Monday, July 31, 2006

Brett's a Happy Camper!

In his first news conference of training camp, QB Brett Favre stated that this current team is the most talented team he has played on since he's been in GB. Yup. He said that. Now, either the 100-degree heat on the practice field today was taking its toll on Brett, or...well...let's give Brett the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he sees things that the average fan looking on from the outside doesn't. It's been well reported that Brett is happy with some of his new young receivers, particularly rookie Greg Jennings. You can read more about what Brett had to say here.

Now, does this current roster have the talent to compete for a Super Bowl? Probably not. But, we all know that there are funny bounces in this game, and injuries play a large part in a team's success or failure (cf. last year's team and record). So anything is possible. Especially at the end of July. In 100-degree heat.

The Tale of Two Tackles...and More from Camp

What had once appeared early this Spring to be a position of depth for the Packers has already become...well...not so good. The offensive tackle position has gone from looking good to...well...not so good.

Of course, the Pack lost Kevin Barry for the season in June with a ruptured quadriceps tendon. Last season's free agent pick-up -- and perpetually injured -- Adrian Klemm ruptured his right Achilles' tendon Saturday in practice. (Am I the only one who wonders why we ever signed this guy with his injury history???) And -- you guessed it -- he's toast, out for the season too. Klemm was to back up Chad Clifton. Now? Not. Let's just hope Cliffie continues to be the iron man he has been for at least one more season. Otherwise, the Pack could decide to move Mark Tauscher to left tackle if Cliffie gets injured. Other options include second-year lineman Will Whitticker, who struggled last year when he had to play right guard, as well as undrafted rookie Josh Bourke and fifth-round pick Tony Moll. So expect to see lots of player combinations on the O-line during training camp and preseason games. Hopefully, the young players can get up to speed and step in as they will need to do to protect Brett and open holes for the running backs.

Speaking of Brett, he sat out yesterday's practice. Apparently had a slightly sprained ankle on Saturday, but practiced through surpirse there. When Coach McCarthy was asked how he had sprained it, McCarthy is reported to have said, "old age."

Other than D-tackle Ryan Pickett having a car accident leaving the parking lot on Friday, bumping his head, and receiving a ticket for...does it matter?...the first few days of practice proceded without incident...kinda.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hawk Lands, Hodge In, Harris & Woodson Magically Appear

(Just an aside...sometimes, folks, in the blogosphere, things happen. Others might refer to "things" by another scatalogical term. But you know what I mean. In this case, this is the third time I have had to re-write this same posting because, through the magic of the Internet -- voila! -- content just vanished at the push of a button. So...will give it one final try...)

The first day of Packers training camp was eventful for two reasons. First, the Packers agreed to terms with their first-round pick, LB A.J. Hawk. The contract is reportedly a six-year deal worth $37.5 million, with $15 million in guarantees. Because details were still being worked out Hawk was not allowed to take part in the Packers' opening practice Friday evening. Things apparently got signed last night so Mr. Hawk will be on hand henceforth.

The Packers also agreed to terms with their last remaining unsigned draft pick, third-round LB Abdul Hodge. Details were not available, other than it is reportedly a four-year deal.

Bottom line is that all the Packers' draft picks are in for the start of training camp. It is especially good that these two talented young linebackers are there from the get-go. It bodes well for a tight defensive unit. It is quite possible that the Pack's linebacking corps could become the strength of the defense. Wouldn't that be nice?

Add to these two signings the appearance of both starting cornerbacks, Al Harris and Charles Woodson, and things are really looking good for the start of camp. Harris showed up despite still being unhappy with the remaining four years on the six-year contract he signed two years ago...a-hem (sorry, you know how I get about these things). Woodson explained his absences from the team's minicamps by saying that he felt he could accomplish more in individual training in Houston. OK. Whatever. New guy. Give him the benefit of the doubt. As long as he performs on the playing field.

So...everyone is present and accounted for at the start of camp. As Martha would say, "It's a good thing." Indeed. Except for the fact that I'm quoting Martha. That's not a good thing. Somebody help me!!!

Hawk Landed, Hodge In, Harris & Woodson Magically Appear

The first day of Packers training camp was eventful for two reasons. First, the Pack's first-round draft pick, LB A.J. Hawk, agreed to terms on his contract: a reported six-year deal worth $37.5 million consisting of more than $15 million in guarantees. Because specifics of the deal were still being worked out, Hawk was not allowed to take part in the Packers' opening practice Friday evening. Hawk will supposedly be able to take part in today's activities once the ink is dry on the deal.

