Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Latest Rumor: Moss for Rodgers is reporting tonight on its Rumor Mill section the following:

"POSTED 5:30 p.m. EST, February 28, 2007

Word has reached PFT world headquarters of a rumored trade that would send Oakland Raiders receiver Randy Moss to the Green Bay Packers for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

We're told that the Raiders want a first-round pick for Moss, and that the Packers have countered with an offer of Rodgers, who was Green Bay's first round pick in the 2005 draft.

Stay tuned. Though we never would have imagined that Moss and Packers quarterback Brett Favre could coexist, it looks like this one could indeed be going down."

So, that's a new twist on things. The Raiders definitely need a QB. The Pack is apparently very interested in Mr. Moss (can all these rumors be just smoke 'n' mirrors...OK, maybe that's not the best metaphor when applied to Moss, but still...). The Raiders want a #1 pick for Moss. That they will not get from anybody. Unless it's a #1 pick from a few years ago who still won't be playing this year...which makes Packers backup QB Aaron Rodgers perhaps the ideal trade bait. While never admitting they made a mistake in picking Rodgers after he fell into their lap at #25 in 2005, it's also been fairly clear that they were never really certain he would be the answer to life after Brett. So, trading a player who most likely would be holding a clipboard for another year for one who can make a definite contribution to the offense immediately, might be just the deal.

Around the Horn Sends Moss to the Packers

Today's session of the talking heads on ESPN's "Around the Horn" addressed the talk of Randy Moss leaving Oakland for either the Packers or one of the other few teams seemingly interested in him at this time, New England. All said it made sense, with 3 out of the 4 saying he'd be in Green Bay at the start of this coming season. The lone dissenter, Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times, said Oakland would want a #1 pick in exchange for him, which no team would be willing to do.

Comments by the other pundits noted that Moss and Packers QB Brett Favre share the same agent, Bus Cook, which might help facilitate a deal. Tim Cowlishaw of the The Dallas Morning News said if Moss would play at his best for anyone it would be for Brett Favre. Others thought that a team that wanted to make a one-year run at the playoffs and a Super Bowl might well want to add Moss to the roster...and again, they pointed to Green Bay -- with it being possibly Brett's last year -- as being as good a candidate as any to make this happen.

While Moss is...well, is an interesting thought: using four-wideout sets with Donald Driver, Randy Moss, Greg Jennings and Koren Robinson being thrown to by Brett Favre. Would defensive coordinators have some restless nights thinking of how to defend that foursome? Oh yeah.

It's a wacky world out there. Let's just hope the Moss of "moon" infamy might find a more appropriate way to celebrate in the endzone should he in fact join the Pack for the upcoming season. Stay tuned.


Today's edition of ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" also addressed the Moss story reported in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (see earlier post of today), and again the consensus was that Green Bay and New England were the best possibilities for Moss in the coming season.

On Second Thought, Moss...Maybe...

According to an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, sources "close to the situation" say that the Packers are definitely interested in Oakland receiver Randy Moss...if. That's if they can get him to restructure his contract. Without doing that, the Packers apparently do not see him as a feasible addition to the team. But if Moss is willing to do that...just maybe Moss could wind up in Green Bay. What would be his incentive? Getting out of the football wasteland that is currently the once-proud Raiders franchise is one benefit. The other advantages are playing for a better team and with a Hall of Fame quarterback, i.e., Brett Favre.

The article notes that Raiders sources at the recent NFL combine in Indianapolis were indicating that Moss would not be returning to the team this season. Apparently, the Packers and Raiders have talked about the possibility of trading for Moss when the trading period begins on March 2.

There is a lot of baggage that comes with Moss. The Raiders believe he quit on them last year. Moss admitted while with the Vikings that he'd take plays off. Character and locker room chemistry have also been areas of concern with Moss. On the other hand, as an unidentified Raider is quoted in the article as saying, "If he had respect for Brett, then he could bust his tail for him." A motivated Randy Moss is something that the league probably hasn't seen since his rookie year. Would a playoff shot with Brett Favre be worth the motivation and a pay cut? Buckle up, might be a bumpy ride...and check out the full article here.

