Sunday, April 30, 2006

With Their Final Pick of the 2006 Draft...

With the 253rd pick of the 2006 NFL Draft -- there are only 255! -- the Packers chose Dave Tollefson, a defensive end from Northwest Missouri State...our own version of Mr. Irrelevant...but good luck to you anyway, Dave.

Actually, he looks pretty good. A bit older...but had a heckuva 2005 season. Maybe this is is our late round gem?

From the bio posted at
"Tollefson is a vastly underrated talent who had a banner senior season that he capped by excelling in the 2006 Hula Bowl in front of a national audience. It was a long road that took David to the Bearcats. He was an outside linebacker at Los Medanos Community College, but then spent three years away from the game due to shoulder and foot injuries, in addition to joining the work force. He went on to set the Bearcats' season-record for quarterback sacks and fell just short of the school's career-record...Earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, Daktronics and American Football Coaches Association...All-Mid American Intercollegiate Athletic Association first-team and was named the league's Defensive MVP...Finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award, given to the best lineman in the small college ranks...Also named to the All-Southwest Region team...Started fourteen games at right defensive end, recording 58 tackles (38 solos) with a team-high 16.5 stops for losses of 83 yards and five quarterback pressures...Set a school season-record and ranked 13 th in the nation with 12.5 sacks for minus 75 yards...Caused a fumble, blocked a kick and deflected four passes."

As for the the overview of this year's draft for the Pack, I'd think most fans have to be pretty pleased. Started with 7 picks and wound up with 12. Got perhaps the best defensive player in the draft. Picked up a few receivers/returners who can help both the offense and special teams immediately. Added depth on the offensive and defensive lines, linebacker and safety. Even picked up a QB. Combined with the free agent signings already completed,'s great to be a Packers fan!

Hope you enjoyed the draft weekend as much as I did. Hope you found a good source of info, comment and a bit of fun too. Keep checking back. Don't forget: minicamp is coming up, training camp, pre-season, and then...kickoff against Da Bearz. Ohhhhh baby!

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Oh...except for the non-draftee free agent signings coming up. Stay tuned for news of those when they are announced. And let's not overlook a few of those guys in NFL Europe. Such as WR Chad Lucas, CB Therrian Fontenot, and OG Pete Traynor who each seem to be having good seasons and could compete for roster spots with the Pack this Fall.

With Their Final Pick of the 2006 Draft...

With the 253rd pick of the 2006 NFL Draft -- there are only 255! -- the Packers chose Dave Tollefson, a defensive end from Northwest Missouri State...our own version of Mr. Irrelevant...but good luck to you anyway, Dave.

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Oh...except for the non-draftee free agent signings coming up. Stay tuned for news of those when they are announced.

#183 and #185: DT and S

With the 183rd and 185th overall picks, the Packers chose DT Johnny Jolly from Texas A&M and S Tyrone Culver from Fresno State.

The summary on Jolly from's Prospect Profiles:

"Jolly was a tough player to fairly evaluate because despite his natural tools, he does not finish and make plays that he gets close enough to on a regular basis. He does a good job of bending his knees and playing with leverage, which allows him to hold his ground at the point of attack on runs at him, but he does not shed the blocker quickly enough to make the play and too often he is tied up right as the ball carrier runs right by him. He does a good job of getting off the ball and into the backfield to disrupt plays, but he does not finish and make the play often enough. Overall, Jolly has all the physical tools to be a good starting defensive tackle in the NFL, for a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, but will need to use his hands better to take on and shed blockers. Additionally, he will need to play with that aggressive, attacking style much more in order to produce at the level he is physically capable of. I believe that Jolly will be drafted later than he is evaluated here, but given a season or two as a backup (possibly even on the practice squad), he can become a good backup defensive tackle who can do a solid job of spot starting when needed."

The summary on Culver from's bio overview:

"A key contributor while leading the secondary the last two years, the four-time Academic All-Western Athletic Conference has the quickness needed to cover any receiver on deep routes. He called the secondary adjustments for the team and was labeled a "coach on the field" by the staff because of his field smarts and ball anticipation ability...In 51 games at Fresno State, Culver started 26 times. He recorded 178 tackles (101 solos) with four sacks for minus 19 yards and six stops for losses of 22 yards. He recovered three fumbles, returning one 30 yards for a touchdown. He had two forced fumbles and deflected fourteen passes. He also gained 72 yards on five interception returns...Produced 109 of his career 178 tackles during his last two seasons with the Bulldogs...Was a four-time Academic All-Western Athletic Conference choice."

With #165, Pack Picks OT

With their first compensatory pick of the draft, #165 overall, the Packers selected Tony Moll, offensive tackle from Nevada. Switched to offensive line from tight end in 2005, his senior year. 6'4" 300 lbs. That's about all that's relevant at this point.

Pack Takes a QB at #148

With the 148th pick in the draft, the Packers chose Ingle Martin, quarterback from Furman.

OK, it was almost a no-brainer that the Pack would take a QB somewhere along the way today. I thought it would be Omar Jacobs. He was still available at this pick. The Packers opted for Martin, however.

Here's what's Prospect Profiles says about Martin:

"Martin is a very interesting prospect because, other than the ideal height, he has all the physical tools to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL. He started his college career at Florida and transferred to Furman, where he became their starting quarterback (and starting punter) and carried their offense on his back. He is going to have to adjust to the huge jump in talent from Furman to the NFL, but will also need to get used to playing in more common NFL offenses where he will have to line up under center which he did not do at Furman very often. He has the quick feet to set-up and get rid of the ball quickly and, when he strides into his throws, he shows the ability to make deep throws with very good zip and accuracy. He is going to need time to make the adjustment to the NFL, but he is the perfect small-school prospect and will eventually develop into a good NFL starter. He will need at least a season or two as a backup, and may be best suited to going to NFL Europe for a season to get re-acquainted with playing in games when he has to lineup under center."

With #115, the Packers Take WR

With their second pick in the 4th round, #115 overall (acquired, along with the 185th overall pick in their trade today with the Eagles for the 109th pick), the Packers selected Will Blackmon, wide receiver from Boston College.

Here's the scoop from's Prospect Profiles:
"Blackmon made the switch from cornerback to wide receiver in 2005, and he is best suited to play receiver in the NFL. He has the size and strength you like in a receiver and plays surprisingly stronger than even his good size says he should. He is a very quick-footed receiver who accelerates to full speed very fast and has the shake/make-you-miss ability that makes him a very dangerous runner in the open field. He no doubt has to work on some of the fundamentals of playing receiver like routes and get-off, but he already does a good job defeating the jam and keeping the defender on his back when he runs quick hitting routes. An added bonus is that he is a very dangerous return man who will be able to make an impact returning punts and kickoffs early in his career. He is going to need some time to develop his skills to become the receiver he is capable of, and it is going to take at least a season as a backup to develop and learn the postion. In time, he will become a good starting receiver who is a dangerous big-play threat every time he touches the ball."

At #109, the Packers Trade Out

With their second pick in the 4th round of the draft, #109 overall, the Packers traded out with the Eagles for picks 115 and 185.

Pack Selects WR with Pick #104

With their first pick in the 4th round of the 2006 NFL Draft, #104 overall, the Packers selected wide receiver Cory Rodgers from TCU.

Here's the summary from's Prospect Profiles:
"Rodgers is a junior who came out early for the draft. On film, he is clearly a talented receiver/returner with the talent to become a productive impact receiver in the NFL. He has good height for a receiver and has the jumping ability and hands to get up and pluck the high passes easily. He has shown a willingness to catch the high pass right before he takes the hard hit and holds onto the ball. Once he gets the ball in his hands he has consistently shown the ability to make tacklers miss, is a natural following blocks and waiting for holes to open up and has the burst to get thru the hole. He needs to do a better job of keeping his focus and catching the easy passes away from body with his hands. Overall, while he is not as good as A. Bolden of the Cardinals, I think Rodgers' success in the NFL will prove that too much stock is placed on post-season workouts (When Bolden came out of Florida State he was initially regarded as a top 15 pick in the entire NFL Draft, but when he ran in the high 4.7s at his pro day his stick began to fall and he ended being drafted in the second round by Arizona and has become an elite NFL receiver). I do not believe he is going to be as good a receiver as Bolden, but I do believe he will become a good starting receiver who consistently makes big plays running after the catch and as a returner."

