Archive for August, 2008

“What the hell am I going to do with a locker anyway”

August 31, 2008

Read here for this and other Favre-ian quotes. Very funny. The gist of this article is that Favre reveals just a little bit more re some of the back and forth that led to his departure. Still not enough info in my mind to exonerate him. But interesting perspective. I’ll still wait for more convincing info from Favre that more clearly explains why things got as ugly as they did.

Cuts come down – Herron and Morency gone

August 31, 2008

Read here from jsonline.com for the latest on the Pack’s 19 cuts. Morency and Herron the two most notable. One possible good sign is that the team kept a few players with injuries on the team, indicating that their injuries must not be too bad (KGB, Sitton).

I really want to put in a special mention here for Kregg Lumpkin – good for him. He very much deserved this opportunity. While Herron and Morency both had their merits, Lumpkin played hard and I don’t mind taking a chance on a guy like this one bit.

For what it’s worth – Brohm is listed #2 on the depth chart as of this morning. Just not updated on packers.com? Not sure, but my guess is that they’ve kept him as the #2 guy. That doesn’t make sense to me.

Culpepper wants to play for the Pack as back-up

August 29, 2008

Read here from NFL.com – apparently Culpepper is telling whoever will listen that he would be fine being Aaron Rodgers’ back-up. Here we go again. I know last time we brought up the idea of obtaining Culpepper, a good number of you were opposed to this (especially Brother Steve due mostly to Culpepper’s ridiculous arm roll thing…which may in fact be a strong enough reason to not bring him in). At that time, I wasn’t opposed to having him on the team, but I was concerned he’d develop an attitude if he couldn’t start. If he were to come to the team as the clear back-up at this point, I wouldn’t mind it.

Culpepper isn’t that bad. Yes, when he was considered “great”, he was great mostly because he threw to Moss. But I still think the guy has talent. I would feel more comfortable with Culpepper behind center than either Brohm or Flynn right now. My concern with Culpepper is that the Packers offense is rather complicated and one of the knocks on him in Miami and Oakland was that he apparently wasn’t stellar at picking up the offenses and he also had trouble reading defenses.

In the end, I think the team should consider adding Culpepper or a veteran QB. Culpepper clearly wants to play and he still has some tools that could be useful to the team right now. He has big game and playoff experience and he seems to really be interested in being a Packer. As long as he knows he’s the back-up, I don’t see much harm in adding him. Considering the shoddy preseason play by our rookies, I am a bit surprised we didn’t think more seriously about adding Byron Leftwich when he was available. In fact, I’m shocked he sat on the market as long as he did. The Steelers say he has been really, really good since joining the team.

As Trav and Scott wonder, will TT and MM be stubborn about their plan to go with 3 QBs with zero NFL starts or will they consider pulling in a back-up? Would the team rather have a back-up with mediocre pedigree or throw their rookies into the fire? Considering the talent on the team and the quality QB coaching McCarthy is capable of, would a back-up be able to pick things up quickly and bring a calmer presence to the offense? Would the rookies play appreciably better behind the #1 line with the #1 backs and the #1 receivers? Or would the rookies jump in there and make us look like a high school football team?

So the the options are to 1) pick up a veteran, 2) keep the rookies but move Flynn to #2 or 3) keep the rookies and keep Brohm at #2. I’d prefer the 1st option, could live with the second and don’t think the 3rd would be fair to Flynn. And, according to Gene Miller’s sports update this morning on WTMJ, McCarthy apparently hinted that the team is likely to stick with Brohm at #2. I’m not ready to give up on Brohm at all, but Flynn has played better and should be the #2, at least for the time being.

Flynn should be #2

August 28, 2008

Despite Matt Flynn losing a fumble (Brohm fumbled 3x losing 1), Flynn came back and continued to show that he’s a gamer. He is simply more comfortable out there than Brohm. If this has truly been a fair QB competition, Flynn wins. But I keep going back to the $900,000 signing bonus Brohm got versus the $64,000 bonus Flynn got. That alone makes having a truly objective QB competition difficult. If they do bring in a veteran, it will be really interesting to see who ends up on the roster between Brohm and Flynn. The easier management decision would be to just keep them both, not get a veteran and name Flynn #2. The cut decisions this year will be really interesting.

