February 27, 2007
My Hopes for the '07 Off-Season
The depressing gap between the Super Bowl and the NFL draft is now upon us, and along with it comes the opportunity for massive media speculation. As with most people, I know very little about what is actually going to happen for the Packers this off-season. Similarly, I like to talk about important issues like free agency, trades, and the draft as if I actually do know what is going on. So, in the spirit of football boredom and self-aggrandizing observation, I present my two-cents on what the Packers should do this off-season, starting with trades.
I would like to start with the myriad trade rumors floating about concerning the Packers. I'll begin with my personal favorite, the Randy Moss issue. Is he too old? Can he fit in our system? Will his character issues persist in the city of Green Bay? Do we even want him after all those years with the Vikings? Look, whatever has occured in Randy's past is exactly that, his past. I don't care if he pretended to pull his pants down at Lambeau, or that he knocked us out of the playoffs as a Viking, or that he's publicly embarrassed past coaches and teammates. I don't care. Why don't these things bother me as a rabid Packers fan? Two reasons, Charles Woodson and Koren Robinson. Granted, Koren's previous problems followed him into last season, but he looked to be developing quite a chemistry with Brett Favre. Brett hates the Vikings as much as the rest of us, and he could not have cared less about Koren's past. I am excited for the possibility of his return for another year in Green Bay. The similarities between Woodson and Moss are similarly noteworthy. Both men are aging superstars who displayed their playmaking abilities since day one in the NFL. Both have encountered injuries later on in their career, and a significant drop-off in statistics. Both have been considered obnoxious head-cases that exhibit behavior detrimental to their teams. Do I need to review the fantastic season the Charles had in his first year in Green Bay? The man forced more turnovers than any other player in the league. He didn't speak one negative word about the franchise all year long, and he more than lived up to his potential as a difference maker in our improving defense. That being said, I think it is clear that I would love to see Randy Moss in green and gold.
The question then becomes what do we offer in terms of compensation for such a deal. From what I've heard, a third round pick and a reciever would be involved at a minimum. Naturally, I would love to see us send our third round pick and Robert Ferguson to the Raiders for Moss, and would not be particularly upset if went sent Bubba Franks along with him. We could bolster the tight end position in the draft if we got rid of Bubba, but that topic is for another article.
Another intriguing rumor I've heard involves the acquisition of Tatum Bell from the Broncos. While this rumor has not recieved as much attention as the Moss deal, I find it equally interesting. We clearly have a need at running back, whether we re-sign Ahman Green or not. Green is over thirty, and Vernand Morency is nothing more than a very capable change of pace back. While Tatum Bell is a speedy thrasher, similar to Morency, I believe he would be a great fit in our offense. He is familiar with the zone-blocking scheme, possesses the speed that the rest of our backfield does not, and is young enough to carry the load for years. I haven't heard much about what Denver would like in exchange, and that is what concerns me about this deal. If we send a pick to Denver, I wouldn't want to lose any more picks in other trades. I'm also not sure who the Broncos could want in return, since we don't have a viable option at running back. This trade seems less likely than the Moss deal, but then again, I don't know what I'm talking about.
One player currently on the roster who I would like to see utilized in a trade is defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. While he has put up staggering sack numbers in the past, he has not been able to perform well enough against the run on a consistent basis. New head coach Mike McCarthy has even gone so far as to relegate him to spot duty on third down passing situations. Versatile defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins took over as the starter after KGB was benched, and played well enough to earn a lucrative contract extension. Jenkins is a powerful pass rusher with the size to be a constant presence against the run, and comes from an impressive pedigree, as his brother Kris is a pro bowl tackle with Carolina. While KGB has never been able to fit perfectly into the Green Bay system, other teams could show a reasonable interest in acquiring him. His moves have not diminished much at this point in his career, and he can still make an impact play. Sometimes players just need a fresh start to revive their passion for the game. How exactly a trade scenario involving KGB might play out, I have no idea, but do know that I would much rather see his value used on the trade block instead of third down.
July 29, 2005
Thank you Green Bay for maintaining integrity in the NFL! It has been reported that Javon Walker, Grady Jackson, and Cletidus Hunt all showed up for a mandatory player meeting earlier this week. This news marks the end of a holdout threat by these players. While the Packers' management has yet to formally dismiss the possibility of contract negotiations, GM Ted Thompson has stated that their position on renegotiation has not changed.
This comes as great news for Packers and Packer fans alike. Not only have these talented players returned to work to honor their contracts, but they have also relieved some harmful stress on the Packer nation. There have been numerous changes made in the Packers organization this season, from a new GM, to a new defensive coordinator, to the loss of several veterans, to the addition of a highly acclaimed rookie QB. It is clear that the Pack have enough issues to worry about, without having to waste time on innappropriate contract disputes.
While this news is clearly a step in the right direction, there is still work that needs to be done. While these players did not officially hold out, they did make their personal contract issues very public. Now these players have to regain their teammates trust in addition to gearing up for the season. Hopefully these players can leave their personal issues in the past and begin to concentrate on what is best for the team.
