Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nitpicking PFT

Profootball Talk frequently refers to Brad Childress as "Mr. Noodle" for his resemblance of the Sesame Street character. Here is a recent example.

This is wrong. Except for the mustache, Childress looks nothing like Mr. Noodle. See, there are two different characters: (1) Mr. Noodle, and (2) Mr. Noodle's Brother, Mr. Noodle.

Observe:



Brad Childress clearly resembles Mr. Noodle's Brother, Mr. Noodle rather than the orginal Mr. Noodle.

The more your know...

--------------------------*





James Jones to Speak at Monona Grove Graduation

James Jones will speak at the Monona Grove HS graduation ceremony next Sunday, June 7. In exchange for speaking, Jones asked the senior class to organize a fundraiser.

Which was this morning.

Yeah.

A little late on this one.

Anyhow, great guy. Should be an inspirational graduation address.

Jones's website is: http://www.lovejones4kids.org

Check it out when you have a chance.

Are the Packers Manipulating The Injury Reports?

Bedard has the scoop:

But after spraining his ankle in the third exhibition game, Bigby's season devolved into an injury-filled mess.
...

If an opponent knew Bigby's ankle was the ailment that gave him problems all season - more than the hamstring and shoulder injuries that were also put on the injury report - they might alter their game plans to take advantage.

According to the injury reports the Packers filed with the league, Bigby's ankle was only a problem in Week 1 and Week 13. A hamstring injury against Detroit in Week 3 kept him out of the next five games. A shoulder injury was listed as his injury in Weeks 14 and 15 when he did not play.

He was not listed as injured during Weeks 9-12, so he was presumed to be completely healthy.

...

Even when he was placed on injured reserve Dec. 18, the reason stated in the team's press release was a shoulder injury.

Eight days later he had ankle surgery in Charlotte, N.C.

First, I have to recognize that the story might not be true, and it is self-serving for Bigby to blame his play on an injury.

However, what if it is true?

I suspect that most fans will shrug at this report. "Everyone does it." Blah blah blah.

To me this is a big deal because fans have actually turned on Bigby. It would be different if everyone knew that Bigby was battling a significant injury. However (if the story is correct) the Packers intentionally created the illusion that Bigby had a series of bumps and bruises. Fans are left with the impression that he either: (1) is soft or (2) simply isn't very good.

James Jones is another player that I suspect was never close to healthy last season (he bounced on and off the injury report). Again, fans turned on him. I've even heard him described as "soft." Does this look soft?




I suspect that most fans have already forgotten that Jones had better rookie season that Greg Jennings (and every other Packer receiver not named Sharpe or Lofton). It would be a shame if all of the fan backlash was due to the Packers trying to cook the books.

ADDENDUM: Checking out profootballreference.com I realized that Jones is actually fourth on the Packers rookie receiver list. Walter Stanley is third.

Friday, May 29, 2009

More On Kampman

Now, obviously Kampman is not talking to the media, and so we won't get it right from the horse's mouth, but reading between the lines here, Kampman is upset. It's not surprising. As I said before, it's all risk and zero reward for Kampman. Who wouldn't be upset?


I thought a trade would have be the right move back February. A painful move, but the right move. I still think that is true, but it might be a little late for that now.

A note to Aaron Rodgers who said of Kampman:


I hope he realizes that this is probably going to be the best thing for him.


Shhhhh
. Mind your own business here. I suspect Kampman feels that he knows his position and his skill set better than some quarterback.


Let the coaches try to encourage Kampman. Other players (especially quarterbacks) should butt out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Williams Gets Double His Tender

According to the GBPG, Tramon Williams will get $900k this season, or around twice his tender amount. Seems like a good deal for all involved. I'd like to see Williams get locked up in a long term deal but excited that he got his deal done so that he doesn't miss any time. This should be an important year for Williams's development.

Also, there is a lesson here: no need to go into a tizzy every time a player mentions contract negotiations. In this case, everything went down according to Hoyle (notwithstanding all the premature, sky-is-falling predictions).

