Sunday, August 31, 2008

Packers sign 8 to practice squad

From the official Packers' press release:

"The Green Bay Packers signed eight players to the practice squad Sunday. Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations, announced the signings.

Signed to the practice squad were wide receiver Jake Allen, center Brennen Carvalho, tight end Joey Haynos, linebacker Danny Lansanah, defensive tackle Alfred Malone, cornerback Joe Porter, wide receiver Brett Swain and running back DeShawn Wynn."

Herron and Morency released among Packers' cuts

One or the other was expected to be part of the running back corps. Actually, the likelihood seemed to be that both would make the club. In the end, both veterans Noah Herron and Vernand Morency were cut as the Packers got down to their 53-man roster. Along with DeShawn Wynn, released earlier in the week, these three backs were beaten out by undrafted rookie free agent Kregg Lumpkin. As part of their backfield decisions, the Packers kept two fullbacks -- a rarity in the league these days -- in the persons of Korey Hall and John Kuhn.

The roster at this time contains no long snapper, although that will likely change soon. Rookie snapper, J.J. Jansen, was one of three players placed on the injured reserve list after his knee injury in Thursday night's final preseason game. The Packers are expected to put in a claim on Thomas Gafford, who was waived by the Bears a few days ago. Gafford was in the Packers' '06 training camp and again this summer, before being waived Aug. 3 because the team needed a roster spot. The Packers reportedly are also holding tryouts today for at least three long, if you happen to be driving near Green Bay today...what the heck...stop on in...especially if you can precision snap a football five to fifteen yards. For more on the snapper situation, check out this story.

The Packers did keep seven linebackers...for now. One of those players, possibly special teams standout Tracey White, might be the odd man out when the Pack adds a long snapper.

There will be a few more moves likely made this morning. Teams have until 11 a.m. to make claims on waived players. Teams will be informed by the league in early afternoon whom they have been awarded as part of the process.

For a story on the running backs and other moves, check out this article. For commentary on the players kept, check out this article.

For the Packers official notice of cuts, etc., check it out here. If you prefer to get the same news here, the following is from the official notice:

"The Green Bay Packers released 19 players and placed three on injured reserve. Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations, announced the transactions Saturday.

Released Saturday were wide receiver Jake Allen, cornerback Scorpio Babers, defensive tackle Conrad Bolston, center Brennen Carvalho, safety Tyrone Culver, linebacker Spencer Havner, tight end Joey Haynos, running back Noah Herron, guard Ryan Keenan, linebacker Danny Lansanah, defensive tackle Alfred Malone, running back Vernand Morency, defensive tackle Daniel Muir, cornerback Joe Porter, wide receiver Johnny Quinn, wide receiver Taj Smith, wide receiver Brett Swain, tackle Orrin Thompson and fullback Corey White.

Defensive tackle Rodney Allen, center Junius Coston and long snapper J.J. Jansen were placed on injured reserve."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Packers 21 - Titans 23

The Packers' offensive starters were expected to play about 10 plays last evening. Ryan Grant was supposed to get a carry or two as at least a bit of a warm up to the regular season. Didn't happen. It was one and done. After taking the opening kick off, Aaron Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings on a sideline pass between double coverage that wound up turning into a 68-yard touchdown. Take a seat, boys, grab the baseball caps, you're done for the evening. And basically, the Packers were as well, losing 23-21 and settling for a preseason record of 1-3.

After the departure of the first team offense, it was fairly uneventful from the Packers' side of the ball for quite a while, as coach McCarthy shuffled in the two rookie quarterbacks and a host of other players. The most compelling note of the night, perhaps, was that Tennessee's first string offense played into the third quarter against the Pack's second and third stringers, got into the red zone at least four times with no TDs to show for it all. The biggest damage was done by Titans' QB Vince Young who used his running ability to gash the Packers repeatedly. The Titans first string defense played the entire first half against the Packers' backups.

McCarthy alternated back up QBs Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn every couple series. Flynn clearly looked better not only last night, but throughout the preseason. Flynn directed the Packers second and third scoring drives, with the last being a final second TD pass to bring the Packers within two points. The two point conversion pass to the corner of the end zone was caught but the receiver was only able to get down one foot before being pushed out of bounds (a rule change now allows the defensive back to push out the receiver, so no more judgement calls as to whether he would or wouldn't have gotten a foot down). Anyway, Flynn looked very good in directing the two-minute offense and helped himself and his team considerably with his scrambling ability. Brohm, on the other hand, looked like a deer in the headlights on occasion, failing to get rid of the ball under pressure several times and getting sacked instead.

