Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jolly's Trial and the Potential for a Goodell "Make-Up" Call

From the Press Gazette:

If Jolly is found guilty, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell almost certainly will suspend him, probably for the first four games of this season, for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. Goodell usually waits until dispensation of a case for first-time offenders of the policy before determining whether to penalize the player, so if Jolly is found not guilty, he won’t be fined or suspended.

As a preliminary matter, although I have already voiced my opinion that Jolly's trial is a joke. I absolutely support the league's right to discipline players as the league sees fit. But I do wonder if Goodell The Populist Avenger is inadvertently throwing a monkey wrench into the legal process.

I don't practice criminal law, but it does seem to me that this is a case where everyone would be better off if Jolly took a plea agreement. But if Jolly were to plea out, he then has to face Goodell's (potentially steep) punishment. If he feels he has a decent defense, it might be worth it to fight for an outright acquital.

I'm sure Donte Stallworth's case is on Jolly's mind. Stallworth received a very light sentence (30 days jailtime, a couple years of house arrest, suspended license for life, and some probabtion) for a accidentally killing a man while driving under the influence. However, he received the light sentence for a good reason: he may have been acquitted at trial.

At bottom, although he was legally drunk, it may not have actually caused the accident. To put it another way, even if Stallworth was stone-cold sober, he may have still hit and killed the victim. (There was evidence the victim walked in front of Stallworth's car on a 6 lane, 40 mph road.)

So the plea deal may have actually been a good result for all involved. Moreover, the victim's family strongly supported the plea arrangement.

Nevertheless, the public was outraged. (I won't say the public was wrong, I just doubt public has enough information to support the outrage.)

So Goodell The Populist Avenger banned Stallworth indefinitely. It was the ultimate make-up call.

As I have already said: that's his right. But I wonder if his actions will have unintended consequences. For example, would Stallworth have accepted his plea if he had known it would result in an indefinitely suspension? Who knows. Maybe he would have taken his case to trial. Maybe he would have won.

Would things be better off is Stallworth decided to try his case? I doubt it. The prosecution risked an acquittal. The victim's family would have been forced to sit through a trial where a large portion of the testimony would have centered around their own loved one's negligence.

Looking to the future, I have to suspect that players like Jolly will be less likely to cooperate with the prosecution and hammer out a plea agreement.

It's a shame. Defendants who take plea agreements aren't "cheating the system." Plea agreement are an important part of the system. Especially in a case like Jolly's where no one was hurt or even seriously at risk of being hurt. Jolly was stupid. Lesson learned. Move on.

But under the league's policy, he has to go to court to try his case if he has a decent defense.

I'm not sure what the answer is here, but ideally, the league should give a lighter penalty to the players who cooperate with the prosecution. As it stands, Goodell seems set to "right the wrongs" of the justice system by (somewhat perversely) giving players as harsh or harsher a penalty if they cooperate with the prosecution.

So here's hoping Jolly has a good defense.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Separating Legend From Truth (Part IV)

Ted Thompson (who was the assistant director of pro personnel when Wolf originally traded for Favre) took over as GM on January 14, 2005. According to Favre it was a rocky relationship from the start. Favre would recount the story of his first quarrel with Ted Thompson:

The season is over. I'm weighing my decision. Ted called me. You know, this is right - - right after the season. I said, Ted, you got to re-sign my linemen. As a quarterback, that's important to you. I said, you know, You got to -- at least one of them. OK, I'll do that.

So when I decided to come back, the following day, both guys signed elsewhere.

As it turns out the story is not really true in the literal sense (Favre announced his come back over a week after Wahle and Rivera signed elsewhere). Literal truth aside, the story does show that there was friction between Thompson and Favre almost from day one.

After a three seasons of Favre's retirement talk, selecting Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 draft was nearly a no brainer. Nevertheless, Favre was not happy about it. In his frustration, Favre broke character for the first time. When asked whether he was an "mentor" to Rodgers he responded that mentoring Rodgers was "not in his contract."

