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Archive for October 2009

Packers Could Be Active At NFL Trade Deadline

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Well, on Tuesday October 20th, it will be the NFL trade deadline. Unlike the NBA and Major League Baseball it is less likely to have a blockbuster deal on deadline day. But this year it seems that there are a lot more whispers about possible deals that could go down. One team whose name keeps coming up is the Green Bay Packers.

Ted Thompson will never be confused with “Trader (insert name here)”, but it is not because of lack of effort. Last year he nearly obtained former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, but then Chiefs G.M. Carl Peterson tried to strong arm a second round pick for Gonzalez, instead of the agreed upon third rounder with under 10 minutes to go. Thompson backed out of the deal.

This year much has been said about the Packers poor offensive line, lack of running game and strong safety issues, so I placed a few calls to see what was being talked about or in G.M. speak, “doing their due diligence” .

Here is what I heard thus far:

Steven Jackson to the Packers for Ryan Grant, a 2nd in 2010 and a conditional pick in 2011 (either a 3rd or 2nd depending on Jackson’s production):

I had 3 different sources telling me that this deal is a “no brainer” for both teams. Jackson would provide the type of running back Mike McCarthy wants, a power runner that can be an every down back and go the distance anytime he touches the ball.

Some in the Packers organization do not feel Grant will ever get his “magic” back from 2007 and they think this will be his last year in Green Bay. 

The Rams are a team in full rebuild mode. Jackson would be approaching his 30’s by the time the Rams would be a contender again and is wasting in St. Louis.  With a second rounder in 2010 and the conditional pick in 2011 they would be able to add valuable draft picks to rebuild. Grant would give them a running back who they could use on first and second down and may benefit from a change of scenery.

Cincinnati Left Tackle Anthony Collins for Aaron Kampman.

I don’t see this happening but from what I understand it was talked about and reported on SI.com as one of their 10 trades that should happen.

Collins would provide depth at the left tackle position, but Kampman is a Pro Bowl player, unlike Collins. Yes Kampman has not had the type of impact in Dom Capers 3-4 defense and he is a free agent at the end of the year, but he is to talented for this deal.

Carolina Defensive end Julius Peppers for Kampman:

Peppers wants out of Carolina, he wants a new deal and he wants to go to a team that runs a 3-4 to play outside linebacker. It was rumored in the off season that the Packers and Panthers were talking about a Peppers for Kampman deal, but nothing ever materialized.

This deal would make sense in a lot of ways for both teams, but like Kampman, Peppers is a free agent after the season and unlike Kampman, he wants “Haynesworth” type money.

Shawne Merriman for a for a 2nd round pick in 2010 and a conditional pick in 2011 or a player. The Packers would want a window to get a new deal done with Merriman if they agree on compensation:

Merriman is a free agent after the season and does not like Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith and from what I hear, the feeling is mutual. The Chargers drafted Larry English in the first round just  incase Merriman decides to “bolt” after the season.

With Merriman not showing the same burst so far this season (partly because of a strained groin) and with Merriman calling out Smith recently, trade talks have “heated up” regarding Merriman. He would provide the type of pass rusher the Packers need in their 3-4 defense.

The Packers have talked to the Rams about Chris Long. This deal makes sense, but I am not sure how serious either side is. In this deal the Packers would trade Aaron Kampman and a 2nd round pick for Long and the Rams 3rd round pick in 2010. Long has not “fit in” in the 4-3 like the Rams have hoped and is not the starter while the same could be said for Kampman in the Packers 3-4.

Keep this in mind, Chris Long was an outside linebacker at the University of Virginia and played his entire college career as a 3-4 linebacker.

The Packers have talked to Oakland about a variety of players. Michael Bush, Michael Huff and Darren McFadden namely.

The Raiders want a 1st, Brandon Jackson and another player for McFadden, which is to rich for the Packers (and I don’t think Oakland, I mean Al Davis wants to deal him).

As for Huff I was told a 3rd or 4th could land him and the same price could possibly land Bush.

