Monday, April 30, 2007

Post-Draft Signings

According to reports, the Packers have so far signed seven undrafted free agents. As indicates, "The team has not announced the signings, but they have been confirmed through agents, schools and NFL sources."

Here are the reported, although unconfirmed, signings:
  • Quarterback Jerry Babb of Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Guard Pat Murray of Truman State
  • Linebacker Rory Johnson of Mississippi
  • Linebacker Juwan Simpson of Alabama
  • Defensive end Larry Birdine of Oklahoma
  • Defensive lineman Daniel Muir of Kent State
  • Fullback Ryan Powdrell of Southern California

Pat Murray was one of the players mentioned in an article (referenced here in an earlier post) by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel prior to the draft. Clearly, the Packers wanted him and got him. They felt he might be one of those hidden gems hiding away at a smaller school. The Packers actually did have Truman in for a visit before the draft. It must have paid off, for both the Pack and Truman. Here's what the article said before the draft: "There isn't a huge market for players from Truman State, but the 6-3, 315-pound tackle/guard is a physical specimen who Tessler (Truman's agent, Brett Tessler) said benches 500 pounds and squats more than 700." You can read that entire article here.

You have to wonder about the purpose in signing FB Ryan Powdrell, other than as perhaps training camp fodder. Powdrell had a serious injury early in the 2006 season, dislocating and breaking his fibula during the game against Nebraska. According to this article at the time on AOL's NCAA Fanhouse, "many are calling (this) the most gruesome injury caught on tape since Joe Theismann."

And, for whatever reason, the Pack continues to load up on linebackers. Yaaaaaaawwwwwnnnnnn.

Many Fans Are Not Happy with Draft

According to an online poll at -- with more than 11,000 fans responding at the time of this posting -- 29% graded the Packers draft a C, nearly 24% give the selections a D, and nearly 29% score the Packer picks an F. That's more than 80% of the fan base (at least those responding to this poll) that basically are saying, "This draft sucked." Ouch. Seems as if many of the national pundits also agree. Some are saying the Packers are one of the teams that had the "worst" draft because they didn't get any weapons for Brett. You don't like to hear that sort of thing...even if you know it's true.

As Wayne Larrivee, "Voice of the Packers" and sports reporter on WTMJ620 Radio in Milwaukee said this morning, most fans have never seen most of these picks play. None are the marquee names that had been bandied about in mock draft scenarios. But as Larrivee pointed out, some of the players picked, particularly on the second day, could have an impact on special teams. He mentioned LB/FB Korey Hall out of Boise State as an example. He is a guy whose motor is always running, as they say. He likes to hit. If a couple of these other players can doing nothing but perform well on special teams -- especially given how dismal the performance of Packers special teams has been over the last two years -- that, Larrivee noted, will in itself make a big impact upon the team overall. Amen.

It would also still seem that the Packers would look for a free agent pick up, or perhaps trade, to take care of the need at running back; that issue was not resolved with this draft despite the Packers selection of Nebraska's Brandon Jackson and Florida's DeShawn Wynn. Buffalo's selection of Marshawn Lynch -- as some had speculated would happen -- really dealt a blow to the possibility of picking up a featured rookie running back this year. Although, if the Packers hadn't traded their second round pick to the Jets they likely still could have picked up RB Kenny Irons out of Auburn. So it goes.

And it remains to be seen what, if any impact, the two new receivers might have in the Packers offense. David Clowney out of Virginia Tech, has exceptional speed and could be the downfield threat the Packers have been looking for. He can also return kicks.

The player that is being called the Pack's "value pick" is kicker Mason Crosby out of Colorado. According to some reports, you might say he was the only kicker worth selecting in the draft. As the impact report says, "Few kickers in the nation can match his leg strength or college career accuracy. Crosby is also almost automatic on extra points. He is that rare blue-chip kicking prospect who only comes along once every few years." Mel Kiper, Jr., he of perfect hair fame, even described this pick as "potentially one of the steals of the draft." Those are words -- as opposed to "worst draft" -- that you like to hear. OK, it's about a kicker, but it's the principle of the thing, right? Oh yeah, Crosby has made a 60-yard field goal during a game, and a 71-yarder, Crosby says, in practice. OK, that may be at a mile high...but still...We all know how important a good kicker is, especially when winter rolls into Lambeau. Having someone who is used to adverse kicking conditions -- and Boulder isn't exactly warm-weather football either -- can only be a plus.

