Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Preseason Schedule Announced

OK, the preseason schedule for 2006 includes...ah, who really cares, right? If you really want to know, you can find it here.

The regular season schedule is announced April 6. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Walker The Whiner - Part Deux

According to a phone interview this morning between the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Packers reporter, Bob McGinn, and Charles Goldsmith, Javon Walker's stepfather, there is no way that Walker is returning to the Pack. Goldsmith and Walker's mom were in Green Bay to put their son's house on the market. You can read McGinn's report here.

For being such a whiner -- last year and this -- with only one good year of receiving production under his belt, let's hope GM Ted Thompson sticks to his guns and does not trade Walker. Let The Whiner make good on his threat to sit out the year. Hmmm...that would be...two years out of football. Let's see what kind of contract offers he gets then.

As Forrest Gump would say, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Pack Goes from 5 to 7...Draft Picks, That Is

The Packers moved from 5 to 7...not in terms of their pick in the first round of the 2006 draft, but in terms of the number of picks the Pack now has going into the draft. The team was relatively short on picks before being awarded 2 compensatory picks for losses in free agency last year. The Pack gets one fifth round pick and one seventh round pick. These were not as high as GM Ted Thompson had hoped for, especially given the departure of G Marco Rivera. But still, it does give Thompson 2 more picks, and Thompson is known for liking to stockpile picks. Whether he packages these additional picks to make trades, or uses them to move up or down in the draft, draft day will tell.

In other draft news -- at least mock draft news -- many of those which initially had DE Mario Williams coming to the Pack now instead have LB A. J. Hawk coming to the Pack. Most have Williams going higher than #5 given his outstanding workout at the NFL combine. Others seem to find that Hawk is a better fit for the Pack's needs at this point. Again...draft time will tell. Whether Williams or Hawk, the Pack only gets better on defense.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Davenport Back, Boerigter Signs, Flanagan & Fisher Gone

Some old news and some new news (is that redundant?).

The Packers' long-time center, Mike Flanagan, decided to stay close to former coach Mike Sherman and join the Texans last week. Sorry to see ya go, Flani. Not only were you a stalwart on the O-line, but your post-game interviews on The Packers Blitz (Ch. 6, Milwaukee) were often classics...especially if you'd apparently had an adult beverage beforehand. Reliable third-down back Tony Fisher decided to take a one-year offer from the Rams rather than return to GB. Thanks for what you did, Tony. But we can make do without you.

With Najeh Davenport deciding to stick with the Pack, the team actually retains three out of four of its most frequently used running backs: Ahman Green, William Henderson and now Davenport. Add Samkon Gado, Noah Herron and Vonta Leach -- along with whomever else the Pack may pick up in free agency and/or the draft -- and the running game should be good to go.

Looking to upgrade the wide receiver position, and get some insurance in case Javon "The Whiner" Walker decides to hold out, the Pack signed former KC Chief receiver Marc Boerigter. Boerigter is the type of big receiver that new Head Coach Mike McCarthy wants for his West Coast offense. He apparently had a very good workout with the Pack last week. Boerigter is coming off an ACL injury in 2004 which limited his play with KC last year. Coach McCarthy, however, was quoted as saying that sometimes it takes more than a year for a skill player to come back from that kind of injury. In other words, he has no worries about Boerigter's ability to contribute. Let's hope that Brett finds his new big target often...and deep.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cundiff to Boot It?

The Packers signed former Cowboys' kicker Billy Cundiff yesterday shortly after he was waived by Tampa Bay. TB had signed him as backup insurance in February in case their kicker, Matt Bryant, left in free agency. He probably has a slightly longer kick-off leg than Ryan Longwell, but his accuracy -- particularly on long field goals and bad weather (welcome to Lambeau) -- is suspect. He made 73.2% of his field goals (60 of 82 attempts) with the Cowboys. Cundiff is now the only kicker in the Packers' fold but will undoubtedly not be the last.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

More on Favre's Return.

In an update story posted today at, the case is once again made for the fact that Favre is returning, all parties involved know he's returning, but for whatever strategic reasons, no one involved is saying anything.

Here's the story from PFT:


We reported on Wednesday that Packers quarterback Brett Favre has told the team that he'll play again in 2006, but that no public announcement has been made.

Our report caused a mini-commotion. ran a story attempting to debunk it. Adam Schefter of the NFL Network asked Favre's agent, Bus Cook, about it.

Said Cook: "That's news to me -- and I spoke to Brett an hour ago."
G.M. Ted Thompson declined to address the matter, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "It's not our policy to respond, confirm or non-confirm things on a Web site," Thompson said. "We'd spend all of our day doing that."