Finally, the Packers talked to Browns about Joe Thomas. The price for Thomas is to high and he won’t be moved from what I was told.

Get ready for more and more rumors until the trade deadline passes on Tuesday. But please remember this, there are a lot of deals that are talked about and never done, like Marcus Allen to the Packers for Brian Noble in 1992. These are rumors, NOT facts, so please don’t kill the messenger.

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Written by Joe Arrigo

October 14, 2009 at 21:37

Posted in 1

Empire State of Mind

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“New York!!!                                                                                                                  Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, There’s nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York!!!
These streets will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you,
Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York”

Alicia Keys couldn’t have sung it better on Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” song (off his Blue Print 3 album in stores now). And the New York Yankees seem to have an Empire State of Mind of their own.

Led by Derek Jeter the New York Yankees seem poised to win the American League and play for their 27th World Series title. The dynasty looks as if they are back and ready to go on another title after taking out the Minnesota Twins 3-0 in the Division Series Sunday night.

This series win was a complete team effort. 

The Yankees were the only team with 100 wins in Major League baseball. They cut payroll by signing C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira this past offseason. And finally, in an offseason that was overshadowed by Alex Rodriguez’s positive test and admission to using “Boli” (a supplement banned by baseball), the Yankees still won the A.L. East.

But the Yankees are in a no win situation. If they don’t win the World Series then it was another season of “The Evil Empire” outspending everyone else and failing. But if they do win it all, then it’s because the Yankees out spent everyone else. They will not be as well received as any other team that could win it (outside of New York and Yankees fans).

 Much has been said in the past about these Yankees, like “25 players, 25 cabs”, but not this year. The additions of Teixeira, Burnett and most notably Nick Swisher has made the clubhouse a lot looser and closer enviroment then what it had been in the past.

Think of the cream towels in the face after a close or come from behind win. The laughing in the dugout during games. The hand shakes. It all points to a clubhouse that is special, and that was not the case in years past. It has made players more relaxed and more comfortable, especially Alex Rodriguez, who always seemed to be uptight and pressing.

The healing and bonding started right after Rodriguez addressed his teammates when he reported to spring training. He came clean and opened up to his teammates like never before. With Jeter, Swisher, Teixeira, Burnett, Sabathia leading the way, the Yankees joined their teammate in his moment of need to show support, and that was a defining moment for this team, in my opinion.

As we all know Rodriguez missed the month of April after hip surgery, and upon his return the Yankees (and Teixeira) took off. It took A-Rod a while to find his swing, but he seemed more relaxed, a better teammate something he said he would do, all season.

As Yankees fans know better than anyone else, Rodriguez has struggled in post seasons past. Here is a stat most Yankees, and baseball fans already knew, he entered this past post season in an 0-16 slump with runners in scoring position. No one knew what to expect from him this post season. The “experts” were split on his impact, but for the first time since he came to New York, the pressure wasn’t  on A-Rod’s shoulders. The Yankees “new investments”,  Teixeira, Burnett and Sabathia were getting the attention for their “new roles” in the post season for the Yankees. Rodriguez was at least fourth on the list.

Now back to the team, we’ll come back to Rodriguez a bit later.

All season long there was a different look to the Yankees. They seemed to have a different swagger about them and of course, Derek Jeter led the way. Jeter may have had his finest season at the age of  35. He batted .334, hit 18 hr’s, 27 doubles, a triple, stole 30 bases, scored 107 runs , drove in 66 and had 212 hits. Jeter also became the Yankees all-time hit king with a total of 2,747 hits passing the great Lou Gherig. He has to be near the top of the A.L. MVP race.

Jeter’s outstanding year may have been overshadowed by Teireira’s great year. He was everything that the Yankees had hoped an more after signing an 8 year $180 million dollar deal. He provided Gold Glove defense at first base and he was great in the clubhouse. Offensively Teixeira was the perfect number three hitter in the line-up. He hit 39 home runs (tied for the A.L. lead), drove in 122 runs,  hit .292 and slugged .565. 

