Friday, August 18, 2006

Miscellaneous Meanderings

This is one of those postings that is just bits and pieces related to a variety of topics. Kind of like Larry King's column (which, by the way, if you Google "Larry King Column" will return some fascinating links) but hopefully with more of a point.

Odds & Ends
For some reason still unbeknownst (yes, kids, that is a real word) to me, I received a copy of a pro and college football "insiders" guide from some online betting outfit. I don't bet. And I especially wouldn't bet online. Obviously, many folks do these days and whatever hole people choose to throw their money into is none of my business. But anyway, to the point...these "insider" editors -- whoever they are -- have this to say about the Packers chances: not much. They expect the Pack to finish at 5-11 in third place in the division behind the ViQueens and Da Bearz. At least they still pick the Pack ahead of Detroit. They call the return of Brett Favre for another year a "blessing and curse" because they see the team in need of rebuilding and developing Aaron Rodgers as the starter...which, in a fatalistic but perhaps realistic observation, would ensure the team a high draft pick. It is that old "win by losing" approach. Somehow, that has never suited the Packers. And it still doesn't. All in all, these "insider" experts place the Packers' odds at winning the division at 35 to 1 and of winning the Super Bowl at 7,500 to 1. Yikes! Seems, though, they don't proof for consistency of content because in the "Odds" section of this magazine they have the Pack's win total pegged at 6 for the season, as opposed to 5 noted in the team review area, and the comment that the team might actually be worse than the 4-12 team of last year. Different writers, I guess. Too bad there are no proofreaders. And this is supposed to be an "insider's guide"? R-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ght.

Seems as if 6 wins might be the magic number among prognosticators. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel sports writer, Cliff Christl, said on local radio that he didn't see the Pack winning more than 6 games this year either. Hmmmm...

Moll It Up
Rookie O-lineman, Tony Moll, is getting his first start at right guard for the Packers Saturday night against the Falcons at Lambeau Field. Moll has been having a good camp, obviously good enough to replace -- at least for now -- the other nominal rookie starter Daryn Colledge, along with the accompanying switch of Jason Spitz from right to left guard. Bottom line, folks, is that we are now in year 2 of Ted Thompson still trying to replace Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera. Didn't work so well last year. And unless the Spitz-Moll combo is able to gel quickly we may wind up seeing a lot of two tight end sets just to give Brett enough time to get the ball away. Of course, this also presupposes that the line and the zone blocking scheme creates an effective running game. Without that, there will be long Sundays ahead.

Favre (Still) Says Team Has Talent
In his regular biweekly news conference this week (the one which some uninformed web nob seemed to believe was not part of the regular routine and was therefore going to be about Brett announcing his retirement), QB Brett Favre says he has confidence that his offensive line will not be as, well, offensive as it was in the pre-season opener. He believes the rookies have a good deal of talent and that things will get better. He's just not sure how much better or how long it will take to actually become better. Favre said that he sees good effort and that's what you want to see. He also said that he expects young players to make mistakes...he just doesn't want to see them over and over. He could probably have added he doesn't want to see them over and over from the prone position. So we'll have to see if some of this "betterness" (there's a new word for you, Steven Colbert!) reveals itself tomorrow night at Lambeau. Let us pray...

Rayner Boots Cundiff
The Packers announced today that they have released kicker Billy Cundiff. For the time being -- isn't it always for the time being with kickers and punters? -- second-year player Dave Rayner has the kicking job to himself. The Pack chose youth and leg strength over consistency, as Cundiff had made more of his field goal attempts in camp and obviously has a longer pro pedigree. But the coaches apparently like what they have seen in Rayner and want to find out if he can replace all-time Packer scoring leader, Ryan Longwell, as the man. They want to give him more repetitions so that he can become comfortable in all the situations that arise. One potentially positive aspect of Rayner's background is that he played college ball at Michigan State. So he is familiar with cold weather football. Of course, Cundiff's college years were spent at Drake University in Des Moines. But he has been a few more years removed from the rigors of Midwestern winters given his time in Dallas. On the other hand, Longwell was a California kid. I'm so confused...