Monday, March 29, 2004

Michael Hawthorne was resigned for a two year deal as the 3rd cornerback after the Packers lost out on William Bartee. Bartee has not done much in his NFL career (zero interceptions in 57 career games) so the Packers were probably interested in his potential. Hawthorne outplayed Bartee in 2003 with 2 interceptions and 5 pass defenses compared to Bartee's 0 interceptions and 1 pass defense. I'm suspicious of players who have all the ability in the world, but can't perform on the field, so its probably for the best that Bartee stayed in Kansas City.

Hawthorne has great size (6'3"), but he is a little slow, which is probably why reported the Packers think Hawthorne could play at safety too. added a little dig on Hawthorne that he had some responsiblity in the botched 4th and forever in the playoff game against Philadelphia. If Hawthorne was responsible for the underneath coverage on the slot receiver, he really blew it because there was no defensive back playing underneath on that play. Terms were not released, but I would expect Hawthorne signed for about the same amount of signing bonus as Mark Roman ($700,000) signed for last week. If Hawthorne does have some coverage responsiblity miscues and because of his fallout with his coaches in New Orleans last season, its probably for the best if Hawthorne doesn't receive too much guaranteed money.

Its possible that Antuan Edwards will be resigned, although I am not expecting him back, but if Edwards did return the Packers would have an interesting mix of veteran defensive backs (Roman, Hawthorne, Edwards, Jue, maybe Bryant Westbrook, if healthy) who all could play corner or safety. If all these players are truly capable of playing either position, then its possible to enter camp with no one in a competition for just one position, although it appears Corey Fuller and Marques Anderson are safeties only, and the Packers are able to play the two players who have the best preseason no matter their expected position. It gives the Packers a lot of flexibility in deciding who plays alongside Mike McKenzie, Al Harris and Darren Sharper next season.

The first games of the 2004 NFL season were announced, and the Packers drew the short straw of having to play at Carolina on Monday Night Football in week 1. There should be a lot of energy in the stadium that night, and the Packers had a lot of preseason rust, Brett Favre in particular, in the opening game vs. Minnesota last season. Other useless stats: the road team hasn't won in the opening MNF game of the season since Miami in 1999, Carolina whipped the Packers 31 to 14 in Carolina on MNF in 2000, however, the Packers were 2-1 last season on MNF including the first win in the new Solider Field. It would be a very good win to start the season off 1-0, but it won't be easy.

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