Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Packers 2010 preseason schedule announced

The NFL announced the Packers preseason schedule today, although exact dates and times are still to be determined except for the nationally televised game #3 versus the Colts:

Aug. 12-16 - Home
Midwest Shrine Game
TV: WFRV/state

Aug. 19-23 - Away
at Seattle Seahawks
TV: WFRV/state

Aug. 26 - 7 p.m. - Home
Bishop's Charities Game

Sept. 2-3 - Away
at Kansas City Chiefs
TV: WFRV/state

You can read more about the schedule at the Packers' site, here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Packer updates

Yikes. It's been a bit since the last post here. Sorry about that. But really, there hasn't been all that much going on of major significance recently. Granted, many blogs don't let that prevent them from posting. But that's not the way we do things here at Well, at least not most of the time.

So, what has been going on? Get a cuppa java and settle in...this is gonna take a while...

Punter signed
The Packers -- as a sign of their total desperation in the punting game -- last week signed an Australian Rules Football player who has never played a down of American football. Now, some might argue that even veteran NFL punters have never played a down of American football either, but that's a whole other conversation. Since totally botching the punter position by releasing Jon Ryan virtually on the eve of the start of the 2008 season, the Packers have been mired in mediocrity at the position. (It might also be noted that Ryan has gone on to have two good seasons in Seattle and recently signed a multi-year deal with them.)

The fact is, there are just not that many quality free agent punters available at the moment, and the college ranks coming into the draft also don't look compelling...and do we really want a reprise of Mike Sherman's third-round draft debacle of B. J. Sander? So, when all else fails, look down, not there! Australia, mate...put another shrimp on the barbie...Fosters "Australian for beer", etc.

So who is this Aussie? Chris Bryan, a 28-year-old left-footer. He joins Tim Masthay, 23, another left-footer free agent the Packers also picked up recently. Masthay was in camp with Indianapolis in 2009 but didn't even kick in an exhibition game. So, things don't look promising for this aspect of the game at present. If you care to be even more depressed about this than I've already made you, you can read more here. If you wish to read about coach Mike McCarthy's optimistic take on the situation, then check out this article.

Draft order set
The NFL draft will take place over not just two days any longer, but three, starting with a Thursday evening primetime extravaganza. It's all about the dollars, kids, as if there was ever any doubt about that. Here's the Packers' picks during the April 22-24 marathon (btw, I apologize in advance if the table spacing doesn't appear correctly in your browser...keep's there...really):

1 23 23
2 24 56
3 23 86
4 24 122
5 23 154
5 38 169 (Comp)
6 24 193
7 23 230

McCarthy talks O-line
It's not like that is surprising, is it? Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been answering questions about the offensive line ever since he's been at the helm of the Packers. No different this season. At the NFL Owners meeting, McCarthy talked about the offensive line. Check out his comments here.

Pack gets compensatory pick
The NFL awarded the Packers a fifth-round selection, No. 169 overall, as compensation for the loss of nose tackle Colin Cole to the Seattle Seahawks last year. It's the first time in two years the Packers have been awarded a compensatory pick.

Touchdown Havner down?
Linebacker/tight end touchdown maker, Spencer Havner, was recently in a motorcycle accident in California and suffered a broken shoulder bone. Packers medical staff hasn't been able to evaluate him yet because Havner hasn't been able to travel. To complicate the matter further, Havner was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. Although no charges have yet been filed, they are apparently under consideration by the district attorney's office in that particular jurisdiction. You can read more here.

Owners make OT rule changes
You've no doubt heard about the so-called "Favre rule" coming to post-season overtimes near you. Some sports pundits speculate that the impetus for the change this year was because the ViQueens lost in overtime in the NFC Championship game. Yes, we all know that all Ol' #4 had to do was take a knee near the end of regulation and Ryan Longwell would have booted them into the Super Bowl. But...well...given a choice between doing what makes sense and being a gunslinger...yep. So, the owners finally decided to make some changes. Currently, these changes only apply to post-season games. But they may review the rule further for regular season play, as well. And, interestingly, the 'Queens were one of only four teams to vote against the rule change; go figure.

Here are the changes approved for 2010 post-season overtime games:
• Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner.

• If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

• If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if [the overtime period's] initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue until a score is made, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tauscher back with the Pack!

According to an article on by Jason Wilde and citing NFL sources, and as hinted to Friday by head coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers have reached agreement with veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher on a reported two-year deal that will likely allow "Tausch" to finish his career with the team that drafted him, his home state team.

