Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A moment to reflect

Like everyone, I am overwhelmed at the sight of the total devastation of New Orleans, Biloxi and the entire Gulf Coast from LA to AL. The direct impact of Hurricane Katrina on millions and millions of lives is incalcualable. The broader impact upon the entire U.S. will take years to determine.

In the meantime, those of us who are not in the direct impact zone can remember our fellow citizens in our thoughts and prayers and, if we are able to do so, make a contribution to one of the charities engaged in immediate relief efforts. If you care to donate through the Red Cross, click here. You will be taken directly to the Red Cross donation page. Just select the Hurricane 2005 Relief cause.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's simple: no Simon

Apparently it didn't take GM Ted Thompson long to decide the price to be paid to go after DT Corey Simon was too much to risk for the potential reward. It also apparently didn't take coaches long to figure out that Bernard Holsey, whom they auditioned yesterday, also was not an upgrade over the present set of players now in the mix. While they have hoped that some of the younger players, particularly Donnell Washington and James Lee, would have stepped up in the opportunity to oust Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt that hasn't happened. Kenny Peterson had a good game against the Patriots and if he shows that same spark in the last pre-season game against the Titans might find himself a regular part of the mix.

At this time, "ends Aaron Kampman and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, tackles Corey Williams, Jackson and Hunt, and swingman Cullen Jenkins appear to have nailed down six of the projected nine jobs in the defensive line," according to today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The other three who appear to be most likely to make the cut are R-Kal Truluck, rookie end Mike Montgomery and Colin Cole. Washington and Lee could find themselves looking for work.

GM Ted Thompson is quoted as saying, "I think at the end of the day our quality will be fine. I think players will have to play roles just like we anticipated in the spring." Let's hope that role playing is good enough to do the job for the entire season and through the playoffs.

Monday, August 29, 2005

DT help on the way?

With the question marks at the defensive tackle positions -- i.e., Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt -- the Pack is today auditioning veteran Bernard Holsey, who has been out of football for a year after being a starter at both tackle positions for the Redskins in 2003. The Redskins defensive line coach at the time is now first-year Packers' tackles coach, Robert Nunn...so that connection might be beneficial...if Holsey is fully recovered from the torn quad tendon which caused to miss all of last year. The catch, in addition to this injury and being out of the game for a year, is that at 31 years of age, Holsey would likely just be another stop-gap measure.

The Pack might also make a bold move and try to sign ex-Eagle, Corey Simon, who became a street free agent when the Eagles yanked their franchise player designation from him. It probably goes without saying that there will be a good deal of competition for his services. Certainly the Packers defense would be dramatically better with Simon in the mix rather than with the part-time play of Jackson and the non-existent play of Hunt. The only catch is how the Pack could structure the contract to stay under the salary cap and still deliver the boatload of dollars Simon is looking for.

Speaking of Hunt...on last night's "Packers Blitz" on Milwaukee's WITI Channel 6, Sports Director Tom Pippins, in a mini-editorial of sorts, called on the Packers to dump Cletidus. Pointing out the obvious to all but apparently Packers personnel staff, Pippins cited Hunt's attitude, lack of performance, and general dead-weight as a member of the team. Better to cut bait and eat the contract, and make a spot available for someone who wants to play in GB than continue to keep this guy as a member of the team. All in favor? Aye!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Packers to Navies: "Shove off, matey!"

In perhaps one of the surprising cuts of recent memory, the Pack announced today that they had cut starting OLB Hannibal Navies. Navies had started for the Pack the last 2 seasons. Could this be a precursor of a starting nod to free agent Ray Thompson? Or rookie, Roy Manning, who has reportedly had a great training camp? Or is Paris Lenon finally getting his due? Na'il Diggs is the old man of the LB corp, with Lenon and Barnett the only other veterans now remaining. All other LBs still on the roster are rookies. Jim Bates must obviously be comfortable with trading speed for experience. In his defensive scheme, that certainly will be needed.

Other cuts include: 11-year veteran guard Matt O'Dwyer -- signed in the off-season to challenge for a starting O guard role replacing Marco Rivera -- as well as wide receiver Vince Butler, cornerback Patrick Dendy, linebacker Jeremiah Garrison, guard/tackle Atlas Herrion, tight end Tory Humphrey, running back Derrick Johnese, defensive tackle A.J. Lindsay, wide receiver Chad Lucas and defensive tackle Quintene Newhouse.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ouch!