Think about that, Brett Favre---a walking almanac of sports cliches about putting the team above individuals---was now talking about the literal requirements of his contract. (This is the same man who would one day proclaim in his retirement announcement that "it was never about me, it was about everyone else.")

This statement was so out of character for Favre at the time that it was easy for fans to rationalize the comments away. Clearly Favre did not actually mean what he said.

Favre ambled through perhaps his worst season ever as a pro, and at the end of the year Sherman got the hook. This, according to Favre, led to his second run in with Thompson when Thompson did not bring Favre's close friend, Steve Mariuchi, in for an interview.

That offseason, Favre cranked up the media rhetoric questioning Thompson's management. Favre waited until the middle of April before announcing his return, and lectured that the team needed to make a "Reggie White-type" free agent pick-up. He also wondered aloud what the Packers would do if he kept dragging his feet on making a decision: "what will they do, cut me?"

Favre also publicly stated that he "would probably be more surprised" to see his team go 12-4 than to see his team go 4-12.

He was on a roll, and amazingly few people criticized him for these obnoxious comments.

After the Randy Moss trade fell through during the 2007 offseason Favre reportedly demanded to be traded. He would later issue the classic "nondenial-denial":"I never wanted to be traded and I don’t want to be traded. I want to be in Green Bay. I want to finish my career as a Packer.”

Note, he doesn't say that he didn't demand to be traded, only that he really didn't "want to be traded." (We'd see the nondenial-denial again when Favre would state that the comeback talks are "all rumors." Sure, but are the rumors true?)

Seeing Favre's power battles with Thompson makes one wonder how much of a pain in the ass Favre had been to Sherman behind the scenes. It's difficult to believe that Favre only started making his demands when Thompson took over. For example, how much did Farve influence the decisions in 2002 to trade for Terry Glenn and spend both the first round pick and second round pick to draft Javon Walker? How many of the cap-crippling moves that Sherman made were done to placate his star quarterback who was threatening to retire or quietly demanding to be traded if things didn't go his way?

That is part of the story that we will never know. Sherman is too decent a guy to publicly reveal any of the details. I cannot support much of the Sherman tenure, but I do appreciate that he probably had a much more difficult job than anyone realized at the time.

When McCarthy came to town he vowed to bring the offense back to the line of scrimmage and emphasize the short passing game. According to the Favre Legend, Favre was a good downfield passer. In truth, he was never very accurate with the deep ball.

Favre's strength was in throwing 20-25 yard lasers, and McCarthy's offense would play to Favre's strengths. It would also have the secondary benefit of eliminating a lot of temptation for Favre to do something stupid.

In short, McCarthy offered Favre an opportunity for a late-career resurgence, and it really looked like it was going to happen. After a modest improvement in 2006, Favre posted the highest completion percentage of his career in 2007 and his highest QB rating since his MVP years.

More importantly, the Packers earned a first round bye in the playoffs and would eventually host the Giants for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Everything was in place, almost as if it had been scripted by a Hollywood screenwriter: Favre's Redemption.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way.

Still, it certainly appeared that Favre would have another shot with the Packers in 2008. It was unimaginable that Favre would retire after being so close to the Super Bowl. After all, one of his concerns during the last couple offseasons was that he wasn't sure if the Packers were a Super Bowl caliber team.

Instead, with the Super Bowl within reach, Favre got cold feet. The pressure was just too great: "To go to the Super Bowl and lose would be almost worse than anything else. Anything less than a Super Bowl would have been unsuccessful."

So he retired on March 8, 2008.

Obviously a lot has transpired since then. I've decided not to get into that because I don't think I have anything useful to say and if this series has not already devolved into ranting, it certainly would if I continued.

Favre is a figure that will be debated for as long as Packer fans debate things. He has gone from being the most beloved Packer of modern times to being one of the most divisive Packers of all time.

