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Archive for November 2009

If I Were A MLB GM For A Day

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The Major League Baseball free agent period is underway. We all play arm-chair GM’s on our fantasy teams or on our video games. So I thought to myself, why not be one on my blog?

So what I decided the I would take three MLB teams, the Yankees, Dodgers and Brewers, and be their GM for a day.

Here’s what I would do if I were the Yankees GM for a day.

The 27 time World Series champions have a few “needs”. The Yankees need to add a starting pitcher or two and left fielder (or center fielder and move Melky Cabera to left).

With the Yankees all that matters is championships, so money is not an object or an obstacle. 

First thing I would do is call Toronto and offer a package of prospects for Blue Jay’s ace Roy Halladay. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos already said he has no issues trading Halladay with in the AL East. He would give the Yankees the best 1-2-3- pitching combination in baseball with C.C. Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Halladay. 

I would offer a package that would include Phil Hughes, catching prospect Austin Romine and pitching prospects Manuel Banuelos and Zach McAllister. I would consider top prospect catcher Jesus Montero, but my thought is a pitcher with MLB experience (Hughes) and three other top 10 prospects should be enough to land “Doc” Halladay.

If the Jays wanted Montero, then I would exclude two of the Yankees top 10 prospects and add a couple “B” prospects.

Next I would sign the 21-year-old left-handed pitcher and Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. The 6’4 lefty can hit 100 MPH’s on the radar gun with good movement. He also throws a curve, slider, change-up and a splitter.

 Many scouts compare Chapman’s ability to the number one overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft Steven Strasburg. He doesn’t have Strasburg’s command or even mound presence, but ability wise he is very comparable. 

The price tag is reportedly $15-50 million, but for a player that would be the number one pick in the draft, and in a year or two could be a number three or four starter with top of the rotation stuff, he would be well worth the price.

My next move would to bring back Andy Pettitte. He proved his worth (and then some) with his post season performance  and would solidify the number four spot in the rotation. His price will be slightly more than what the Yankees paid for him this past season, but nothing like the money Rich harden or John Lackey would command.

Time to shore up the left field position. Johnny Damon, I mean Scott Boras is asking too much for Damon’s services. Boras compared Damon to Derek Jeter, umm sorry Scott, I know your trying to sell your client is no Derek Jeter. So I would move on since Damon will not sign a two-year deal. 

The person I think would be a very good fit is Curtis Granderson. Detroit is the place I would deal Dellin Betances, Brett Gardner and Jairo Heredia for Granderson.

The Tigers want to dump salary and Granderson had an “off year” in 2009. Some scouts and annalist (Like Keith Law) seem to think Granderson is a role player, but I think otherwise.

 He would bring Gold Glove caliber defense to center field at Yankee stadium and would keep the speed/power aspect at the top of the Yankees order with Jeter.  He is a younger, faster, more powerful version of Damon, and he plays better defense.

Finally, I would add the following relief pitchers to shore up the bullpen. Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez would be a perfect right-left combination to bridge the starter to Mariano Rivera.

That’s it for the Yankees time to move on to the Brewers.

The Brewers are the opposite off the Yankees in the regard that they will not overspend for a player because they can not afford to take on a bad contract.

The Brewers cleared payroll to add a quality pitcher, and I think that they are the dark horse for John Lackey, the top pitcher on the market. But the price for Lackey’s services most likely will be as much as AJ Burnett got last year. Lackey wants $85 million for 5 or 6 years and that price tag may be too much for the Brewers.

So because of his price tag, I think the Brewers will most likely add Wisconsin native Jarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard. The two were teammates in Seattle and pitched well and would be an excellent duo to have behind Yovani Gallardo.

I may be in the minority but I think the Brewers need to sign a veteran player that can be a leader in the clubhouse and the perfect fit would be Mark DeRosa. DeRosa can play 3B, SS, 2B, 1B or left field. He also would give some much-needed protection in the line up to Price Fielder.

DeRosa also plays very good defense, and that is an area that the Brewers need an upgrade in. I know Mat Gamel, the Brewers top prospect, is also a third baseman, but the NL Central is a division the Brewers can win. With Alcides Escobar at short stop and the newly acquired Carlos Gomez in center field, the Brewers defense will be better, but their offense may not be what it has been in the past. 

I would also sign  Mark Mulder, who has a history with both Ken Macha and Rick Peterson. If he is healthy (which is asking a lot out of him) he could be a steal. Doug Davis is another player that would be on my radar. I know the Brewers were close to dealing for him at the trade deadline and he could be a good back of the rotation guy.