So, Packer fans, perhaps more than in recent years this year's draft class will definitely be one where we will have to wait to see what really comes of it. It may be a year or two before we know how good -- or bad -- it really was. The downside to that timeline is that Brett does not have that many more years to go...a year, maybe two. But he has to have the weapons. Now. So far, it looks as if that is still a question mark for this year, pending any trades or free agent pick ups that might occur.

A Fifth, Not a Fourth

One of the trades which didn't happen, of course, was for Randy Moss. The Packers were offering a fifth round pick, and apparently a more aggressive restructuring of Moss' contract. When it was all said and done, the Raiders wanted -- and got -- a fourth round pick from the Patriots. Mike Vandermause, columnist with, takes Packers GM Ted Thompson to task for loosing out on the Moss trade. You can read his column here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fans Boo, Draft Done, No Moss, Wait and See

That, my friends, is the Reader's Digest version of the 2007 Draft. Once the Bills grabbed RB Marshawn Lynch, Packers GM Thompson apparently went into brain lock and -- if you paid attention to any of the pundits over the weekend -- "reached" to take Tennessee DT Justin Harrell with the 16th overall pick. The pick was not well received by fans at the Packers Draft Party in the Atrium at Lambeau Field. A chorus of boos rained down. With some good receivers and running backs still on the board, many if not most fans -- including yours truly -- felt that the pick should be on the offensive side of the ledger. In his press conference concerning this pick, Thompson said the Packers, as strange as it might seem, don't draft for need. Really. That's what he said. Roll that one around in your head for a while.

The "reach" that various commentators referred to with this pick -- arguably, according to some, the second most surprising next to Miami taking Ted Ginn, Jr. with the #9 overall selection -- was the result of the various injuries Harrell sustained over his college career, including a torn bicep, which likely dropped him out of the first round in the opinion of many. Not for Thompson, though. Harrell does have some impressive physical stats and does have quality credentials, despite the injuries. There is some speculation that Thompson may not be looking for much from this youngster this year, but rather to help build a foundation for the middle of the defense in succeeding years. Time will tell.

As for the other picks, more commentary here to come...tomorrow. For now, I'll just provide a listing of the picks, along with a link where you can read about each.

#63 - RB Brandon Jackson, Nebraska
#78 - WR James Jones, San Jose State
#89 - SS Aaron Rouse, Virginia Tech
#119 - OT Allen Barbre, Missouri Southern St.
#157 - WR David Clowney, Virginia Tech
#191 - LB/FB Korey Hall, Boise State
#192 - LB Desmond Bishop, California
#193 - K Mason Crosby, Colorado
#228 - RB DeShawn Wynn, Florida
#243 - TE Clark Harris, Rutgers

You can see the particular rounds, as well the various trades, etc. and scouting reports on each of these players, by going here.

Oh yeah, and the rumor about Randy Moss coming to the Packers can now be put to rest. He went to the Patriots for a fourth round pick, reportedly. We can only image Brett's disappointment...or maybe not.

OK, Packer fans, check in tomorrow for more. By then, we may also have some idea about some of the undrafted signees coming to town. Let's see if a few of those "hidden gems" the Packers were looking at find their way into the Green 'n' Gold.

Friday, April 27, 2007

There's More to the Draft Than the Draft

One of the areas of the draft that many fans overlook is what happens after the draft. That's when many teams -- perhaps tops among them, the Packers -- really go to work to sign those undrafted gems they've had their eyes on. Naturally, the common thought among fans is that if a player isn't good enough to get drafted he's not good enough period. Not true. Last year, the Indy Colts had 12 players on their squad who came into the league as undrafted players...and didn't they win the Super Bowl or something recently? The Packers, at one time or another last year, had 19 undrafted players on the roster. This is clearly an area that most teams pay more attention to than do fans. And with good reason. It is usually a reflection of how much time and effort a team puts into this type of scouting that may help determine how well a team does during the course of a year. These players can fill out special teams squads, become spot or special situation players, as well as provide needed depth at various positions in case of injuries.