Still, coach McCarthy wasn't ready to say after the game who would be the Number Two QB behind Rodgers. When interviewed on local radio this morning, he also left the radio hosts with the clear impression he was leaning toward Brohm. Based upon performance, one doesn't see how that would be justified. It is also unclear as to whether GM Ted Thompson will look to pick up a veteran QB to go into the season, just in case. Wayne Larrivee, the radio "voice of the Packers," said on-air this morning that while he has no way of knowing, he believes the Packers will start the season with Rodgers and the rookies. That's a pretty big chance to take. Although McCarthy is reported to have said that if Brohm or Flynn had to step in for Rodgers that the team would help pick them up. Sounds good for part of a game or two. But if something happened that sidelined Rodgers for the season? Hmmm...we'll see. Or better yet, hope we don't see. You can read an article about the two QBs here.

The other areas where competition is keen -- linebacker and running back -- were especially so again last night. LB Desmond Bishop had a great game last night and was seemingly all over the field. Abdul Hodge played well. Tracey White was solid before leaving with an ankle injury in the second half. At running back, Noah Herron, Vernand Morency and Kregg Lumpkin again all made statements as to why they should remain on the roster although it is likely only two of the three will do so.

There will be some tough decisions coming for the Packers staff over the next day or so as they trim down to the 53-man roster.

One of those decisions might be what to do about a long snapper. After about a zillion years -- give or take -- with Rob Davis at that slot, the Packers had undrafted rookie from Notre Dame, J.J. Jansen, at that spot. During the fourth quarter, after making a high punt snap to Jon Ryan, Jansen injured his left knee during Ryan's scramble. Depending upon the nature of Jansen's injury, the Pack might be looking for a replacement on the waiver wires this weekend. Of course, Rob Davis is still with the Packers, just at a desk job now. Could he be talked into "unretiring" if need be? Hey, it happened with Brett so why not? This is one to watch. Long snappers are like the Ed Nortons of football. When they do their job, you don't even know they are there. When they don't they really stink up the place. (Hopefully, there's enough readers out there to, first, know who Ed Norton is, and, second, to remember his occupation to make that "stink" reference meaningful.)

Another injury of note last night was to offensive lineman Junius Coston, who was carted off the field in the second quarter after taking a blow to the knee. In a deju vu type moment, Coston was also injured in the preseason finale against Tennessee in 2006, sustaining a medial collateral ligament injury.

One reporter's roster
And, no, that wouldn't be this humble poster. Rather, it's from Mike Vandermause, sports editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. He has an intriguing line up, and it might not be that far off from what Ted Thompson winds up doing. You can check it out here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Packers vs. Titans preview

The Packers take on the Tennessee Titans tonight - less than 30 minutes from now actually -- at Lambeau Field. Starters are expected to play about 10 plays for the Packers, while the Titans' starters, according to head coach Jeff Fisher, may play into the second half.

The key for tonight's game is the number of players playing for roster spots. Teams have to be down to the league-mandated 53-man squad by Saturday. That means about 20 players will be cut within the next two days.

As has been noted here in prior posts, the most competitive area is at running back where there are reportedly two spots open, with three players competing for them. Noah Herron, Vernand Morency and Kregg Lumpkin will be looking to perform well tonight. Another area where tough cuts will likely be made is at linebacker. Again, too many players available for one too few spots.

One area that was originally thought of as a place of depth was defensive line. But with lots of injuries, some of the lesser-knowns need to step up. In doing so, they may also be earning a spot long term. Particularly if they can exhibit a pass rush, as well as stop the run...neither of which the Packers have shown much of an ability to do yet this preseason.

It will also be intriguing to watch the two rookie backup quarterbacks. Neither Brian Brohm nor Matt Flynn have provided much confidence that, should something happen to starter Aaron Rodgers, the Packers will still have an effective offense. One or the other needs to demonstrate consistency tonight, and they both will be given plenty of opportunity to do so given Rodgers' limited playing time.

The final score won't matter. Getting starters out without injuries and having players -- especially for the 6 spots which head coach Mike McCarthy says are still up in the air -- step up and claim their spot decisively will be the key outcomes tonight.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Harrell to have surgery

Following on the heels of yesterday's announcement that last year's first round draft pick, Justin Harrell, was being placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, word came that Harrell would be having arthroscopic back surgery to hopefully repair the damage from the weightlifting injury he incurred this Spring. He had surgery in April, but apparently aggravated the injury in July, requiring this second surgery. This situation continues Harrell's history of injuries while an undergrad at Tennessee, a situation which many fans and pundits alike believed should have been a red flag to anyone considering drafting him...especially in the first round (a-hem...Ted, are you listening???)

An article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette relates the following:
Harrell said last week there had been no recent discussions about further surgery, but that apparently changed in the past day or two after he received a second opinion.

“He’s gotten himself in remarkable shape. I think our guys have done a great job in the rehab,” General Manager Ted Thompson said of Harrell. “But we've reached a point where we’ve sort of plateaued, and looking out over the timeline, we felt like it was going to take a few weeks without doing anything, but maybe doing a little extra procedure might hurry things along.”

Any player placed on the PUP list is barred from practicing or playing for a minimum of six weeks, after which the team has three weeks to evaluate the player and decide whether to restore him to the active roster.