Some Observations

August 28, 2008
  • Brian Brohm sometimes gives me chilling memories of Lynn Dickey’s lack of mobility.
  • Interesting if Havner makes the team like the announcers are suggesting.
  • Lansannah seems to be really strong.
  • Looks like Bishop has been playing some strong side LB tonight.
  • Hodge continues to impress.
  • Joe Porter has made some really impressive plays this preseason. The guy is good.
  • Jake Allen has quite a bit of quickness for a guy who is 6’4″.
  • Jon Ryan can fly – heads up play.
  • Haynos is a beast – intriguing prospect.
  • Heads up TD pass by Brohm and effort by Allen – well no TD.

Haven’t watched first half but…

August 28, 2008

Looks like Brohm opened up with a couple decent passes, but since then, he and Flynn have combined for 3 fumbles lost. I’ll bet if TT hasn’t thought about getting a veteran back-up much until now, he may be starting to think about getting one.

Here’s a thought: offer San Diego Nick Collins and a 6th round pick for Billy Volek.

NFL Predictions – AFC North

August 28, 2008

1) Cleveland Browns – I believe there will be a changing of the guard at the top of this division. Cleveland’s defense had some question marks going into the offseason, but they did well for themselves by bringing in Corey Williams and an apparently hungry Shaun Rogers. If Rogers plays hard even 60% of the time, Cleveland’s defense might actually go from questionable to solid (even with a porous secondary). And their offense (passing game at least) is exciting. One problem they may have this year is running the ball. Jamal Lewis has spent a good part of his career being hugely overrated. Last year, Lewis benefited greatly from a passing game that kept defenses honest and from having Joe Thomas out there. Despite having a solid year last year, I expect a down year from Lewis and the run game. (I have visions of Lewis completing his Corey Dillon-like transformation this year – which means getting run down by 370lb D-Line in the open field). Still, the team will be good enough to finally get back into the playoffs. 11-5

2) Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have been a team that has managed to excel despite not being overloaded with talent. They just keep winning. They have good line play typically (O-Line and D-Line), good LB play and quality secondary play just by having Palomalu on the field. But Ben Roeth has proven to be a quality game manager and they seem to game-manage and play within themselves as well as any team out there. For this reason, I have a really hard time seeing Pittsburgh faltering too much this year. They will do well, but not as well as the Cleve. 10-6.

3) Baltimore Ravens – For a team without a named QB at this point (Troy Smith looked like the guy until his recent battle with tonsillitis – bet he gets ripped on in the locker room for that). So, they were indicating that for the final preseason game, Joe Flacco might have to play the entire game (Boller injured his shoulder pretty badly and may be out for the year). The Ravens aren’t very good, but they do have some talent on the team. Ray Lewis is still pretty good, Ed Reed is always good, as is Terrell Suggs, Chris McAllister is decent and Willis McGahee always has the chance to be solid (though it sounds like rookie Ray Rice is pushing McGahee for the starting spot because he looks so good). They also have Todd Heap, who is quality. But they have a new coach now and either they end up totally sucking (1-15) or they win some games simply because they’re just happy to be playing for another coach. My guess is they win a few, maybe even a few big games that they aren’t “supposed” to win. 5-11.

4) Cincinnati Bengals – There is an outside chance that this offense, once everyone is healthy, could explode and wins games despite the bad defense. However, frankly, as long as Marvin Lewis is at the helm there, I don’t see this team excelling. I think he’s overstayed his welcome. He may end up coaching well for another team someday, but it just seems like his time should be up there. He is a defensive coordinator who hasn’t put together a good Bengal defense during his entire stay there. Had he managed to assemble and coach even a mediocre defense, this is a team that could have gone deep into the playoffs considering the offensive talent. The question for this team is whether or not the talented Carson Palmer can essentially will the team to victory enough to give them a decent season. My guess is that in order for them to break .500, Palmer will need a QB rating near the 120s. 5-11.