Day 2, Here We Come

OK, Packer fans, hope you've recovered from the excitement and wheeling and dealing of Day 1 of the 2006 NFL Draft. It was all in all a very good day for the Packers, taking arguably the best defensive player in the draft in linebacker A. J. Hawk. (By the way, he's already been assigned jersey #50.) The Pack also picked up some depth on the O-line with Colledge and Spitz, and probably the second best receiver in the draft in Greg Jennings. Add Hodge at linebacker and the Pack shored up a lot of gaps.

Day 2 is about to commence. Where will Packer GM Ted Thompson go today with his remaining six picks? More trades? Or hold 'em and fire away?

The Pack needs additional depth on the offensive and defensive lines as well as at receiver. Admittedly, this is a draft not deep at receiver, but maybe there are some hidden gems out there like, oh I dunno, a 7th-rounder like Donald Driver, for example. The Pack could also pick up some additional defensive backfield help, running backs, and -- if Omar Jacobs of Bowling Green is still available -- perhaps even a quarterback pick might not be a bad selection.

Get your cup of coffee (or other favorite libation) and settle in for another long day. We'll do our best here at to keep you current with what the Packers are up to throughout the day.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

At #93, the Packers Trade Down

With their final pick of the first day of the 2006 NFL Draft (#93 overall), the Packers traded down. In a deal with St. Louis, the Pack sent their #93 pick to the Rams for 109 and 183.

Going into today, the Packers started with 7 possible picks. With all the various trades so far, the Pack now has 11 picks overall, pending any maneuvers on the second day of the Draft.

Whew...still some good talent out there. The Packers have two 4th round picks, two 5th rounders, a 6th and 7th remaining for Sunday...maybe.

A good first day. And the value rounds are still to come.

At #75, the Packers Pick an O-Lineman

Still looking to shore up its offensive line, the Packers took Jason Spitz, center/guard from Louisville, with their 75th pick. This might be more of a backup or role player pick than anything else, although Spitz can apparently play either guard position as well as center. Here's the skinny from's Prospect Profiles:
"Overall, Spitz lacks the playing strength and athleticism to become a starter in the NFL. However, he has all the intangibles to go with his foot quickness and natural size to stick in the NFL as a backup center/guard who can spot start adequately when needed."

Perhaps the Pack believes they can develop his technique. Spitz apparently has the right combination of height, weight and speed, but is seen as more of a straight-line blocker without a lot of flexibility or agility. Possible project pick here.

With #67, the Packers Take Linebacker Hodge

With the 67th overall pick in this year's draft, the Packers selected Iowa LB Abdul Hodge.

Here's the scoop from's Prospect Profiles:
"Hodge has played in the shadow of Chad Greenway during his career at Iowa, but he is an excellent linebacker in his own right, and will have a long and productive NFL career. He is a very tough and hard-nosed player who consistently plays with an all-out, no-quit aggressive attitude on every snap, and he never stops chasing the ball carrier until the whistle. He is a very good all-around linebacker, who not only makes an impact against the run (both at home and away), but he is also very good in coverage (both zone and man-to-man). Overall, I believe that Hodge is going to be slightly overlooked because of his teammate and his lack of height, but when all is said and done, he is going to be an excellent NFL linebacker. He will be very valuable because of his ability to be productive in all areas of defense, and he will not have to come off the field. He is best suited to play middle linebacker in the NFL, but has the ability to play all three linebacker positions in the NFL productively."

Sounds like the Pack has made some significant improvements already to its linebacking corps. I guess an old linebacker knows a good one when he sees one.

At #52, the Pack Picks WR

With the 52nd overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft (acquired from New England in a draft-day deal), the Packers picked Western Michigan wide receiver Greg Jennings.

Here's what's Prospect Profiles has to say about Jennings:
"Jennings is a player that is impressive. He is one of the few players at the position with no glaring weaknesses. He is a very good athlete with the foot quickness, balance and agility to make plays once he has the ball in his hands. While he lacks elite explosiveness and speed, Jennings runs sharp routes and has the ability to turn the cornerback around. This enables him to get better separation than most receivers who have better timed speed."

Jennings is not the big receiver that new Head Coach Mike McCarthy favors in his West Coast offense. But apparently, he makes big plays...and can return punts.

Another target for Brett. You betchya!

With the 47th Pick Overall, the Packers Take OT

With the 47th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (acquired in a draft-day deal with Atlanta), the Packers chose OT Daryn Colledge from Boise State.


OK...we start to get to the point in the draft -- unless you are really hardcore -- where unfamiliar names begin to appear.

Suffice it to say for now, that Colledge has been referred to as a "tweener," despite being a fast and physical O-lineman. He's a tackle, but in terms of size might be better suited at guard...and perhaps that's what the Packers have in mind. Is this a stretch pick? It's all in the eye of the beholder.

Oh, he also played at North Pole High School. No kidding. So he should feel right at home in Green Bay come December and January (yes, we ARE back in the playoffs!)

News Flash: Walker Traded to Denver

Subsequent to the Packers trade out of the their second round pick (#36 overall) with New England, the Pack traded WR Javon "The Whiner" Walker to Denver.

Stay with me now.

Here's how it all went down according to the Packers official website:
"The Packers then traded WR Javon Walker to the Denver Broncos for pick 37. The Green & Gold subsequently packaged picks 37 & 139 and traded them to the Atlanta Falcons for 47, 93 & 148."

Head about to explode again? Stay tuned...

Packers 2nd Round Pick: Traded to New England

The Packers traded their 2nd round pick, #36 overall, to New England, who chose WR Chad Johnson of Florida. The Pack acquired the Patriot's 2nd and 3rd round picks (52nd and 75th picks overall).

They then traded into the 37th pick from Denver, which they then traded to Atlanta. More details to follow...

Breaking News: Packers Pick Hawk!

With the #5 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Packers picked LB A. J. Hawk! Gotta like it!

As Packers GM Ted Thompson said in a post-pick press conference, Hawk was really the player he hoped to be able to get at #5 all along. Thompson said he was saying his prayers last evening. Prayers answered, Ted!

It didn't take long to get Hawk's jersey ready for fan sales. Click here.

Pack Working Hard to Move to #2!

With moments to go before the start of the draft, Bill Michaels of WTMJ620 radio, reporting live from Lambeau Field, is stating that the rumors inside Lambeau Field are that the Packers are working hard to move into the #2 slot to take Reggie Bush. Michaels said that, depending upon who you talk to (apparently with the Packers organization), it's either a done deal or is still being worked out. As Michaels stated it, the Packers have supposedly worked out a deal to ship Javon "The Whiner" Walker and a third round pick to New Orleans and swap the #2 and #5 spots with the Saints.

Oh baby! This is getting good! Stay tuned.

Could It Be...Davis at #5?

According to an article in this morning's online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Packers like offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia, despite the possible complications and shifts this might require in order to install him in the starting line. They might be willing to move up in order to take him. This might also explain the ESPN reports of last evening that the Packers were in talks with New Orleans about moving up to the #2 spot: if they sit at #5, it is more than likely Ferguson will be gone, that is if they actually would prefer taking a tackle to a franchise running back, i.e. Reggie Bush. Would they really take Ferguson over Bush if they had to pay the price required for that #2 spot? Doubtful. The more likely scenario is that the Pack stays put. As stated in the Journal-Sentinel, "Thus, if running back Reggie Bush, quarterback Vince Young and Ferguson join top pick Mario Williams off the board by No. 5, it would seem that their (the Packers) most likely move would be to choose (Maryland TE Vernon) Davis, the fastest and probably most athletic tight end ever to enter the league."