 

Sabathia and Burnett were brought in to give the Yankees two front end pitchers to lead their rotation and give them two dominenet pitchers in the post season. Sabathia won 19 games, struck out 197 hitters and had a 3.37 era while Burnett won 13 and struck out 195 players with a 4.04 era. Burnett got off to a hot start was was the Yankees “stopper” early on, while Sabathia got better as the year went on and proved he could indeed handle New York.

The Yankees, as a whole, received outstanding production from Swisher, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabera, a healthy Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano. Cano, who was almost dealt to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, hit .325, hit 25 home runs and drove in 85 Yankees. Cano also improved his defense as well after slipping the previous couple years.

The pitching staff got better as the year went on. Sabathia, Burnett, Andy Pettitte (who had a resurgence) and Joba Chamberlain gave the Yankees one of the better staff’s in the A.L. The fifth spot in the rotation is cause for concern for the Yankees, but Phil Hughes, who seemed to have found a home at the back end of the bullpen, seems to be the likely canidate to fill that void next year.

The bullpen in the post season is deep with Hughes and Chamberlain being the seventh and eighth inning pitchers setting up Mariano Rivera. David Robertson is yet another young pitcher that gives the Yankees even more options in the pen. Phil Coke is the “lefty specialist” and has thrived in that roll each of the past two seasons.

But as it has for the past 14 seasons, it all begins and ends with Rivera. He had yet another special season saving 44 games with an era of 1.76. His cut fastball is still the best in the game.  

Now back to Rodriguez.

After missing April, he ended his year batting .286, hitting 30 hr’s driving in 100 Yankees with a .532 slugging percentage. The numbers are not “A-Rodesqe”, but he became a better ball player and teammate this year. He has never loked so relaxed and joyful playing the game in pinstripes. This postseason it is showing. Thus far (after the Divisional Series) Alex is hitting .455 with 2 home runs, 6 rbi’s and a slugging percentage of 1.000.

But the difference in Alex Rodriguez came to the world’s sight on Friday, October 9th, 2009. He came to bat with no outs in the bottom of the ninth with the Yankees trailing the Twins by two runs. Teixeira had just singled and was on first. Five pitches later (on a 3-1 count) Rodriguez was circling the bases after he tied the game with a two run home run deep to just right of centerfield into the New York night. It was his Yankee moment and his October rebirth.

This appears to be another post season that the Yankees and Yankees fans will remember. The feel of this team is different. This Yankees team seems to be more like a family, more like a band of brothers with one common goal in mind, to bring home the World Series for the 27th time in Yankees history.

That is an Empire State of Mind.

 

E-Mail Joe @ joeslockerroom.wordpress.com

Written by Joe Arrigo

October 11, 2009 at 23:36

Posted in MLB

Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood is Located in Green Bay

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All the talk this past week was about Brett Favre against the Packers. Favre wants his revenge against Packers GM Ted Thompson. But this game also means a lot to  Aaron Rodgers who patiently waited three years behind Favre for his chance to be the Packers starting quarterback.  

On an April afternoon in New York City, University of California quarterback  Aaron Rodgers sat and waited for his name to be called in the green room at the 2004 NFL Draft. He was mentioned as the possible number one pick to his hometown San Francisco 49ers, a team he grew up wanting to play for, but they passed on him and went with Utah quarterback Alex Smith.

Over four hours and 22 other teams passed on Rodgers before the Green Bay Packers took him as their first round pick, the 24th overall selection in the first round to be the heir apparent to Brett Favre. The look on Rodgers face that day showed an array of emotions from excitement, to anxiousness, to nervousness and finally relief.

Rodgers came to Green Bay with a few flaws. His detractors claimed he didn’t have “elite” arm strength, he was conceded and was not athletic enough. They also said he had a  robotic throwing motion thanks to Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, who taught his quarterbacks to hold the ball at their ear before they threw. He was far from a “finished product”.

But it was the perfect situation for the Packers and Rodgers who would be able to sit and learn from one of the best quarterbacks of all time in Brett Favre for a few years before he took the reigns of the Packers. But Favre wasn’t exactly on board with the Packers drafting of Rodgers. Favre said he wasn’t going to go out of his way to help teach Rodgers the system the Packers run.

