One week to go before training camp opens. How's Drew Rosenhaus doing on trading his client, DB Mike McKenzie? I expect McKenzie will report to training camp a week or two before the start of the season, because he won't give up his money or pay back his prorated signing bonus to the Packers, and Rosenhaus won't be able to find a team willing to offer a useful current NFL player or a future number 1 draft pick for McKenzie.
The Packers signed former Cleveland DE Tyrone Rogers to a minimum contract. Cleveland couldn't come to terms with their free agent Rogers, the Packers didn't want DE Jamal Reynolds, so it ends up as a pseudo-trade of two defensive ends. Rogers just turned 30 so he probably won't be better with the Packers than he was with Cleveland. Rogers appears to have some pass rush ability; in limited playing time in 2003 he recorded 1 sack and 2 tackles for a loss, and in limited playing time in 2002 he recorded 3 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss, which out performed former top picks DE Courtney Brown and DT Gerard Warren that season. It would appear that Warren has as much ability to get into the backfield and make a play as DE Chukie Nwokorie, and he has better stats than starting DE Aaron Kampman. Rogers is a good size to play defensive end at 6'5" and 280 lbs. The Packers have a lot of defensive tackles on the roster but only 4 defensive ends, including Rogers. If Rogers has a good training camp and the Packers decide they need more depth at defensive end then at defensive tackle, its possible Rogers could take away a roster spot from someone like DT Larry Smith, DT Kenny Peterson, or rookie DT Corey Williams.
Jsonline.com had an article about RB Najeh Davenport opening training camp as the primary kick returner. Everything that special teams coach John Bonamego said in the article is true; "He's a big, powerful bull with speed." Last season, Davenport looked just as fast as any kick returner in the NFL, plus he has size and running back instincts that help him run through arm tackles and he has good vision in the open field. I thought footballoutsiders.com had him rated highly on kickoffs in 2003, but I can't find any mention of it on their website. Davenport could be the best kick returner in the NFL in 2004.
Jsonline.com also had an article about how TE Bubba Franks isn't a good fit in the Packers offense. Franks has been invited to a couple of Pro Bowls because this isn't a golden age of tight ends, and his 30 catches, 500 yards, a few TDs is good enough to make him one of the best in the non-TE Tony Gonzalez NFC. As a general rule, a team should never let a Pro Bowl talent in his 20s leave in free agency, because such players (who are healthy) are rarely available in free agency. Franks won't get a contract like Gonzalez in free agency, but he will get a big (for a tight end) contract because of his Pro Bowl appearances. Footballoutsiders.com ranked Franks very poorly in 2003, below TE Jason Witten and TE Mark Campbell, but surprisingly above even lower ranked Pro Bowl Baltimore TE Todd Heap. Heap was hurt in 2003 because although he caught 112 passes, he only caught a lowly 51% of the passes thrown to him, which is a criticism of Baltimore's offense (Heap was their only threat for 2/3 of the 2003 season in the passing game) as it is a criticism of Heap. Franks was ranked low by footballoutsiders.com because he didn't do much with the opportunites when they presented themselves. He is an asset to the Packers, but lesser players might be able to replace his current level of production in the Packers offense.