Visit to McCarthy's Hometown...........Kenny Mayne

Friday, December 28, 2007

Punting problems lead to 35-7 loss to Bears


























From Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback courtesy of Si.com:

Goat of the Week

"Green Bay P Jon Ryan. I know the wind was awful in the Windy City, but come on. Two punts blocked, in part because of his glacially slow mechanics, and one fumbled snap from center. That's intolerable on a team that needed this game to stay in the home-field race with Dallas."

Isn't he from Canada eh??? To punt like that in those conditions is pretty tough, but the Bears punter didn't seem to have any problems. Ryan needs to get the ball out a lot quicker. The Packers have had strong Special Teams play and surely needed it last Sunday vs the Bears. The Pack lost 35-7 in sub zero temperatures and 50+ mph wind. Playing at Dallas might not be too bad of an idea for the NFC Championship.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Vols may lose players for Outback Bowl against Wisconsin

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee coaches are concerned about the academic eligibility of a few players for the Outback Bowl, including two starters on defense.

A university official said linebacker Rico McCoy and defensive tackle Demonte Bolden are among those who could be ruled out for the game after the school releases fall semester grades Friday afternoon.

The person did not want to be identified because the academic report had not been released.
Coach Phillip Fulmer said Thursday during practice that he was concerned about the eligibility of "three or four guys, and maybe a couple more than that."

McCoy, a sophomore, has started all 13 games this season and is second on the team with 106 tackles.

Bolden started each of the 12 games he played in this season, but was suspended against Louisiana-Lafayette for an unspecified violation of team rules.

No. 16 Tennessee (9-4) faces No. 18 Wisconsin (9-3) on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla.

Story from Associated Press courtesy of Foxsports.com http://msn.foxsports.com/cfb/story/7592448?MSNHPHMA

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Congrads to UW Whitewater on the NCAA DIV III Football Championship


The third trip to Salem proved to be the best for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as the Warhawks defeated #1 ranked Mount Union College, 31-21, to claim the 2007 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl title. The win marks the first NCAA Division III football championship for UW-W, also snapping the Purple Raiders 37-game winning streak.

While defense may have been the prevailing factor in the opening half of play, Justin Beaver and the UW-W offense went toe-to-toe with the vaunted Mount Union attack in the second 30 minutes of action.

Beaver took home his second award of the weekend, earning the game’s Most Outstanding Player award after running for 249 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries.”I’ve said along that we have a great group of seniors and that they played their hearts out,” explained UW-W head coach Lance Leipold. “Our staff did an outstanding job in making sure we believe. I can’t say how proud I am of our guys and the rest of our program.”

Coming out of the half with a 10-0 lead, the Warhawks increased their advantage to 17-0 when lineman Michael Sherman made a Beaver fumble obsolete as he came away from the pile in the endzone for a touchdown.

Mount Union’s offense, which had averaged better than 54 points coming into the Stagg Bowl, sprang into action with a pair of Nate Kmic touchdown runs. Kmic scored his first on an 11-yard carry. Linebacker Tony DeRiggi forced the ball from Beaver’s grasp for a second time on the ensuing drive, leading to Kmic’s second score via a one-yard plunge.

Beaver made up for his rough third quarter with an excellent fourth frame. He toted the ball 10 times for 115 yards including a 13-yard touchdown run to make the score 24-14 with 6:11 to play. He also darted 66-yards on the Warhawks’ next possession to set-up quarterback Danny Jones’ second touchdown sneak of the day and put the game out of reach.

“You can’t get anything better than winning a nation title in your last game,” said Beaver.
UW-Whitewater defense had an outstanding first half, keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard in the first half for the first time since prior to the 1990 season.

The Warhawks forced three lost fumbles and held standout receiver Pierre Garcon to only four catches for 30 yards. Linebacker Jace Rindahl led the unit with 16 tackles (10 solo). Ben Farley had 13 stops and two forced fumbles, and Anthony White collected 1.5 of UW-W’s three quarterback sacks.

