Friday, February 29, 2008

More on the Corey Williams trade

As reported here last evening, the Packers traded "franchise player" Corey Williams to Cleveland for a second round pick in this year's draft. Was a head scratcher, given the salary cap room the Packers have even considering the number of defensive linemen the team has on hand. Of course, now the Pack will have about $6-$7 million more to add to the war chest, which will now total about $24 milliion.

What is emerging, according to an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, is that the Packers will get the Browns' second round pick, which sits at #56 overall. The Packers have the 30th pick in the first round, as well as their own pick at #60 in the second round.

Let's review: with the acquisition of the Brown's selection, that's now three picks for the Pack within the first 60 players. We are all aware of GM Ted Thompson's penchant for accumulating draft picks. But, could he possibly break form and use this handful of ammunition to perhaps move up for the first time in his tenure to grab a pick in the top portion of the draft? That's the speculation in this article. Of course, nobody on the Packers' staff is commenting. It's also noted that this is supposedly a deep draft which -- if Thompson stays true to form -- would seem to lead one to believe that Thompson will stay put, or perhaps even use some of these picks to move down and acquire even more picks in later rounds.

To read more on this, check out the article here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Corey Williams traded to Browns

Breaking news: the Packers have traded defensive lineman Corey Williams, to whom they just applied their franchise player tag, to the Cleveland Browns for a second round pick. With all that salary cap room...go figure.

Keeping with the Ohio theme, at least in terms of names, the Packers signed offensive tackle Joe Toledo, a 2006 fourth round pick by the Dolphins.

More details on both of these moves may be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

Favre retires! Oops...guess, not quite yet

This is good. Apparently there was an inadvertent posting today of a Brett Favre retirement announcement on the Packer's official website. It came and went before too many people saw it. It was somewhat like an Internet equivalent of a newspaper prematurely publishing an obituary of a famous person for whom they already have the obit "in the can." Oops.

But rather than explain it here, why not just read this blog entry from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the gory details, including comments from Brett's agent about it, and some explanatory comments from the Packers' PR director about the faux pas. You can even see an image of what the announcement looked you won't be entirely shocked when that sad day actually does come.

Free Agency Underway

The NFL's free agency period is now underway. Some of the top players who were going to be eligible have been tagged with their team's franchise player designation effectively removing them from the pool of available players. So who's left, and would the Packers have any interest in any of them? See for yourself here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

NFL Combine underway

The 2008 NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis. It's the place where prospects can make or break their spots in the draft. If you're a hardcore fan -- and I'm guessing if you're reading this blog you qualify -- you can check out all the goings on on the NFL Network. If, also like most fans, you don't have access to the NFL Network you can check things out online here.

It's interesting to ponder what the Packers might do in the draft. Our online poll here at is almost evenly split between those who see the Pack's greatest need in the draft as an offensive lineman and those who see the greatest need at defensive back.

A few of the mock draft sites that are up and running have the Packers selecting DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE, a cornerback out of Tennessee State. Yes, he is a cousin to Antonio Cromartie, cornerback with the Chargers. "DRC's" stock apparently went up with a standout performance at the Senior Bowl. He would not be forced into a starting spot with the Pack, but could learn behind two of the best in the game, Charles Woodson and Al Harris. One of the scouting reports on him says that "even though he has to bulk up he is a rare athlete with terrific height, leaping ability and ball skills." While both Woodson and Harris have been great, both are also aging; Woodson just turned 31 and Harris will be 33 by the time next season ends.. For as good as Harris played most of the season, we may have also gotten a glimpse of the start of his decline during the NFC Championship Game. The Pack will definitely have to find a top-notch replacement and Rodgers-Cromartie might in fact be a great pick if he is available when the Packers pick at #30. Some mock drafts have Rodgers-Comartie moving all the way to be a top 10 pick. If he's gone, and the Packers are targeting a CB, other names mentioned in this selection for the Packers are Aqib Talib out of Kansas (also noted in at least one mock draft as a possible top 10 pick), Reggie Smith from Oklahoma, Tracy Porter from Indiana, and Antoine Cason of Arizona, who was mentioned in several mock drafts. Very interesting, the number of drafts that have the Packers going with a cornerback with their first selection.

As to other possibilities, various mock drafts have the Packers selecting: underclassman Felix Jones, the "other" RB out of Arkansas; Dan Connor, LB from Penn State; Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh; Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College; Sam Baker, OT, USC; Pat Sims, DT from Auburn ...among others. Our friends over at Packer Chatters have the Pack taking Erin Henderson, OLB, out of Maryland based on the assumption that all the top defensive backs will be gone by the time #30 is on the clock.

One of the possibilities which hasn't been widely discussed, at least in terms of a first-round pick, is tight end. Now that Bubba is gone and Donald Lee essentially the only legitimate tight end on the squad, and with this draft apparently deep in tight end talent (albeit with no exceptional standouts), the Packers could indeed pick up a TE in the second round; the first round might be a stretch. Of course, GM Ted Thompson always says he goes for the best player available not need. Maybe there will be an exception to that rule this draft. There is a good article about the tight end possibility at It also has a sidebar article profiling seven of the top TE prospects.