There were a few mock drafts that showed the Pack possibly taking Davis with #5, but they were few and far between. There is no doubting Davis' ability. Or that he would provide a much-needed offensive weapon for the Packers. It's just that the consensus seemed to be that LB A. J. Hawk would be the preference if the two players are still available, which they most likely will be. If the Packers do pick Davis, they would certainly be in line with Colts President Bill Polian's comments about him: "He has a chance to be maybe the best player coming out of this draft."

So what about Hawk? As the Journal-Sentinel article points out, "Thompson has drafted six linebackers in the fourth round and not one in the first day, a trend that suggests he assigns less value to the position than others." Quite revealing, as Thompson himself played 10 years as a linebacker in the NFL.

The article in the Journal-Sentinel by long-time Packers reporter Bob McGinn is one of the best I've seen outlining the possibilities and challenges for the Packers inherent in this year's draft. Check it out here.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Packers Reportedly in Talks with Saints for #2

As if tonight's news of the Texans already reaching terms with DE Mario Williams as the #1 overall draft pick wasn't enough to get the juices flowing, ESPN is also reporting that the Packers and perhaps 5 other teams are in talks with the Saints about moving up to get the #2 pick.


Could it be that Javon "The Whiner" Walker's visit to New Orleans yesterday was part of this anticipated development? Moving Walker and the #5 pick to New Orleans for #2...? Hmmmm...I'd like to get something else too. On the other hand, it was looking as if the Pack would only get at best a second round pick for Walker. But a #2??? Go Ted Thompson, Go Ted Thompson, Go Ted Thompson, Go!!!

Let the Draft Begin...Now! Texans Take "Super Mario"!

OK Packer fans...the draft has in effect already begun. ESPN is just reporting that the Houston Texans have signed DE Mario Williams to a 6-year $54 million deal. Yowza!

So the Reggie Bush sweepstakes is on. Or is it? Does some other team have a special need other than Bush that they are willing to move up to get? Will the Saints stay at #2, or trade down? They are no doubt fielding offers.

Oh baby...we're off and running! And there's still more than 14 hours to go before the actual start of the draft. you goose bumps, doesn't it?

And Now for Something Completely Different...

With apologies to Monty Python's Flying Circus, I just thought it would be a break from the pre-draft craziness to talk about something else for a brief moment. It's still craziness. But it has to do with the ViQueens. I know, that darn near makes it an oxymoron. Still, it's a change of pace, so here we go...

The ViQueens unveiled new uniforms last evening! Oh yeah, they are still purple. So they know. Basically, if you've seen the Northwestern Wildcats uniforms you have a good idea what the 'Queens uniforms now look like. Striking. Strikingly bad that is, with my apologies to all alumni and fans of Northwestern.

Don't take my word for it. Just go here to see for yourself.

And have a good chuckle. It will do you good.

A Few Other Draft Scenarios to Make Your Head Explode

As if football fans' heads aren't already about to explode from all the various mock draft permutations, here are a few others to consider. Of course, most mock drafts and talking heads have Ohio State linebacker A. J. Hawk coming to the Pack with the #5 pick. In fact, some pundits are even referring to Hawk as the "safest pick" in the draft: you know you are getting a player who can come in and make an immediate impact on your team. That's a great thing. The Pack definitely needs help of all kinds, and especially at linebacker. Having Hawk join Nick Barnett and...well...whomever at LB could indeed dramatically improve the defense. I for one would be quite happy to see Hawk in a Packers uniform.

But what happens in front of the Packers with the top four picks obviously will have a great deal to do with who is available for the Pack at #5.

Here are two other possible scenarios which could result in the Pack having to consider someone other than Hawk.
Scenario #1:
#1 - Reggie Bush - Texans
#2 - Mario Williams - Saints
#3 - Matt Leinart - Titans
#4 - Vince Young - Jets

In this scenario, the Packers could have their choice of not only Hawk, but the top offensive lineman in the draft, tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson from Virginia. Ferguson has been listed on some mock draft boards as high as #2. Granted, offensive tackle is not an area of need for the Packers, with Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher on board as arguably two of the best bookend tackles in the league. But...under this scenario, it has been suggested that the Pack would install Ferguson at left tackle, move Clifton to right tackle, and move Tauscher to right guard. If it came together, that would be a dramatic improvement to the offensive line. The question mark would be whether or not the Packers would want a rookie -- no matter how good -- to guard Brett Favre's blind side at this stage in his career. Still, an interesting scenario.

Scenario #2
#1 - Reggie Bush - Texans
#2 - D'Brickashaw Ferguson - Saints
#3 - Vince Young - Titans
#4 - Mario Williams - Jets

OK, Packer fans, what now? A. J. Hawk? Or...quarterback Matt Leinart? It is not out of the question that the Packers could be looking at exactly this scenario come Saturday. Would the Packers take Leinart, even though they also have last year's QB pick, Aaron Rodgers, backing up Favre? Given that many personnel people in the leauge don't seem to think much of Rodgers future beyond what you already see (and frankly, I don't know how they can say that seeing that nobody has seen too much), it might very well be the Packers take Leinart to be the future after Brett finally finally finally decides to retire.

Packers GM Ted Thompson has repeatedly said that the Pack will take the best player available on the board regardless of position. So who is the better player? Hawk or Ferguson or Leinart?

While some of the other scenarios make the #5 pick almost a no-brainer, i.e., Hawk, the two alternatives noted here would present the Packers with a real brain-buster. On the other hand, this is what these personnel pros get paid to do. They have worked through these scenarios and countless others. They will know exactly what to do when the moment comes. And whatever they decide, just know the Pack will be better than they were last year regardless of whether we are cheering for Hawk or Ferguson or Leinart come September. is good in Packer country!

Thompson Says Walker Trade Unlikely...But...

Oh how the plot thickens. Even while allowing Javon "The Whiner" Walker to shop himself around as possible trade bait, Packers' GM Ted Thompson says it is unlikely that a trade would happen prior to the start of tomorrow's NFL draft. In fact, Thompson disputed ESPN's report that the Pack had given Walker permission to seek a trade. So why is he on his magical mystery trade tour? According to today's online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Thompson described the visits as "pre-arranged meetings related to discussions the Packers have had with interested teams. He said Walker did not have permission to pursue a trade on his own and was meeting with teams that contacted the Packers about a possible deal." Oh. OK.

Walker was visiting the Saints yesterday and will be visiting the Broncos today. There has been speculation over the past week or so that the Broncos recent trade with San Francisco, garnering them additional draft picks, might be to enable them to offer these picks to the Pack as part of a trade package for Walker.

On the other hand, as the Journal-Sentinel states, "The fact Thompson is allowing Walker to meet with the two teams - both of which presumably wouldn't do a deal unless they were able to see how the torn anterior cruciate ligament in Walker's right knee was healing - means he is open to a trade. But it might all be a fishing expedition Thompson has orchestrated in an attempt to show Walker that interest in him isn't that great and that he would be best served playing out the final year of his contract in Green Bay." So, either way, that could be a win-win for the Packers. Either someone offers up a first round pick, or a package of players and picks, and the Pack dumps "The Whiner," or Walker perhaps gets humbled a bit by finding out that he's not as great as he thinks he is as other teams loose interest or only offer up late-round picks insufficient to get the Packers to execute a trade. Pretty shrewd by the ol' GM.

According to all the pundits, if there is going to be a trade it will happen prior to the start of the draft. It is also quite possible, though, that no announcement of such a trade will be made until during the draft itself. Well..."The Whiner" saga will way or another. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Driver Refutes Rumor

According to sources, as reported by WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Donald Driver is refuting the ESPN report cited in an earlier post that said he wanted to be traded or released. "Sources close to Driver said Thursday he has no plans to hold out or make any demands of the team to rework his deal." You can find the story here.

The ESPN story seemed quite out of character for Driver. But in this never know. At least for now, it seems, we can kick this rumor to the side.

Driver Now Looking to Leave?

Oh boy. Donald Driver, one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL for several years, and one of the most reliable -- change that, the most reliable -- receiver on the Packers has now asked the Packers to either trade him or release him. Obviously the last choice is not an option the Packers will pursue. As for trading him? Don't thank that will happen either. So what's going on?

Shockingly, it's about money.