Also signing on the dotted line was the last of the Pack's unsigned draft choices, third-round LB Abdul Hodge. No details on that contract other than it is a reported four-year deal.

Good sign that all of the Packers' draft choices are signed and on board, and especially that these two talented young linebackers are in camp from the start. That bodes well for a tight defense.

In other good news, disgruntled CB Al Harris showed up for camp, despite being unhappy about the remaining four years on the six-year contract he signed two years ago...a-hem. ( know how I get about this stuff.) Charles Woodson, the $52-million man brought in in the off-season to upgrade the defensive backfield, also was one hand for the start of camp. According to reports, he just felt he could accomplish more training on his own in Houston than participating in the team's minicamps. OK. Whatever. New guy. Give him some slack. As long he performs on the playing field.

So, Packer fans, everyone is present and accounted for. Camp is underway. is good.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Happy Days Are Here Again, Oh Happy Days Are Here Again...

Hey Packer fans...they're baaaaaaaaack!

Training camp officially begins today. Woooo-hooooo!!!

Players began moving into Victor McCormick Hall on the St. Norbert College campus last night. The first practice takes place at 6:30 p.m. at Clarke Hinkle Field, the Packers' main practice field located on Oneida St.

Still two draft picks unsigned: Abdul Hodge and A. J. Hawk. Apparently, the Pack is closer to a deal with Hawk than with Hodge. Of the two, that's OK. As Larry the Cable Guy would say: "Get 'er done!"

Oh, and the Pack released safety Mark Roman, who asked the Pack to release him five months ago. There ya go, Mark. So long and thanks for all the's a Douglas Adams'd that get in here? Hmmm...never mind.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Shareholder Meet and Greet - It's All About the Pack!

More than 20,000 Green Bay Packers shareholders gathered inside Lambeau Field today for the annual shareholders meeting. This was the first time in seven years that the meeting was held at Lambeau. Outgoing President Bob Harlan received a standing ovation from those in attendance when he stated that he wanted to see all future shareholder meetings held inside Lambeau.

One of the big draws at this year's meeting, other than opportunities to get photos taken with Harlan, Ted Thompson and other officials, was the tour of the players' locker room, set up just as it would be on game day. The tour lasted about five minutes. Now, here is something only a Packer fan would understand: more than eight hours after the end of the shareholder's meeting, people were still lined up for that five minute tour...a five minute tour (hum the theme to Gilligan's Island here if you know it...everyone together now...).

There is no more passionate fan anywhere than a Packers fan. That's why we are: Packer Fans United!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


OK, Packer fans, these are the times that try men's souls: waiting for training camp to start. If you're getting itchy, camp starts July 28. And -- can you believe it?! -- the first preseason game is less than one month away, on Sat. Aug. 12 against the Bolts in San Diego. A late one for those of us here in the Midwest: 9 p.m. Still, maybe the adrenaline from the first game will keep us up to midnight. In the meantime, if you want to know more about the training camp schedule, click here.

Let's see...what else? Oh, the Packers' shareholders meeting is this Wednesday. Apparently, more than 30,000 tickets have been issued to shareholders for the meeting. Each shareholder is entitled to two, one for themselves and one for a guest. The draw this year is the offer of an exclusive insider's tour of Lambeau Field, including tours of the players locker room. Tours are scheduled for the Tuesday afternoon before the meeting, as well as the afternoon after. At least 20,000 of the 30,000+ tickets issued are expected to show up...well, not that the tickets are expected to show up...what I meant was that...oh, never know what I mean...and if not, never mind.

And now, time to resume the position: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Say It Ain't So, T.O.!

January 3, 1999. 3Com Park. San Francisco. Three seconds left on the game clock. Quarterback Steve Young of the 49ers calls an "all go double comeback" play. Two outside receivers run straight into the end zone by the sidelines and two other receivers slant inside toward the middle of the end zone. The ball is snapped at the opponent's 25-yard line. Young spots one of his receivers -- a third year guy who had four dropped passes and a fumble already in the game -- going to the inside. The two designated defenders are a bit slow to react. The ball is in the air, the receiver goes up for the catch and...well, Packer fans should know the rest of the sad story. The Pack snatches defeat from victory, going down in a key playoff game to the 49ers by a score of 30-27. Darren Sharper and Pat Terrell were the defenders (Sharper stated after the game he should have been in position to defend the ball...ya think???).