What to say about the 3rd pre-season game against the Pats? Hmmm...how 'bout dismal??? From the opening kickoff you could tell it would be a long night. Is it just me or does it always seems like whenever the Pack opens like this it's always down hill? Flat play, turnovers, penalties, injuries. It just snowballs. How a team can be so flat on both sides of the ball, in all areas of the game, in front of the home crowd is something that is always hard to understand. About the only show of emotion anywhere during the game was when Aaron Rodgers got in the tackler's face after his scramble late in the game. If the team doesn't get it together better than this...well, 'nuff said. Paraphrasing Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "It's only pre-season. It's only pre-season..."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Klemm & Whitticker @ Guards?

Looking to replace long-time O Guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera, it looks like the Pack is about ready to settle on veteran Adrian Klemm at LG and 7th round pick Will Whitticker at RG. Tonight's game again the Pats will be the final testing ground for Whitticker who by all reports has had a great training camp and performed well in the other 2 preseason games. It appears that the O-line might be in better shape than thought before going into training camp. With Matt O'Dwyer and Scott Wells as capable backups, and Kevin Barry for the smash 'em-bash 'em formation, the Pack looks capable of holding their own...and perhaps even gelling into a fine unit in time. As Coach Sherman pointed out in his Thurs. 8/25 radio segment on WTMJ620 Radio, while people think that the prior starting 5 were together for 5 years and had this great chemistry as a result, all 5 actually were only on the field together for perhaps 1-1/2 years due to injuries to its various members. If Whitticker does pan out as coaches hope he will, he will be another in the line of great O-line 7th rounders, joining Mark Tauscher and Adam Timmerman as significant contributors to the ongoing success of the Pack.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bubba's back!

The Packers and Bubba Franks finally agreed to contract terms: reportedly 7 years, $28 million. No other teams were biting on Bubba during free agency as a result of the transition player tag placed on him by the Packers. The Pack, on the other hand, was unable to find any tight ends on their own roster or elsewhere who could match Bubba's abilities. In the end, Bubba got the long-term deal he was looking for and the Packers got back their much-needed tight end. Now that Bubba has what amounts to a lifetime deal -- although there must be buyout provisions in the contract just in case -- let's hope he continues to be his steady self, blocking well and catching those endzone TDs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sherman Gets 2 More

Coach Mike Sherman today received a 2-year extension to his existing contract. Basically, he'll still have the same contract as before -- which actually still pays him ($3.2 million/yr.) as if he was the GM/Coach. Good gig. Packer prez Bob Harlan didn't cut Sherman's pay when he yanked the GM title from him last Jan.. While Sherman is obligated to the Pack, the Pack may not be obligated to him...although no doubt there is a buy-out clause specified in the contract should the Packers decide to dump him overboard at some point.

Sherman's success as a winning coach can't be argued, although he sure seems not to always get the respect that he should get as a result. Sherman has the 3rd best winning percentage (.663) of all current active NFL coaches, although since Jim Mora, Jr. is included in that total and only has one season under his belt we should really toss that one out. In that case, Sherman trails only Philly's Andy Reid. The knock, of course, is that despite having the best quarterback in football for all 86 games of his head coaching tenure at Green Bay, Sherman has yet to lead the Pack to the NFC championship game let alone the Super Bowl. No need to rehash the blown opportunities and bad coaching decisions at some critical times in certain games -- Packer fans know those all too well. Still, Sherman's record ranks 3rd in all-time Packer coach winning percentage behind Lombardi and Holmgren and ahead of Curly Lambeau. That certainly deserves a contract extension...but until he wins more than Division championships, Sherman's legacy -- despite overall winning percentage -- will not put him on the same level as the Pack's greatest coaches.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

2nd Pre-season Game

Pretty straightforward on this one:
  • Favre great.
  • Rodgers -- roookie!
  • Defense...dunno.
  • Special teams attrocious.
Any questions? Didn't think so. Hey, it's pre-season.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Defensive tackles? What defensive tackles???

On his early morning report from Packers' training camp today, WTMJ 620 radio sports reporter (and "Voice of the Packers") Wayne Larrivee commented that from his observations over the course of camp so far the biggest worry for the team -- let alone the defense -- is that of the defensive tackle position. Larrivee observed that it appears that, once again, the middle of the defensive line will have to rely on Cletidus Hunt and Grady Jackson. Having to rely on the unreliable Hunt for yet another year doesn't bode well in itself. Toss in the oft-injured and contract-disgruntled Jackson at the other spot, along with a host of unproven and so-far unspectacular backups (e.g., Jenkins, Cole, Peterson) and there sure seems to be reason for concern regarding the middle of the D line. Watching that line get gashed last year was bad enough...let's hope we don't have to watch a repeat.

