Archive for February, 2009

Flacco a Packer?

February 24, 2009

Greg Bedard has been doing outstanding work from the combine in Indianapolis over the past week.  If you haven’t been going to that JS Online’s Packer blog daily (hourly?), head over there and just start scrolling.  He’s got lots of details on the Packer interviews, potential draftees, Indy in general, Jason Taylor (dude is obsessed).  It’s high-quality stuff.

From his latest entry: the Packers want to re-sign DeShawn Wynn, they are not interested in Chris Canty or Igor Olshansky, they don’t want to sign Matt Birk, they didn’t use Indy to meet with any big-name free agents and Rob Davis is money.  That’s all in a blog post, not even a real article.

And, Bedard drops this fascinating bombshell: The Packers wanted to draft Joe Flacco last year and were even interested in moving up to do so.  Wow.  On the one hand, I’m comforted that they recognize talent and understand that a good quarterback remains arguably the most important element of a successful football team (and I say this despite the success of the Dilfer-led Ravens, the Johnson-led Bucs and the Manning-led Giants.  Manning, to be fair, played well in the playoffs.)

But what are we supposed to think about all of the front office love for Aaron Rodgers as the future of the franchise?  Here is Bedard:

Heard this from a pretty good source that would know: The Packers were one of the teams that were very hot for QB Joe Flacco last year, so much so that they definitely would have taken him at No. 30 and might have traded into the 20-25 range. Flacco ended up going at 18 when the Ravens traded up to draft him. The two primary teams the Ravens were worried about taking Flacco ahead of them were the Packers and the New York Jets.

Jason Wilde: possible Bart Scott move?

February 19, 2009

Yesterday on ESPN radio Milwaukee, Jason Wilde (from WSJ) talked about a hunch that the Pack might look at Scott. I don’t think he had any scoop or anything (didn’t hear the whole segment), but he kind of mentioned it as the kind of under the radar guy TT might look at. I wouldn’t be surprised if we made at least inquiries for Scott and I would love to land a guy like that on this team. I continue to think it would be very helpful to have at least someone on the starting defense with recent 3-4 experience.

TT – keep an eye on the Ravens

February 18, 2009

I was just reading up on the recent release of Chris McAllister, the former Pro Bowl cornerback from Balt who has been mediocre to bad apparently his last couple seasons there after 8 mostly stellar seasons. Anyway, part of the reason for his release was cap space because Balt needs to figure out a way to re-sign the following unrestricted free agents:

  • Jason Brown, Center
  • Ray Lewis, ILB
  • Bart Scott, ILB
  • Terrell Suggs, OLB
  • Jim Leonhard, Safety

Not sure exactly what their cap situation looks like etc, but my guess is that at least one of these defensive players may not get re-signed (and I believe they only have until tomorrow to work something out…no?). Anyway, Lewis, Scott, Suggs and Leonhard would all be potentially valuable additions to the Packers.

Yumans

February 18, 2009

Not sure what this is all about (regional thing?) – but recently, I have heard too many radio types refer to “humans” as “yumans” (ESPN’s Mike Greenberg is quite guilty of this). I’m sure you too have heard these y-happy/h-hater people say this too. Do they know that when they say “yuman” they could also be referring to a Native American culture that inhabited, not surprisingly, the area around Yuma, Arizona? (Adding to this confusion, I wonder how present-day Yuma residents refer to themselves – Yumans?) Anyway, Mike Greenberg was talking about someone the other day and going on and on about what a great “yuman” the person was. I think he also said that he wanted to just yug the person and this yuman’s greatness inspired him to want to read Yuck Finn and eat a yuge plate of yuevos rancheros.

Peter King’s role in Favre to Jets

February 18, 2009

Excuse this brief post re something pertaining to football (I’m very much enjoying the movie discussion!). As many of you know Favre has “retired” again. We’ll see if it sticks – sounding like it will. But I was reading a Peter King article Monday (Peter King may be one of Favre’s best friends) and came across an interesting sentence. Here is the article in its entirety. Below is the snippet I found curious (Peter King is the first person here):

Tannenbaum wanted Favre badly. I said to Favre he should at least talk to Tannenbaum; why wonder sometime down the road if it might have been a smart way to spend one or two final years in the NFL? A few nights later, Tannenbaum and Favre finally spoke and Tannenbaum began the sales job on Favre.

