Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another HoF QB questions Favre's antics

Former Kansas City Chiefs QB and Hall of Famer, Len Dawson, said at an NFL rookie symposium that he never wanted to "pull a Brett Favre." And what, precisely, is it to "pull a Brett Favre"? That would be, well, doing what he's doing, of course. When asked about Favre's reasoning for wanting to come back and play with the ViQueens, Dawson said, "To be in Green Bay all those years and then go to Minnesota, that will arouse a lot of people. … This is a strong rival, not just a rival." Asked if he would have ever thought about playing for a division rival such as Oakland or Denver, Dawson reportedly smiled and said simply, "No, not at all."

And that, quite naturally, would be the correct answer. Perhaps someone should pass that along to Brett as he sure hasn't quite figured it out for himself yet.

Dawson questioned Ol' #4's motivation for wanting to continue to play, especially the supposed revenge factor. "Why? It's a game. Why revenge? I don't know all the circumstances about what happened in Green Bay." Referring to the reported $20 million marketing deal the Pack offered Favre to stay retired last season, Dawson said, "Look at how much money they wanted to give him to stay home. A lot of money. It's not a bad offer, but he didn't need the money. There was something else and that's probably what spurred him."

Dawson said even with all the talent around him, Favre has to know when it's time to call it a day. "I played 19 years and knew that I wasn't the same quarterback that I was early in my career," Dawson said. "You know, you may be kidding yourself a little, but you know. He's not the same quarterback he was in the past. He can't be."

You can read more of Dawson's comments here or here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Aaron Rodgers: Breakout Player of the Year in NFC North

That's right, kids. ESPN's John Clayton said on today's edition of NFL Live that he believes the Pack's Aaron Rodgers will be the breakout player of the year in the NFC North. He preceded that comment by qualifying it along the lines of, "If he didn't already have a breakout year last year...". Well said, Mr. Clayton. Packer fans know that Mr. Rodgers had a great first season as the starting QB. Clayton noted that one of the reasons Rodgers will have his breakout year this season is because the coaching staff -- as reported here previously -- will allow Rodgers to have more control over the plays, especially going down the final stretch of a game.

Even Chris Carter, the former ViQueens receiver, said the Packers will be the '08 non-playoff team most likely to make the playoffs this season. Carter specifically mentioned that as good as Rodgers was last year, he'll be even better this season.

With all the buzz about Ol' #4 going to the 'Queens, Jay Cutler running Da Bearz' offense, and rookie QB Matthew Stafford securing his retirement before even throwing a pass for the Lions, Rodgers seems to have been overlooked by the media in talk about the NFC North. One gets the sense that Rodgers probably doesn't mind flying under the radar a bit. He performed well last season despite the media circus around the Favre situation that was present especially at the start of the season. With a great first year under his belt, we can expect even more from Rodgers in his second year. Apparently, we're now not the only ones.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stephen Colbert on Favre

Yes, this is yet another post about Ol' #4. But it doesn't really fit the now ubiquitous "What the Favre" series; there's nothing really about Brett Favre's surgery, signing, etc.

Or is there...? Hmmm...

Well, at least this one comes from that noted social and sports commentator, Stephen Colbert, on last night's Colbert Report on Comedy Central. For those of you who missed it, check it out here. To get to the part about Favre, forward the video to about the 3 minute 40 second mark. Priceless on so many fronts. Including a good dig at the ViQueens, too.

One of Colbert's best lines: "Of course, Green Bay fans would love to help Favre become a Viking by putting him on a boat and setting it on fire."

And: "Of course, there is one catch: you'll have to find an employer desperate enough to hire an unproductive, injury-prone, senior citizen. I'd start by calling the Minnesota Vikings." You'll need to pay attention to the context for that comment, but even on its own it stands up pretty well.

Stephen Colbert: Truthiness personified!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What the Favre? Part 15 - Finished?

620WTMJ radio out of Milwaukee this morning picked up a report from WCCO radio in Minneapolis that Ol' #4 -- Brett Favre -- has in fact agreed to contract terms with the ViQueens. The same story appears at ProFootballTalk.com. The contract is said to be heavy with incentives. (Do you think as part of those terms that Brett agreed to play for free if he could just beat the Pack twice so his stick-it-to-Ted-Thompson vendetta would be sated?)

While this deal has yet to be officially announced, the reports state that the 'Queens equipment manager has already ordered jerseys with #4 and Favre's name. Favre and #4 in that (shudder!) funky ViQueens purple...eeeeewwwwwwwww! Oh yeah, John David Booty currently has the #4. Sorry, kid. You had it.