Putting Harrell on the list buys the Packers as much as 2½ months to make a decision on whether he’ll play this season. He won’t count against the 53-man limit, which teams must reach by 3 p.m. Saturday. He’ll become eligible to practice on Oct. 14, two days after the Packers’ sixth game, and could be reinstated as late as Nov. 11, two days after the ninth game.

Without getting into specifics, Thompson said the latest surgery would be a little different than the one Harrell underwent in April and would be done soon.

“The quicker the better, obviously, because then you can kind of start back on the whole recovery thing,” Thompson said.

“It’s too bad. He’s worked very hard, and I know being a high-profile pick, a No. 1 pick, there’s a lot of pressure put on that and expectations of fans. It’s not his fault, and he’s trying his best to get back, and we’re still counting on him to help us this year.”

You can read the entire article here.

When the announcement broke yesterday, several local media outlets started to toss out the word "bust" in reference to Harrell. While it still might be too early to come to that conclusion, pending the results of the surgery and Harrell's ability to rehab, it appears that things are headed in that direction. One can only hope that the young man is able to get healthy, whether or not he plays for the Packers. But we'd also like to see what he could do on the playing field. Particularly given the current depleted situation on the defensive line, a healthy and productive Harrell would be a plus. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But at least as concerns Harrell in year number two, that's all we've got.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Packers make first roster moves

To get to the the NFL-mandated 75-player limit of this week, the Packers have made 5 roster moves as of today. According to the Packers official website, they released RB DeShawn Wynn -- who started 4 games last season but couldn't seem to stay healthy then or now -- and FB Ryan Powdrell, along with WR Chris Francies and OL Ryan Considine. The Packers also placed last season's first round draft pick, DT Justin Harrell, on the reserve/physically unable to perform list meaning he can't be placed on the active roster during the first six weeks of the season. According to the info on the Packers official site, "After that time, they (the players) are eligible to practice with the club for up to three weeks. If a player is activated from the reserve/PUP list to the active roster, a subsequent roster move must be made to maintain the 53-man active roster limit."

So, what this all seems to indicate is that the running back situation is coming down to Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson, both locks, and perhaps a three-way battle for two spots between Noah Herron, Vernand Morency and the fast-rising rookie free agent, Kregg Lumpkin. Lumpkin leads the Packers with 17 carries for 87 yards this preseason, while Herron has 10 carries for 52 yards, Jackson nine for 54 and Morency one for 1. The Packers have always liked Herron's reliability, if not durability, and Morency's third down play catching passes out of the backfield. But Lumpkin has been intriguing. Check out this article to find out more about this young man from Georgia.

It also means, speaking of Justin Harrell, that the Ted Thompson doubters/haters out there will continue to fault him for making this pick last season. Certainly, the longer it takes for Harrell to even make it onto the playing field -- if he ever does -- the more he's going to have to show to mitigate the skepticism Packer fans will likely have.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pack picks up first preseason win

The Packers beat the Broncos last evening in Denver, 27-24. While it was only a preseason game, players and coaches alike all said it was basically a must-win game, especially after the fall-on-your-face performance at San Fran last weekend. And because the final preseason game will not have the starters playing very long. So, this was basically the starters chance to perform.

The Packers' first team offense, led by QB Aaron Rodgers, came out clicking and scored a TD on an opening 80-yard drive. Rodgers was 4 out of 5 passing, for 69 yards and a TD pass to Donald Driver. His passes looked sharp, and he also looked comfortable rolling out of the pocket and throwing. Playing into the third quarter, Rodgers was 18 for 22, 193 yards, 1 TD passing and 1 TD rushing on a goal line QB sneak. (He had a passer rating of 118.4 for the stat geeks out there.)

Basically, Rodgers and the first team offense were pretty much everything they weren't against the 'Niners. The Pack scored in four out of five possessions under Rodgers, gaining 217 yards and picking up 15 first downs. This was what we were waiting to see.

The game was in doubt, though, until about the last 3 minutes of the game when rookie free agent RB -- and someone who is starting to catch attention -- Kregg Lumpkin took it in for the go-ahead score on fourth down from the 1-yard line. This followed a turnover by the Broncos at their own 10-yard line when DE Jason Hunter hit QB Patrick Ramsey just as he was attempting a pass; his pass was knocked into the air and LB Tracy White was waiting with open arms for the interception.

For as good as the starting offense looked, the same could not be said for the starting defense. In particular, Denver's running game gashed the Pack time after time for 91 yards rushing (a 6.1 yd. per carry average) and 206 total yards. And that was just in the first half. There was also no pass rush to speak of. Again. Like in the prior two games. No sacks and only two knockdowns coming from Aaron Kampman. Granted, the defense was without LB A.J. Hawk. But...c'mon...

Injuries mounting up
In addition to Hawk being out with a chest injury suffered in the last game -- and reportedly not even being day to day but week to week -- several players got injured in last night's game. Rookie RG Josh Sitton and safeties Nick Collins and Atari Bigby were all injured in the first half and didn't return to the game. WR James Jones injured his right knee in the second half and also didn't return, although he didn't seem to be bothered by it later on judging by his sideline behavior.

