- Just once, I would like to see MM gather his special teamers or his defense before a critical play in the game and give them a talk or at the very least, remind them of the importance of what’s going on. Maybe he did that – I don’t know I wasn’t at the game – but I doubt it because I haven’t seen him address the defense as a whole or the offense as a whole or ST as a whole. He’s the coach – he needs to step in sometimes and help re-focus his players – especially the special teamers who by the end of the game, had clearly lost focus. Other coaches would have done that. Some might say that’s not MM’s style, but you know what…then he needs to adopt that style. As a coach you need to be very involved IN THE MOMENT. I have a post coming on this very topic. I don’t question MM’s dedication to the team etc or his will to win. He is a likable guy whom I know doesn’t sleep after losses like this. He cares, I know he does. But what I do question this year is his ability to be IN THE MOMENT with the team. His critical decision-making and sense for the game is not like it was last year – when I thought it was quite good. By the way, I have always questioned Lovie Smith’s ability to be IN THE MOMENT. That guy seems to have no clue and he never says anything to anyone on his headset. Sorry, but sometimes he looks high or something.
- This is the 3rd or 4th game I remember seeing Mason Crosby kick that go nowhere kick. You know what I mean. The 38 yarder to win the game was low and plenty bad, yes. But his first miss was even worse – and we’ve seen him do that several times now in bad weather. Kicking a field goal in weather like that does take extra concentration and kicking field goals is not an easy thing to do in the first place. But for professional kickers who do it every day – kicking a 38 yarder when there is no precipitation or major wind, shouldn’t be that difficult even if it’s 0 degrees. Mason Crosby owns a lot of this loss because the team actually put him in a great position to win the game. I suppose the ST’s O-Line also owns some of it for allowing Alex Brown penetration – though the kick still should have been higher than it was at that point in trajectory.
- When the Packers had the ball at the Bears’ 3 yard-line and we called 3 pass plays, I really wondered. Grant had begun to create some running room for himself just prior to that and the Bears D seemed to be a bit tired. Now, I can’t fault MM necessarily for calling 2 of the pass plays because we’d lost 5 yards on the first pass play. But my point is that down by the goal line, he seems to get it in his head that we either need to pass all 3 downs or run all 3 downs. Of course, neither answer is correct – a good play mix is what is needed.
- I disagreed with the announcers when they kept saying “Rodgers and the offense are fine”, it’s just defense and special teams. While I agreed that over the season we’ve had an unreliable D and ST, I don’t think our offense is fine. I would love to see a stat on how many run plays we ran that gained us 2 yards or less. I would bet nearly 75% of our plays had that result. What I really don’t like is that we have “obvious run plays”. Sort of like Sherman’s U-71 package with Kevin Barry – everyone knew it was coming…of course the difference is that back then we had such a good o-line we’d still get yards on it. We start with the obvious run offensive set: there is always a FB, maybe a TE shifting around seemingly cluelessly in the backfield (last night anyway), 1 or 2 WRs and Grant. I think MM might say when he calls in the play. “Ok Aaron, we’re going to run an “obvious run play” to Clifton’s side”. I think what happens is that the defense simply sees the grouping on the field for the Pack, stacks the box, sees the line go one way, sees Rodgers hand-off obviously in one direction – all leading to another no-gainer. I can hear those who don’t like people criticizing play-calling saying: what would you propose? How about giving the ball to Grant on less obvious run plays – LIKE THE FREAKIN’ SCREEN PLAY FOR THE TD!!! I just don’t understand why they didn’t try a few more screens last night. Or calling running plays with a 3-4 WR set. The one screen they did run worked beautifully in part because they had either a 3 or 4 WR set (not sure), and it looked very much like the Pack was calling their “obvious pass play”. We fooled them badly – that was a great play call by MM. Or how about misdirection plays where everyone goes one way and Rodgers runs a naked bootleg keeper himself the other – or throws a screen to Grant running the opposite way of the blocking or just having Grant run opposite the blocking direction. Last year I thought MM was really good at that – at crossing defenses and making them have to guess re what’s coming next. This year, it seems so predictable. So in long, the offense too owns some of the responsibility for all of this.
- When I really got to thinking about the above point, it made me realize one thing: Aaron Rodgers has had a hell of season. Not just a good season/good for him kind of thing. He’s had a hell of a season. To operate as he has in what has been a fairly predictable offense with a weakish run game and a shoddy O-Line, is a credit to his accuracy and his quick thinking that leads him to take whatever he’s given by the defense. The only thing I’d have him work on is the hand-off. Just making a bit more subtle and less obvious – again, of all people to consider for an example, Seneca Wallace is quite good at disguising the direction of the play because of his hand-off style.