Finally, lets move on to the Dodgers.

 The Dodgers situation is more complex than any other in Major League Baseball. With the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt ongoing (and getting uglier by the day) the Dodgers may be hard pressed to make a big splash.

Well since I am the GM I will make the moves I feel will get the Dodgers back into the playoffs and a chance to play in the World Series.

One of the first things I would do is resign Orlando Hudson to a 3 year, $35 million dollar contract. He was a leader in the clubhouse and brings the intangibles needed to a winning ball club.

I would then sign John Lackey. I know, $85 million for 5 years is a ton of coin, but he is a proven big game pitcher who pitches from his stones. He has a World Series ring already and by signing Lackey, it would hurt the cross-town Angels.

I would also trade Juan Pierre. I know, Pierre has been a good solider since the trade for Manny Ramirez and the emergence of Matt Kemp in center field but $10 million for Pierre is a steep price for a 4th outfielder and he deserves a chance to start. I would trade Pierre to the Tigers for Edwin Jackson.

Randy Wolf is a guy that I would bring back at the tone of 4 years and $44 million. He has pitched extremely well in both his stints with the Dodgers and loves to pitch in his home town for his favorite team growing up.

I would also sign back Vicente Padilla, but for only 2 years. He pitched well for the Dodgers, in particular in Dodgers stadium. 

 A rotation of Lackey, Clayton Kershaw, Jackson, Wolf and Padilla would be a very good rotation and one that has a good mix of young pitchers (Kershaw and Jackson) and experience.

 I would also look to bring back Jim Thome to add some left-handed power off the bench. He is also a great clubhouse guy and a person that has the ear and trust of Ramirez.

That’s me playing GM for the day. I know the dollars may not be what some expect (one way or the other), but I think you get the picture. For people like Scott Boras who thinks he (and his clients) are recession proof, will have a rude awakening. Money will not be flying around like in the past. Instead more teams will be looking to add more quality players than one super star, and yes that includes the Yankees. 

 

Written by Joe Arrigo

November 20, 2009 at 20:50

Posted in MLB

Could The Pack Go Back To The Future?

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The Green Bay Packers are fresh off their biggest win of the 2009 season after a 17-7 win over Dallas Sunday afternoon and on Wednesday rumors started to surface about former head coach Mike Holmgren.

Could the Packers be looking to go back to the future?

I was told (via e-mail) that Holmgren had bought a house (or property) in Green Bay. It was then posted on PackerChatters.com (check my links to the right for their link) and later on a variety of Packers websites. I then received a e-mail that said the following:

 …word is circulating that the Packers are quietly talking with Holmgren. The conventional wisdom is Cleveland will hire Holmgren but they said Green Bay has had some interest.

The content also included the names Mike Solari (Seahawks current OL coach) and Jim Lind (Tight Ends) coming with Holmgren (whether it is Cleveland or Green Bay)

Well, that is my rumor sun of the day. I have read nothing in print.

I have also heard that Mike McCarthy’s job security is as hot as ever. Multiple people have told me that the Packers Board of Directors want the team in the playoffs this year and if they fail to make it, McCarthy could very well be fired.

Bringing back Holmgren makes sense for the Packers in many different ways. Holmgren brings a résumé that players have to respect. He has a Super Bowl win, and two other appearances. He is a proven winner in Seattle and more importantly in Green Bay. But perhaps the most important aspect to this rumor is Holmgren’s working and personal relationship with Packers GM Ted Thompson.

Holmgren is known for his offenses. He would have some nice, young, talented toys to play with in Green Bay in quarterback Aaron Rodgers, receivers Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson and the ageless one Donald Driver. He would also have a budding star in promising tight end in Jermichael Finley.

His defense would have some really good pieces as well with BJ Raji, Cullen Jenkins, Johnny Jolly, Nick Barnett, Clay Mathews III, AJ Hawk, Al Harris Nick Collins and Charles Woodson. He would also have a very solid defensive staff led by Dom Capers.

He would have to address the Packers offensive line, running back and strong safety, but my point is the Packers have talent and are not that far off from being a team that can compete for a Super Bowl title.

 But the Packers are not the only team that wants Holmgren. http://profootballtalk.com is reporting that former Cleveland Browns great Jim Brown said “At this moment, right now Randy Lerner is meeting with one of the great football minds in this country,” Brown said at a Tuesday luncheon.  “And if things work out, that person will come in to run the football side of the Browns.”

