations a mystery, etc…

    Call me simple, but if a true player leader really cared, someone might have spent a couple of days with this kid and the other rookies to give them the “nickel” tour of the offense or defense. Obviously coaches were not able to do this but IF a player really had the TEAM at heart…each of these kids could have been tutored by their peers so that the basics got covered.

    Maybe more was done than what the article stated but other than an occasional text from Tom Crabtree the kid was left alone (so it was stated). It just surprises me that of the 60 veterans out there not one tried to impart any basic knowledge to the kid for the good of the team. The next time I hear “it’s just a business” I’ll think…for BOTH owners and PLAYERS, just a business.

    #4 clearly stated it was never his job to tutor players…it appears it’s not any others either…at least Brett was honest!

    • http://Orlando Mark

      Agreed, Larry. I’m a worrier and my biggest concern is #12 saying every offseason he worked on one particular pnase of his game he wanted to improve. I’ve heard nothing about improving from any of the players.

      • LarryTex

        Mark, even tho Bret was a 14 or 15 year veteran not likely to lose his job he still did not mentor Arod. In hindsight maybe that was a good thing when I see Arod stand up to a year of punishment and still deliver a winner. Not to mention NOT picking any of BFs bad habits.

    • LarryTex

      OK, I’ll go con! Those 60 are the ones who won a Super Bowl and are the Green Bay Packers. If you want to take away my job, earn your stripes first. Thats just a little something I learned from Bret Favre!

  • LarryTex

    Basically, I think the Rooks are a year behind; but it applies to all of them and all teams. We’ll be better off than most……….!

    • http://Orlando Mark

      Maybe I’m wrong but I think there are a lot of teams that are trying furiously to beat us because we are now on top. Starting with NO. We’re their biggest game of the year. If they can beat us they’re back in contention. Can we honestly say we’re going to be emotionally ready for that?(including the fans) A bad lesson from last year is we don’t have to worry about the regular season because we’ll just get hot at the end and during the playoffs.

      • LarryTex

        You got that right! We will be the biggest game of the year for every team we face. I’m pretty confident, even more than last yr, simply because other than maybe Jenkins and Jones we should do battle with the same guys and more off the IR.

    • http://Orlando Mark

      I just read a story about Drew Brees funding the Saints offseason workouts so his team won’t miss any offseason practice. Do you think Brees is going to be ready for the opener?

  • Larry

    Mark, I agree with you…there are teams with veteran leaders who made the effort to improve during the lockout…the group that had the most to gain from a little tutoring is the newly drafted Packers. None of these kids will start on the SB team (unless injury) but more than likely a few days of schooling from one of the vets might of helped in the transition. Why wasn’t DD showing Cobb the tricks of the trade for the slot position. How about Cliffy working with Sherrod on the blitz pickup from film… DISSAPPOINTING!

    • LarryTex

      I know the “any given Sunday” rule always applies, but we play the AFC west and even though they are a lot of away games only Chargers are up. Our own division x2 with only Det on the upswing. Falcons and Giants fading. Saints will be the toughest, I think, but we’re home for that one. Rams too. I’m getting stoked.

      • http://Orlando Mark

        The schedule I see has us going 10-6 and edging out the Bears for the division. Possibly being 1-2 at the start before we get back on track from the SB hangover.

        • LarryTex

          Ouch!

  • Larry

    Put me down for 12-4…division crown! The Saint game is going to be real interesting. MM teams seem to come to play opening weekend. Packers looked great against the Eagles last year.

    Early injuries could be a problem, like last year. The rooks won’t be ready and positions like O line and receiver can’t take multiple hits. We really are very deep at TE/RB/CB though.

    We’ll need Baluga to see pre-season action at LT. He’ll have to switch if Cliffy falls. Lange is going to be important as well as a swing tackle.

  • iccyfan

    Larry says: “The Saint game is going to be real interesting.”

    In keeping with your previous discussion of OTA, this will also test that theory. Whether it’s true of not, I read the Saints did six full weeks under the watchful eye of Drew Brees, including classroom time for the rookies. Meanwhile, the Packers were the only team in the NFL which didn’t gather at all. To those of us prone to anxiety, that would appear worrisome! :)

    I’m just glad we’re about to have some real football news that comes from a playing field and not a board room or court room.

  • Larry

    Iccy…If we don’t need the rookies to play and we’re healthy going into game 1 we should be OK…if we need to depend on Cobb for the slot or Sherrod for tackle we’re in trouble. House as a dime will be OK but Lee should still be on the roster and start in dime. I always though Burnett could play dime if needed.

    If Pickett/Raji/Neal/Green?/Wilson are healthy going in we’ll have a decent front. Harrell/Guy and Wynn? can give 5 to 10 snaps.

  • Rick

    Green Bay had an extra 5 games and 6 weeks of practice then most of the teams.

    The rookie class in the NFL will have 4 weeks and 4 preseason games to get up to speed. They will be tested quickly but it still comes down to game day and what you can execute on the field. The odds of a rookie getting a Packer Starter job is slim so the delay is less harmful and by mid season the rookies that do make the team will be up to speed.

