Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Favre now a free agent

Yes, we know Brett said he's retired...again. But then why did he ask for his release from the Jets? That's what happened earlier this week apparently. The Newark Star-Ledger reported this development Tuesday night. The article says that Favre put out a statement reading: "“Bus (Cook, his agent) and Mike (Tannenbaum, GM of the Jets) have been talking about this for a while. Nothing has changed. As this point, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football.”

But then, according to a comment reply to an article about this in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, he last night "twittered that he's now accepting offers and he thanked 'Mike'."

Oh boy. Of course, the poison pill clause the Pack had with the Jets was only effective if the Jets traded Brett to another team in the division. With a release, Brett can sign with any team he wants and the Pack would receive no compensation. What do you think? Is he still looking to stick it to Ted Thompson? Would he come back to sign with the ViQueens just to spite Ted?

Let's hope Brett takes the high road at this point. His arm clearly didn't have it going down the stretch last season. It's time to stay retired, Brett. want to come back and sign with the Packers so you can retire the way you should have the first time around.

You can read the Press-Gazette article here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pack adds undrafted players

According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Packers have signed and/or invited to camp for tryouts the following players:

  • Utah QB Brian Johnson

  • Central Michigan OT Andy Hartline

  • Colorado WR Patrick Williams

  • Idaho State OT Evan Dietrich-Smith

  • Delaware DE Ronald Talley

  • Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton

  • North Dakota State WR Kole Heckendorf

  • Michigan TE Carson Butler

  • Western Michigan WR Jamarko Simmons

  • South Dakota State WR JaRon Harris

  • Iowa WR Andy Brodell

  • New Mexico State DE Rhyan Anderson

  • Western Michigan TE Branden Ledbetter

  • UW-River Falls C Scott Witte

  • Tulsa QB David Johnson

  • Maryland DE ean Muhtadi

So there are a whole lot of receivers in this bunch, obviously. Only one running back, and a couple tight ends. Needed somebody to throw to them so they invited a couple Johnsons to camp (I'm sure there's a joke there somewhere, but let it go, will ya?). There's Tulsa QB David Johnson and Utah QB Brian Johnson. I know, it sounds like that part of the Blazing Saddles movie where there's nobody but Johnsons at the Rock Ridge town meeting.

But, no. It's tryouts during this weekend's rookie orientation. Brian Johnson's not just "an arm," however. According to the Journal-Sentinel, "Johnson (6-feet, 205 pounds, 4.88) led the Utes to a 13-0 record and a victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, where he was named most valuable player after completing 27-of-41 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns." Johnson was also Mountain West Conference offensive player of the year. Not too shabby. Whether he'll get an offer after the tryout and have a shot at unseating either Matt Flynn or Brian Brohm as a backup to Aaron Rodgers is admittedly a long shot. But the Packers must have seen something.

Ditto for David Johnson. According to a seemingly well documented entry in Wikipedia, "In his final season, Johnson recorded 4,059 passing yards, 46 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions (five of which were in the C-USA title game), and finished as the second-most efficient quarterback in the nation, behind Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford. He was voted an All-Conference USA honorable mention player, and the Sporting News named him the Conference USA Offensive MVP. Johnson was also named a semi-finalist for the Draddy Award and the Davey O'Brien Award. The New York Times, The News & Observer, and CBS Sports named Johnson as a Heisman Trophy contender." So, he really only has one year to go on. But it was a good year. Let's see, who else only started about a year or so? Oh, that Mark Sanchez guy. Wouldn't it be funny if...oh...never mind...

You can read more about all these players here.

Still no punter on the horizon, though.

The Day After
One day after the conclusion of the 2009 NFL Draft and it still feels good. Not only was there a seeming consensus among Packers faithful that this was a great draft for the Packers, but that guru of draft gurus, Mel Kiper Jr., when asked on this morning's Mike and Mike in the Morning Show on ESPN which team he though had the best draft, the first team he mentioned was the Packers. Kiper said he really felt the Packers did a great job of addressing its needs, which were primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Nice to get that kind of confirmation.

Packer OTAs, Mini-camp and Shareholders Meeting Scheduled
According to an announcement on the Packers website: "Four of the Green Bay Packers' spring organized team activities (OTAs) will be open to the public as well as the media on Clarke Hinkle Field.

The four open OTAs are scheduled for Thursday, May 28, and the first three Wednesdays in June - June 3, 10 and 17. The workouts are tentatively scheduled for 11:15 a.m. each day.

The Packers also announced that the team's three-day mandatory mini-camp following OTAs would start one day earlier than originally scheduled, meaning it will begin on Monday, June 22. That mini-camp runs through Wednesday, June 24.

In addition, the annual shareholders' meeting will take place on Thursday, July 30, at Lambeau Field, one day before players report for training camp. The first training camp practice is slated for Saturday, Aug. 1."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pack finishes draft with more defensive help

Addressing the problems with the defense that couldn't close out games last season was obviously the focus of this year's draft for the Packers: the Pack selected just three offensive players while taking five from the other side of the ball. And none of the offensive players selected would be classified as skill-set players.