As far as winning back the fans goes, I think there is only one thing big Grady and Javon can or need to do. FIRE DREW ROSENHAUS! Walker has already made rosenhaus look foolish by completely disregarding his advice to not attend training camp. It's time for these players to take the next step and find themselves an agent with respect for the game of football. Kicking rosenhaus to the curb would immediately win back the hearts of the Packer nation. I know it would put a smile on my face for a good week.
May 6, 2005
sharper Speaks Out
In a telephone interview on Thursday, darren sharper condemned Brett Favre for his comments on the current javon walker hold-out situation. The former Packers strong safety was overtly critical of the 14-year veteran and future Hall-of-Famer. Not only did sharper question Brett’s right to voice his opinion on the hold-out matter, but also went on to accuse him of conspiring with Packer’s management against his teammate. sharper claims that Favre’s disapproving comments on walker’s hold-out “rubbed him the wrong way. In fact, they rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.” While sharper did not (or could not) name names as far as people who were “rubbed the wrong way,” he did assert that many of those offended by Brett’s comments were current Packer players.
“My reaction is, it’s none of his business,” stated sharper. “javon’s a grown man … besides, it’s not like Brett’s ever been in that position, so he can’t say what he would or wouldn’t do. He’s never been undervalued – so how is it his place to say what javon should be doing?”
It seems to me that there are a couple of mistakes with those forthright comments. First of all, darren sharper is no longer a member of the Packers organization. So it seems rather hypocritical to refer to the situation as “none of (Favre’s) business.” If sharper really thinks (as he stated) that this hold-out situation is “between the player and the team,” then it should be obvious to him that his comments were unwarranted and tactless. Considering walker is one of Brett’s most productive receivers, the hold-out is clearly an issue of concern for Brett and his team. Aside from being the Packer’s leader on the field, Favre has a responsibility to lead his young team off the field as well. It is not only Brett’s business to make his opinion heard, but also his duty to set an example for the rest of the players on the team. sharper is once again mistaken in his assertion that Favre has never been undervalued, considering the year that Chris Miller started over him in Atlanta. This shows a situation in which Favre was clearly undervalued, as Miller couldn't quite manage twenty thousand passing yards or one hundred starts in his illustrious ten year career.
"Players" like darren sharper and javon walker are ruining the NFL. The arrogance of these players is appalling, and they have no respect for the game. What gives sharper the right to accuse Favre of abandoning his "teammate?" walker won't even show up for practice, and has made no recent effort to support his "teammates" in any way. Favre is simply making it clear what he expects of his teammates, and what he considers an appropriate course of action for the current situation. sharper himself recently abandoned his teammates of eight years for their arch rival and a few more bucks. I think sharper and walker need to reassess their idea of a team, and show some respect for both veteran and rookie players alike. It is time for walker to fulfill his contractual obligation to the Packers and the city of Green Bay, and it is time for sharper to concentrate on his new team and teammates. If this pattern of conceit continues, there will be no incentive for Hall-of-Fame players like Favre to return for another season, since they couldn't be sure of who they are playing with, or who is going to throw the next egotistical fit.
May 4, 2005
walker Skips Mini-Camp
Wouldn't you know it, Packer's wide out javon walker has decided to hold out for a new contract. walker has stated that he is willing to sit out the entire season if he is not offered a new contract. This would undoubtedly be a serious blow to the Packer's offensive unit, as walker provided a career-high twelve touchdowns last season. This audacious move comes as no surprise, as walker recently retained the services of the notoriously confrontational agent, Drew Rosenhaus...
Rosenhaus represents several other egotistical players including Terrel Owens (currently holding out), Anquan Boldin (currently holding out), and Mike McKenzie (held out last season). The news of walker's hold out could not have come at a worse time for the Packers, who are currently working with very little room under the salary cap. While the Packers did draft wide reciever Terrence Murphy out of Texas A & M in the second round this year, walker's veteran experience will be extremely difficult to replace. Despite the fact that walker's presence will be missed, I certainly hope the Packer's management does not cave in to his selfish demands. Considering the fact that walker's current contract earns him at least 1.1 million dollars over the next two seasons, it doesn't seem necessary for him to request money that would ultimately come from his "teammates" salaries. Why doesn't walker play out his contract with continued success, and then demand a lucrative contract based on his consistent performance? Is he afraid that he will only have one good season as a wide out? No matter what benefits walker may recieve through his actions, the entire NFL now knows that he does not honor contractual agreements, and is a risk to abandon his team at any time. Veteran quarterback Brett Favre voiced his opinions on the matter, "If javon wants to know what his quarterback thinks, and I would think he might, I'd tell him he's going about this the wrong way... some guys handle (success) the right way, and some don't... We can win without him." True team players like Favre (who has never held out despite being the only NFL player to win three MVP awards) are few and far between in the NFL today. It seems as though greed, envy, and individual aspirations have become the predominant values for many NFL players, and the game is suffering as a result. Does walker even appreciate the fact that the Packers thought enough of him to draft him in the first round in 2002? In any event, his actions do not coincide with the standards and practices of the Green Bay Packers organization (as demonstrated by the trade of Mike McKenzie last year), and should not be tolerated by Packers management.