Archive for April, 2009

Packers’ 2009 schedule

April 15, 2009

Nice schedule – though brutal finish. Hopefully we’ll have enough wins in the first 11 games so the last 5 won’t be critical. (By the way, wouldn’t it be something if in the last game, the Cardinals brought back a WR named Nate Poole and he made dramatic TD catch with no time left bumping us out of the playoffs and letting the Vikes sneak in.)

Here is the schedule for those who don’t know (from www.packers.com):

Packers sign NT Brian Soi

April 15, 2009

Ok – so what that nobody has ever heard of this undrafted guy who hasn’t actually played a down in the NFL’s regular season. And so what that the Dolphins and Giants both determined he wasn’t good enough to keep. He’s young, he’s huge (6’3″,  334) and he can’t be much worse than the now super-rich, Colin Cole. While I’d rather have someone of more repute than Brian Soi, I need to remind myself to just appreciate that Ted Thompson might, just might, be starting to consider what our need positions are. For a guy who seems to enjoy NOT adding players in need positions through the draft or free agency, I see this as positive – we need more depth on our D-Line.

The Packers’ offseason basketball team hurting?

April 14, 2009

I’m not sure how else to explain the Packers’ decision to have former Duke point guard Greg Paulus come in for a tryout. He was a nationally recognized QB coming out of high school in 2004, but he’s only 6’1″ and 180 pounds and hasn’t played football in 5 years, so I don’t think he’s trying out as a QB.  I’m not sure what they’re doing here. (Actually, I must say, I don’t really mind the Pack giving a tryout to a great athlete – my concern lies in the fact that we have time to have Greg Paulus tryout but apparently little time to give a tryout to a legit veteran defensive player like Vonnie Holliday. Sometimes I worry that TT does things unconventionally just so that a story can be written about how unconventional he is.)

Packers make a trade!!! (of a back-up long snapper)

April 13, 2009

As I read this headline from jsonline, Packers trade Jansen to Panthers for draft pick, I had a momentary brain freeze and I couldn’t remember who this Jansen guy was. I turned my attention to the article with mild excitement as I thought perhaps we’d get a nice draft pick out of this. Then I saw that we traded a back-up long snapper who spent all of last season on IR. I’ll bet Carolina gave up their 8th round pick.

Plax to Bears or Vikes…or, gulp, the Lions???

April 7, 2009

I’m starting to read articles (here and here) that tie the Bears and Vikes to possible interest in the newest free agent Plaxico Burress. Yes, he’s a headache off the field and a total moron – but he’s a major headache on the field too…just ask Al Harris. Both Chicago and Minnesota could use a quality WR. And even though he’ll likely have to head to jail for a bit, I’m pretty confident Plax will come back and be very good once again. I would rate both the Vikes and Bears as having WR groups at or near the bottom of the NFL. Both teams could seriously improve their offenses by signing Plax and if one of them makes this move, I would be concerned as a Packer fan.

But the team I haven’t seen mentioned in any of this Plax talk that could perhaps benefit the most would be Detroit. In a league where creating match-up problems for defenses has become the name of the offensive game, imagine a secondary having to line up across from Calvin Johnson and Plaxico Burress. I don’t care if Duante Culpepper’s mom were QB, that would make for a long day.

My lonely Tarvaris road

April 7, 2009

Interesting article here from si.com re Tarvaris Jackson and Minnesota. Obviously, this guy doesn’t like T-Jack or the Vikings approach – which it’s safe to say, is the consensus opinion.

As many of you know, I think Tarvaris Jackson is good with the potential to be, yes, great. And while I think Brad Childress sucks as a coach, I do agree with his decision to give T-Jack a chance (though I don’t agree with him having a publicly fluctuating confidence in him – you either believe in your guy or you don’t). Now, I can admit, T-Jack’s start to 2008 was weak and he was less than impressive against Philly in the playoffs. But he turned it around later in the season when he got the opportunity. T-Jack finished the year, despite having to average in a weak QB rating in his first three games, with the 5th highest QB rating in the NFL at 95.4. He also finished with 9TDs and only 2 INTs. It’s not a stretch to say he was a key factor in GETTING the Vikes to the playoffs last year with his big games against Arizona and Detroit. (And he did this all with what I still regard as a weak WR group to throw to.)