When asked if it was Holmgren Brown replied  “You said it . . . and I heard it.

But I have a hard time seeing Holmgren going to Cleveland because of the type of house cleaning that would have to be done on his part. He has question marks at almost every position, including head coach were Eric Mangini says he will have input on who the new GM would be.

If the Holmgren to Green Bay rumors are true, one could assume that Solari would be the offensive coordinator (even though Holmgren would call the plays) and Lind the tight ends coach. Jimmy Robinson and Edgar Bennett would more than likely be kept while Tom Clements, the current QB coach, would be up in the air.

As for Mike McCarthy, I think it is somewhat unfair that these rumors are popping up right now. His team is still playing hard for him and they have a chance to go into the Monday night game against Baltimore 7-4 and in the Wild Card hunt. 

But it seems McCarthy is feeling the heat. It was reported last week that a maintenance worker was fired after he said something to McCarthy. I also reported last week that he was “short, distant and seemed out of it” during the taping of his T.V. show.

Holmgren was quoted recently in the Chicago Tribune “I had to see how I’d feel about not working and what I’ve learned about myself is I miss it,” Holmgren said. “I’m a football coach. It seems the league is cyclical and hiring young guys …but experience in the NFL still means a heck of a lot.”

Many people think Holmgren may replace Ted Thompson as the Packers GM, but I don’t think that is the case. The working relationship the two men have works in Thompson’s favor. Also,  Holmgren didn’t set the NFL world on fire as a GM in Seattle. Holmgren would have more of a say with personnel then McCarthy currently has.

There are six Super Bowl winning coaches available this off-season. Holmgren, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan. You can also add Mike Martz and Marty Schottenheimer to the list of high-profile coaches that is available. You don’t often have a crop of head coaches like that available to run your team, either on the field or in some cases in the front office.

 Out of all the names listed above, Holmgren  is the best fit. His relationship with the Packers Board of Directors and his place in Packers history make him a logical fit. He was a major part of a team that resurrected the Packers after years of being a team stuck in the Lombardi era.

When it is all said and done it will more than likely come down to Holmgren. If he wants to go to work right away, then he will end up in Cleveland as the GM. If he wants to wait until the end of the year then it would look as if Green Bay could be the landing spot. 

But one thing is for sure, since the rumor is out there and there apparently has been a discussion by the Packers, something may happen. Whether it is Mike Holmgren or not, and that is not a good sign for Mike McCarthy, because where there is smoke there is usually some type of fire.

Written by Joe Arrigo

November 18, 2009 at 01:26

Posted in Green Bay Packers, NFL

Major League Baseball’s Hot Stove Heating Up: Trade Rumors

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The New York Yankees just finished their parade celebrating their 27th World Series. Do you know what that means? It is officially the MLB off-season and teams are looking to make a deal. For reasons that only they know you will see teams either cut or add payroll. And with that comes the trade rumors.

Here are some of the names and rumors that are making the rounds in a variety of MLB circles that I have been hearing and want is being reported by the mainstream media.

Curtis Granderson- CF- Detroit Tigers: The Tigers have one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball in a city that may have been hit the hardest by the nations economic crisis. Granderson is the guy that many teams want, including the Yankees, Angels and Cubs. 

All three are a teams that could afford to take on the remaining amount of Granderson’s contract,  $25.75 million guaranteed over the next three years.  The Yankees though seem like the most likely landing spot. They have a need for a center fielder that can play gold glove defense and leadoff hitter with pop. Granderson fills both those needs. He also would be cheaper than Johnny Damon, who is seeking a deal that would pay him in the $13 to $17 million dollar range.

The rumor is Brian Cashman and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski met with each other at the GM meetings and had a “preliminary discussion” involving players changing teams in a Granderson deal. A deal could happen soon, real soon according to some sources close to both teams.

Roy Halladay- P- Toronto Blue Jays: “Doc” maybe the best pitcher in the big leagues right now and the Blue Jays know he will not resign with them after the 2010 season so they are willing to deal him (and that includes to other AL East teams). The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Marlins and Phillies all have been linked to him.

 

This will be steep for Halladay. By all accounts the Jays are looking for two pitchers with one being Major League ready and a positional player. All the teams involved have the players to get it done and he may be cheaper than free agent pitcher John Lackey.