Kampman's Silence

Everyone (except Kampman) is talking about Aaron Kampman's media strike. Bedard concludes that Kampman is "uneasy" with his new role in the defense. Aaron at CHTV and Andy Hayes at PackerGeeks both feel that Bedard is just stirring the pot, Gene Bosling at OBD thinks that there is more to the situation than Aaron and Andy care to admit. I have a few unorganized thoughts:

Kampman is a two time Pro Bowl DE in the 4-3 System. The best case scenario for Kampman is that he is "as good" in the new system (he will not be "better" as McCarthy argues). The worst case scenario is that he flops. It's all risk and no reward. (And in a contract year).

So, I'm completely cool with Kampman being a bit salty (if that is indeed the case). I completely disagree with Andy Hayes that this would make Kampman "selfish" and not a team player.

Football is our entertainment. Football is Kampman's livelihood. People are permitted to care about their careers without being labled "selfish."

It is fair to call Kampman's move to OLB an "experiment."

Query: how many of us would be happy to have our bosses "experiment" with our careers?

I care passionately about my firm. I also am pretty invested in my own future and my own career. If my firm were to relegate me to tasks that did not take full advantage of my skills (nunchuck skills, computer hacking skills, etc.) and thereby held back my career, I'd feel pretty justified in being upset (even if the decision was arguably in the firm's best interest). I'm not a Tibetan monk.

Neither is Kampman.

That said, Kampman is doing right by the team by keeping his (speculated) grievences to himself rather than airing it out in the media.

I think its silly wishful thinking to suggest that Kampman is avoiding the media because he is not "familiar enough" with the coaches and the defense yet.

Riiight.

Poppinga is familiar enough with the defense to speak to the media but Kampman is not.

Occam's razor---what is more likely: (1) Kampman is the only player on the defense that is not familiar enough with the new scheme to open his mouth and let sounds come out, or (2) he is bit salty about being played out of position in a contract year?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Najeh Davenport One-Ups Noah Herron

At you recall, last summer former Packer and Steeler's running back Noah Herron messed up a couple of burglars. Yesterday, former Packer and Steeler's running back Najeh Davenport took it to the next level.

He left his car (a sweet 1970 Impala) running while he ran inside a family member's house. Some poor bastard got the bad idea to steal Najeh's ride. Najeh saw him driving off and hopped in an SUV to chase him down. A Beverly Hills Cop-style car chase ensued with several parked cars getting what-for. Najeh caught the dude (but only after his car was totalled).

It's time for Whisper Goodman to start pulling his weight.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bedard on "Shuffle and Replace"

I just caught up with a Bedard piece from last week on the "Shuffle and Replace" (sub req) method of roster/salary management.

They have talent. A lot of it. Maybe not as many elite players as a team would like, but the Packers have a lot of "pretty good" players. In the salary-cap era, that's not bad at all.

Now it's time for the release and replace stage.

Do not be surprised over the next year or two to see the Packers not re-sign many of their free agents.

Yes, you read that right.

Thompson's philosophy, and it's followed by other salary-cap savvy teams like the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers . . .

I agree that Thompson will start letting Packer free agents walk and that many of these decisions will be unpopular with fans.
 
A student of recent Packer history knows that this philosophy was pioneered by Ron Wolf long long before there was a name for it (and  it would makes sense that Thompson, a Wolf-protege, would follow the same philosophy). 

In the offseason after the Packers won the Super Bowl, Ron Wolf let go of the following players:  Edgar Bennett, Wayne Simmons, Desmond Howard, and Chris Jacke.

The following offseason (after the Super Bowl loss) Wolf let go of: Doug Evans, Gabe Wilkins, Aaron Taylor, Craig Hentrich, and Eugene Robinson. 

That is (obviously) a lot of key players.  

According to Wolf, Hentrich was the only one he regrets letting slip away.