In addition to these in-game injuries, eight Packers didn't even make the trip: the aforementioned A.J. Hawk, RB Ryan Grant, C Scott Wells, DT Ryan Pickett, S Charlie Peprah, RB DeShawn Wynn, DT Justin Harrell (yeah, shocking, isn't it?) and DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. As reports note, Grant, Harrell, Pickett and Gbaja-Biamila have not played a down during the exhibition season.

"A Few Seconds of Panic"
No, this is not what you may feel when asked by your doctor to...well, OK, that is what you feel when your doctor asks you to do...anything. But that's beside the point. In this case, the reference is actually the title to a new book by sportswriter Stefan Fatsis. Subtitled “A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL," the book chronicles Fatsis' experience as part of the Denver Broncos training camp where he worked out and practiced with the kickers. The NFL, however, wouldn't even let him kick an extra point in an exhibition game. Still, he came away learning a lot about the game and especially how the players view their chosen profession.

Fatsis was interviewed in this week's broadcast of "Only a Game" on NPR. You can read a brief book review here. If you want to listen to the on-air interview, go here and then scroll down to the bottom of the page where you can click on the player for that segment. It's worth a listen.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Brett is one happy Jet

Although our focus here at is and will always be the Packers, of course, we also have to mention from time to time those players who have moved on elsewhere. Particularly when that player happens to be ol' #4.

According to an AP article carried on Yahoo Sports, Brett's one happy camper in Jet-land. Good for him. Nothing but the best to him now and always. And, especially this year, the better he does the better for the Pack in terms of the conditional draft pick we get next season. So...Go Brett Go!!!

He's got his moment now as Broadway Brett. And Jets fans can rejoice and marvel at his performance -- and agonize over some of his bonehead plays, as well -- just as we Packers fans have done for so long. But when Brett goes into the Hall of Fame, it won't be as a Jet. It will be as a Packer. So let's just consider this whole thing as a loan. We'll get him back in the Green 'n' Gold. Looks much better on him anyway.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Packers flop at San Fran

For as many of the good things that were apparent even in the Packers loss at home last week, there were as many or more bad things that occurred in last night's defeat in San Francisco. It was ugly. The 'Niners whooped the Pack to the tune of 34-6.

The offense looked inept, allowing 6 sacks on the QB, with 4 of those coming against starter Aaron Rodgers. There were 3 turnovers. Receivers dropped passes, including what would have been an easy TD catch by TE Donald Lee following an interception by Charles Woodson deep in the 'Niners red zone. The running game was inept. The Packers didn't even hit 200 yards in total offense.

The defense was sloppy against the run and appeared uninspired. DB Jarrett Bush was -- as last year -- picked on repeatedly, and aided the 'Niners efforts with a critical pass interference play which helped set up a 'Niners TD.

About the only bright spot was a resurrected kicking game by punter Jon Ryan, who averaged about 50 yards per kick on the night. That, and a couple long returns by rookie receiver Jordy Nelson, were about the only highlights. Nelson had a 56-yard kickoff return in the third quarter and a 58-yard return in the fourth.

Coach McCarthy will have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks to pull this team together. It's loaded with talent. But it certainly wasn't on display in the city by the bay.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The $20 million deal Favre walked away from

According to a report in today's edition of The Sporting News' online newsletter, the $20 million offer the Packers put on the table for Brett Favre -- prior to his trade to the Jets -- included clothing, a merchandise line, collectibles, and even a blog. There was also a requirement for 10 personal appearances per year by Brett, including two private hunting and golfing trips. In addition, the Packers Pro Shop would become the exclusive distributor for autographed Favre memorabilia. Brett would also autograph 300 items each year for the Packers use.

Many fans and pundits thought Brett was, hmmm, a bit misguided in not taking $20 million for 10 years to basically show up and lend his name to things. But it's never been about the money with Brett, and he seemed to actually be insulted at the time that the Packers were tyring to "buy me off," as he put it, with such an offer.

Well, guess what? The Packers intend to make Brett a similar offer once he officially retires. Again.

As Packers president Mark Murphy stated, "We will want to have a long-term relationship with him. He will always be a Packer. It is similar to Joe Montana. Who remembers that he played with the Chiefs?"

In another article about this report at Yahoo Sports, it states, "In a chat with fans on last week, Murphy said he intends to reach out to Favre 'at the appropriate time' to finalize a formal relationship. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said last week that he would consider bringing Favre back to work with the team’s quarterbacks in training camp after his playing days are over. 'He’s a Green Bay Packer,' McCarthy said. 'He wants to come back here, he wants to be welcome back here.'"