B.J. Upton- CF- Tampa Bay Rays: Upton is a gold glove caliber center fielder coming off a bad year at the plate. He played most of 2009 injured (shoulder and ankle) and it effected his over all performance. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Rangers checked on his availability as part of their offseason routine, but no talks are ongoing.

Other teams that may have interest are the Yankees, Angels, Mets and the Cubs. The price for Upton will be steep if the Rays are willing to deal him, which I think is highly unlikely. Upton, when healthy, reminds me of Eric Davis, a 5 tool player that can the change the game offensively or defensively.

Adrian Gonzalez- 1B- San Diego Padres: Gonzalez is a bargain with a very affordable contract. He has been linked to the Red Sox, but the Dodgers, who almost dealt for him at the trade deadline, are also a very likely landing spot. Gonzalez plays very good defense and is a good clubhouse guy as well. 

Carl Crawford- LF- Tampa Bay Rays: Why would the Rays be willing to trade both Upton and Crawford? Because Crawford will walk after the 2010 season. Reports are he is miffed at Rays management because they picked up his $10 million dollar option. Reportedly, Crawford had a “handshake agreement” not to pick up the option which would have happened when he signed his current deal before the ’05 season, under a completely different regime.

Teams that Crawford could be a good fit for Crawford include the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox (if they don’t re-sign Jason Bay), Angels, Rangers, Braves, Brewers and Cubs.

Ryan Doumit- C/DH- Pittsburgh Pirates: According to multiple sources the Pirates “first made it clear” they were willing to deal Doumit before the trade deadline last June. Reports are  the Pirates “would not hesitate” to move him for the right package.

Doumit struggled through an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, posting a .250/.299/.414 line in only 75 games. He’s just one year removed, however, from a .318/.357/.501 season in which he played almost exclusively behind the plate. His ability to play multiple positions (including catcher), combined with his power, could make him an attractive option to a handful of teams such as Giants, Mariners, and Rays.

Justin Verlander- P- Detroit Tigers: The Tigers moving their ace is not something I see happening, but like the Granderson situation, the Tigers are trying to dump payroll.  Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski said “I won’t get into that because that is best kept internal.” He went on to say that the team is “looking to be fiscally responsible”.

Verlander had an outstanding year in 2009, winning 19 games and leading the American League in strikeouts. Verlander can become a free agent after the 2011 season, so you can bet he will be looking for a huge payday.

Edwin Jackson- P- Detroit Tigers: Jackson has been dealt from the Dodgers to the Rays, the Rays to the Tigers and is likely to be moved again this off-season. Jackson’s rumored suitors include the Brewers and Dodgers.

Though Jackson is coming off of a breakout season and is still until Detroit’s control through 2011, payroll considerations may force the Tigers to include Jackson in trade talks.

For more in-depth baseball rumors please check out http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/. It may be the best site for baseball rumors on the web.

 

 

Written by Joe Arrigo

November 15, 2009 at 00:36

It’s Time For Packers Leadership To Step Up

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Much has been said in recent weeks about Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson and rightfully so. But there is a time when players have to look in the mirror and say to themselves that “it is time for me to step up”. Now, it is that time and time for the leadership of the Packers to step up as well.

Donald Driver, Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett, Al Harris and Charles Woodson as a Packers fan and a person who cares (maybe too much) I am talking to you.

From what was written in Thursday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Driver, Tauscher and Rodgers did just that. It happened after the offense went over the game film against last weeks opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Tauscher, Driver and Rodgers one by one got up and spoke to their teammates.

Blame was placed on the offensive line for not blocking like they need to. The wide receivers for not getting off the line cleanly and dropping to many balls. Rodgers was the third factor in the equation because of his  propensity to hold on to the ball to long and take the sack, rather than throwing the ball away.

 All three factions are at fault. The offensive line has not been blocking the way they need to and when they do, more times than not they get a penalty to negate any gain. The Packers have a league high  62 penalties so far this season. The five offensive linemen have repeatedly allowed four rushers get to Rodgers, who has been sacked 37 times thus far in 2009.

Driver was straight to the point according to the article. “If we don’t win – and I mean now – they are going to fire all of our (butts) at the end of the season,” Driver said. “I’m serious.”

Rodgers for his part admitted he has held on to the ball to long and vowed to do a better job of getting rid of it sooner. He also challenged his offensive line by saying “look in the mirror” and ask themselves how they can be better.

According to the article Rodgers added “We all have to ask ourselves if we’re doing enough,” Rodgers said, “because if we’re not, we’re going to be sitting at home in January watching the playoffs, not playing in them. Again. I don’t want to do that again.”