We left off posting here after the selection of fullback Quinn Johnson. After Johnson, the Packers chose:
Each of the players drafted looks as if they were very good coming out of college. Whether they will make the Packers is another question. In looking at the profiles of each of these players it simply reinforces once again the great scouting staff the Packers have on board.

As for rating this draft, yes, as you know, I do wear the Green 'n' Gold glasses. But I also call 'em like I see 'em. And I see this one as an "A" level draft for the Packers. Nice job, Ted!

That's just my opinion, of course. Why not tell us and your fellow Packer fans what you thought of the draft? Rate it for yourself in the new poll in the righthand column.

Now, the chaos begins when teams try to sign those players who were not drafted. It will be interesting to see, having apparently addressed the main areas of concern on the offensive and defensive lines, whether the Pack will try to add a running back, punter, tight end and receiver to the mix. Long odds for those young men, but you never know. A punter might have a very good chance of sticking...quick, can you name the Packers' punter right now?

Check back here later Monday to see what the Packers did on that side of the personnel equation.

Pack picks up a fullback

With their first pick in the fifth round, #145 overall, the Packers selected LSU fullback Quinn Johnson. At 6'1" and 245 lbs., this former linebacker helped clear the way this last season for a 1,000-yard rusher at LSU. From his profile description, "Despite playing on a team that featured standout offensive linemen like Herman Johnson and Ciron Black, he ranked second on the team with eleven touchdown-resulting blocks in 2008."

It was known going into the draft that the Packers wanted to add some competitiveness to their fullback position to try to help improve the zone running scheme. Johnson's stats indicate that he didn't rush or catch passes much. He was primarily geared to clearing running lanes. In that respect, he could be a good player to add to the training camp roster to generate some competition with current Packer fullbacks Korey Hall and John Kuhn.

Running backs coach Edgar Bennett told reporters that the Packers really like Johnson's aggressiveness and attitude. The Packers have been looking for a replacement in the run blocking game for the great William Henderson since Henderson's release in 2007. How well Johnson fits that bill remains to be seen. Bennett said Johnson shows up with power and strength and has the ability to make read adjustments. Johnson has the toughness required for fullback, according to Bennett. He can also play special teams.

Note to readers: the next draft update posted here at will come after the draft has been completed. We'll recap the Pack's final picks, as well as take a look at the overall draft and attempt to assess its impact going forward. Please check back this evening for that update.

Go Pack Go!!!

Packers take OT as first pick on Day Two

With their first pick of Day Two in the 2009 NFL Draft -- #109 overall -- the Packers took T.J. Lang, OT of Eastern Michigan. No doubt, the Packers will try to use his size (6'4", 312 lbs.) along the offensive line as needed, much as they have with some of the other current lineman on the roster. From the profile description, "Despite coming into his own as a tackle in 2008, many professional scouts feel that his drive blocking ability, reach and quick hand placement could see him shift inside to guard or center in the National Football League."

Here's a few other tidbits from Lang's profile: "All-Mid American Conference first-team and Super Sleeper Team selection by The NFL Draft Report, adding second-team All-MAC honors from the league's coaches... Earned the Harold E. Sponberg Award, given annually to the top down lineman scholar-athlete..."

The Packers did not have any picks in the second or third rounds, after trading those to New England yesterday to move up to take OLB Clay Matthews with the #26 pick of the first round. Barring trades, this will be the Pack's only pick in the fourth round. The Packers are set to have two picks in round five, #s 145 and 162, two in the sixth round, #s 182 and 187, and one in the seventh, #218.

Not moving up into the third round seems to indicate that it would be surprising if the Packers now traded out of any of their remaining picks, although anything is possible, of course. It seems as if they were really focused on getting Raji and Matthews as the main goals of their draft, and the other picks will be to take the best available players remaining given the team's needs.

In the post-pick press conference, Packers offensive line coach, James Campen, was very high on Lang. Campen noted that Lang was a captain on his team, has a defensive player's mentality (coming to the O-line from defense), will be able to play any of the offensive positions (even though he has never played a down at guard or center), is very intelligent, ran a 5.1 forty and did 30 reps on the bench press. According to Campen, the Packers had Lang in for a visit and he said he fit in very well with the Packers and showed a real appreciation for the game and for the Packers organization.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A successful first day for the Pack

Now that Day One of the 2009 NFL Draft is in the books, we can make a quick assessment in terms of how the Packers fared: great!

Getting nose tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews addressed two of the biggest defensive needs of the Packers. As was heard on more than one occasion from the TV pundits today, as well as after the season ended, QB Aaron Rodgers wasn't the reason the Packers wound up with the record they did last year; it was the defense.

The Pack got two players today who could both potentially start immediately. And to hear new defensive coordinator Dom Capers talk about Raji after the pick, he seemed almost giddy at the prospect of having both current nose tackle Ryan Pickett and Raji as part of his lineup. In addition, Ted Thompson made it clear in his press conference that they really liked Clay Matthews and when it became apparent that he was still available at #26 the Pack pulled the trigger on a deal with New England to move up and get him. New linebackers coach Kevin Greene spoke afterward about the potential that Matthews now adds to the linebacking corps. Greene seems quite enthused about what he sees.

