Posted by Mike Wendt on December 4, 2012
Below is a conversation adpated from the greatest fantasy football website/messageboard
First, I’ll admit last year when Chryst left I wasn’t upset. I guess I view the step from OC to head coach as a huge advancement in one’s career, and therefore do not blame someone for making that career move.
Bielema’s move to Arkansas may be the exact same thing, but from a baised-Badger fan view it seems to have a more “middle finger to UW” vibe to it. I’ll explain.
At UW, Bielema had a culture of winning, competed for a National championship in 3 of 7 seasons, settled for a Rose Bowl in two of those seasons and an 11-1 Capital One Bowl birth in the other. Not to mention the Rose Bowl this year. So in 4 out of 7 years the Badgers have been in the national spotlight. Is Arkansas REALLY that much of a better program than what he has at UW? Now taking a step back and viewing it unbaised, Yes, it is. Football culture in the south/SEC is unlike any other and winning the SEC championship basically guarantees you a spot in the National Championship, college football’s ultimate goal. The Badger fan in me looks at Bielema’s recruitment past, which has not been good, especially when you see that his best player was the result of a transfer, and doesn’t believe he’s going to be able to pull recruits from Saban or Les Miles. I really believe he’s going to struggle in the SEC which leads me to wonder what he wants out of this move. If he truly believes he can out-recruit, out-coach Saban and Miles, not to mention teams like Texas A&M and Auburn then good for him. I just look at this and see a run of mediocrity coming, which to me, says “I’d rather be OK in the best conference than national relevance/Rose Bowl births in the B1G Ten and at Wisconsin”. Which, again as a Badger-biased person, has undertones of a middle finger.
Next, I think the move is kind of a result of Urban Meyer’s dominance this year at Ohio State. Sure, Meyer isn’t doing it all with his recruits, but 12-0 is very impressive, and he’s going to be able to grab kids from all over the midwest. As I said before, Bielema’s recruiting record wasn’t great, and it was only going to get tougher. Should you blame a guy for getting out before the going gets hot? Probably not, but I don’t need to credit him for leaving either.
Bielema was 2-4 in bowl games, with his 12-1 Capital Bowl win coming in his first year, with a handful of Barry’s recruits. He still had to guide the ship, but overall we have not had Bowl success under Bielema. My fantasy team has gone to the playoffs every year, but we haven’t done shit in the playoffs, so how successful have we really been?
I don’t think I need to like a coach to be “real fan”. I’ve heard plenty of stories about how he treats women and that he’s a prick in real life, which has always bugged me about him a little bit. I’ve never had first hand experience, and no matter how much of prick he is he’s got to be an upgrade over the slimeball John L. Smith, but Barry carried an aura of respect while Bielema seems to carry an sense of arrogance.
I know college coaches leave after the regular season but before the bowls all the time, but I don’t like it. I really don’t think a lot of recruitment gets done December 1-January 1 (I could be wrong) but these coaches preach togetherness, leadership, how nobody is above the team, then they leave them hanging. If Nick Saban left today and came to Wisconsin would I feel this way? I’d be happy we got Saban but still wouldn’t like that he left his team high and dry before a BCS game.
Now, that last part of that paragraph is ever-present in today’s society. When someone does/says/writes something contrary to their beliefs or that threatens something they believe in, they often have a hostile response. Wisconsin fans believe Bielema leaving puts us in a tougher spot to win the Rose Bowl. I agree. But I believe (I think) that if the the roles were reversed and we were getting a coach from a high profile college who left his BCS team hanging, I would still not like the decision to leave his former team high and dry.
Case and point. Sunday night Bob Costas came under a lot of fire for taking his pro-gun control stance at halftime of SNF. Fox News basically went crazy and even had a debate if Costas should get fired. Hardcore Democrats praised Costas. Now, if you are going to chastise Costas for taking a political stance on a forum basically designed to talk about football, then fine. You guys know how I feel about politics (I turned on Black Ops at half so I missed the actual segment) but I think there are rational arguments for both sides. The anti-political part of me says keep this political crap/amendment rights crap out of a spot designed to showcase the best football plays of the day. On the other hand, having a sensible discussion about a social issue that is becoming more rampant (see Chicago) is something that we all could benefit from. Should it have been done on SNF? No, Costas has Costas Live and other shows, but neither draw the audience that SNF does. My biggest problem with the furor over the Costas incident was that if he had taken the opposite stance, Fox News would have praised him and Democrats would have torn him to shreds. If you have a problem with where he said it, great. If you have a problem with what he said, you’re only mad that he took a stance contrary to yours. Can you be mad at Costas for both reasons? Absolutley. Just make sure all your anger isn’t because he was pro gun control (Bielema leaving hurts our Rosse Bowl chances)
Lastly, I went to the Capital One Bowl in 2007, have had football season tickets all four years in college 2007-2010, went to every Big Ten game except ones where I had other plans (aka monster party at Brando’s house where we still had the game on or if I had friends in town), have had Basketball season tickets for over 15 years, went to the school. I can’t remember a game I didn’t watch (Ok, I listened to the Oregon State game because I was watching Sarah run the Tough Mudder), but as stated above, I don’t think I need to like Bielema to be a true fan.
I’m sure the only thing people will take out of this is that my fantasy team hasn’t won a championship.
Posted by Mike Wendt on September 12, 2012
The Packers and Bears meet Thursday night in a huge NFC North battle that some people are heralding as a “must-win” for the Packers, who would drop to 0-2 with a loss. The Packers-Bears rivalry is the league’s longest rivalry, dating back to 1921, and the Bears lead the series 92-86-6. We here at BrentFavre.com did a little digging to uncover some little known facts about the oldest rivals in the NFL. Enjoy!
