Thursday, June 30, 2005

June just isn't a month for Packers news, unless you are curious about the signing of an undrafted free agent tight end or the signing of the Packers' 6th round draft choice. Not much going on until the unsigned veteran free agents get desperate by mid-July and training camp starts July 25th.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Tennessee released S Lance Schulters after the former Pro Bowl safety refused a salary cut. The Packers had previously expressed an interest in Schulters, should he become available. It is hard to get excited about a safety who just turned 30 and is recovering from a foot injury that cost him most of last season in Tennessee. If the price is right, the Packers should give him a call, but it is more likely another safety desperate team might push his price up too high.
The first mini-camp ended last week without much big news, although a few stories did raise their heads.

QB Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers played like a rookie QB in the mini-camp; awful. reported that Rodgers even had trouble with his accuracy, which was his strength in college. The coaches all appeared quick to defend Rodgers. It will be interesting to see how Rodgers looks when the preseason starts; he should have plenty of opportunities in those games.

The offensive line. described the who's who's of candidates to replace departed OGs Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle. If the season started tomorrow, it would probably be Matt O'Dwyer (if healthy) and Adrian Klemm. Klemm was the big signing this offseason, but is staffed by New England fans who spent the last several seasons watching Klemm suck for the Pats. C/OG Grey Ruegamer, C Scott Wells and RT Kevin Barry all have a chance to compete too. Maybe even T Brennan Curtin, but T Steve Morley's poor NFL-Europe performance after a disappointing 2004 season probably ended any chance for him. If Barry made the lineup, it might move RT Mark Tauscher to guard. The biggest news for this unit was the healthy return of C Mike Flanagan, as reported by numerous sources. Last season, I questioned whether Flanagan should retire because he missed the 2004 season due to complications from the injuries he suffered in 1996, and I thought he might want to retire while he could still walk. However, Flanagan's surgery appears to have been a success and he appears ready to resume his career. Flanagan's return, along with competant seasons by Rivera and Wahle's eventually replacements, might be enough to offset the loss of the two starting guards.

WR Terrence Murphy. Murphy got a lot of press at, but he might have gotten a lot of good words from the coaches for WR Javon Walker's sake. Maybe the coaches wanted the word to get out to Walker that Murphy looks great and just maybe he could play in place of Walker. Murphy is a welcome addition to a wide receiver group that had paper thin depth in 2004 that was torn wide open once WR Robert Ferguson was lost for the season during the game vs. Jacksonville. Murphy can push Ferguson, challenge WR Antonio Chatman, and maybe even encourage Walker to show up for training camp.

Defensive coordinator Jim Bates's new defense. There are a lot of candidates at the two safety spots with no clear favorites. Rookie S Nick Collins had a lot of playing time according to, but if the season started today, the Packers would probably start last season's disappointing SS Mark Roman and S Arturo Freeman, who followed Bates to the Packers from Miami. Both players could easily lose out to other players, including veteran S Earl Little or rookie S Marviel Underwood. LB Ray Thompson and LB Hannibal Navies are also battling to start at linebacker alongside LBs Nick Barnett and Na'il Diggs. reported Thompson was hurt early and Navies is still recovering from the injuries he sustained during the 2004 season. Navies told that his disappointing season was the result of a week 1 rib injury he suffered against Carolina. For whatever reason, it was the first time I heard that Navies played hurt during most of 2004. If that was the reason Navies lost nearly all effectiveness during 2004 then his return to his solid 2003 self would be very welcome.

P B.J. Sander joined the team after a successful NFL Europe season! Huzzah! had a story that Sander had regain his ability to target kicks under the 10 yard line, but no one knows how that will go until Sander shows up in some games. I'm sorry B.J., but until you prove otherwise, you have been a complete bust and last season's P Bryan Barker should keep his bags packed and ready to fly to Green Bay.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Minicamp started June 1 and continues on through the end of the week. The Packers need to work on revamping the offensive line and revamping the defense. It's hard to tell how either project is really going until the preseason starts, but there are a few stories of note at training camp anyway.

QB Brett Favre. Mike Sherman excused him, most likely to give the other three quarterbacks more practice time, but Favre showed up anyway. Favre had to travel to Green Bay for a charity softball game, so this is not a big surprise. Unlike past seasons with Sherman, when Favre sat out to rest an injury from the previous season, Favre could play. Maybe he should play. According to various articles from, the other three quarterbacks (QB Aaron Rodgers, Craig Nall, and J.T. O'Sullivan) have all beeen awful. Favre said at his softball game that he could play for a couple more seasons, which isn't a surprise because he hasn't suffered any major injury in his career and he still plays at a high level (high completion percentage along with a lot of TD passes).

WR Javon Walker. Walker's holdout doesn't have the drama like last season's holdout with CB Mike McKenzie. McKenzie had non-money complaints about the team, probably Sherman specifically, but Walker is a top 10 wide receiver in the NFL and wants to be paid like one. Walker needs a new contract in two seasons, so an extension isn't a bad idea, unfortunately how can Walker's extension be explained when compared to RB Ahman Green. Green has been a top 5 running back in the NFL over the last 3 to 4 seasons and hasn't been given a new contract during that time. The Packers could play without Walker, while Walker won't make any money next season without the Packers. The Packers should remain stubborn and refuse to give Walker a new contract.

TE Bubba Franks. Bubba doesn't have a new contract yet and he's skipping minicamp. But still it has been a great minicamp for Bubba because none of the other tight ends are showing any signs of life. mentioned how the other three tight ends (TE David Martin, Ben Steele and Sean McHugh) have had cases of the drops. Steele got some playing time last season and spent most of it dropping passes from Favre. The Packers need at minimum one backup tight end but might have to look at free agency to find one.

WR Robert Ferguson. It is amazing to think that he started all of 2004 in front of Walker. He gets a mention here because he is hurt again in minicamp. WR Antonio Chatman outplayed Ferguson in 2004 and Ferguson should be concerned he remains on the Packers roster once Walker returns.

DT Cletidus Hunt. The only reason I can think of why the Packers didn't cut Hunt this offseason was that it wouldn't provide any cap savings. Hunt made few plays in 2004 and wouldn't remain a starter on a team with more depth at defensive tackle, however, the Packers don't have a world of depth at the position, especially with DT Grady Jackson still rehabing his 2004 injuries and DT James Lee having another injury in this June's minicamp. Hunt has been making some news by not showing up for minicamp, but this is voluntary and Hunt has had a tradition of missing voluntary workouts in the past. Since Hunt signed his big free agent contract a couple of seasons ago, it wouldn't be surprising if Hunt passed up over $1 million of workout/showing up incentives. This is just business as usual for Hunt.

FS Lance Schulters. Tennessee hasn't cut him yet, but the Packers confirmed for that he might be the only June 1st cut that the Packers might be interested in signing. Schulters can still play, at least according to comments I read on, and Tennessee wants to keep him, however, at a cheaper price. Of all the free agents still unsigned, he would be the best signing the Packers could make.