When Gus Frerotte took over after the 3rd game of the year, he did go 8-3 as the article points out, but that is a statistical anomaly because Frerotte did everything he could possibly do to try to lose games for the Vikes – ending up with 12TDs and 15INTs and a dismal 73.6 rating (which was some 22 points lower than T-Jack’s 2008 rating).

Look, I’m not stubborn enough to say that T-Jack should be the unquestioned starter every year until he retires. He needs to improve and he especially needs to work on his consistency and accuracy if he is going to merit the starter nod going forward. But he should be the starter this year for sure as Sage Rosenfels is not a great alternative. (Sage was brought in for the same reason Mike Sherman often brought people to Green Bay – he played well in one game against the Vikes last year …otherwise, he has been a mediocre-at-best fill-in guy throughout his career.)

I do think one major issue for Tarvaris is not only that his coach is bad, but that his coach just doesn’t have the stones to declare that T-Jack’s THE Man – like Holmgren did with Favre years ago. Now, no, I’m not saying T-Jack is the next Favre, I don’t want to get silly. But I do want to point out that early in Favre’s career, a fair number of Packer faithful were asking for him to be benched due to the interception problem. In Favre’s second year, he had 24 picks to 19 TDS, and a weak 72.2 QB rating. There were lots of people concerned about whether he was good enough to be the QB on an otherwise quality team. But Holmgren, who is/was a stubborn man, stuck with Favre. I think for Favre and the rest of the team, knowing that Holmgren had Favre’s back ended up being a significant psychological factor in Favre eventually leading the team to a Super Bowl victory.

If I were the Minnesota coach (thank God I’m not), I would declare T-Jack the unquestioned starter this year and let him play out the 2009 season. It’s a better approach for T-Jack and for the team too. If he plays like crap, Chilly will lose his job – but Chilly has to know the odds are against Sage Rosenfels coming in and saving the day. What I bet will happen though, is that Tarvaris will play reasonably well but have a bad game or two and Chilly will bench him because he coaches scared and then Sage will come in and have one good game and everyone will think he’s the bomb only to have Sage puke up the rest of his starts leading the Vikes right out of the playoff chase and Chilly right out of a job anyway.

Comment from Bear fan

April 3, 2009

Read this comment re my previous post:

Campbell Says:

The Chicago giddiness is matched only by Green Bay arrogance. “Cutler is decent competition” Are you guys serious? What a risible, uninformed comment. A previous poster used the word “Favred” Let’s hope this “decent competition” hasn’t “Carved” up the Packers AND the NFC North by season’s end. Oh, I forgot..we have Aaron (Mr. Clutch) Rodgers, ergo, we’ll win this division by Halloween.

Yeah, right.

I figured I’d respond first and then let PG readers have at it in the comments section. Campbell, thanks for the comment – you’re always welcome here even if your comments are off the mark. I’m not sure how my comment re Cutler being decent competition is “risible and uninformed”. In his first season as a starter, Rodgers stats were better than any year Cutler has played. Last year, Rodgers had more TD passes (28-25), fewer picks (13-18), a higher QB rating (93.5 to 86). Sounds like a decent competition to me – one in fact that Aaron Rodgers appears to be winning. (Oh, and Cutler’s puke effort at the end of last season wasn’t exactly clutch.)

Giddiness, lameness going on in Chicago for Cutler

April 3, 2009

In the previous post, I essentially argued that the Bears probably gave up too much for someone I don’t think is that great. I still don’t think he’s as good as most make him out to be, but as I’ve thought more about this, suddenly, I am worried that the mere presence of a not-totally-crappy QB may bring a new confidence to a team that was surely headed for mediocrity this year. This trade could be a big psychological boost for a team with a history of QB self-esteem issues. It could have an invigorating effect on a mediocre team that somehow managed to be in the playoff hunt last year. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that from a Packer fan’s perspective, I’m a bit jealous that Jerry Angelo (usually a horrible GM) actually did something in the off-season to energize the team.