“We played very well in spots, but made a few too many mistakes,” said Mount Union head coach Larry Kehres. “A couple of the bounces of the football got away from us, and that’s what cost us the victory.”

Beaver’s running performance helped UW-W to 274 yards rushing. Jones added 27 yards rushing and a pair of scores. He also threw for 136 yards, although completing only 9-of-24 passes. Neil Mrkvicka collected five receptions for 52 yards. Aaron Rusch had three catches for 61 yards.

Kmic led the Mount Union offense with 121 yards on the ground and a game-high three scoring runs. Quarterback Greg Micheli added 90 yards rushing to go with 235 yards. Bryson Davis proved to be his big play receiver, hauling in four passes for 98 yards. Justin Wray had five receptions for 52 yards.

Pat McCullough led the MUC defense with 10 tackles. Nick Parr picked up both Mount Union sacks, and Matt Kostelnik and DeRiggi forced UW-W lost fumbles.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is this what we can expect @ Lambeau in the Playoffs
























BRING ON HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE!!!!!!! GO PACK GO!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Packers Clinch 1st Round Bye with a Win in St. Louis

So it's been awhile since my last post, but the Packers, NFC North Division Champions have been rolling. They improve to 12-2 with a win in St. Louis, beating the Rams 33-14. The Packers are now tied for 2nd in the NFL at 12-2. With the win they also clinched a 1st round bye after Carolina beat Seattle. Dallas also lost dropping them to 12-2, tied with the Packers. Their remaining games are against Carolina and division rival Washington, who both are hot right now.

Favre set yet another milestone, passing Dan Marino on Sunday as the NFL Career leader in Passing Yards. Favre went 19 of 30 for 227 yards, 2 TDS and 2 INTs. The Packers Special Teams came through again putting the Green & Gold in Rams territory for almost the entire game. Koren Robinson had a big day, setting up 2 TDs with his returns and rookie kicker Mason Crosby went 4-4 on FGs. Did you know Crosby leads the entire NFL in scoring!!!! Dave Rayner, who's that????
Packers take on the Bears Sunday at Chicago. The Packers are looking for a little redemption. GO PACK GO!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Braun named NL Rookie of the Year

In the end, the astounding things Ryan Braun did at the plate trumped whatever things he didn't do in the field.

The Brewers' third baseman won the 2007 Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year Award on Monday from the Baseball Writers Association of America. Braun edged Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki to become Milwaukee's first rookie of the year since shortstop Pat Listash won the American League honor in 1992.

Braun was listed first on 17 of 32 ballots, second on 14 and third on one for 128 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. Tulowitzki was first on 15 ballots and second on the other 17 for 126 points. The two-point differential was the closest in the NL since the current system was adopted in 1980.

Braun's offensive numbers made a compelling case. He batted .324 and led NL rookies with 34 home runs and a .634 slugging percentage, breaking the Major League rookie record set by Mark McGwire, who slugged .618 for Oakland in 1987. Braun drove in 97 runs and stole 15 bases.

He ranked in the top four among NL rookies in average, slugging percentage, extra-base hits, RBIs, runs, total bases, triples, multi-hit games, hits, batting average, stolen bases and on-base percentage.

Imagine if he had played all season.
Courtesy of Adam McCalvy from MLB.com.

DOMINATION. Pack improve to 8-1






















The Packers improved to 8-1 after blowing out the Minnesota Vikings 34-0 on Sunday. The Vikings were coming off a victory against the San Diego Chargers, where rookie RB Adrian Peterson rushed for an NFL record 296 yards. The Packers Defense held him in check to 45 yards on 11 carries. Peterson injured his knee in the 3rd quarter when he was tackled by Al Harris after a short pass.


As for the Packers, they dominated the entire game. Ryan Grant rushed for 119 yards, 1 week after becoming the 1st Packer this year to rush for 100 yards. Favre threw for over 300 yards (351) again and 3 TDs with 0 INTs. And the defense held the Vikes to 0 points, 0-11 on 3rd down, and forced an interception on the goal line.


