Archive for July, 2008

Really? A Bribe?

July 30, 2008

Is this a joke?  Just when you think it cannot get any crazier, Greg Bedard reports, citing a story from WTMJ in Milwaukee, that Packers offered Brett Favre $20 million to stay retired.

I’m speechless.  I have come up with any number of completely ridiculous solutions to this fiasco, but it never once crossed my mind to pay Brett Favre money that he is not owed in order to convince him to stay on his farm.

Those who have not followed the many twists and turns of this entire drama cannot understand why Ted Thompson is refusing to bring Favre back.  As someone who originally wanted Thompson to do just that and has been pushed to the point where I now want Favre gone, I found myself increasingly sympathetic to the arguments the Packers were making.  Favre’s inability to tell the truth and his public, low-class trashing of Ted Thompson have made him a most unsympathetic figure in all of this.

But he still deserved better than a bribe.  As Bedard writes: “If WTMJ’s report is true, it could potentially cripple the Packers in court of public opinion as it could be interpreted as a bribe to Favre, a player that has said he wants to continue his career.”

There is little doubt that Favre’s camp leaked this and, as noted, they have been known to shade the truth at every opportunity.  So it’s probably wise to reserve judgment until the Packers provide their side of the story — something they’d better do damn quickly.

Here’s an idea: Don’t talk to Favre or Bus Cook again.  Seemingly every time they do — think of the Thompson-Favre conversations this weekend — the Packers end up disputing one or more of the claims Favre and his representatives make in the media.  And then trade him to the Vikings, end this compounding disaster, and beat him twice this year.

Will Someone Please Tell the Truth?

July 30, 2008

We’ve dinged Brett Favre several times for his lack of straightforwardness.  And he’s deserved it.  But lately it’s been the Packers who have been inconsistent.  For weeks they have claimed they would welcome Favre back to Green Bay.  Now that his return is upon us, the Packers apparently sent the team president to Favre’s hometown to convince him to stay away.  I understand why they don’t want him back, which is why I thought it was foolish for them to pretend that they did.

Is anyone here competent?  Or honest?

Suggestion for Favre situation

July 30, 2008

Should Favre be given chance to compete for the starting job? This is a question that I have been considering the last few days. I didn’t want to have to consider this, but it’s a legit question right now. I find it somewhat curious that the Packers have maintained the stance that Favre cannot compete for the starting job. I know it’s a hard-line stance that they developed mostly due to Favre’s wavering and the significant issues this continues to present. And, I understand that the team had made a decision to move forward which has led to subsequent, key organizational decisions (like implementing Rodgers-specific plays, figuring life with $12M more in cap space, drafting 2 QBs…despite TT always stating he doesn’t draft for need…).

But not allowing Favre to compete for the starting spot would seem to fly in the face of McCarthy’s philosophy of “open competition”. Every year we hear about the various open competitions going on. There was an open competition between Mason Crosby and Dave Rayner last year and despite Rayner being a solid incumbent who competed at a high level, Crosby was able to beat him out because it was “open”. The Poppinga/Chillar battle has apparently been an “open” competition as have the never-ending battles for the guard spots. There is an open punter competition and right now at least an open RB competition. There is an open competition at safety with Rouse factoring in and an open competition for the 3rd cornerback spot. There is an open competition at WR, at TE, etc.

So, it would seem to me that one reasonable compromise would be to have the Packers tell Favre he can compete for the starting job against Rodgers (and Brohm) and that in exchange for doing so, the team would like Favre to agree to restructuring his contract to a 1 year $8 million deal and an a clear agreement now that Favre would make any retirement decision at the end of this season by February of 2009 (after the Super Bowl) at the latest. If the money isn’t critical to Favre, he’d agreed to this as a way of apologizing for his part in this mess. And this would enable Favre to start waffling now. And, let’s face it, while Favre was great last year, he’s old for an NFL player and he may be getting to a playing age where a younger guy may finally catch up with him and be able to outperform him. Having an open competition would also enable Rodgers (and Brohm) a real chance to simply outperform Favre in camp and win the job. Frankly, it’s what Rodgers would have to do right now anywhere else in the entire NFL if he weren’t a Packer – so it makes some sense. If he is indeed so well-versed in the offense as they say and the offense flows really well through him, he would have the opportunity to start which would still be an improvement from last year where he didn’t have this opportunity.

(Interesting note: one guy you have to feel for in all of this is Matt Flynn. He was probably all fired up to come to Green Bay where he could fight for the #2 spot, but if Favre does return, he may end up being the odd man out. I’ll bet Flynn’s family and friends are pulling hard for a Favre retirement or a last-minute trade!)

(Interesting note #2: interesting candor by some other players re their preferences (in McGinn’s jsonline article this morning, like Ryan Pickett very clearly wanting Favre to come back).