Which Packers will make the team of 53?

August 28, 2008

Following is a breakdown of which players will most likely make the team (listed in depth order). I’m posting this today but tonight’s game could change some things around. (These aren’t necessarily the players I’d keep, but rather the players I think the team will keep).

  • QBs (3) – Rodgers, Brohm, Flynn. Unfortunately, because Brohm continues to suck it up, the team may need to keep all 3 active for game days.
  • RBs (4) – Grant, Jackson, Lumpkin, Herron. Hard to part ways with Morency but my guess is that the team likely views Herron as the safe guy and Lumpkin as having way more upside. (I’d keep Morency over Herron). Lumpkin may even push to be the #2 back before long.
  • FBs (2) – Hall, Kuhn. Obvious choices. Powdrell looked OK during his time here, but has already been cut.
  • WRs (5) – Driver, Jennings, Jones, Martin, Nelson.They’ll hope to sign Jake Allen and maybe Johnny Quinn to the practice squad.
  • TEs (3) – Lee, Finley, Humphrey. (Haynos to practice squad – though he may get picked up by another team). Humphrey will make the team despite not impressing like coaches had hoped. He is a huge guy and would likely be serviceable should Lee get hurt or something. Though I wouldn’t rule out a last minute acquisition of a veteran TE who gets cut by another team.
  • O-Line (9) – Tauscher, Spitz, Wells, Moll, Clifton, Colledge, Babre, Sitton, Orrin Thompson (Breno Giacomini stands a chance to make the team if they feel due to Wells injury etc, that they ought to keep 10 O-Line guys. If this happens, Joe Porter likely would make the team or maybe David Muir).
  • D-Line (10) – Kampman, Pickett, Jolly, Jenkins, Montgomery, Hunter, Cole, Muir, Thompson, KGB. KGB will make the team only because the team is desperate for back-up D-Line help. TT does have it on his mind though to release KGB if the knee doesn’t get better soon, freeing up $7.7 million.
  • LBs (7) – Hawk, Barnett, Poppinga, Chillar, Hodge, Bishop, White. No surprises here.
  • Safeties (5) – Collins, Bigby, Rouse, Culver, Peprah. No surprises here. Bush may continue to get some looks at safety. He has made some nice plays at safety in the preseason.
  • DBs (7) – Harris, Woodson, Williams, Blackmon, Bush, Lee, Porter. Porter is the surprise here. He’s played quite well (and apparently well in practice too). He will be kept primarily though, for special teams, though he may often be left off the
  • Special Teams (3) – Crosby, Ryan, Jenssen.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: jwestphal pointed out that I failed to add my cut numbers correctly. I could have sworn I narrowed the team down to 53, but I didn’t – there are 58 players listed here. So, the additional 5 cuts would be: Joe Porter, David Muir, Tyrone Culver (depending on the severity of Charlie Peprah’s injury – they seem to like Peprah more), Tory Humphrey and gulp…KGB.

What to do with KGB?

August 27, 2008

This appears to be the question of the day. Read here from Bob McGinn at jsonline.com for more. KGB is a class act. He has been a solid Packer on and off the field. At times, he has even been a great Packer in terms of production. Going into 2007, however, he was coming off of a couple rough years that saw his production down and importantly, saw him become a liability against the run. I suggested to Brother Steve during training camp of 2007 that the Pack should cut him or trade him (especially after I read a report that quoted an NFC scout who said that teams were game planning their run games to go right at KGB). However, last year, when he was moved to be more of a situational pass rusher, he was good again. He showed he still has the knack to pressure the QB. He was not stellar against the run when there were run plays, but he was at least good overall.