Remember that on Sunday, Favre's agent Bus Cook was still denying that any deal had been done. But, the WCCO reports says that, "ProFootballTalk.com speculated the announcement will come Fourth of July weekend, when a lot of media folks are on vacation to minimize the circus atmosphere." Yeah...right.

Supposedly, barring unforeseen circumstances, Favre will be at the 'Queens training camp when it commences in late July.

You can read the WCCO story here (complete with a faked SI cover showing Favre in 'Queens purple...warning: do not view on a full stomach), and the ProFootballTalk.com bit here.

Favre rated as NFL's biggest diva
FoxSports.com published an article on the NFL's biggest divas. Guess who beat out such stalwarts as Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco? Yep, Ol' #4. Here's the take on Brett by FoxSports.com's Adrian Hasenmayer: "This guy has been waffling about retirement for half a decade now, even holding several hostages along the way in the form of Green Bay, New York, Tampa and Minnesota. We've already lived through two official retirement press conferences — one tearful but none believable. Yet he keeps coming back because of the spiteful torch he carries for his former team. It's so intense that Favre's been romancing the Packers' most-hated rival for two straight years, generating enough double-talk from his agent James "Bus" Cook to fill all 32 NFL stadiums with hot air. Clearly, unless Brett gets what he wants, he will never go away."

You can check Brett out, along with the other league divas, here.

Greg Jennings deal imminent
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that the Packers and WR Greg Jennings have all but completed a contract extension that will keep him in Green Bay through 2012 and make him one of the highest paid receivers in the league at nearly $9 million annually.

This is great news, as Jennings is obviously one of the best young receivers in the league. And while Donald Driver is still the dean of the Packers' receiving squad, Jennings is arguably now its best receiver. With QB Aaron Rodgers having a great year as starter under his belt, and being given more flexibility this season by the coaching staff to be his own man, this offense is set to take off. (Just one guy's opinion, of course.)

You can read more here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What the Favre? Part 14

Lest you think that this is all we talk about here, rest assured as soon as there is anything of substance regarding the Packers to report on or pass along, we'll do so. (Just check below for news about signings and minicamp, for example.)

But when the circus is in town, you want to watch, right? And there is still no bigger circus than that surrounding Ol' #4, Brett Favre, and his potential un-un-retirement. Will his arm heal enough from his recent surgery for him to play for the ViQueens this season? That's the only thing really standing between Brett and that funky purple outfit (by the way, when the apparel looks like that, does it even really rise to the level of a uniform???).

But perhaps the arm thing isn't really the question at all. According to sports columnist Michael Hunt's piece in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, maybe it's a bit about the money, too. (Me, I still think it's more about Brett's still-simmering need for revenge on Packers GM Ted Thompson.) But Hunt writes that the 'Queens should be careful what they wish for. And that, as loyal Packer fans, we should actually enjoy this spectacle should it come to pass.

But why have me tell you? Check out Hunt's column here. Definitely worth the read.

Draft signings begin
When it comes to signing draft picks it usually goes from the bottom up. So, predictably, the Packers have signed three of their late-round draft picks first: LB Brad Jones, CB Brandon Underwood and DE Jarius Wynn. Terms were not disclosed. The Pack also signed undrafted TE Devin Frischknecht from Washington State.

Minicamp set
All five minicamp practices, starting next Monday June 22, will be open to the public weather permitting. The first session gets underway at 10:15 a.m. on Clarke Hinkle Field. If weather doesn't cooperate, sorry folks, the Packers go to their indoor faciility and you don't.

The first two days of practices run at 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m., although head coach McCarthy sometimes cancels the Tuesday afternoon session for a team-building event. Wednesday is the final day for the mandatory minicamp and it concludes with the 10:15 a.m. practice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What the Favre? Part 13

For those who didn't or couldn't catch Brett Favre's interview on HBO's "Joe Buck Live" last night, here's part one. If the second half of the interview gets posted, you'll find it here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What the Favre? Part 12

Here's the running transcript of Ol' #4's interview on tonight's premier episode of "Joe Buck Live" on HBO, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Check it out for yourself here.

The key things to come out of the interview are: that Favre had surgery a couple weeks ago on his throwing arm; he's talked with and met with ViQueens coaches and staff; he spoke about himself and the 'Queens in the form of the collective "we"; if the arm returns to anywhere near form he'll be playing this season...and for the ViQueens.

