Monday, June 9, 2008

Dead Off-Season: Random Thoughts

With the Packers three day mini-camp eight days away and training camp more than a month and a half away, there's not a whole lot of important news going on in Green Bay. There's plenty of talk going on around the league with Strahan's retirement today, Benson's second arrest (followed by being placed on waivers) in less than a month (how dumb can you be?) , the Chad Johnson saga, numerous players missing OTAs, so on and so on. None of this, though, will really get me fired up for real football that doesn't come until September. Don't get me wrong, I love it all and still read anything and everything involving football and the Packers daily, but I won't reach my peak excitement level until the morning of Monday, September 8th.

Anyhow...just some random thoughts, questions, and comments on the Pack from the last time I posted...

-Remember when some fans speculated in March that the Packers may sign Quinn Gray before the Texans scooped him up? Well, I was one of them who thought it would be a decent pickup, but Thompson passed. I saw that the Texans released him today on the Green Bay Press Gazette's Packers page and after reading it, I thought, why is this even important to know as a Packers fan? Back in March when he visited Green Bay, Jerry Baab and Dalton Bell were our backup QBs...and Thompson passed on him. Now we have Brohm and Flynn behind Rodgers and every indication points to McCarthy going with two rookies as the backups. Why would the Packers be tempted to sign him now? It won't happen.

-I started to take advantage of the videos that offers and had a chance to watch many of the players interviews during the OTA sessions. It's interesting to see how certain players handle the media and being put in the spotlight. You can't take a whole lot out of these interviews, but I like them nonetheless. I was really impressed with how Rodgers carries himself. He seems very comfortable, laid back and always has a smile on his face. He answers the questions truthfully without really giving the reporters anything that they can turn into something bad. He just seems very confident, very ready to be our starting quarterback. I like that. Oh and the hair. I like it. Hope his mom doesn't make him get it cut.

-Another thing I noticed in the interviews was how big Brandon Jackson looks. I read numerous places that he put on a good amount of bulk and muscle and watching the video of his interview in which he was shirtless, what I read about the addition of muscle is definitely true. His upper body looks huge. Of all of the rookies who were drafted, I thought Jeremy Thompson was the best in handling reporters and their questions, with Jordy Nelson a close second. Brett Swain seemed like a scared dog in a strange place who had rehearsed his answers he was going to give. Once again, none of this interview stuff really means much of anything, just something I took note of.

-Jarrett Bush to safety? Is this his only chance to make the team or just something McCarthy wants to try out? I think it all depends on how many CBs they end up keeping. In my eyes, Woodson, Harris, Williams, Lee, and Blackmon all remain ahead of Bush on the depth chart. Williams improved during the later part of last season and is an asset in the return game. Blackmon can also help out on punt returns, but obviously needs to remain healthy. Lee is pretty much guaranteed a spot on the roster, being a 2nd round pick. I know the Packers kept 6 CBs last year (Walker being the 6th) but even then, Bush isn't guaranteed a spot with the rest of the corners. You never know when an undrafted rookie elevates his game enough to make the team or they become content with only keeping 5 corners. Looking at the safety position, Rouse is really the only capable backup. Peprah and Culver are merely only special teams contributors so maybe MM is really considering a permanent move for Bush. Who knows. We'll learn more once training camp rolls around.

-Will Ryan Grant sign before training camp? From what I can tell, both sides are going about this in a good mannered and professional way, nothing that really has the potential to elevate into something ugly. They say Grant doesn't have much leverage in the contract talks, which is technically true, but maybe I'm missing something. What happens when the season gets closer and closer, Grant still isn't signed, and they're left with a bunch of unproven RBs to carry the load? Sure, maybe Grant was a flash in the pan and maybe Jackson could be a decent starter in year number two, but don't tell me you would feel comfortable with our RBs if Grant wasn't back there in Week 1. Doesn't that scenario count for some kind of leverage? Just something to think about. Either way, I don't see anything getting too serious and I'm pretty confident he will end up signing sometime soon.

-I attend Millersville University in eastern Pennsylvania in Lancaster County. Our athletic teams compete in the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) along with other state funded colleges, including Shippensburg University. Pretty cool to see John Kuhn, a Shippensburg graduate, on the Packers roster. If you're up to par on the colleges that Packers players attended like I am, Shippensburg should ring a bell for another Packer you have surely heard of.....former long snapper Rob Davis.

-Another secondary question. Are we going to see a competition at safety throughout training camp? Collins and Bigby were back there nearly all of last season, but Rouse filled in nicely during a 3 game stint when Collins was hurt. I'm not completely sold on Bigby like some fans are. Do I love watching him fly around the field and make some bone crushing hits? Of course. Does he deserve to be on the field? Of course. I just think he is a liability in pass coverage at times. Collins has been solid, but nothing spectacular. I think there is definitely some untapped potential within him that needs to be unleashed during this year, his 4th season in Green Bay. I love Rouse's size for a safety and think he definitely needs to be on the field. I say Bigby and Collins are the starters in Week 1, but not without a strong push from Rouse.

-Chillar or Poppinga? The most intriguing training camp battle this summer should be between these two. It's what Thompson and McCarthy love best...competition amongst their players. I shouldn't even call this a "battle". I think either way you look at it, our LB corps depth was strengthened when Chillar was signed and the competition will only make both players, and the team, better. To me, it's a win-win. In the end, I'll go with Chillar as the opening day starter, but Poppinga still making an impact, especially on running downs.

-It's only early June, but seriously...our defensive line is BANGED UP. I think if the season started today, one of our starting defensive tackles would be Alfred Malone, who looks alot like a much heavier version of Michael Vick.

-Once again, still too early to tell, but another injury with Harrell is not a good sign. He's got time to heal and I still have hope that he can turn into an impact player, but are the injuries ever going to stop? If he doesn't show more potential this year, it may not be too early to call him the second coming of Jamal Reynolds.

That's it for now. My first real post is complete. I hope you all enjoyed. Keep coming back and don't be afraid to leave comments...good, bad, or downright ugly ones. They're all nice to read.

I'll leave you with one number: 91...


May the countdown begin...

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