If you want to read an interesting article on this non-draft part of the draft process, check out this article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. It also discusses briefly a few of the players the Packers are hoping this year go undrafted and eventually find themselves in a Packers uniform.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Latest Rumor: Pick Trade for Larry Johnson

With less than 48 hours to go before the draft, the latest rumor being reported by WTMJ TV out of Milwaukee is that the Packers will trade their first and fourth round picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for running back Larry Johnson. The Chiefs are shopping Johnson so I guess this is as plausible as anything. And if the Pack wants to go with a proven Pro Bowl back to give Brett one more real shot at the Super Bowl, and perhaps still pick up a young back in round two or three to groom for the future, this idea isn't as shocking as it might at first seem.

Those Lazy Hazy Daze of Draft

Pardon the bad headline pun...exceptionally bad, really. Sorry. But after weeks -- nay, months! -- of speculation about who, from where, going to whom, etc., aren't we just all ready to get on with it? Let the draft begin already!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, due to some extremely poor workshop scheduling, I will be incommunicado for the most part this weekend. Instead of being glued zombie-like in front of the TV watching the draft coverage, with intermittent naps to sustain the energy required for such vigorous work, I will instead be sitting zombie-like at presentation after presentation. Not even sure whether I will have Internet access -- horrors! But if I do, I will do my best to post about the Packers' moves as best I can. If not, expect a gang-busters wrap-up on Monday. Of course, by then, you will already have heard what happened from a plethora of sources and would no doubt hurl if faced with yet another review. Understandable. I've hurled plenty...even at my own I can only imagine what this is doing to you. Still, I hope you'll find your way back here to see what we have to say...whenever it is.

In the meantime, for another interesting perspective on what the Pack might do this weekend, check out the blog posting of Jeff Falconio of He offers five possible scenarios that he sees taking place, at least as concerns the Packers #16 pick. Check it out.

All together now: Go Pack Go!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Back's Back Checks Out OK

Ted Thompson rarely has possible draft picks in for a visit. But he did have Cal RB and long-rumored Packer draft pick Marshawn Lynch in for a visit this last week. In addition to meeting with Thompson, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy and running backs coach Edgar Bennett, Lynch also met with Packers medical staff. That's because he reportedly has a congenital back problem that raised some concerns with folks. The Packers doctors cleared him which then also clears the way for the Packers to take Lynch -- the number 2 rated running back in the draft -- with the number 16 pick. That's assuming, as most do, that Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson doesn't fall into the Packers lap.

The Packers don't have as many gaps to fill as they did a year ago. But the glaring hole is at starting running back following Ahman Green's departure for Houston. The Pack could also use another wide receiver and tight end on offense. But they can make do with what they have if need be. They can't make do with the current backs on the roster. Thompson will either decide that (a) he needs to trade up to get Peterson, (b) he stays at #16 and takes Lynch, (c) passes on Lynch and takes WR Robert Meachem figuring they can get Auburn RB Kenny Irons in the second round, or (d) trades down for additional picks with the intent of taking Irons at RB in round 2, or perhaps picking up another needed player by dropping a few spots. So many possibilities. Will be fun to watch it unfold.

Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, I will be somewhat incommunicado next weekend. I am still in the process of trying to determine what, if any, internet connection might be available. Last year, I did a pick-by-pick update of the Packers' draft moves. This year...not. Worse case scenario, PackerFansUnited readers, you'll have to do with an end-of-day wrap up or maybe even a post-draft re-cap. The news won't be as timely as I'd like it to be, and you will likely already know who the Packers picked. But, hopefully, we can offer up some insight -- or at least comment -- that you might not have run across before. It's an exciting week. As will be the week after the draft as we begin to contemplate how the new players may impact the team.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

'67 Pack Profiled Friday on NFL Network

At 7 p.m. (Central) this Friday the NFL Network will air a one-hour documentary on the 1967 Packers. You remember them: the team that beat the 'Boys in the Ice Bowl at Lambeau and then thawed out in time to beat the Raiders in Super Bowl II in a slightly warmer locale for their second straight Super Bowl championship. Running back Chuck Mercein, linebacker Dave Robinson and guard Jerry Kramer recount the season. The show is narrated by Magnum PI himself, Tom Selleck.

