Welcome to the 2010 NFL Season. I fully expect big, if not Super, things over the next 10 months. In fact, I'm going on record, if the Packers successfully attack THIS offseason, the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl within the next 3 years. Yes, I wrote that. And, yes, I fully believe it.
Before I get into the details of this offseason, I must bid adieu to a terrific Green Bay Packer.
This may be preemptive, but nonetheless, it's necessary. You will always remain in our hearts. You are a Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer. And while you have yet to sign with Jacksonville, it's almost a certainty that it occurs in the near future. In a 4-3 defense, you are an elite DE. In a 3-4 defense, you are a below 3-4 OLB. So, go on your way AK-74. I sure would if I were you. AK-74, I appreciate the classy manner that you displayed over the last 12 months. You are a man of character. You are a terrific football player & better yet, a great human being.
AK-74, I hope you sign with Jacksonville. You'll flourish in the Sunshine State & you'll perfectly fit into Jack Del Rio's system. You'll enjoy the natural grass surface. And, hopefully, you'll get into the face of Peyton Manning. I'll be cheering for you AK-74.
And when you leave, AK-74, you'll fit into a category that only includes one other man and he is Bryce Paup. Both were absolutely spectacular football players with hard working personalities. Both will have left due to a change in system. A system that did not fit their strengths. It should be noted that Paup won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award in 1995 while he was a member of the Buffalo Bills. AK-74, I wish you the same fortune. Thanks for your tenure and dedication, AK-74. You will be missed.
The first weekend of March marks the start of the 2010 NFL Season. You know, the time in which the naysayers utter the words "Tight Teddy." Frankly, I'm over that notion. Over time, Ted Thompson has grown on me. Mightily. He's successfully equipped us with loads of young talent and he's also given us the best QB in the NFL under the age of 30.
In 2010, Ted Thompson can put his name in the same class as Ron Wolf. But, he must aggressively engineer long term contracts for the likes of Nintendo Nick, T-Mon, and Johnny Jolly. It appears as though Spitz & Colledge will be back. Ras-A-tari should return as well. Same with Spencer Havner. I'm not overly concerned with the length of their deals, but Jolly, T-Mon & Nintendo Nick must get locked up for a minimum of 4 years & hopefully longer. If you are going to build through the draft, you have to extend the contracts of those that perform during their initial deals. Nintendo Nick, T-Mon, and Jolly all fit into that category.
On a side note, I'm pulling for Colledge. I feel he got a semi-bum rap in '09. It's true that he did not play well, but to me, he did not seem to adjust well after he initially was moved to LT. It was almost as if he never found his rhythm. His stride was dysfunctional. I'm hoping that since he'll only have to focus on playing LG, he'll return to the form that he showed when the Packers marched deep into the '07 playoffs.
Props to Ted Thompson for signing Clifton. Frankly, I wish it would have only been for 2 years. I'm sure that Ted felt the same, but he upped his ante & ensured that Aaron Rodgers' backside was protected. Cheers to you, Ted!
There were two players that I did not want to see on the Packers roster in 2010: Michael Montgomery & J-Bush. Montgomery is gone. Hopefully, J-Bush is next.
I'd like Tauscher back, but I'm not married to him. I was impressed with TJ Lang & I believe that, if necessary, he can step in and start at RT.
At this point, I have my eyes of three FA's:
1.) OJ Atogwe, S, St Louis Rams. Over the past three years, I've felt that 6 Safeties were above the rest: Palomalu, Reed, Dawkins, Nintendo Nick, Adrian Wilson and Atogwe. Atogwe is 28 years old. While he's coming off an injury, he did play in 16 games in '06, '07 & '08. In '06, he forced 8 turnovers (interceptions & forced fumbles). In '07, he forced 8 turnovers. In '08, he forced 11 turnovers. In '09, in just 12 games, Atogwe was responsible for 5 turnovers. From '06-'09, he also recovered 7 fumbles. The bottom line is that Atogwe is around the football. Additionally, Atogwe is not afraid of contact. In '08, he had 85 tackles after consecutive seasons 0f 75 tackles. In '09, after 12 games, he had 74 tackles. With Atogwe, the Packers would have a dream DB of Nintendo Nick, OJ, T-Mon, Sir Charles Woodson, & Ras-Al. Further, with the addition of T-Mon, Ras-A-tari would become expendable. I'd trade him for a 4th round pick.
Curiously, the Rams offered the lowest tender. He's off to the highest bidder. I'd grab him in a heartbeat.
2.) Dwan Edwards, DE, Baltimore Ravens. He played his college ball with Nick Barnett. He's familiar with the 3-4 defense as he started the last 11 games for the Ravens in '09. In his final 13 games, he totaled 5 tackles 6 times. He also had a sack. He'd be an absolutely phenomenal replacement for Michael Montgomery. He'd fit into the rotation & just in case Jolly gets suspended for 4 games, Edwards could fill in more than adequately.
3.) Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles. I fear that he ends up in Minnesota. Westbrook can still be an elite back in the NFL. It's just that Westbrook's carries must be limited. If you give him 8-13 touches a game, he's sure to make a play. Get him isolated and in space. He'll make a guy miss. And, he might be the component that the Packers have been missing. In every year except for 1, Westbrook has had a play of at least 34 yards. He's a game changer. He'd be a missing piece to our puzzle.
Back to being Super over the next 3 years...and what it'll require...This offseason demands that the Packers add an additional LT, a change of pace RB, a pass-rushing OLB, a CB, and a S. My Ultimate Mock Draft 1.0 is coming soon & it'll address these needs. I'm hoping it's released next week, but lately, time has not been on my side.
It's good to have football back in the life. The next 6 weeks will be loaded with fun as Free Agency thickens, the schedule is released and the NFL Draft occurs.
Be Peace & Release,