According to ESPN, Driver is apparently upset that his contract hasn't been re-worked. He supposedly requested it two years ago under then GM, Mike Sherman. Didn't happen. Didn't happen this last year under new GM Ted Thompson either. And now, with basically himself as the only proven receiver on the team, he is attempting to leverage that situation for a better contract. Can't blame him. At supposedly along the lines of $1.8 per year, Driver is certainly a bargain. He has been his entire career. He is looking to be rewarded. And, frankly, he should be. How much is the question. But with so much disarray in the receiving corps, and so little depth in this weekend's draft, the Pack had better make sure they don't let this situation get out of hand. Brett Favre was already questioning what he'd have to work with this year. Minus Driver, his main security blanket at receiver, well...not good.

So, this is a distraction the Pack didn't need going into the draft. They'd already given Javon "the Whiner" Walker permission to visit other teams in pursuit of a trade before the draft. Trying to get that worked out prior to the start of the draft, as most pundits say will happen, is already a bit of a monkey wrench in things. On the other hand, I'm sure they are of a mindset to let this matter with Driver sit until after the weekend to see how the dust settles. At that point, and with whatever trades and non-drafted free agent signings may occur, the team will have a better picture as to salary cap room, talent pool, etc. Then they can deal with Driver on a fair basis: fair to him, and fair to the team.

Woodson May Play Some "O"

According to reports, one of the things -- in addition to a boatload of dollars -- that might have swayed new Packer Charles Woodson away from signing with Tampa Bay and his old coach, Jon Gruden, is that the Packers told him he would play cornerback and that he would also play offense. In his Heisman Trophy-winning days at Michigan, Woodson would move from defense to offense whenever they needed a big play...and he always delivered. Woodson's prior team, the Raiders, would never let him play offense, and neither would Tampa Bay apparently. In addition, it seems that Tampa Bay told Woodson that they wanted him to play safety, whereas the Packers are telling him he will play corner opposite veteran Al Harris. So much for the Ahmad Carroll experiment.

According to an article in today's online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "In the end, Woodson thought the best place for him was in Green Bay where he could enjoy personal and team success. 'It was a combination,' (Woodson's agent Carl) Poston said. 'What he wanted was to be with a team that was committed to winning. It was very tough with the Packers coming off a 4-12 season, but he felt with Brett in the twilight of his career that he would be looking to win it one more time.'"

New Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy told Woodson during his visit to the Packers in early April that he would play some wide receiver if he signed in Green Bay. As quoted in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel McCarthy said, "It's something he and I talked about. I've always believed if you have a guy with special qualities you take advantage of it. We'll look at it."

Given the Packers' likely need for receivers, adding an athlete of Woodson's caliber, even coming off injury, certainly gives the team another weapon which could be viable under certain circumstances. What those circumstances are we'll have to wait to see.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Woodson Hops on Board

Free-agent cornerback Charles Woodson -- the last big name on the market -- agreed to terms with the Packers today. According to reports, Woodson signed a seven-year, $52 million contract. Details of the contract, guaranteed money, etc. have not yet been disclosed. The Pack beat out Tampa Bay for Woodson's services.

Despite missing 10 games last year with the Raiders due to a broken right leg, and 21 total games missed over the past four years with various injuries, Woodson is a four-time Pro Bowler. At 29 years of age, he has proven cover, tackling and blitzing abilities. Whether he will still have the speed he had prior to breaking his leg, only time will tell. But at minimum he still has the size and toughness to play safety and run the Packers defensive backfield if they so choose. He will definitely bring a level of experience and toughness to an area of the team that has been sorely lacking in both for several years.

While Brett Favre's return grabbed all the headlines today, the addition of Woodson on any other day would have been the topic for discussion. As it is, the Pack has seriously attempted to upgrade its defensive unit in the offseason, both by keeping some of its own targeted players as well as a few free agent signings. As a matter of fact, there was another free agent signing on the defensive side of the ball today: Kenderick Allen, a 6-foot-5, 328-pound defensive tackle who played in 14 games as backup last year with the New York Giants. Allen began his NFL career as a nondrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 2003.

Some commentators and fans are suggesting, perhaps rightly, that the Packers haven't done much to improve their offense in the offseason. Perhaps that was one of the things weighing on Brett's mind. On the other hand, perhaps the Pack is counting on the return of a running and passing game decimated by injury last year. One receiver, Terrence Murphy, is gone as a result of an injury release. Another receiver, Javon Walker, says he will refuse to play another game for the Packers; rumors continue to circulate that the Packers have been contacted by at least six teams about possible trade possibilities. And while you hate to see a team -- any team -- give in to a whiner like Walker, the Pack might be best served by dumping him and getting a player and or a few more draft picks in exchange. No telling how fast or how well Walker will return from his leg injury of last year -- reports indicate he still is not running full speed. There is also the possibility that the Packers are seeing something in a few of the players they have allocated to NFL Europe. And then, of course, there is the draft.

So, I've said it before and I'll say it again, consider the division. Remember that #4 is back. And then watch how things fall a few days from now. It's not looking as bleak as some might think.

We Have Confirmation: Brett's Back!

In a one-sentence press release to the media and an email to subscribers of Packers eNews, Packers GM Ted Thompson said: "The Green Bay Packers are very pleased that Brett has come to this decision, and look forward to a successful 2006 season."

Let the rejoicing begin!

He's Back, Baby!!!

As noted here late last evening, QB Brett Favre has informed the Packers that he will be returning for the 2006 season. Neither the team nor Brett or his agent, however, has officially confirmed this. But sources within the Packers' organization, according to reports, have told both ESPN and WTMJ620 radio in Milwaukee that Favre told the Packers of his decision yesterday morning. The only question now is, why wait in making the official announcement? If no official announcement is made prior to the draft we can only speculate that the Pack wants to keep other teams guessing as to whether or not they still may take a QB with the #5 pick. Obviously, with Favre coming back that likelihood decreases. But it would still have "smoke 'n' mirrors" value in terms of draft strategy. On the other hand, if the news is out there, even if unconfirmed, this is one bluff the Pack won't be able to use effectively come Saturday.

In any event, The Man is back! And apparently some Packer fans who were getting so frustrated recently that they were actually suggesting trading Brett, are now overwhelmingly in favor of his decision to return. Forgive and forget seems to be the operating philosophy. I can see it now: "Packers 2006 -- The Season of Love."

Here's the poll results so far from this morning's online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Do you think Brett Favre made the right decision to return?
Yes (76.5%)
No (23.5%)
Total votes: 3,164

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

ESPN Reports: Favre Tells Pack He's Back!

Late breaking news...ESPN is reporting that QB Brett Favre told the Packers this morning that he is returning to the team this year. Details will be forthcoming.

This is just as predicted here. Whether Brett's return affects how the Packers approach their #5 pick in this weekend's draft, particularly if one of the top 2 QBs is available, we'll have to wait to see. But if we believe GM Ted Thompson, if the team feels one of these QBs is the best player available, the Pack will take a QB with their first round pick. But I wouldn't count on that.

What we can count on is one more -- and one last -- year of #4. Let's enjoy it. We won't see anyone like him come along in a Packers' uniform, or any other, ever again.

Who Can It Be Now?

Ah, that ole' song from...I dunno...who could it be now? Never mind. The point is, if you take a quick tour of the various mock draft scenarios out there on the 'net, you will actually see more of a range than you might expect. Not a lot, but a bit.

Perhaps a month or so ago, it was thought that DE Mario Williams might be available for the Packers to pick at #5. Now, most mock drafts have him gone, a few as high as #1. I did find a few mock drafts though that showed him still available for the Pack to pick, and another that -- unbelievably -- had him falling past the Pack. I don't think so. If "Super Mario" is there at #5, the Packers will take him.

The other primary consensus pick for the Pack -- in fact, the consensus pick -- is LB A. J. Hawk. Seems like he's the pick that predominates the mock drafts.

But there are some other interesting possibilities. Here's a sampling for you, in case you have better things to do with your time:

D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT
Vernon Davis, TE
Michael Huff, S
Haloti Ngata, DT

There was even one creative scenario which saw the Pack trading out of the #5 slot...I don't think so. GM Ted Thompson has indicated in his recent comments that he believes there is an impact player available at #5, and sounds pretty certain he will not trade that possible impact away.