November 23rd, 1924. Bears 3, Packers 0. The Packers’ Walter Voss and the Bears’ Frank Hanny become the first documented players to be ejected from an NFL game. After a heated exchange before halftime, the two exchanged blows and were removed from the game, but entered into the record books.
December 9th, 1928 – November 9th, 1930. Not only did the Packers beat the Bears five consecutive times during this stretch, they shut them out all five times. The Packers won by scores of 6-0, 23-0, 14-0, 25-0 and 7-0. The Packers are also the only team in NFL history to shut out the same team three times in a season, which they accomplished in 1929. The final shutout resulted in the Packers winning their first NFL championship.
October 16th, 1932, September 18th, 1938. In October 1932, the Packers became the first NFL team to win a game by the score of 2-0. Amazingly, the Bears returned the favor only six years later, besting the green and gold by the same 2-0 margin. Coincidentally, this rivalry also boasts the only exhibition game that ended by a score of 2-0. That game happened August 7th, 1971. The Packers lost that contest after their quarterback dropped back to pass and stepped out of the back of the endzone. I imagine it probably looked something like this.
September 13th, 1964. Paul Hornung becomes only the second player in NFL history to successfully make a “fair catch kick”, and to this day Hornung holds the record for longest successful fair catch kick in NFL history. The 52-yard boot came at the close of the first half, and helped propel the Packers to a 23-12 victory over the Bears.
November 3rd, 1968. It took only four years for the Bears to return the favor to the Packers, as the Bears’ Mac Percival made a 43-yard fair catch kick with 20 seconds left to lift the Bears over the Packers by a score of 13-10. Percival’s game-winning fair catch kick is the only of it’s kind in NFL history.
November 10th, 1974. For the first time during the rivalry, the Packers and Bears faced off in a city not named Green Bay or Chicago. The game was played at Milwaukee County Stadium, and the Packers won 20-3. 28 years later, the Packers beat the Bears in Champaign, Illinois, the only other game played outside of Green Bay or Chicago. Soldier Field was undergoing construction at the time.
October 17th, 1991. The Bears beat the Packers in the only Thursday game in the history of their rivalry. The Packers and Bears each have six wins against the other in games that weren’t played on Sundays. The Packers are 6-5 against the Bears on Mondays.
October 31st, 1994 – December 27th, 1998. Between 1994 and 1998, the Packers rattled off 10 straight wins over the Bears, which stands as the longest winning streak in the rivalry. The Packers are 27-10 against the Bears since 1994.
Despite being the oldest rivalry in the NFL, Packers-Bears is not the oldest continuous rivalry in the NFL. That distinction goes to the Packers-Lions rivalry. The Packers and the Lions have played each other every season since 1932. The Packers-Bears rivalry would be to oldest continuous rivalry in the NFL, but they did not play each other during the strike-shortened season in 1982, while the Packers and Lions did meet.
Brett Favre went 22-10 against the Bears during his career as a Packer. Currently, Aaron Rodgers is 7-2 against Chicago.
The Bears and the Packers rank first and second in former players in the NFL Hall of Fame. The Bears have 29 former players enshrined in Canton, while the Packers have 26.
Over 182 meetings, the Bears have outscored the Packers 3145-3045. The Bears average 17.2 points a game while the Packers average 16.7.
I think the Packers move to 1-1 against the Bears in Thursday night games as Clay Matthews and the rest of the defense makes a statement. Tune in and watch history Thursday night!
Questions? Comments? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up in the Twittersphere @MikeWendt7.
Posted by Mike Wendt on September 5, 2012
The NFL regular season kicks off tonight with Jerry’s Cowboys visiting the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, but before the pigskin starts flying I thought I’d take a look into my crystal ball and see what surprises might lie ahead in 2012. I’ll finish with my Super Bowl pick.
Looking into the NFL's crystal ball
1) The 49ers will miss the playoffs
The 49ers had huge success in 2011, going 13-3 and winning the NFC West before falling in overtime to the Giants in the NFC Championship. The 49ers had one of the best defenses in the NFL, led by a daunting linebacker duo in Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman. In the 1980′s defenses won championships, but in 2012 the league is all about the quarterback. When you take a look at the other quarterbacks in the conference, it’s tough to justify ranking Alex Smith in the top half. The NFC boasts Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Mike Vick, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton. Personally I think Robert Griffin III will be better than Alex Smith too, which means Smith is the 11th best quarterback in a 16-team conference. That doesn’t bode well for the 49ers, who will be sitting at home come January.
2) Three NFC North teams will make the playoffs
On paper, the NFC North looks like the best division in football, and I think the big three will be strong all season in 2012. The Packers improved their defense, and many believe this team is more talented than the one that won the Super Bowl in 2010. The Bears were on pace for the playoffs before Jay Cutler went down with an injury, but he’s back and the Bears added Cutler’s favorite target from his Denver days in Brandon Marshall. Detroit looks to improve upon their 10-win season from a year ago, and last year marked their first playoff appearance since 1995. If Stafford can stay healthy, the Lions should be able to score with the best of them. Look for the three teams to beat up on one another while they all use the Vikings as a doormat. The big three will all have double digits wins this year.