What? Taking a pay cut? An NFL player?

July 30, 2008

You read that correctly. Andra Davis has agreed to a pay cut (costing him about $1.4million this year alone). Due to Cleveland management needing cap room presumably, they asked Davis, a perennial starter at middle linebacker, to not only take this pay cut, but to also chop off 2 of the the remaining 3 years on his contract because the team is bringing along younger players. What!?! Taking a pay cut for the team is one thing – certainly rare and certainly impressive. But allowing the team to reduce a contract with 3 years left on it to 1 year, is simply unbelievable. This Davis is so humble and modest that in the end, it really just makes the Browns organization kind of look bad.

Read this story. It will remind you that while we read a lot about some moronic behavior by NFL players, there are good guys out there too. This should be THE headline on sports pages throughout the country.

Are the Bucs on Crack?

July 30, 2008

Per this piece in the St. Petersburg Times, they want a third or fourth round pick for Chris Simms (picked in the third round originally), whom they clearly don’t want.  And yet all they’re willing to offer for Brett Favre is a late-round pick?  Sheesh.  (HT, Profootballtalk.com)

Wilde: Evidence Packers are divided

July 30, 2008

First of all, read the previous post re the use of the word literally. Very funny. Many people use this word incorrectly and it can make you look pretty silly when you do – so read up.

Now, onto the article here, by Jason Wilde. Some very interesting interviews. He talks about specific players who appear to lean one way or the other on the Favre/Rodgers thing. Not really too surprising I guess, but interesting. He says that generally the younger players prefer Rodgers and some of the veterans want Favre back. He quotes James Jones as saying outright that he has a better relationship with Rodgers, Jennings as remaining neutral and Driver being clearly happy Favre may return. But the most interesting quote was from Charles Woodson. While Wilde’s take is that Woodson is “torn”, my guess is that he is not, that he is squarely in the Favre camp but he was being diplomatic at the end of the quote just in case Rodgers is the guy. Here it is, you decide:

“My feeling is, he never should’ve retired. I don’t believe in being pressured to retire. This is Brett Favre. You don’t pressure Brett Favre into retiring. So you wish he never had retired,” Woodson said. “(Then again), my opinion is, OK, we’ve seen Brett play, we know what he can do. We’ve seen him have bad years, bad games, too. We haven’t seen anything of A-Rod for a whole season. So how do we know what we gain or what we lose unless we see him?

“I’ve seen enough of (Rodgers) in practice to know he can play. Now is just the thing of going out and being a consistent. You don’t know until you get further down the line, but I think he’s going to be all right.”

One important note that backs up my belief that Woodson is a Favre guy is that at McCarthy’s press conference on Monday night when it was announced Favre had filed, a reporter (possibly Wilde) asked about whether the team was divided. The reporter asked “with players like Charles Woodson chanting ‘Brett Favre, Brett Favre’ in the background, do you have concerns the locker room will be divided?” Now, I wouldn’t put it past Charles to have done this in a joking way, perhaps with Rodgers around, but I get the sense that he feels Favre was pressured into retirement and it wasn’t right. I also believe that’s how Driver and probably a good number of others feel. It makes me wonder a little bit about how these other possible supporters of Favre view Thompson overall.

While the present divide is concerning, I don’t think it will take down the team, unless the decision re who will start is dragged out until just before the season starts. I have confidence in Mike McCarthy’s leadership skills and believe he will be able to get the team to rally behind whoever is named the starter.

UPDATE: Thanks to Aaron at cheesheadtv.com for this correction:

The NYT made it pretty clear that Woodson’s chant was a joke…

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/sports/football/30favre.html?ref=sports
News of Favre’s reinstatement request spread quickly among Packers players. As a gag, the veteran cornerback Charles Woodson started a “We Want Brett” chant as he walked by the sizable group of reporters awaiting McCarthy’s postpractice briefing.

“Just having a little fun,” Woodson said at his locker. “I knew you guys would get a kick out of that.”

Literally? I don’t think so…

July 30, 2008

As regular readers know, Greg Bedard is one of our favorite Packer beat writers, so it pains me to point this out. Bedard begins his blog item on Mark Murphy’s trip to Mississippi this way:

The Green Bay Packers are attempting to bridge the divide between themselves and estranged quarterback Brett Favre.

Literally.

Ummmm, no they’re not. If the Packers were to “literally” bridge the divide between between “themselves and Brett Favre” it would be an unparalleled feat of engineering. The job would require building a span that covers some 1, 102 miles between Kiln, Mississippi, and Green Bay. The longest bridge today — if you don’t count bridges that use pilings — is the Akashi Kaykio Bridge in Japan, which is only 6,532 feet.