- Did anyone hear Poppinga’s name all night? Why is he on the field? I’ll tell you why. He is very popular in the locker room and in Green Bay. He’s funny, very bright and people really like the guy. I even like the guy. But that won’t interfere with my ability to see that he does nothing. It’s really weird that nobody in the organization has the sense to fairly rate him on his play and not on whether they like him or not. He is so absent on the field it is absolutely unreal. Bishop was on the field for some ST plays and in his 45 seconds of total play, he managed to make a phenomenal tackle on Hester – preventing a big gainer (while being held by someone no less). There is a stubbornness among coaches/staff that is really starting to concern me and remind me of Mike Sherman.
- Hawk is really…slow.
- Chillar may not be too bad. He made a few mistakes last night, but I am getting more of the sense that if he were playing next to competent LBs, he might be pretty good.
- Our defense last night did play with some abandon. The D-Line woke up (and again switching Kampman around made a big difference). Montgomery, Pickett, Jolly, Kampman – all of those guys played quite well. Our secondary was mostly solid (though we probably could have had 3-4 more picks) and the LB play while weak, wasn’t killing us.
- One interesting thing about Aaron Rouse is that coming into the NFL, the knock on him was that he tended to be inconsistent w/re to being the physical presence many think he should be (at 6’4″ and a good number of pounds). Last night, he looked physical and played pretty well – but he’s had other games this year where he’s been tentative and and not as involved as I think he should have been. Maybe with time, he can perform more like he did last night (outside of the boneheaded ST play he made that essentially gift-wrapped the game for the Bears).
- We should have won that game. We totally outplayed the Bears and it didn’t help that they were gifted that TD by being arbitrarily given that first down (and we didn’t challenge it of course either). The Bears last night proved to me to be a really bad team. How the Bears are 9-6 I’ll never understand – they looked more like a 4-11 team than a 9-6 team.
Archive for the ‘green bay’ Category
Read here from Greg Bedard at jsonline this morning. He argues that the Packers should consider off-season acquisitions of both Jason Taylor from the Redskins and Albert Haynesworth of Tenn. Some may find Bedard’s inclusion of Taylor here a bit odd considering how poorly he’s played this year for Washington. The easier article would have focused on just Haynesworth, who is an obvious player the Packers should pursue very hard – a special player for whom the Packers should be willing to cough up huge money. (Imagine a line of Kampman, Pickett, Haynesworth and Jenkins). But he makes a compelling argument for just picking up both players.
Now, I don’t totally disagree with Bedard’s argument in part because his argument today is similar to the ones Packergeeks made prior to this season. I do think that if we could have both Haynesworth and Taylor on the team next year, we would be in really good shape on the D-Line. (Haynesworth alone, in fact Haynesworth on the line by himself would make it a better line – perhaps we could acquire him and play a 1-7-4 line-up…) Taylor has been weak for Wash this year, but if he were playing on a D-Line with Kampman, Pickett and Haynesworth (vs being on Wash’s weaker line), I would imagine Taylor could get back to causing problems for opposing offenses.
But I have 2 main thoughts after reading this article: 1) if the Pack goes after Taylor, they shouldn’t overpay for him and/or get into a bidding war with another team; and 2) as much as I would like to have both players on the roster, I think it may be time to switch to a 3-4 defense. Year after year, I watch the Steelers pick up LBs (some even cut by other teams like James Harrison) and make superstars out of them. Dick LeBeau for some reason gets less credit than the Jim Johnsons and Monte Kiffins of the world and I don’t get it. Teams should be analyzing every move this guy makes and doing everything possible to simply copy what he does. He is a defensive genius and the fact that he believes the 3-4 line-up is a better scheme should be reason enough to at least consider making this change.
Of course, the problem for the Packers is that we have a weak LB group. So, I would recommend we spend some money in free agency, cut Poppinga, let Bishop have a chance, give Lansanah a chance – do anything necessary to come up with 4-5 high quality LBs to make this work.
In Bob McGinn’s jsonline article this morning, Ted Thompson said this:
“I feel bad for these guys because they play hard and I think they deserve better,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “I’m responsible for that, ultimately. It’s been a hard year.”