Now, enter the knee injury. He’s apparently recovering from this more slowly than he/the team anticipated. He could only practice for 30 minutes the other day before pulling himself. This is tricky. KGB is a good player, but as McGinn and others have pointed out, when he’s not at full strength, he is not effective. I like KGB and I know he is a high quality locker room guy/teammate. But I am pretty sure that some of the options on the table for TT and co as the team prepares to make final roster moves, would be to place him on the PUP list or to perhaps even release him. Though I would have been fine releasing him at the beginning of last year, after he showed he could still play in 2007 and our apparent dearth of quality DEs, I’d be hesitant to do so now. If I were GM, and it ends up that KGB can’t move around adequately before 9/8, I would place him on the PUP list. Then if he doesn’t recover adequately over that time, cut him. For right now, I wish KGB a speedy recovery – but in the meantime, I hope that Jason Hunter can step up his game and perhaps take advantage of an opportunity.

NFL Predictions – AFC East

August 27, 2008

Every year, Steve and I and a group of others used to exchange emails with our predictions (a forum that eventually evolved into Packergeeks). Last year, I nailed a couple divisions and was horrendous in picking some others.The difference this year is that these picks will be more public and then archived at Packergeeks for all to scrutinize. We stress accountability here and invite trash talking and taunting if we’re way off! Hopefully if Steve gets a break from covering the silliness that is a political convention (sorry, editorial there), he will weigh in with his picks.

1) New England Patriots – The Patriots were very good last year. They are winners, they have a brilliant coach and they have Tom Brady. It is a very good formula. But I’m not sure they are that great anymore. Last year, they rolled on some impressive momentum, but this year, I expect the Pats to fall back to the pack. The AFC East race this year will tighten as the Patriots will find playing divisional foes more challenging this year than last – especially on the road. (However, if Belichick’s latest cheating plan of simply dressing up as a back-up QB for the opposing team and standing next to their Offensive Coordinator to steal plays works out, they may go undefeated).  11-5.

2) Buffalo Bills – The time is right for Buffalo to rise up. Charles Howell III, or I mean Dick Jauron, is a good coach and I believe this team will rally around him to be more successful than most imagine. They will also rally for the city of Buffalo as it faces a hostile takeover by Toronto (w/help from the NFL?). As a small market team fan, I would be really ticked off if Buffalo loses it’s team. I know the economics of the situation and they are compelling and totally in favor of Toronto, but it just wouldn’t be right. Trent Edwards will surprise this year, Lee Evans will continue to shine under the radar and Marshawn Lynch will continue to ummm, run people over. This is a good team that will fight for the playoffs this year. 9-7.

3) New York Jets – With Favre, I expect the Jets to compete. I will be surprised, however, if Favre makes it through this season without injury. Not only is he not in good shape, but he’ll have to play Vince Wilfork, Teddy “I love to jump on the pile late and then hold you down for no reason” Bruschi and the dirty Pats 2x this year – Wilfork is a guy who has probably already thought about how he can illegally hurt Favre and many others this season and come away with just a small fine for causing massive injury (see JP Losman last year)…jackass. Anyway, I can see Thomas Jones having a big year, Coles and Cotchery too, the Jet tight ends collectively contributing and their defense emerging. 9-7.

4) Miami Dolphins – With Pennington in the fold, it is difficult for me to put them here at the bottom because they might go undefeated. I’m serious, ok, not really, but between Pennington and Ricky Williams, Miami could surprise a few unsuspecting opponents. Pennington’s presence along with Parcells brings the team up from laugher status to at least competitive status. (By the way, I just can’t see Parcells sitting up there watching games and NOT giving Coach Sparano advice here and there. I’ll bet eventually, it will be a story that Parcells is starting to annoy Sparano during games. By the way, Parcells is a great example of how winning can turn people blind to personality…what an unpleasant seeming dude). I can see Ricky Williams quietly ending up with fairly nice stats for the season if he stays healthy – may not be a bad mid-round fantasy pick-up. Many might consider this a stretch, but I see Miami flirting with .500. 6-10.


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