Sunday, January 27, 2008

In Review

Greetings, G-Force.

Before the playoffs, I was speaking with a couple of Packers fans and said that I felt '03 confident in this team. I felt that we were the team of destiny. I felt that if we played our best ball and the opposition played their best ball, we'd be the team in the Super Bowl. Much like '03, the Packers fans and organization are saying "what if?"

Last Sunday night was a Football funeral. Lambeau Field was dressed for the occasion. The Red Carpet had been rolled up. It was beautiful. The G-Force was in full effect. The ghosts of Lambeau were in attendance as two kicks were blown wide left. But, ultimately, the '07 Packers team ran out of magic. And therefore, the team of destiny failed in its quest to reach the Super Bowl.

In '03, 4th & 26 failed the Packers. In '07, neither J-Bush nor Brady Poppinga were able to corral a loose football that would have positioned the Packers near midfield with 2 minutes to play. On both occasions, Favre was given the football in OT with a chance to win. Both times, Favre threw a devastating interceptions. Favre, the ultimate of "Spirit Snipers." Normally, he rips the hearts of the opposition, but last Sunday, it was the hearts of the G-Force that got ripped of Super Bowl hope.

I'm not going to elaborate on last Sunday's NFC Championship. I cannot stomach it. But, what I will say is that I felt there were three times during the game that the Packers had a chance to seize the moment during regulation. Each time, we failed. Ruvell Martin's drop was devastating. In fact, if I were the GM, he would never play for my team again. Brandon Jackson's lack of instinct on the screen showed me that we need an upgrade behind Ryan Grant. If Jackson waits for his block, he could have scored a TD...and he definitely would have had the first down. Finally, the Bush debacle. I would have cut J-Bush on Monday morning.

Strangely, as the Packers head into the offseason, we are in a similar position as we were in '03. We have nearly everyone coming back. We had the same in '03. After the '03 defeat, I felt strongly that the Packers would be back in the mix in '04. We were young. We were talented. And the core of the team was going to be leading us into the following season. However, the '03 offseason brought the Mike McKenzie fiasco. Additionally, the draft brought the likes of Ahmad Carroll, Joey Thomas, Donnell Washington, and BJ Sander. While we made the playoffs in '04, it is needless to say that things got worse before they got better.

This offseason is an absolutely vital component to the future of this organization. Our window of Super Bowl opportunity is small and hinges on how long Favre decides to continue playing. Clearly, the Packers must get better. We need improved play at the 3rd CB. We need another LB. We need a TE. We need an upgrade at P. I am not opposed to an upgrade at S. We need depth on the OL. We need a back-up RB. I would bring in another WR as well. We could also use an upgrade at KR/PR as Willie B. cannot be trusted. The guy cannot stay healthy.

I'm interested to see how Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant respond in the offseason. I'd be surprised if both do not ask for raises. I've read that Grant has already done so. And if we do not grant him his wish, how will he respond? He's under contract for 2 more years. Could he pull a Mike McKenzie?

The major difference between '03 and '07 is that I trust Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy. While in Green Bay, prior to the game, I read a terrific quote from Ted Thompson:

"The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is so small. But the emotions that are attached to them - winning and losing - are so different. When you lose, it feels as though something inside of you has died. When you win, you've never felt more alive."

Post the loss, during Mike McCarthy's interview, Larry McCarren asked McCarthy if he'd look at this season as a successful one after the dust has settled...

And McCarthy responded, "I will look at this year as a season of exceptional progress, but we had our eyes on the target. And today, we missed a terrific opportunity to win the NFC Championship at Lambeau Field."

In light of these two statements, I feel that our franchise is in good hands. I trust McCarthy and Thompson. I'm happy that both are going to be locked up for 5 more years.