All and all the Pack put together a complete game and silenced the na-sayers joining Dallas for the 2nd best record in the NFL at 8-1. Detroit also lost on Sunday and dropped to 6-3 on the season giving the Packers a 2 game lead in the North.


Next up, the Carolina Panthers who are 4-4 this year with an even older QB than Favre in Vinny Testaverde.

Photo: STEVE APPS -- WI State Journal

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unbelievable!!!!!!!! Packers improve to 6-1


















With all the rumbling after the Redskins game that Favre had lost zip on his deep ball, he put all his critics to rest on Monday night. Favre bombed what he said was two of the best passes he's every thrown for a 79 yard TD to James Jones, and the game winning 82 yard TD to Greg Jennings on the first play in Overtime.

The Pack also found a diamond in the ruff, in Ryan Grant who rushed for 104 yards on 22 carries. Grant filled in for Wynn who was injured again after one carry for 1 yard. McCarthy announced that Grant will start against Kansas City next week.

The Broncos came into Monday night as the worst rush defense in the league and the Packers as the worst rushing team in the league, so something had to give. "I gave those guys the opportunity to run the football tonight," McCarthy said. "We didn't do anything scheme-wise that we haven't done from Day 1. Ryan put his foot down and was one cut north and south, the way you're supposed to."

Read more here from Bob McGinn's article in this morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Photo/Mark Hoffman

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Late drive seals the deal for Warhawks















In 39 years as coach of the Germantown football team, Phil Datka has seen his share of crazy games.

On Tuesday, he witnessed another one.

Germantown defeated third-seeded Sussex Hamilton, 14-10, in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs, after the Warhawks got the ball with less than 3 minutes left and drove 66 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

"This one's right up there at the top," Datka said. "It never gets old. The kids make it what it is."
Germantown (6-4), which has just one loss in 14 first-round playoff games under Datka, will play Brookfield Central on Saturday.

Sussex Hamilton (6-4), 3-6 last season, was hoping to get fourth-year coach John Damato his first playoff victory.

It looked like a strong possibility, especially after the Chargers blocked two tying field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter.

But Germantown had one last chance. The Warhawks got the ball at their 34-yard line with 2 minutes 56 seconds left.

Quarterback Nick Doedens completed two passes to Ben Starke for a total of 19 yards and then threw an incomplete pass with 1:57 left.

Doedens then lofted a deep pass over the middle that was hauled in for a 44-yard reception by senior Tony Sanicola.

"Nick threw that ball; it was the best pass he threw all year," Sanicola said. "I just ran underneath it as fast as I could. I barely got there. I prayed to God when I was running it came to me. I dove and caught it. I can't believe it."

After senior Austin Stadler rushed for 1 yard, he scored on a 2-yard run for a 14-10 lead with 1:14 left.

Hamilton drove to the 50-yard line but the game ended with senior Andy Neumann sacked Chargers quarterback Justin Rupnow.

"I can't look back at that last (pass) play," Damato said. "There were so many things that went on between the end zones here."

The most glaring happened after Hamilton's Coty Schmidt intercepted a pass with 56 seconds left in the second quarter.

Hamilton had a 7-0 lead at the time and was deep in its own territory, content to run out the clock.

But instead of taking a knee, Hamilton ran two running plays. The second was costly.

"If you're going to pick anything out of this conversation, that hurt our momentum," Damato said. "We were up, 7-0, with 30 seconds left on the clock, and our center slips with the ball. So whether we take a knee or run with the ball doesn't matter, our center never got the ball to the quarterback."

Germantown recovered and got the ball at the 6-yard line with 14 seconds left. After a 3-yard running play, Doedens hit Starke for a 3-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7 with 2 seconds left.

Courtesy of Dave Boehler from today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Had to post this from my old high school football team......Go Warhawks!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Robinson Reinstated

One year to the day that Green Bay Packers wide receiver Koren Robinson was suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse program, commissioner Roger Goodell informed him that he was back in the league.

Goodell met with Robinson Sunday in a face-to-face meeting - in all places University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix - to discuss the receiver's possible reinstatement. On Wednesday, Robinson received a letter from Goodell informing him that his one-year suspension was over and he was free to resume his career.