Yesterday Greg Jennings said that the receivers need to do a better job of getting open and not dropping balls. “Everybody bears responsibility when you’re getting sacked,” Jennings told reporters at his locker.

Jennings went on to say “We have to get open as receivers. Would I say we’re getting open? Yeah. But you can’t just throw your brother under the bus. It’s not always your brother’s fault. So that’s how it’s perceived from the outside looking in. It’s like, the quarterback gets sacked, it’s the O-line. That’s not always the case. Some of the ownership is on Aaron (Rodgers). Some of the ownership is on the receivers. Some of the ownership is on the running backs, tight ends. Again, it’s not just one aspect of the offense not getting it done. It’s all of us.”

“Definitely got to have this game.” Jennings added about playing the Cowboys Sunday “Got to have it.”

But why did it take this long for the offensive leaders to step and say something? Is it because the Packers season, for all intensive purposes is on the line Sunday? Where has the urgency been at for the past eight weeks? Packers fans sure had it but why not the players?

“Unfortunately, I feel like we do now,” Rodgers said. “But it’s tough because you don’t ever want to lose to get that sense of urgency, but that’s sometimes how it works.”

The Packers defense was sure glad they had that meeting. From what the article said the meeting got heated and even “blunt”. So much so that it got back to the defensive players quickly.

One defensive player told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “Heard they really had it out.” Good. I don’t think anything but positive things can come from that.”

Packers left guard Daryn Colledge told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “For us, the leaders and the guys that needed to be heard were heard and hopefully everybody listened,” Colledge said. “I think we walked out as a better offense without even practicing.”

Mike McCarthy at his press conference said  “We really want to win the game this week, there’s no question about that.

McCarthy needs the Packers to win otherwise his job security will go out the window. I have heard from three different sources that the Packers Board of Directors are not happy with the direction of the team. Mark Murphy, the Packers CEO, came out and said that he was disappointed with the team’s performance so thus far. 

From what I gathered opposing teams are “loading up” against the Packers short passing attack. That in turn has the receivers running deeper routes which leads to more time Rodgers has to hold onto the ball and this season that means a sack.

Ryan Grant and the Packers running backs are also to blame.  Packers coaches (Edgar Bennett in particular) told Grant and the other backs that they had left too many yards out on the field. Grant, from what I gathered, got his butt chewed out by Bennett for not “finishing the play” on a run in the third quarter.

The play that I am talking about had Grant bounce the outside and after about three yards was one on one with a Buccaneer cornerback. Grant should have lowered his shoulder on the smaller corner for an extra two or three yards, but he instead choose to run out of bounce.

On one hand as a fan I am disappointed that it took so long for the Packers “leadership” to step up. But on the other it is also a relief that they did and it shows that they care. This is a good sign for McCarthy because it shows he has not lost his team and they still believe in him and his staff.

If the Packers come out and play inspired football they can be a very good team. But if they come out and play the way they have been playing so far this year, it is going to be a long eight weeks for all involved. It’s time to put up or shut up. No more excuses. No more communication breakdowns or excuses for McCarthy.

He said it best when he said “Our message is very clear. The head coach has to coach better, the coaches have to coach better, the players have to play better, and we have to win games. That’s our focus. We’re going to apply all of our energy into this Dallas game plan. . . . That’s about as far down the road as we’re looking. We’re going to pour everything that we have into winning at home against the Cowboys. That’s our focus.”

If they don’t coach better, play better or evaluate better it could be the end of the road for McCarthy, his staff, some of the players and Ted Thompson. It’s time for the playmakers to make plays, defenders to defend and put pressure on the quarterback. More importantly leaders to lead and find a way to get the Packers out of the mess they put themselves in.

Written by Joe Arrigo

November 12, 2009 at 00:00

Posted in Green Bay Packers, NFL

My Green Bay Packers Mock Draft

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As the Green Bay Packers season has reached the half way point, I will attempt to do (another) mock draft. I normally do mocks on the websites I post at, but I wanted to do one in “The Locker Room”.

I also normally don’t project signings or trades but I will add one in this mock draft because I believe it (the trade) will happen. I don’t know if the team will be right, but I think the compensation will be.

I also believe the Packers will be picking in the 10-15 range in the draft. 

Here we go…..

Coaching changes:

I think Mike McCarthy will be back but he also will have to make a few coaching changes.