3) Tim Tebow, who led the Broncos to the playoffs in 2012, will not finish the season with the Jets
Love him or hate him, Tim Tebow was the talk of the 2011 NFL season. After taking over for Kyle Orton in Week 7, Tebow went 8-5, including six straight wins from Weeks 9-14. Tebow’s 2012 predicament is similar to 2011, and he will begin the season as a backup with a huge fan base. This season will unfold differently though. The Jets are the laughing stock of the NFL, and when both quarterbacks fail to produce something will need to change. The Jets will end up trading Tebow for a draft pick during the season, and they’ll begin to rebuild the franchise.
4) Adrian Peterson will lead the league in rushing
Peterson is a beast. The guy tore his ACL and MCL on Christmas Eve last year, and yet he’ll be getting carries this Sunday. Purple Jesus failed to break 1,000 yards for the first time in his career last year, but he’ll look to prove the doubters wrong in 2012. With the rest off the NFC North airing the ball out, the Vikings will look to control the clock and limit their opponents’ possessions, and giving the rock to AP is the best way to do that. It may take him a few weeks to amp up his workload, but Peterson will top the rushing charts when the season draws to close.
5) Mike Vick will play in all 16 games
Vick has had a myriad of injuries since he entered the league, and many believe he brings it upon himself by his style of play. While some of that may be true, I think Vick realizes that he needs to be on the field if the Eagles are going to win. Many of his injuries, like his broken leg and broken ribs, were a result of him trying to get an extra yard or two. It’s probably not a stat, but if it were I’d put a lot of money on Vick leading the league in slides following a rush this season. Vick’s also been a bit unlucky with his injuries, and I think the stars align and he plays each game this year.
6) Russell Wilson will not finish the season as Seattle’s starting quarterback
Let me be clear, I have a huge man-crush on Wilson and I hope he leads Seattle to the playoffs, but I just think it’s more likely the pendulum swings in the other direction. Wilson has yet to face a first team defense for an entire game, and he doesn’t have a lot of offensive weapons to work with, which will hurt him in the beginning of the year. Looking at their schedule, the Seahawks likely won’t be favored in a game until Week 9 when they host the Vikings. Before they play the Queens, the Seahawks host the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots, and are on the road against Arizona, St. Louis, Carolina, Detroit and San Francisco. They could easily be 1-7 after their first eight games. If that’s the case, Seattle’s $20 million man Matt Flynn will likely get the call.
7) The Saints will clinch a playoff bye without Sean Payton
The talk of the NFL offseason this year was the Saints bounty scandal, which resulted in head coach Sean Payton receiving a season long suspension. For a team with a lesser quarterback, this would be a huge problem, but Drew Bress is one of the smartest quarterbacks in the league, and he’ll ensure that the offense doesn’t miss a beat without Payton. With the NFL North and NFC East beating up on each other and San Fran’s return to mediocrity, the Saints should easily make the playoffs as long as they can stay ahead of the Falcons. The Saints will win 12 games and lock up a bye without their head coach.
8) No rookie quarterback will lead his team to the playoffs
Five rookie quarterbacks will start for NFL teams in Week 1, but none of them will be playing in January. Many people love Andrew Luck and RG3, but the Texans look like they have a stranglehold on the AFC South and Griffin plays in one of the tougher divisions in football. Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill are stuck on terrible teams, so five or six wins would be a step in the right direction for either franchise. A lot of people are predicting that Russell Wilson could push Seattle to the top of the division, but their schedule is brutal and they’ll be lucky to start 3-5. I’m not saying I wouldn’t mind having some of these guys on my fantasy team, I just don’t see any of them pulling an Andy Dalton and reaching the playoffs.
9) The replacement refs will do a fine job until the regular refs sign a new deal
Everyone and their mother was freaking out about some of the calls during the preseason, and rightfully so, but just like the players, the preseason is a time to make sure everything runs smoothly when the season begins. Will there be bad calls? Sure. But regular season referees make bad calls all the time. In 2008, everyone’s favorite ref Ed Hochuli screwed up a call in the Broncos-Chargers game that cost San Diego a win, and it was such a bad call that it led to expanded replay during the following season. I watched the Packers-Chiefs preseason game, and didn’t even notice the refs. That’s how it’s suppose to be. There will be some minor kinks, but no team will lose a game directly resulting from a replacement ref call.
10) The Packers will win the Super Bowl
This might be the least bold prediction of them all. I love what the Packers added on the defensive side of the ball, and Aaron Rodgers will continue to dominate opposing defenses. Every year I hope for a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl because I think the Packers are the team of the 2010′s, while the Pats dominated the last decade of football. I want to see Rodgers vs Brady on the biggest stage of them all, and I think we’ll be in for a real treat come February. Rodgers will lead the Packers past Touchdown Tommy by a score of 38-34.
Got a prediction for this season? Or want to send me your Super Bowl pick? Drop me a line at email@example.com or on Twitter @MikeWendt7 and I’ll post some of the reader predictions in this column or the next one.
Posted by Mike Wendt on August 20, 2012
With preseason games in full swing and position battles coming down to the wire, depth charts are starting to solidify across the National Football League. While the Packer defense is still working out coverage assignments and adjusting to the loss of Desmond Bishop, the league’s most potent offense has most of the starting jobs already penciled in. The biggest question mark entering the final two weeks of the preseason is who will get the starting nod at tailback. James Starks entered camp as the favorite to earn the role, but he looked terrible against the Chargers and is now dealing with a turf toe injury that has him sidelined indefinitely. The Packers signed 29-year old Cedric Benson to challenge Starks for the role, and now C-Bens may have the inside track to win the gig outright. That being said, the veteran has a lot of miles on him, and the team prefers the speed and quickness that Alex Green offers. Green, though, is unproven and working his way back from an ACL injury he suffered last season.
