Archive for February, 2008

The Corey Williams surprise

February 21, 2008

I have to admit, I am surprised that TT franchised CW. I think Williams is a heck of a player but I also felt like we have some other promising talent on the interior d-line area and it seemed TT was just going to let CW go. The more I think of it though, the more I guess it makes sense because TT and MM are very much character guys and I don’t think anyone can deny Williams’ loyalty to the Packers and his great attitude. One interview I saw with Williams after the last game was compelling to me as he expressed genuine lament when posed questions re possibly moving his football career elsewhere. He indicated several times he loved Green Bay and the Packers and he really wanted to stay. I didn’t get the sense at all that it was a ploy to encourage the Packers to get into a bidding war etc. It was the genuine understanding of what it is to be a Packer. For this reason alone, I’m glad he was franchised.

I’ll miss Bubba to some extent. He was a good Packer and I really believe he too enjoyed his time in Green Bay. I think his blocking may be missed in seasons to come, but he hasn’t been a big contributor for several years now. Franks was another of the players Mike Sherman favored so heavily and while he played decently for a couple seasons under Sherman, Sherman giving Franks the huge contract a few years ago may have contributed to Franks rapid decline (along with injuries).

The Big News (Relatively)

February 21, 2008

As we all continue to wait Brett Favre’s retirement decision, there was finally some real news from the Packers yesterday with the use of the franchise tag on Corey Williams and the decision to cut Bubba Franks. Props to Greg Bedard for his sense that the Williams move might happen (or maybe Ted Thompson read his piece and was persuaded?) At first blush, I think both seem to be smart moves. More on this later, but in the meantime see this and this

And there was also this from yesterday morning: “No Signs Packers Will Hit Williams with Franchise Tag.” To be fair, the article is a lot more nuanced than that headline might make it seem.

Favre Putting on Weight

February 20, 2008

Taking up a new career?  Maybe he’s not coming back.  See the video here.

“Maybe it was dose Minnesotans who came in here to screw witcha!”

A Little More…

February 20, 2008

The JS Online Packer blog points to an Alex Marvez column calling the re-signing of Corey Williams the Packers’ “highest priority.” Which may be right in a descriptive sense and if it’s true, the Packers have to like their status heading into next year…

Enough Corey Williams?

February 19, 2008

So says Aaron at Cheesehead.tv.

I’m not unsympathetic to his plea for everyone to stop talking about Corey Williams. But here is my dilemma. By linking to his post am I contributing to the problem? Better to ignore it? Do we enhance our shot at the Titletown Award or diminish them by engaging his argument?

In any case, it’s a post worth reading and a helpful corrective to the commenters at the JS Online blog who seem to think the Packers can’t survive without resigning Williams. (Slight overstatement).

CORRECTION: Also, note that Aaron corrects my claim below that Ted Thompson dealt Mike McKenzie to New Orleans. He did not. Mike Sherman executed that deal two months before Thompson was hired. Good catch.

Hello Corey Williams?

February 19, 2008

Greg Bedard makes a smart case for slapping the franchise tag on Corey Williams. I must say, I was skeptical going in because Ted Thompson has a reasonably good history of letting high-priced veterans leave, either through free agency or trades, and the decisions often turn out to be good ones. (Mike McKenzie, Javon Walker, Mike Wahle, Marco Rivera.) But Bedard makes some very persuasive points in suggesting that Thompson ought to think hard about letting Williams walk.

Read the whole thing.

Goodbye Corey Williams?

February 19, 2008

Pat Kirwan, former GM for the New York Jets and current analyst on Sirius NFL radio, writes that the decision of the Tennessee Titans to franchise tag Albert Haynesworth makes it even less likely that Corey Williams be in Green Bay next year. Haynesworth will get $6.36 million for the year, in effect jacking up the rates for other DTs. And Kirwan thinks that Williams, who had one more sack than Haynesworth last year, is now the best available.

Kirwan: “If Williams doesn’t get a deal signed before free agency starts on Feb. 29 — and Haynesworth is not his competition in free agency — Williams becomes the premiere tackle on the market, and that will make the Packers’ job very tough. The ripple effect of tagging Haynesworth, along with the reality of the Packers drafting Justin Harrell in the first round last year at Williams’ position, could make the ability to keep Williams close to impossible.”

One NFL personnel exec told Kirwan: “Whatever Williams was worth last September”it’s triple that now, and it can only get worse.”

The new regime has made clear that it will not overpay to keep productive, but replaceable players. We will know by Thursday if that group includes Corey Williams.

Wow, Cool

February 18, 2008

The guys over at Cheesehead.tv have started something called the “Titletown Awards” for excellence in Packer-related websites. Those of you who read this website regularly — and are thus familiar with what we do — will be as surprised as we were to learn that we were nominated in the “Best Packer Blog” category. No, I’m not kidding.

My first thought upon clicking over there for this pleasant surprise yesterday afternoon was: PackerGeeks should create an award to recognize the best awards given out to Packer-related websites. Is there any question that the “Titletown Awards” would win? It occurred to us that some people might be paranoid enough to think that we were trying to influence the judges at Cheesehead.tv, so we thought better of it.