    • iccyfan

      I think you guys both know I was talking more about the Saints in week one than the Packers by mid-season. The Saints are a great football team and they had a strong draft. I expect their top three picks could be in the starting lineup on opening day (Cam Jordan, Mark Ingram, Martez Wilson). I’d prefer Mark Ingram was coming into camp at the same level as Alex Green, with no knowledge of the playbook. If press reports are correct, Mark Ingram has had informal practice time with his team-mates and exposure to the “playbook” via Drew Brees.

      I think the Packers will be fine; no doubt Mike & Ted have an excellent plan in place. Having said that, I would feel better if ARod had thrown the ball around with D.J. Williams and Randall (Tex) Cobb in his backyard a few times, Pickett had Guy over to play with the kids, etc…

      • LarryTex

        I think I’ll depend on Jennings, Driver, Swain, Nelson, Finley, Quarless, and Crabtree. Jones, and even Lee befor I even get to Cobb.

      • Rick

        Legitimate concerns but verbage changes each year anyways. It is about timing at game speed. How a WR runs a route is important or how a RB picks up a blitz. Green and Ingram are about the same spot. Informal practice means he had some reps with the team but that is where it ends. What gameplan and blitz pick ups does have to perform against the Packers? Is he behind Ivory and Pierre Thomas? Is Reggie Bush still going to be a Saint?

        Green Bay mainly will see if Findley and Grant are back to 100% and whether James Jones or Randall Cobb is in the mix at #3/#4 WR spot.

    • http://Orlando Mark

      I have no concerns about rookies. Thankfully we aren’t as dependent on them as we were. My problem is with the commitment of our young veterans. How have they handled success. We have a superior group of coaches and my thought is guys like Kevin Greene are going to have to get the players back to the grindstone. Lombardi had a real knack of doing just that even if the players hated him for it at the time..

  • Larry

    In a nutshell…assuming good health!

    • iccyfan

      You know what they say about about people who ass-u-me too much…
      If last year taught us anything, we have to expect injuries to key components…

      • LarryTex

        Yeah, BUT! One need only to look back at 2008 to see how far we have come to offset that factor. I’ve always blamed that year colapse on the O injuries. Arod had a great year for his first start, we lost something like 4/5 games by like four points – could have been 10-6, not 6-10. But oh, those injuries to the OL. Have really changed my mind in hindsight – whats really different today is the D, and Ds win championships………!

        • iccyfan

          Capers is a magic man; winning that Superbowl with Jarrett Bush and Pat Lee playing almost the entire second half is still the most surprising element to me. Had the injuries to Woodson or Shields happened earlier in the playoffs, no way the Packers continue on to a title. Injuries to a couple of our defensive stalwarts (Collins, CMIII, Raji, Tramon) could just as quickly derail a season…

  • Rick

    Barnett is going to be on the trade block, it sounds like Denver or Buffalo are early possible landing spots.

    • LarryTex

      Go BUF, DEN snookered the Bearse.

    • 4205

      TT will trade to AFC first – avoiding the west since GB plays them this year. All offers equal, Buff wins

      • Rick

        True. I would like us get a late rounder and Alex Carrington (DE) back. They get a solid ILB to help mitigate the proabale loss of Polz and we get a day 2 or 3 pick and a developmental DE to help when Pickett is gone in a year or two.

  • Larry

    I’m thinking we’ll look at a couple UFA middle backers.

  • Rick

    Houston, We have lift off!! The 2011 season will begin. I may just sit back for a week and watch the craziness ensue. I am so glad I am not a front office person this week.

    • http://Orlando Mark

      C’mon Rick, you’d love to be a front office guy in the war room this week. The fur is going to fly.

      • Rick

        Packers would be easier for me. I already targeted the 4 UDFAs I would want to speak with already. I have 6 Camp invite guys I like. And then the resign/ cut / or trade away is a little tougher. But the rest of the league especially rebuilding teams there is lot getting done in a little time.

  • Mel E Mel

    Someone is going to pay Braylon Edwards big money to drop passes. I wonder if James Jones gets the same kind of attention.

  • Larry

    JJ will be offered a high dollar as a solid #2 receiver. He’s still young so look for him to be overpaid.

    • Rick

      $2- 2.5 Million for JJ
      B Edwards will be closer to to 2.5 to 3 to stay a Jet or about 1-0.5 million more to sign elsewhere. My gut says he stay a Jet

  • http://www.kevinroth.com Kevin Roth

    Hmm…I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there. Nall was nothing more than “just a guy” if you ask me. I’m sure he had the mechanics down, but he had no “it” factor. I never saw the guy do anything special on the field, even during preseason games. Definitely not comparable to Favre in any way (fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself).

    I’d compare Nall more to Anthony Dilweg. A nobody who could barely handle being a backup QB.

  • jimmyus333333

    TT has spoken.
    Just move on Nick, this bus has left the station.