Read here for jsonline.com’s Greg Bedard interview with footballoutsiders.com – great stuff.
Archive for July, 2009
Packergeeks would like pay respect to one of the great, quietly great, coaches in NFL history – Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Johnson passed away today after losing a battle with cancer.
For years, I have despised the Eagles, especially Eagles fans. I have never really cared for McNabb nor have I been a fan of Jon Runyon’s cheap shots. But I have long admired the job defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has done with that team. He seemed to have an ability to take relatively obscure players and make them household names – something I anticipate we’ll be hearing more about in the coming days. Jim Johnson was a hard-working but efficient coach who just plain got the job done. I admired Jim Johnson and am sad to learn of this news.
Word from Minnesota is that Favre has officially told Brad Childress that he will not be coming out of retirement to play for the Vikes. This is good. While I am plenty frustrated with him for his behavior recently and his flirtation with the Vikes, it’s good that he’s not going to play for them. Though many (apparently including Favre) weren’t so sure he could bring it this year wearing purple, I thought he could have made that team better.
As Trav indicated though, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear his name surface the second Sage or Tarvaris or both start blowing games. For now though, I’m pleased to be able to put this to rest right before camp so that we can focus in on the Packers, the NFC North and the NFL.
Thanks to Stacey P who sent this link to us. She found this link at The Big Lead – Ryan Grant interview where he playfully calls Favre a traitor (though I suspect he may actually believe it).
Read here from Sam Farmer, LA Times. Of particular interest in this article are 2 things:
- Allen calls the Favre waiting game “annoying”. While he is certainly right, it is an interesting choice of words considering Favre is likely to join team any day now.
- Allen also offers up something most might overlook: “It’s easier to play somebody you don’t like,” Allen said. “But it’s that thrill of playing somebody you do like. It’s awesome to hit them in the back of the head. Because then when you see them in the off-season, you can say, ‘Hey, remember when I tattooed your face to the ground.” —– While most readers may have looked past this and passed it off as tough guy DE rhetoric, to me it supports the growing suspicion among many in the NFL that Allen is simply a dirty player. I wouldn’t bother writing this right now if he hadn’t had several questionable plays last year – and I wouldn’t write it if the NFL hadn’t also expressed concern about these questionable hits. I just think this is one of those loose/free-flow comments that end up revealing more about one’s character than one realizes.
Sorry for the short break from Packer coverage – though I must say, Packer world has been dull lately. Anyway, I hate to quote another anonymous source, but another anonymous source passed on some quality info to me today: apparently, Childress said Favre is on the Vikings if Favre wants to play there. But this source also indicated Childress expressed frustration about trying to prepare for the season without the QB position firmly determined.
I still believe Favre has already signed with the Vikings and that he really is just waiting to announce it. The part of me that still has respect at least for what Favre did to help the Packers win, wants to point out that it’s possible that the timing of Steve McNair’s sad death came right around the time Favre planned to announce his return. Favre and McNair were somewhat close so Favre may have decided to postpone his announcement until things settled a bit. On the other hand, the bigger part of me that is really just ticked at Favre, wonders if the delay is due to Favre wanting to make sure his announcement comes at a time when it will capture the maximum amount of attention. (Actually, Favre saying he’ll decide by July 30th would support the idea that Favre just wants to wait until closer to the time that fans tune back into the NFL – the start of training camp).
Read this brief update from profootball weekly:
The Cowboys are playing around with using Marion Barber and Felix Jones — something it did sparingly last season when the two were healthy — on the field at the same time. It doesn’t have to be in traditional, two-back sets, either; Jones has the flexibility to split out and motion into or out of the backfield.
Normally such an insignificant off-season bit piece, especially about the Cowboys, wouldn’t register on my NFL radar. But this just makes sense to me and I wonder why more teams don’t do it. It seems that in the last 15-20 years at least, teams have quietly obeyed some unwritten rule that they should NOT play 2 RBs at the same time. Now, I’m not including FBs here, just RBs – and I’m not referring to the now popular sharing of the running load by 2 RBs (Chris Johnson, Lendale White, etc). My question is: why don’t more NFL and even college teams consider putting 2 talented backs on the field at the same time? Just think of the match-up issues it could cause for the defense? Imagine for a moment…when the QB drops back and 2 talented RBs are lined up in the I formation behind him – a defense would immediately have to account for a variety of play possibilities for just the 2 RBs – not to mention any talented WRs or TEs or even a sneak or roll-out by the QB. With the traditional FB and RB backfield, defenses can almost count out the possibility of a FB getting a hand-off or pass and even if they do, FBs are usually too slow to do much damage. But having to account for 2 play-making RBs would be a very different story.
It got me thinking of the trouble a defense would have accounting for Jason Witten, Roy Williams, Barber and Jones on the same play; or, Jerious Norwood, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White on one play; or Darren Sproles, LT, Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson on one play. This idea isn’t necessarily new – we’ve already seen this 2RB game plan have some success with Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and the Saints and even Darren McFadden and Felix Jones when at Arkansas – it’s just not used as much as it should be.
I am a big proponent of any offensive philosophy that focuses on creating mismatches and being unpredictable. That may be an obvious offensive focus, but few offenses are able to consistently create mismatches and be unpredictable over time. I’m a bit surprised Mike McCarthy hasn’t experimented with something like this 2 RB set. Perhaps putting Grant and Wynn or Wynn and Jackson out there for the same play would cause coverage issues for defenses. (Or Lumpkin and Tyrell Sutton – who knows). Granted, a present Packer 2 RB set wouldn’t be the nightmare that defending Barber and Jones simultaneously would be, but it could be a needed creative boost that at least makes other teams have to account for more play options. McCarthy already has introduced (or perhaps re-introduced) the novel idea of using 5 WRs at the same time – so I could see him warming to an idea like this.
While many NFL fans/bloggers/media-types (including Packergeeks) have focused on Favre/Vikings news, I am growing more and more interested in another Viking story – the holdout by Antoine Winfield. I read recently (forgive me, I can’t recall the source), that Winfield is simply asking to be paid as a top 10 NFL cornerback. If this is even close to being true, the Vikes must be on crack for not having this figured out yet. In my opinion, Winfield is one of the top 2 or 3 corners in the NFL right now behind Asomugha and maybe Charles Woodson. Despite his shorter stature, he plays big, he hits hard, he is a stellar open-field tackler, has tremendous instincts and often draws the most talented WR from the opposing team. I realize he is 32 years old, but he can still play at a very high level. I would be surprised if Vikings’ management didn’t give a little in these negotiations soon – a Vikings’ defense without Winfield would be a lot easier for opposing offenses to attack.
St. Paul Pioneer Press claims that Favre has put a deposit down already on an Edina Condo.
Again, deal is done. Vikes are just waiting for the right time to announce the signing – apparently they will be requiring those who purchase Packer game tickets to also buy tickets for the pre-season game against the Chiefs – which would have otherwise sold 10-15 tickets, experts estimate.