Brett and Ted talk

After reports emerged that Brett might be a bit miffed that he hadn't heard from GM Ted Thompson since the end of the season -- even though Brett and Head Coach Mike McCarthy have spoken -- Ted apparently picked up the phone and called Brett. Of course, Ted isn't saying much about the conversation other than to say Brett still hasn't made his decision to return and, further, that he's earned the right to take his time with the decision. Last season, Brett decided by Groundhog's Day. A couple years ago, things went into April. Let's hope Brett decides soon so the Pack knows how to proceed in free agency and plan for the draft. Odds still have him coming back for one more run.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Breaking News from GB: Williams gets Franchise tag, Bubba released

The offseason moves are now officially in gear. In what comes as a true surprise -- especially after virtually no contact with his agent -- the Packers slapped the franchise player tag on DT Corey Williams. It was almost a forgone conclusion that the Pack would not want to come up with the coin needed to re-sign Williams as he became eligible for free agency. By being designated with the franchise tag, according to the Packer's website, "Williams has a one-year contract tender offer at the defensive tackle franchise number set by the NFL. The Packers maintain a right of first refusal to match any team's offer received by Williams." The Pack has been increasingly impressed with Williams over the last two seasons. And, given Williams'reaction after the Pack's upset loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game -- where he knelt on the frozen tundra for a while as if to take it all in, just in case it was his last game in a Packers uniform -- it would seem he'd like to stay. It will be interesting to see what the final salary numbers are when the dust settles.

In the other move of the day, and one which fans could probably see coming, eight-year veteran TE Bubba Franks was released. Always a sentimental favorite, Bubba was not the same player over the last few seasons that he had been early in his career, although this last season was a bit of a redemptive one for him. He was again a solid blocker and also showed the good hands which made him such a red zone threat for so many years. Bubba's stats show that he was one of the most productive tight ends in Packers' history. Thanks and farewell, Bubba. We will miss you.

You can read more of the details about both of these personnel moves here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tractor Watch 2008

As some of you may recall from prior years, many Packer fans have come to refer to this time of year as the "Tractor Watch," a euphemism coined by WTMJ radio in Milwaukee to refer to Brett Favre's penchant for riding his lawn tractor when not playing football. The theory goes, the more you see Brett on his tractor back in Mississippi the longer his decision to retire is in flux. Got it?

Which brings us to the latest report, this one by WTMJ TV4 out of Milwaukee: Brett is still undecided. (Didn't we already know that?) But the news was more that while Brett mended fences with GM Ted Thompson last season after what Brett felt was Thompson's failure to sign Randy Moss, "sources close to Brett" (that's the standard phrase these days) indicate that Brett is now a bit miffed at Thompson once again. This time, it's because Thompson hasn't contacted Brett since the end of the season. Yeah, seems a bit childish, if true. Sometimes a GM just can't win. Leave the guy alone and let him make his decision, or contact him and be accussed of undue pressure.

Most fans and pundits feel Brett will be back. But he seems to be taking more time than what he initially said would probably be a fairly quick decision. Granted, he's earned the right to take as long as he wants. But let's hope he decides soon...whether or not Thompson calls to say hello.

Wahle signs with Seahawks
After indicating last week that he would really like to re-join the Pack, free agent guard Mike Wahle instead signed a multi-year deal with the Seahawks, rejoining instead his first head coach.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's a Ball world after all

As had been widely speculated in media reports of recent days, Russ Ball was named the Packers new vice president of football administration/player finance yesterday. He had held a similar job for the last few years with New Orleans. Ball replaces Andrew Brandt who resigned several weeks ago to pursue other opportunities. Brandt became well known and respected for the manner in which he conducted contract negotiations and handling salary cap issues.

Ball has a number of contacts within the Packers' organization, including head coach Mike McCarthy, whom he worked with when McCarthy was with the Saints.

Why is this guy important to the average fan? Because he's the money man, so to speak. He will be the point man on contracts and will thus be responsible for helping manage the Packers' salary cap to keep the team competitive. Aside from GM Ted Thompson, he'll be the one most directly responsible for making sure the Packers can match up with anyone on the field. Yeah, at least in this regard, it's a bean counters' world, too.

You can read more about Mr. Ball here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Could Wahle return to Pack?

What goes around comes around, as the saying goes. Usually, that's something that's said regarding a negative. In this case, maybe not. There's a report today that former Packer guard Mike Wahle might return to the Packers. Recall that Wahle was one of those one who got away in free agency in 2005 when GM Ted Thompson decided not to open up the vault to keep him. Wahle wound up going to the Panthers on a five-year $27 million deal. The Panthers released Wahle yesterday, and it didn't take Wahle long to let it be known he wouldn't mind coming back to the Pack.

Aside from rehashing the well-worn discussion that Thompson never should have let Wahle leave in the first place because the Pack has been looking for a left guard basically ever since, and the fact that the Packers have a glut of young but still questionnable guards on the roster, the reunion between Wahle and the Pack might be dependent upon Wahle playing for a lot less than he's been accustomed to. Admittedly, the Packers need a solid guard. Perhaps one of the youngsters will emerge yet to take on that role. But so far...? Wahle could fill that gap until the young players develop. On the other hand, in order for those players to develop, they need reps and playing time, which they would not be as likely to get if Wahle moved into the starting spot.

