*** First, props to Ted Thompson. In what was to be an absolutely vital 18 months to the future of the Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson has done remarkably well. I still wish we would have made a push towards signing Chris Canty. The Johnny Jolly fiasco still lingers. 200 grams of codeine? Wow! Joly and his crew were seeking a wicked buzz. Additionally, Harrell's injury-plagued career cannot be counted on. Canty would have washed all concerns.
I also wish we would have signed Jeff Garcia as an insurance policy in case UNO-DOS! goes down. If UNO-DOS! goes down for a few series, I'm not convinced that the Brohm/Flynn combo could move the football. Last year's debacle in Tampa still frustrates me. Garcia would have been a short-term solution, while we waited for either Brohm or Flynn to develop. Plus, should UNO-DOS! go down for a small portion of the season, Garcia has proven that he can play .500 ball or better as the starting QB.
Regardless, Thompson has had a strong offseason thus far. In my eyes, he won the NFL Draft. He has locked up Jennings. Thus far, he's played his cards well with Tauscher. Now, it's time to focus on Nintendo Nick, Colledge, and T-Mon. Possibly Spitz. I'd make Ras-A-tari earn his paycheck this season.
***Sophomore jinx? Sophomore slump? Not this year, it appears. A year after the Packers got little to no production from a sophomore class that included Harrell, B-Jack, JJ, Aaron Rouse, Allen Barbre, Korey Hall, Desmond Bishop, Mason Crosby and DeShawn Wynn, the Packers appear to expecting immense production from this year's 2nd year players. The media suggests that Jordy Nelson has displayed tremendous rhythm with UNO-DOS!. P-Lee seems to be entrenched in a battle with Willie B. for the 4th CB spot. J-Mike is the most intriguing story in camp. Jeremy Thompson continues to receive heightened publicity for his play in the OTA's and minicamps. While I'll be stunned if Thompson's regular season performance mirrors the off-season hype, it's certainly enjoyable to read his name in a positive light. Josh Sitton is penciled in as the starting RG. Moreover, last year's sophomores seem to be showing progress as well. JJ has lost 10 pounds and looks to be healthy. Barbre is penciled in as the starting RT. Wynn seems to have matured and realizes that this may be his last chance. If what we are reading is true, the Packers may, once again, have the depth required to excel in all three phases of the game. Plus, Ted Thompson might be able to pull some magic via trades during the off-season to acquire additional mid-to-late round picks in next year's draft.
***It'll be interesting to see what happens at the RB position. Clearly, Ryan Grant is the starting RB. He has Pro Bowl potential. Quinn Johnson is a lock for the roster at FB. But, after that, it's anyone's guess. I'm not convinced that B-Jack has a spot on this roster. Lumpkin has shown glimpses of brilliance. Wynn has done the same. The last image we have of Wynn equals 7 carries for 106 yards and a TD. Could B-Jack be expendable? He's in his third year. He's averaged 4.3 yards per rush. Could we get a 4th or 5th rounder for him? If we believe in Wynn and Lumpkin, I'd pull the trigger and add a pick. I imagine that the Packers will keep 5 RB's, 2 of which are FB's. I expect Hall to beat out Kuhn at the backup FB spot due to his special teams play.
***I love to read about who is in attendance during the Packers practice. It seems as though we've built an intelligent, passionate practice environment. It's healthy to have the likes of Rich Gannon and Clay Matthews Jr in attendance. Simply watching. In attendance. Dropping nickles of advice. The intensity and energy that Kevin Greene and Mike Trgovac bring to both practice and the classroom seems to be impeccable and highly respected. Darren Perry is a proven commodity. He's a competitor. He had an admirable playing career career. He's done well in the infancy stages of his coaching career and has developed players within the Steelers secondary. Perry's presence is three-fold:
1.) He can relate to the likes of Ras Al and Mr. Charles Woodson. Instantly, he has their respect as he's been there and done that.
2.) He has the capacity to continue in the development of young stars like Nintendo Nick and T-Mon.
3.) He'll be able to distinguish between those that have "it" and those that don't between Willie B., P-Lee, J-Bush, Ras-A-tari, the U-HAUL, Aaron Rouse, and Anthony Smith.
Training camp starts in less than 6 weeks. I'm ecstatic. There's a heightened energy around this team. It's UNO-DOS!'s squad. There's no question about it. Follow the leader. UNO-DOS!, it's your team.
Hey Ted, sign Nintendo Nick. He just wants to play and be paid, baby. Get him locked up.
Go. Pack. Go!
Divison Champs in '09,