Out: Joe Philbin (OC), James Campen (OL), Jerry Fontenot (Asst. OL), Shawn Slocum (ST)

In: Bruce Matthews (OL), Bobby April (ST), Brian Schottenheimer(OC/Asst HC)

Trade: Aaron Kampman to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 2nd and 4th rounder.

Signing: Marcus McNeill- LT- San Diego Chargers: I know, I know Ted Thompson won’t spend money in free agency, but even Thompson knows his best of winning is with Aaron Rodgers upright and McNeill would help him out in that department.

Mock:

Round 1:  

Taylor Mays- SS- USC: Big, fast, strong, instinctive safety that has the work ethic to go along with his freakish skills. His play as a senior has not been as good as his junior complain, but he also has two new starting corners and a trio of first time starting linebackers. He will be more of a playmaker on the pro level than in college.

Round 2 ( A ): Jonathan Dwyer- RB- Georgia Tech: Dwyer is a running back that has a bowling-ball body. Dwyer is a north South runner with top end speed but it is his field vision and cut back abilities that set him apart from most. Playing in Paul Johnson’s spread offense has helped his stats, but may hurt his stock.

 

Round 2 ( B ) : Mike Johnson- OL- Alabama: Johnson can play either guard ot tackle. Most scouts believe that he has the footwork to be a LT in the NFL. I believe that he wold be an All Pro guard. He is a winner and plays with the type of intensity the line lacks.

Round 3: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah- CB- Indiana (PA): A big, fast, physical corner that also returns kicks and punts. He is a playmaker that some project as high as a second rounder. The Packers were at his game on 11/8. He has five special teams touchdowns this season on returns so far.

Round 4 ( A ): Cameron Sheffield- OLB- Troy: Another of Troy St.’s outside linebackers that can get to the passer. Not as good as DeMarcus Ware, but a poor man’s version and in time could be a very good 3-4 rush backer.

Round 4 ( B ): Alex Carrington- DE- Arkansas St.: This kid’s stock is going up. He can do it all, stop the run and rush the passer. He has good size, 6’5, 284 lbs and is strong. By the way, he runs a 4.7 forty as well.

Round 5: Taylor Price- WR- Ohio- A big kid (6’1, 205) with sub 4.4 speed. He is a sleeper and is having a decent year for the ‘Cats. Would help on special teams and depth at wide receiver.

Round 6:  Michael Smith- RB- Arkansas: The small (5’6, 180 lbs) but fast (4.37) Smith is a do everything back. He can return kicks and punts, catch the ball well and run away from defenders. His size is his biggest knock, but he is a playmaker that is for sure.

Round 7:  Zac Robinson- QB- Oklahoma St: He is a dual threat quarterback, but he needs to show he can play under center. He would provide the Packers with a QB that could play in a “Wild Pack” offense.

Written by Joe Arrigo

November 11, 2009 at 15:59

Posted in 1

Packers Play Offensive. Is A Change Needed?

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The Green Bay Packers play in the 2009 season thus far has been down right offensive. The offensive line has been the worst I seen since the Lindy Infante years as head coach. The defense he not been able to get any pressure on the quarterback and the special teams has been especially poor under new coach Shawn Slocum.

Who does the blame fall on? Mike McCarthy? Ted Thompson?

Both equally share the blame if you ask me. How can they fix it, if at all? I will attempt to right the ship.

We’ll start with McCarthy.

He needs to make changes to his offensive staff, namely the offensive line. James Campen and Joe Philbin both need to go. For the past two seasons the Packers poor play up front has been a major weakness. Philbin was the line coach and Campen his heir apparent, both have failed. Aaron Rodgers is going to get hurt if he continues to get pounded week in and week out because the line can’t block.

My possible candidates to replace Campen are Mike Munchak of Tennessee, Hudson Houck of Dallas, Golden Pat Ruel of USC and Joe Bugel of Washington. Bobby April would be my choice as the new special teams coach. If I remember right, his contract is up in Buffalo after this season.

MaCarthy needs to make changes. The team has under achieved so far in 2009 and in particular on the offensive line. It would be mandated and he would have to make them or he would be let go. I have no issues with Tom Clements, Edgar Bennett, Jimmy Robinson or Bob McAdoo and the jobs they have done.

Winston Moss is another that would be on the hot seat, but his contract is up and he may leave for a coordinators or head coaching position, in the NFL or college, should one open up.

Dom Capers tried to convince McCarthy to allow him to run some 4-3 looks when he first took the job as defensive coordinator, but McCarthy wanted to run a straight 3-4 even if some of the personnel didn’t fit.