In closing, to my readers and participants, thanks for following along. I enjoyed myself. I hope that you enjoyed this as much as I did. I will continue to update the blog during the offseason especially when there are things that are "newsworthy." I am enamored with the NFL Draft. Yes, I'm a junkie with it. This blog will carry into the NFL Draft. So, please, check back in the near future. My coveted FA this year is Karlos Dansby. I'm hoping that the Cardinals do not franchise him. As for the draft, at this stage, I am targeting Fred Davis, TE, from USC as my desired 1st rounder. From what I read Talib Aqib has been jumping up draft boards. I'm still looking at Chevis Jackson as a 2nd or 3rd rounder. More to come on this subject...

Enjoy.

Cheers,

Talkin' S-Mac.

10 comments:

jordanb1756 said...

Even after a home loss like that i still cant get enough packer talk. Just a few thoughts i have about the team looking forward to next season. After watching Al Harris on Sunday i have come to the conclusion that we need another stud cornerback. Harris played a great season basically on an island all season on there number #1s. I am not saying that Al Harris isnt good but with a free agent class that includes Newman and Samuel who are both young and really good i think it would be a great opportunity to aquire one and set the packers up for one of the deepest and best secondaries in the league. I feel a third corner is critical for this team to become dominant. We had a very good year this season with both chuck and al but i feel that there will be a decline in one them due to age or injury in the next season or two. With the young up and coming team that we have, and the cap flexibilty i think it would be wise to spend that extra money in a young cornerback so when a decline in chuck or al is evident we will not have to worry about our situation. I like tramon and will blackmon but will's injury history scares me and reminds me a fred vincent. I think tramon is still a year or two away from being a really good cornerback. I dont think we should wait on tramons or blackmons talent to catch up with the rest of the team so they can one day take al or charles conerback role. I think the best move would to bring another top notch cornerback in. I think are offensive line has made great improvements and are dline and linebackers are young are awesome. The only move i can see team making right now to get to another level quickly is improving the dbs. We already are a playoffs team, now we just have to do what the patriots did this past offseason to get to the next level. Watching the packers this season makes me think we got a great chance at a four year run to the playoffs with or without brett favre. I think Rodgers can be a very good qb, but to help him out if and when he takes over the team an addition to our already really good defense can only help his learning curve. Just a quick side note: I think signing cory williams would be a mistake. He played really good and is a really good player but with the depth we have there and the steady improvement that harrel has made late in the season i think thompson made a good draft choice there.

Enjoying 13-3 and division champs
Looking forward to the Super Bowl in 09

Stack said...

Great take McK. It's funny, talked with my mom and phone last night and we spent a good twenty minutes talking about the game. My mom is not really a football fan.

First of all, I would bet that TT will not do a thing for Ryan Grant untill at least a few games into the season. The guy has set a precendent in not dealing with players untill they have one year left on their deal. He has said that and stood by it. That said, I feel like he might give Grant an extension if he plays well for the first half of the season. I don't know why I feel this way, but I do. Grant is a smart guy, he seems pretty well adjusted. You wonder what's beneath the surface. I do think that he realizes his opportunity has come, and while he may want the money now rather than later, I think that Green Bay can maintain a positive relationship and get him signed at some point.

I love McKenzie, still do, but it was different leadership that let that one get away. Seemed like it was personal between him and Sherm-dog. On a side note, how exaggerated is McKenzie's United Way commercial...? A little YU goes a looong way. He talks like it's a cartoon.

I seriously doubt that a top tier FA corner is going to come to GB to be a nickel back. While I agree with the general apprehension about Al and Wood's health/ability next season, I think you have to go for the homegrown approach. I would do the Frank Walker approach, sign a young corner from somewhere to a one year deal if there was someone on TTs radar. Depending on that, I would draft one or two CBs.

I'm wondering whether Fred Davis will be available where we are or not...Assuming he's not, here is my idea based off of Scout.com.

Trade out of the first, I would think that should net a 3 and a five.

2. Carl Nicks - OT Nebraska
3. Patrick Lee - CB Auburn
3. Kellen Davis - TE MSU
4. Chevis Jackson - CB LSU
5. Tom Zbikowski - S Notre Dame
5. Justin Forsett - RB Cal
6. Jordy Nelson - WR KSU
7. Ken DeBauche - K Wisconsin

These are approximations based on Scout's rankings...with minor personal adjustments...Lee was listed in the first few picks of the fourth, which I thought was a little low. Forset is ranked #341 overall, which I don't understand. I'd take him for our third downs so we can forget the Vernand Morency experiment.