Uh, isn’t Peter King a journalist? He admits in the article to having grown close to Favre over the years, but, um, isn’t he a journalist? Can’t help but wonder if in the process of encouraging a meeting with the Jets, King also stoked Favre’s fire toward TT and the Pack?

To be honest (an expression that begs the question: do I usually lie all the time?), I will admit that I am suffering from Favre fatigue. I will always respect him and as time heals things, I’m sure I’ll be fine letting him back into my Packer world. But for now, I’ll just say it’s been a sad ending to what really has been a great career. And his final season, in a way, was somewhat representative of his career: incredible start, breaking records, leading a 4-12 team to an 8-3 record, highest completion percentage in his career, only to be nagged by interceptions and erratic play down the stretch that contributed significantly to the downfall of his team – but like he did almost every year of his career, he still finished with a winning season.

Another List

February 17, 2009

This is pretty fantastic.  Good idea, Andy.  If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check the comments to Andy’s post below for other lists/thoughts/comments.  Smart and interesting.

Here’s my shot

1.    Bottle Rocket
2.    Airplane
3.    To Kill a Mockingbird
4.    The Stoning of Soraya M
5.    The Godfather
6.    The Jerk
7.    Caddyshack
8.    Napoleon Dynamite
9.    Metropolitan
10.    I Confess
11.    Platoon
12.    Miller’s Crossing
13.    Rear Window
14.    The Pink Panther
15.    Dial M for Murder
16.    Memento
17.    American Movie
18.    Little Miss Sunshine
19.    Vernon, Florida
20.    Top Secret
21.    Schindler’s List
22.    Office Space
23.    Braveheart

There’s my Top 23.  A few comments on the entries that might need some explanation.

Bottle Rocket is phenomenal.  It doesn’t feel epic enough to be my favorite movie, but there it is. “She said you’re a failure?  What has she ever accomplished with her life?  Nothing.  Nothing.”  That is brilliant.  Or: “How’s an asshole like Bob get such a great kitchen.”

The Stoning of Soraya M is extraordinary.  It’s a film about Islamic law and women’s rights in modern Iran – based on a true story in a book of the same name.  It’s not out yet – I saw it at a small, private screening last fall.  I thought it was one of the most powerful and moving films – maybe the most powerful and moving film – I’ve ever seen.

I liked Napoleon Dynamite before it was cool to like Napoleon Dynamite.  I’ve probably seen it thirty times and it doesn’t get old.

Metropolitan – Whit Stillman’s best – a classic, and subtle, social commentary.

Yes, I’m a Hitchcock freak.  The three Hitchcock films on this list could have easily been three or four longer (Vertigo, North by Northwest, Rope).

How could a bunch of commentators with ties to Wisconsin omit “American Movie.”  For shame.

Vernon, Florida, is a fascinating documentary by Errol Morris (director who did, most famously, “The Fog of War.”)  Entertaining, sad and disturbing all at once.  Find it, watch it.

And I completely agree with Andy on The Shawshank Redemption.  Very overrated.  (So was The Usual Suspects back in the day.)

Packergeek readers: name your top movies

February 15, 2009

During this stretch of downtime in our NFL year, I wanted to keep the discussion lively by diverting our attention to non-football things. (Actually, with free agency about to begin, I think other NFL team blogs are busy speculating about what their GMs might do – in the land of cheese and bratwurst, we don’t have to debate about which free agents to go after because we know TT isn’t giving much thought to it).