All in all, kids, you have to rate the Packers' picks on Day One as A+.

Looking to the second day of the draft, the Pack goes into it with six possible picks, barring trades. Other needs that will likely be addressed: offensive tackle, defensive end, defensive back, running back and punter. No doubt Thompson would also like to pick up a receiver along the way, as well as attempt to add additional depth on the D-line and at linebacker depending upon the players available.

Thompson has always been good at getting production and value out of the later rounds. If he does as well with those tomorrow as he did today, this could shape up to be one of the better drafts the Pack has had under Thompson.

Go Pack Go!!!

Packers trade up to #26

The Packers traded up -- yes, up! -- with New England to take the #26 pick overall. And with that pick they chose Clay Matthews, outside linebacker from USC.

Great addition!

Trade details are as follows: the Packers sent picks 41, 73, and 83 to New England for picks 26 and 162.

This means the Packers traded their one second and two third-round picks to move up to get Matthews. The Packers next pick, barring trades, is #109 in tomorrow's fourth round.

And the #9 pick is...B.J Raji!

Packers' GM Ted Thompson couldn't have a bigger smile on his face. If in fact it was the case as noted here earlier and as reported by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packers beat reporter, Bob McGinn, that Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree was the highest rated player on their draft board, then seeing Crabtree drop to them at #9 had to be a dream come true.

But apparently, need rather than best possible player won out this time. Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji is the Packers' pick at #9. Not that Raji isn't a great player. Or that he doesn't fit a real need.

A few days ago we would have been thrilled to have Raji drop to us at #9. Then the Crabtree talk started swirling. Definitely he'd add an exciting element to an already good receiving corps.

But a good nose tackle to anchor the defensive line in the new 3-4 scheme had to be at the top of the need list. To get a top player at a spot of top have to like the pick...even if you might not agree with it. Although apparently, for one of the rare times in his tenure as GM, Thompson was actually cheered by those attending the Draft Day party in the Lambeau Field Atrium when the pick was announced. When this was pointed out to Thompson during his press conference immediately after making the pick, Thompson said, "They must be getting soft." Ya gotta like Ted's deadpan humor.

The pundits on ESPN definitely thought it was a great pick for the Packers, too. Former QB Steve Young said that in the years when the Packers and 'Niners were matched against each other, Gilbert Brown wrecked havoc upon them, thus showing the impact a good nose tackle can have. We all know how good Gilbert was. Let's hope that Raji matches if not exceeds "The Gravedigger" over the course of his career.

From the Packers official website: "Raji started 37-of-49 games at Boston College, recording 105 tackles (59 solos) with 12.5 sacks for minus 78 yards, 32.5 stops for losses of 136 yards and four quarterback pressures."

The Packers have one more pick to make today -- #41 overall -- barring any of Ted's wheeling and dealing.

Oh, and for those fans who voted in our poll and said that the Pack would trade out of the #9 pick...nope. Not this time. But you can now tell us whether or not you like the pick of Raji. Just vote in the poll in the righthand column anytime today or tomorrow.

Go Pack Go!

You can also see live video (at least, when streamed) from the Packers here. For a peek inside the draft room during draft hours, click here.

Draft Day! And could it be...Crabtree?

It's finally here, Packer fans...Draft Day! Or at least, Day 1.

And after reviewing the bajillion (thank you, Al Bundy!) mock drafts out there, we can with confidence say...absolutely nothing. Things are as confusing as ever. Consensus seems to indicate that Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji will be the Pack's pick at #9 if he's available. But then there is today's piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel by Packers beat writer, Bob McGinn, who says otherwise. He says that if the Pack stays at #9, and he's still available, the Packers will select Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree.

McGinn's not the only one to suggest this, of course. Earlier this week, as reported here at the time, the radio voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, also said that he "has been told" that if Crabtree is available at the #9 slot, the Packers will take him. So maybe these guys really know something.

But, of course, there are a couple other teams who draft ahead of the Packers that could also use a top-notch wide receiver. And it's also reasonable to ask whether or not the Packers need a receiver ahead of some much more pressing needs on the defensive and offensive lines and at linebacker. But GM Ted Thompson's modus operandi has generally been to take the best available player. So, as McGinn writes, "Crabtree is the top-rated player on general manager Ted Thompson's board and, despite significant needs on both lines and at outside linebacker, it seems likely the Packers will stay true to their board provided Crabtree is available."

Pro personnel people (there's your alliteration for the day, kids) all apparently concur that Crabtree has big-time potential. But he apparently does have some attitude issues. Cleveland, who definitely would like a receiver to replace Braylon Edwards, was supposedly so turned off by Crabtree's attitude during their recent meeting that they've dropped him from consideration. Of course, that could all be smoke and mirrors on the part of Cleveland, too.

If Crabtree does come to the Packers it would be expected that the current receiving corps, especially Donald Driver, would help Crabtree to make whatever attitude adjustments would be necessary. Donald and the other receivers knows what goes in Green Bay, and it isn't a prima donna attitude.