Every year the talking heads say the same things, “You need to have a running game if you want to win in the National Football League”, “You can’t win in the NFL if you’re a one dimensional team”, and “The Packers need to establish a running game if they want to compete for a Super Bowl this season”. I understand the need to fill air-time/incite a debate/establish an angle for a column, but back up these statements with some numbers. To me, it seems like the only reason a team needs to have an efficient ground game is because they don’t have enough faith in their quarterback to throw the ball 40-plus times. The Miami Heat didn’t need to establish a low-post game early in in the playoffs, they had Lebron and Dwayne Wade. They wanted the ball to go through their best player. In fact, the Heat actually played better basketball after Chris Bosh went down with an abdominal strain, due in large part to the fact that LBJ and Wade didn’t need to try to run their offense through the post.
Back to the Packers. Green Bay has one of the the best quarterbacks in the league, they don’t need to establish a running game because they have faith in Rodgers’ ability. Same goes for teams like the Patriots, Saints and Giants. They are at their best when their best player has the ball in his hands, and that’s their quarterbacks. They don’t need to try to force a running game to emerge just because that’s how the game has always been played. Times have changed. Take a look at the stats below for the teams who have played in the Super Bowl over the last few years.
Giants (league worst 32nd ranked rushing yards per game) (5th ranked PY/G)
Patriots (20th ranked RY/G) (2nd ranked PY/G)
Packers (24th ranked RY/G) (5th ranked PY/G)
Steelers (11th ranked RY/G) (14th ranked PY/G)
Saints (6th ranked RY/G) (4th ranked PY/G)
Colts (league worst 32nd ranked rushing yards per game) (2nd ranked PY/G)
Steelers (23rd ranked RY/G) (17th ranked PY/G)
Cardinals (league worst 32nd ranked rushing yards per game) (2nd ranked PY/G)
So in three of the past four Super Bowls, a team ranked dead last in rushing yards per game has made it to the big stage, and only one of the eight teams was ranked higher in rushing yards per game than they were in passing yards per game.
The NFL has entered a new era where pass-first offenses have, at its most elite level, evolved into a pass-first-and-second-and-sometimes-third offenses. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a great running game, but no team ranked in the top five in rushing yards per game has made it to the Super Bowl over the last four years, so a 1,000-yard back isn’t a necessity anymore. Personally, I’d start the running back who is the best at picking up the blitz, because the Packers will only be successful if Rodgers is standing upright. I’ll be keeping an eye on the running back situation as it unfolds over the next few weeks, I just don’t think the battle is as important as it’s being hyped up to be.
Who do you think should run the ball for the Packers? How do you think they’ll do this season? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or get at me on Twitter @MikeWendt7.
Posted by Mike Wendt on April 30, 2012
If you read last week’s Pre-Draft column, you can probably assume that I’m pretty happy with the picks the Packers made. The prediction of Nick Perry turned out to be spot-on, and the Packers traded up in the second round to grab Jerel Worthy, another guy on the list. Now that the picks are official, let’s take a look at how the fresh faces should impact the Packers in 2012.
The Packers’ first round pick has a chance to make an impact right from the start. Perry is already listed as the starter on some unofficial depth charts, and he’ll challenge Frank Zambo and Eric Walden for the opportunity to start opposite Clay Matthews. The Packers re-signed Walden last week, but they clearly envision Perry as the future at outside linebacker. Perry has great speed off the edge and should be able to get pressure on the quarterback, something the Packers struggled to do last season. The Packers will be a force to be reckoned with if Perry can play anywhere near the level of fellow Trojan Clay Matthews.
Worthy easily could have been a first round pick, and Ted Thompson knew he wasn’t going to stay on the board until the Packers’ pick at #59, so he moved up to get the big boy from Michigan State. The Packers would love to have Worthy anchor the right side of the line, as that side lacks the size of the other starters. As it stands now, Pickett and Raji, the other two starters, are listed at 340lbs and 337lbs a piece. Worthy is only listed at 310lbs, but he’s bigger than Anthony Hargrove (272lbs) and Jarius Wynn (285lbs), the two guys who are expected to compete for the other starting defensive end position. If either Perry or Worthy plans out, this draft will be considered a success for the Packers.
Hayward is a name I hadn’t heard much of before the draft, but after doing some research I think Hayward can be a great addition to the Packers. Hayward is a ball-hawk, with 11 interceptions over the last two seasons. Some people think he lacks height, but both Tramon Williams and Sam Shields are also listed at 5-11. The biggest rumor this offseason is whether or not Charles Woodson will move from cornerback to safety, and it looks like that may very well be the case with the Packers moving up in the draft to get Hayward. Hayward could easily be starting across from Tramon Williams if the Packers roll with Woodson and Burnett at safety.
The Daniels pick was the first pick I didn’t love. Daniels is pretty small for the 3-4 system (6-0, 290lbs) and he’s stuck behind Pickett, Worthy, Hargrove and Wynn on the depth chart. I would have liked to see the Packers take a chance on a running back here, but the Packers were so bad at getting defensive pressure last season that the pick makes sense. He’ll battle to be a second-string defensive end in training camp.