You can read The Sporting News article here and the Yahoo Sports entry here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Packer fans seem to say, "Rodgers looked great"

OK, it was only one game. Actually, only about a quarter or so of one preseason game. But the microscope that new Packers starting QB Aaron Rodgers was under had to be...wait...that metaphor won't work. Never mind. The point is, Rodgers performed well and, according to the poll of the day going on at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asking fans what their initial impressions were of Rodgers, here are the results at the time of this posting:

What were your impressions of Aaron Rodgers Monday night?
He looked great (51.5%)
He’ll do (32.1%)
Can Brett come back? (16.4%)
Total votes: 4,196

For more on the view of Rodgers and the game, check out this story and this one. You can also find another view of things at the ESPN site. The report, by the way, on the Sports Illustrated site, is the same AP story.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rodgers looks good in preseason debut

Aaron Rodgers was cheered to the tune of a standing ovation by Packer fans at Lambeau Field when he took over the huddle tonight. And he rewarded that encouragement by going 9 of 15 for 117 yards in a little more than a quarter of work, with one TD pass and one interception (which, to be fair, slipped through the hands of the receiver). Not bad. Good command.

Backups Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn went 8 for 17 for 70 yards and one interception, and 12 for 21 for 97 yards and one TD respectively.

Final score: Bengals 20, Packers 17.

More tomorrow.

It's Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood now

That would be Aaron Rodgers, of course. The new starting QB for the Green Bay Packers. The Favre era has sadly and badly ended for both Brett and the Packers organization. But with every end comes a beginning (is that too New Agey for this discussion?).

The Aaron Rodgers era officially (pre-season version anyway) begins against the Bengals in Green Bay tonight at 7 p.m. Central time. The game will be carried on ESPN as well as local TV and radio channels in the Wisconsin market.

Well, perhaps "era" might be a bit of a stretch. If Rodgers makes it 10 years as the starter -- heck, five years -- that might be considered an "era." Right now, it's game number one, and not even the regular season number one. But it's a start. Of course, Rodgers will only play one or two quarters before giving way to his two rookie backups, who are having a battle of their own in training camp to see who will claim the #2 spot. Initially, it was almost a certainty that would be Brian Brohm. But apparently, seventh-rounder Matt Flynn has begun to tighten the game and give coaches something to think about, according to reports.

Anyway, back to our main man. Check out this story for more.

Go Pack Go!!!

It's not his fault

Regrettably some fans of Brett -- supposedly also Packers fans -- have taken it upon themselves to boo, deride and even curse at Rodgers for no other reason that he happens to be the poor shlub who has to try to replace a legend. Not to mention the fact that he had nothing personally to do with any of the Favre mess. In fact, Rodgers stayed well out of the fray despite what also must have been a bit of a trying time for him personally.

Green Bay Press-Gazette sports reporter Mike Vandermause has written a great column on this sad situation with some fans entitled, "Too bad some fans aren't as classy as Rodgers." All Packer fans should read this. And if you are angry or resentful at Aaron Rodgers just because he's now "the guy," guess what? He is the guy now. He is the guy that will either help guide this team to the playoffs or not. He is the guy that we now must encourage and cheer for. Why boo a player for the mere fact that it's now his time to play? If you are a true Packer fan, you know what? Rodgers was right in that Sports Illustrated story: get on board or shut up. The train has left the station. Deal with it. You can still root for Brett and the Jets. Get an NFL TV package and watch every single Jets game if you must. The better Brett and the Jets do, the higher the draft pick the Packers will get because of it. The Jets will be this writer's second favorite team this season.

But we need to support the Packers. And that means especially supporting Aaron Rodgers. His teammates do. Now we need to as well.

Go Aaron Go!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What in the world was Thompson thinking?

That's a nice way of putting it, especially for the Ted-bashers out there. What was Packers GM Ted Thompson thinking during the Favre mess, about Aaron Rodgers, and other topics too numerous to mention here? Thankfully, those topics are all covered in this great interview between the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's main Packers reporter, Bob McGinn, and Thompson.

Check it out and make your own conclusions. Love him, hate him. But I still think you have to admire the guy -- Thompson, that is -- for sticking to his guns. How will it all work out? Everyone, including Ted, is now waiting to see.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Words from others on the Favre trade

Packer fans, sometimes it helps us gain perspective on a situation by hearing what others on the outside have to say. Sometimes we're too close to things, too emotionally invested on one side or another. That certainly was the case with the whole Favre melodrama. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel compiled a number of comments from other sports pundits around the country regarding this matter. They seem to represent a good cross-section of thought, and might help all of us digest what has just transpired a bit better. You can read that compilation here.

Does Brett have a clue?