During their time as teammates many people thought that the two players didn’t have a relationship. At first both would admit that is was difficult, but both players also have said that they became closer over the time they spent together in Green Bay and did have an actual friendship.

But both knew that Rodgers day as the starter was coming sooner rather than later which meant Favre’s days in Green Bay were coming to an end. 

Then it happened. Brett Favre retired, then unretired, then was traded, then retired and finally came back to play for the Minesotta Vikings. We all know what happened in between the chain of events that transpired and that leads us to the Monday Night Football game on October 4th.

The Packers vs Vikings game may end up being the highest rated game televised in NFL history, even more than the 1985 Chicago Bears vs Miami Dolphins game which the Dolphins gave the Bears their only loss that season. ESPN and the NFL Network are billing the match-up as  “Favre vs the Packers”, but make no mistake about it means just as much to the Packers and even more so, Aaron Rodgers.

The whole “Favre saga” overshadowed what should have been Rodgers time to shinein his first camp as the Packers starting quarterback. Rodgers handled the situation with nothing but class and dignity showing his maturity and character. But deep down inside Rodgers and in the Packers locker room everyone, including other players, knew that it was unfair to Rodgers.

Greg Jennings expressed that this week when he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  “Aaron, in my eyes, wasn’t treated the best,” Jennings said Thursday. “And it wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t like he kicked Brett out of here. He was just the guy that was taking his spot. Unfortunately, he didn’t get welcomed by some and for some he did.

“But there’s definitely that drive to want to win it for him. But that’s been the whole mind-set from Day 1 (when) he took the realm: ‘Let’s play for A-Rod.’ I mean, it’s hard enough coming behind someone like that and then to go against him in a rivalry game on Monday night, I can only imagine.”

This will be Rodgers biggest game in his four year career. It will be on the national stage against the legend he replaced. How can he or how will he be able to control his emotions? Packers fans are used to seeing “rocket balls” from a “geared up” Favre. Will Rodgers do the same thing?

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t seem to think so. He said that Rodgers has a different personality then Favre. he said that when he came to Green Bay as the quarterbacks coach in 1999 and the Packers were going up against the Seattle Seahawks with then new head coach Mike Holmgren, his job was to “keep Favre under control”. 

 “Didn’t do a very good job of it,” McCarthy said Thursday. Favre threw four interceptions, completed just 14 of 35 passes and the Packers got beat 27-7 at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers positional coach feels his “even keeled” attitude makes him less likely to make the same mistakes Favre has made by getting to emotional. “That’s his type of personality,” Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements said. “He has an even keel. He gets a little fiery on the field at times, which is fine, but he’s an easy-going guy off the field.”

Remember when the so called “experts” talked about Rodgers lack of arm strength, robotic motion and selfish attitude? Well those same experts now say that Rodgers has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, throws one of the best deep balls, has near perfect fundamentals, is one of the best young field generals in the game and on his way to super-star status.

Here is how Packers head coach Mike McCarthy compared Favre to Rodgers in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

FUNDAMENTALS: “You take Brett Favre and freeze frame him from the waist up and you take this guy here (Rodgers) and freeze frame him from the waist up and you’ll see two of the purest throwing motions you’ll ever see. Brett Favre is extremely fundamental with shoulder rotation, point of release, big hands, long arms, elbow pointing to the target, all the things I look for. Aaron Rodgers is no different.”

FOOTWORK: “Brett doesn’t get hurt because he has good feet. Good feet get you out of trouble. You’re going to get hit, but it’s how you get hit. Are you taking those kinds of hits (slaps fist into hand)? Or are you taking those hits (dodges away)? Aaron is a very good athlete, a lot more than people realize, I know more than I was aware of when he came out of college during the draft evaluation. He can move.”

FLEXIBILITY: “They’re gifted genetically. They have the big hands and long arms. I’m sure Brett still today has that flexibility in the shoulders. Your power comes from your left side. It’s the foundation of the foot, hips and shoulder turn and the flexion in your shoulder rotation. A lot of flexibility allows you to spin the ball. Both of those guys spin the hell out of the ball.”