Survey Says...

The early take on whether or not fans want to see Moss as a Packer is this poll from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, showing a fairly even split between those who do and those who don't. At the time of this posting, results are as follows:

Would you like to see Randy Moss in a Packers uniform?
Yes (52.1%)
No (47.9%)
Total votes: 2,713

Monday, February 26, 2007

Favre Goes Under the Knife

At long last, QB Brett Favre today underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle. He's been putting this off for several years and finally decided to get things cleaned up.

Here's the statement from Packers' GM Ted Thompson as posted on the Packers website: "Quarterback Brett Favre underwent minor ankle surgery this morning in Green Bay. The procedure went as expected and he is recovering at this time. We expect no complications and that he will be cleared to participate in offseason workouts similar to his schedule in 2006."

Media reports are stating that the recovery time is typically 6 weeks. So, assuming no complications, Brett will be ready to go when he needs to be.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

... And Now for Something Completely Different...

First of all, let us pay due homage to Monty Python for that timeless verbiage comprising this post's headline...thank you.

The reason it seems so fitting has to do with this story published in today's Green Bay Press-Gazette, forwarded to us by one of our good friends. I could try to explain it. But when you are dealing with sainthood for Vince Lombardi (OK, I know everyone talks about it but this guy wants to actually do something about it!), the Nobel Peace Prize for the Packers, and changing the world through a transfer of emotions...well, it can get a bit complex. You'll just have to read it for yourself. decide!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Moss - Nope, Robinson - Wait and See

In a press conference held at yesterday's Indianapolis NFL combine, Packers' GM Ted Thompson was asked about the possibility of the Pack picking up Randy Moss, a topic of much speculation on sports radio talk shows lately. Without necessarily addressing Moss specifically, Thompson said that the Packers look for players who have good character, who will fit well in the locker room, and who like living in Green Bay. So, let's see how these criteria apply to Mr. Moss: nope, nope, and...doubtful.

Next topic...although not from Thompson's press conference...

What's the status of suspended receiver Koren Robinson? According to his agent, in a story published in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Robinson is planning on returning to the Packers this coming season. He can't apply for reinstatement before Sept. 18. If approved, he can then rejoin the Packers or, if the Packers decide not to keep him, he's free to sign anywhere. He's been working out and attending AA meetings, according to the article. According to terms of the suspension he has had and can have no contact with the Packers or use any of the team's facilities. Everything he is doing is on his own. That includes serving a 90-day jail sentence beginning next week for leading Minnesota police on a high-speed chase last August. Once his jail time is done, Robinson's agent says he will begin working with a personal trainer in Orlando.

Robinson was a first round pick in 2001 -- number 9 overall. He had a world of talent coming out of college. His personal problems are well documented and have prevented him from being the type of player his talent would allow him to be. As his agent states in the article, "It's all on him. If he wants it, then I'm sure there will be a spot available for him. But he has to handle his business off the field, continue to work hard and be prepared to step in and help a team when he's able to come back."

Robinson could be a valuable addition to the Packers receiving corps if he is able to get his act together. Through contact his agent has had with the Packers it is apparent that Robinson still has a chance with the Packers. The upcoming draft and other free agent acquisitions can always alter those plans. But here's a 27-year-old athlete who still has unfulfilled potential. He wants to return to the Pack and catch passes from Brett. Let's hope he makes it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ground Hog's Day in a Packers' Uniform

Let's see...who was that receiver drafted in the 2001 second round by former (thank goodness) general manager, Mike Sherman, out of Texas A&M? You know, the one taken ahead of University of Wisconsin receiver and current Miami Dolphis star receiver Chris Chambers? The poor soul who has been injured seemingly (actually?) every season? Oh yeah, that's right, it's Robert Ferguson. Ferguson is the guy with all the physical potential but with all the bad breaks, or at least pulls, strains, etc. He is like the boxer with a glass jaw: he just can't stay healthy. Given that record, despite momentary flashes and undeniable toughness, he shouldn't be back in uniform. However, according to reports out of Green Bay, current Packers' GM Ted Thompson says he wants Ferguson back. OKaaaaaaaaay....