In order to be reinstated, Robinson had to comply with a strict program that included testing for alcohol use up to 10 times per month. Any violation of the testing would have put Robinson's reinstatement in serious jeopardy, but he apparently kept clean for the year he was out of football.

The impromptu meeting came when Goodell came to Phoenix, where Robinson has spent the past two months training, and called him on his cell phone. Goodell told Robinson he was at the Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers game and wanted to meet with him.

"I told him I'm at the game, too," Robinson said.

Stadium officials arranged for Goodell and Robinson to meet in a room in the bowels of the stadium where they met to discuss Robinson's reinstatement. Goodell was stern and told him that this was his last chance. One more violation of the substance abuse program and Robinson will be suspended for life.

Robinson was suspended for a year after multiple arrests for alcohol-related crimes, the most recent stemming from a high-speed chase on his way back to Minnesota Vikings training camp in Mankato, Minn., in 2006. Robinson was released by the Vikings a short time later, and signed by general manager Ted Thompson, who had a previous relationship with Robinson in Seattle.
Robinson played in four games for the Packers and was just getting acclimated when the suspension came down.

Since then he has not been allowed to have contact with the Packers. He has served two different jail terms over the past year as a result of the alcohol-related charges.
Robinson filed for reinstatement to the league in August and had been waiting to hear from the commissioner.

"I felt like I did everything I needed to do in order to cope with or get through this situation I put myself in that led me on this crazy path," Robinson said. "I'm able to cope with things differently. I know how to avoid those situations that aren't positive. If they're not positive, I'm not going to be around that and if you're not positive I don't need you to be around me."

Robinson's agent, Alvin Keels, said Robinson was prohibited from drinking alcohol and was subject to as many as 10 drug tests a month. He said if Robinson had taken a drink of alcohol the NFL would have known about it.

"He wasn't supposed to drink, that goes without saying," Keels said. "The same testing procedures he was under when he was in the league remained. In order to be reinstated he had to comply and follow the program. There is little room for error. Koren's done an outstanding job of doing what they asked him to do."

Robinson attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, met with therapists and received support from family and friends. He said he took his recovery seriously and plans to continue receiving treatment when the re-joins the Packers.

During the months he wasn't serving time or working out in Phoenix with quarterback Brett Favre's personal trainer, Ken Croner, Robinson was in Green Bay, working on setting up a support system for his return. He said he doesn't fear returning to football and the culture of professional athletics.

"I'm definitely trying to start fresh," Robinson said. "I'm not trying to go back, but I'm not going to forget either."

Robinson is scheduled to arrive in Green Bay this week to begin getting acclimated with the Packers' offense. Because it's the bye week, he won't be able to take part in a practice until the team returns on Monday.

Read More from Tom Silverstein's article on JSOnline here:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pack improve to 5-1 heading into the bye

























GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Cornerback Charles Woodson scooped up the ball - and lifted the spirits of the Green Bay Packers' suddenly sagging offense.

Woodson's 57-yard fumble return in the third quarter gave the Packers the go-ahead touchdown in a 17-14 victory over the Washington Redskins at soggy Lambeau Field on Sunday.

"It was a big play today," Woodson said. "Hopefully, I have many more to come."

With Green Bay's previously top-ranked passing offense sputtering and the Packers trailing 14-10 late in the third quarter, defensive lineman Corey Williams stripped Redskins receiver Santana Moss on an end-around. Woodson picked up the ball and ran to the end zone.

The Packers (5-1) won despite an off day from Brett Favre, who became the NFL's career interception king with an errant pass picked off by Redskins safety Sean Taylor in the third quarter.


"I could care less," Favre said. "We won the game. I'm glad it's over, just like the other records. We're 5-1, so it feels a lot better than having no picks and being 1-5."

Despite Favre's off day - he was 19-of-37 for 188 yards and threw a second interception to Taylor in the fourth quarter - the Packers recovered from their first loss of the season against Chicago last Sunday, regaining momentum as they head into their bye.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the Redskins were the best team the Packers have played so far, but he still hasn't seen his young team play a complete game.

