Archive for April, 2010

Possible Favre not taking a shot at Packers

April 30, 2010

I admit, I hastily read through the Favre quote in the previous post. I’ll also admit I have some lingering ill-will toward the guy. But what I took as Favre taking a fairly clear shot at the Pack by sort of making equivalent 1 year with the vikes to many years with the Pack, others are taking as Favre equating his time with the Vikes as having a sense of belonging kind of like the time he spent with the Pack. At the very least his wording is poor and I’ve trained myself to be suspect of how he words things. But I have to say, it’s also possible he’s not taking a shot at the Packers.

Either way, the bottom line is that the Vikes still have to deal with the waffling now. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

Favre takes another shot at Packers

April 30, 2010

Nice. Read here from a quote Favre gave to Ed Werder. (Thanks 56Coop for pointing this out.) I’m less interested in the bit about the ankle surgery and more troubled by his implication (though it’s more than implicit) that his one year with the Vikings was as meaningful as 10 years with the Packers in terms of his “since of belonging” (which of course should read “sense” of belonging). This from PFT:

Favre indicated that he doesn’t want the surgery but that he might have it because of his affection for the Vikings and his belief that they can win the Super Bowl. “We have spoken,” Favre said in an e-mail to Werder. “To play again, I would need the surgery, as I suspected. This decision would be easy if not for my teammates and the fans and the entire Vikings staff. One year truly felt like 10 — much like Green Bay for many years. That’s what I was missing in my heart I suppose, a since of belonging.”

Favre didn’t have a “since” of belonging in Green Bay? The place that embraced Favre and his family for 16+ years, adoring him and showering a mostly unconditional love on the guy no matter what happened? Maybe he didn’t have a “since” of belonging because he’d dress separately from the other players, not come to camp and avoid other QBs instead of mentor them. I hesitated to publish this post because I didn’t necessarily want to bring back the Favre Wars, but this comment ticked me off. Ok, I was set back for a moment there, but I’ve moved on again.

The only time I’ll ever pay attention to cricket…

April 28, 2010

Sure, cricket is a weird sport that nobody understands. I’m not sure that cricket players themselves even know all the bizarre rules. And sure, it’s pretty much the opposite of NFL football in the gametime excitement department. But for Afghans who don’t have much and who continue to deal with an ongoing, exhausting war – this story about their rising in the cricket world to qualify for cricket’s World Cup is, as the author puts it, “stunning”.

This will mark the first time I will ever follow a cricket tournament of any kind. I will follow this tournament even though the only way I’ll know if Afghanistan has beaten India in Game 1 is if someone clearly states “Afghanistan won”.  And I will follow this tournament even though the game, which is scheduled for May 1st, may not end until May 4th. Go Afghanistan!

Sam Shields, Tramon Jr?

April 28, 2010

Read here from Bob McGinn this morning. Once again, TT has gone after the fastest player who was available in the draft – though Sam Shields signed as a free agent. Clocking in at 4.30 in the 40 – not bad but not quite the 4.06 I ran for my pro day (wearing full pads and moon boots). According to Shields he picked the Pack over 7 other teams because he felt he had a shot to make the team and because he liked the history. I find that when young players reference the history of the Packers, sure in some cases they may be coached to say it, but in most cases it’s usually a good sign of respect for authority and tradition.

Raw seems to be a good word to describe Shields. Tramon Williams was raw when he came into the league too. Both are super fast (will never forget Williams’ rundown of Aevion Cason against Detroit a few years back on Thanksgiving – stands to this day as perhaps the second fastest I’ve ever seen someone run…Usain Bolt). Anyway, there is one key difference between Tramon and Sam. I believe Tramon Williams has already gone through the normal progression of a kick/punt returner. They are often eager to return at first because it means playing time and an opportunity to showcase speed/skills. And because kick returners tend to be a bit more aggressive/reckless early on trying to prove themselves, they are often more productive. But then, after a few big hits, a few costly fumbles, the signing of a nice contract or after getting more playing time on defense or offense, things change – they become more cautious, more hesitant. It happened to Williams, happened to Will Blackmon somewhat, even happened to Desmond Howard after his dominant Super Bowl and other great returners like Dante Hall.

Right now, Sam Shields knows he’ll be fortunate to make an NFL roster. But his qualities of outrageous speed and aggressiveness on special teams could seriously work in his favor. My hope is that the Packers give Shields some kick return duties. He has the potential at least to be scary good. And from a risk reduction standpoint, I would much rather have a rookie who would be way at the bottom of the DB depth chart returning kicks than having our superstar most valuable player (Charles Woodson) do it.

Adalius Thomas anyone?

April 26, 2010

Reader Raymidge (and PFT) reporting that Adalius Thomas has just been released by the Pats. He came to NE a few years ago anointed the next big LB only to fall on his face. But from the reading I’ve done on the subject over time, a fair amount of this had to do with an injury and then a falling out with coach Bill Belichick. Physically, he’s impressive and would certainly fit the bill as an OLB for the Pack. I just don’t know what kind of salary he’d command and if he wants too much, I don’t think I’d bother. But he’s the kind of guy at least worth considering based on just how good he was when he was good. He wasn’t just good, he was unreal.

Faneca or no?

April 24, 2010

This seems to be a question lots of teams may be throwing about right now. Apparently he was cut because he refused to take a pay cut – his 2010 $ number is $7.5 million. That is a steep salary and my guess is some desperate team will come forward and gladly give him that – could end up a bidding war. The guy is still good, though some believe his level of play declined the last two years.

I see Faneca as someone definitely worth considering. Even if his play declined, I sure didn’t notice it as the Jets seemed to run at will. Maybe his pass blocking was suspect or something, but nothing stood out to me as being negative last year for him – and if fact, many accounts indicated he was a real leader on the team.