ARM STRENGTH:“Throwing a football, hitting a golf ball, kicking a football are all the same thing, the way I look at it. It’s all about club speed. It’s no different than the ability to rotate your shoulders and hips. You watch Brett throw, when he recoils, the torque he generates, it’s huge. It has nothing to do with his forearm (strength). Both guys have a good foundation, a good, core strength underneath them. I’ve always felt Aaron had a strong arm. I don’t know the guy who said he didn’t have a strong arm when he came out. I was at his college workout and he put on a show. He’s always had a big arm.”

Rodgers has had to deal with the “Favre question” all last season and again all this week. Rodgers, much like last season and many times before, has handled it with class and dignity. He told reporters “That’s not what I do,” Rodgers said. “I’m not looking at this game any different. This is an important game against a tough opponent. But it’s Week 4, and we’ve got 16 weeks.”

Jennings added “He better, I wouldn’t think otherwise. I would probably look at him kind of strange if he didn’t. We want this game. I can speak for myself.

“I’m quite positive he wants it more. I can say the same for probably Brett. Brett probably wants it more. But it’s not about Aaron, it’s not about Brett, it’s about the Packers and Vikings.”

Rodgers cool confidence on and off the field has made him a leader in the Green Bay locker room. He waited his turn and didn’t try to “take over” Favre’s locker room (like Steve Young tried to do to Joe Montana). He earned the respect of his teammates by working hard, attending every OTA and mini camp and taking it upon himself to get the team together and bond.

On Monday night, which is going to be a hard night for Packers fans, make no mistake about it, Rodgers will have his opportunity to show everyone that the Packers are in good hands. But while Rodgers looks to prove his detractors wrong (yet again) and start his own Packers legacy, by beating the Vikings (who is led by the Packers most recent living legend), he won’t get caught up in the moment. He understands there is a much greater goal, bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home to Green Bay.

Aaron Rodgers truly has made Green Bay, “Mr. Rodgers Neighbor Hood”, and luckily for Packers fans, it will stay that way for a very long time. Just how friendly a neighbor hood it becomes remains to be seen, but if it is anything like Rodgers career, sky is the limit.

 

Email Joe @ joeslockerroom@yahoo.com

Written by Joe Arrigo

October 4, 2009 at 23:07

Should NFL Teams Pass On Blount?

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When Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount lost control of his emotions after their loss to Boise St. and punched an opposing player, threw a punch at a teammate and went after Boise St. fans on his way back to the locker room, many experts thought his NFL dreams were over. That may not be the case.

Blount is going to be reinstated by Oregon University today (Friday October 2nd, 2009) according to ESPN’s Joe Schad. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has called a news conference after practice today to announce Blount’s reinstatement. 

“After speaking with a number of nationally renowned professionals in the field, which included Dr. Harry Edwards and Tony Dungy, I came to the conclusion that leaving the door open for LeGarrette’s potential return as an active player was the best solution,” Kelly said Friday in a statement.

Blount has talked to Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden,  former NBA player Kermit Washington; and Harry Edwards, a professor emeritus at Cal-Berkely. It is reported that they all have come away impressed with him. Blount also became a father for the first time recently and people close to the program say he is a different man.

On Thursday the student newspaper did a story on Blount and the incident. Blount sent this letter of apology to them.

“On a personal note, I probably will never be able to erase the memories of the post-game events of that day. Given this, I do not expect to be given a second chance to be a positive and responsible member of the football program and of this community,” Blount said in the letter to the editor. “Going forward, what I hope for is the opportunity to show that I am able to earn a second chance as a University student. And if I am so fortunate, I believe that I also will demonstrate that I am a better man and a better human being for having lived through this unfortunate experience.”

NFL teams will have Blount “red flagged” because of “off the field issues” and rightfully so. But just like other players who have had issues on and off the field Blount’s god given ability may make teams think twice about leaving him off their boards.

