Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Chris Mortenson answered an e-mail on espn.com on May 20th and said that the Packers have lost roster depth this offseason. Who did the Packers lose this offseason? Four defensive starters on a defense that wasn't all that good last year. Nate Wayne wasn't as good in 2002 as 2001, leading me to believe he will continue to slide, but the Eagles were quick to sign him so apparently they see some good football left in him. Vonnie Holliday is a good player but he has trouble staying healthy. Hardy Nickerson doesn't have anything left in the tank and he is retired. I always liked Tyrone Williams until he was shoved into Eric Metcalf on a fumbled punt return in the playoff game against the Falcons and he would have cost $3 million for the signing bonus that the Falcons paid him as a free agent which is too much for him. The Packers lost two key backups in Bowen and McBride but both players are closer to the waiver wire then the Pro Bowl. Are Bowen and McBride the depth that Mort thought the Packers lost? They lost Terry Glenn on offense but he couldn't stay healthy either. For every player gone the Packers either have a replacement in-house (Johnson for Holliday, Westbrook for McBride, Edwards for Bowen, Walker/Ferguson for Glenn), traded for a replacement (Harris for Williams), drafted a replacement (Barnett for Nickerson) or signed a free agent (Navies for Wayne). We don't know yet if any of the replacements are better than the previous players but I think all of the replacements could be an improvement. My complaint with the column is that he wasn't specific about who the Packers lost that they did not replace. Plus he added a Packers-must-stay-healthy comment that applies to all NFL teams every season.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
I was searching for a blog devoted to the Packers, I couldn't find one, so I thought I would start one. I wanted to find out more news on three items about the team that interested me in the last month. First is the signing of Eric Crouch. When I see Crouch play I think Rich Gannon. Gannon is very athletic and intelligent but flourishes in a short passing game. Unfortunately for the Packers it took Gannon 15 years or so from rookie to MVP so Crouch will not become a Gannon overnight and most likely some other team will benefit from Crouch's time spent in Green Bay. Only time will tell if Crouch is as intelligent and driven to succeed as Gannon. Having two backups behind Favre like Crouch and Nall, who is tearing up NFL Europe, seems like a very exciting idea, although I don't know how practical it is. Second is Marques Anderson. Anderson had a great rookie year for the first half of the season, tailed off in the second half due in part to injuries, and came into this year as the starting safety opposite Sharper. So what has happened to him to make the Packers start wooing Sammy Knight and Jason Sehorn as free agents to replace him? Maybe they are just trying to light a fire under Anderson or maybe they know something I don't know. Third why didn't the Packers find a left tackle to backup Clifton, who is coming back from a serious injury? I thought Kevin Barry was the man they had in mind, but now they say he is just a right tackle. This is not a big concern since Flanagan can move to left tackle and Clifton is expected back but I would have like to see more depth at the position. Maybe they have brought in somebody to compete for the job that is below my radar. If you are wondering why I am not concerned about the linebackers position, well I am crossing my fingers on Barrett and Navies, expecting Diggs to continue to improve, and that the Packers know best. There doesn't seem to be any obvious answer in free agency and the Packers got stung by Hardy Nickerson last year anyway.