Archive for July, 2008

Favre: Not Interested in Talking About Jets, Bucs

July 25, 2008

Stranger and stranger. Chris Mortensen reported that Ted Thompson and Brett Favre spoke yesterday and that Favre told Thompson he planned to report to camp. Thompson told Favre that both the Bucaneers and Jets were interested in trading for him and, according to Mortensen, Favre was “not interested” in talking about those trades.

If Favre refuses to be traded to a playoff contender like Tampa Bay, he will confirm the growing suspicions many of us have that he orchestrated this entire thing so that he could play for the Vikings.

Paolontonio: Favre to “Call Their Bluff”

July 25, 2008

That’s what Sal Paolontonio just said on ESPN News.  I guess this thought is no longer operative, huh?

VAN SUSTEREN: The Packers — have they told you that you can come back, and not that you want to, but sit on the bench?

FAVRE: That’s all I’ve been hearing, yes. Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that unacceptable to you?

FAVRE: I think so. A lot of people — and you’ve mentioned that — Why not go back and hold them to it? You know, I don’t — you know, I don’t — I don’t see it that way. It’s tempting just to — because everyone’s saying, you know, Call their bluff, or whatever. I think it’s going to be a circus in itself already, whether I go there, whatever.

And I like my teammates. I had a lot of fun with them. I have talked to numerous guys throughout this whole ordeal. I wish them the best. I really do. I hold nothing against those guys. We had a lot of fun together. We had — you know, it was an amazing year, last year. I don’t — I don’t want to make it any worse than it is.

I mean, I’ve always been a Packer. I always will be a Packer. Do I play somewhere else? That remains to be seen. But I don’t want to go back there just to stick it to them.

Favre to Report to Camp

July 25, 2008

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that Brett Favre will report to training camp in Green Bay this weekend. Sal Paolontonio, who is a very overrated and overhyped reporter, says that the Packers and Favre are discussing which teams Favre finds acceptable for a trade. Yuk.

ESPN is reporting now that both the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Bucs are interested.

UPDATE: Paolontonio, who is in Green Bay, also reported that he spoke to Mark Murphy yesterday and that Murphy said Favre is welcome back but would be the second-string quarterback.

Ryan Grant’s impending holdout – not good

July 25, 2008

Read here from Tom Silverstein over at jsonline re Grant talks not going well. It’s usually a bad sign when an agent, player or team chooses to go to the media and reveal what’s going on with the talks. If the agent is telling the truth, that they have put into the proposal lots of performance incentives, that seems to be fair for someone who has really only played 10 games in his career. If he continues to play at the level he did last year, I wouldn’t mind if incentives then resulted in him being paid handsomely (who came up with that expression by the way – I guess my job pays me uglily, as it were). What of course we don’t know, is what kinds of incentive maximums Grant/agent are proposing would be fair. It could be that they are asking for ridiculous LT-like pay for Grant.  It could also be that they are demanding a lot of money up-front, guaranteed.

As we said before, this situation is really hard to comment on without knowing the actual dollar figures being thrown around. But we can at least say both sides should be working hard to get this done. The one thing that is certain as far as I’m concerned is that Grant should not play for a $370,000 tender. He definitely deserves a fair, re-worked contract after the brilliant showing he had last year.

Random Thoughts

July 24, 2008

Random Thought #1: Shouldn’t the Packers be talking to Grady Jackson?  The large former Packer DT is currently unemployed but is looking to play again this year.  The Packers traded away Corey Williams, continue to deal with Justin Harrell’s injury problems and now have Johnny Jolly’s drug issues (allegedly).  They’re going to need another fat guy in the middle.  I’ve lost some weight, so I’m no longer available.  But Grady Jackson is.  They should call him.

Random Thought #2: The Patriots signed rookie Jerrod Mayo today.  In three years, Mayo may well be considered the best player in the 2008 draft.

Random Thought #3: I’m in Detroit right now and watching a TV commercial for the Detroit Lions.  Clips of very intense Lions are interspersed with music that is meant to convey epicness (as Andy might say).  The Lions confront their fans: “Do You Believe in Now?” That is the question and in the background vieweres see Jon Kitna barking out signals, presumably ready to throw a pass to in the general direction of Mike Furrey.