ADDENDUM: When I say that Wolf "pioneered" the philosophy, I mean that quite literally.  The Packers were the first Super Bowl champion of the free agency era that did not watch their salary cap explode leading to an extended period of losing.  Both the Cowboys and the Niners eventually found themselves in that position.  

Florio Wonders Whether The Walrus Will End Up in Minnesota

Definitely a possibility.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Wikipedia: 1992-2007 Was the "Brett Favre Era"

The nerds that edit Wikipedia articles have dubbed the Packers' seasons between 1992 and 2007 "the Brett Favre Era" (interestingly the 1960s Packers' seasons are not called the "Vince Lombardi Era").  

I predictably find this ridiculous.  First of all, the 2007 season had a lot more in common with 2008 than it did with 1996.  If we are going to split these seasons into "eras," the era ended in 1998 when Reggie White and Mike Holmgren left.  Once those guys left, so did the Packers dominance.

I hate the popular myth that the Packers success was primarily attributable to Favre.  Favre was an important part of the Packers' success, but Reggie White was the heart and soul of those teams.  

Even when he was winning MVPs, Favre was always second fiddle to Reggie White.  

"Favre era" my ass.

Seifert On Favre's Late Season Collapses

Kevin Seifert has a great breakdown of Favre late season breakdowns.  Maybe Favre's injury was serious, and maybe it was only an excuse, but in any event Favre's performance on the field during the last five games was not dramatically different than in the three previous seasons.

Over the last 5 games of the last 4 seasons "Favre's completion percentage dropped nearly nine points on average after Game 11, and he threw nearly three times as many interceptions (34) as touchdowns (13) over the combined final stretches of those seasons."

Anyone who thinks Favre still has it in him to finish a 16 game season is fooling themselves.

GrooveShark Playlist: 5 Catchy Pop Songs About Tragedy

I am addicted to GrooveShark which I think is the greatest thing since Pandora.  GrooveShark apparently lets you stream unlimited music for free.  For the life of me, I can't figure out the catch yet.  But there has got to be a catch.  GrooveShark also helps create playlist widgets that you can embed on your blog.  

Anyhow, below is a playlist I have been working on: Catchy Pop Songs About Tragedy.



It's Revisionism Week In the Packers' Blogosphere: The Tom Braatz Edition

Two recent posts, one at Tudravision and one at CheeseheadTV take a revisionist look back at Mike Sherman's tenure and conclude that he was not all bad.  I agree with some of their arguments (and strongly disagree with others) but few can dispute that Sherman seemed like a nice guy and he was a hard worker.

Anyhow, it reminded me of one guy who I doubt will ever get his due in Packer lore: Tom Braatz.

Braatz will go down in history as The-Guy-Who-Drafted-Tony-Mandrich.  Which is too bad.  First of all, the Packers simply had the misfortune of picking second in the draft instead of third.  I truly believe that any team that picked second in the'89 draft would have selected Mandrich.  He was that heralded a prospect.  The question in the media was whether Mandrich would be the greatest offensive lineman of all time, or merely a Hall of Fame player.  I don't recall anyone second-guessing the selection at the time. 

Mandrich aside, look at some of the players that were on the roster when Wolf and Holmgren took over: Chuck Cecil, LeRoy Butler, Bryce Paup, Sterling Sharpe, Jackie Harris, and Chris Jacke.  These were all good or great players that Braatz drafted---there was no such thing as free agency yet---in his tenure.  Each of these players would start on the '09 Packers.  

Add in solid players like Johhny Holland, Tony Bennett, and John Jurkovic (who was an undrafted rookie signed by Braatz) and contrary to the conventional wisdom the cupboard was hardly bare when Wolf and Holmgren came to town.  

While only Butler and Jacke were on the team when the Packers won the Super Bowl (Sharpe got hurt, Wolf let Paup leave and become the NFLDMVP with the Bills, etc.), Braatz's players helped keep the Packers competitive during the transitional years.  Once free agency arrived, being competitive made signing players possible.  You think Reggie White would have signed with the Packers if they were 4-12 and in transition instead of 9-7 and on the rise?