Nicks is big and can move, can zone block and swallow pass rushers. I know it's high to draft a guy that you hope won't play, but...remember Bruce Willkerson stepping in...

Lee jumps out at me. Tuteledge from Al and Wood, comp from T-Mon and Willie. Good attitude, very coachable.

Davis is a beast. Huge. Strong. Catches the ball. Blocks.

Jackson - McK, I'm on board. Looks smooth. Long and lean. SEC three year starter.

Zibby - I'm enfatuated with the idea of playing him at LB. Guy is always around the football. So reliable handling kicks. Top notch intagibles, fits our team. Nasty on-field demeanor.

Forset, guy appears so low, not sure why. Cal players have showed up in the NFL. 3rd down back. A little like Mo Jo Drew in terms of body type.

Nelson, guy finds a way to get open. Despite not having a jaw-dropping burst, I've seen the guy get behind people. Football player, I think is what you call that...

DeBauche - guy can kick the ball, period. Experience in the elements. I'd spend a late one on him. I mean, if Rutgers doesn't have any sweet TEs to draft.

I know it's early, and I'm probably ahead of myself, but I'm stoked for the offseason. I'm in the T-Mon fan club.

The market will play out on Cory Williams, but I don't think we see him back. The roster spot alone has value, and I don't think he warrants it on the team that we're building.

-Stack

Stack said...

Thought I would put this here for ease of information...

Here are the Packers' free-agent lists for 2008:

Unrestricted free agents (7): LS Rob Davis, TE Ryan Krause, QB Craig Nall, CB Frank Walker, C Tyson Walter, LB Tracy White, DT Corey Williams.

Restricted free agents (2): DT Colin Cole, RB Vernand Morency.

Exclusive-rights free agents (6): S Atari Bigby, RB Ryan Grant, WR Carlyle Holiday, TE Tory Humphrey, FB John Kuhn, WR Ruvell Martin.

Talkin' S-Mac said...

Jordan,

Good thoughts. Better to hang out at Lambeau prior to the devastating evening. The tailgate was a blast. I like your desires of a 3rd CB. However, I doubt that Newman nor Samuel would be willing to step in as a nickel back. Plus, I'm not certain that I'd spend the $$$ that they are going to be looking for on a situational player. I hope we stock up on young kids at the DB position. As for FA money, I'd throw my coins at a LB and a S...if you are to spend it at all.

I agree with you on Corey Williams. Corey Williams is a piece to the puzzle, if Johnny Jolly is playing 1st and 2nd downs. But, what do you pay for a 3rd down pass rushing DT? If someone wants to pay him $4+ million, I'd thank him for his services.

From a health perspective, I enjoy your comparison of Fred Vincent and Willie B.

Stack,

Enjoy the thoughts. Funny that without discussing, we have targeted similar players as we enter the draft. A couple of quick thoughts:

1.) I would not have a problem if the Packers traded down and out of the first round for additional picks. In fact, I'd prefer it at this stage. I'd be interested to see what the GM draft point chart allows for our 1st round pick. Last year, we traded our 2nd round pick and a 7th round pick for 2nd, 3rd and a 6th round picks. I imagine that our 1st rounder might get us much more than a 3rd and a 5th, but I'm not positive. It'd be a good thing to look into.

2.) I don't know a lot about Carl Nicks. Chew on this though- with our zone blocking scheme and our previous desire for aquicker/cut-blocking OL, wouldn't you prefer to wait until the late rounds to select an OL? I know that McCarthy has discussed a desire to add bulk and meat to his OL but what do you give up in regards to quickness? I don't know the answers. I'm just posing the question. I do know that the Packers were miserable in short yardage situations...largely, due to our inability to run the football on 3rd and short. We're VERY early in our Mock Draft discussions, but at this stage, I'd be disappointed with an OL in the first round. More to come on this, I'm sure.