Is there any Lions fan who would answer “Yes!”?

Poppinga given fat contract for mediocre play

July 24, 2008

Read here from jsonline re Brady Poppinga just signing a contract extension for doing…nothing. Sorry, I don’t understand this. Poppinga was reportedly just signed to a contract extension, extending him through 2012 and giving him the same deal that other recently signed starting linebackers are getting ($17 million over 5 years).

This is surprising and it doesn’t make much sense. First of all, I don’t get the timing of it. The Packers called in Brandon Chillar to either replace or at least compete with Poppinga for Poppinga’s starting spot. So turning around and awarding an extension for starter’s money doesn’t make sense at this moment (unless they know and have known all along that he’ll be the starter). Why not wait until mid-season or late in the season to see if he finally contributes and if he does and if they think he will continue to progress, extend him at that time? To make this offer a year before his first contract is up seems to be a misguided priority. Secondly, and more importantly, Poppinga has not done much to date to deserve any sort of a new contract. He can’t create turnovers. Despite the staff calling him “physical” all the time, I haven’t seen anything special in the tackling department. And we all know he can’t cover a sloth. As Silverstein notes in the jsonline blog, Poppinga signed the contract right away – OF COURSE he’d do this because he knew he wouldn’t get this kind of offer anywhere else – even if he has a good year this year. But if he falters this season and Chillar bumps him out of the starting spot, we’re wasting money on someone who probably would have signed right now for half of what this contract was worth because he and most observers know he has thus far achieved little.

The other concern I have re this extension is precedent. Poppinga still has until 2009 on his original contract and re-working a contract still a year from expiration usually happens only when that player has significantly outperformed the existing contract. Poppinga has definitely not done this, so what might this say to other Packers? Be average in production and we’ll give you an extended, fat contract?!?. This signing also really makes me wonder why the Grant signing is taking so long – makes me almost think Grant must be asking for the moon as the Packers seem to be in a generous spirit right about now.

I hate to say it but this almost smacks of a Sherman-era “but I just like him and his attitude” signing. I initially had Ted Thompson pegged as a non-loyal, cold, tough-decision maker, but I wonder if he has his quiet loyalties after reading re this signing. (Though this case and others leave me suspicious of TT’s loyalty to his draft picks). If I were GM, I would have simply waited through a good part of this year at least before considering an extension for someone like Poppinga. Listen, I like Brady Poppinga as a person a lot, and I really like his attitude – and I’ll go so far as to say that despite ragging on him for the last few years, I do think he’s shown some signs of improvement and he may not end up being too bad this year. And, I even root for the guy when he plays. Still, it is just plain premature to sign a player like this to a longer term contract when the team felt compelled to spend money in free agency to bring in competition for his spot.

I think the negotiations probably went like this:

Packers: “Brady, we’d like to offer you a contract extension.”

Brady: “With all due respect sir, I haven’t done much here yet and I may not even be the start…

Packers: “How does $17 million…

Brady: “Deal”…

STEVE ADDS: Andy and I find a way to disagree on many things regarding Packer players and their relative importance.  For instance: I loved Ryan Grant because of what I’d seen him do in preseason in New York; Andy loved DeMond Parker and still thinks he should be starting.  Most of this has little to do with actual on-the-field talent and everything to do with Andy’s desire to challenge his older brother.

But he is 100 percent correct on this.  I don’t think the $17 million is bank-breaking money — and we’ll have to see what’s guaranteed, which is what really matters — but Brady Poppinga is a very good special teams player and should be paid like one.  I heard somewhere the other day (if it’s you, let us know and I’ll give proper credit) that Ted Thompson likes Poppinga because he sees Poppinga as the second coming of Ted Thompson.  (Thompson, however, managed to scrap his way through ten seasons in the NFL despite having not been drafted in an era when the draft went 427 rounds.)

More Than Just a Phone Relationship?

July 24, 2008

“Hey Brett, what are you wearing?  You know, you’d look really good in purple.”

That was what Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress said to Brett Favre when the two men spoke during Favre’s retirement/unretirement musings this off-season.  Okay, not really, but Jason Wilde has a story today that suggests they might have had more than just a phone relationship.