McMillian has been compared to Atari Bigby, an aggressive safety who isn’t afraid to land a big hit on receivers and running backs. McMillian will likely be groomed to become a starting safety once Chuck Woodson retires, but if Chuck stays at cornerback this season McMillian could see plenty of action in 2012. McMillian has great size and speed for a safety, and his presence helps fill the void left by Nick Collins, who was released after suffering a neck injury last season.
Many people had Manning being taken earlier than the fifth round, but he continued to fall on the third day of the draft and the Packers moved up to grab him. He’ll compete with Desmond Bishop, AJ Hawk, Robert Francois and DJ Smith for reps at inside linebacker. If he play up to his ability, he could give Hawk a run for his starting spot.
Will provide depth on the offensive line. He’ll have to earn his roster spot in training camp first though.
He’ll battle Graham Harrell for the right to backup Aaron Rodgers.
So what do you think of the Packers’ draft? Thought on Perry, Worthy and the gang? Drop me a line at email@example.com or on Twitter @MikeWendt7
Posted by Mike Wendt on April 16, 2012
Heading into the playoffs last season, Green Bay looked like the favorite to once again win the Super Bowl and enter the NFL draft with the last pick in the first round. As it turned out, the Packers weren’t able to stop Eli Manning, probably because he was wearing his Citizen EcoDrive watch. Although the game was ugly, it pointed some flaws on the defensive side of the ball that will likely be addressed in the draft. What ultimately killed the Packers in the playoffs was their inability to get Manning and the Giants off the field on third down (8-of-16 on third down conversions, but they converted about 8-of-10 to break the game open). The Packers simply couldn’t get enough pressure on Eli and it killed them. I’ve been hearing about a few different players the Packers might draft, so instead of focusing on just one guy like in years past, we’ll give you a few guys who have a great chance to don Green and Gold as the Packers’ first round pick. With the 28th selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers might select:
Nick Perry (USC) – OLB/DE
Why the Pack would take him – Perry is listed at 6’3”, 250 pounds, which probably makes him too small to play defensive end in the Packers’ 3-4 system, but he has great speed and explosiveness off the edge and could be used opposite Clay Matthews as a pass rushing outside linebacker. He struggles when he needs to drive a tackle or tight end into the backfield, but offenses always need to account for Perry because his speed rush is so deadly. Perry would likely be one of the best three players available if he falls to the Packers, and Ted Thompson loves to grab the best player available, so if he’s there I believe he’ll be the pick.
Why the Pack wouldn’t take him – The biggest reason why the Packers wouldn’t select Perry is because some other team already did. Nobody really knows where he’ll be drafted. I’ve seen Perry go as high as #12 to the Seahawks, and as low as sliding to the second round, so it’s anybody’s guess. Perry would be a good fit in Houston and New England, who hold the two spots right before the Packers in the first round, so don’t be surprised if he’s taken right before the Packers get on the clock. Another reason why the Packers may pass on Perry is his size. As stated earlier, he struggles to get penetration when he’s not speed rushing, so he’ll need to get stronger if he wants to be effective at the next level. That being said, Perry is listed at 6’3”, 250, and Clay Matthews is listed as 6’3, 255, and we’ve seen how effective he can be.
Shea McClellin (Boise State) – OLB/DE
Why the Pack would take him – Word on the street is that Ted Thompson really likes McClellin, so much so that it would have been a no doubt pick if McClellin was available in the second round. As is common during the offseason, certain players’ stock rises because of a solid combine and interest from multiple suitors. McClellin has gone from a mid-second round pick to a potential top-25 pick over the last few months as scouts have started comparing his ability to Brooks Reed, the Arizona Wildcat standout who had a very impressive rookie season with the Texans in 2011. McClellin is built much like the other hybrid outside linebackers, as he is listed at 6’3, 258. He’s another linebacker the specializes in the pass rush, but he’s also better than average in pass coverage. He’s got a motor that doesn’t stop when he’s on the field, and could be a Packer depending how how the rest of the first round falls.
Why the Pack wouldn’t take him – Unlike Perry, McClellin will likely still be on the board when the Packers are on the clock in the first round. The main reason why the Packers would pass on McClellin is because somebody else on their big board has fallen or because there are a handful of “best players available” still on the board. Again, we know the Ted Thompson loves to draft the best player available, and although McClellin is a talented prospect, Thompson might look for better value in the second or third round. If Nick Perry is off the board and a top cornerback or running back falls to the Packers, don’t be surprised if they pass on McClellin and try to make a trade to move up in the second round.
Jerel Worthy (Michigan State) DT/DE
Why the Pack would take him – Although some scouts think he needs to play in a 4-3 defense to maximize his abilities, Worthy would be a solid addition to the Packers as a 3-4 defensive end. He’s the type of player that doesn’t necessarily fit the scheme, but he’s one of the most talented players on the defensive side of the ball and could easily be one of Ted Thompson’s “best player available” picks. The Packers have struggled to get defensive end penetration since Cullen Jenkins left in free agency, and the newly suspended Mike Neal has been hampered by injuries and lackluster play during his development as Jenkins’ replacement. I’ve seen Worthy ranked as the top DE/DT in the draft, and although he’d probably be more comfortable in a 4-3 scheme his 6’3, 310 pound frame would fit into the Packers’ system. Almost every mock I’ve seen has the Broncos grabbing Worthy at #25, so Denver is likely the last hurdle he’d have to clear for the Packers to have an opportunity to draft him. The Packers could use a guy like Worthy to help stop the run and get penetration on pass plays to take pressure off our outside linebackers.