On the field he was a good---and for a string of four to five seasons, great---quarterback. He will always be remembered for his grit and toughness. His streak is truly amazing. Still, he should have been better, especially in the clutch. He had the tools to be better.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Separating Legend From Truth (Part III)

By the time Mike Sherman took over, the Favre Legend was already written. Indeed, as early as January of 1998 Favre was declared the second greatest Packer player ever, behind only Don Hutson.

Think about that for a second.

Six seasons into his career with the Packers, pundits were willing to put him above seventeen hall of famers. Doesn't that seem a bit premature? It did to me at the time.

Of course I did not seriously doubt at the time that Favre would "get there" by the time his career was finished. And I think these Favre "rankings" were really predicated on a (not unreasonable at the time) assumption that Favre's career would continue on a steady trajectory. Nevertheless, the Favre Legend was founded on what would turn out to be a false assumption. Favre would not continue to dominate the league as he had done.

However, once the Favre Legend was written nobody went back to ask whether it was written too soon. (That is until relatively recently.)

So by the time Sherman took over, Favre seemed content to rest on his laurels. Sherman did not exercise any type of authority over him and the Favre Legend was already written. There was literally nothing to hold him accountable.

It's too bad. Favre could have been so much more. He could have been the greatest Packer of all time. He had a real chance at being the greatest QB of all time. He had all the tools. He simply lacked the drive and discipline. He was content playing the character Brett Favre, the wild gunslinger. (Am I the only one who would cringe when he would describe himself as a gunslinger?)

And he loved the spotlight. From his phoney rivalry with Warren Sapp to his shameful lay down for Strahan he loved sideshow drama. The media ate it up.

In fact, after Favre took a dive for Strahan, half the media defended him, the other half praised him.

These are the same people who kept the Favre Legend alive when Favre's play really didn't warrant it. Sure Favre put up some decent stats in intermittent years, but when the Packers needed him most, he folded up like a lawn chair.

The greats---like Joe Montana---like Bart Starr---played their greatest games when their teams needed them most. Favre did the opposite.

Everyone is aware of Favre's failings in the playoffs, but it did not stop there. During Sherman's tenure as coach in a total of 26 games Favre had the ball in his hand with 5 minutes or less in the fourth quarter and the opportunity to tie or go ahead. Favre led the Packers to victory in only 11 of those games. In the other fifteen, Favre threw 11 interceptions, committed one fumble, and ended one game with an illegal forward pass.

Favre was more likely to self-destruct than lead the Packers to victory. In truth, Favre was only "great" when the team had the lead. When he was asked to bring the team back, he would collapse under the pressure. How many times did we see Favre turn a 10 point Packer deficit into a 20 point Packer deficit? (I don't know, and after tabulating all of the comeback tries I just don't feel like looking it up right now, but it sure felt like it happened too often.)

But the Favre Legend kept on going. In every single game that the Packers trailed, one announcer always would say "But, you know, with Favre under center the Packers always have a chance." (I actually did look this one up.)

True. Just not a good chance.

Off the field, Favre played the character of Brett Favre. He was the team-first, rascally locker room prankster, that as we would later learn became increasingly distant from his team mates. He was a Packer for life who wouldn't dream of ever playing for another team: "If in two years, say, they want to trade me, I'd probably walk away. Retire."

After re-signing in 2001 he would repeat: "I do want to be a Packer for life . . . . I couldn't even envision myself playing with another team . . . . Don't want to. If that was to ever come up, I probably would just retire."

Favre loved to talk about retirement. Begining in 2002, Favre began his yearly ritual of wondering whether he was going to retire at the end of the season:"I don't want to play much longer. It may be two years. It may be this year. Whatever."

So how will Favre spend his retirement? "I'll be down in Hattiesburg. You'll never find me. You know the HBO 'Where are They Now?' segments on Inside the NFL? They'll do one on me, but they'll have to get Robert Stack, like on Unsolved Mysteries. I'll disappear."