"We feel good about being 5-1, but we're a team that needs to clean our house," McCarthy said.
The Redskins (3-2) baffled a pass-happy NFC North offense for the second week in a row after beating Detroit, but offensive mistakes cost them on Sunday. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said his team's fumbles and dropped passes weren't acceptable, even in wet conditions.

"Certainly that's no excuse for us," Gibbs said. "We're out in it, and we've got to make the catches."

Between the fumble and a subsequent leg cramp, Moss apparently was so upset that he took himself out of the game.

"I took myself out," Moss said. "Something wasn't feeling right with me, and why go out there and keep another guy from helping us win? There was (stuff) going on and I wasn't making the plays that I should have been making."

Gibbs didn't blame Moss for the loss.

"You've got to look at that and say, 'That's something that just happened to us today,"' Gibbs said. "Certainly, we've got great confidence in him and he means a lot to us."

On the Packers' first possession after halftime, Favre spotted rookie wide receiver James Jones wide open for a sure touchdown. But the ball hung in the air, and Taylor recovered to make a leaping catch near the sideline.

Favre's record-setting interception came two weeks after Favre surpassed Dan Marino's career record for touchdown passes and a month after Favre broke John Elway's record for most career victories for a starting quarterback.

The Packers then had a touchdown pass erased by a holding penalty on tackle Mark Tauscher and Mason Crosby kicked a 37-yard field goal, cutting the Redskins' lead to 14-10.

Then came Moss' momentum-changing fumble. Woodson got a block from Al Harris on Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell to get to the end zone.


"I didn't think anybody would catch me," Woodson said. "I turned around, and I'd seen Campbell running pretty fast, (to) catch up to me. I got a late block by Al to kind of help me out a little bit."

But Crosby missed a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter, the second miss of the day for a rookie who had missed only one field goal coming in. The Redskins then drove to the Packers 32, where Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett stopped Ladell Betts on fourth-and-1.

Favre threw his second interception of the day to Taylor, giving the Redskins another chance with 4:14 left. The Packers forced a punt and held on for the victory.

Campbell got the Redskins off to a good start, finding tight end Chris Cooley seven times for 97 yards before halftime. Cooley's 14-yard reception gave Washington a 14-7 first half lead.

"All the things that happened today, we've got to take it and learn from it," Campbell said. "We can't do (any) finger-pointing, we're all in this together. I could've done some things better, everybody else could've done some things better."


Favre, meanwhile, was limping noticeably as he walked to the interview podium and said somebody rolled up on his ankle on an early scramble.

Sounds like a good time for a week off.

"It really doesn't feel very good right now, but the bye week will help a little bit," Favre said. "I'm sure it will hurt two weeks from now; it hurt before the game."


Curtesoy of Fox Sports and the AP http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7323882

Friday, September 28, 2007

Where does Favre rank among greats?

An interesting article on Foxsports.com asks the question: Where does Favre rank among greats? Michael David Smith from footballoutsiders.com has the story.

If he throws a touchdown pass Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, Brett Favre will surpass Dan Marino and take over sole possession of first place on the all-time touchdown list. Of course, if he throws three interceptions, he'll also surpass George Blanda and take over sole possession of first place on the all-time interception list.

That's one of the things that makes Favre's place among the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game so hard to judge. His daring style means he may have made more great plays — and more bad plays — than any other quarterback in history. So where does Favre rank? Below I'll compare him, head-to-head, against my own subjective list of the 16 best quarterbacks ever. First, here's that list, in alphabetical order:

Troy Aikman, Ken Anderson, Sammy Baugh, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Dan Fouts, Otto Graham, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Warren Moon, Joe Namath, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Steve Young

Before we get started, two things about that list: There may be arguments to put Peyton Manning or Tom Brady on it, but I'm leaving active players off because I think it's too hard to make historical judgments when dealing with players who are still in their primes. Favre is far enough along in his career to judge him adequately; we'll have to wait a few more years before we know for sure where we put Manning and Brady.