Inspired by comments from the previous post (and following Ace’s suggestion in particular), I’ve decided I’m going to try to name my top 20 movies. Now, I don’t know much about movies and movie history (like readers Schaef, Brother Dan), so be prepared for a fairly unsophisticated list. But I won’t apologize for the list because these are the ones I just happen to like the best. I should note, as will be obvious from my list, that I’d rather watch a comedy than any other kind of movie (watched Stir Crazy last night, a movie with some quality moments – Gene Wilder is tremendous in this movie). I know many “purests” (especially those who decide on Oscar winners) often dismiss comedies, but I think it takes as much talent or more than drama acting to pull off making your character truly hilarious. (One quick disclaimer, I reserve the right to change this list at any time because it’s so hard to think of all the movies I really like when I don’t have much time to think about it.) Anyway, here it goes:

  1. Airplane
  2. A Shot in the Dark
  3. Caddyshack
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. Being There
  6. The Mission
  7. The Jerk
  8. Bottle Rocket
  9. Waking Ned Devine
  10. A Christmas Story
  11. The Deer Hunter
  12. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  13. Napoleon Dynamite
  14. The Godfather
  15. Once
  16. Dumb and Dumber
  17. Office Space
  18. Sling Blade
  19. Blazing Saddles
  20. Hoosiers

(By the way, for those of you who read the previous post about the Shawshank Redemption, please note that IMDB.com, THE movie website, conducted a survey to come up with readers’ top 250 movies…Shawshank = #1. Also note, that I do fall prey to the trendiness of picking the Godfather, though I would say that part of the reason I like that movie so much is that my wife and I watch it on Italian dinner night – we drink nice Italian wine and eat the ____ out of some high, high quality pasta).

The Shawshank Assumption

February 14, 2009

Ok, it happened again. I know, I know, the Shawshank Redemption is a good movie. It’s well done, interesting, good acting, etc. But if I hear another person state “I don’t know, it’s probably in my top 5″, I’m going to puke. It is officially now cliche to put this movie in your top 5…even if it legitimately belongs there. On Homer’s ESPN radio show in Milwaukee, Homer interviewed Braden Looper, the Brewers newest signee. When Homer asked for his favorite movies, I cringed and I said to myself “100% chance he’ll say Shawshank”. Sure enough, he said Shawshank immediately and because Homer and his sidekick also put that movie in their respective top 5s (of course) they anoited Looper their new movie critic going forward.

Favre “retires” again

February 11, 2009

Read below from ESPN – Favre told Bus Cook to tell the Jets he is retiring. Apparently Cook also asked the Jets re the possibility of releasing Favre, but the Jets declined. Curious. This article is loaded with other noteworthy tidbits re his feelings re Thompson and the Packers organization. Here is the article:

February 11, 2009, 9:51 AM ET

Favre plans to retire — again

By Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen
ESPN.com

Without the tearful public ceremony that accompanied his retirement announcement from the Green Bay Packers just 11 months ago, quarterback Brett Favre has instructed agent Bus Cook to inform the New York Jets Wednesday that he plans to retire.

In an e-mail to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Favre indicated he had no regrets about finishing his career with the Jets rather than with the Green Bay Packers franchise he represented for his previous 16 NFL seasons. He specifically praised Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, team owner Woody Johnson and fired coach Eric Mangini — and even mentioned Thomas Jones and Kerry Rhodes, both of whom were publicly critical of Favre after the team’s collapse in the final month of the season prevented the Jets from making the playoffs.

My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.

– Brett Favre

“Mike and Woody, as well as the entire organization, have been nothing short of outstanding,” Favre said in the e-mail. “My teammates — Thomas and Kerry included — were a pleasure to play with. Eric [Mangini] could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him. My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.”

The Jets did not have an immediate comment. A Jets official said Tuesday night that no definite word had come from Favre yet but added, “that can change any minute.”

The Jets already have begun discussing their options at quarterback and spent a good portion of Tuesday studying the 2009 class of draft-eligible college quarterbacks. The team is unconvinced that Kellen Clemens, a former second-rounder, is capable of being Favre’s replacement. There also appears to be a conviction to seek a quarterback with significant arm strength to play through the challenges of windy, cold-weather climate that often is a factor in Jets games.

While Favre did not directly broach the subject of the team simply releasing him so that he might have the option of signing with another team such as the Minnesota Vikings, a source said that Cook informally discussed the option with the Jets. The Jets respectfully declined that option, the source said.