To be concluded. . .



Woodson Wine Tasting Tonight

@ Bacchus in Milwaukee.

I've been told its $200 to get in.

(I note that Woodson's website list the date as June 11, 2008. I have a "source" who tells me the event is tonight.)

.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Separating Legend From Truth (Part II)

Ron Wolf selected Mark Brunell with the 5th round pick of the 1994 draft. While there was never a quarterback controversy, there definitely was a small but vocal minority of Packer fans that began to argue that Favre was more trouble than he was worth and that Brunell should be given a shot. There were also unconfirmed whispers that some within the organization agreed.

With a top 5 defense, the argument went, there was no need for a flashy playmaking (and error prone) quarterback. What the Packers needed was a steady, dependable quarterback in the mold of Troy Aikman. Someone to get the ball to Sterling Sharpe.

After a tough loss at Philadelphia, Holmgren summoned Favre into his office to deliver two messages. First, he told Favre that he was going to start pulling him out of games if Favre continued to lose his composure. As Holmgren told it: "I had not done that before. I was not going to put up with it. I had to figure out some way to get him not to do more crazy stuff."

Second, Holmgren gave Favre the ultimate vote of confidence: he told Favre not to worry about losing his starting job to Mark Brunell. Holmgren, as Wolf had already done, gambled his entire career on Favre: "We're either going to go to the mountaintop together or we're going to the trash heap together. From now on, we're joined at the hip, you and me."

Favre responded by finishing the 1994 season with 33 TDs against only 14 Ints. The next season he would win the first of his three MVP awards.

In his prime, Favre was an amazing playmaker, but he was also a smart quarterback who made excellent decisions on the field. That is not to say that he never took chances. He did. But he by and large took smart chances and he knew when to throw the ball away.

Later in his career, when Favre became a caricature of a "gunslinger"---throwing ridiculous interceptions---fans would argue that Favre "had always played that way." Favre himself would one day argue (when leading the league in INTs) that: "My style of play hasn't changed any. I've always played this way."

This is another aspect of the Favre Legend that is utter bullshit. In his prime, Favre was a smart player. Holmgren, through stubborn insistence, made sure of it.

Favre's dark side also reemerged during this period as the news broke that Favre had checked himself into rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. For some reason that I cannot quite explain, I was actually surprised by this story at the time. I don't think I was alone. It doesn't make sense in retrospect, everyone knew of Favre's hard partying lifestyle just a few years earlier. It was completely predictable that he would end up where he ended up. But it didn't seem that way at the time.

Favre emerged from rehab, more popular than ever, and didn't miss a beat on the field. Leading the team to back-to-back Super Bowls.

In 1998, with Holmgren a lame-duck coach, Favre began to get sloppy with the football once again. The team went 11-5, but the Vikings had clearly passed Packers. After the Packers lost a tough playoff game on the road to the Niners, Holmgren split.

Rhodes came in with the philosophy that Holmgren reined Favre in too much. Rhodes vowed to "turn Favre loose."

Favre began the 1999 season in extraordinary fashion. He broke his thumb against Oakland, but still managed to overcome a 10 point fourth quarter deficit, scoring the game winning touchdown on a pass to Jeff Thomason with only 11 seconds left on the clock. After a disappointing loss to the Lions, Favre put together what this blogger believes to be the signature game of his entire career. I can't possibly put it better than Bob McGinn:

It was quite simply a classic football game, one of the most marvelous ever played in the 43-year history of Lambeau Field.

Fittingly, possibly the greatest Green Bay Packers player ever to grace the historic venue took it upon himself to provide his team with the sweetness of victory.

Brett Favre's 23-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Corey Bradford gave the Packers their 23-20 decision Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings before 59,868 enthralled spectators and millions more who watched the late-afternoon thriller on national television.
1999 started with two improbable last second wins in three games. It looked like Favre was unaffected by Holmgren's depature (and maybe even a bit better without Holmgren). However, battling the thumb injury Favre struggled through a mediocre season and the Packers went 8-8.