What to do? Begin by reading this article.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Let the draft talk begin!

With the Super Bowl already a distant fans' thoughts turn to the NFL draft. Which, if you read our post here yesterday, was already part of the present discussion. In fact, we're also a poll through this month (righthand column, just below the shop link) asking what you think the Pack's greatest needs are. Be sure to vote.

Interestingly, at least if you are a hardcore fan, there are already mock drafts starting to pop up. This one at has a mock first round courtesy of Frank Coyle of Who does he say the Pack will pick at #30? Running back Felix Jones of Arkansas. He's an underclassman who, needless to say, ran in the shadow of that other Razorback RB -- and possible #1 pick -- Darren McFadden. Still, Jones carried the ball 133 times for 1,162 yards (8.7 yards average per carry) and 11 touchdowns. He also had 16 receptions for 176 yards. So, not too shabby for a #2 back. Doyle says this: "The Packers will look to address their backfield early in this deep class. Jones would give them an impact weapon in several roles." Doyle has Jones as the third back picked, behind McFadden and Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall.

While Ryan Grant really distinguished himself after getting the starting nod, most of the other backs the Packers had on the roster either didn't have a chance to prove themselves because of injury, or just didn't pan out at all. As this season proved, you can never have enough running backs, and you never know which one will rise to the top.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Patriot-ism ain't what it used to be

It's the day after. The day after the heretofore unbeatable Patriots finally succumbed and tasted a most bitter defeat at the hands of the Giants. Some thought that the Giants had a legitimate shot going in. Others expected the Pats to blow the Giants off the field. Having seen how the Giants handled our beloved Packers, however, I was among the camp that felt the Giants could pull off the upset. We knew their blitzing defense could be the difference if it was able to get to Tom Brady. And they did. Often. The only question would be whether the Giants' offense could peform. And they did enough, just as they had done against the Pack two weeks earlier.

All this shows what many Packers knew a couple weeks ago and still know now: the Pats were vulnerable and, had the Packers played at the level they were capable of, could have beaten them as well. But the Giants had all the momentum behind them. And I have to say, while I know some Packers fans were rooting against the Giants because they beat the Pack, I was rooting for them for that same reason. At least this way we can say we lost to the Super Bowl Champs. (I know, it's all a rationalization, but...)

So, here's to the Giants! And to the Manning brothers, back-to-back Super Bowl Championship quarterbacks! And here's to the 1972 Miami Dolphins who can still live in that exclusive neighborhood called "Undefeated." And here's to our Green Bay Packers, who gave all of us a heckuva ride...and a look at what's to come.

What's ahead for the Pack?

Given the replies to the last poll here at, the unanimous conclusion of those voting was that the Packers will be better off next year with Brett still at QB rather than Aaron Rodgers. I have to agree. One more year. Brett hasn't given any indication as to what his decision is, but is there any Packer fan out there who really believes Brett would retire with his last pass being an interception in overtime in the NFC Championship game?

So, let's assume that Brett does come back. What then are the Packers' greatest needs? GM Ted Thompson isn't one to do much with free agency, although he has the salary cap room this season to play in that market if he thinks there is a real difference maker out there. But based on his past history, look for Thompson to mine the draft as he has year after year. So, the latest poll question here (see the righthand column under the store link) asks you: what is the Packers' greatest need in the draft? The poll is open this entire month, so be sure to cast your vote and let us know what you think.

Friday, February 01, 2008

10 years later, Wolf still blames Holmgren for SB loss

It's Super Bowl week and all converation is not necessarily about the Patriots vs. What-Should-Have-Been-the-Packers. Some talk is about What-Should-Have-Been-Wins. In this case, it's about that loss by the Packers to Denver in Super Bowl XXXII. And, in particular, it's about then-GM Ron Wolf blaming then-head coach Mike Holmgren for blowing it by failing to make obvious adjustments. As it turns out, some of the other coaches, although not named, apparently raised this issue with Wolf a few years ago. And players, who have no problem being named, basically concur. The Pack was favored to win by 11-1/2 and lost in a 31-24 upset to the Broncos.

As you'll no doubt recall, it was widely speculated that Holmgren's mind was not where it should have been. Which was on the field in San Diego. (He did admit to losing track of downs when the Broncos scored on what amounted to a freebie to go ahead with less than 2 minutes to go.) Instead, it's claimed, Holmgren was distracted by the possibility of a new job in Seattle. We know how both the game and the job deal turned out.

It all apparently still eats at Wolf, who famously said in the locker room after the game, "We're a one-year wonder, just a fart in the wind." There are a lot of his comments, and those of others, to chew on in this article by that great sportwriter, Bob McGinn, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. You definitely will want to check it out. But have your antacid ready. We are still working on the loss to the Giants...and now we have to re-live SB XXXII? Brutal, man, brutal.