Why the Pack wouldn’t take him – Aside from the fact that he may not be available for the Packers to draft, the biggest knock against Worthy is his inconsistency. Worthy has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but he has also faded away from the spotlight at crucial moments in games, and scouts want to see him “bring it” on every play. Some question his maturity, but a team like the Packers should be able to keep him in line without much trouble. Plus, he’s a Big Ten guy who would get a lot of love from the crowd at the first signs of success, so I think he could be a great fit if given the chance. He’s got the talent, but the few knocks against Worthy could be enough for Thompson to pass on the Michigan State star.
Peter Konz (Wisconsin) – C
The Packers added Jeff Saturday to replace Scott Wells, but they need to start thinking about a long term replacement.
Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) – OLB/DE
If Upshaw falls to the Pack he’ll likely be taken over McClellin, but most mocks have him going to the Jets at #16. He’s another hybrid 3-4 backer.
Devon Still (Penn State) – DE/DT
Much like Worthy, Still could help solidify the defensive end position in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme. I think the Packers take Worthy over Still, but he’s an option if Perry, Worthy and Upshaw are gone.
Who do you think the Packers will draft? Leave a comment or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MikeWendt7
Posted by Mike Wendt on January 19, 2012
If you’re like me, it’s taken you a few days to really digest Sunday’s loss to the Giants. The Packers, who have been so dominant over the last 21 games, looked flat and out of sync in the playoff game. Receivers were running the wrong routes (Finley on a key third down), guys were dropping balls (who didn’t) and nobody could get pressure on Eli Manning (we needed Cullen Jenkins). Watching the loss unfold was weird, because as Packer fans, this was the first time the team had lost a meaningful game since Week 15 last season against the Patriots. Last season wins and losses were tough to come by, and just getting in the playoffs was a huge accomplishment. This year, Packer fans didn’t care if we dropped one, two or five games, we knew the team was going to make the playoffs. Any losses the team suffered this year didn’t feel like losses, because we knew where the team would be come January. That’s why this loss, the one that ends our season, feels so strange to fans. But, since we’re only four months or so until OTA’s, I think it’s about time we looked ahead to next season. Here’s a list of things I’d like to see the Packers do, and since I’m an owner, I think these carry a little more weight!
1) Franchise tag Matt Flynn
The Packers need to franchise Flynn this offseason to prevent him walking away for nothing. Slap the tag on him and then ship him off somewhere. I know the NFL frowns on this practice, but since it’s completely legal the Packers might as well do it. The franchise tag salary for a quarterback is $16.4 million, but the contract can be restructured by the new team Flynn is traded to. I know some people think we should save the tag for JerMichael Finley, and I’ll get to Finley later, but we need to get value for Flynn since he looks like he is the real deal. It will be interesting to see what the Packers can get for Flynn, because both sides think they have leverage. Interested teams know the Packers only tagged Flynn in order to trade him, but the Packers will have plenty of interested teams looking to make a move for a potential franchise quarterback. The Kevin Kolb flop in Arizona probably hurts Flynn’s value the most, because like Kolb, Flynn has very little experience, although he’s looked like a stud in both contests. I think a second round pick is a bargain for Flynn, and wouldn’t be surprised to see a team trade a late first round pick for him. Personally though, I think we’ll get a early second round pick for Flynn if he gets the tag-and-deal.
2) Be reasonable with Finley, but don’t let him leave.
Let me preface this paragraph by saying that nobody on the team is more frustrating to watch than JerMichael. He dropped too many balls this season, ran some shaky routes, and his ego is still somewhat of a problem. If you yell out loud when you watched the Packers this season, you found yourself yelling at Finley more than anyone else.
That being said, all the areas he was weak in are coachable areas. Coaches can work on his hands, he can learn to run better routes and when he matures he’ll control himself better on the field. You can’t teach a guy to be 6-5, 247 pounds and run a 4.65 forty. Plus, he’s only 24. Give the guy a break, he’ll figure it out as he gets a little older.
Looking at his numbers, Finley had a decent season, but nothing crazy like Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski. Finley ranked 14th in receptions and 12th in yards by tight ends, so he shouldn’t be demanding a crazy salary. He proved he could stay healthy for a full season, but the Packers won the Super Bowl without him and lost with him, so who’s to say his presence is needed?
I’m guessing Finley is going to want Jason Witten style money. Witten inked a five-year, $37 million deal in 2011, so I think Finley believes he should be paid in the $7-9 million a year range. The franchise tag salary for a tight end is $5.9 million, so tagging him just to work out a deal for about $2-3 million more a year seems pointless. Get the 2nd rounder for Flynn, and if Finley wants more than $10 million a season, let him walk and use the pick we get for Flynn on another tight end. Tagging Finley just doesn’t seem like the Ted Thompson way of doing business. I see the Packers offering Finley a four year deal in the $20 million range. Sides will squabble and I think we’ll end up getting Finley for something like four years, $25 million with a player option for a fifth year and $12 million guaranteed. I’d be on board with this.
3) Let Ryan Gran go, and find a running back already.
I do not like Ryan Grant. If you watched the playoff game with me, you would know this. I hate watching him run for two yards on 2nd and 10. I’ll admit that he’s a better pass blocker than James Starks, but Starks is by far the better runner. That being said, Starks isn’t the running back of the of the future either. There is a lot of depth in this year’s running back class, and don’t be surprised if Thompson drafts two running backs this year. Trent Richardson, Lamar Wilson, Chris Polk, LaMichael James, David Wilson, Isaiah Pead, and Bernard Pierce are all guys that could step into a major role at the next level. I want the Packers to draft one of them.
