Monday, May 03, 2004

Mark Hatley signed a contract extension to remain in the Packers' front office, acting as the number 2 personal guru behind Mike Sherman. Hatley did a good job rebuilding Chicago after the Dave Wannstedt era, acquiring all of the important players involved with Chicago's great 13-3 season in 2001. While in Chicago, he drafted such studs as Brian Urlacher, and he also drafted such duds as Cade McNown; such is the mixed resume that makes up every general manager's resume (although Hatley wasn't the "general manager" in title, because the McCaskey family were such control freaks that Chicago didn't have a general manager from 1985-2001). The Packers have become a better team since Hatley's arrival, so its good to see he will remain with the Packers.

One thing that was mentioned on ESPN during the draft was that the CB Ahmad Carroll played man-to-man coverage at Arkansas, and that was needed by all teams in the NFL because the league would be enforcing the rule that defenders can't put their hands on receivers after 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. This was an issue last season, especially since keeping their hands on the receivers during their routes was a main part of the strategy used by Carolina's secondary in the playoffs. As reports, this isn't a new rule, just an actual enforcement of existing rules. Who knows if the NFL will actually improve their enforcement in this area, but it might take away some of the glamour from cover 2 coverage schemes in 2004.

Nate Wayne won his dispute over a roster bonus according to . As usual, the lawyer screwed up. Apparently the NFL told the Packers they had until March 10 to make a roster decision with Wayne, while they actually had to make up their mind on March 9. I always expected the Packers to lose this battle, and it especially hurts because the entire reason why they cut Wayne was to avoid paying this bonus. The only consulation in this whole matter is that Philadelphia wasn't too impressed with Wayne's play last season, so Wayne isn't playing at the level he did a couple of seasons ago.

I forgot to mention one other player as a possible third tight end for next season. reminded me that converted linebacker TE Tony Donald is playing in NFL Europe, and the Packers are keeping a close eye on him. Donald and rookie free agent TE Keith Willis will have to show something in camp to make an impression and make the roster, because the Packers are keeping the phone number for TE Wesley Walls handy. It didn't hurt the Packers last season, but with Walls and TE David Martin as the Packers options as the second tight end in short yardage situations, the Packers often brought in backup T Kevin Barry as tight end eligible. It limited the plays the Packers could run, and reduced the opportunities for QB Brett Favre to throw to the tight end. Martin and Walls bring the same type of game, weak in blocking but strong pass receiving skills. The fact that Walls isn't in camp makes it appear that the Packers would rather have Donald or Willis make the team, rather than ask Walls to return.

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