This must be the week for the Pack on the NFL Network. Last weekend it played back-to-back a history of the Packers followed by Brett Favre "In His Own Words." For any Packer fans who may have been lucky enough to catch either or both, it was worth the time. Sounds as if this one will be too. Some of Mercein's recounting of the Ice Bowl gives a nice flavor of things: "The first play of the game was almost a disaster. Donny Anderson fumbles the football and it was like trying to pick up an ice cube. I recovered the ball. The referee blew the whistle and the next thing that happened was he tried to pull the metal whistle out of his mouth. It was stuck to his lip. He had to rip it out of his mouth and his lip began to bleed . . . and the blood froze. From that moment on, there was never another whistle in the Ice Bowl We played the entire Ice Bowl listening to the commands of the referees saying, 'Stop!' And everybody did." Coooooooooool!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We Interrupt This Blog...

This post is a bit off-topic, Packer Fans, so please press the Fast Forward button on your computer if you prefer not to read it (and if you are really looking for a Fast Forward button on your computer right now you must be a Bearz fan!).

Since things are a bit quiet on the Packer front at the moment, I thought I'd make you aware of a recent ruling that could dramatically affect Internet radio and webcasts. For those of you who enjoy such digital streaming of tunes, etc., it could potentially wipe out a lot of the smaller webcasters in particular. The Copyright Royalty Board has decided to raise music royalty rates by 300 to 1,200 percent. Holy funky music, Batman! For most webcasters the new royalties exceed their revenues; they simply will go bankrupt and stop webcasting...especially since these rates are retroactive to 2006! Holy &^$%, Batman!!!

But rather than have me attempt to explain it, you can read a news article about it here.

And if you want to take some action, e.g., send a message to your Congressional representatives, etc., just click here to go the SaveNetRadio site, where you can also learn more about this issue. Or you can find their banner in the righthand column of this site between the copyright info and the contact link.

We now return you to your regularly schedule programming.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Favre "100 Percent Certain" Moss Will Be a Packer

That's what is reporting in its Rumor Mill section: that one of those sources "with knowledge of the situation" (I know, not again) says that Brett Favre is "100 percent certain" Randy Moss will be a member of the Packers when the season starts. They offer up a brief but interesting analysis of the situation here. Just scroll down till you find the post from April 12 -- or better yet, use the "Find" feature of your browser -- to search for "Favre" will take you to the post.

It might very well be, as the PFT post suggests, that things might heat up in terms of discussions as the draft nears, especially if the Raiders opt to go with wide receiver Calvin Johnson as the number one overall pick rather than quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

By the way, PFT has the latest version of their mock draft showing the Packers trading down from the 16th pick with the Jets for the 25th pick. This is certainly in the realm of possibility given GM Ted Thompson's history of trading down for more picks. PFT has the Pack taking tight end Greg Olsen out of Miami with the pick, apparently because they believe both top running backs in the draft, Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch -- the latter being the back that the Packers have supposedly been eyeing -- will be gone by the time the Packers would pick at #16. If indeed that is the case, this scenario could very well play itself out. Tight end is an obvious need, although a marginal degree lower than the need for running back. Still, PFT has the Pack addressing that need by picking up Auburn running back Kenny Irons with the 15th pick in the second round. All in all, this might not be a bad scenario at all, particularly if both Peterson and Lynch are off the board when the Packers are supposed to pick in Round One. You can see PFT's mock draft here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Packers 2007 Season Schedule Released

The NFL released the Packers regular season schedule today. Four of the Packers' first six games are at home, while four of five games late in the season are on the road. There are also back-to-back Thursday road games, starting with the Lions on Thanksgiving and followed by the Cowboys a week later. The bye week comes in Week 7 -- not bad. The Packers are currently scheduled for four nationally televised games and have no 3 p.m. or doubleheader games on the schedule, although the league can move one of the Packers' final five noon games to Sunday night as part of its flexible scheduling plan.

Here's the schedule, Packer Fans. It's a challenging one, but seems relatively fair for an 8-8 finish. If the Pack can take advantage of the front-loaded home schedule -- and then perform as well as they usually do late in the season, albeit mostly on the road -- they should have a good shot at the playoffs. (But we say that every year, don't we???)