One of the side topics which has arisen since this trade was concluded was whether or not Brett really understands that, well, New York ain't Green Bay. We're not talking about the city here, obviously. We're talking about the fans, the franchise, the media, that sort of thing. And, yes, there are stereotypes involved. Sorry. But there are also hard facts. The Jets as a franchise has, how shall we say, not be good for a long, long time. Just remember all those draft day images at Madison Square Garden where Jets fans boo nearly every pick Jets' management makes. Which leads to the fans, of course. Brett, get ready to here the boos every time you throw another bonehead interception. Green Bay fans learned to cringe and then wait for your next brilliant play. We had the long-term perspective. Jets fans are going to expect that team to go to the playoffs now because you're at the helm. In that respect, it's no different than Green Bay. What's different, though, is the reaction you're going to get from the fans, Brett. Surrounded by questionable talent -- certainly far less than what you had to work with in Green Bay -- I and many others wonder how long it will take for you to really wonder why you didn't take that $20 million the Packers offered you to go off and ride your lawn mower. You're going to get some honeymoon time in New York, and be the star of the city for a while in a way that will stroke your ego the way you want. But if things go south for you and the Jets, you can be sure you wish you were back south in Mississippi.

Here's a great essay on this same topic from one of the writers at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The Packers' mea culpa

Packers' management admitted in their press conference yesterday that they made lots of mistakes in handling the Brett Favre situation. For a small town franchise that relies on its history of integrity, etc., not to mention the good will of its fans locally and across the nation and globe, it is sad to see the Packers come through this tarnished in any way. But they have been. Short, medium and long-term you have to wonder how players around the league will now view their own dealings with the Packers in terms of potential signings, trades, etc. People wanted to play with Brett Favre. He's gone. Who or what is now going to be the draw that brings top-level players to the Packers and keeps the winning tradition alive? Winning will do that, of course. And so the pressure is on the starting QB, Aaron Rodgers, to win. Anything short of getting to the playoffs would be seen as a major downfall brought on by Ted Thompson's handling of Brett Favre. Get to the playoffs and fans will be on board with the decision to move on. In this respect, Rodgers will be under as much scrutiny as Brett throughout the season. And you can almost see week-by-week stats reports comparing the performance of the two.

But at least it is instructive that the Packers admitted publicly to their part in helping this fiasco fester. That's something. And maybe it will prevent similar meltdowns in the future. Read more here.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Packers brass addresses the media on Favre trade

You can find an audio clip of the press conference held today by Packers GM Ted Thompson, head coach Mike McCarthy, and President Mark Murphy discussing the Brett Favre trade here.

If you want to get a minute-by-minute report of what went on and who said what, check out this running commentary from the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

When Favre's a Jet he's a Jet all the way

Happyguy already broke the news: Brett Favre has officially been traded to the NY Jets.

The greatest QB in the history of the Packers is gone. Aaron Rodgers is the starting QB of the Packers. The king is dead. Long live the king.

OK...sorry for the melodrama. But this is big, isn't it?

While most eyes were fixed on a deal with Tampa Bay, the Jets were always rumored to be part of the possible scenario. And, as reported here yesterday, news reports were indicating that the Jets were offering the Packers a sweeter deal for Favre than were the Buccaneers. And that's ultimately what it came down to.

Here are the details as we have them now. The Packers receive -- no matter what -- a 4th round draft pick for Brett. If he plays at least 50% of the offensive snaps during the season (seems quite reasonable barring injury), the Pack will receive a 3rd round pick. If he plays at least 70 % of the snaps and the Jets make the playoffs, the Pack will get a 2nd round pick. If -- through the sheer majesty and will of our once great ol' #4 -- the Jets somehow make it to the Super Bowl, the Packers will receive a 1st round draft choice. So, Packer fans, you can still root for Brett! Go Brett Go!!!

Now, one of the other negative possibilities the Packers have reportedly addressed in this deal is a back-door trade from the Jets to ViQueens. You know, behind the scenes Minnesota may have been working with the Jets so the Jets could acquire Favre and then trade him to the 'Queens, right? While that still could be a possibility, the Jets would pay a heavy price. One of the poison pill type conditions being reported as part of this deal is that the Jets would have to give the Packers three 1st round draft picks if they trade Brett to the ViQueens. Ouch. For the Jets, anyway.

Brett has nearly gone full circle. The Jets -- and an employee there at the time by the name of Ron Wolf -- wanted to draft Favre in 1991. They didn't have a 1st round pick. Hoped he'd make it to the 2nd round. He did. Only problem was that the Atlanta Falcons selected him one pick before the Jets selection came up. Wolf moved from New York to Green Bay about a year later and swung his first deal for the kid from Mississippi and re-built a dynasty and helped build a football legend in the process.

But that was then. This is now. The Jets finally get Brett 17 years late. And the Packers -- and we, the fans -- got the best of his years.

The drama is over. Now we can get on to talking about what's actually going on: summer camp, preseason games and, quite possibly, who the veteran QB is that the Packers might try to pick up to back up Aaron know...just in case...

You can read more about this deal, well, probably anywhere and everywhere. But here's a link to get you started.

The Packers Official Statement

A joint statement from Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy and General Manager Ted Thompson read:

“Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state. It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible.

“We respect Brett’s decision that he could no longer remain here as a Packer. But there were certain things we were not willing to do because they were not in the best interest of the team. We were not going to release him nor trade him to a team within the division. When Brett ultimately decided that he still wanted to play football, but not in Green Bay, we told him that we would work to find the best solution for all parties involved. We wish Brett and his family well.