Ferguson will be competing with Greg Jennings, Ruvell Martin, Carlyle Holiday, Shaun Bodiford, Chris Francies, Carlton Brewster and Calvin Russell for a spot on the receiving corps this spring and summer. In addition, the Packers are likely to add a receiver in the draft. And don't forget that the Packers still have the rights to Koren Robinson when he comes off his suspension next fall.

So, why is Thompson so keen to give Ferguson another shot? Perhaps less for his receiving ability than for his special teams work. Ferguson has been productive in that capacity both as a returner -- we need one! -- and on coverage units. And to be fair, Ferguson's injury problems are due at least in part to his work on special teams. Still, competition among receivers is always a good thing. And the downside is minimal: the Pack has plenty of cap room to bring Ferguson to camp, and if they wind up cutting him the team will only incur a $700,000 cap hit in 2008 according to reports.

So, it is a bit of deja vu all over again...Ground Hog's Day -- the Bill Murray version -- in a Packers' uniform.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Draft Speculation

This is what happens in the three-dog-night days of winter (if you aren't familiar either with that expression -- or the band of the same name -- look 'em up!): you talk draft. Lance Allen, sport reporter with the Milwaukee TV station WTMJ-4 was being interviewed on the sister radio station today and he said that -- despite the obvious needs at tight end and receiver -- he's been hearing from his coverage of the Packers that they are interested firstly in a defensive end. Interesting. That means that they still see "KGB" as only a situational DE, and apparently prefer to use Cullen Jenkins more inside. OK...but what about the other needs? Allen stated that after the DE, the Pack would probably look for tight end, receiver, safety and then running back.

Regarding running backs, John Murphy of Yahoo Sports has ratings of the top backs here. He notes that the Packers are among those teams that will likely be looking for a running back on day one of the draft. The second-ranked back he discusses -- Marshawn Lynch of California -- is also the name of the back which popped up during the radio interview with Allen. According to Murphy's view, "He's an excellent fit for any team looking for an every-down back that can also contribute as a receiver, both out of the backfield or if motioned to the slot." That sounds a lot like what the Packers need as they look to a replacement either this year or next for Ahman Green.

But you can make your own judgements beginning this week and through the weekend when the Indianapolis combine takes places. Just tune in to the NFL Network for coverage. Go here for the coverage schedule.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Ol' Gray Tundra, She Ain't What She Used to Be...

The hallowed "Frozen Tundra" of Lambeau Field more. Let's pause for a moment of silence, please ... ... ... Thank you.

Since the end of the season, a major renovation has been taking place in terms of the famous playing surface. If you're digging down 3 feet in an effort to get better drainage, a better in-ground heating system and a better playing field, that's major. Especially at Lambeau. The only thing that fans will see, of course, is a beautiful green field that will hopefully be as good in December as it is in September. The key to that is a field replanted with a mix of real and synthetic blades of grass.

This is not the first time the Packers have tweaked the field. For Packer purists who might decry this modernization of the sacred tundra, talk to Vince. Lombardi was the first to try to improve the playing field at Lambeau by installing an in-ground heating system. Over the years, the Packers have tried a few different types of improvements to the surface, without great success. In the late 1990s, a similar blend of real and synthetic grasses was tried on a mesh bed. It was removed after a few years as players complained about footing. This new surface is the same one the Packers installed on one of its practice fields a couple years ago. Players apparently love it. This is also the same type of system that is already used in Denver, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The key is that, late in the season when the real grass dies off, players are still able to get good footing.