Secondly, I skewed it a little bit in favor of players whose careers were closer to Favre's. I wanted to include some of the all-time great old-school quarterbacks, like Baugh and Graham, but I left off some others who began their careers before the AFL-NFL merger, like Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Layne and Sid Luckman, because the quarterback position was less important in the early days of football, before the passing game was opened up.

Now, let's get to the matchups:

Troy Aikman
The argument many Cowboys fans would make for Aikman is quite simple: Three Super Bowl rings, to one for Favre. But that argument is bogus. Aikman had at least three offensive teammates who either already are or some day will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Larry Allen. Favre didn't get anywhere near the help from his teammates that Aikman got, and when you consider how far ahead Favre is statistically (25,000 more yards, 250 more touchdowns, a higher passer rating), it's an easy choice.
Verdict: Favre

Ken Anderson
Anderson, who spent his entire 16-year career with the Bengals, is probably the best quarterback who's not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a more accurate passer than Favre, and something like the anti-Favre in the sense that he did everything the textbook-perfect way, while Favre likes to freelance. Anderson led the league in passer rating four times, but statistical analysis overrates Anderson because the Bengals' offense (designed by Bill Walsh) had a passing attack that was so far ahead of the rest of the league. Favre could have succeeded in any offense, and that's why he gets the nod over Anderson.
Verdict: Favre

Sammy Baugh
It's nearly impossible to compare a player like Baugh, who played for the Redskins from 1937 to 1952, with a modern quarterback. But let's try anyway. During Baugh's career, he was widely regarded as the best quarterback in football (he was also a very good defensive back and punter, but we won't hold playing only one way against Favre). Favre's longevity is a point in his favor against most quarterbacks, but it really isn't against Baugh, who at the time he retired had played more games than any other player in history. To the extent that we can compare them at all, Baugh was a greater player in his decade and a half in the NFL than Favre has been for the last decade and a half.
Verdict: Baugh

Terry Bradshaw
Similar to Aikman, Bradshaw has more Super Bowl rings than Favre and more Hall of Fame teammates than Favre. Bradshaw was a great player on a great team, but Favre was a great player who made his team great. The distinction is huge, and it's why Favre is a better quarterback than Bradshaw.

Verdict: Favre

John Elway
In terms of their total career résumés, Elway is probably the most similar quarterback to Favre, as they both spent many years with the same team and compiled gaudy career numbers. Favre has, for the most part, surpassed Elway's numbers, including passing Elway two weeks ago for the record for most games won by a starting quarterback. Still, I take Elway over Favre because Elway is one of the few quarterbacks who can rival Favre's arm strength, and Elway's overall talent for the position made him a tougher player for opposing defenses to stop, especially early in his career when he had to carry the Broncos all by himself.

Verdict: Elway

Dan Fouts
Few offenses ever assembled had the firepower of the San Diego Chargers when Fouts was at the helm. Fouts led the league in passing yards for four straight years, something no other quarterback has accomplished. But Fouts was placed into the perfect system to get the most of his talents, with Don Coryell as his coach and Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson and Wes Chandler as his receivers. Favre has succeeded under several coaches and with a revolving door of wide receivers.

Verdict: Favre

Otto Graham
The Cleveland Browns of the 1940s and 1950s towered over the rest of pro football, winning seven championships in Graham's 10 seasons. That was in large part because coach Paul Brown designed an offense that was far ahead of the rest of football, and Graham was the perfect player to run Brown's offense. He dominated his era in a way that Favre didn't.
Verdict: Graham

Dan Marino
It's a shame that there are still people who think the fact that Marino retired without a Super Bowl ring taints his career. That is really the only argument that makes sense for putting Favre ahead of Marino, and it says more about Marino's teammates than it does about him. Even if Favre breaks all of Marino's records, Marino was the best pure passer ever to play the game.