4) Do not move Charles Woodson to safety
Woodson had a good, but not a great season in 2011. Everyone thinks he’s slowing down and that he should be moved to safety, but that would only make things worse. Chuck is at his best when he’s playing closer to the line of scrimmage. He’s better at covering receivers because it’s more of a reaction than a thought process, and when he’s at the line the offense always has to account for a potential Woody blitz (just ask Tony Romo, 4-min mark). The biggest problem for the defense this year was the lack of a pass rush, which forced our secondary to cover guys for six-to-ten seconds every play. A better pass rush from the front three would allow our blitzers to get to the quarterback faster and force the opposing quarterback into bad throws, which takes a lot of pressure off our secondary.
5) Draft another Clay Mattews with our first round pick.
Ok, this might be easier said than done, but if offenses have to account for Matthews and Matthews 2.0 blitzing from either side, that will push the quarterback up into the pocket where our big front three should be waiting. A lack of a pass rush killed the Packers against the Giants, drafting another blitzing 3-4 linebacker would help solve that problem.
6) Keep Driver
Driver is set to make $5.6 million in 2012. I know he only caught 37 balls in 2011 (he also made $5.6 million in 2011, so that’s just over $150,000 per catch), but Driver has the attitude I want in players on my favorite team. He was targeted twice in the loss to the Giants, but made nice grabs on both the balls thrown his way. He was clearly focused and wanted it bad. If you watched the Super Bowl DVD you saw how bad Driver wanted to win the Super Bowl even though he left the game with an injury. He was standing on the bench trying to get a better view, living and dying with each play. He’s got the heart of a champion and his attitude would be contagious in the locker room. I don’t even want to play the “he’s earned it” or “the Packers owe it to him” card. The guy still has something left in the tank and is the perfect locker room veteran for this team. If the Packers don’t pay him, someone else will. Driver, a Texas native, could easily sign with the young-but-very-talented Houston Texans if the Packers aren’t careful. Please Ted Thompson, Driver is the anti-Favre, he’s worth the money late in his career. If you don’t listen to me Ted, at least listen to Teddy KGB.
(P.S. Rounders may be my favorite movie of all-time. Thank you Shaun Adamson for putting that on Youtube)
What do you think the Packers should do this offseason? Drop me a line, or tweet me on Twitter @MikeWendt7. I promise to tweet ya back.
Posted by Mike Wendt on January 5, 2012
Growing up in as an only child in the early 90′s, I was first introduced to a lot of ideas and concepts from popular television shows. One of the shows that impacted my childhood was The Wonder Years. For those of you unfamiliar with The Wonder Years, the show centered around a kid growing up in the 1970′s and facing all the challenges surrounding adolescence and beyond. I felt connected to Kevin, the character played by Fred Savage, because he was close to my age and because his problems related to what I was or would soon be going through. Whether it be riding a bike, dealing with personal loss, or just the idea of kissing a girl, I could relate to what Kevin went through.
I also remember The Wonder Years because Kevin always had a way of passing on good advice. One thing he said that stuck with many fans of the show was “memories are a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” When we remember back to some of the happiest and saddest parts of our lives, we remember who we were with, and how they made us feel. People hold on to memories because, ultimately, we are only made up of our experiences and interactions with others.
I bring this up because there has been a lot of backlash about the Packers selling stock certificates to fans, with the promise of any stockholder being able to call themselves an “NFL owner”. We’ve all heard the comments by now. “I wish (insert team name here) could sell stock and raise money off idiot fans”, or “Green Bay has the smartest front office and the dumbest fans in the league, who would throw away $250 for a piece of paper that is worth nothing”.
In a sense, yes, the stock certificate is worth less than the postage used to ship them. But in another sense, the stock is worth so much more than $250.
To many Packer fans around the country, myself included, the stock sale gave us a tangible way to hold onto the things we love, the things we are, the things we never want to lose. We always remember who we were with at cherished moments in our life, but what we were doing is sometimes just as special. Like many fans, I can remember the first Packer game I attended (August 11th, 1996) and who I watched the game with (my father, uncle and cousin). I remember almost getting ticketed by Green Bay police while trying to scalp tickets before the Divisional playoff game in 2007, a game where my friends and I sat in a blizzard with MVP painted on our shirtless chests to watch Brett Favre earn what would turn out to be his final win as a Packer. I remember partying to the wee hours of the morning on State Street with friends and fans alike after winning Super Bowl XLV, many people drunk on the thrill of victory more than the beer that flowed so freely that February night.
Forty years from now, while I’m all but certain these won’t be my dearest memories, I know those experiences will never be forgotten. Without the Packers, some of my favorite experiences never would have been possible. I won’t always have my dad, but I’ll always remember him taking me to my first Packer game. I know that it will be tough to keep in touch with my friends who went to the playoff game with me, but we’ll always have the memory of those big white snowflakes melting as they landed on our bare shoulders and chests that cold Lambeau afternoon.
I have no shame in admitting that I love the Packers. While it may be a different love than the love I have for some of the people in my life, it’s a much stronger bond than the love that is casually thrown around in conversations like “I love the movie Forrest Gump”, or “I love the way my hips look in these jeans”.
For me, buying stock was, in many ways, a way to further my connection with the team as well a chance to thank the Packers for all they have meant to me growing up. The stock was purchased for me by money left by my late grandfather, which in itself will become another memory of him. Looking at the stock certificate will forever connect me to family as much as it connects me to the Packers.