For some reason, I find his taking some ownership of this situation…comforting. Not sure why. I guess I just didn’t expect such a frank ownership statement like this from him. I am comforted because I do think this season is somewhat his fault – though it’s nowhere even close to being entirely his fault as some might contend. His handling of the Favre situation, at the very least, escalated an already bad situation (though I am still glad he managed to work out a decent trade to get something in return). His handling of Rodgers (the mid-year massive contract, the Favre situation, and keeping 2 rookie back-up QBs) perhaps served to add pressure on a guy who was already under tons of pressure. He hasn’t ensured that the team has high quality back-ups – or I would argue, starters for that matter (I’d say 30-40% of our starters may not start elsewhere). He and McCarthy may not have assembled that great of a coaching staff. And, there is developing reason to suspect he may have some Sherman-like loyalty issues to players who chronically under-perform (Poppinga, how Frost lasted longer than 2 games I’ll never know).
Still, something tells me that because he has been watching every game this year like we all have and because he still does seem to have a quality eye for talent, TT will be more active this off-season in terms of exploring and signing some free agents – and/or perhaps by altering his draft approach some (i.e. being willing to trade up or drafting for need). One good thing is that it’s looking more and more like we may end up with a decent pick in the draft because we suck this year and remember, we’ll also have the pick for Favre which could be a 2nd rounder I believe if the Jets make the playoffs.
As I’ve noted before, if TT doesn’t make something good happen in the off-season, I’d be surprised if the Packers do well next year and even more surprised if TT sticks around after next year.
Read below for Cindy’s appropriate comparison of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. I was in the middle of writing a post on the topic of Rodgers’ leadership when I read this question so I put all of my thoughts into this response. Here is the great question:
I agree with most of what’s inyour article. But I am wondering about Rodgers as a leader. I look at what Matt Ryan is doing in Atlanta. The rookie comes in and becomes team leader. Why is Rodgers not coming in and taking over? Is it his personality? Is he being hampered by management? Would a come-from-behind victory “make” him a leader? I would be interested to hear your take on this.
Here are my thoughts:
- Expectations. The circumstances the two QBs stepped into were quite different. While both may have had fairly high expectations put upon them for this year (Ryan because he was the #1 pick, and we know why for Rodgers), there were different expectations for each team. The Packers were still expected to be good and the Falcons weren’t. So, I think it can be a bit easier to win over teammates/fans/coaches when the expectations aren’t so high.
- Fractured team. Rodgers inherited a team that had been freshly fractured by an ugly split with Favre. We don’t know probably half of what really went on, but think it’s safe to say it had the effect of disrupting at least a little bit, the cohesion of the team moving forward. Ryan inherited a very bad team that was excited about getting a fresh start with a new coach, an exciting new RB and some new players.
- Coaches. Right now, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Mike McCarthy has had an off year. Whether it be play-calling, personnel decisions he does have some control over or managing his players effectively (for example, teaching how not to get penalized) – Mike McCarthy hasn’t been very good. He was very good last year, not this year. Mike Smith has out-coached McCarthy and most other coaches this year (could win coach of the year). I would argue that Smith’s quality coaching and his quality game planning week in and week out have set Ryan up to succeed which helps him to step more credibly into his leadership role.
- Winning. This seems basic, but winning helps a lot in terms of establishing credibility as a leader. Frankly, it is a major reason why I was bothered by the Favre split. He had credibility as a winner because he’d won more games than anyone in NFL history. When a QB wins frequently, they have the luxury of being given perhaps more credit than is fair thrown their way. And this has the effect of the QB building confidence in himself, but also builds the team’s confidence in him.
- Running game. Ryan Grant has been only OK this year and our O-Line has been weak. Michael Turner has dominated and has won me many fantasy games. Having such a consistent and powerful running game takes a lot of pressure off the QB – especially in the clutch. For example, Ryan didn’t have to do much in OT yesterday because Turner was running wild.
- Rest of the team. Rodgers has had to battle his own defense and special teams this year. They have set Rodgers up in several games to fail. While Atlanta’s D and special teams aren’t phenomenal, they are at least competent. This also takes pressure off a QB, leading to more victories and therefore, more credibility as the team leader.
- Winning in the clutch. Cindy hits on a key reason why Rodgers doesn’t appear now to be the leader that Ryan is. Ryan has won I believe several games down the stretch with some good throws. I saw him beat Chicago when he completed a very clutch sideline pass with almost no time left that set up the winning field goal. His team knows that there is precedent now for him to lead them to victory when things get tense. This is a precedent Rodgers has not yet set. Rodgers has had 7 chances to do so this season and hasn’t delivered yet. He needs to do this to establish precedent.