So far there has been mixed results with the Packers and the 3-4 defense. They were ranked in the top ten coming into week 8 (ninth overall), but have failed to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis. Also, Aaron Kampman’s transition to outside linebacker has not gone as smooth as the Packers have liked.

Also, with the amount of zone coverage the Packers now play, Al Harris, at times, looks as if he has lost a step. Charles Woodson is playing out of his mind this season and looks like the best corner back in the NFL. Nick Collins has not had the big plays he had last year, but not having Atari Bigby for three games didn’t help, but even Bigby’s play has not been that good.

Now to Thompson.

I have supported Thompson and the way he chooses to build the Packers. I have not agreed with Thompson not dipping into free agency to help fill needs and this year it has come back to bite him where the sun don’t shine.

Thompson has to start using free agency more. He needs to get more aggressive with free agency and the free agents the Packers target. He did a nice job targeting Woodson, Ryan Pickett and Brandon Chillar. But we have to remember that they were not signed or brought in during the first week, but weeks after free agency started.

Thompson has done a decent job drafting. Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Collins, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Josh Sitton, Clay Matthews Jr. B.J. Raji and Tramon Williams (who was an undrafted rookie free agent) all have made an impact for the Packers. Thompson has failed to deliver young offensive tackles to protect Rodgers (although T.J. Lang has upside) and A.J. Hawk, his highest draft choice is has not made the type of impact a #5 overall pick should make (although his play has been very steady).

I would strongly consider firing Thompson and bringing in Bill Parcells. Parcells has a clause in his contract that states he can leave his job as Executive Vice President of Football Operations while still collecting the remainder of his salary from the Dolphins. Even if he were to leave there would be no compensation going the Dolphins way because Parcells reworked the clause before H. Wayne Huizenga sold the team to Steven Ross.

Parcells once said his dream job would be to run the Green Bay Packers. Now would be a good time to live out that dream. Parcells would bring instant credibility back to the Packers. He would also bring a certain intimidation to the team. Parcells wants guys that eat, sleep and drink football and holds players accountable for their actions. Stupid penalties and talk about outside business ventures would not float in the locker room around “the Big Tuna”.

If Parcells were to take over this may mean the end of McCarthy as the head coach, but if you look at Parcells track record, that may not be a bad thing for the Packers organization as a whole.

Parcells former pupils include Tony Sparano, Al Groh, Tom Coughlin and Bill Bilichick have had success  in the NFL (with Bilichick and Coughlin winning Super Bowls). The teams turn around quickly and the Packers are a team with a lot of talent for Parcells to play with.

Parcells would have a young, gifted quarterback, a very solid receiving group, a talented tight end (in Jermichael Finley) and some very good parts on defense. If Parcells were to come in you would see the Packers offensive line and running game improve year one. He believes in running the ball, controlling the clock and dominating the line scrimmage. 

It would be costly, but if you want to win you have to pay a price. Just how steep of a price that is may or may not been seen, but I would pay it. Parcells is a proven winner and has a winning formula. He would be the right man to take the job over (should it become available).

But I doubt the Packers will take the $8 million dollar hit by firing Thompson (or the $24 million dollar hit for firing both McCarthy and Thompson). So Packers fans are forced to deal with the fact that unless Thompson gets a mandate from President Mark Murphy to be more aggressive in free agency, I expect more of the same. 

Murphy did come out and say he was disappointed with the team’s performance . That is as close as Packers fans (and Thompson) are going to get to an owner issuing a “vote of confidence”. One of my spy’s said that McCarthy is not the same guy he was before the season began. He said he was looking like a “dead man walking” while tapping his T.V. show.

I want what is best for the Packers as a whole. I want them to win Super Bowls and be a team that other fans hate because they are so successful. I am afraid that unless there is a change in philosophy at the top, it will be a long time coming before we see that. I don’t want to relive the Packers of the 1980’s.  

McCarthy needs to be tougher on the players and hold players accountable for their actions and mistakes. Thompson needs to stop being so tentative in free agency and both need to step out or soon both will be out of work.

Written by Joe Arrigo

November 10, 2009 at 00:07

Posted in Green Bay Packers, NFL

Looking Into The Crystal Ball: NFL Coaches

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It’s just about half way through the NFL season and there are already some coaches on the “hot seat”. Some are on the “hot seat” because of poor performance, others may not have been ready to be a head coach and some just are not working out anymore with their current employer.