We'll keep an eye on the mock draft boards and any pre-draft trades which may impact the Packers. If there's anything worthwhile to say...well, keep checking back to see.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Thompson Says Could Pick QB at #5

In an early morning radio interview with Packers flagship radio station, WTMJ620 in Milwaukee, Packers GM Ted Thompson said the team could pick a QB at #5 if they deemed that to be the best player on the board at the time. He gave this response when questioned as to what he would do if either Vince Young or Matt Leinart were available when the Pack gets on the clock. Thompson said that, "We view the draft as a long-term commitment to the organization," and therefore they will take the best player available even if that meant exercising the fairly rare back-to-back first round QB draft.

Thompson said he felt the draft was a fairly deep one, especially at QB and a few other positions. He made it clear that the team would get an impact player with their #5 pick, although he gave no clues as to who that might be. Thompson is known for keeping things close to the vest, so it's no surprise that he wouldn't say much about specifics. Nor should he.

He did say that they are running through all the possible scenarios that could arise, but that at some point you can overdo it. This week, he said, will primarily be spent with his staff discussing each of the player possibilities, particularly where there is disagreement on a player. When they go into the draft, he said, everyone will be on board with what's going to be done. Then, on draft day, "the car is on automatic."

When asked about the status of Brett Favre, Thompson said he didn't know what Brett was going to do and, further, that Brett's decision or lack thereof will not affect how the team approaches the draft.

As to the status of WR Javon Walker, Thompson acknowledged that Walker said some things that were a bit pointed, but that doesn't affect how the organization feels about him. Thompson said that he views Walker as a key part of the team and they are operating as such. In other words, no hint at some of the trade rumors that have surfaced recently, especially regarding the Broncos.

When asked about the loss of LaVar Arrington to the NY Giants in an apparent bidding battle, Thompson was somewhat laconic, saying that Arrington has family on the East Coast and that while the Pack had made a good offer, a free agent should be able to decide where they want to be for whatever reasons they choose. He said he didn't think Favre's indecision had anything to do with Arrington's decision.

As to the feeling of some fans -- and apparently Favre as well -- that the Pack hasn't made a "splash" in free agency, Thompson said that they really aren't interested in making a splash. "We're more interested in substance," Thompson said. He noted, without mentioning names, that he feels the team has made some pick ups that will help the team.

In listening to Thompson's approach to free agency and the draft, that both need to be viewed in terms of a long-term commitment to the success of the organization, and considering how he used this same philosophy to build the Seattle Seahawks into a Super Bowl team, fans (in this writer's opinion) should just take a deep breath. All will be well. Maybe not this year...although considering the division opponents it could well be this year once again. Paraphrasing Raiders' grand wazoo Al Davis, just win the division, baby!

So, as draft day approaches -- just keep an eye on the countdown ticker at the head of this column to see exactly how much time remains until it starts -- let the prognostications continue!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Packer Shareholders Meeting July 19

The Packers have announced that the annual shareholders meeting will be Wednesday, July 19, beginning 9 a.m. at Lambeau Field. The highlight of this year's meeting will be a tour of the locker room and other facilities.

Because of this special shareholders-only tour, the Pack is anticipating a strong turnout for the meeting. Packers President, Bob Harlan, stated that tours will be offered on Tuesday afternoon, July 18, and in the afternoon following the shareholders meeting. As usual, shareholders plus one guest will be invited to the meeting and tour. There was no indication when the official mailed notice/invitation would be sent out by the team. But at least you can mark your calendars...and plan on a little something extra in both the way of time needed...and enjoyment!

A Week from Today...

A week from now we'll know what the Packers did during the first three rounds of the NFL draft, and where they are heading going into Day 2. We'll know who they picked at #5...or whether GM Ted Thompson decided to move down to increase his pool of picks. We'll know whether Mario Williams or A. J. Hawk or Matt Leinart or a surprise pick will be donning the green 'n' gold next year. Or, we'll know whether Thompson coveted rolling the dice on more picks later than betting on one pick earlier. Quite a guessing game.

Thompson is well known for his penchant of trading down. He likes lots of picks. And going into this draft, the Pack doesn't have that many. So don't be surprised if Thompson fields offers for that #5 pick if he believes that he can pick up the same player later on, or at least another player that will fill an immediate need.

And the Pack has a lot of immediate needs: defensive backs, linebackers, defensive ends, offensive line (guards and centers especially), tight ends, wide receivers, and -- yes -- quarterback. One can see where Thompson might very well trade down in that first round if another team makes the right offer. The Pack needs quality players, no doubt. But the Pack also needs LOTS of players to fill the depth void created by years of then-GM Mike Sherman's woeful drafts and free agent signings.

As much as some fans might like the Pack to pick Hawk with that #5 pick -- and in fact, they may just do that for the immediate impact he could have -- one could see them trading down and getting another LB later on in the round, such as Hawk's teammate at Ohio State, Bobby Carpenter (projected at #25 in some mock drafts). Or perhaps an early to mid-first round pick where perhaps QB Jay Cutler might be available (projected at #11 in some mock drafts), or perhaps S Michael Huff (projected at #9 in some mock drafts). There are any number of possibilities, especially on the defensive side of the ball, in the first round. Unfortunately, O-line possibilities don't seem that great once you get past D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Winston Justice, both of whom play tackle, a position at which the Pack does not need immediate help.

Ah, the excitement of the draft! OK, that is mitigated a bit with the tedium of the 15-minutes each team has to make their first round selection...could it possibly be any slower? Maybe the NFL could implement a version of speed dating? You know: speed drafting! Something like this: "OK, have 3 minutes to make your multi-million dollar decisions...go!" Well, maybe not...

Friday, April 21, 2006

It Must Have Been the Poll

Could it have been the poll (cited in today's earlier post) that showed the majority of Packer fans favored the team taking Ohio State linebacker A. J. Hawk in the draft to signing veteran LaVar Arrington? Was Arrington offended about that? Or was it just a case of more flash and cash in New York City?

New York City? Yep. Looks as if that's the place Arrington is headed, although nothing firm, according to a late-breaking report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Packers have apparently been informed that Arrington will be signing with another team. Not surprising considering his recent visit to NYC, and obvious desire to get a deal done before the draft lowered his well as an expressed desire to continue playing in the NFC East.

One might also wonder if this is another one of those instances -- although we may never know -- whether the uncertainty about Brett Favre's playing status has impacted the team and potential free agent signing decisions.

Arrington or Hawk? Who'ya Gonna Call?

Veteran -- and pricey -- LB LaVar Arrington has paid a second visit to the NY Giants. According to reports, the primary teams still in the running for Arrington are the Packers and Giants. Some speculate that Arrington will sign with the Giants because he wants to stay in the NFC East so he can play against his old team, the Redskins, twice a year. All things being equal, i.e., the money, does a little bit of spite and revenge figure into the picture? Probably. As well as the chance to play in the country's top media market. It's believed that Arrington wants to get a deal done before the NFL draft next weekend, as it's possible the amount of cash teams are willing to part with for his services might drop a bit with a draft deep at linebacker.

There is some speculation that if the Pack signs Arrington that would remove the need for drafting a linebacker and allow the Packers to add a player to the offense with it's #5 pick. Makes sense...address two needs basically with one signing, albeit an expense one.

Of course, as noted in yesterday's post, most mock drafts at this point seem to apparently discount the possibility of the Pack signing Arrington and peg Ohio State's A. J. Hawk as the Pack's pick at #5.

So the natural question, then, is who fans think the Pack should go after: Arrington or Hawk?