I like Aaron Rodgers and think he’s very good. And, I think teammates and others actually do regard him as a good young leader (albeit a developing young leader). I have been impressed by what he’s done this year and believe it’s mostly just a matter of time before he leads comebacks and becomes that mentally tough QB that opposing teams will worry about…especially in crunch time. But it’s imperative that he win a close game, by making a great play or two at a critical time, soon. Either this year or early next year. If he doesn’t do it soon, it could become an ugly mental obstacle for him and potentially affect his ability to be viewed as a credible leader. Ultimately, I expect Rodgers to be a good leader and as this team evolves and hopefully becomes better, I actually think people will start talking about how good of a leader he is.
- Our defense is as clutch as Scott Hoch or Greg Norman at the Masters or the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowls, or Andy Roddich in any tennis major, etc, etc.
- Ryan Grant has had a sub-par season. I still don’t think he’s terrible, but he just has not been that good. It is interesting that whenever Jackson gets the ball on 2nd downs or is in for a full series that he does better. Jackson does of course get most of his work on easy-yardage downs like 3rd downs. But the curious thing to me is that when he’s in on other downs, he does get more yardage than Grant.
- I have been watching other games frequently due to fantasy stuff (and I hate to admit this, but due to the Packers predictable games being somewhat dull) and I have noticed that we are really one of the only NFL teams I have watched who seems incapable of opening up a giant hole for our RB at least a couple times a game. I watched Thomas Jones scoot through 3-4 enormous holes yesterday, Willie Parker, LeRon McClain and even Derrick Ward against a solid Dallas D. I feel like I could count on 2 hands the number of times there has been a gaping hole created by our O-Line. My point here is that I think our O-Line is nowhere close to mediocre right now – it’s piss poor and I suspect it’s both a talent issue and a scheme issue.
- Grant has had a few nice screens lately. I like that they are using him this way and I hope it continues in the future. He is their lead back and prior to the last couple weeks, he’s had very few receptions. He has decent hands and the screens they ran yesterday worked really really well – actually, really good blocking even by our poor O-Line helped too.
- Oh – Poppinga still sucks. Doesn’t do anything at all. Why Bishop didn’t get a chance after the previous week I’ll never know. I know Bishop made a couple mistakes against Houston, but I would start the guy based on his 2 forced fumbles alone – even if he’d made 50 other mistakes.
- Charles Woodson continues to make incredible plays. I can’t pretend to know exactly how well he’s helping with coverage etc and doing other safety-like things, but I’ve noticed this year in particular that he is a very tough tackler. He had a high tackle on Jones-Drew at one point that would have resulted in 4 extra yards against anyone else, but Woodson stood him straight up and threw him down. Never thought strength was one of his qualities, but maybe it is. Anyway, he is fantastic.
- We’re seeing pretty quickly how the absence of James Jones may have hurt this team. He has unreal hands and if we could ever get into a good game flow, he could help us create huge match-up problems all over the field.
- Kapinos is good. It is really true that return guys struggle to adjust to the different spin from a lefty- it looked like a couple of those fair catches yesterday were almost lucky because the guy looked unsure of how it would come to him.
- There seems to be this sense of resignation about this team. Not only has the defense made huge errors to essentially end games, but there seems to be almost a mental fatigue that sets in with everyone. One criticism I did have of Favre, especially the 2 seasons before last year’s 13-3, was that he’d get this loser face look sometimes, even in close games – a look of resignation like “I know we’re going to lose, what’s the use?” I feel like this team kind of gets this look – sometimes even when we’re ahead! It’s hard to describe and obviously quite a subjective thought, but it’s something I’ve seen. Last year, I actually had some confidence that if we fell behind, we’d figure out a way to get back in the lead. Now, I have zero confidence that will happen. I sort of feel like once we fall behind, the game is over. That’s not good. Of course, the only way to reverse this is to reverse the end result, and pull out one of these close games.
- Tramon Williams has fallen off some since playing so well for Harris earlier. He still can blanket receivers mostly because of his unreal closing speed, but I wonder sometimes if he’s just too small to contend with some of th bigger stronger receivers – can’t seem to get around them so well. Still, he hasn’t been terrible and I still am excited by his potential.
- This team doesn’t seem to have a leader. I think the coach was seriously distracted this off-season (Favre, having a baby, getting married recently , etc – not really stuff I blame him for), I think Rodgers is too new to be a great leader (more on this in a coming post), and the defense doesn’t seem to be a cohesive unit perhaps because of questions re its coordinator and ongoing defensive scheme-communications problems.