The Wisconsin State Journal writes that Thompson "laughed off" the report. "I don't comment on Internet reports," Thompson said Wednesday. "Especially Internet reports."

Of course, a good follow up question would have gone something like this: "But, Ted, this is a site that has broken major stories, just in the past month, including the Vikings' efforts to trade Daunte Culpepper, the retirement of the Commissioner, the Vince Young Wonderlic score, the financial details of the Edgerrin James contract, the offer sheet signed by Steve Hutchinson with the Vikings, and the existence of the 'poison pill' in that offer sheet. Still no comment?"

Then again, that question wasn't necessary. Thompson knows about us, and he knows that we're much more than just some sports site that simply scours the web for stories reported by others.

So why wouldn't Thompson respond?

Because, in our view, he knows the report is right on the money.

Though we're not sure whether the Packers are trying to keep guessing the other teams who are or who might be inclined to get in front of them on draft day or whether the Packers want to allow Favre to create the impression that he wasn't pushed into making a decision or whether the team wants the fans and the media to ultimately conclude that the organization did enough to improve the team in the offseason since the end result prompted Brett to come back, Thompson's reaction tells us everything we need to know.

Favre is coming back, and the team and the player are keeping it under wraps.

Here's the best circumstantial evidence that, in our view, supports the fact that something is happening. In Thursday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Tom Silverstein writes that the trigger for Favre's roster bonus has again been bumped, this time from March 22 to April 1. In that same article, however, Silverstein writes that the roster bonus "is mostly artificial because under the terms of the contract Favre doesn't receive the money until September if he returns and doesn't receive it at all if he retires."

Mostly artificial? If Silverstein is right on that, the deadline for the bonus is completely artificial. All the team had to do was to exercise the roster bonus and then sit back and wait. If Favre retires, they don't pay it. If he plays, they pay.

So this whole roster bonus postponement thing is part of the smokescreen. Favre is coming back. He knows it. His agent knows it. The team knows it.

And everyone involved has decided, for whatever reason, to keep it under wraps."

Favre Coming Back!

The March 22 "Daily Rumor Mill" section of says Brett Favre has informed the Packers that he will be returning for another year, although no official announcement has been made by either party. In an interview this morning on 620 WTMJ Radio, PFT editor Mike Florio, said that his source for this information was a very reliable source close to the team. When asked why the team or Brett wouldn't announce this news, Florio speculated that perhaps it has something to do with wanting to keep other teams guessing who they might take with their #5 draft pick. The thinking is that if there is a question as to whether or not the Pack would need to draft a QB to replace a retired Favre, that then may keep the team's options more open as regards the person they are really targeting at that spot, such as Mario Williams or A. J. Hawk. In other words, it's all part of the smoke 'n' mirrors game of drafting. The fact that the Pack pushed back paying Favre's roster bonus for the second time is, then, all part of the game. As this article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out, "Much has been made of the deadline, but it is mostly artificial because under the terms of the contract Favre doesn't receive the money until September if he returns and doesn't receive it at all if he retires. Thus, if the Packers let the deadline pass, Favre does not become a free agent. He simply is guaranteed the $3 million if he comes back and plays."

So, based on this insight -- and despite Packer RB Ahman Green's speculation during a radio interview yesterday on WMYX Radio that he thought Favre was "done" -- the Packer Fans United view continues to be that Brett is coming back.

Here is the complete entry from PFT:


Although there's been no official announcement, we've been told that Packers quarterback Brett Favre has informed the team that he'll be returning for the 2006 season.

The move means that the Packers almost certainly will not take a quarterback with the fifth overall pick in the draft. Previously, we'd heard that the team would potentially be interested in selecting Matt Leinart, if Favre were to walk away.

Since 2002, the question of whether Favre would or wouldn't retire has been the subject of rampant and regular scrutiny. His return for 2006 means that, barring an unequivocal statement before, during, or after the coming season, we'll get to spend another 12 months or so periodically addressing the same, old, tired issue."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Vinatieri Boots Packers.

Adam Vinatieri decided, like former Packer kicker Ryan Longwell, to kick indoors. Hence, he chose the Colts over the Pack as his new team. The Pack were willing to offer both more than Longwell signed for with the ViQueens and also more than the Colts were offering, but apparently these older kickers want a more controlled environment these days. The kicker's equivalent of moving to Florida to retire, apparently.

So, the Pack must continue their search to replace the team's all-time leading scorer. Former Colt kicker Mike Vanderjagt is still available and is probably the best of the remaining free agent kickers. Whether the Pack decides to make a run at signing him, or prefers to go into training camp and the draft sans kicker only time will tell.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Nall Shuffles Off to Buffalo...Favre Back to GB?