In early returns to that very question in the online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's poll of the day, fans favor taking Hawk by an almost 2-to-1 margin. But it's early. Here's the results so far:

Which linebacker would you rather the Packers obtain?
Ohio State's A.J. Hawk (64.8%)
free-agent LaVar Arrington (35.2%)
Total votes: 401

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mock Draft Picks

For what it's worth, here's how some of the mock drafts on the Web project the Packers first round real surprises, although the pick is a bit curious...and Prisco's latest pick for Sportsline seems to be...well...go figure:

FoxSports (Rang):
DE, N.C. State
Last update: April 17
DT, Oregon
Last update: April 15

DE, N.C. State
Last update: April 14 (Banks):
LB, Ohio State
Last update: April 14

ESPN (Kiper):
LB, Ohio State
Last update: April 12

Yahoo (Robinson):
DE, N.C. State
Last update: April 12

CB-S, Texas
Last update: April 19

Sportsline (Judge):
LB, Ohio State
Last update: April 19

Note: ESPN mock drafts require a subscription.

Murphy, We Hardly Knew Ye

Promising 2005 second round draft pick, wide receiver Terrence Murphy, is being released by the Packers for medical reasons. Following a collision Murphy had on a kickoff return against Carolina last October, where he suffered a bruised spinal cord and numbness in his arms and legs, doctors discovered Murphy suffered from a pre-existing condition known as stenosis or narrowing of the spinal cord.

Murphy has seen a host of specialists since the injury. The Packers have apparently sided with those who offered the opinion that Murphy faced a substantial risk of injury if he were to play football again. Rather than place this young man at risk, they have decided to part ways with him. By failing him on his physical, Murphy becomes a free agent and is available to any other team that might be willing to sign him. Whether any would be willing to do so after looking at his medical reports, however, is another matter. It is a sad moment for a very gifted athlete, and one who was just beginning to show flashes of becoming a potential break-out receiver for the Packers. The head-on collision he received during that October 3 game, however, changed things for him and the Pack.

So, the Packers currently have two proven veteran receivers on the roster, Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson, as well veteran Rod Gardner and free agent pick up Marc Boerigter. As for signed veteran whiner, Javon Walker, who knows? Probably not.

Among others who will be trying to make the roster are NFL Europe standout Chad Lucas, and a couple practice squad players. This year's draft is not deep at receiver. The Pack will be lucky to find someone like Murphy who can step in and have an immediate impact. The best that can really be hoped for at this point is that Driver, Ferguson, Boerigter and Lucas can provide the catches needed to move the offense down the field.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

OK, Let's Try This: Brett for a #1???

So the Favre trade rumors continue. At least as far as they make useful space-filling polls for various papers and websites, including the online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. By extension, I suppose this site also perpetuates the speculation by reporting on it. Sorry.

This latest poll in today's MJS frames the Brett trade talk in terms of yet another possibility: what if the Packers could get a first round draft pick...would you trade Brett then? (This of course flies in the face of reality: there is no way that any team would give a first-rounder for even Brett Favre at this stage in his career.)

Here are the results at the time of this writing:

Would you trade Brett Favre if he agreed to it and the Packers could get a first-round draft pick in return?
Yes (63.4%)
No (36.6%)
Total votes: 3,449

Go figure.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Some Fans are Turning on Brett

Who'da thunk it? Did we ever think we'd see the day that some fans would start to turn on Brett Favre and actually favor trading him?

That's apparently how frustrated some fans have become with Brett's retirement melodrama. For them, it has come to this: trade him.


In a poll conducted in the online Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beginning on April 14, approximately 84 percent of nearly 11,000 participants (as of the time of this writing) responded "Yes" when asked if the Packers should trade Brett. Here's that number again: 84 percent!

The tide of good feeling for all the good years and loyalty Brett has shown to the Packers has apparently been washed away in this one off-season of indecision.

Sports talk shows are rife with discussions about the reasons why trading Brett might make sense: if the Pack is clearly beginning a rebuilding phase -- transitioning from the Brett Favre era to the whomever era -- they should trade him and get something for him...although those fans who think the Pack would get a first-rounder for him are bordering on the delusional; some say that they'd rather see Favre play one more year with a chance to win on another team than for him to retire (oh yeah, that makes sense); if Brett can't decide by now whether he wants to play for the Packers again, then he shouldn't -- trade him; Brett's indecision is affecting the team -- even teammate Nick Barnett in an interview last week said it would be nice to "know who your guy is."

So the reasons -- or rationalizing? -- as to why Brett should be traded are starting to flow. On one level, perhaps the bottom line level, is that fans' frustrations are turning to anger. When talking about these poll results this morning on WTMJ-620 radio in Milwaukee, the "Voice of the Packers," Wayne Larivee, said he was astounded by the results. Then he added that he was sure Brett had no idea as to how fans' frustrations with his indecision were basically making many turn against him.

Some great quarterbacks associated forever with one team finished their careers with another: Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, to name a few. But for Brett to finish his illustrious career in another uniform? Naaaaaaaahhhh. Brett...if you can't decide, you've decided. Retire. Get on with your life, and let the Pack move on. I want you back -- LOTS of fans want you back -- but if you aren't sure, it's time for you to move on too.

Here's the poll results:

Do you think the Packers should trade Brett Favre?
Yes (84.3%)
No (15.7%)
Total votes: 10,854

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Blog Update News

Sorry for the intrusion into all-things-Packers, but just thought I would make a quick mention of a few new additions to the Packer Fans United blog. You can see all of these in the right hand column. At the top of the column you'll see a "Tell a friend" button. If you like what you read here, please share it with your buddies. Don't worry. The email address is used only for an auto-fill-in feature in opening your own email program to send the link to this site. I don't collect, nor even see, any email addresses entered, so there are no privacy issues, spam fears, etc. I worry about that stuff as much as anyone. Several of the tell-a-friend options I checked out just seemed a bit too invasive for my tastes. I want to respect your privacy and I believe this particular feature does just that.

A second new addition to the site is the "Feedburner" icon just below the "Tell a friend" button. By clicking on that icon you can subscribe to this blog's RSS-style feed. You then receive new posts automatically in your own RSS reader program. If all this is an entirely foreign language to you, or you want to know more about what the heck I'm talking about, just click here for a great introduction to the whole topic.

The final new addition is at the end of the right hand column. It is an "EFF" icon. EFF stands for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is one of -- if not the -- primary organizations working to defend all types of cyberspace freedoms. In a world operating more and more in cyberspace, where -- among other things -- laws are being written or abused or bent or even nonexistent, the EFF provides the legal and lobbying effort needed to protect our rights and freedoms from government and corporate abuses. Whether addressing such issues as digital copyrights, email censorship, electronic voting, illegal surveillance, Patriot Act abuses and more, the EFF is an organization worthy of your consideration. Click on the icon and you will be taken to the EFF website where you can explore issues you never knew existed...and which you probably should...because they may very will impact your use of the Internet -- and many other aspects of your life -- in ways you can't even imagine.

So, folks, that's the update. Hope you don't find any of them too intrusive. If anything, I hope you find them a way to tell others about this site you've come to enjoy, a way to make it even easier for you to receive the latest posts here without even having to check in, and a way for you to become more aware of the challenges of living in our digital age.

Now...back to the Pack!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Pick a Packer Contest!

The Green Bay Packers official website is running a "Draft Day Challenge." According to the website, "fans can win cool prizes by correctly predicting the team's first pick of the 2006 NFL Draft." Rrrrriiiiiiighhhtttt. I've checked them out...not that cool. The least they could have done was to throw in a pair of tickets. But noooooooo.

Anyway, check out the details for yourself here. Or to enter, click here.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Packers on the Clock at ESPN

OK, Packers fans...we're on the clock today (Thurs. 4/13/06) at ESPN's SportsNation's Mock Draft. Vote for the player the Pack should pick with #5 in the upcoming draft. As of about 5 p.m. Central time, here are the results:

Exercise your right to vote! Vote now!

Let the Kicking Derby Begin!

Remember that Brit who made a 35-yard field goal as time expired to help the Minnesota Golden Rodents beat the Wisconsin Badgers 37-34 a couple years ago? If you're a Badger fan you do! Rhys (pronounced Reese) Lloyd was offered a contract after a workout with the Pack on Monday. Lloyd was cut by the Ravens in training camp last summer. His signing comes less than a week after GM Ted Thompson claimed Dave Rayner off waivers from Indianapolis. Lloyd and Rayner join Billy Cundiff, whom the Packers signed a few weeks ago, in the kicking competition. Of the three, only Cundiff has made a field goal in a NFL regular-season game.

