Archive for March, 2009

Jamaicanadian DT on Packers radar?

March 31, 2009

Steve Wyche from NFL.com should have titled  this article , “Ted Thompson’s draft board exposed”. I bet there is a solid chance one of these guys becomes a Packer (though the exposure they’ve just gotten from this article may discourage TT because he prefers that NOBODY has heard of his draft picks.)

I’d say the most likely candidate here is this DT Vaughn Martin. He seems very much like the kind of obscure yet intriguing prospect TT covets. He’s originally from Jamaica, but a Canadian citizen, he’s 6’3″ and 331 lbs, ran a 5.04 40 and benched 225 32 times at his pro day. Not bad, eh? And the report is that he’s very athletic for a guy his size. Perhaps the biggest reason TT may go after a guy like this is his attitude:

“With me, you get a blank canvas to mold into whatever you want to mold me into.”

Though molding canvas isn’t necessarily easy, I’m sure Ted gets the gist of the comment and we all know that openness to being brainwashed is exactly what Ted looks for.


Free agents still out there

March 30, 2009

I liked this article by GBPG’s Tom Pelissero because it does a good job of reminding us that while the free agency chaos has mostly died, there are still some quality free agents available. These are the names that caught my eye:

  • Vonnie Holliday – we’ve already written about him and I still feel he’d be a good addition. I’m still bothered by the Packers’ apparent disinterest.
  • Jason Taylor – already written about him and if he’d truly come in at a bargain price, not sure why we wouldn’t consider it.
  • Kevin Carter – Carter has recently been good, despite his age. Like Taylor and Holliday, I would be comforted knowing we had at least one of these 3 historically reliable veterans on the roster vs feeling uncomforted by having question marks all over the place (Pickett’s health, Jolly’s crimes, Harrell’s everything, Jenkin’s injury, Montgomery’s averageness, Kampmann’s switch, Hawk’s badness, etc etc).
  • Dre Bly – not sure exactly how much his talent level dropped off last year, but he’s been a pretty good corner for years and he would at the very least, add some nice depth to our secondary.
  • Chris McCallister – similar to Bly, at one time he was really good and probably still at least has quality instincts. I also wonder about whether he would be a decent safety-conversion candidate.
  • Samari Rolle – similar to McCallister and Bly, though more intriguing to me than either of the other two. Again, if he’s not going to break the bank, may be a good depth move.
  • Mike Brown – I know this guy gets injured blowing his nose, but I have always been impressed by his play when out there. Trouble is that TT’s preference for young/injury-free players make Brown very unlikely.

Packers Sign a New Starter?

March 26, 2009

Duke Preston, free agent from the Bills.

Tom Silverstein has the scoop.

Thompson thinks Packers fine as they are

March 25, 2009

Many of you may have read Tom Silverstein’s article this morning over at jsonline. I think Silverstein wrote it to highlight one major point: that it’s interesting that TT would be so confident in a team that just finished 6-10. I think it’s interesting too. I badly want to believe TT is right about this, that it was a combination of just a few factors that led us to 7 losses by 4 points or less, that he’s right about draft first/free agency second and that he knows what he’s doing. But I’m not so sure. In the article, TT goes on to express confidence in his starting group (whoever they may be now). I disagree here. Right now, I am not necessarily scared by our starting group.  Off the top of my head, I can think of 9 starting positions (give or take) that are at least questionable : RT, LT b/c Clifton sucks, at least one guard spot, 2 of 3 D-Line positions, 3-4 of the LB positions due to Hawk’s poor play, Barnett’s injury and unknowns at the other OLB spots, and one of the safety spots.

I know he wouldn’t publicly point out positional weaknesses in an article like this and he wants his team to believe he believes in them. And I hope we can fill some holes through the draft. But a part of me does worry that he actually believes we are set with most of our starters and it’s more a matter of just playing better. I will continue to be suspect of TT’s over-reliance on the draft until we have 2-3 winning seasons in a row.

Steve, that update you requested…

March 25, 2009

U.S. pair suffer disappointing start at world championships

LOS ANGELES — Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker found success fast. During their first season together in 2006-2007, they finished first in every event they skated.

After winning the U.S. pairs title the past two years, they entered the World Figure Skating Championships hoping to make a mark. “This worlds kind of sets up the next season, let’s everyone know who is out there, who has the ability,” Brubaker said heading into the event. McLaughlin had talked about their desire “to be a force to be reckoned with.”

After finishing a disappointing ninth in the pairs short program on Tuesday night at Staples Center, the splash McLaughlin and Brubaker hoped for will likely have to wait until well after Wednesday’s free skate. They finished the short program with a score of 53.62, nearly 19 points behind the leaders, Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, the defending world champs.

McLaughlin and Brubaker were undone after several elements were downgraded and McLaughlin fell on triple salchow. “I haven’t missed one all season,” McLaughlin said.

With the increased pressure following their early success and a more challenging program, they looked at this year “as more as a season to grow, to find out what was working and be competitive at same time. We struggled competitively but learned so much,” Brubaker said.

Still, a year from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, McLaughlin, who at 16 skates well beyond her years, and Brubaker, 22, are confident they can still establish themselves as that force. They have only been skating together for three years in a discipline where it usually takes years to develop.

“We know we have the ability to be competitive,” Brubaker said. “It’s just …”

“Time,” McLaughlin said finishing his sentence as the best pairs partners do.

“A year so much can change,” Brubaker continued.

“It’s not like we have just one year,” she said.

“Hopefully another four years after that,” he said.

The U.S.’s Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett were 10th in their world championship debut. They scored 52.74 points in the short program. At 15, Denney is the youngest competitor at the worlds. Barrett is 24.