There are essentially two important questions we need to ask ourselves about Faneca before going after him: 1) would he be able to make the transition from a decade of mostly run-first football to an ostensibly pass-happy team? and 2) would he be worth shelling out at least $7.5 million?

I can say this with certainty: Faneca would be better at left guard than our present LG, Daryn Colledge. No doubt. Even in a new pass-happy system, he would definitely be an upgrade. If the coaches are even entertaining the thought of keeping Colledge as the starting left guard, I would say we should go after Faneca. If we had a line of Tausch, Sitton, Wells, Faneca and Clifton – with some quality, bright, young depth in Lang, Bulaga and Spitz, I would feel a lot better about our O-Line and Rodgers staying upright. OK, I’ve talked myself into it – go after Faneca TT.

TT have concerns about our present d-line?

April 24, 2010

Quick a rundown of the picks…then some comments:

  • T Bryan Bulaga
  • DE Mike Neal
  • S Morgan Burnett
  • TE Andrew Quarless
  • T/G Marshall Newhouse
  • RB James Starks
  • DE CJ Wilson

I was pleased with the Bulaga pick. I think he could help soon if needed and he looks to have serious long-term upside. I liked the Morgan Burnett pick too. We need safety help. In fact, a glance at the roster indicates that right now, safety is one position by total number where we lack. I depart from many by liking the Quarless pick. I saw this guy play and I think he could be an added weapon. We are not necessarily settled at TE. Sure Donald Lee hasn’t been used recently like he once was, but I also don’t know if he’s as adept at getting himself open as he once was. Havner could be decent yet, but I’m not sure. And as great as Finley appears to be, we’re an injury away from needing help. I think bringing in a young TE makes a lot of sense here. I like bringing in a guy like Newhouse too who may have some versatility to play both T or G (though whatever he plays in the NFL, I hope MM and staff start him at that position and keep him there – and my hope is that they’re bringing him in to play guard because that’s one area I think we’re weak at the moment.) Starks in intriguing simply because of some of his numbers, but he also seems to be a carbon copy of Ryan Grant. Tallish, strong, downhill runner. Wouldn’t give us much it seems in the way of a different style, but I suppose having two Ryan Grants running at you all game would get annoying after a while for defenses. (Yet another TT snapped up who has just recovered from a season-canceling injury.)

But I find TTs two picks of DEs very interesting. Much has been written about Jenkins and Jolly being free agents in 2011 etc. BUt one thing I’ve begun to wonder about a bit is this: are the staff and TT truly pleased with the play of the 2 starting DEs? I didn’t think they were that bad last year, especially in the first year of a new scheme. But I also didn’t think they tore it up. I wonder a little bit if TT picked these guys because he simply had them rated highly or if he thinks we need some depth on the line.

Overall, I’d have to say I’m neither disappointed nor pumped about this draft. It got off to a great start I thought with the Bulaga pick Thurs night, but thereafter it sort of faded into non-ness if you will. Perhaps it’s because I’m just not too familiar with the players picked. Perhaps it’s because I’m not convinced some positions of needs were addressed. I should admit that I’m pleased we’ve added 5 O-Linemen through the draft and free agency already. This is an area we need some serious improvement and some serious added depth. I do wish we’d taken a CB or two and maybe another LB (though the lack of attention paid to LB in the draft boosts my hopes for Desmond Bishop playing more). I also am not sure if there just weren’t any good punters available, but we could add another guy or two there.

For those disappointed in the draft, do take a look here – because some of those positions of need were addressed apparently in the free agency chaos. Among others, 3 more O-lineman were signed, 3 LBs, another RB, a CB and a S.

2nd round pick: Michael “no quads” Neal

April 23, 2010

Interesting picture here. This guy has tree trunks for legs. Seems that would be a good thing for holding the line as a DT in the 3-4. His strength is apparently his strength. I find it somewhat interesting TT went for a guy who admits his conditioning hasn’t been great and by extension, someone who allegedly takes plays off here and there. This strikes me as one of those picks TT make where he likes the potential in a guy and has the faith in his coaching staff to develop the guy well.

As far as need, I didn’t see a huge need for a DE. But maybe TT saw this guy’s strength and figured he’d be a natural as a 3-4 DE to hold the blocks/hold the line allowing our LBs to make plays.

Nice Bulaga article by Lori Nickel

April 23, 2010

Read here from Lori. Gotta say, I’m not surprised he’s so excited to be coming to Green Bay both because he knows he’s a natural fit for us but also because, of course, he knows playing for the Packers is the greatest thing…ever.

Bryan Bulaga

April 22, 2010

Great pick, great value.

That’s certainly our view. But it’s also the consensus of virtually everyone who has commented.

The Packers were surprised and thrilled to find Bulaga available. Watching the Ted Thompson press conference, it seemed clear that the pick was close to a no-brainer once Bulaga was actually available. Thompson told reporters that once the Packers were three or four picks away from Bulaga he couldn’t watch. Thompson also said he didn’t seriously consider trading back once he understood that he could pick Bulaga.

The one downside that draft experts have mentioned is Bulaga’s short arms. I would speculate that this concern is one reason that he fell from from very highest ranks of pre-draft projections. Gil Brandt, former Cowboys GM and NFL draft analyst, had Bulaga in his Top 10 overall picks. Draft guru Mike Mayock had him at #13 overall. Virtually every pre-draft assessment or mock draft had Bulaga going well before the Packers’ pick at 23rd.

One thing to like a lot: Bulaga is going to come in with the proverbial chip on his shoulder. He was the fourth offensive tackle taken and the 6th offensive lineman.