I believe that the Minnesota game was the apex of Favre's career. Favre intermittently put together some good seasons and occassionally rekindled the magic of his time at the top. Maybe I read too much into it, but Favre never quite seemed the same after the Minnesota game. Something was missing.

For one thing, opponents stopped being intimidated by Favre. Eric Brown of the Broncos even publicly taunted Favre in the media the week before the Packers visited Denver. Favre responded by going 7 of 23 for 120 yards and 3 INTs and the Packers were thrashed 31-10. The Favre-mystique was gone for good.

Too be continued...
_______________________

In Part III, I cover the Sherman years, Favre playing the character of Favre, and Favre's infatuation with retirement talk.


"Maybe"

That was Favre's response to the question whether he is coming back.

He also confirmed that Childress asked him to show up to OTAs and he declined.

All in all, Favre did a pretty good job. He came across much better than his appearance with Greta Van Sustran last year. I'm sure he even won over a few fans.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Separating Legend From Truth (Part I)

I enjoyed reading Chris Lempesis's controversial 12 Greatest Packers series at OBD. Chris settles on Favre as the "Greatest Packer of All Time."

Think about where this franchise was before Favre took over starting quarterback duties. We had a coach and general manager we knew nothing about, a quarterback (Don Majikowski) who was good but not really good enough to do anything special and….well, Sterling Sharpe. That was about it.

Then Favre came in for an injured Majikowski. He changed the culture of the franchise. The Packers went from believing they were going to lose to thinking they could win. Yes, White put them over the top, but Favre was responsible for getting the ball rolling.

This, word-for-word, is the Favre Legend. The Favre Legend has been written and re-told so many times that the Legend has become the Truth. Anyone who disputes the Favre Legend is just a delusional spoilsport who is bitter about Favre's conduct over the last year.

Nevertheless, the Legend is in large part bullshit. Not total bullshit, but a lot of hyperbole intermingled with fact. My aim is to put Favre in context: he was a very good but deeply flawed player.

First things first. Favre did not "save" the Packers. I'm really sick of this myth, and wish people would stop repeating it. If anything, the Packers saved Brett Favre. Favre was an important piece of the puzzle. But he was only a piece. The Packers still would have still been successful in the 1990s and would have won the Super Bowl in the 1996 season if Mark Brunell (who was a Pro Bowler with Jacksonville at the time) were under center. On the other hand, no other team would have shown Favre the type of patience that the Packers did under Wolf and Holmgren. If not for those two men, I truly believe that rather than being headed to the Hall of Fame, Favre would be long forgotten by now.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The story began on February 11, 1992, when newly hired Ron Wolf traded away a first-round pick for some former second round draft pick with character issues. It was an eyebrow raising move (imagine some team giving the Packers a first round pick for Brian Brohm this offseason). Nevertheless, Wolf saw Favre as a talented and tough quarterback, miscast in Jerry Glandville's run-and-gun offense.

About a month before training camp, Favre made his first headlines as a Green Bay Packer. "Brent" Favre, along with Deanna (Tynes at the time), Jeff Favre and Esra Tuaolo were arrested after a drunken disturbance at a bar.

The details were a bit fuzzy. According to Favre, he and Deanna got in a drunken shouting match, some other guy came to Deanna's aid, words were exchanged and then a third guy sucker punched him. Then, according to Favre, the cops made him leave the bar, but after 20 minutes he returned and started shouting at Deanna and got himself arrested. Oddly, that was Favre's side of the story (I think a WTF is in order).

According to the bartender, Favre provoked the fight with some guy who he thought was giving Deanna too much attention. Favre was arrested for yelling at the cops. "He just kept running his mouth, saying he was going to get the other guy."

(Tuaolo by all accounts was just bystandin'.)