Oh, and while you're checking out the transcript at the Journal-Sentinel site you may wish to check out some of the readers' comments that follow it. Yikes!

What the Favre? Part 11

For those of you who really can't get enough of this, how about hearing what Brett Favre himself has to say about what he's up to lately in retirement? In a live, televised interview, no less?

For those readers who are HBO subscribers, you can do so tonight at 8 p.m. Central. Ol' #4 will be on the debut episode of sportscaster Joe Buck's new show, which is shockingly called "Joe Buck Live." Depending on how arrangements worked out, Favre will either be on stage with Buck before a live studio audience or will be interviewed via satellite. What's your bet?

For those non-HBO subscribers, my guess is you can probably find this tomorrow somewhere on HBO's website or, barring that, check YouTube...you know it's gonna be available somewhere. And, of course, print commentary no doubt will be available by the truckload. Maybe even here.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

What the Favre? Part 10

When I started this series of posts I actually didn't realize it would be a series of posts. Really.

But here we have the latest report from ESPN stating that sometime in the next few days a Minnesota ViQueens "trainer and a member of the team's coaching staff intend to travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to work with retired quarterback Brett Favre...".

Well isn't that special?

With summer training camp just about 7 weeks away, the 'Queens want to know this about Mr. Favre: can he or can't he?

Here we have a team -- that would be the ViQueens -- that is so desperate for quarterback help that they are looking to a 39-year-old future Hall of Famer who has had recent bicep surgery to fix a throwing arm that is no longer the canon it once was and who by a growing number of assessments should retire to his lawn tractor. And we also have this same QB who is so desperate for revenge on the GM of the team who took him at his word when he said he was going to retire (the first time) that he not only wants to come out of retirement (for the second time) but actually had surgery to try to be able to do so, and to play with a divisional rival just so he can play the Packers twice.

Hmmm...what's the common denominator in the above? Oh, yeah, desperation. By both the ViQueens and Ol' #4. That usually doesn't work so well, does it?

Here's the ESPN story.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

What the Favre? Part 9

ESPN is today reporting that Ol' #4 did in fact have surgery on his torn bicep tendon sometime in the last month so that he could return for a 19th season in the NFL...with, of course, the ViQueens. According to the report, Brett has reportedly been throwing on a limited basis since then, but "Favre remains unable to make a commitment because subsequent throwing sessions indicate the shoulder is not yet 100 percent."

The article continues, "Favre's determination to play can be measured by his willingness to undergo arthroscopic surgery... inasmuch sources said the quarterback wanted to avoid any procedure." Yes, but his well-documented and now fanatical desire to stick it to Packers GM Ted Thompson, as has been noted here previously, seemingly trumps common sense with Brett.

Can only keep repeating, how very sad.

Read the ESPN article here if you can still stomach this nonsense.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sponsor patches? We don't need no stinkin' patches!

Here's one of those ideas that you just knew was going to raise its ugly head sooner or later: sponsor patches on player jerseys.

Company logos are so prevalent on some athletic jerseys -- notably those outside the good ol' USA -- that you have a hard time sometimes actually knowing what the name of the team is (OK, that would really likely be more due to the fact that you are only an occasional viewer of that particular sport, but you get my point). Women's pro basketball in the U.S., though, is one of the latest to fall prey to this advertising onslaught.

But now...now!...our esteemed National Football League has deemed it suitable for teams to sell sponsor spaces on teams' practice jerseys. Not game jerseys. Practice jerseys. It's all about the money, of course. Wanting to maximize revenue opportunities. And who really sees practice jerseys anyway? Well, yeah, all those folks who show up during summer training camp, I guess. But since most teams also sell replica practice jerseys, are you going to want to pay to walk around promoting not only the Packers -- which is absolutely the whole point, right?! -- but, say, Ed's Cheese-a-rama & Bait Emporium (which, I highly recommend if you stumble on it in the great north woods, by the way...just kidding...but I wouldn't be surprised if there's one up there somewhere, either).

Thus begins the slippery slope: today, the practice jerseys are for sale and tomorrow the game jerseys are for sale. Do you want to see the beloved Green 'n' Gold jersey pimped out to the highest bidder? Not me.

But regrettably, the Packers are already looking into the practice jersey sponsor possibility. (Sigh) You can read more about this move here.