Normally, the spot-on Jason Wilde from the WSJ is all over important Packer issues, making astute observations, giving valuable insight. If you don’t go to madison.com to read his Packer articles, start going there now. He is one of the best.
But even Wilde misses it here in his article on the Packer linebacker situation. Both Wilde and Bedard strongly imply in their respective articles on this situation that perhaps it’s AJ Hawk who should be benched. Actually, Wilde doesn’t “imply” this – he states it (or explies it, new word) when he says “might the coaches consider a lineup of Chillar, Bishop and Brady Poppinga?”. That now makes it 3 quality, sensible Packer writers (Wilde, Bedard and Silverstein) who haven’t thought to suggest that it should be Poppinga who should be benched. I’m very surprised by this.
As I’ve been posting ad nauseam, there is a right-in-front-of-your-face-logical solution to this mess: start Chillar, Bishop and Hawk – perhaps moving Hawk back to his more natural position of weak-side and having Bishop man the middle. It was this sentence, when Wilde paraphrased from Winston Moss, that I was most concerned about:
“He (Moss) just wants to see more evidence before recommending any bold moves.”
How about 3 years of nothing from Poppinga? That enough? How about the fact that Bishop contributed more in Sunday’s game than Hawk or Poopinga (typo?) have in a single game in their entire careers? And, why not make “bold moves” at this point. There is virtually zero playoff chance, the defense has been bad most of the season and the sooner we know what Bishop can do on the field (though any sensible Packer fan already knows he can play), the better off we will be for the off-season (knowing who to acquire/draft) and the better off we’ll be heading into next year.
STEVE ADDS: I’m with Andy. Poppinga, as we’ve written here before, has the talent and enthusiasm to be a really good special teams player. Very few of the men who wear an NFL uniform jump on the pile at the end of a play with the eagerness and ferocity of Poppinga.
Bishop needs more time. Now is the time to give it to him. His season so far has been marked by big plays and missed assignments. That suggests to me that if he were to learn the scheme and get comfortable with his role, he could cut down on the missed assignments and make more big plays. Maybe I’m wrong. Let’s find out. He seems to have the instincts of a difference-maker.
Read more on all of our LB mess from Tom Silverstein this morning. I’m a little surprised Silverstein didn’t ask someone in the Packers organization about why Poppinga seems to get a free pass all the time – why Poppinga shouldn’t sit so that the 2 guys who are far more likely to make plays can play (Chillar/Bishop).
But it was this quote that to me was the most concerning – from Desmond Bishop talking about why he likely won’t start:
“I don’t think it’s about what you do,” Bishop said of getting the starting call. “I think it’s beyond that. It’s something else. I don’t know what it is, but it’s definitely something beyond what you do on the field.”
If there is any truth to Bishop’s comment here, and I am really beginning to worry there is, this is getting ridiculous and my concerns re player over-loyalty are increasing. Who makes the decision re starting LBs? Who is failing to see what seems so abundantly clear to so many fans? It’s got to be hard for Bishop to be told he needs to just keep waiting in the wings when the guys in front of him don’t do anything for 13 games with zero consequence. And, though I’m sure he wasn’t happy when Barnett got hurt, part of him had to be excited for the opportunity to play, after all, he was the back-up middle LB. Then, Hawk was thrown in front of him as the replacement at middle linebacker. Silverstein is right, Bishop did blow the coverage on Owen Daniels and that was a costly mistake. The Chester Taylor miss in the Vikings game, however, had more context than Silverstein gave: Bishop just walked onto the field after replacing the injured Barnett and Taylor made an amazing move that Barnett, considering how he’d been playing this year, most likely would have fallen for too). But Bishop also made plays – important plays (as Silverstein points out). We haven’t had a LB do that for a while it seems.
I’m getting very frustrated with the Packers on this one. As reader Bucky asks: who is the stubborn one keeping Poppinga on the field? Is it Sanders, McCarthy, TT or a combination of all three? (I would throw Winston Moss into the mix because I think he was the one who determined earlier in the season that Brady outplayed Chillar for the starting spot). Whoever it is – PLEASE READ THIS POST AND BENCH POPPINGA NOW!!!
Tom Silverstein had an interesting article at jsonline this morning re the play of AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop. He argues that in one game at the weak-side LB spot, statistically Bishop pretty much played as well as Hawk ever has in his whole time here (at least that’s what I believe Silverstein was driving toward). It is a good article as it tackles head-on Hawk’s poor play this year.