Returning to the Packers late last season after coming off a serious knee injury and rehab, Tauscher helped reestablish solid offensive line play down the stretch. He may not be flashy, and he may be getting a bit long in the tooth at age 33 (as of this June), but he is solid. Combined with the re-signing of LT Chad Clifton last week, the Pack have returned their starting tackles to the roster, giving them the opportunity to bring in and nurture the necessary replacements for either this year or a year or two down the line. QB Aaron Rodgers will have good security blankets on both ends of the line for at least this season and hopefully beyond.

You can read Wilde's report here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Packers add Pickett to signings

In a week in which the Packers kept their offensive left tackle position stabilized (at least short-term) with the re-signing of Chad Clifton, and locked down one of the best young safeties in the league by re-signing Nick Collins, the Packers on Friday announced that they had also come to terms on re-signing nose tackle Ryan Pickett. While all of these were either known or anticipated, the Pack chose the annual Fan Fest at the Lambeau Field Atrium to make the official announcements. According to reports, the team dropped some major coinage into these players' bank accounts in exchange for the multi-year deals. You can read more about them here.

Alternate Uniform Unveiled
The Packers new "alternate" uniform was unveiled during Fan Fest on Friday and if you were around in 1929 it might look vaguely familiar. You'd remember this being the uniform of the team's first world championship team. Well, sorta. A few adaptations have naturally been made for the modern game. No leather helmet, for example, although the helmet will be a shade of brown as a nod to the old leather days. Helmet aside, the uni's almost remind one of Notre Dame's home look...almost. They're not bad, especially for a throwback look. And just think of the merchandising opportunities. Which, naturally, the Packers have: all related jerseys, sideline apparel and merchandise will be available eventually through the Packers Pro Shop.

Duke Bobber/

According to a story on the Packers' website: "The jersey is navy blue with the number on the front inside a gold circle. The circle and number are enlarged a bit from their 1929 size to comply with NFL regulations regarding jersey numbers. An enlarged number is also on the back, with a nameplate above the number, another modification that wasn't present in 1929. The helmet is a solid brown color without a logo to best simulate the leather helmets worn during the era. The uniform pants are a tan color."

Further from the same story: "NFL teams are allowed to have a third jersey that they can wear for up to three games per season (no more than two home games) over a five-year period. Murphy said the Packers would wear it for home games only, and for one or possibly two games this coming season, with potential future use to be evaluated. Which game or games will depend on the team's schedule, which will be released sometime in April."

You can see players in the new uni's here. Photos of the jersey alone can be found here. There's even a shot or two of the original '29 jersey and uniform on which this new version is modelled.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NFC North: Da Bearz and Lions try to improve

I know, I know, that really is a bit of an oxymoron, isn't it? Talking about Da Bearz and Lions in the same sentence as the word "improve." C'mon, right?

Well, there is no doubt after the early days of free agency signings that the playing field will have changed when the Packers meet their division foes to the south and east this Fall. Da Bearz management somehow got ownership (i.e., the McCaskeys) to pry open their wallet and fork over what reports say could be up to $121 million for three players: defensive end Julius Peppers, tight end Brandon Manumaleuna and running back Chester Taylor. So, perhaps we'll see improved defensive line play in Chicago. Taylor was primarily a 3rd down back with the ViQueens and will spell Matt Forte at running back. Still, they have Jay Cutler at QB (how'd that big signing work out last season, by the way? Oh...right...) and still nobody for him to throw to. A shame, really, given that bucketload of money they gave to Cutler last season...and then there were all those draft choices they traded away as part of that deal, too. You can almost smell the desperation coming out of Chi-Town, can't you?

As for the Lions, the perennial bottom feeders of the division and league, they signed defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and receiver Nate Burleson. They also traded a couple late-round draft picks for defensive tackle Corey Williams and cornerback Chris Houston. Interesting moves that should help the rebuilding process in Detroit. But they still have a long way to go.

As regards the ViQueens, the only thing that matters there -- or in the division, really -- is whether Ol' #4 decides to come back. Given that the 'Queens will let him come dancing back in for a few weeks of training camp prior to the season, my bet is we'll see Brett Favre under center for one mo' go 'round in that funky purple.

The Pack, of course, has really done little in the way of outside free agency signings. GM Ted Thompson seems to be more focused on keeping the best of his own roster on board, resigning LT Chad Clifton and S Nick Collins and letting DE Aaron Kampman walk away.

The only true free agent signing so far came yesterday in the form of WR Charles Dillon. Who? From the Packers own press release: "The Green Bay Packers have signed WR Charles Dillon. Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson announced the signing Tuesday. A 6-foot, 202-pound first-year player, Dillon spent time with the Indianapolis Colts during training camp in 2008. A former Washington State letterman, he spent the 2009 season with the Spokane Shock in af2. He will wear No. 17." Ah, now we know.