If you want to read more about this, and also see a few photos of the renovation, click here.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Shocking! Special Teams Still Not Special.

According to the Dallas Morning News' annual statistical analysis, the Packers' special teams ranked a bottom-of-the-barrel 32nd in overall performance in 2006. At least they were consistent: they were also ranked 32nd in 2005. Actually, according to the point system the Dallas Morning News uses in its scoring system, the Pack actually did worse this last season than the year before. And that despite changing the kicker, punter, kick returners and special-teams coach. Hmmm...that doesn't leave much to tweak, does it?

Anyone who watched any game these last two seasons saw...the horror! Special teams that couldn't cover punts or kicks, and that couldn't create returns or generate field position.

What's a coach to do? According to a story in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Coach Mike McCarthy says he is obviously not satisfied with this kind of performance but -- looking for some shred of a silver lining -- was pleased with the way veteran Charles Woodson handled punt least in terms of being sure-handed. But it's obvious more is needed than just hanging on to the ball. That's why McCarthy indicated he'd be taking a look at some of the young speedsters on the team, such as Shaun Bodiford. Expect the return positions to be wide open as the team seeks to overcome this two-year slump in performance. Hey, can only get better!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Favre Gets Cut

OK, Packer fans, don't panic. QB Brett Favre is still on the team (shocking, isn't it?). It's just that after four years (according to his wife) -- or seven years (according to Packers' GM Ted Thompson) -- Brett has finally decided to go under the knife and get those bone spurs removed from his left ankle. Surgery will happen within the next several weeks according to reports citing Brett's agent, Bus Cook. Barring any setbacks, Brett should be ready to roll in the post-draft mini-camp.

Favre gets cut. Yeah, right. Made ya look, though!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Harris Gets Early Valentine from Packers

The Packers showed some love today, getting a jump on Valentine's Day. They gave corner back Al Harris a reported two-year $4.5 million deal loaded with Pro Bowl incentives. Now Harris might feel a bit more inclined to participate in those practices and team activities he decided to pass on last year.

Harris has been the Pack's best defensive back for the last few years, always drawing the opponent's top receiver. While Charles Woodson grabbed more interceptions this year, that may have been at least partially the result of teams throwing away from Harris.

Harris is one of those players who, while now 32, still comes to play. The incentive-laden contract may help ensure that happens for the next few years.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Let the Mock Drafts Begin!

Yahoo Sports yesterday published their "first full mock draft" of round one in April's NFL draft. The Packers are slotted at #16 in the first round. Depending upon who's there the Pack may or may not stick with that pick; Packers GM Ted Thompson is known for dropping down, preferring to get extra picks if he can.

However, if Yahoo Sports' John Murphy is even close to being on target, the Packers may want to stay right where they are at. That's because Murphy has the Pack drafting Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson at #16. Here what he says: "While Peterson clearly is a top-five or top-10 talent, teams in need of a running back could address other positions, meaning he could fall right into the lap of the Packers. They need to upgrade the position, but they may opt for younger, fresher legs instead of re-signing veteran Ahman Green." One of the reasons Peterson could fall to the Packers, other than what Murphy states, is the shoulder injury which hampered him this past season and took him out of the Heisman race. He definitely would be an intriguing prospect for the Packers...and especially at #16.

If you want to read the full set of first round scenarios, just click here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

2007 Home - Away Schedule

While specific dates and times have not yet been announced, the Packers' home - away schedule for 2007 consists of the following opponents:

Chicago Bears (13-3)
Detroit Lions (3-13)
Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
Washington Redskins (5-11)
Carolina Panthers (8-8)
Oakland Raiders (2-14)
San Diego Chargers (14-2)

Chicago Bears (13-3)
Detroit Lions (3-13)
Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
New York Giants (8-8)
St. Louis Rams (8-8)
Denver Broncos (9-7)
Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)

All in all, looks like an entertaining series of games on tap. Will just have to see how they are actually scheduled and when the bye week comes to have a better feel for the flow of the upcoming season.