3.) I really like the games of Patrick Lee, Chevis Jackson, Forsett, and Jordy Nelson. And I'd be stoked to see them all in Green & Gold next year. Jackson in the 4th round would be spectacular!!! Same with Forsett in the 5th. And Nelson in the 6th!?! Wow, guy seems like a better playmaker than a 6th rounder. Would be sweet.

4.) Zbikowski is an interesting prospect. Made plays. A fighter, literally. I'd be curious to learn more about his ability to play LB at the next level. He seems a little small, no?

5.) I'd prefer that the Packers drafted a P rather than a K. But, you gotta love Ken DeBauche.

6.) Remember that we currently do not have a 6th round draft pick due to the Ryan Grant trade.

Stack, you're initiative is appreciated. You are not one to let a brother down.

I imagine that the Packers will end up with anywhere between 8-10 draft picks. We are starting the draft with only 6. As we near April 26-27, it'd be fun to target an 8-10 pick Mock Draft.

In my initial Mock Draft, for simplicity purposes, I will make a Mock Draft in which Ted Thompson sits on his hands and does not make any draft day trades...

1.) Fred Davis, TE, USC. While I think that Davis would change the way teams play against us, I'm not positive that he would be able to play in the cold. Therefore, I have my hesitations at this stage. I would also consider Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State. I know that we have depth at WR, but Thomas' upside might be too good to pass up. He fits into our slant game and every time he touches the ball, he has the ability to take it to the house.
2.) Shawn Crable, LB, Michigan. Crable would start on Day 1. I'd also consider Antoine Cason, DB, Arizona with this pick as well. Also, if you pass on a TE in the first round; Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A & M or Martin Rucker, TE, Missouri would be exciting picks.
3.) Steve Slaton, RB, WVU. Too think that he might be available in the 3rd round is absolutely amazing to me. Everything that I read has him listed as approximately the 90th best player available and that he is projected as a 3rd or 4th round pick. Geno Hayes, LB, FSU would be an exciting pick as well.
4.) Chevis Jackson, CB, LSU. I'd take him in the third, but if he's available in the 4th, I'll wait.
5.) Kirk Barton, T, Ohio State. Late in this draft, I'd load up on OL bodies to bring into camp and stir up competition.
7.) Ben Hochstein, OG, Nebraska-Omaha. I have no idea who this guy is, but he's a quick & undersized guard...and he's from Omaha...plus, maybe...just maybe... Stack might have heard of him...

It's far from final, but it's an initial thought.

Enjoy.

Talkin' S-Mac.

Stack said...

McK,

You are the man dude. One thing though, DeBauche is a punter, a lefty too. I did some further looking on DeBauche...he is a punter, actually from Green Bay, but he only averaged 41.8, 44.8, and 41.8 respectively...I thought he had more leg than that...

It is early. A lot will change to be sure. But my offseason buzz could best be described as vigorous. The emotion of the NFC Championship loss...what was ripped from within me on that Sunday has been filled with burning excitement for personnel period of preofessional football. We've shown a great ability to add contributors through the draft. I'm also looking forward to washing away the Frank Walkers and Jarret Bushs in training camp. There will be those moments in the offseason where we are thirsty men with no water to drink, but when the rains come, we will have a smile and a bucket.

Scout had Lee and Jackson both as fourth rounders.

Our OL was so feast or famine this year. They need to play more consistently. I don't know, I like Nicks, but maybe my scenario of taking him in the 2nd is too much. Have seen him play, have also read that he dominated Lawrence Jackson in individual Senior Bowl drills. I'd love to bring some new, hungry people in...you're right on about that McK.

Guy, I told you that Singletary said Woodyard was THE linebacker in the draft. Funny, Scout has Arizona after his name a lot...setting the table for the dessert after Dansby is allowed to leave.

I don't know where Nelson ends up; stirkes me as a cross between Ruvell Martin and Joe Jurivicious, but definitely an upgrade over Martin, I think.