McGinn naturally offers alternatives if Crabtree isn't available. "Heading that list are Jason Smith of Baylor and Andre Smith of Alabama, both of whom could start immediately at right tackle for Mark Tauscher, a player the Packers have no intention of re-signing. The Packers also are high on Mississippi tackle Michael Oher. If it came down to the choice between Oher and Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe, the edge might go to Oher."

And what if the Packers decide to trade down, as has been Thompson's pattern? McGinn says, "Some other players who could tempt the Packers later on (in) the first round and in the second would be outside linebacker Larry English of Northern Illinois and inside linebacker James Laurinaitis of Ohio State."

So...are you as excited -- and confused -- as yours truly? Hope your head doesn't explode rolling all the possibilities around. Just remember what Red Green would say: "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."

Oh, and to check out all of Bob McGinn's wisdom, go here. And if you want to see how he rates the top 100 players, check this out.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's just like Christmas Eve...

Well, except for the obvious religious connotations, of course.

But with less than 24 hours before the NFL Draft begins, some of us do get that kid-waiting-for-the-gift giddy feeling. Accept in this case, it would be like having a whole lot of brothers. You're hoping that you get the cool presents. The iPods, etc. And you hope your less-than-favorite brothers get the socks and underwear. In this case, we want the Pack to get the goodies and Da Bearz and ViQueens to get the socks and underwear. Oh yeah, the Lions...hmmm...well, they got a "new" logo already. Yawn. And they'll get the #1 pick tomorrow. Should be the best present of all. But how many times over the last decade has Detroit had top picks? And what have they done?

Never mind...that's off the topic.

Back to what the Packers can expect at #9. It seems as if consensus is building among pundits that nose tackle B.J. Raji will be available when the Packers go on the clock and if so they will take him. Still, there are a lot of other possibilities, depending upon how things fall, whether teams trade up or down, etc. The Packers will get a player at #9...just which one...that remains to be seen.

...And then...there are those eight other picks! At least, eight to start with.

Time to get all your snacks and favorite beverages ready for the next couple days. It's gonna be exciting!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The odds are...

If you ever wanted to know what the odds are of the Packers taking a certain player with their #9 pick in this weekend's NFL Draft, here's the scoop.

Sports writer Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports in his SportsDay today column that, "According to, the Packers are most likely to pick Boston College defensive tackle B.J. even odds, followed by Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo (7-to-2 odds), Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin (4-1), Louisiana State defensive end Tyson Jackson (8-1) and Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers (10-1)."

Wolfley also notes that, as of yesterday, ESPN's Mel Kiper (that would be Mel Kiper, Jr. to be exact!) has the Pack taking Raji, while Todd McShay instead says Raji will go to Cleveland at No. 5. ( many mock drafts have Cleveland taking WR Michael Crabtree). Who does McShay say the Packers will take? Alabama T Andre Smith.

You can read Wolfley's entire column here.

One of the other names that has appeared in several mock drafts as the Packers' pick is Louisiana State's DE Tyson Jackson. There is an excellent article by Journal-Sentinel Packers beat writer, Bob McGinn, about both Raji and Tyson as the sole standouts in this draft at defensive tackle and defensive end.

According to McGinn, "In an imperfect pool of players, Raji has the possibility of turning out like Warren Sapp if he goes to a team using a 4-3 defense or Vince Wilfork if he goes to a 3-4 team." And, "Many personnel people are of the opinion that Raji has more value than Jackson, who was described by Polian (Bill Polian, president of the Indianapolis Colts) as 'made to order' to play end in a 3-4."

Some good on-the-record comments in the article from various personnel folks from around the league...none from the Packers, of course...that would be a little too revealing. So if you want to read what some others have to say about two players -- one of which may wind up wearing the beloved Green 'n' Gold, check out the entire article here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So this explains it

If you want to get insights into how Packers GM Ted Thompson approaches the NFL Draft, you need to check out the transcript from his press conference yesterday. Naturally, he isn't tipping his hand about who he might take or what he might specifically do come Saturday and Sunday. Of course, we already knew that he liked to trade down and accumulate picks. But beyond that...some interesting bits can be gleaned.

But rather than have me tell you about it, read it for yourself here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

...and what about Michael Crabtree as a Packer?

With all the attention being paid to defensive and offensive linemen for the Packers' #9 pick, one of the players who hasn't been talked about all that much is Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree. Given the Packers' needs on the O- and D-lines, as well as the fact that many mock drafts have Crabtree gone before the Packers pick, it's certainly understandable.

Well...maybe we should rethink that a bit. The radio voice of the Green Bay Packers, Wayne Larrivee, was on WTMJ620 radio in Milwaukee this evening talking about the draft with sports guy, Bill Michaels. Michaels asked Larrivee about Crabtree. Larrivee said that he "has been told" that if Crabtree is available at the #9 slot, the Packers will take him. Hmmm. Supposedly, you're not supposed to believe anything any of teams' reps tell you about the draft. So...what to make of that "has been told" bit?