My opinion: Patches? We don't need no stinkin' patches!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Packers OTAs notes

The news coming out of Green Bay during the first part of the Packers organized team activities (OTAs) has been a bit sparse. I guess no news is good news. No major injuries. No big contract hassles (at least, yet). So we have to get our bits and pieces where we can.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette is often a good source for the latest goings on when other sources seem a bit too quiet.

So, here's a quick review in case you need a little Packers fix as we begin the month of June.

Jeremy Thompson or Clay Matthews?
While the assumption has been that rookie Clay Matthews will be the starter at right outside LB, second-year player Jeremy Thompson is excited by the change to the 3-4 defense and the opportunity it is giving him to make the change from defensive end to linebacker. As the Press-Gazette article points out, until Matthews Thompson was the only player Packers GM Ted Thompson had traded up to draft: "Ted Thompson sent a fifth-round pick to the New York Jets in order to move up 11 spots in the fourth round to take the defensive end from Wake Forest." But more importantly, especially for Thompson (that would be Jeremy, not Ted), "Instead of backing up left outside linebacker Aaron Kampman, Thompson worked as the starter on the right side during organized team activities that began last week." Granted, Matthews currently has a hamstring injury, but Thompson "was working ahead of Matthews even before the rookie pulled his hamstring near the end of the first practice last Wednesday." Anyway, read more about this linebacking competition here.

Harrell, Harrell, wherefore art thou, Harrell?
Actually, third-year player and injury magnet Justin Harrell has been present and accounted for all during OTAs and, apparently, doing well. Quoting defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, the Press-Gazette reports, “He’s been very focused. He has a look about him that he wants to succeed. He’s working extremely hard.” According to Harrell, he's feeling the best he has been since being in GB. Given his injury history, however, that might be a hard thing to judge. In addition, the young man -- whom all reports from the get-go have said is the type of guy you really want to root for -- is battling a weight issue currently. Still, Harrell realizes this is a do-or-die year for him with the Packers. As the #16 pick overall three seasons ago, Harrell has been a bust. But Trgovac and the new coaching staff also is giving him a fresh start. "He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I know he’s had injuries in the past, but we haven’t seen them,” Trgovac is quoted as saying. Read more about Harrell here. At this point, if Harrell is able to get through the season uninjured and make contributions at all it will be a bonus that not many -- at least not many fans -- expected. If he can't stay healthy, Harrell will be out of chances and will remain the albatross around Ted Thompson's neck.

And what about Mr. Kampman?
One of the big mysteries of the offseason was and is how DE Aaron Kampman felt about making the switch to outside linebacker. Ordinarily, Kampman was very open with the media. But he hasn't been talking about this switch, which has led some to assume that he is not a happy Packer. Well, he spoke yesterday with the media in the locker room. Still didn't say much. And what he did say is hard to get a read on.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provides the necessary quotes from Kampan: "New techniques. New terminology. All in all, it's learning the new system. It's all new." And . . ."I'm one of 11 in this defense. . . . This is a big transition for everyone. For whatever reason a lot of people want to know what I think." And . . ."I'm learning it. I don't have a whole lot else to say. I'm learning it."

So...is he happy? You decide. Kampan's a pro, a Pro Bowler to be exact. He was the best pass rusher the Packers have had over the last few seasons. Can he make the move? Coach McCarthy told the press that Kampman has been working very hard at learning the new position and scheme, as you'd expect of him. He's been working closely with new linebackers coach, Kevin Greene. And, as radio voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, said on 620WTMJ radio this morning, if anyone can assure Kampman of the possibility of making the switch effectively, it's Greene who himself had been a successful defensive end before being asking to also make the switch to linebacker...where he achieved perhaps even greater success later in his career. Good point. They are two different players, granted. But it has to be encouraging for Kampman to be able to tap into someone like Greene who can assure him that it can be done because he did too.

You can read another take on the Kampman situation -- as well as the non-story about Donald Driver's supposed desire for a new contract -- here.

And how's Mr. Rodgers doin'?
According to reports, QB Aaron Rodgers is looking just fine, thank you. He's looked very sharp in the OTA practices. And perhaps just importantly, he -- and his teammates -- know clearly that this is his team. After racking up the numbers he did last year, Rodgers clearly established himself as one of the best QBs (at least for his first season as a starter) in the league. The number of wins didn't reflect that performance, although that was more a result of the defensive collapses than Rodgers ability or lack thereof. If you want a quick update on Rodgers, check out this article.

So...is this enough to help you get your fix for the moment? If not, keep checking back here at PackerFansUnited.com. There will be more...as regular readers (that's you, isn't it???) know very well.