For all Packer fans holding their collective breaths regarding the return of Brett the Great, there may be an early indicator in the departure of backup QB, Craig Nall. Nall signed a three-year deal with Buffalo on Sunday where he hopes to have a shot at the starter's job. As an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel states, "If Nall, who is close friends with Favre and recently went on a hunting trip with him, thought Favre was going to retire he might not have been so eager to find a job somewhere else." It would figure that had Nall believed -- or been told -- that Favre was going to retire he would have re-signed in Green Bay where he would have had a shot at starting. Apparently, he felt that was not going to happen this year. Which means...?

Don't write off ol' #4 just yet. Get him some receivers, a pair of guards, a running game, and a team that isn't decimated with injuries and last year will be just a distant memory.'s good to be a Packers fan!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Henderson Has the Packer Spirit!

William Henderson, the longest-tenured Packer next to Brett Favre, decided to stick with the team that drafted him lo those many years ago. After being wooed by the ViQueens -- seemingly like every other Packer free agent -- and having an offer extended to him, venerable #33 decided that home is where the heart is...and that's in Green Bay!

Thank you, William, for showing the true Packer spirit. You've been a fan favorite since joining the team. And that's been the key word where you are concerned: team. You've been willing to do anything asked of you, special teams and more. Too bad some other younger players -- ahem, Mr. Walker -- don't quite understand the team concept or follow your example.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Packers Look to Build a Pickett Fence

The Packers have signed free agent defensive tackle Ryan Pickett away from the St. Louis Rams, where he was a first round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2001. The Pack had been looking for a possible replacement for the stout but aging Grady Jackson. At 26, Pickett is said to be a younger, faster and more durable Grady. As that football maven, Martha Stewart, might say, "That's a good thing."

Pickett had offers from the Rams as well as the Bills. In the end, a visit with the Packers and a multi-year offer reported to be in the $3.75 million range plus a signing bonus was enough to sway Pickett. The Packers now have a number of young but unproven defensive tackles on the roster, including Colin Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Kenny Peterson and Corey Williams. Cole and Jenkins showed some flashes near the end of last season, as did Peterson. So perhaps this is a defensive line that could be effective this next season, particularly if the Pack can add DE Mario Williams with their #5 pick in the draft. Along with some much-needed additions to the linebacking corps -- perhaps A. J. Hawk if Williams is gone -- this defense might be transformed into something to contend with.

The Pack also resigned WR Rod Gardner, who at 6-2 gives Coach Mike McCarthy the type of big receiver he prefers for his offense. OL Kevin Barry also signed a two-year deal to stay with the Packers. While his natural position is right tackle, the Packers have indicated to Barry that they would like to try him out at guard. If he is one of the best five linemen, he will be in a starting spot.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Manuel Lands in GB.

Former Seattle free safety Marquand Manuel has been signed by the Packers to a five-year, $10 million deal, according to WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee. By agreeing to this contract, the Pack basically wound up signing a much-needed defensive back with some tackling ability and toughness instead of re-signing a kicker (i.e., Longwell, who signed a similar contract with the ViQueens).

Manuel is not known for his interception ability, despite picking one off in this year's Super Bowl. He is known for an ability to tackle...something that was more than lacking in last year's Packers' secondary. The Packers were rumored to be targeting Manuel for some time and the rumors proved true. This acquisition should drastically improve the quality of the secondary going into training camp.

Keep looking for the Pack to add to its free agent pick ups in the next several days.

Longwell Becomes a 'Queen.

The Packers all-time leading scorer, kicker Ryan Longwell, got his wish today: he'll be kicking in a dome. That's the good news for him. The bad news for him is that he'll be doing it for the ViQueens!

WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee, just announced this free agent signing. The Pack obviously decided to move in a different direction.

Given that the Pack got beat by the 'Queens kicker twice last year, let's thank them for taking Longwell off our hands. Maybe he can miss crucial kicks for them next season just as he did for the Pack this last one.

Gee, maybe now playing in the controlled environment of the Humpdome, he'll also be able to get his kickoffs deeper...maybe to the 10!

Wa-Wa-Wa-Walker Whining Continues. Kampman Returns.