Blount, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound transfer from East Mississippi Community College, rushed for 1,002 yards and a school-record 17 touchdowns last season. It has been reported that Blount could run in the low 4.3 range at the combine.  Blount was mentioned as a possible Heisman candidate and on the Doak Walker watch list (for the nations best running back).

Blount’s abilities had rated by ESPN’s and Souts IncTodd McShay as the 2nd best running back coming into the season and a possible second round pick. McShay has said that because of the situation at Boise St. he would slip to the seventh round or go undrafted costing him millions of dollars.  Some scouts believe that he has all the physical ability to be a very good every down back and that his passion and will to win led him to lose his temper.  

What Blount did was a deplorable, inexcusable act that warranted a suspension, but the whole year? I think 6-7 games is about right. That is (about) 2/3rds of the NCAA season. But at least he was suspended. Byron Hout, the player Blount punched, was not suspended by Boise St. head coach Chris Petersen.

Blount and Kelly called Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Hout soon after the suspension to apologize. It is also believed that Oregon athletic director and former head coach Mike Bellotti and school president Richard Lariviere are on board with the possibility for reinstatement, though it is not known to what extent the Pac-10 has been involved.

But will teams take a shot with Blount? He has had no other off the field issues and has all the tools they look for in a running back. Size, speed, vision, toughness and good hands. Will that be enough for teams to over look what happened against Boise St.?

Blount has been participating in Oregon practice as a member of the scout team and has been attending classes under scholarship so he is still in great shape. The belief is Kelly will have Blount’s first game come against USC on October 31st. Oregon also plays three teams that didn’t make it to a bowl last season, Washington State, UCLA and Washington before the USC meeting.

Roger Goddell’s no nonsense policy when it comes to off the field actions and player accountability will way heavy on teams considering at Blount and some will take him off their draft boards. Teams in larger markets may decide to pass on him, but Blount may thrive in a small market with a team like Green Bay, Seattle or Kansas City.

  A team will take a chance on Blount. He is to talented not to. The question is who and what round? Time will tell. But the NFL is all about second chances. Michael Vick, KorenRobinson, Tank Johnson, Chris Henry and Pac Man Jones to name a few. Some of those guys have turned their lives around, while Jones seems to have not learned from his past transgressions.

When it is all said and done, teams in the NFL will take a shot on him. They all want the most “bang for their buck” and Blount could be that guy. He will slip from the second round grade and a team will snatch him up, then it will be up to him to continue to show growth on and off the field. If he can stay on the straight and narrow, a team will come away with a steal of a pick.

Written by Joe Arrigo

October 2, 2009 at 12:17

4 The Love Of The Game

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“Are you ready for some football…” as the Monday Night Football theme song (sang by Hank Williams Jr.) goes. If your Brett Favre you are. If you’re Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy you are and if you are ESPN you most certainly are. 

Brett Favre and his new team, the Minnesota Vikings take on Favre’s old team the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome in front of the world it what could be the highest rated MNF game in the history of MNF.

 

The Vikings enter the game 3-0 and with a one game lead over the  2-1 Packers in the NFC North. But that doesn’t matter to Favre, who wants revenge on the Packers for cutting ties with him over a year ago after 16 years, three MVP’s, one Super Bowl win and almost every team and NFL quarterback record.

Packers fans on the other hand, are torn. For those same 16 years Favre could do no wrong in Packers fans eyes. After all, they were with him through drug  and alcohol addiction, personnel tragedy, his wife’s cancer and of course the death of his father.

 

Then it happened.

After 16 years he decided to retire. Then unretire only to retire again only to unretire again. In that time frame there was bad public relations by the Packers and the Favre camp, he said he said, a trade to the Jets and Favre signing with the Vikings.

Let me make this clear, I have no issue with Favre wanting to play football. I enjoy watching him play and he has the right to play (ok, work) if he so chooses. After all, he helped make my favorite team a winning team after almost 30 years of losing.

 

Is he the same quarterback he once was? No. Were the Packers right in moving  on to Aaron Rodgers as the starter? Yes. Should Favre have signed with Minnesota? Packers fans say no while Vikings fans say yes.

