Sunday, January 27, 2008

Withdrawal Sunday

We knew this was going to be an off-week, the time in between the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl. But we thought it would be a chance to indulge our speculation regarding how the Pack will in fact beat the Pats. Instead, it's a time to reflect on what could have been, should have been. And, if you happen to have access to any Wisconsin-based print or broadcast media, it is the weekend to grade the Packers' season and opine about what the Pack will do in the offseason to complete the story next year.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's long-time Packers sportswriter, Bob McGinn, once again did his annual report card on the Pack. Unfortunately, the only way you can access this via the 'Net is to subscribe to the publication's Packers Plus edition. In short, here's what he had to say: not a bad year. Shocking, I know. But to be fair, he really does a tremendous job examining all facets of the team's play, as well as grading out each of the players on offense and defense, the coaching staff, and GM Ted Thompson's personnel moves.

While the overall grades from McGinn were favorable for the season, he was generally less generous with his grades to many of the Packers' players. In this regard, he's consistent with his past evaluations. I would have hated to have this guy for a, tough grader! But he's also fair where that is called for. Several players received "incompletes" because of injuries, etc.

But one of the more shocking statements in his report card is this: "The internal debate on Favre began late Sunday night and isn't going to end any time soon, even if he decides to return for an 18th season. For perhaps the first time, there are advocates within saying it's time move on." Read that last sentence again: "For perhaps the first time, there are advocates within saying it's time move on." Yeow!

McGinn talks about how Ted Thompson may be getting itchy to get his draft pick, Aaron Rodgers, into the saddle. McGinn notes that Rodgers came into the league a year after Eli Manning, but is now 59 starts behind him. Admittedly, Brett did not play well in the Championship game, or the Dallas or final Chicago game. His play, although not his alone, helped account for three of the Pack's four losses. But his play, although not his alone, also helped account for 14 wins...which no one had predicted even in their wildest dreams.

So it does become an interesting point of conversation, perhaps more so this year than the last two: will the Packers be better off moving on to the Aaron Rodgers era, or is the team best positioned to ride Brett's arm one more time in the hopes of getting to the Super Bowl? If you care to voice your opinion on this question, we've set up a poll in our usual place in the righthand column. We'll keep it open through Super Bowl Sunday.

We can also discuss what needs the Packers may try to meet in the draft and free agency. But we now have plenty of time for that in the weeks and months ahead.