Two NFL sources said Wednesday that, in addition to cell-phone records of calls between Favre and Minnesota coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the club also claims Favre sent text messages back-and-forth with the two Vikings coaches.

If this is true, and if they in fact discussed the notion of Favre coming back as a Viking, then they are all idiots and the Vikings should be hit hard — hard — by the NFL.  Both coaches would have to be fired and, in my view, Favre would have to be suspended from the league.  Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner who is apparently telling the Packers how to handle the Favre fiasco, would have very little credibility if he allowed a player to talk openly with another team about a trade/comeback.  And having coaches from another team try to persuade an opposing player — even if retired — into coming back is intolerable.  If anything approaching this scenario is in fact what happened, Goodell had better bring the house down on Minnesota.

But there’s reason for skepticism.  For one thing, Goodell is urging the Packers to resolve this situation quickly and the Packers have apparently made clear that they want to trade Favre.  It’s hard to imagine Goodell pushing the Packers to move on this — and to trade Favre — if there was any chance he faces punishment by the league for bad dealing with the Vikings.  And for another, as Wilde’s story makes clear, it’s no certainty that the Packers or the NFL would be able to learn what, precisely, was discussed in those text conversations unless they got their hands on the actual phones used to communicate and those text messages had been saved.

Still, if frequent communication in an of itself would not hold up in court as evidence of cheating, it’s a pretty good indication something untoward was happening.  And it probably wasn’t phone sex.

More on Goodell

July 23, 2008

First, read Andy’s non-football email below.  He’s right.  We’ve been too serious lately.  His post makes up for several weeks of this.

Second, commenter Ron LaCanne makes a good point (I think it’s the point he was making) in relation to Roger Goodell’s order that the Packers resolve the Brett Favre ordeal quickly.  The mere fact of Goodell’s instruction, and the fact that it was evidently leaked (perhaps to make Goodell look like he’s on top of the situation), may diminish the Brett Favre’s trade value.  That’s a separate issue from the one I raised below — pointing out that doing it now, before any training camp injuries, may be damaging.  By forcing the Packers into what will appear to be the NFL equivalent of a fire sale — and that’s the result, judging by the number of teams the Packers called immediately after Goodell’s “request” — teams may believe Favre can be had for cheap.

Finally, commenter “Joe” makes a good point regarding the natural tension that exists with the league office investigating the Packers’ tampering claim and Goodell’s insistence that that the Packers “accelerate” the resolution of the Favre debacle.  It’s heavy-handed and it sucks.

Now go read Andy.

Pre-vacation emails (we’ve been way too serious lately)

July 23, 2008

I’ve noticed lately that Packergeeks has been very serious. While a lot of serious things are going on that need to be addressed (like Brother Steve’s fine post this morning on Goodell’s meddling – seems to me Goodell is becoming that retail store employee who has just been named manager, who has that circular/stretchy key-chain thing on his arm reveling in his newfound power), we need to lighten things up.

This morning, for some reason, I was reflecting for a moment on pre-vacation emails – or the emails people send out at work just before leaving for vacation. For some reason, these emails really bother me. Actually “bother” is understating it – “cause rage” is more appropriate. Now, I can understand why the authors of such emails are pumped and in a good mood. It makes sense. They likely can’t wait to go wherever they’re going or do whatever they will be doing. They won’t, after all, have to work for a week or however long they’ll be out and presumably they will be spending time doing things they’d prefer to be doing over working. I should be happy for these people. But I’m not.

I’ve noticed something about these emails in particular: because the person is so excited to be leaving, it seems to be very difficult for them to contain that excitement so things leak into their email that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise say – they act sort of chancy/uncharacteristic/annoying. For example, one coworker, who was definitely NOT the exclamatory type, ended up using 6 exclamation marks in a short email relaying that he’d be out for a week on vacation. Hyper-exclamation is rampant in these emails: for example, “I hope we have good weather!!!” or “I hope it’s not too busy when I’m gone!!!” or “I’ll be sure to send some sun your way!!!” or the frequent Wisconsin winter email “I’ll try to bring back some warm weather for you!!!”. These unnecessary exclamatory add-on comments amount to nothing short of a frustrating taunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m getting ticked just thinking about it.