I understand the hurt and anger he must feel about not “going out” when he wanted to and on his terms. Even feeling betrayed by the organization he gave his heart and soul to for 16 seasons. But the time was right. The Packers paid him extremely well and they both got their moneys worth out of each other.

 

Some in the organization had felt for a long time that Favre was holding them hostage with his indecisiveness about retirement and grew tired of the circus it caused every off season. They also needed to know if Rodgers, a guy they invested a first round pick in, was ready to lead them into the future and see if he was worth a long term contract extension.

It wasn’t a popular move by Ted Thompson or the Packers for that matter. Fans were (and some still are) livid that Favre is not a Packer. They feel he earned the right to take as long as he wants to decide his future and the Packers should wait. Some even think Thompson and Mike McCarthy forced him out by setting a cut off date for Favre to inform the team.

 

Fans picked sides. The Pro-Favre vs the Pro-Packers.

Favre can still play, I think everyone can agree on that. He still has a great arm, the  craftiness a 19 year veteran should have as well as play the game with an unbridled joy. But he also has injuries that are lingering (shoulder/ribs/ankle). He’s getting hit more because he is less elusive and has admitted that he doesn’t think he can go a full season.

 But why then would Green Bay NOT want their icon back?

The “Pro-Packers” people would say it was time to move on and turn the reigns over to Rodgers. He was the one putting in the time in the off season in Green Bay by being a full participant in the OTA’s and mini-camps. He also was the after all one that came in during the Dallas game a year earlier that almost led the Packers to victory and was coming up on the final year of his contract. 2008 was “now or never” for the Packers to decide his future with the team.

 

When Favre decided to retire (from the Packers), Packers fans were heart broken, myself included.  He was the face of the team and “just one of the guys” to the fans. He embodied everything the fans wanted their teams player to be. Engaging, funny, humble and most of all flawed and human. At least that’s what the perception was.

As the saga that was Brett Favre vs the Packers continued, fans could see the vindictive, calculating and vengeful Favre come out. Why would he try to get the Packers to either trade him to the Vikings or release him so he could go play for them (in 2008)? Why would he lie about things during interviews? How could he want to go to the team that Packers fans hate more than any other team in the NFL?

Was it for the “love of the game” like he said? No. Mondays game is all about revenge for Favre. This is his first chance to “stick it” to Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, the two people who “Pro-Favre people” think forced him out. He wants to show them “I can still play and you were wrong about me”.

 

On the other side I am sure they Packers feel the same way, but as a team, not just one player. The 2008 training camp all the focus was on Favre, not Rodgers becoming the starter. Not the team that many thought would challenge for the NFC title coming off a 13-3 season. For a long time some players felt “over shadowed” by Favre.

 

The Packers locker room is Aaron Rodgers locker room. Some players feel that Rodgers is a better leader because he has put forth the effort to “bond” with them and to make it a point to be there in the off season and participate in the off season team activities.

Favre didn’t do that in the later part of his time in Green Bay and to some teammates seemed aloof. He wasn’t as welcoming to rookies and didn’t want to participate in mini camps.

Monday night will be painful for Packers fans, myself included. I don’t want to see the Packers lose to the Vikings, no matter who is the quarterback. This game may mean a lot to Favre, but it means just as much to Rodgers and the Packers. Not only is it a divisional game for the NFC North lead, but also a statement game for the Packers.

The statement being “The Green Bay Packers can win without you. And even though you are a major part of the team history, you are not the team.” After the game there will be hugs and handshake, but also an “I told you so” behind closed doors.

 

16 years, three MVP’s, a Super Bowl win and every record in NFL history will never be forgotten by Packers fans. But until Favre retires for good, he won’t be welcome by most Packers fans. They don’t want to hear “I just want to play for the love of the game” because we all know it is more than that,  its personnel, for all parties involved in the Packers/Favre saga. Fans included.

 

E-Mail Joe @ Joeslockerroom@yahoo.com

Written by Joe Arrigo

October 1, 2009 at 00:32

Posted in Green Bay Packers, NFL