“We appreciate the tremendous passion shown by our fans. We, like them, always will see Brett Favre as a Green Bay Packer and our respect for him never will change. Moving forward, we are dedicated to delivering a successful 2008 season for all Packers fans.”

Murphy, Thompson and Head Coach Mike McCarthy are expected to address the media today at noon Central Time.

You can watch the press conference live on by clicking here. (A live video window will appear on that page approximately 5 minutes before the scheduled live event.)

Favre traded to Jets

The Brett Favre era in Green Bay officially came to an end late Wednesday night as the longtime Packers star quarterback was traded to the New York Jets, the Packers announced.

The exact compensation wasn't immediately available, but it is believed to be a fourth-round draft pick that increases in value depending upon how the Jets perform during the 2008 season.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Favre has left the building

Actually, Brett, his wife Deanna, and agent James "Bus" Cook have all left Green Bay. And they likely won't be back for a looooooooong time.

They all hopped on Brett's private plane at about 12:30 p.m. headed back to Hattiesburg to apparently wait out the imminent trade between the Packers and either Tampa Bay or the New York Jets.

Reports early this morning indicated that Brett and Deanna both were on board with a deal with Tampa, although the Buccaneers' owner refuted a story in the local press there saying that a deal had been worked out. Brett would prefer to go to Tampa because he knows head coach Jon Gruden and could get up to speed on the offensive system quickly. Reports also indicated, however, that the Jets were apparently offering the Packers a sweeter deal than the Bucs for Brett, which could evolve into yet another circus if Brett doesn't want to play there. Oh boy.

A deal of some kind seems to be likely within the next 24 hours. But this story has had so many twists and know...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Favre: from Green Bay to Tampa Bay???

Late reports coming out of Green Bay are that disgruntled QB Brett Favre is now willing to consider being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In fact, talks between his agent and the Bucs are apparently heating up.

Read it and weep, Packer fans. Brett's going to be hitting the road soon. And Tampa Bay may be the place. Hey, at least it ain't the ViQueens.

McCarthy: Brett "not in right mindset" to play for Packers

According to Packers head coach Mike McCarthy's press conference, going on at the time of this writing, Brett Favre said, because of all the things that have happened, he's "not in the right mindset" to play for the Green Bay Packers any further. According to McCarthy, that's where their five-plus hour conversation last night ended.

McCarthy said he wanted to know whether Brett was committed to playing for the Packers. And based on their conversation, he said that was no longer the case.

More later.

You can catch the streaming press conference (while live) here.

After 5 hour meeting, Favre wants out

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was supposed to address the media last evening at about 8:15 after meeting with Brett Favre for an hour or two beforehand. But that didn't happen. The meeting lasted until after 11 p.m., with Brett leaving the building at about 11:30 p.m. according to reports. What everyone wants to know is what could be the topic or topics of discussion for 5 hours? As it stands now, only McCarthy and Brett know.

Brett passed his required physical yesterday and was supposed to be on the practice field today at 2 p.m. That didn't happen. Brett actually left the Packer facilities for some meetings elsewhere with Packers GM Ted Thompson, according to ESPN. Those meetings are presumably to discuss trade possibilities. Judging from what Brett is reported to have told ESPN's Chris Mortenson, he said he is at a "stalemate" with the Packers and the best thing, he said, was for them to part ways.

So, the brief joy some fans experienced when Brett returned to Green Bay appears to be short-lived. Whether Brett ever steps on the practice field again in Green Bay seems to now even be in doubt. Brett wants out. The Packers, it certainly appears, are also ready to move on. The best resolution, in the opinion of Brett, would be for an outright release. That would be the worst scenario for the Packers as then he would likely sign with the ViQueens and revel in his new-found enthusiasm to "stick it" to the Packers, as he has reportedly said. From the Packers perspective, they would be more than happy to do a trade, but not within the division. Problem is, they have had no takers for Favre's services. And why, at this point, would any team trade for Brett, other than the 'Queens, perhaps? But even they know the Packers are stuck. If Brett waits it out long enough, and the Packers get fed up enough, they could in the end just release him. And that would absolutely be one of the most boneheaded moves in NFL history.

Instead, the Packers hold his rights. If they can work a trade, at this point, it might be best for all concerned as Brett clearly has no interest at this point in playing for the Pack. He is reported to have referred to the $20 million personal services agreement that the Packers offered him as an attempt to buy him off. You know what, Brett? There's a lot of folks in this country and world who'd be more than happy to be bought off for even a fraction of that kind of coin.

But you are who you are and it isn't about the money. We get it. Your pride has been offended. And you blame the Packers for that. One day, when the heat of this moment has long passed, and you look in the mirror, perhaps you will begin to think about how you waffled for the last three or four years about whether you wanted to play or not. You put the Packers organization and fans through an ongoing soap opera. You tarnished your image among the best and most loyal fan base in pro football. You looked as much the fool in real life over this situation as you did the hero in your best playing days.