This morning, in what can only be described as a torturous exercise, I listened to Chicago’s 670 the Score (nice station name by the way). (I will need several beers tonight to forget that I did this.) I just wanted to confirm that everyone in Chicagoland was going ape…crap about this acquisition. Ape crap doesn’t do it justice. They were out of control. Here are a few quotes from the hosts of the Score this morning on the Cutler trade:

  • it’s like the gift that will keep on giving
  • between now and the season there are plenty of mental fantasies we can think about with him here now (um…OK)
  • so, can we finally say the Bears have the best QB in the NFC Central (he did say Central)? Other guy: No question, no question.
  • God has blessed us all

The only dissenting voice I heard (maybe indirectly responding to the host’s claim that “God has blessed us all”) claimed that Jesus Christ wouldn’t even help this Bears’ team much because there is nobody to throw to (had to be a Packer fan…nice).

As I sit here now, I am seething with annoyance, if one can seethe with annoyance, at the excitement this is generating in Chicago. Just think of all those loser Bear fans who are pumping fists, wearing black (everyone in Chicago always wears black all the time – visiting Chicago is like being at a giant funeral), drinking beers stolen from Milwaukee (Schiltz, Miller, Pabst), celebrating stolen celebrities while they’re at it (Oprah, PGA golfer Mark Wilson) and generally just being giddy and lame in their festivaciousness, as it were. I once said to myself (and then later quoted myself) that there is almost nothing more annoying than fans of an opposing team being giddy. Today Bear fans are giddy.

Again, while I hope this ends up being a huge mistake, I must say, in this era of suffocating GM/Coach conservatism, I’ll tip my hat to taking a chance.

Cutler to the Bears

April 2, 2009

Wow. Read here. Can’t believe the Bears have actually pulled the trigger here. Sounds like they gave up a bunch to get him too:

  • 2 first round picks
  • 1 third round pick
  • 1 poor-beard-growing Kyle Orton

In return they get Cutler and a 5th round pick.

What surprises me is that the Bears actually made an aggressive move. They don’t often do stuff like this. While I hope that this serves as a wake-up call of sorts for Ted Thompson (…that other NFC North teams aren’t just sitting around: Detroit with a bunch of new players, MN as reigning NFC North champs and Chicago now with a reputable QB), I have to say, I am not a big fan of Jay Cutler so I am not as frightened by this signing as other Packer fans.

Look, Jay Cutler is good. He has thrown up some pretty impressive stats since starting for Denver. But I don’t think he’s going to be that good in this division with the Bears. He won’t have Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler and Eddie Royal. He’ll have Matt Forte and that’s about it. Also, in general last season, Orton didn’t get the greatest protection so Cutler could be running for his life (especially from the Pack’s new 3-4).

The best part of this is that really, ever since he came into the league, I have not been a fan of Cutler – seems like a tool – so it won’t be difficult for me to hate him as the new QB for the Bears.

Barnett on the money

April 2, 2009

Sometimes, when I whine about the Packers not doing enough in free agency and not adding needed pieces to the team, I want to stop myself so I don’t just seem like a chronic complainer. But I do it mostly because I really believe more could be done. Well, now I can add Nick Barnett to my side of this argument (according to jsonline)- along with Charles Woodson and LeRoy Butler. All of these guys have talked about bringing in other guys and the need for additional pieces. As Bedard says, the team under TT has been remarkably quiet w/re to speaking out of turn, so Barnett’s refreshingly honest comments are welcome.

“We have Jenkins on the outside, Pickett on the inside; we’ll have Jolly with whatever happens with his situation. But the years that we’ve been very good on defense, we’ve had good depth on the defensive line with some good quality. We have some young guys coming up, but it’s always good to have that very good depth at d-line….but everybody knows we need more guys. Obviously we lost some guys in free agency. It’s not a knock against the guys we have. We can all get better.”

If the Pack struggles or goes even 8-8 or 9-7 this year and TT survives, I would imagine we might start hearing even more of these kinds of comments from players heading into next year. Lots of players and fans are willing to be quiet out of respect for someone else’s job (i.e. TT), but not if that someone is given plenty of time and fails to produce a winner.


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