Certainly fans were surprised last year when the Pack took WR Jordy Nelson with their first pick of the draft. Didn't seem like that was a team need given the abundance of good receivers already on the squad. Still, it turned out to be a good pick with the injury to James Jones. Rule of thumb: can never have too many skill players.

Relating this to this year's draft, if the Packers believe that Michael Crabtree is the best player available when and if they are still sitting at #9 it would follow form that he'll be a Packer.

Seemingly, a lot will have to do with what Seattle does at #4. There's increasing speculation that the Seahawks may draft USC QB Mark Sanchez at that spot...which would move some of the likely defensive and offensive linemen expected to go early down at least a slot, which obviously then juggles a number of things for various teams...including the Packers. Whether that drops Crabtree down to the Packers is a big question mark.

But isn't this part of what makes the NFL Draft one of the more entertaining aspects of the game? Just trying to figure out who is going to do what and why? Oh yeah...oh yeah...

Who else is the Pack checking out?

Much of the hubbub surrounding the draft, of course, concerns first round 10 picks especially. But let's face it: most of the players in the league aren't first-rounders. Most starters, let alone backups, come farther down the line. Let's see, what examples might we think of quickly? How 'bout Bart Starr, Brett Favre, Donald Driver, Ray Nitschke, Mark Tauscher, and Greg Jennings, to name just a few. Guess those guys turned out OK.

So, while we discuss who the Packers might take with their #9 pick -- or whether they will trade down -- it might also be helpful to take a look at some of those other players whom the Packers have checked out. Some of these players may be post-draft free agents. Heck, the Packers still have two of those on the roster from last season, WR Brett Swain and LB Danny Lansanah. So, you never know where a gem may arise.

With that in mind, sports writer Tom Silverstein with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, takes a look at some of those players whom the Packers might pull the trigger on during or after the draft.

Among some of the more intriguing possibilities listed:
While you can get the draft scout details via the above individual links, be sure to also check out Silverstein's article about all the prospects the Packers are keeping tabs on. It's a good read. You can find it here.

Thompson's hits and misses
No doubt each Packer fan has his or her own list of Packer GM Ted Thompson's good picks and those that really were...hmmm...not so good shall we say (this is a family blog, after all!).

But if you need some help refreshing your memory, or perhaps adding to either of your lists, the Green Bay Press-Gazette ran an article over the weekend headlined, "The studs and duds of Ted Thompson's Packers drafts". Guess that pretty well says it all, doesn't it?

The article points out that Thompson has selected 43 players in his drafts as Packers GM. Of those, only one -- Nick Collins -- has made the Pro Bowl. Hmmm. And, specifically, the article notes, "Judging each pick by taking into account what the player has contributed, his potential for further growth and where in the draft he was selected, 13 of Thompson’s 43 players should be deemed good picks, while 24 should be called bad picks and for six others (all from last year’s draft), it’s too soon to tell."

For a player-by-player analysis, check out the article here. Whether this gives you hope for this weekend's affair (draft, that is...hey, this is a family blog!) or whether it will once again make you want to throw a shoe at the sight of Ted on draft day (oops...did I say, "once again"?), only you will know.

But in a draft that is seemingly being perceived more and more by pundits as somewhat of a so-so talent pool overall, Thompson's upside and/or downside this time around might not be as steep as in some other drafts. Still, on a team that needs depth particularly across the offensive and defensive lines, you have to hope -- OK, pray too, please! -- that Thompson and his scouts are able to find a few more studs than duds this time around.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Will Pack trade out of #9?

A week from today we'll know what the draft class of 2009 looks like. And the pundits will already be evaluating the picks. Who got a steal or two. Who reached. Who enhanced their team the most. And who blew it.

Where the Packers will come in remains to be seen. If Packers GM Ted Thompson stays true to form -- and why wouldn't he? -- you can expect a few surprises, probably even a reach on a player, and likely some wheeling and dealing to increase the number of picks from the current nine to...who knows?

One of the ideas seemingly building momentum among talking heads is the notion that Thompson might very well trade out of the current #9 spot in order to drop a few slots and gain another pick along the way. Why this should be surprising, I'm not sure. It's been Thompson's style since he's been at the helm. Perhaps it's because the expectation is that with a top 10 pick you're going to get an impact player. But if you read what some of the personnel people around the league are saying, many are pointing out that there's probably not a lot of difference between #1 and #20. Now, whether you buy that or not is up to you. But one thing is for sure: the guaranteed money to a top 10 pick is considerably different than for those after #10. And knowing how miserly Thompson is with money -- not a bad thing in and of itself -- if he sees that he could get the player he wants, or one of the players he wants, by dropping down a few slots and getting an additional pick and saving some money...well, you just know that's what Ted is going to do.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packers beat writer, Bob McGinn (who accurately projected the Packers' 6-10 record before the start of last season, by the way...the guy is good!), has this to say in today's edition of the paper: "Ted Thompson has taken his share of heat for trading down 13 times in his four drafts as general manager of the Green Bay Packers. Unless Thompson has a much stronger conviction than his peers about the offensive and defensive linemen seemingly headed the Packers' way with the No. 9 selection, he should deal back once again and escape the top 10...".