The receiver who went from the game's goat to hero -- and, regrettably, superstardom -- was none other than Terrell Owens. That catch, in that game against our beloved Packers, according to a new book called -- what else? "T.O." -- was the one defining moment in his career that made him what he is today. Oh the humanity!

If you want to read a bit more about the sad role the Pack played in creating the T.O. nightmare, click here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rodgers Gets 15

Fifteen months, that is. As in probation. As you may recall, in late May Packers rookie WR Cory Rodgers was arrested on charges of firing a couple shots into the air outside a Fort Worth bar. A fight had broken out and Rodgers' action was apparently designed to scare off some men who had surrounded him.

Let's hear from Jeff Kearney, Rodgers' attorney, on how it all went down (as quoted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "I think our investigation and the DA's investigation both indicated that, when he discharged the firearm, he didn't fire at or in the direction of anyone," Kearney said. "He simply fired into the air to end a situation that was somewhat tense and to disperse the crowd - and it worked." A-duhhhh.

Rodgers plea-bargained to a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully carrying a firearm. If Rodgers completes his probation with no further problems, his case will be dismissed and a conviction won't appear on his record. He was fined $500. After the football season, Rodgers must also perform 80 hours of community service with at-risk youth.

It is unclear what, if any, action the NFL might take with Rodgers.

As Ken Herrera, Houston native and current WTMJ620 (Milwaukee) radio morning host noted about this (paraphrasing), in Texas if you're breathing you can get a gun license. Clearly, Rodgers didn't take advantage of his gun breathing rights. If only...he might have been able to join Vice President Cheney on one of those staged bird hunts and really shoot somebody...and not even get probation!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th Everyone! Oh, a Little Q&A with Ted Thompson, Too!

Nothing of note on the Packers front, fans. Unless you want to read a Q&A session Packers GM Ted Thompson had with the Green Bay Press Gazette. And even that is really old news, basically a get-to-know-you life review piece with the less-than-public Thompson...OK, given that last bit maybe there is some new news there. Decide for yourself. Read the article here.

Actually, Thompson seems like a complex character underneath that reserved demeanor. Being a native Texan, he likes ZZ Top (OK, who doesn't?). He also likes Springsteen, although he might not agree with the Boss's political views -- Ted leans to the conservative side politically. Reads the Bible every night. Drives an Escalade. Likes the Simpsons. Also watches the History Channel. Is still a bachelor at 53, having missed a couple good matches that he says he probably messed up. Anyway, if you're looking for some insights into the man who runs the Packers, check out the article.

Other than that...have a great 4th of July! The good ol' USA is 230 today! (As Homer -- and his fan, Ted -- would say: "Woo-hoo"...oh...and this piece of wisdom from Homer about the American fitting for today...although let's hope Ted doesn't follow this advice.)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Favre's Doubts

For those who missed Brett Favre's comments on Friday night's ESPN SportsCenter, here is the salient bit: his confidence in his own play has sagged over the past two years.

To quote: "I think one of the important things here, is my confidence over the last couple of years took a beating. . . . I questioned at times whether or not I still could do it. You go 4-12 after all the success we've had in Green Bay, I think you start questioning your play."

As for how close Brett came to retiring this year, maybe closer than some might have thought: "I think it was real close. I tried every which way possible to talk myself out of playing, but ultimately I couldn't do it."

While Brett's lack of confidence in his own recent play weighed heavily in his decision making process, as he says he ultimately couldn't least not this year. He knows he can still get the job done as well as, if not better than, any other quarterback in the league. It would seem that he came to understand, as many Packer fans do, that this last year especially was an aberration, an injury-riddled season to forget. Brett tried even harder to carry the team on his back. But with no offensive weapons, it's hard to be a one-man band (please excuse the mixed metaphor...not enough coffee yet this a.m.).

Despite team depth ratings that at least on paper don't seem to impress too many experts (read more here...but be quick on your browser's "stop" button...and perhaps reload, too, to see the article), a team that stays healthy has an edge over better teams that don't. While a good portion of the Packers' pre-training camp roster is relatively unproven, and the Packers' offensive and defensive schemes will be different this year, you just have to believe the Pack will be back. And with a corps of good young receivers, depth at running back, and some talent on the offensive line, Brett will no doubt regain his confidence. Get ready for a big year from ol' #4!