Javon Walker, apparently taking his cue from that sterling role model, Terrell Owens, continued his whining ways this week by telling ESPN that he is done in Green Bay. He wants out. Won't play for the Packers again. He doesn't like and hasn't been treated well by Packers management. The trust with Brett Favre was broken last year when Favre -- rightly -- ripped Walker for trying to hold out then. Wa-wa-wa. All this despite the fact that he still has one year left on his contract. His new agent -- at least give him credit for dumping Drew Rosenwhositz -- asked the Packers if they could pursue a trade. Rightly, GM Ted Thompson said no. So Walker says he'd retire rather than play for the Pack again. If ever there is a poster child for how not to deal with one's contract, the Green Bay Packers, and Packer fans, it's Wa-Wa-Wa-Walker. A ton of talent, at least until the leg injury last year. Who knows whether he will regain the speed, etc.? You would think, given last year's antics, that he'd want to make a comeback -- especially in a contract year -- to prove himself. If not for the Packers at least for other teams that might be interested in T-O Jr. But no...would rather sit out. Paraphrasing the Guinness Brothers, "Not so brilliant!"

On a more positive note, the Pack did reach agreement with defensive end Aaron Kampman on a new multi-year contract. The Packers had made resigning Kampman their top priority in the offseason. Agreement was reached just before the beginning of free agency, possibly saving the Packers arguably their best defensive lineman.

Let's contrast Mr. Kampman with Wa-Wa-Wa-Walker. 'Nuff said.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Green Back in Green 'N' Gold

The Packers re-signed their second all-time leading rusher, Ahman Green, to a one-year deal. Pleased with his rehabilitation from a torn thigh tendon, the Pack apparently structured a deal where their only risk is limited to an undisclosed (at this point) signing bonus. The deal is apparently loaded with incentives. But should the Pack wind up cutting him, the team's only liability is the signing bonus. While designating Green as their starting running back, the plan at this time is apparently for Green to share time with Samkon Gado. Tony Fisher and Najeh Davenport are likely lost to free agency, so signing Green -- even coming off injury -- gives the team a bit more security at that position than they might have otherwise. Obviously, the team will need to replenish the backfield either through free agency and/or the draft as they will be going into camp with less depth than in recent years...of course, that could be said about several areas of the team: linebackers...defensive backfield...defensive line...wide receivers...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Diggs Dumped, Chatman Chucked

Freeing up salary cap room and signaling changes in direction, the Packers waived both LB Na'il Diggs and WR Antonio Chatman.

The Packers indicated that the decision with Diggs was one with which all defensive coaches agreed. As new Head Coach Mike McCarthy was quoted as saying in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Obviously, we want run and hit (linebackers). The defensive system is really predicated on that. Being able to run and match coverages. Good tackling, you want every defender to fit into that mold." Diggs' ability to do that over the last few years has been somewhat in decline. While he was still stout against the run, his ability to drop and cover receivers was lacking. Clearly, the Pack wants linebackers who are both hard hitters and mobile. One may legitimately question, however, whether the current linebacker corps -- arguably one of the weakest in the NFL at this time -- meets that criteria. Here are the Pack's current LBs: Nick Barnett, Robert Thomas, Paris Lenon, Roy Manning, Brady Poppinga, Kurt Campbell and John Leake. Poppinga may not even be available this season because of the ACL injury and surgery he had late in the season. There were some reports, however, that the Packers were interested in San Francisco free agent LB Derek Smith, a 10-year vet. Also look to other free agent possibilities and the draft to help resurrect the Pack's linebacking unit.

As for Chatman, his agent was told by Reggie McKenzie, the team's director of pro personnel, that "it's a new system and they want big receivers." Coach McCarthy said, "I've always been a fan of big, physical people at that position. The bigger the target, the better your accuracy. We've got a lot of depth at that position." Maybe so. But you have to still tip your hat to Chatman who, at 5-8, still had one of the biggest hearts on the team and would do whatever was asked of him to contribute. The Packers will also have to replace him on punt and kickoff returns, where he was a sure-handed, if not explosive, returner. But McCarthy indicated that the new coaching staff did not see him playing on special teams any longer, only on offense. And if the offense is predicated on bigger receivers...well...bye-bye now.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Favre: Always a Packer

Yesterday, Milwaukee TV station TMJ4's Lance Allan caught up with Brett Favre in Miami as he played a practice round before Wednesday's Pro-Am for the PGA's Ford Championship at Doral. Favre said a number of things, including he had yet to make up his mind about retiring or returning. When asked if would consider being traded to a team that has a chance to win a championship (apparently more quickly than most seem to think the Packers will), Favre said, "I've always considered myself a Green Bay Packer and always will. I can't imagine playing anywhere else." Whether that precludes the alternative, who knows. But Favre's commitment to the Packers obviously runs deep. No surprise there. He has been and is the face of the Green Bay Packers. One would hope and believe the Pack's commitment to Favre is equally deep and they would not consider parting with the future Hall-of-Famer. You can read a brief transcript of the interview here, including a link to the interview video.