As I noted above, because these people have so much difficulty containing themselves, the reader of the email can pick up the strong sense that the person is not saying fully what he or she wants to say. For example, the actual email sent may read “”I’ll be out next week, my cases have been assigned…oh, and I’ll try to bring back some warm weather for you!!!”.

But what the person is really saying is this:  “I’m leaving today, I won’t be back until 10 days from now, I’ll be drinking ice cold beers in Mexico on the beach eating giant plates of nachos surrounded by hot ladies in bikinis – and you won’t be there. I’m not going to be working, by the way, for the entire 10 days. You will be working for most of that time. I will be reading Bill Bryson travel books next to the pool laughing at the hilarity and forgetting quite easily that usually at 11am most mornings I am stuck in possibly the lamest meetings in workplace history (meetings by the way, you will be attending). While you take your strictly monitored, 1/2 hour, Lean Cuisine lunch break, I’ll be drinking another cup of real coffee (not office coffee, the kind that gave you the runs this morning) and deciding between blackened snapper or seared Mahi Mahi. In the afternoons, I’ll play golf, maybe go fishing, maybe walk into town, maybe visit fantastic ancient ruins – but whatever I do with this huge block of free, non-work time, I’ll be sure to return in time for cocktail/dinner hour which usually takes place on a sunset cruise boat which is perfect for watching hot ladies and dolphins jump around. This would take place around the time when you finally get to go home to your tiny apartment, eat another disappointing meal and watch another horrendous episode of either Big Brother 10 or I Survived a Japanese Game Show. Then in the morning, while I rest in deep sleep lulled by the sound of gentle, but audible ocean waves rushing ashore, you will be driving back to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic only to arrive late, be scolded by your hard-ass boss and then have to deal with the same people and same crap over and over again for at least 8 hours, unless of course a situation explodes and you have to stick around for 3-4 extra hours to “help the team”. Did I mention I won’t be working at all while I’m gone and considering I’ll be gone for 10 days, that means I won’t be working for 10 days?”

Goodell Out of Line

July 23, 2008

Something else bothered me about this ESPN report from Chris Mortensen. Why is Roger Goodell sticking his nose in internal Packer deliberations? Mort reports that Goodell told the Packers to “accelerate” the process of resolving the Brett Favre situation.

The Green Bay Packers got busy making phone calls Tuesday to several teams after being encouraged by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to resolve the controversy surrounding quarterback Brett Favre before they begin training camp Sunday, according to league and players union sources.

The Packers exploring trade options for Favre was first reported by the NFL Network.

The commissioner has been briefed by Packers general manager Ted Thompson on the status of the team’s approach with Favre, who has said he wants to play again. Sources said Thompson reaffirmed to the commissioner that the organization wants to “move on” without Favre. Consequently, Goodell encouraged the GM to accelerate the process by surveying teams around the league to determine if there is a trade partner, the sources said.

I’d like this done quickly, too. But what if it’s not in the interest of the Packers to accelerate the process? What if it makes more sense — for the team and the organization — to wait until training camp to see what other teams are doing with their quarterback position and, more important, to wait for the inevitable preseason injuries which could make the quarterback landscape look entirely different in a matter of days.

Look at Washington. Although the Miami Dolphins were shopping Jason Taylor to several teams, slowly and on their own timeframe, the process came to a quick conclusion when DE Philip Daniels went down with a significant injury on the first day of training camp. Taylor was a Redskin later that same day.

Why shouldn’t the Packers have the same opportunity? We can debate whether doing so would be smart — whether having Favre looming or, worse, at training camp — would be such a distraction that it would hurt the team more than waiting might help. But that’s a decision for the team to make, not the league. If, say, Eli Manning were to tear his ACL next Monday, Favre’s trade value could skyrocket. Or what if Manning and Ben Roethlisberger went down on the same day? Or Manning, Roethlisberger and Tony Romo all went down in the same week?

Goodell wants a neat and tidy NFL and has pledged to come down hard on player behavior (though he’s left the door open to a return for Pacman Jones despite his continued shenanigans). But unless the Packers are violating NFL rules by waiting, he is completely out of line to demand — or even request — that the Packers hurry things up on Favre.


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