McGinn, like others, makes the point that this draft doesn't really have any sure-fire players. So dropping down in this draft probably makes as much sense as at any time during Thompson's tenure. Thompson always seems to do better in the middle rounds than early, so if he can pick up extra picks there you might as well figure that's what he's going to do. Which means he'll probably stay pat at #9. I'm so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o confused!

Anyway, as the rumors and scuttlebutt continue this week, keep checking back here at We'll do our best to keep you on top of things.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Packers pre-draft moves

Now, don't get excited, Packer fans. We're not talking about anything major. Might not even qualify as anything minor. But in the quiet, quiet world of Packers free agency signings, the news that the Pack signed a nose tackle -- a definite need -- is something that at least makes us wake up from our offseason slumber. Even if it does deal with a name that most of us probably haven't heard of before. Unless you were a really rabid fan of Utah State a couple years ago.

The Packers signed Brian Soi, a 2007 undrafted free agent with the Dolphins. He was released before the start of the regular season. In 2008, he spent some of the offseason with the Giants. So, counting on Mr. Soi to be the answer at the critical nose tackle position is probably not going to happen. But...ya never know. Which is perhaps why GM Ted Thompson took a flyer on him. Physically, he seems to fit the bill: 6'3" and 334 pounds.

So if you want to know more, you can check out the Packers' news release about him here.

Long snapper traded
Wait...who was our long snapper last year? Oh yeah, Brett Goode. And do you remember that he was a last minute fill-in after the originally designated replacement for long-timer Rob Davis, rookie J.J. Jansen, was injured just before the start of the season? Jansen spent all season on injured reserve. And Goode was so good that the Pack decided to keep the known commodity. But apparently, at least one other team still saw some potential in Jansen: Carolina. The Panthers gave the Pack a future conditional draft pick for Jansen. So, nothing for the Packers to lose and perhaps even something to gain. And for young Mr. Jansen -- who was performing very well prior to his untimely injury -- he also still has something to gain.

So here's something that doesn't happen in football: a win-win.

You can read a bit more here.

New Poll Question: How many games will the Pack win this season?

Just added to the righthand column is a poll asking you how many games you think the Pack will win this season based upon the opponents and schedule. We'll run this through the end of April. So give us and your fellow Packer fans an early idea as to how you're feeling about things.

And what's with this Paulus hype?
Is there any more over-hyped story over the last several days than this bit about Duke point guard Greg Paulus trying out in front of the Packers? Or being recruited by Michigan? Yes, he has a year of college eligibility left, and was arguably the most highly recruited QB coming out of high school...but he's played basketball for the last several years, not football.

And which also leaves Packer fans wondering: Huh???

More if you haven't heard these bits before.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Packers 2009 Schedule Released

It's finally here, Packers fans: the release of the 2009 Packers schedule.

Here are the details (all times Central Time):
1 Sun. Sep. 13 vs. Bears 7:20 PM - NBC
2 Sun. Sep. 20 vs. Bengals 12:00 PM - CBS (Gold Package)
3 Sun. Sep. 27 at Rams 12:00 PM - Fox
4 Mon. Oct. 05 at Vikings 7:30 PM - ESPN
5 Sun. Oct. 11 BYE
6 Sun. Oct. 18 vs. Lions 12:00 PM - Fox
7 Sun. Oct. 25 at Browns 12:00 PM - Fox
8 Sun. Nov. 01 vs. Vikings 12:00 PM - Fox
9 Sun. Nov. 08 at Buccaneers 12:00 PM - Fox
10 Sun. Nov. 15 vs. Cowboys 3:15 PM - Fox (Gold Package)
11 Sun. Nov. 22 vs. 49ers 12:00 PM - Fox
12 Thu. Nov. 26 at Lions 11:30 AM - Fox
13 Mon. Dec. 07 vs. Ravens 7:30 PM - ESPN
14 Sun. Dec. 13 at Bears 12:00 PM - Fox
15 Sun. Dec. 20 at Steelers 12:00 PM - Fox
16 Sun. Dec. 27 vs. Seahawks 12:00 PM - Fox
17 Sun. Jan. 03 at Cardinals 2:15 PM - Fox

The Packers, despite the 6-10 record of last year, are obviously still a major TV draw nationally. The Pack helps open the first weekend of the season with a Sunday night game at Lambeau vs. Da Bearz. Then there are two Monday night games, Oct. 5 at the ViQueens, and Dec. 7 vs. the Ravens at Lambeau. And sandwiched inbetween -- maybe turkey sandwich would be the appropriate description -- is the Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions in Detroit.

In looking at the schedule, we can make a few initial observations. (And if you'd care to voice your opinion, feel free to do so any time through the end of April in our poll in the column to the right.)

The Packers will have played all their divisional games by the end of Week 14, and will be done with both games against the ViQueens by Week 8. Just as Da Bearz are the first divisional opponent the Pack faces to kick off the season on opening weekend, they are also the last divisional opponent in week 14.