There will always be people who will never understand why someone would spend $250 on something that, in their mind, is worthless.
To me, the stock is a culmination of the memories I’ve shared with so many people along the way. To me, the stock, and the memories, are priceless. They are something I love, something I want to hold onto, something I never want to lose.
Thoughts on the piece or the stock sale? Drop me a line at email@example.com or on Twitter @Mikewendt7.
Posted by Mike Wendt on December 22, 2011
The Packers and Bears will meet for the 184th time on Sunday, and although the Bears lead the all-time series 92-85-6 the matchup has been a little one sided of late, with the Packers winning five of the last six games. The Packers are expected to win once again, as they enter the Christmas day matchup as 13-point favorites and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win. As with any Packers-Bears game, there will be no love lost between the two fan bases, but there’s at least one Bears fan who will will be cheering for the Packers, at least until they get the goose egg off the scoreboard.
Dan Sawicki, the owner of Sawicki Motors in Rochelle, Illinois has signed off on an interesting sales gimmick in hopes of boosting holiday sales. The dealership is offering 100 percent rebates on any car purchased between December 16 and December 24. You heard right, 100 percent rebates on any vehicle on the lot. But before you drive south to put a down payment on $75,000 Range Rover as a Christmas present for yourself, you should take note that the rebates only go into effect if the Bears manage to shutout the Packers at Lambeau.
Per the Rockford Register Star, the idea was born when a few employees began discussing what type of promotion the dealership could run for the holidays.
“We were talking, and he said if the Packers shut out the Bears we should give away a free maintenance package,” Sales Manager Ron Matula said. “I told him we should up that. If (the Bears shut out the Packers), I’ll give away all of the cars. We laughed about it.”
They may have laughed in the beginning, but considering how unlikely a Bears shutout is, the dealership has decided to “risk” up to $1 million in free cars to boost sales and gain national attention. The promotion has kept Sawicki Motors buzzing over the last few days.
“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” Matula said.
While some folks in Illinois have been having fun with the promotion, it shouldn’t be lost on them that the only reason the promotion is even being offered in the first place is because the Packers are awesome and the Bears suck.
How long will it take for the Packers to score on Sunday? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MikeWendt7.
Posted by Mike Wendt on December 14, 2011
The Packers will continue their quest for perfection this Sunday against the Chiefs, and if the green and gold move to 14-0 they will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Although clinching home-field is basically a done deal, the Packers need to seriously consider how they want these last few games to play out.
Let’s assume the Packers take care of business against Kansas City, which would leave two meaningless games against divisional foes to close out the year. While the games won’t impact the Packers from a playoff perspective, both the Bears and the Lions are right in the thick of the playoff hunt and will likely need to win those games to secure a berth. I’m all for perfection (I’ll explain later), but the Packers have already lost one of their top playmakers for a few weeks in a game where the Raiders never threatened the Pack, and I’d hate to see another top player go down.
When the Colts were 14-0, they played their starters in the first half, then trotted out the backups in the second half and went on to lose. Indy fell short of the Super Bowl that year and many blamed their style of play in the final weeks. Indy stayed healthy during the final weeks, but people argued that the Colts looked out of rhythm early in their playoff game, and it’s not that far fetched to believe that Peyton and his receivers were just a tad bit rusty after the extra time off.
The thing to know about NFL players is that they really enjoy their weekly routines, and each player uses the days leading up to Sunday to prepare both mentally and physically for the task ahead. When you throw players out of the rhythm, they oftentimes are sluggish early in the game. In 2011, teams coming off a bye went 16-16 this year. Many would expect that win column to be higher considering teams have more time to get healthy and more days to prepare for the other team, yet the stats don’t lie.
Should the Packers try for 19-0?
I bring this up because Aaron Rodgers said in a radio interview earlier this week that “the score may come into play here the last few weeks potentially if we’ve got things wrapped up.” It sounds as if there have been some internal discussions regarding how long the starters will play these last few weeks. Rodgers prefaced the statement with “the score may come into play”, hinting that the starters may only sit if the game is in hand, but I would be shocked if Rodgers was under center in the fourth quarter against the Lions in Week 17, especially with N’damukong “Stomp the Yard” Suh on the field.
Look, I really want the Packers to go undefeated. Can you remember off the top of your head who won the Super Bowl six years ago? 18 years ago? Super Bowl winners fade from our memory over time, but an undefeated season would never be forgot. Whenever a team starts 8-0 everyone in the national media starts talking about the 1972 Dolphins. It’s time to shut those old geezers up and cement history with a truly perfect 19-0 season.
Worst case scenario is that the Packers lose Rodgers for the year to an injury in a meaningless game and lose in the first round of the playoffs. Yes, it would suck, but the Packers won the Super Bowl last year and are set up to be a contender for the next decade. We’d move on. Best case scenario, the Packers run the table with their starters icing games, streamroll the other NFC contenders in Lambeau, then topple the Patriots in the Super Bowl to finish a perfect 19-0. Beating the Pats would be extra sweet for two reasons. The Pats were the only team to reach 18-0 before falling in the Super Bowl to the Giants, so beating Belicheat to accomplish something he never could do would be sweet. Also, the Patriots are the last team to beat the Packers, so we owe them a little revenge as is.
So I’m hoping McCarthy lets the top dogs play until the game is out of reach. As Lord Chesterfield once said; “Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.” In football, perfection is attainable, and with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, you’ve got to like the Packers’ aim.
How do you want the Packers to play in the final few games? Drop me a line at email@example.com or @MikeWendt7 on Twitter.