On a positive note -- yes, there is some good news -- Larrivee noted that S Nick Collins appears to be "the real deal." Also that CB Michael Hawkins may have a chance to challenge Al Harris for a starting slot, but at the very least will certainly be the nickle back.

Toss in the surprising development of undrafted LB Roy Manning and perhaps there is more room for optimism about the defense than might initially be thought. We know the offense will move score points. Whether Jim Bates' new defensive scheme can cover the D's shortcomings and maximize the talents of the players he has to work with (injuries aside) will be the key to the season.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Murphy out with sprained MCL; Carroll banged up

Terrence Murphy, the Pack's 2nd round draft choice out of TX A&M who has apparently been impressive in camp during his receiving debut, sprained his MCL on 8/17 and will sit out the Buffalo game...and maybe more. Because of this injury, reports indicate that the likelihood of the Packers trading Robert Ferguson decrease.

Today, Ahmad Carroll who had regained the #1 CB slot after Joey Thomas missed practices because of his injuries, injured his foot and was carted off the field, only to return later on.

Lots of guys getting dinged up before the season even rolls: LB Na'il Diggs and FB Vonta Leach have torn MCLs, with Diggs possibly being out a month or more.

A banged up defense, which is arguably a weak defense to begin with...let us pray...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A no-brainer

Online Poll
If the Packers had a chance to pick up Terrell Owens, should they do it?
No (87.7%)
Yes (12.3%)
Total votes: 3,607

Poll results from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online as of 9 a.m. Central time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ferguson speaks out - fan poll "no" on trade

Today's Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel has a feature article on Robert Ferguson and his dissatisfaction with his current role on the team, both as a receiver and special teams player. He's not a disgruntled and disruptive T.O. Just believes he's earned a bit more playing time. Still, he is and coaches affirm that he is a team player and will do what is asked. What a concept in pro sports!!! There is also a fan poll which asked whether or not he should be traded to Philly. The current results indicate "no". See the article here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

T.O.

I live in Philadelphia and can't help but watch the T.O. spectacle unfold each day. I have a strong feeling that Owens will never play another game for the Eagles. I'm also starting to think that fewer and fewer teams are going to be willing to sign him. Clearly he's wrecking his own career as we watch. Sad, huh? Hell no!! As a Packer fan I can't say I'm all that sorry to see this happen to the Eagles. Besides considering trading for Ferguson, they are not too deep at running back. Perhaps this is an opportunity to get some value to Davenport at the same time? Andy Reid likes trading for Packer players... this is the time to strike while the iron is hot.

Go Pack!!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Shipwreck

Stanley finally decides to take a vacation. He books himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeds to have the time of his life - until the boat sank.

He found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other people, no supplies...nothing. Only bananas and coconuts.

After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to him. In disbelief, he asks her, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"

"I rowed over from the other side of the island," she says. "I landed here when my cruise ship sank."

"Amazing," he says. "You were really lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you."

"Oh, this?" replies the woman. "I made the rowboat out of raw material found on the island. I whittled the oars from gum tree branches; I wove the bottom from palm branches; and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."

"But ... but ... that's impossible," stutters Stanley. "You had no tools or hardware. How did you manage?"

"Oh, no problem," replies the woman. "On the south side of the island, there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."

Stanley is stunned.

"Let's row over to my place," she says.

After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As Stanley looks onto shore, he nearly falls out of the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, he can only stare ahead, dumbstruck.

As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like to have a drink?"

"No, no thank you," he says, still dazed. "Can't take any more coconut juice."

"It's not coconut juice," the woman replies. "I built a still. How about a Pina Colada?"

Trying to hide his continued amazement, he accepts, and they sit down on her hand-woven couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom."

No longer questioning anything, Stanley goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, is a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow-ground edge are fastened on to its end inside of a swivel mechanism. "WOW! This woman is amazing," he muses, "what next?"

When he returns, she greets him wearing 'nothing but vines' strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.

"Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for a really long time. I know you've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for all these months. You know..."

She stares into his eyes.

He can't believe what he's hearing!

"You mean...", he swallows excitedly...

"We can watch the Packer game from here?"

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Ferguson to be traded?

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel today is reporting that the Eagles, given their decimated receiving corps and T.O.'s hissy/greed fit, may likely have an interest in trading for Robert Ferguson. Would the Pack go that route? Perhaps for a defensive player? See the story here.

First Pre-Season Game

Hello, everyone!

Just an initial post re: the first pre-season game against San Diego. Favre looked great. Kids on defense late in the game were flying around. Maybe there will be some surprises on D...we can only hope. And maybe Sander is a punter after all. Let's hope he can also hold for Longwell as well as he did on that 53-yarder!

Hey, it's a start!

Go Pack!!!