Sept. 9, Philadelphia Eagles, noon, FOX
Sept. 16, at New York Giants, noon, FOX
Sept. 23, San Diego Chargers (Gold Pkg.), noon, CBS
Sept. 30, at Minnesota Vikings, noon, FOX
Oct. 7, Chicago Bears, 7:15 p.m., NBC
Oct. 14, Washington Redskins 12 noon, FOX
Oct. 21, Bye
Oct. 29, at Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Nov. 4, at Kansas City Chiefs, noon, FOX
Nov. 11, Minnesota Vikings (Gold Pkg.), noon, FOX
Nov. 18, Carolina Panthers, *noon, FOX
Nov. 22, at Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving), 11:30 a.m., FOX
Nov. 29, at Dallas Cowboys, 7:15 p.m., NFLN
Dec. 9, Oakland Raiders, *noon, CBS
Dec. 16, at St. Louis Rams, * noon, FOX
Dec. 23, at Chicago Bears, *noon, FOX
Dec. 30, Detroit Lions, *noon, FOX

* Start time may shift due to NFL flexible scheduling

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pack Locks Up Barnett

The Packers today announced that they have locked up linebacker Nick Barnett essentially for the balance of his career by signing him to a six-year extension. According to reports, "an NFL source familiar with the deal" (who are these people anyway???) says Barnett will earn $35 million over the life of the contract, which includes this season and runs to 2012. According to these same sources, terms were front-loaded so that Barnett will receive close to $12 million in the first year.

The bottom line is that this contract makes Barnett one of the highest paid players on defense. And he should be. He's led the Pack in tackles three of his four seasons (only being beat out this last season by rookie LB A. J. Hawk), with 631 career tackles. He has also recorded eight sacks, seven interceptions, six fumble recoveries and 29 passes defensed. Barnett has missed only a handful of games in his first four years, infamously playing many games with a broken hand posing as a "club."

Barnett is one of the few players drafted by former GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman that has actually fulfilled many of the expectations people had of him coming into the league. This is a signing Packer fans should be happy with. It solidifies a key part of a young and upcoming linebacking corps for many years to come.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Preseason Schedule Finalized

We got the finishing touches on the previously up-in-the-air Steelers and Seahawks preseason games. The Pack will open at Pittsburgh Saturday, Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Central time. This will be followed by the first home game on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. against Seattle. Things then move to Thursday evenings for the final two exhibition games.

The entire preseason schedule now looks like this (all times Central):

Sat. Aug. 11 - 6:30 p.m.
at Pittsburgh

Sat. Aug. 18 - 7 p.m.
vs. Seattle (Gold pkg; Midwest Shrine Game)

Thurs. Aug. 23 - 7 p.m.
vs. Jacksonville (Bishop's Charities Game)

Thurs. Aug. 30 - 7 p.m.
at Tennessee

Packers & Prayers

No, this is not a reference to our usual seasonal prayers for a successful draft, or season, or SuperBowl win, or that Favre doesn't get hurt and/or retire...rather, since we are in the midst of Easter and Passover seasons (while not meaning to exclude those of another or no particular religious affiliation), thought I'd pass along some info from a friend in Green Bay who keeps an eye on these types of things. As he said, "I thought that you might find it interesting how involved the Packer organization is in the wider prayer movement in greater Green Bay! See below:

National Day of Prayer- Thurs. May 3rd; 7 a.m to 8:40 a.m.
Prayer Breakfast- Riverside Ballroom, 1560 Main St.
Hosted by Mayor Jim Schmitt
Keynote Speaker: Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

National Day of Prayer Ladies Lunch- Thurs. May 3rd 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
KI Convention Center, 333 Main St.
Hosted by Dona Schmitt
Keynote Speaker: Deanna Favre, wife of Packer QB Brett Favre"

So, if you are in or near GB, or would be interested in participating in either of these events...there ya go.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pack's Preseason Opponents Set

At least we now know who and where the Packers will be playing in the preseason. Although dates and times for a couple of the games are still to be determined, the Pack starts and finishes the preseason on the road. The schedule also includes a nationally-televised Thursday night game on Fox. The regular season schedule is still to be announced.

Here's the schedule (all times Central):

Date: Aug. 9-13
Opponent: at Pittsburgh Steelers
Time: TBA
TV: (WI) state

Date: Aug. 16-20
Opponent: Seattle Seahawks (Gold pkg.)
Midwest Shrine Game
Time: TBA
TV: (WI) state

Date: Thurs., Aug. 23
Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars
Bishop's Charities Game
Time: 7 p.m.

Date: Thurs., Aug. 30
Opponent: at Tennessee Titans
Time: 7 p.m.
TV: (WI) state