Moss' Name Keeps Popping Up

As noted in a post here a while back (that's the time equivalent of travelling "just back down the road a-ways" in its non-specificity), the name of Randy Moss as an addition to the Packers roster for 2007 keeps popping up. Chris Mortensen of ESPN on Sunday mentioned that the Packers have an apparent interest in Moss. Scott Favre, Brett's brother (a-duh!), said that Brett specifically talked to Packers' GM Ted Thompson about getting Moss. Reports also indicate that Moss was not overly pleased with his initial meeting with the new 31-year-old head coach of his current team, the Oakland Raiders, Lane Kiffin.

If Moss has gained the maturity to want to play football -- not take plays off when he wants to as he did with the ViQueens -- and wants to win a championship, he may want to play with Brett...who is making no secret of the fact he's coming back to take the Pack back to the playoffs and beyond. The Packers have a lot of salary cap room to play with this year, so can use some of that cash to go after an impact player of Moss' caliber. Perhaps he can keep his act together in Green Bay. I'm sure Brett would see to it.

Keep an on this one, Packer fans.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Yes, Da Bearz Still Suck

OK, there really is no need to rub yesterday's Super Bowl loss in their faces, is there? Well, I guess if Chicago fans are doing it to themselves, why can't we, right?

You just knew it would happen: Da Bearz fans breaking bad on their team. Tune in at random to a few Chicago radio stations (or catch their audio streams over the Internet if you can) and you will hear fans calling in to criticize the coaches, the defense and -- shocking -- QB Rex (or is it "Wrecks"?) Grossman. About the best comment heard so far was one fan saying that the only player that was any good was returner Devon Hester. "Maybe they should play him at quarterback," the caller said. Hey, couldn't be any worse than Wrecks, er, Rex.

Jonathon Brandmeier, native of good ol' Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and the best radio jock going in Chicago (figures it would be someone from Wisconsin saving Chicago radio, wouldn't it?) was doing his best to help Chicago fans vent this morning on his radio showgram (as he calls it). Radio therapy of sorts. Johnny B had to hop on the bandwagon like everyone else in Chi-Town. But in his heart of hearts, he is a Packers fan, of course. That's why he was able to close that segment with that famous little ditty by The Happy Schnapps Combo, appropriately titled "The Bears Still Suck." You can hear the closing refrain here.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Da Bearz Lose. That's a Shame.

Close. I was so-o-o-o-o close on my final score call. I predicted 34-17 Colts, with Da Bearz perhaps getting a score on a return from Hester (check, opening kick off), points off a defensive turnover (check, TD eventually off a fumble recovery), etc. Of course, the final was 29-17 Colts. I also said that the weather could aid Da Bearz in keeping it close. The downpour throughout the game, and the resultant turnovers by both teams, helped keep things close until almost half way through the final quarter. But Da Bearz QB, Rex Grossman, played like he has most of the season and turned the ball over enough -- and with a killer interception returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter -- to give the Colts a 12 point win.

The Colts left a few points on the field: a missed extra point, a missed field goal, some other scoring opportunities as well. But they thoroughly outplayed Da Bearz. The Colts -- the better team -- won. Chicago sports talk shows should be quite entertaining this week.

I hope they have enough air mattresses spread throughout Chicago so all those "fans" jumping off Da Bearz bandwagon won't get too badly hurt.

Super Bowl XLI: Who Ya Got?

Although it is anathema (look it up) for this writer to have to mention Da Bearz in the same breath as the Super Bowl, hell has apparently frozen over -- although judging from the sub-zero temps in the Midwest today that's not far from the truth. The only good that will come from the game is that Chicago fans can again become their surly selves once Da Bearz lose.