Verdict: Marino

Joe Montana
The four Super Bowls are great, but they're not the reason Montana is the greatest quarterback in modern NFL history. What set Montana apart was always having complete command of the offense and an incredible ability to make big plays while avoiding turnovers. Favre already has almost twice as many interceptions as Montana had in his career.
Verdict: Montana

Warren Moon
Moon is a tough comparison because it's impossible to know what kind of player he might have been had he not been relegated to Canada until he was 27. But the reason Favre comes out ahead is that Moon was never considered the best player in the league, while Favre has three MVPs to his credit.

Verdict: Favre

Joe Namath
Namath had incredible physical talent and the whole Broadway Joe persona, but he wasn't as great a player as Favre. The good statistics Namath produced early in his career were in large part the result of playing in the old American Football League, a league designed to have high scores and inflated passing statistics. And as much as Favre has been criticized for throwing too many interceptions, in Namath's entire career, he had just two seasons in which he threw more touchdowns than interceptions.

Verdict: Favre

Bart Starr
It's not hard to name the best two quarterbacks in Packers history, but it is hard to say which one was better. Starr led Vince Lombardi's Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls and three other NFL titles in the pre-Super Bowl era, and he's one of the best big-game players in football history. But the Lombardi Packers were so much better than the rest of the league that Starr's job was relatively easy. Favre gets the edge over Starr because he had to carry the Packers on his back in a way that Starr didn't.

Verdict: Favre

Roger Staubach
Staubach is somewhat like Moon in that he got a late start to his career. For Moon it was because NFL general managers couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that a black man can play quarterback; for Staubach it was because he spent five years in the Navy. On top of the time he missed to military service, in three of his 11 seasons Staubach was just a bit player. Staubach achieved a tremendous amount in a career that lasted just eight seasons, but his lack of career longevity means his total accomplishments don't rank with Favre's.
Verdict: Favre

Fran Tarkenton
Before Marino broke them, Tarkenton owned the records for completions, touchdowns and yards. Those are records that Favre broke last year (completions), will break this year (touchdowns) and is likely to break next year (yards). But Tarkenton did it during an NFL career that spanned from 1961 to 1978, a period during which it was significantly harder to rack up big passing numbers. Although Favre led his team to a championship and Tarkenton didn't, Tarkenton's total career is more impressive.

Verdict: Tarkenton

Johnny Unitas
Unitas is, by general acclaim, the greatest quarterback in the history of football. His stats, overall, aren't gaudy by today's standards, although he still owns a DiMaggio-like record of 47 straight games with a touchdown pass (Favre has the second-longest streak, with 36).
Even fans who were born after he retired have seen Unitas line up under center, drop back to pass and deliver a strike downfield hundreds of times, thanks to NFL Films. Unitas' production on the field really did live up to his legend. He's the best ever.

Verdict: Unitas

Steve Young
A tough choice. Young had some absolutely incredible passing seasons, including six different seasons in which he led the league in passer rating. In those seasons, he had stats that Favre couldn't touch. If I could take Young's best half-dozen seasons vs. Favre's best half-dozen seasons, that would be an easy choice: Young in a laugher. But then again, Favre has out-gained Young by more than 25,000 passing yards. (Favre has 58,361 career passing yards; Young retired with 33,124.) Young had six seasons of 3,000 or more passing yards; Favre has had 15. And Young played with better receivers and a more quarterback-friendly offense. Looking at the totalities of their careers, Young falls short.

Verdict: Favre

So there you have it. Favre is the eighth-best quarterback in NFL history, behind Baugh, Elway, Graham, Marino, Montana, Tarkenton and Unitas. Let the arguments begin.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prince of Power - Fielder Blast 2 HRs to give him 50

Fielder became the youngest player in major league history to reach 50 home runs Tuesday night, socking two out of the park to propel the Brewers to a 9-1 victory over St. Louis at Miller Park.

The Brewers' second consecutive romp over the Cardinals made their seemingly impossible task of catching the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central a bit more possible.

Thanks to Chicago's 4-2 loss in Florida, the gap was narrowed to two games, with five to play for both teams.