I was surprised that we did not get nominated for the “Packer Fan Web Design Excellence 2008″ Award. I mean, look around. We have “archives,” “categories,” and even a “blogroll.” We changed the color in our banner from blue to green/gold. That stuff doesn’t happen on its own, you know. Oh well, something to shoot for next year, right?

Anyway, thanks again to the Cheesehead.tv crew for including us in a high-quality group. The others are: Brats and Beer, linked here for a while, and Railbird Central, and Packer Palace, which will be going forward.

And So It Begins…

February 18, 2008

We concluded our post on Matt Walsh and Spygate last night with this sentence: “If we start hearing that Walsh has ‘credibility problems’ or owes back rent or sleeps with prostitutes or once killed a hamster, it’ll be a good sign that he’s got the goods.”

No word yet on hamsters, but we learn today from the New England Patriots that Walsh was supposedly fired for secretly taping telephone conversations inside the organizations. The Pats Vice President for Player Personnel, Scott Pioli, explained why Walsh was dismissed as an entry-level scouting assistant in an interview with the Boston Globe:

“The job he was doing, there were two other guys doing it, so essentially the work he was doing wasn’t up to the same level as the other people, in my opinion. However, I found out he was secretly tape recording our conversations and he was fired.”

Interesting. That must have been one difficult conversation between Pioli and Walsh. I would expect that Pioli was justifiably furious that he was being taped without his consent and that Walsh was at a loss for words as he tried to explain the bizarre behavior. Except that Pioli claims he never actually raised the issue with Walsh or otherwise asked for an explanation: “There was never a confrontation. He was just released.”

Really? No effort to find out why he was taping these conversations? Or what conversations he might have taped that would could hurt Pioli or Bill Belichick or the Patriots if they were released publicly? Is there any contemporaneous internal reporting that Pioli was fired for these alleged offenses?

Pioli may be telling the truth, and for all we know, Walsh may be as shady as the Patriots and the NFL have begun to suggest. But isn’t this explanation a little convenient?

Over at Profootballtalk.com, the guys respond to the Globe report by writing that they are going to remain officially skeptical about the contents of the Walsh tapes and about whether he has tapes at all. Still, they say, “though information regarding why he was fired is relevant to his overall credibility, the content of any videotapes he might have won’t lie.”

This misses the obvious benefit to the Patriots new claim about Walsh. The Pats can say: He videotaped everything. And he often did so on his own or, in this case, against our wishes.

So here is a prediction we offer this day, February 18, 2008. After the legal back-and-forthing, Matt Walsh will produce videotapes that show violations of numerous league regulations, which will add to the growing sense that Bill Belichick’s Patriots cheated. The Patriots, having laid the groundwork for their defense against such bombshell accusations with these claims about Walsh, will respond by portraying Walsh as a rogue operator, whose tapes reflect nothing more than his obsession with videotaping everything. They will disclaim any knowledge of, say, a videotape showing the St. Louis Rams pre-Super Bowl walkthrough, saying that Walsh must have done it on his own.

It is a very smart strategy that can be summed up, contra the PFT guys, in one phrase: “The tapes can lie.”

The Spygate…Tapes?

February 17, 2008

Gulp.

We kept hearing that Spygate was going to get more interesting, not less. Others, including Chris Mortensen, said the Patriots problems could be “bigger than spygate.” Here is what we meant.

The takeaway: a lawyer for Matt Walsh, the former New England Patriots employee who is alleged to have videotaped opponents on behalf of the team, says his client has copies of the tapes. Here is lede: “The lawyer for former New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh said his client is willing to turn over videotapes he made for the team if the NFL guarantees Walsh protection from lawsuits or other legal action. Attorney Michael Levy said that to date, the NFL’s initial proposals are not sufficient protection for Walsh, who is said to have taped the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough practice the day before they played the Patriots in the 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots won 20-17.”

The NFL’s official stance is that Walsh might have interesting information to provide and that they are interesting in hearing it. But they are showing that interest in strange ways. According to Walsh’s lawyer, the NFL has launched an investigation of his client. “Sending a former FBI agent to investigate his professional and personal life has not left Mr. Walsh feeling confident that the National Football League simply wants to encourage him to come forward with whatever information he has,” Levy said.

The NFL’s interest in Walsh is new. Although many in the media knew about Walsh and what he claimed to know (indeed, he had been interviewed numerous times by reporters before his name surfaced publicly), the NFL never sought to talk to him in its initial “investigation” of Spygate. The league has acknowledged that it had heard “rumors” about Walsh before, but never followed them up. Now they’re investigating his personal and professional life? Curious.

As it stands, Levy and the NFL are wrangling over how much protection Walsh will get if he shares what he know — and has — about the Patriots’ videotaping practices. (See the guys at PFT for more on the legal angle.)

I’m a fan of the NFL and I think it’s been the best-run professional sports league in the last twenty years. But this is starting to smell funny. And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may have given a hint about how the NFL will treat Walsh when he said that Walsh must tell the truth and “return anything he took improperly.” It may be the case that Walsh shouldn’t have taken tapes with him, but if they show what some people have suggested, taking them “improperly” will be a non-issue. If we start hearing that Walsh has “credibility problems” or owes back rent or sleeps with prostitutes or once killed a hamster, it’ll be a good sign that he’s got the goods.

As they say, stay tuned.


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