Here is my list of coaches who could be fired at the end of the 2009 season and the coach who I think will replace them.

Out: Jim Zorn-Washington Redskins: “Dead man walking”. That’s is Zorn in D.C. as we speak. He has been stripped of calling plays and his coaching pride by owner Daniel Snyder. “Black Monday” can’t come soon enough for Zorn.

In: Mike Shanahan: He already was offered the job and declined out of respect for Zorn. He would come in and give instant credibility to a team that has a proud history, but make no mistake about it, this task is no small task.

Out: Eric Mangini- Cleveland Browns: The Browns are a mess from the top down (ownership to Mangini). Mangini hasn’t seemed to have learned from his mistakes in New York. I believe that once a GM is hired his days are numbered.

In:  Gregg Williams: I would have gone with an offensive minded coach, but Williams name is getting hot again. He turned around the Saints defense and seems to get the most out of his players.

Out: Tom Cable-Oakland Raiders: The “Cable guy’s” off field issues will seal his fate. Al Davis has no tolerance for employees who beat women. He (Cable) has disgraced the Raiders and Davis for the last time. The Raiders need a coach that will get them back to glory.

In: Jim Fassel: As much as I wanted to put a “big name” coach in here, I had to use my brain. No big name coach wants to run a team (or owner) that  will not allow him to hire his own coaches, call his own plays or draft his own players. Fassel has wanted to coach the Raiders the last few years and has ties to the team.

Out: Mike McCarthy-Packers: I hate to do this one, but I think heads will roll in Green Bay if they don’t make the playoffs. McCarthy is a good coach and play caller, but his teams have lacked discipline and have not fared well in big games. 

 In: Jon Gruden: Mike Holmgren’s name will be mentioned here because of his past, but Gruden is a more likely fit. He would have some nice offensive weapons to play with and would more than likely bring in Bill Callahan as his offensive line coach.

Out: Wade Phillips-Cowboys: Jerry Jones wants another Super Bowl and Phillips has not got the job done. He has had very talented teams and failed to make the playoffs.

In: Mike Holmgren: He would bring the type of respect the players need. He and Jones would have to agree on personnel power, but Jones has had no issue giving it up to coaches who are proven (remember Bill Parcells?). Holmgren would also work well with Tony Romo.

Out: John Fox- Panthers: The Panthers have not played up to par this past season. Fox made coaching changes but the one change he failed to make was with his starting quarterback. Fox is a good coach and may just need a change of scenery.

In: Bill Cowher: This is the job he has wanted for some time now. He would be able to come in and have a team with a very good running game, one of the better receivers in the NFL and a pretty talented defense.

Out: Jeff Fisher- Tennessee Titans: The NFL’s longest tenured coach and his owner seem to have a “disconnect”. Bud Adams wants Vince Young playing more while Fisher thinks the team is better off with Kerry Collins. It may be time for a change of scenery for one of the games best head coaches.

In: Leslie Frazier: He has done a really good job with the Vikings defense. His name is heating up and will be highly sought after should the Vikings go deep into the playoffs.

Out: Jack Del Rio- Jacksonville Jaguars- Like other coaches Del Rio’s hands are tied when it comes to certain situations. The Jag’s quarterback situation is not settled and the talent level is better than most, but not as good as others.

In: Jeff Fisher: Why not go to a team that plays your former boss twice a year and rebuild them into a contender? Jacksonville is also a team that is interested in moving to Los Angeles and Fisher is a USC Alum. He would provide new direction and proven leadership.

Out: Norv Turner- San Diego Chargers- Turner has had his most successful stent as a head coach with the Chargers, but that isn’t saying much. The Chargers have regressed under Turner and most of the players feel he is not the right person to lead them.

In: Mike McCarthy: If Green Bay decides to fire McCarthy he would get a look somewhere else. San Diego would be a highly sought after job because of the amount of talent on the team. McCarthy can lead an offense and doesn’t want to deal with personnel issues, he just wants to coach.

Out: Dick Juron-Buffalo Bills- Juron is a really good coach, he just seems to go to situations that are not good for his coaching career. The Bills offense is plain and predictable even with Marshawn Lynch and Terrell Ownes.

In: Jason Garrett- The hotest of hot names just three years ago is now a guy that needs to prove himself. If Holmgren goes to Dallas, than Garrett will not be there since Holmgren likes to call his own plays in his own offense. 

Written by Joe Arrigo

November 4, 2009 at 11:50

Posted in Green Bay Packers, NFL