One possible bonus to Lloyd: he also punted at Minnesota, and ranks fifth in average in school history.

So, the Pack loses all-time leading scorer Ryan Longwell to the Minnesota ViQueens. Perhaps the Pack gains by picking up a former Minnesota Golden Rodent who seemed to have a way of making the big kick in clutch situations.

Is that Madden or Caliendo?

Things are getting goofy on the Favre watch front. Sometimes you can't tell if it's really John Madden saying something, or Wisconsin's own favorite John Madden impersonator, Frank Caliendo, doing a bit. Take, for example, Madden's comments in an interview Tuesday evening on the "NFL Total Access" show on the NFL Network: "It just sounds like to me that if he's going to play -- and again I haven't talked to him, I've just listened to him -- it sounds like he may be setting himself up to be traded. He would probably want to play, but he wants to play with a team that has a chance to win. The Packers really don't look like they are going in that direction right now, so maybe he's talking about another team."

While noting that Favre repeatedly has said that he wants to end his career as a Packer, Madden added, "But I wouldn't be surprised if there was a trade. There are a number of teams that could use him. . . . There are a lot of moving parts in this that could include the draft and could maybe include Brett Favre."

So, is Madden making one of his patented non-sequitur "bam-boom" comments, or is he on to something? Jim Irwin, who was one-half of the long-time Packers' play-by-play radio team with former Packer receiving great, Max Magee, does an occasional call-in from his retirement in California to his former radio station, WTMJ-620 in Milwaukee. He was asked today what he thought about Madden's comments. Saying that he had seen that interview, Irwin said the thing he noticed was that it appeared as if the interviewers had been prepped to ask that question, and given Madden's almost immediate response perhaps Madden was the one who told them to be sure to ask him about this Favre trade issue. Irwin pointed out that Madden is not one to toss comments or opinions like this out there lightly, that perhaps he knows something or has heard something the rest of us haven't.

One telling factor as to whether Favre will retire or not, according to Madden, is whether or not he is getting ready to play: "The older you are, the sooner you have to start getting ready. So I think that's going to be a key. Is he starting to get ready to play?" This is what's come to be called in some parts of Packerland as the "tractor watch." Is Favre out on his lawn tractor? Or is he working out? That could be a good indicator as to whether ol' #4 will be back or not.

And as for that Favre trade gossip, Packer fans aren't buying it. Here's the latest poll from the online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the subject:

John Madden said he would not be surprised if Brett Favre was traded. Do you think the Packers will trade Favre?
No (85.6%)
Yes (14.4%)
Total votes: 1,515

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Arrington Pays a Visit

Former Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, visited the Packers on Monday. He and DB Charles Woodson are the two biggest names remaining in free agency, both are represented by the same agent, and both have now visited GB. Of course, both are also looking for major moolah. Arrington bought his way out of his Washington contract, and according to reports asked for a seven-year, $54 million deal from the New York Giants. Several teams are interested in the 27-year-old player: Miami, Cincinnati, Jacksonville and the Giants. Miami reportedly is showing the most interest.

There has already been some speculation that Packers GM Ted Thompson is using this visit by Arrington to show QB Brett Favre that he is still trying to do something in free agency to improve the team, to make that "statement" that Favre says he's looking for to help him decide to return or retire. But according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Arrington's visit was arranged a week ago before Favre made his most recent comments and it's thought the Packers have had interest in him for a while."

Arrington could undoubtedly give the Pack some leadership and star power on defense and especially at a position -- linebacker -- where the team needs so much help. Still, Arrington is coming off his two worst seasons, one from injury and last year when he wound up in Washington Coach Joe Gibbs' doghouse and had limited playing time.

While the Packers certainly have the salary cap room available to sign Arrington, fans so far are relatively split as to whether the team is serious about signing him. An ongoing online poll in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel shows the following as of the time of this writing:

Do you think the Packers' intentions for LaVar Arrington are serious?
No (52.9%)
Yes (47.1%)
Total votes: 949

Time will tell.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Waffle House Favre Built

Have to give credit for the "waffle house" line to whoever the headline writer is for Bob Wolfley's SportsDay column...perhaps it's Mr. Wolfley himself. In any event, his Sunday (4/9 ) Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel column, "Enter the waffle house at your own risk," is a brilliant satire of Favre's non-news conference on Saturday.

Now, with all due respect to Brett, the non-event of Saturday apparently was the result of a family spokesperson giving reporters the impression that some big announcement would be forthcoming at that news conference. Apparently her way of getting some extra buzz for Brett's Fourward Foundation, the beneficiary of the charity golf outing Brett put on in Tunica, MS this last weekend.

Still, Wolfley takes Brett's comments from the news conference and does an excellent send up of a writer deciding whether to continue writing or not. Here's a sampling:

"You came to this space expecting me to have made a decision about the topic I was going to address in today's column.

Well, I haven't decided.

In fact, I'm struggling with whether I want to write again.

I may write. I may not write. I just don't know what I want to do at this moment.

You wasted a trip back here if you came thinking I had decided.

After I finished my last column, it was tough for me to be excited about writing. Even though I love writing - it's in my blood - I don't know if I can ever write again.

What I need now is for readers to be patient. We're in no hurry. The paper will come out tomorrow, and the next day and the next, and the next, whether I decide to write again or not.

I know one thing.

I don't want to go through a year like last year.

It was brutal. Soaring newsprint prices. Eroding circulation. Incursion of the Internet. Blogs.

When I joined this newspaper I never dreamed we would go through a year like that one. I don't want to go through something like that ever again."

You get the idea. Great stuff. Especially if one is a writer. Or enjoys pointed sarcasm. Count me in.

In that same edition of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Packer columnist Michael Hunt also has a great column (note: you may have to be quick on your browser's "stop" button, as the link tries to forward you from the article to the Packer Insider subscriber page almost immediately; by using the back button and/or a fast stop button, you can eventually get most if not at all of the article to appear). He argues that Favre's "competitive fire" won't let him walk away...even though he probably should, for the sake of his own legacy as well as the future of the Packers.

One of Hunt's best lines is his opener: "This tedious Brett Favre saga, which should've ended long before Saturday's non-event in a Mississippi casino town, has become the modern-day version of a '70s arena-rock drum solo.

At some point, it stops being interesting and just becomes annoying."

For those who actually have at least a dim memory of those drum solos...well, you know what he's talking about.

Hunt closes by quoting Favre from that Saturday news conference: "'It's in my blood. I love to play the game,' Favre said again Saturday.

It is past time for him to say that as the basis of his return."

Great writing by two of the best in the biz. Kudos to Messrs. Wolfley and Hunt.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Breaking News: Brett DOESN'T Decide

Breaking news direct from Brett Favre himself: "I don't want to say nothing." When asked what his decision is, he said, "No change. I don't know."

Favre said, "I know people are getting will work itself out...when I do know, maybe in the next week..."

He continued, "When I left after the season it was tough to be excited about football. But I mean it's in my blood. I love to play...if I decide to come back it's for the fun...I want to feel like we can compete for the Super Bowl. I don't want to say it unless I really believe it...I don't know if we're better or not. I'd like to say I think we are better, but I don't know if we are." He mentioned the signing of Reggie White as one where everyone knew immediately that the team was better. "I think we need to do something, to make a statement like that again."

When asked what he imagined it would be like to retire, Favre said, "At some point it has to end. You can't play football like you can be a doctor. At some point you have to give it up."

When asked what he would say to his fans waiting for the decision, he expressed his thanks for the fans and for playing in Green Bay. Favre said, "I hear them say all the time we can't wait for the season to start, and it's February. I hear that all the time." But he said there are other things in life too. "I guess ultimately it comes down to whether you want to play and run the risk of being 4-12 again...I never thought we'd go 4-12 in my tenure in Green Bay but we did..."

So, Favre Watch 2006 continues.

News Conference Pushed Back to 8 a.m.!