The scheduling gods gave the Packers no 3-game stretches either home or away; there are two sets of two games back to back at home and two sets of games back to back on the road, with the rest alternating home and away. Not bad. Also not bad is the fact that the hot weather Arizona Cardinals are scheduled for the last away game of the season, Jan. 3. Road trip, anyone???

The short week because of the Thanksgiving Day game begins with the 49ers at Lambeau on Nov. 22 and then the Lions on the 26th. That seems to be as good as an arrangement and team pairings as could be hoped for. Add into that the fact that then the Packers have the long stretch afterward to prepare for a Monday night home again vs. the Ravens on Dec. 7. Again, not bad. If it couldn't be the Cowboys the Ravens aren't a bad second choice for that slot, all things considered.

The bye week we would have preferred to come a bit later: week 5 hits a bit early. But it does come after the first Monday night game vs. the 'Queens. So with a quarter of the season completed, including two divisional games, that may be a good point to evaluate and tweak things.

Anyway...more to follow in terms of analysis, etc. as things sink in and we get a chance to look at things a bit more closely.

A word about the "Gold Package" reference
For those not familiar with the "Gold Package" reference in the schedule, that's a Packers-only designation: it refers to former Milwaukee season ticket holders. Once upon a time, the Pack used to play some of their games at the old County Stadium in Milwaukee. When the Brewers baseball team decided to build their new ballpark (a great one, btw!), the Packers decided to take the opportunity to cut those ties and move all games back to Green Bay. The only problem, of course, was that you had this extremely loyal and dedicated fan base who had purchased season tickets in Milwaukee for years and years. The Packers wisely decided they didn't want to tick off those fans. So, they came up with a solution -- of sorts -- called, appropriately, the Green and Gold Packages.

The Green Package was for those fans who already had season tix in Green Bay. They would not lose any of the games they would have already gotten under the old system; in fact, they probably picked up a game on their season tickets. The Gold Package was for those fans who held Milwaukee season tickets. Rather than have them come away empty-handed and disgruntled, the Pack kept them in the fold -- but it's not like they would go anywhere else anyway, right? -- by giving them two regular games at Lambeau each season, along with a preseason game. Not bad. And in looking at the schedule this season, well...getting Cleveland as the preseason game (and the first game at that) and Cincinnati as one of the two regular season games isn't the greatest. On the other hand, a bit of that is made up for with the second regular season Gold Package game: the Cowboys as the main afternoon game on Sunday, Nov. 15. I think a lot of Gold Package ticket holders will forgive those other two scheduling/ticketing choices just for the chance to see home state boy, Dallas QB Tony Romo, lose in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field. Sorry, Tony. You may be home town...but the Packers are our home team.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Packers season schedule due out Tuesday

Finally! Finally, the Packers schedule for the 2009 season will be released. Just tune in to the NFL Network at 6 p.m. (CT) Tuesday, April 14. Oh, oh...the NFL Network...well...maybe you can stream it over the 'net. Barring those options, you can also check back here at Packer Fans United, or here, or here. You can get the full NFL schedule at

Of course, the opponents at home and on the road have been known for quite a while now. Home opponents include divisional foes Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota, as well as San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Baltimore and Cincinnati. On the road, the Packers once again play our three divisional opponents (Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota) plus Arizona, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. It's just all a matter of who the Pack plays when.

We do have two known dates, though: the Pack opens the season against Da Bearz at Lambeau and play the Lions on Thanksgiving in Detroit. A wish list might have the Pack playing the Cowboys the game after know, get that extra rest and practice time in. And Arizona and Tampa Bay later in the season would be a plus, too. Instead, if NFL scheduling goes according to form, the Packers will have to go the desert to play the Cardinals in Week #2 and to the humidity of Florida in Week #3, while playing Cleveland and Pittsburgh the last games of the season. Well, perhaps the NFL scheduling gods will strive for a bit of balance. We'll know Tuesday how it all shakes out.

It's starting to smell a bit more like football season is just around the corner: the schedule coming out in a few days...the draft only about two weeks is good, Packer fans!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Draft musings

OK, Packer fans, it's time to start thinking about who the Pack will pick at #9 in the upcoming NFL Draft. Or, if they actually stick with that pick, given GM Ted Thompson's penchant for trading down to grab more players in exchange.

It's no surprise to any Packer fan that most folks -- including this folk -- see the defensive line as the number one area of need. Now, that whole "need" thing runs a bit contrary to Thompson's usual approach to taking the best available athlete. But this year might indeed be different, especially given the move to the new 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator, Dom Capers. The Pack's defensive line, due to injury and lack of depth, was mediocre at best last season. That can't happen again. The Pack will need stout players upfront and active players on the edges and across the middle.

But the Pack also has a need for a few folks on the offensive side of the ball, particularly on the line. As noted here and elsewhere before, it is questionable whether longtime veteran Mark Tauscher will be back as part of the team, given that he won't be totally rehabbed from his knee injury until several weeks into the season. The Packers have a number of good, young, versatile players across the line right now. But picking up at least one good tackle would be a plus.