Favre’s retirement will save the Jets his $13 million salary in salary cap space. The Jets are in one of the worst salary-cap situtations in the NFL.

The retirement decision should not have surprised the Jets even though the team had publicly encouraged Favre to play another season. Favre informed Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum before the Super Bowl that he was leaning toward retirement. At some point within the past week, Favre told Cook to inform the Jets that he wanted to retire without fanfare and that the team could make the decision public at its convenience.

In what appears to be his final NFL season, Favre threw 22 touchdown passes and an NFL-high 22 interceptions while leading the Jets to a 9-7 record — a five-game improvement over their previous season without him.

A week after the Jets’ season ended without a playoff berth, Favre hinted to Werder during a telephone interview that he would probably retire because he lacked the motivation necessary to continue playing and felt prepared for life after football. “I have the ability to turn it off just like that,” he said. “I don’t feel I have anything else to prove. Do I have to redeem myself for the last five games? No. I could be trying to do that until I’m 60 years old. There is nothing left out there for me from that standpoint. I’m disappointed with the last five games, sure, but I know I did everything I could have.

“I didn’t play as well down the stretch. It was probably a little bit of everything. It’s hard for me, but I have to say I gave out down the stretch.”

In that same conversation, Favre conceded that he had an abundance of motivation to play for the Jets at the beginning of last season, most of it inspired by the spite he maintained for Packers GM Ted Thompson for trading him from Green Bay to New York. Favre felt Thompson had taken Favre’s team from him, believed it had become personal, described the Packers as dishonest and concluded that the most accomplished quarterback in history had been exiled to the Jets precisely because it was something of a football purgatory, where no championships had been won in the four decades since Joe Namath.

“They sent me to New York because they didn’t play the Jets, they were 4-12, so they didn’t have to play me, they knew we had very little chance of making the playoffs and they knew it was not likely that we’d have a better year than they did,” Favre told Werder. “I was aware of all of that and more than up to the challenge because they felt they were shipping me off to Siberia and they’d never hear from me again. So was I coming back to play because I loved the game or to prove them wrong? Probably a little bit of both.

“Maybe initially I came back for the wrong reasons,” Favre says now. “It was like, “OK, they don’t want me to play, then I’ll play somewhere else and show them I can still play.”

He knew there would be comparisons between his statistics and those of the quarterback who replaced him in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers, the very first player Thompson drafted when he took over the Packers’ front office. Favre admits that his family and friends were consumed with keeping him informed about how his numbers measured against those of Rogers and constantly urged him to throw more touchdown passes than his replacement. Favre admits to virtually no interest in that kind of intramural competition. But he was devout in doing whatever he could to ensure that the Jets accomplished more than the Packers.

“The only thing I worried about was winning,” he said. “There was a time in my career where I paid more attention to individual stats, but in the last couple of years the most important thing was winning and losing. In the end, that’s what matters most. Was I pissed at Green Bay? Sure. But I wasn’t pissed at their players. I did keep up with the wins and losses. Sure, it was hard not to do that. I didn’t wish them bad, but I wished us better.”

Accomplishing that goal seemed unlikely. Removed from a Packers team that finished 13-3, Favre inherited a 4-12 Jets team.

Favre admitted the transition was difficult. There were moments of extreme doubt that threatened to become actual regret, when Favre admits he wondered if he had made a terrible mistake. “Numerous times,” he said. “Traveling was much more difficult. Nothing was easy in the whole transition, except for dealing with the guys on the team; that was the easy part, and I thought that would be the hard part. But let me tell you: when we rolled into the house the Tuesday morning after that San Diego game, I thought to myself, “What in the hell?”

In the third week of the season, Favre threw three touchdown passes, was intercepted twice and suffered a sprained left ankle in a 48-29 loss on Monday Night Football to the Chargers.

But Favre persevered. He became more comfortable, played more confidently, accomplished feats not even he had experienced. He threw six touchdown passes in a single game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The next week, the Jets took over sole possession of first place from the defending AFC champion New England Patriots. Favre orchestrated the unimaginable 34-31 triumph, leading consecutive scoring drives on the last possession of regulation and the first of overtime. He admitted afterward that nobody in the building was more nervous and says these were the moments that brought him out of retirement.