Hot off the press: Brett Favre has pushed the 7:30 news conference back to about 8 a.m. Although, we are on "Brett time." Former teammate Doug Pederson apparently told reporters, "You didn't really think Brett would be on time, did you?".

Lance Allan, reporter from Milwaukee's WTMJ-4 who is on the scene, says that in talking with some of his former teammates at Brett's charity golf outing, they seem to feel that he's gotten the fire back and will return to play. However, in talking with Brett's brother, Scott, Allan said that he gets the sense that Brett's not happy with some of the Packers' offseason moves and chances to win, etc., and thus one gets the sense he's leaning toward retirement.

More to follow. Stay tuned...

Will He or Won't He???

It's about 30 minutes to Brett Favre's news conference at which he may announce his decision about playing or retiring.

I awoke earlier than usual this morning with the feeling -- for the first time -- that Brett will retire. I hope it's just a bad dream.

But apparently a few pieces must have come together in my subconscious mind while sleeping...for whatever that's worth. It goes something like this. Last year, Brett announced that he was going to play the 2005 season at Packers Fan Fest in Green Bay in front of all the adoring fans. This year, Brett is having a news conference -- the purpose of which hasn't been explicitly stated, only speculated upon -- in his home state, at his own event. Can you say "comfort zone" for making a difficult announcement? As in "retiring"?

I have written several posts previously stating that all signs would point to Brett coming back. At the time, this news conference wasn't on the radar. This is a new factor which calls those prior judgments into question. It may still be that Brett returns. And I hope he does. But given his recent comments questioning his own abilities, his offensive line, the ability of the Pack to make a legitimate run at the Super Bowl, and now this news conference on his home could well be Brett says bye-bye.

Stay tuned. Announcement of some kind...although maybe not the one we're looking for...coming in under 30 minutes.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Saturday is F-Day!

Get up early tomorrow morning, Packers fans. According to an AP report this evening, Brett Favre will be making an announcement about his future at 7:30 a.m. (Central time) Saturday. Looks like it's F-Day folks...Favre Day.

According to the report, "a family spokeswoman said he's expected to announce whether he'll return to play for the Green Bay Packers this season." The news conference will take place at Favre's charity golf tournament in Tunica, Miss.

Becky Stuart, a personal assistant to the Favre family, when asked whether she knew which way Favre was leaning on whether to play or retire, said, "We've all got to find out at the same time."

Chances are, ESPN and/or the NFL Network will be covering this news conference live. For those in southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee's WTMJ-4 announced this evening that they will be carrying the news conference live (and perhaps one or more of the other Wisconsin TV stations will as well). Favre's potential retirement has been one of the most widely discussed offseason aspects of football. It would only seem reasonable that it has some live coverage to put everyone's minds at ease...or send Packer fans dashing for the Maalox.

Favre May Decide This Weekend and Other Bits 'o' Brett

Brett Favre told Green Bay Press-Gazette columnist, Chris Havel, that he spoke with Packer management earlier this week and let them know that he might make his decision about coming back this weekend or early next week. Favre made the comments upon arriving at his charity golf tournament in Mississippi on Thursday.

Favre also responded to a number of questions, with some interesting responses ensuing, as one would expect from Brett. One of the things gleaned from one of his answers is that, without explicitly saying it, he is concerned about the line in front of him: "...what have we done to replace the guys that we’ve lost on the line?”

You can read the entire Q&A here.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

2006 Season Schedule Announced!

Hot off the press from the NFL: the Packers 2006 season schedule. The Pack kicks off the season Sept. 10 at Lambeau -- and kicks Da Bearz -- and ends the regular season Dec. 31 by also kicking Da Bearz down in Chitown. There are 3 prime time games scheduled and 11 noon kickoffs, subject to change of course. All in all, the schedule doesn't look too bad, except for the annual trip to Philly, of course. Funny how that pilgrimage has taken the place of the annual Dallas nightmare, er, trip of the mid-90s. you go...(my apologies for the formatting, all times are Central time)

Sept 10 Chicago 3:15pm
Sept 17 New Orleans Noon
Sept 24 @Detroit Noon
Oct 2 @Philadelphia 7:30pm
Oct 8 St. Louis Noon
Week 6 BYE
Oct 22 @Miami Noon
Oct 29 Arizona Noon
Nov 5 @Buffalo Noon
Nov 12 @Minnesota Noon
Nov 19 New England Noon
Nov 27 @Seattle 7:30pm
Dec 3 N.Y. Jets Noon
Dec 10 @San Francisco 3:05pm
Dec 17 Detroit Noon
Dec 21 Minnesota 7:00pm
Dec 31 @Chicago Noon

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fans Tell Brett to Take a Leap...But Not a Lambeau Leap

Ouch Part Deux.

The fan mailbag at Yahoo Sports is apparently overflowing with football fans -- although apparently not yet any Packer fans -- telling Brett to take a flying leap...and not of the Lambeau variety. The good will and luster Brett has accumulated over the years seems to be fast vanishing among some segments of football fandom as his play-or-retire soap opera continues. The general tone is that his desire to only play for a "winner" flies in the face of what sports is about, his inability to make a decision hurts the Packers in many areas, and comments of the nature, "What are they going to do? Cut me?", do not endear him to the public.

You can read a few of the comments for yourself here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chewey Bites Brett

Ouch! Did anyone see this coming? Maybe in the world of sports these days we should have.

For former Packers TE and hot tub aficionado, Mark Chmura, Favre's recent retirement melodrama is indicative of Favre's selfishness. In fact, he said just that on Sunday morning on WAUK-AM's (1510) "Miller Lite Football Show." Chewey said, "He's a selfish guy. He's a very selfish guy."

While couching his opinion in terms of Brett hurting the team by not letting them know what he's doing, and also being "hypocritical" for apparently applying one set of standards to his own conduct and another for Javon Walker, Chewey also seems to be carrying a grudge against Brett from his own days of legal difficulty. "...what people don't know, I'm not going to say this to throw the guy under the bus, but this is a guy from my arrest to my acquittal never called me one time." According to a report of these comments in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chmura said he received more calls and letters of support from Packers old-timers, like Fuzzy Thurston, Jerry Kramer and Ron Kramer."

Chewey said the bottom line for Favre, as he knows him, is that it really boils down to the money. He didn't imply that Brett was holding out for more money per se. Rather, "He had the other quote in the newspaper saying if he comes back this is definitely his last year. Well, the Packers aren't going to the Super Bowl. They aren't close to the Super Bowl. I think if they keep going in the direction they are, they can go 8-8, 9-7. Why come back? Why, if not for the money?"

As a matter of fact, Chewey said that he and Favre's friendship ended over money: "You know what wrecked the whole thing? It's money. You know?"

Chmura was hired by WAUK in July 2004 to provide pro football commentary on a weekly show.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What's Up with Brett?

OK...this one is no joke. Favre said on Thursday that if he didn't feel comfortable with the direction the Packers were taking, he will not come back. As quoted in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Favre told reporters at a charity event in Mississippi, "I still feel like I can play at a high level and obviously the Packers do, too, or they wouldn't be concerned about my decision," Favre said. "But there are some things I have to sort out. There are some things I'm looking for in the team and what they're trying to do. I guess if those don't come together, I guess I won't play. It's just kind of wait and see. Ted Thompson, the GM, and Mike McCarthy, the head coach, are good friends of mine. I've dealt with them before. I've been on good terms with them. It's not like I'm delaying this on purpose. There are some reasons."

For the Packers part, GM Ted Thompson also said the team was not pressuring Favre, although they would like to know what was going on sooner rather than later.

Regardless, the curtain is coming down. It's just a matter of whether it's already closed or not. Favre told the Biloxi Sun Herald that if he does play this year, it will be his last. "I don’t know if I will play this year or not. Even Deanna is ready for my decision. If I do play this year, it will be my last. There’s no doubt about that."

As predicted here before, Favre will be back. On emotion alone, that should take the Pack back to the playoffs for one last run with Brett the Great at the helm.

Walker Changes Mind: Coming Back!

OK...I know what you are thinking. And you're right: it's a joke. Happy April Fool's Day everyone!