Wide receivers? We should be covered. And the Packers just yesterday agreed to terms with tight end Tory Humphrey, who has always enamored the Pack with his potential but who can never seem to stay healthy. And what about running back? Hopefully, Ryan Grant won't take half the season to find his full stride. Head coach Mike McCarthy likes Brandon Jackson and would like to see more of what he can do, too. But if there is a good back available, the Packers could sure use one in the mix.

So, what are all the mock drafts saying about the Packers' #9?

The consensus at this point seems to OLB Everette Brown out of Florida State. Brown was a defensive end for the Seminoles and was extremely productive. Pro scouts, however, seem to be projecting him, because of his size, as a better option at OLB. And he may have to work against the bad experience several teams -- including the Packers -- have had with other highly touted defensive ends coming out of Florida State; does the name Jamal Reynolds ring a bell? (Shudder!)

But there are other names being tossed about, including:

  • Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio State
  • Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
  • B.J. Raji, NT, Boston College
  • Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
  • Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
  • Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
  • Brian Cushing, OLB, USC

That should be enough to set your head spinning. There are only a zillion or two mock draft sites you can check out which will give you more names, scouting reports, etc. No need to reinvent the wheel here.

As with any draft, much depends on what happens in front of you. B.J. Raji and Brian Orakpo would be excellent picks, but the likelihood of them lasting until #9 is questionable. The trade between Denver and Chicago last week also will impact things a bit. And then there is the distinct possibility that the Lions with the #1 overall pick, and even with new management, may still somehow throw a monkey wrench into things.

Of course, what happens in a draft sometimes depends on things that happen behind you, too. Would a team that picks a few slots behind the Pack and which sees a player they really want -- such as a QB -- wheel and deal with the Packers to move up? If Thompson thought he could still get the player he's targeting and nab an extra pick later, that would be a deal you just know Thompson would definitely take a look at if the past is any precursor.

So, stay tuned as things get closer to draft weekend, April 25-26. And, by the way, if you're looking to join in some fun and excitement, be sure to head to Lambeau Field for the Draft Day party.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Da Bearz nab Cutler

John Clayton of ESPN is reporting this afternoon that Da Bearz have acquired disgruntled Denver QB, Jay Cutler, in a trade. According to the report, "To acquire Cutler, the Bears had to give up quarterback Kyle Orton and first-round picks in 2009 and 2010, along with a third-round pick in 2009. To complete the trade, the Broncos had to give back a fifth-round pick in 2009."

This certainly gives Da Bearz their best option at quarterback since...wait...have Da Bearz ever had a good QB???

Now, they might. Heck of an arm and on-field presence even if this latest episode seems to make Cutler appear a bit less than stable, shall we say, from a maturity standpoint.

Things in the NFC North just got a lot more interesting. Dang!

Anyway, you can read the ESPN report here.

Later Addendum
On Sports Center, both ESPN football analysts, Trent Dilfer and Mark Schlereth, felt that Denver got the better end of the deal. They indicated that Da Bearz lost both starting offensive tackles and that the wide receivers are...who? "The strongest arm in the world isn't going to help you when you're laying on your back," Schlereth said. Both also liked Orton, admitting that he wasn't the prettiest looking QB but really showed toughness on the field and found ways to make things happen.

Maybe there's hope Da Bearz followed their usual modus operandi and screwed things up...again.

Other late breaking news is that Da Bearz also have agreed to terms to acquire future Hall of Fame offensive tackle Orlando Pace. Getting a bit long in the tooth. But at least it helps answer one of those question marks on the O-line...assuming Pace stays healthy of course.

OK...enough talk about Da Bearz. Just will make beating them in that home opener at Lambeau all the more sweet.

Does a tweet a twit make?

The latest communication tech rage, as any good geek knows, is Twitter (note to reader: this blogster has assiduously avoided being that geeked far). We have had instances of professional athletes sending "tweets" from their cell phones during half times of basketball games, during innings of spring training baseball games, etc. So it should come as no surprise that Packer linebacker Nick Barnett shot off a tweet during his down time regarding his opinion of the Packers defensive line status: "Ok question does anyone else think we need more d line man???".

According to an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, when asked why he felt the Pack needed such help, Barnett wrote: "I think we need one more solid d-line man I think we have some pretty good options for olb but knowing ted I think he wants to sure it up." Of course, the "ted" he is referring to is Packers' GM Ted Thompson. And you'll have to pardon Barnett's typo: am sure he met "shore" it up, not "sure" it up (hey, typos happen...even here once in a while, sad to say).

Barnett's comments should come as no surprise. Firstly, because he is the type of person to generally say what's on his mind. And secondly, because any Packer fan already knows this same situation quite well. Yes, the Packers need help on the D-line. Given the lack of offseason free agent acquisitions, you have to believe Thompson is really going to have to add a few players in the upcoming draft, as well as later training camp cast-offs. As much of a concern as it seems to be for Packer fans -- and, apparently, some Packer players -- Thompson doesn't seem in any hurry to fill the holes.

But for more on Barnett and his tweets, check out the aforementioned Journal-Sentinel article here.