There is no joy in Mudville. Nor in Green Bay. And there will come a day when Brett -- sitting back in Kiln or Hattiesburg or wherever -- will regret the way he's going out. Packer fans are generally very forgiving of their players, true. But we also have long memories. Especially when the final bite is a bad-tasting one.

Check out more here and here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Breaking News: Favre back with the Pack

Apparently spurred by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's nudge to get things settled, Brett Favre and the Packers have done so. For now, anyway. Brett and wife Deanna landed in Green Bay this evening, which coincidentally was also the night of the Packers Family Night scrimmage. News of Favre's return broke about the same time as the game. Fans queried by local sports reporters seemed to have a mixed reaction: some were ecstatic that Brett was back, while others felt that this was all unfair to Aaron Rodgers. Why? Because the Packers have reportedly agreed to let Brett compete for the starting QB job (did you ever really expect in your wildest dreams to hear such an expression?). You probably don't have to speculate too much on how that could turn out. And that's without even tossing in the media circus about to ensue on Tuesday when Brett is anticipated to step onto the practice field for the first time.

But let's not forget that Rodgers isn't going to roll over just because Brett's back in town. In fact, when informed of the Favre arrangement, he said, "It's going to be a dogfight." That's what you'd expect. But given Rodgers' somewhat so-so performance in tonight's scrimmage, it may be easier said then done. Especially when the other dog in the fight has been the top dog for so long.

The Packers released this statement from president Mark Murphy: "Sixteen years after Brett Favre came to the Packers, he is returning for a seventeenth season. He has had a great career with our organization and although we built this year around the assumption that Brett meant what he said about retiring, Brett is coming back. We will welcome him back and turn this situation to our advantage."

Of course, now that Brett is back on the roster, pending the outcome of his physical Monday, there could still be a trade. So it's still not a given that ol' #4 will be the starting QB for the Packers come the first regular season game, regardless of how the open competition turns out. In fact, one report says that a trade with the ViQueens is still a possibility. Wow. What a revoltin' development that would be!

We'll worry about that later. For now...welcome back, Brett. And good luck, Aaron. May the best QB win!

Goodell to Favre and Pack: settle it

Over the course of this weekend -- Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, OH -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters, essentially, that if the Packers and Brett Favre don't come to some resolution to "this situation" (not what Goodell called it, but we might as well) he would reinstate Favre Monday and essentially force both parties to make decisions by effectively returning Favre to the Packers roster. At that point, Favre would report to camp, be traded, or decide to walk off with the $20 million deal the Packers have offered him to make personal appearances, etc. A deal which also does not preclude him from returning to the playing field, either in Green Bay or elsewhere...although the Packers would certainly be hoping the $20 million would keep Brett loyal to the Pack and dissuade him from going elsewhere.

So, Packer fans, seems like we will finally see the next, albeit perhaps not final, step in this saga sometime tomorrow at the latest. Stay tuned.

Also, it's interesting to note that even the Green Bay Catholic Archdiocesan newspaper has weighed on this matter. Naturally, the editorial has some religious overtones to it. But hey, it's Sunday, so what the heck. Check it out here if you are so inclined.

Grant signs 4-year $30 million deal

The Packers helped bring RB Ryan Grant's brief holdout to an end by getting him to agree to a four-year $30 million deal. Let's just hope last year's one-year wonder is able to continue that same kind of performance for at least the course of the contract. We're all well aware of players who, after signing that fat contract, never again match the performance of the year that made that money possible.

Friday, August 01, 2008

$20 million offer to Favre from Pack...but not to play

As news reports have been circulating for the last day or so, the Packers have apparently offered Brett Favre $20 over 10 years to essentially make appearances at various public events and participate in marketing efforts for the Packers, whether he plays any more football or not. ESPN is reporting that he is seriously thinking about this offer. In a text message sent to one of ESPN's reporters Brett said, "There isn't a perfect solution to this, but Mark Murphy is at least trying. We know what they want and where I stand. His solution, although awkward and unsettling for most, may be the best in the end."

There were high expectations yesterday that Brett would be on a plane out of Hattiesburg last evening to come to Green Bay. That didn't happen. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to act on Brett's reinstatement request, apparently trying to allow the two sides time to come to a resolution before triggering a roster move through the reinstatement, as this statement from the league office indicated: "The Packers and Brett Favre are continuing their discussions. The commissioner preferred to let those discussions continue rather than act on the reinstatement petition today."

You really do have to wonder about Brett's commitment, though. He's wavered on retirement for the last three or four seasons. And then yesterday Brett's agent released a statement saying this: "If he was given his release, there's no guarantee he'd go anywhere to play. However, he'd have the freedom to choose if he should decide to play."

Reports are circulating today that Brett has now sent out a message to the Packers saying that he wants to return to play for the Packers but if that's not possible to trade him so he can play against the Packers. Ouch.

So...does he want to play or doesn't he? Bottom line is still that Brett doesn't know what he wants to do. And that's the source of this circus.

You can read more about these latest happenings here.