Sort of like John the Baptist, Tom Braatz paved the way for the greatness to come.  So let's finally give him his due.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Billy "The Gun" Van Goff

I never watch Saturday Night Live,  so I missed this amusing (but not hilarious) spoof on NFL films a few months back:




To be a true NFL Films spoof, there should have been some "What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor."

All Kinds of Time

I find it strange that I have never posted this before:




"Packers Won the Super Bowl!"

Awesome clip.



Saturday, May 9, 2009

An Anonymous Source Gave Bedard the Finger

For a couple of days, Bedard has been circulating a rumor (from an anonymous source, of course) worthy of the World Weekly News.  Here it goes:

One source said, "If you put your finger in (Favre's) shoulder it goes right through. That's not a good sign. There's a reason why he hasn't picked up a football yet."

A finger goes "right through" the shoulder?  Hey, that does sound serious.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

Do you hear that?  Where's the noise coming from?

Oh that's my bullshit detector going off again.  (Where is the button on this thing?)

Here's an experiment: (1) take your index finger, (2) poke your shoulder, and (3) try to imagine your finger going "right through" your shoulder.

I'm sure its possible, but you would have to be seriously injured.  

This raises a lot of interesting questions.  If Favre is truly Poke-Your-Finger-Right-Through-The-Shoulder injured, why is he even bothering to send x-rays to the Vikings?

We are to believe that Favre was that hurt and he still played football (even poorly) for a month?  Moreover, he was that injured and the team doctors never detected it (he was never on the injury report)?  Don't the Jets' doctors know the Poke-Your-Finger-Right-Through-The-Shoulder test?  Do the Jets' doctors even have fingers? 

Maybe the Jets' doctors were aliens:
  1. Beware of doctors who have trouble identifying body parts. If you complain of pain in an elbow and he examines your wrist or forearm, you might very well be in the clutches of an extraterrestrial.
  2. Human physicians often run late, but extraterrestrials are always right on time.
  3. A doctor’s handwriting is usually quite sloppy. But aliens labor over their handwriting and the result is easy-to-read printing.
  4. Most doctors draw blood for testing but need very little to get the job done. Physicians who ask for a quart or more of your blood have a hidden agenda – and may be extraterrestrials.
  5. The vast majority of doctors dispense drugs through prescriptions and pharmacist. Alien doctors prefer to pass out “sample” pills and preparations that usually have nothing to do with the patient’s illness.
  6. Aliens often recommend surgery for patients who feel great and have no symptoms of disease.
The truth is out there.

 (But you won't hear it from anonymous exaggerators close to Favre).





Friday, May 8, 2009

Last Favre Post (Hopefully) For a While

Its tough to ever take Favre at his word. And based upon his conduct last season, there are good reasons to believe we have yet to hear the last of Favre.

However, there is a big difference between this season and last. After Favre burned his bridges with the Packers last season, there were still plenty of teams that wanted him.

We don't how Favre treated the Vikings and whether he burned his bridges, but the Vikings can't be pleased with his teasing. He got the fans in a frenzy and then left the Vikings coaches and management looking like fools. Maybe they would give him another chance in June if he changes his mind again (like he did last year) but I actually doubt it.

Who else would want Favre besides the Vikings?

Only team that faces a sudden opening at starting QB because of an injury.

This all may actually set-up a mid-season come back (which I think is Favre best chance at winning a Super Bowl because he wears down over the course of a full season).

Who knows?

But, I am very skeptical that Favre is done being Favre.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Some Viking Fans Are Pretty Hostile to Favre Donning Purple

Truly hate-filled and hilarious post at Kissing Suzy Kolber about Favre joining the Vikings.  It is worth a read.  (As a warning, depending on your office climate it very well may be not safe for work.)  

Anyhow, in the middle of the rant was this pretty astute observation:

I’ve heard arguments in the Minnesota media that, while Favre almost certainly offers no January promise for the Vikings, that his presence will at least make the coming season more interesting. . . .