Their rise is remarkable considering they have only been skating regularly since June. Denney and Barrett, who train in Ellenton, Fla., skated together for four months in 2006 before Denney, a former roller-skating champ, decided to move to Colorado with her mother and sister to concentrate on singles. Their stay, however, was brief because her father was in Florida and the separation was tough on the family.

While Denney was in Colorado, Barrett was searching for what to do with his life. He had worked part time as a personal trainer, managed the concession stand in his home rink and had driven the Zamboni. Then Denney moved back and the pair reunited.

At the nationals in January, they finished second earning a trip to worlds, a remarkably arc considering their short time together.

“I appreciate it every day,” said Denney. “It’s not every day you get to go to the world championships, so I’m very blessed.”

Response to post re picking up Gonzalez

March 24, 2009

Yes – I definitely think we should pick up Tony Gonzalez. Steve’s right, the timing is very good because we know Pioli is aggressive and wants to rebuild the Chiefs. Even if it’s for 1-2 years, the guy could help us significantly. Having another player the defense would HAVE to account for would make defending our passing game even more difficult. It might also seriously open up opportunities for Donald Lee and Jermichael Finley in 2 TE sets (which most Packer fans remember, can be a lethal offensive set). Importantly, having yet another passing game worry for defenses might also help open up our sluggish running game as defenses would come into games more concerned about being beaten by the pass.

I say give up a 3rd, or I suppose, I wouldn’t even mind giving up a 2nd round pick like Steve says. TT has so much future orientation in everything he does that I think to balance himself out (and for the good of the team), he could stand to occasionally adopt a “now” orientation.

Another thought: instead of giving up draft picks (which we know TT doesn’t like to do), perhaps he could also get creative and offer a trade of some kind. Offer a 4th rounder and Poppinga – just tell them we think Poppinga is one of the best young LBs in the NFL, pointing out that he’s been starting for a few years now. (But then burn all available video of him so they can’t see how bad he is.)

(By the way, this isn’t the first time Packergeeks has lobbied for Gonzalez. Read here and here. There are other posts too. It’s pretty safe to say that if Steve and I were co-GMs, Gonzalez would be a Packer by now.)

Should Ted Make Another Pass at Gonzalez?

March 23, 2009

Bill Williamson thinks that the Chiefs may use the owners’ meeting in California to seek trade offers for Tony Gonzalez.  Given Ted Thompson’s past interest, any chance he sniffs around again?  Yes, he got burned by Chiefs’ management last year, but there’s a new team in place now — and they’re working hard to grow younger.  Gonzalez is very well-paid but depending on what the Packers would have to give up (obviously) I think he could be worth it.

At the time, I was skeptical about giving up a third-round pick for Gonzalez.  I was wrong.  His success last season, and his ability to fight off consistent double-teams, was truly remarkable.  If Thompson wants to trade down again this year — can there be any doubt that he’ll try? — I’d be enthusiastic about using one of our draft picks, even a second rounder, on Gonzalez.

Obama’s Special Olympics comment

March 20, 2009

I don’t want to drag politics into this blog – but I do want to comment on what President Obama apparently said last night on Leno. For those of you who haven’t heard, read this bit from a USAToday blog:

As we reported last night, Obama and Leno were joking about the president’s bowling ability. Obama said he’s been practicing and recently had a score of 129. That’s not too high, and the president said that it was “like Special Olympics or something.”

As a quick disclaimer, I want to point out that this is not a politically motivated post – I don’t hate President Obama and that’s not why I chose to post this. And I don’t even want to bother writing about the obvious reasons why this comment was out of line. Instead, I want to pick at what in my experience seems like an inaccuracy: specifically, Obama’s generalization that Special Olympians are bad bowlers. (I’d submit that non-Special Olympians as a whole are no better.) A few years back, I volunteered for a Special Olympics bowling tournament in Milwaukee. I was volunteering at one lane in particular where a female athlete bowled a 259…yes, a 259. In her second game, she bowled another 200-something game. She was dialed in, had great form and she was flat-out talented. To this day, that is the highest score I’ve seen someone bowl live. But importantly, her quality scores weren’t the only high scores at the tournament (I’m not even sure she won.) There were a fair number of other athletes with scores over 200.

Again, not a political comment here, I guess I just wanted to share that I’ve had a life experience that made me doubly question Obama’s comment.

Collins Not Reporting

March 20, 2009

This isn’t good.

Nick Collins doesn’t want a new deal before reporting to the Green Bay Packers’ offseason strength and conditioning program. But the Pro Bowl safety would at least like the team to start talking to him about one.

With no negotiations on the horizon, Collins is staying home in Florida and not attending the team’s offseason workouts, which kicked off Monday, an NFL source said Thursday evening.

Collins, 25, was named an NFC starter at safety for the Pro Bowl last month after registering 99 tackles and seven interceptions last season, returning three of those INTs for touchdowns. He has played and started 63 of a possible 66 games during his four NFL seasons, with 11 career interceptions.

Collins, who entered the league as a second-round pick in 2005 and signed a five-year deal, has one year remaining on his rookie contract. His agent, Dave Butz, was not available for comment Thursday night…

Meanwhile, wide receiver Greg Jennings, who was drafted in 2006 but signed only a four-year contract, is also entering the final year of his deal and is the Packers’ top re-signing priority.

The source said the Packers have identified Jennings as the first player to negotiate with on a new deal among a number of key contributors set to become free agents following the 2009 season.

I like Collins and hope the Packers can resign him.  But they’re wise to make Jennings the priority.

Crickets…crickets…

March 20, 2009

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