A wide receiver issued #17. Kind of like a baseball pitcher being issued #91. Likelihood of sticking? You got it, not much, particularly with the Pack's already exceptional receiving corps as your competition. Unless, that is, Dillon's exceptional speed and apparent ability to find the endzone (at least on shortened arena league fields) gives him a shot as a returner on special teams. Ya never know.

Packers to unveil a third uniform this weekend
Perhaps some of the biggest news to potentially emerge this weekend during the Packers Fan Fest at Lambeau Field will be the unveiling of the official third "alternate" jersey and uniform for this season and perhaps beyond. The only scuttlebutt so far, confirmed on the Packers website, is that the look will derive from the Pack's first decade of existence. For those not up on their Packers history, that would be the 1920s. According to an article at, "In their first decade, the Packers wore navy blue jerseys with golden or canvas-colored pants and a brown leather helmet. The uniform to be unveiled Friday will be a re-creation of a uniform from that era, modified to adhere to current NFL guidelines regarding elements like jersey numbers and names."

Of course, there will also be merchandising opportunities galore that come along with the new look: "The third jerseys, as well as the accompanying sideline apparel that the coaches and support staff will wear during the game, will be available to fans in the Packers Pro Shop at a later date. Murphy anticipated that would be sometime around training camp or the start of the regular season."

So...keep an eye out...what's old is new again for Packer fans everywhere.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Collins sticks with the Pack

In what can only be described as a good moment in the free agent period, S Nick Collins has signed his restricted free agent tender offer, according to a report in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, confirmed by Collins' agent.

Both sides apparently want to get a long-term deal done and Collins and his agent see this tender offer and signing as a good faith effort on his part and that of the Packers to try to get those negotiations jump started. The deal is one year for $3.3 million. The Packers sent a clear signal that they wanted to retain Collins by placing the highest tender on him. Any interested team would have had to compensate the Packers with both a first- and third-round draft choice if it signed him and the Packers declined to match the offer. The Pack in effect took Collins off the market with that tender.

You can read more about the deal here.

This is good news for the Packers as it should lock down a critical piece of the defensive secondary, particularly at a time when a few of the other pieces might not be as certain due to age, injury, etc. The secondary was tremendous last season, led by CB Charles Woodson. Having Collins at safety is a key to keeping that unit's overall performance among the top in the league.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Kampman heads to Jacksonville

In a very anticlimactic departure, longtime Packer Aaron Kampman has left the building, so to speak.

After being moved from his down defensive end position to upright outside linebacker in the Packers new 3-4 scheme last season, it was apparent that Kampman wasn't happy. Whether through an inability or an unwillingness to adapt to the system, Kampman was a fish out of water. It was apparent. With free agency looming, the Packers should have traded him. Instead, they waited, apparently thinking he'd come around. The only thing that came around was a season-ending knee injury which all but guaranteed that Kampman would move on and the Packers would receive absolutely nothing for one of the best pass rushing defensive ends in the league. Sad on a lot of fronts.

Kampman was and is a fan fave. He was a valuable member of the Packers and extended Green Bay community. His leadership will be missed.

The Florida Times-Union reported Kampman's new contract with the Jaguars is worth $26 million over four years, including $11 million guaranteed. And, yes, the Jags play the ol' 4-3 in which Kampman admits feeling much more comfortable.

Anyway, the Pack last week kept LT Chad Clifton as a security blanket to protect QB Aaron Rodgers. This week, they decided they couldn't fit this round peg called Aaron Kampman into the square hole of the 3-4 scheme.

See ya, Mr. Kampman. Thanks for your eight years of great service to the Green 'n' Gold.

You can read more about Kampman's signing with the Jaguars here.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Packers make offers to nine

Packer safeties Nick Collins and Atari Bigby, cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Will Blackmon, offensive guards Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz, defensive end Johnny Jolly, fullback John Kuhn and tight end Spencer Havner all received tender offers from the Packers on Wednesday, according to a report in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. What the dollar amounts in each case were is still unkown.

Basically, these qualifying tenders mean that if one of these restricted free agents -- with the exception of Havner -- walks away and accepts an offer elsewhere, the Packers are entitled to compensation in the form of a specific round draft choice.

One of the players to whom an offer was not extended was punter Jeremy Kapinos. The Pack have only a street free agent punter on board right now, Tim Masthay, so they will be looking for help on the free agent and/or draft market for sure.

Check out the article noted above for more info.