Interesting teams don’t win it all in the NFL anymore. . . . Look at the Steelers. They change coaches once every two decades. They never sign big name free agents, particularly those “he’s the final piece!” type free agents. They don’t do any of that shit. They keep things running smoothly, and then they go win titles. . . .

Rodgers, Jennings, Barnett & Martin to Team Up With Danny Gokey

A bunch of fun stuff in Milwaukee on Friday in honor of American Idol contestant Danny Gokey.


.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mark Schlereth Makes An Excellent Point About Favre

"Fourteen of those other games are not going to be against the Green Bay Packers."




Monday, May 4, 2009

Additional Motivation For Favre?

There have been plenty of stories about the Favre-Hates-Thompson motivation for Favre's pending re-unretirement, but I haven't seen any Favre-Loves-His-Records pieces yet.  

Let me get this out of the way: Favre doesn't really care about his records.  Not at all.  All he cares about is playing football.  Unlike normal people like you and me and everyone else you and I know, Brett Favre absolutely does not care about money or personal achievement or anything else.  Favre is unmoved by personal gain.  He is like Jesus or Buddha.  Completely selfless.  He has said it himself about a trillion times: he doesn't care about his records.

Now that that is out of the way, let's make believe (just for fun) that Favre is a person like you and me and everyone else that we know.  Let's pretend that he takes pride in his personal achievements (I know its far fetched but work with me).

If Favre comes back one more season it makes it almost impossible for Payton Manning to break Favre's records unless Manning plays at a very high level until he is over 38 years old. 

If Favre throws for a modest 3000 yards and 20 TDs in 2009, that would give him 68,127 yards passing and 484 career touchdowns for his career.  

Right now Manning is 33 years old.  He has 45,628 yards passing and 333 touchdowns.

If Manning averaged 4000 yards passing and 30 touchdowns, he would not pass Favre for more than another 5 seasons.  

To play at that high a level into his late thirties is a lot to ask, even out of Manning.  

If he averages a more realistic 27 TDs a season (this is the number he threw in 2008) and 3750 yards per season, he would need about 5.6 seasons to pass Favre's touchdown record, and 6 full seasons to catch Favre's yardage record.   It could certainly be done, but its no sure thing. (And, it assumes that Favre won't re-re-unretire in 2010.)  Recall just a few seasons ago it was thought to be a lock that Manning would break Favre's records. 


Of course, if Manning does not break Favre's records, they could be secure for a very long time.  I don't see anyone in the league right now that could seriously threaten any of the records.  If Manning doesn't break Favre's records, they could easily stand for thirty or forty years.

But, I'm sure none of this is crossing Favre's mind.  

Have you seen him?  He's just like a kid out there!


.

MTV "Star" Projected as Starting DE for the Badgers

I (like just about all of the UW alumni that I know) have been watching "College Life" on MTV, which features four UW Madison students camcording their way through freshman year.  It is impossible for me to recommend this show any less.  It is stupid, mindless, and I'm not sure there is a single likeable cast member.  Oh, and worst of all, it is really boring.

That said: I will continue to watch.  I can't not watch.  I've tried.

Anyhow, the show features a recurring "character" named "JJ."  JJ is one big emeffer who was described as an "athlete" by one of the main cast members.  It turns out JJ is actually JJ Watt who the Badgers announced today as number one of the depth chart at defensive end after spring practice. 

.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Favre + Vikings = Legend In the Making

I am proceeding under the fairly good assumption that Favre will be playing for the Vikings next season.

But don't be gloomy.  This pairing could be (literally)  awesome.

The Vikings have a legendary knack for snatching embarrassing defeat from the jaws of victory.

Favre's choking resume is, also, legendary. The Packers' two best chances in the last decade to go to the Super Bowl ended on Favre's overtime interceptions.  Favre had the epic the six interception playoff game (we all know, of course, that the receivers just kept running the wrong routes).

