Saturday, February 28, 2009

Take Time to Stop and Smell the Apples

Isn't free agency season exciting!?

Here's a great video clip that is making the rounds.  It's Louis C.K.'s recent appearance on Conan.

I must say this clip really resonated with me.  It's not just technology that is better.  

Every time I go to the super market I marvel the choices we have, and how much better life is now than when I was a kid.  

When I was a kid I had no idea that there were varieties of pears.  There were only "pears" and they came fresh or in a can.  And the fresh ones were mealy and bland.  Now, the grocery store has at least half a dozen varieties and they are juicy and delicious.  I don't have to go to a gourmet grocery store.  I can buy them at the Pick-N-Save in Milwaukee.

My grocery also has well over a dozen varieties of apples.  And, again, they are delicious.  (My favorite is the Pink Lady.)  When I was a kid, there were maybe three (four on a good day) varieties of apples at the grocery store, and I wasn't really a huge fan of any of them.

My grocery store also has a  long aisle stacked with crazy and wonderful products from Latin America and Asia.

The food we buy our children is cheaper, tastier, and more nutritious than crap at the old five aisle IGA.  Why aren't we more appreciative?

When I was a kid, it was expensive to make long distance phone calls.  I seem to remember (although it almost comical now) that we could only call long distance after eight o'clock or on the weekends, or else the rates would be exorbitant.  I recall my parents getting into quarrels about phone bills.  Now, we call who ever we want, when ever we, want, using the phone that's in our pocket and we don't even think twice about it.

I could go on and on.  But, I think I'll just dismount my soapbox and go enjoy a delicious Capital Maibock (that I purchased at my supermarket) and await some free agency news.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tidbits on Kampman and Clifton.

Two of my biggest concerns next season are (1) how will Kampman perform in his new position and (2) can Clifton still get the job done at left tackle. Kevin Seifert has entries on both topics on his NFC North Blog at

Pittsburgh director of football operations Kevin Colbert, whose team has run a 3-4 for years, said it takes players a minimum of two years to learn the system. Interestingly, Colbert said the transition is hardest for the "tweener" defensive ends of the 4-3 scheme.

"It's harder for him to be able to project because the ends are going to have to be a minimum of 290 pounds to be able to play in that scheme," Colbert said. "And linebackers are going to have to be able to do certain things in coverage. The 265-270 [pound] end will have the most difficulty."

That point illustrates one of the Packers' central conundrums in making this shift: By Colbert's analysis, the Packers' best defensive player is a poor fit for a traditional 3-4 scheme. Kampman, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end who has compiled 37 sacks in the past three years, is listed at -- yes -- 265 pounds.

The solution: "Thompson predicted Kampman will spend up to 60 percent of his time as a pass-rusher on the line of scrimmage."

Regarding Clifton: "Although Clifton's play slipped noticeably last season, the Packers are confident he will rebound and have locked him in as their starter for at least one more season. "

On a side note, I know that Seifert is widely derided in Packerland for his former job as a Vikings beat reporter, but (ever the contrarian that I am) I actually kind of like Seifert. I don't follow his blog religiously but whenever I do read it I always end up think he is doing a nice job. So there. I said it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Could the Packers Get the Band Back Together

Slow news month, so why not engage in crazy speculation. . . .

Some might disagree, but I truly believe that McCarthy has bet his job (and Thompson's job) on the switch to the 3-4.  It was a ballsy move.  And there is simply no guarantee that it will pan out.  

What if it doesn't?

Here's a thought experiment: pretend it's November 2009 and the Packers are 4-8.  

Two Packer legends are currently out of work.  One has indicated that he might be looking for a job (and the job that he really covets was just filled by Mike Singletary).  The other, while not getting any younger, just so happened to recently move back to Green Bay.

What if?

Who knows, but if the Packers falter you can count on a groundswell of support to bring back Holmgren and Wolf.  

It will be deafening.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Will Thompson Trade Down With the 9th Pick?

McGinn has a review of the draft class up on JS Online (sub req'd).  McGinn ranks them in three groups. 

(1) No chance the player slips to the Packers: Michael Crabtree, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Curry.

(2) Only a 50% chance the player slips to the Packers: Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe.

(3) Everyone else: the next 39 players.

Now, I have no idea is McGinn has it right, but it sounds about right. Every year there is a "break" in the draft that seperates the future franchise players from everyone else. (This doesn't mean that franchise players can't be found later in the draft.  Obviously they can.   But it often takes some very good luck to land them.)  The break is usually somewhere between pick 4 and 10.

The Packers got caught right after that break in 2006 when the Packers drafted Hawk.  It wasn't that Hawk was a bad pick.  If you look at the picks after Hawk, Hawk was about as good a pick as Thompson could have made in that position.  Nevertheless, I don't think that anyone really thought at the time that Hawk had a snowballs chance of becoming  a legit franchise player. 

Thompson takes a lot of heat for trading down.  Both from fans and the local media.  But one of Thompson biggest draft screw ups was not trading down in 2006.  Unquestionably.

If Thompson is faced with the same situation this year, I hope he has the grapefruits to trade down.   Some (read: a lot) of fans will be enraged.  He will be mocked by the snarksmiths in the media.  But tough nuggets.  He's a big boy and he has to do the right thing even if he takes heat for it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Favre just doesn't get it:

"I think it will take three to five years for this relationship to be repaired," Mortensen told ESPNews.

In the telephone press conference held late Wednesday afternoon, Favre said he had not given thought to when he will feel good enough about his relationship with the Packers' front office to participate in a jersey retirement ceremony.

"I don't have an answer for that," Favre said. "It may be five years. It may be, you know, the first game (of 2009). I don't know."

Favre was asked if his retirement ceremony would have to wait until after Thompson left the organization."I don't know," Favre said

The Packers don't retire numbers very often. Hardly ever. There are 26 former Packers in the pro football hall of fame. The Packers have retired only five of those players' numbers. It is a much more elite honor than being selected to the hall of fame. Jim Taylor does not have his number retired.

If the Packers offer you the chance to have your number retired you set aside your Molly-Ringwald-Sixteen-Candles pouting and accept! Favre behaves like he would be doing the Packers some great favor by showing up to have his number retired.

Yesterday, the Packers re-affirmed that the team intends to retire Favre's number. For the record, I think the Packers should wait a while to retire Favre number (if at all). At least five years. What is the rush?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Deadspins Goofs on the Journal Sentinel

Deadspin has posted a screencap of the JS Online from Sunday evening. The Journal Sentinel was apparently reporting a Cardinal's victory at that time.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Does the Cardinals' Loss Rest on Warner's Shoulders?

Deja vu. The Cardinals go ahead with two and a half minutes remaining only to see their defense (a 3-4 defense!) collapse. Then, Warner just didn't have what it took to lead a comeback drive.

Does this remind anyone of anything?

That's right. It's almost exactly the same thing that happened in last year's Super Bowl. Brady led the Patriots to a late touchdown only to watch his defense (a 3-4 defense!) collapse. Then, Brady just didn't have what it took to lead a comeback drive.

So, how many the of crack Journal Sentinel writers think that the Patriots' and Cardinals' losses demonstrate failings of Brady and Warner?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Still One Play Left.

WWF-style ending to the Super Bowl (what is it with the Steelers in the Super Bowl that brings out the worst in the officials). That was clearly an incomplete pass. The third-angle showed it best. The ball was still in Warner's hand after the hit. In any event: no review? You have got to be kidding me! How can they not even review the play?

It probably did not make a difference. But with Bolden, Fitzgerald, and Breaston who knows.

ADDENDUM: Deadspin has the definitive replay here.