No matter which story you believe, it was definitely not the start that Wolf was hoping for. It was our first glimpse into Favre's dark side. On one hand, many of us have done stupid things when drunk. On the other hand, most of us don't get into fights, shout at cops, and get arrested.

The next part of the story is well-known. Favre took over for Majkowski in the third game, led the Packers to a 9-7 record, and made the Pro Bowl. He finished the season with 18 TDs, 13 Ints, and 3227 yards. A very good, promising season.

From my recollections, Packers fans were extremely optimistic about Favre, but I woudn't say that they were instantly over-the-moon about Favre.

A little context is in order. Just three years earlier Majkowski had his breakout season: 10 wins, 27 TDs, 20 Ints, 4318 yards. Majkowski came in second to Joe Montana in the MVP voting that season.

In other words, Packers fans had been down that road before very recently. They knew to be wary of a single good season.

And I'm sure that many Packer fans were thinking "here we go again" after Favre's second season when he had 19TDs against a league leading 24 Ints. His quarterback rating was 72.2. To put that number in context, Kordell Stewert's career QB rating in Pittsburgh was 72.3. Although Packer fans were still cautiously optimistic (if a bit suspicious) about Favre, his numbers and erratic play were not exactly awe-inspiring.

The romanticised notion that Favre ushered in a brand new culture when he arrived is a nice idea. It's just not true.

To be continued. . .

____________
In Part II I cover Holmgren's pivotal "sit down" with Favre and Favre's MVP years.




Friday, June 12, 2009

Seriously, Aaron, Shut the Hell Up Already

Rodgers is still flapping his jaws about Kampman:

Him being disappointed about the 3-4 switch, he obviously doesn’t understand how it would help him out. I have a statistic for you. How many sacks has Aaron Kampman had in base defense over the last two years? I believe the number is less than three. Most sacks come in sub which is nickel defense, we bring in the extra corner, the (offense) brings in a third receiver. The 3-4 is strictly a base defense. We go in sub, they’re a four-down team. Why would you not be excited about a defense switch where you’re going to have an opportunity with us bringing more guys to have more one-on-one matchups in base? … Yeah occasionally you’re going to be out covering, but why would you not be excited about more opportunities in base?

This type of garbage (i.e., telling Kampman that he "obviously doesn't understand the defense" then slamming his recent production) is not going to help. Rodgers has enough stuff to focus on, he doesn't need to interject himself in the Kampman situation. It is time for McCarthy to step in an tell Rodgers to shut the hell up and worry about playing quarterback.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Anonymity

Andy at Packergeeks has a great scoop on the Favre drama. Of course, it relies on an anonymous source.

Packerwatch asks: "Are bloggers’ anonymous sources better than traditional writers’ anonymous sources?"

It's a fair questions, and the answer is "yes" and "no."

The use of anonymous sources is less offensive to me if done by a blogger. By and large bloggers are hobbyists. We do our best, but we are not newspapers and we do not follow a strict journalistic code. We don't have the time, resources, connections or access to to follow a journalistic code. A blogger's anonymous source is likely to be a friend or family member, who they don't want to burn. That is why blog readers take things that they read on blogs with a grain of salt. (It's also why blogs are better at sharing opinions than disseminating facts).

On the other hand, a writer for a newspaper's only job is reporting. They have all the resources, connections, and access to sources they need to corroborate the information they get from anonymous sources. And they should be corroborating their information. Relying on a single anonymous source is unacceptable. As is (in my opinion) relying on a single group of anonymous sources that all have the exact same agenda---i.e. "sources close to Favre."

The problem with anonymous sources is that readers have no way of knowing how well-placed the source is. (As a sidenote, I love it when an anonymous source is described as a "well-placed" anonymous source.) Is he a janitor? In the accounting department? A scout? Brad Childress's moustache groomer?