After watching Bishop Sunday, though, my first thought wasn’t about him outplaying Hawk at Hawk’s natural position, it was this: how the *&^@%$) can Brady Poppinga still be starting? Both Chillar and Bishop are so clearly better than Poppinga. It just doesn’t make sense. Mason Crosby should be playing in front of him! I still can’t believe TT gave Poppinga a fat contract extension earlier in the year. We have 3 games left this year and Poppinga has started and played a lot in all 13 games. Give Lansanah a chance, give Chillar a chance, give Bishop a chance, maybe try Hawk at strong-side. Anything. But don’t keep putting Poppinga at strong-side game after game – there is no upside to doing this. And don’t give me this “we like him rushing the QB crap”. He has 3 freakin’ sacks in his…CAREER! Cut your losses TT – admit you made a mistake. The guy can’t play. And now is the time to learn about who can play. Hell, if Chillar is healthy this week, start Chillar at weak-side, Hawk at strong-side and Bishop in the middle – sure couldn’t be worse than any other combination used this year. Or, if Chillar is not healthy, try Lansanah at strong-side. Anyone other than Poppinga. Should the Poppinga and Harrell sagas continue to drag on (especially now that Harrell is hurt…again…with something different…again), I’ll really worry that TT possibly has Mike Sherman-like over-loyalty problems.
Also adding to the confusion:
- why did we cut Abdul Hodge who looked SO good in pre-season.
- why didn’t Chillar beat out Poppinga in the first place – Chillar is much better than Poppinga and this seems obvious.
- why wouldn’t Bishop have been inserted as starting middle LB when Barnett got hurt. After all, HE was the back-up MLB, not Hawk – and while Hawk looked OK in his first game at MLB, he hasn’t looked good there since.
UPDATE: Thanks Aaron over at cheeseheadtv.com – the article mentioned above was written by Greg Bedard, not Tom Silverstein. Also, check out this recent update from the jsonline blog re possibility that Chillar may start this week – AT WEAK-SIDE LB! I just don’t understand this. Poppinga’s job security just baffles me, especially a week after Bishop made big plays. Chillar was brought in as strong-side competition – so why not bench Poppinga, put Chillar on the strong-side, Hawk on the weak-side and Bishop in the middle. Or, Hawk in the middle and Bishop on the weak-side. Any way they do it – GET POPPINGA OUT OF THERE! Though Bishop did make a few mistakes Sunday for sure, Poppinga makes many mistakes every Sunday but makes matters worse by having zero big-play potential. Sorry to get so worked up about this. I’m usually more measured. But I have tried for nearly 3 years (since Brady has started) to see what they see in this guy. Can’t see it. And I also do recognize that the porous D-Line makes linebacking signficantly harder. Still, now is the time to experiment so that we don’t waste time doing it early next year – and benching Poppinga is a great place to start.
Read here from Jason Wilde. While it’s never good when someone goes down (especially Tauscher – easily one of my favorite Packers), the timing of this injury may be “good” for a couple reasons: 1) how the Packers perform in the remaining 3 games doesn’t really matter now that they are almost completely out of the playoff hunt and 2) as Wilde points out, Tauscher’s contract is up at the end of the year. While it stinks for Tauscher because he might have been a sought after free agent and he might have landed a nice contract, the knee injury might make him less attractive on the market thereby giving the Pack a better chance of retaining him for a value.
As much as I like Tauscher and in previous years thought he was massively underrated, I can admit that he has only been OK this year. Still, I would much rather keep Tauscher going forward than Clifton (who was overrated in 2007 and exposed in 2008).
UPDATE: Oops- in my earlier post…didn’t clarify what I meant by “screwed”. Simply meant that Woodson may have had a chance at Defensive Player of the Year if his team were more competitive. Some of the national folk (and the NFL itself) have recognized him as being exceptional this year.
Not sure I’ve seen a player make as many great plays in one year on defense (especially a Packer) than Charles Woodson has this year. His leaping-over-another-player take down of Steve Slaton was as impressive a play from DB as I’ve seen in a long time. While some might argue that he has just been blessed with the opportunity game after game to make tons of plays because nobody else is making them, I’d first laugh and acknowledge there’s some truth in that, but then add that the kinds of plays he’s making (diving to break up pass plays, aggressive and sure tacking, interceptions for TDs, QB pressures, etc) are special by themselves. While few players on our defense will get good grades from me at the end of the season, regardless of what he does the rest of the way, Woodson gets an A.