The next week would prove just as monumental. There was Favre was throwing touchdown passes and celebrating joyously as he and the Jets completed a 34-13 road upset of the Tennessee Titans, the final undefeated team in the league.

“There’s not many games left for old Brett Favre, so I’m glad this one turned out the way it did,” he said moments later.

When asked how winning a handful of big games for the Jets compared to doing the same for 16 years with the Packers, and his answer hinted at the animosity that may never leave him. “It feels great — as good, if not better. My career in Green Bay was great. It was awesome, maybe better than awesome. Will I have a 16-year career in New York? I doubt it. But I’m going to try and lump 16 into one and see what happens.”

It doesn’t get better than this, Favre thought. And, sadly, he was right. It would not get better than that moment.

“At that point, it was, Go get your Super Bowl tickets,”’ Favre says. “That’s what was so disappointing — how quickly we rose, and then fell.”

After the victories in New England and Tennessee, the Jets were considered potentially the best team in the AFC and a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But the Jets failed badly in December, losing four of their final five games, and Favre’s performance with an ailing right shoulder was a primary reason. In the final five games, Favre threw nine interceptions and only two touchdown passes. When the season was finished, Favre revealed he had a torn biceps tendon and that doctors had urged him to have surgery if he intended to play in 2009. He decided against both.

“It sucks getting old,” he said. “At 40 years old, your mind tells you that you can do all the things you could in your younger years but the body doesn’t cooperate. As I look back on it, I had my moments where people said, “It was the same Brett Favre, just a different uniform.”

Immediately after his first Jets season, Favre had decided that if it was also his final NFL season that there would be no press conference as there had been 11 months ago in Green Bay.

“I’m an emotional guy, and I’m sure people are tired of seeing me get emotional,” he explained. “People would probably say, ‘Oh, here he goes again.’ I think it would just be better for me to just thank the Jets, and I sincerely mean that. It was well worth what I invested. But I’m going to just quietly step away if that’s what happens.”

That is exactly what has just happened.

Ed Werder is an NFL reporter for ESPN. Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.

Reviewing 2008 NFL predictions with Gregg Easterbrook

February 10, 2009

Must read material here. I think ESPN’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback (Gregg Easterbrook, TMQ as he calls himself) is one of the best writers our there. He’s obviously very bright, but he’s also very interesting…and importantly, hilarious:

In mid-July, Pat Kirwan of NFL.com declared with pseudo-precision that Favre was “80 percent” likely to return, this estimate attributed to “people close to Favre.” So, people who live in Sumrall, Miss.?

There is much more of this talent going on in this particular article recapping the 2008 season. He spends most of the article making fun of all of the wayward predictions made before and during 2008 (NFL predictions and other curious predictions beyond the world of football).

Unfortunately, Packergeeks is not big enough to be ripped in this annual Gregg Easterbrook undressing – perhaps next year. So, we want to make sure we remind you of some of the horrendous picks we made this year.  This is what Steve and I predicted at the start of the 2008 season. Highlights were both picking Pittsburgh for the playoffs, Cincy to stink (me), the Pats and Jets records on the nose, Minnesota to win the NFC North, Seattle to stink (especially Steve) and Arizona to win their division (both). Lowlights were picking Cleveland to win their division (both of us), Balt to suck (both), Dal and New Orleans to easily win their divisions (both), Jax to win their division, Atlanta to stink and the Rams to be 9-7 (me).

Our playoff predictions were not very good overall…

SFHayes
* VIkes, NO, Dal, AZ, Packers, Giants
* NE, Jax, Cleve, SD, Jets, Indy
* NFC Champs = Cowboys
* AFC Champs =Pats
* Super Bowl Champs = Pats

AWHayes
* MN, Dal, NO, AZ, Packers, Wash
* Cleve, Pats, Jax, SD, Pitt, Indy
* NFC Champs =Dal (barely over NO)
* AFC Champs = Jax
* Super Bowl Champs= Dal


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