The difference between a blog's use of an anonymous source and a newspaper's use of an (uncorroborated) anonymous source is that readers know to take a blog with a grain of salt, whereas newspapers still have a "seal of approval."

By the way, if you haven't figured it out yet (and shame on the monkies in the media who have not figured it out yet): Favre and the Vikings are engaged in an active misinformation campaign.

Favre wants to come back. No he doesn't. The Vikings want him. No they don't. Favre is seriously injured. No he isn't. Yes he is. Brad Childress is on a plane right this second. Actually he is driving around Minnetonka with the top down on his Mazda Miata with spittle flapping off his moustache. Etc. etc. etc.

It is not just a coincidence that every report is soon contradicted by a different report and that everyone with a scoop insists that they are correct and the other guy is full of it. I suspect that different "anonymous sources" within the Vikings organization have been told different things. I also suspect that Favre and the Vikings are laughing at every new report.

Of course the question is: why engage in a misinformation campaign if Favre is staying retired?

(There are a lot of other questions,too, like "I wonder how Tavarious Jackson and the rest of the Vikings players feel about the lame back-and-forth game that the Vikings and Favre are playing.")

On an entirely unrelated note: there is another interesting contoversy brewing about outting anonymous bloggers. As an anonymous blogger, I obviously think such conduct is vindictive and over-the-line.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Favre had surgery last month

So there you have it. But that doesn't necessarily mean he is coming back (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Anticipating this turn of events, me and my brothers bought tickets to the MNF game at the Humpty Dome in October, knowing that if we waited until Favre "officially" announced he was coming back, the tickets would be nearly impossible to find.

Is it just me or will that game be one of the biggest regular season games of all time. I can't quite think of any other game that quite compares.

Anyhow, I know this news will turn a lot of Packer fans' stomachs but I'm way over it by now. Let's end all the stupid media crybaby games and settle this grudge on the field.


I honestly can't wait.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Perception v. Reality: CHTV Edition

Perception:

Yes, it raked up a lot of yards. Yes, it scored a bunch of points. But a big problem the offense had throughout the 2008 season was finishing off drives with a touchdown. The red zone was a frustrating place for McCarthy and company last year.

Reality:

In 2008, the Packers were 6th in the NFL in redzone efficiency with 29 touchdowns in 48 redzone opportunities (.604).

Perception:

They struggled mightily in the red zone in 2006 as well before becoming a model of efficiency in 2007. What was the biggest change? I’d love to say it was some great adjustment McCarthy made or an obvious personnel move by Thompson. But the truth is it was a combination of both of those…and Brett Favre. McCarthy did indeed start calling more roll outs near the goal line, Thompson traded for Grant who gave the Packers the physical runner they had missed after a declining Green was not punching the ball into the end zone with any regularity and, as much as I hate to say it…it was Brett Favre. Favre made some ridiculous throws that season, especially on those designed roll outs.


Reality:

In 2007, the Packers were 14th in the league with 27 TDs in 50 redzone opportunities (.540).

The more you know.

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

ADDENDUM: I just noticed that commentor Swany makes the same point in the CHTV comments.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Follow-up On the Injury Report Shenanigans

In response to my post about the Packer injury report shenanigans, Brian at RBC writes:

It's tough to say if the Packers are at fault. I can also recall many times where they list even the most minor of injuries on the report as well.

Here is the key from Bedard's story:

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.

That is more that a little fishy, and it leads me to believe that there is something to this story.

Now, Brian is technically correct that the Packers did list even minor injuries, but they are listing minor injuries instead of the more significant injuries. Technically speaking, I'm sure that Bigby did, in fact, have a shoulder injury, but I seriously doubt that was what kept him on the sidelines. In sum, the Packers are telling half-truths.

It would have created a much different impression if the Packers would have reported that Bigby was hobbled by the same serious ankle injury all season instead of reporting that Bigby suffered two different ankle injuries, a hamstring injury, a bicep injury, and a shoulder injury.