(To be technical, if the Packers were to “literally” build a bridge between Favre and “themselves,” there would be more than 80 bridges – do we count front-office staff? – connecting the quarterback to individual Packers. More problematic is the fact that people move around a lot.)

Sorry, this has literally bothered me for years.

AT SOME POINT in the near future I will become a bratwurst. I owe this startling realization to Naomi Judd. The singer-actress-philosopher sat down with Larry King recently to promote Naomi’s Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life. Not content to mimic the mawkish language of the self-help set, she promised to take the conversation to the “neuroscientist level.” Then she declared: “We literally become whatever we think about all day.”

Literally?

Judd also speaks of “literally looking in the Mirror of Truth,” and has told a national television audience, “I literally take you by the hand in this book.”

I’m not sure how that works. But it is not nearly as evocative as the question actress Jamie Lee Curtis posed recently in an appearance on Canadian television. Curtis, fresh from the success of her own book, I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem, was making the rounds to promote her follow-up work, It’s Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel.

“How many college students,” she wanted to know, “do we hear in their freshman year literally explode? They explode with drugs and alcohol, they explode with sex, they explode with eating, they explode with not being able to get work done on time. . . . These people are exploding.”

The misuse of the word “literally” is a problem not limited to female entertainers. It has been the subject of debate for decades. The literal meaning of a word or phrase, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is one that adheres to “fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression” and is “free from exaggeration or embellishment.” But the word has been misused for so long that most lexicographers have simply given up. Many dictionaries now recognize “literally” as a generic intensifier–thus justifying the use of “literally” when its opposite, “figuratively,” is intended.

It is easy to see why the authorities are throwing in the towel. During lunch with an old friend, he told me about a comedian who was “literally side-splitting.” And then a concert that “literally knocked my socks off.” He was “literally on the fence” about gay marriage and had spent so much time at work he had “literally become one with my computer.” By the end of the meal I literally had to hold my tongue to keep from saying anything. I got several strange looks.

Keep reading here.

Bucs Offer Was a Joke; Murphy Headed to MS

July 30, 2008

And it gets uglier.

Bob McGinn reports that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered a late-round draft pick for Brett Favre last week, something the Packers wisely rejected without consideration.

And Greg Bedard reports that Mark Murphy is headed to Mississippi to see Favre. (Question for JS Online: Why do the posts disappear when we click on an individual item? Click on the item now and it takes us right to comments, which frankly makes it silly to link.)

UPDATE: Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that Murphy will attempt to convince Favre to stay away from camp.  Good luck with that.  Ted Thompson already spoke to Favre about their options and the two “agreed to disagree,” per Thompson.  Not sure how Murphy changes that.

Rodgers, Woodson React to Favre News

July 29, 2008

Let’s say this about Aaron Rodgers: He has handled this entire situation exceedingly well.  Aside from his ill-advised comments to Sports Illustrated, Rodgers has said the right thing at every step of this fiasco.  That includes his comments today, on learning that Brett Favre has filed reinstatement papers.

“I’m not as affected as you guys think I am or should be,” he said. “They told me I’m the starter, and until that changes, that’s going to be my focus. I keep saying that…I have confidence in myself and I have confidence in how the coaches on the staff feel about me,” he said. “And he’s not here yet. We’re still dealing in hypotheticals for the moment, until he gets here.”

Charles Woodson, however, acknowledged that the Favre situation is a distraction and that things will get worse if Favre comes to camp.

“Any time you have a situation where there is a distraction or one guy getting all the attention or the buzz, rather than on us concentrating or executing plays, you get tired of answering questions…It’s only going to be worse if he shows up in camp tomorrow or the next day.  We’ve just all got to be prepared to be professionals and to practice hard and work hard and make sure everyone on the team is doing their job.”

Andy has gotten word of Woodson saying other, less constructive things in the locker room today.  Assuming they’re true, he’ll post them here later tonight.

And it gets uglier.

Favre Papers Filed

July 29, 2008

It’s official.  Mike McCarthy says the Packers had prepared a “plan” for this eventuality.  Hmmm.  I have no idea what kind of plan it might be, but pardon me if I’m skeptical that it helps solve this problem before things get worse.

And the Packers are certainly sending mixed messages about Brett Favre’s future.  On the one hand, we’ve heard several times over the past two days that Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback.  On the other, McCarthy said yesterday that Favre was an important part of the Packers’ history and might be an important part of their future?

Really?  As a backup?

Then today he said:

“Brett Favre is still a very good football player,” McCarthy said. “He’s an asset to our football team. The plans for Brett Favre will be discussed with Brett Favre first and then we’ll make it aware to the public.

“There are no ill feelings toward Brett Favre and he will be welcome back in our locker room.”

I understand the need to talk nice in public, and Ted Thompson did the same thing the other day.  But  it’ll be hard for people to simply forget what Favre said about Packer leadership when he shows up on Thursday.


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