The combined choking power of the Vikings and Favre has the potential to be the Hall & Oates of choking, the Cagney & Lacey of season ending disasters, and the Tango & Cash of missed opportunities.  

It should be special.

A once in a lifetime event, like Haley's Comet.  Something you will tell your grandchildren about.

I can't wait.


.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

More Fullback Dive

Might McCarthy be planning on playing Raji on the goal line offense  a la the Frige?


Cringe

Bob McGinn on Jamon Meredith's purported "character" issues:  

Meredith comes from a strong two-parent family in Simpsonville, S.C. He graduated in four years and scored 23 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test.

I just can't imagine a writer ever emphasizing that a white player came from "two-parent" family.  

Let's put that phrase next to "well-spoken" and "articulate."

.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Packer Rookie Pool Leaked

JSOnline reports that the Packer rookie pool will be $5,443,396 next season. 

For the record, the rookie salary pool is not (as it is often described) a "cap within a cap."  The rookie pool is completely different from the salary cap---and teams must comply with both. All rookie contracts (inlcuding rookie free agents) count against the rookie pool, but not all rookie contracts will count against the salary cap.  

This is because of the Rule of 51.

During the offseason, only the top 51 salaries on the team (and the pro rata portion of all signing bonuses) count against the salary cap.  In a typical season, most rookie contracts (i.e., lower round picks and rookie free agents)  will not be among the 51 highest on the team during the offseason.  As a consequence, all of the rookie contracts will count against the rookie pool and only a few (typically 3 or 4) will count against the salary cap.

Thus, although the Packers have a rookie pool of $5,443,396 , only a portion of that amount will reduce the salary cap.

The accounting rules are interesting and important when cap numbers are tight.  

Not so important in recent years under Thompson's management.

Amusing Blog Post From Bedard

"I understand the need for a large sample size, but an ACL surgery performed in, say, 1990 is a lot different than one now."

I had a little bit of fun at Bedard's expense on this very point, where Bedard employed a sample size of four.

A little amusing.

By the way, in anyone else having trouble loading the JS Packer blog? It's been really buggy for me.

The Obligatory Favre Post

Favre is re-unretiring.  There is little doubt in my mind.  Although I am somewhat doubtful that any team would genuinely want him as a starter after how dreadful he was down the stretch last year (and the year before that, and the year before that . . . . )  



I always got the feeling Brett would one day like to do what Roger Clemens did in Major League Baseball for a few years: pick a team and come back and play for them in the middle of the season and lead them on a run into the postseason.

Which I think would be an excellent idea:

Favre undoubtedly can still play, it is just looking more and more like he can't play  16 game season anymore.  But he does seem to have a stellar 8 to 10 games a year in him before he wears out.The solution is really simple.  Next year, Favre needs to sit out the first 10 games of the season and then go to a team in playoff contention that needs a QB.  Stay in shape, of course, but wait until the beginning of November to start playing football.

Brandt makes a great point that stepping into a starting QB role is not as simple as taking the mound in MLB.  Nevertheless, Favre had only been on the Jets team for a few weeks by September of last year, and he was playing quite well.  

In any event, this will never happen.  He loves his stupid streak way too much to miss a few early season games, and of course he wants to "stick it to" Thompson and by extension, the Packers.  Favre is petty and vindictive and has become the most ridiculous and hilarious (and unimposing) villain since Bennett in the highly-acclaimed film Commando.




This, by the way, could be the greatest scene in cinema.  I love how after Bennett is thrown from the electric fence (why is there a random electric fence in the basement?) he is able to gather his senses enough to punch Arnie in the balls.  Classic Bennett move.

The only problem that I have with this scene is that it is a tad unrealistic.  No, its not unrealistic that Arnie could throw a pipe through Bennett's chain mail tank top, his body, and through the steam pipe behind him, what is unrealistic is that before all of the steam emerges from the pipe that impales Bennett, there should have huge hunk of flesh that shoots out of the pipe.  (You know, like a potato cannon).

.