So, what's the prognostication? Guess I gave it away in that previous sentence, didn't I? OK, let's put it on the line: Colts 34 - Da Bearz 17. The Colts are 7 point favorites. Manning vs. Grossman? Get real. Da Bearz might pop a run or a pass or even a return via Hester...probably even set up a score with a defensive turnover as they have done for most of the year. And if the weather gets funky as the forecast says, Da Bearz might be able to make it tighter than it might otherwise be. They say defenses win championships. That would seem to give the edge to Da Bearz. But can they stop Manning all day? I don't think so. And can Da Bearz offensive offense outscore the Colts? Nope.

Go Colts! Put Da Bearz and their fans back in their cave for another couple decades.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Happy Fans Everywhere

Yesterday's announcement by Packers QB Brett Favre that "I think I'll go one more time," as he told Packers GM Ted Thompson, was met with much rejoicing not only in Wisconsin -- where it is akin to the Second Coming -- but also throughout the NFL (click here for that story).

In a poll still going on in the online version of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, fans were asked if they are glad Brett is returning for 2007. Gee...that's a toughie...let's see the results as of the time of this posting:

Are you glad that Brett Favre is coming back in '07?
Yes (94.7%)
No (5.3%)
Total votes: 18,007

What I want to know is, who are the 900 or so boneheads who said "No"? Must be some disgruntled fans of Da Bearz who still wish they could find a quarterback.

In a second poll, readers were asked if Brett's return makes the Pack a playoff team. Here are those results so far:

Do you think Brett Favre's return makes the Packers a playoff team in '07?
Yes (86.5%)
No (13.5%)
Total votes: 5,186

OK, there may be a bit more debate on this question. NOT!!! C'mon, people. Even the talking yappers on ESPN's Around the Horn yesterday unanimously agreed that the Packers can definitely be in the hunt next year...heck, they climbed into the playoff hunt this year until the last day when they were bumped out of the wildcard slot by the Giants. The NFC North Division is not a strong one. The NFC is not all that strong right now. I mean...Da Bearz??? It will be the Pack and Da Bearz slogging it out next year for the Division Championship. Give Brett a few more offensive weapons -- some good downfield and after-the-catch receivers and tight ends -- and a legitimate running threat, and keep that young defense coming around as it did down the stretch and the Pack are in it.

That's obviously also Brett's thinking, and he's basically said as much in explaining why he's coming back. It will be a fun season, Packer fans! Let's see what Thompson does in free agency and with the draft. He has salary cap room to play with. He's not one to toss it around...but if he wants to make a run at the Super Bowl with Brett at the helm, this is his chance to make the investments needed for impact players.

Go Pack Go!!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Breaking News: Brett's Back, Baby!!!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hal-le-lu-jah!!!

Brett is coming back.

As reported in the online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Favre told Al Jones, a sportswriter and good friend in Biloxi, Miss., this morning of his plans.'I am so excited about coming back,' he told the Sun Herald. 'We have a good nucleus of young players. We were 8-8 last year and that's encouraging. My offensive line looks good, the defense played good down the stretch. I'm excited about playing for a talented young football team.'" You can read the original article by Jones in the Sun Herald by clicking here. Read other reports of the news here or here.

So, appears that "Truck Watch" report of yesterday was right on the mark.

Let the good times roll!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Truck Watch 2007

Normally, Packer fans, we're talking about "Tractor Watch," as in keeping an eye on Brett Favre's offseason activities to try to get some indication of his potential return...or retirement. But today, we've retitled this effort to Truck Watch. What's up with that?

Well, it's like this. Seems as if Brett drives a Ford truck when in and around Green Bay. Thus, the "truck watch." That's because 620WTMJ radio in Milwaukee was reporting this afternoon that apparently Brett has renewed his endorsement agreement with Bergstrom Auto, Wisconsin's largest auto dealer. Brett apparently told the folks at Bergstrom -- according to the report on the radio segment -- that "he'd be there."

So, if this report is accurate, and Brett is renewing his endorsement deal with a Wisconsin auto dealer -- although players do deals such as these in retirement, too -- it just might be a sign that, in fact, Brett might "be there" in returning to play.