Zbikowski is a little smallish 6' 200 for sure. I would assume he could add some weight, I don't know if he holds up against the run. He's just one of those guys that keeps showing up in football games. Depending on where he is available, I'd bring him on just to have him on the team. Try him at safety. Try him at LB. See what sticks, you know he'd be a great special teamer. He's one of those guys, Tom Zbikowski, Notre Dame, get me a bucket to puke in...but the guy just consistently showed up no matter who they were playing. I would never doubt this guy.

Good call on Crable, that's a name that I keep forgetting.

I thought Tashard Choice was one of the few bright spots in the Senior Bowl...

...which by the way seemed to be more about what the coaches and personnel people were saying in practice rather than what was on the field...just dreadful for fans...you see a flurry in the last two minutes that untimately won the game and you wonder "where was this all game? why do you not put ball in the hands of players?" It seemed overcoached, as though this was the first opportunity for NFL staffers to feed these kids the NFL game and they were anxious to do it to them. They had the footage of Lane Kiffin acting as Flacco's mouthpiece...

Flacco "Do I have to say all of that?"
Kiffin "Yes, Panther Z jet..
Flacco "Panther Z jet..."
Kiffin "...X puma..."
Flacco "...x puma..."

I mean come on. The game looked about as good as that exchange went. The game looked so disjointed...ugly, disappointing.

As far as Ben Hochstein goes, I'll look him up and work him out. I'll let you know...

-Stack

Talkin' S-Mac said...

Below is the website that lists the NFL Draft Point Value Chart.

http://www.sportznutz.com/nfl/draft/draft_point_value_chart.htm

The possibility exists that the Packers could move out of the first round and into the 18th pick of the second round. With that trade, we could also accumulate a 3rd, 5th, and 7th round pick. Another scenario would allow for the Packers to move down to the 10th pick of the 2nd round. In this instance, the Packers would be able to also grab an additional 4th and 5th round pick.

From what I've seen of this years draft, it appears to me that there is some solid depth. To me, the more I think about it, I feel as though moving down (out of the 1st round) is the best solution for the overall health of the franchise. Thompson has shown to be a magician with regard to accumulating picks. If he were to move out of the 1st round, he'd position himself for further maneuvering later on in the draft as well as potentially adding another first day selection.

Anyway, here is a brief viewing of Michigan State football. You can see highlights of Devin Thomas looking nasty against a porous Indiana team. You can also see James Hardy in a lowlight. Kellen Davis is also shown taking an end around and making a reception. Decent video.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-r2BkcEC0Nk&feature=related

Cheers,

Talkin' S-Mac.

porterbela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
porterbela said...

Scottie, sorry I didn't get that website to you, no time for computer access at work. Glad to see you found it, not too tough.

As far as your mock draft for the Packers. I have one question...

Why wouldn't the Packers go for a CB in the 1st round, if they keep their pick? I understand that you like Al Harris and Woodson, but they are not spring chickens. And after Harris' performance, not that many CB's could've stopped Plax in that game, I'd think another CB might help more than a TE, especially in a draft that's deep at CB.

As far as Slaton goes, I don't think he lasts until the 3rd round, even if he does, the Packers just invested a 2nd and this years 6th round picks into RB's, and another selection on that guy that got tackled from behind in the 1st Bears game. I personally don't think the Pack selects a RB this draft.

Talkin' S-Mac said...

Grammy,

Agree that the Pack needs a CB more than anything else. Would be great to get a couple via the draft. Jackson is the guy that I want...maybe more than anyone with the exception of Talib.

I doubt that Slaton will be a third rounder as well. If he's around in round 2 and I'm the Packers, I draft him.

Good of you to buzz in.

porterbela said...

Scottie,

Here's a link to a mock draft that I've been paying attention to. Mainly because it's the only one that updates its selections frequently. It's based on some sort of algorithm, I think. I personally think their algorithm is fucked but then again, who knows. Reggie Bush didn't get picked 1st.

http://www.drafttek.com/

It has the Bears drafting Slaton in the third round. And to be honest, if he makes it to the 3rd round and the Bears haven't taken a RB yet, I'd be surprised if they pass on him. Then again, Angelo doesn't know what offense is.