"Just keep playing, control what you can control," said manager Ned Yost, who has tried to keep his players focused on a day-by-day approach.

No one is having much luck controlling Fielder these days. With a two-run homer off Braden Looper in the first inning and another two-run shot in the seventh off Kip Wells, the big first baseman reached 50 in a season at 23 years 139 days of age.

The great Willie Mays had been the youngest to hit 50 at 24 years 137 days in 1955.
"Actually, Billy (Hall) told me," Fielder said. "That's an awesome feat. Now my kids can know that one time their dad was pretty good."

Speaking of dads, Fielder normally shies away from talk about the well-documented estrangement with his father, former big-league slugger Cecil Fielder. But he made it clear that one of his primary goals is to escape from the shadow of his father for good.

Fielder said he had no intention of keeping the 50th home run ball, but was hoping for No. 52.
"My dad had 51 (as a season high)," Fielder said. "Then, he can't say anything."

Fielder was not happy about comments his father made in a magazine article earlier in the year, claiming his son never would have been a first-round draft pick if he hadn't paved the way. The two haven't spoken for years and that rift apparently has widened.

That subject resurfaced when Fielder was asked about the "MVP!" chants at Miller Park and if he thought much about winning that award.

"It would be a cool award to get but that's not something I think about," he said, "besides the fact my dad never did it. If I do get it, that shuts him up again."

Fielder said he was "serious" about trumping his father, adding, "A lot of people said that's the only reason I got drafted. That's what drives me. People said I was too big and all this, and the only reason I got drafted was because of the name.

"That's why I'm so passionate about playing. I don't mind people comparing me to him but I'm a completely different player. One day I want people to mention my name and not have to mention his."

As for the recent comments from his father, Fielder said, "You've got to look at who's saying it. Let's be honest. He's not really the brightest guy."

Read More here from Tom Haudricourt's article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here:

FAVRE & THE PACK ON A ROLL

Ok so it's been awhile since my last post. The Packers beat the Chargers 31-24 last Sunday in an exciting game that had fans on the edge of their seats. Favre led the Packers to a come from behind win with a late 4th quarter TD pass to Greg Jennings with a little more than 2 minutes to go in the game. The Packers Defense stepped up and intercepted Phillip Rivers pass to seal the game. Nick Barnett ran back the interception to the 2 yard line and Brandon Jackson ran it in for the insurance score.

Favre had a magical game and tied Dan Marino with 420 career TD passes. Favre was 28-of-35 for 369 yards and three touchdowns. McCarthy put the ball in his hands and let Favre win the game himself. The Pack ran the ball about 19 times and frequently had an empty backfield and 4 receivers spread wide. Favre picked apart the Chargers weak secondary and helped them improve to 3-0 and on top the NFC North Division. Writers from Fox Sports have the Packers ranked 5th in the Power Rankings and fans are excited with the quick start.

Nobody expected the Packers to come out on fire and almost nobody expected them to be 3-0 going into this Sunday's match up against the Vikings.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Despite Win, Badgers fall to #7 in AP & Coaches Poll

While Donovan had started and won a game on the road before, he registered his first fourth-quarter comeback Saturday in the 20-13 victory at UNLV.

Donovan has now won four straight games as a starter, going back to last season, but there is something defining for a quarterback, to huddle the offense in the fourth quarter, needing a touchdown to win the game.

"We knew we needed to put points on the board and take care of what we needed to do," Donovan said Sunday of taking over at the UW 39-yard line, trailing 13-12, with 7 minutes, 33 seconds to play. "There was no doubt in my mind we were going to do it. There was definitely passion in the guys' eyes and a little extra fire you could just feel."

Donovan coolly completed an 8-yard pass to tight end Travis Beckum to start the drive, then connected on a 6-yard pass to Luke Swan on third-and-2 for the initial first down.

Tailback P.J. Hill did a lot of the dirty work, carrying six times for 23 yards and picking up a fourth-and-1 at the Rebels' 38 with a 3-yard run. But it was at the UNLV 29, on first-and-15, following a delay-of-game penalty, that Donovan made what could turn out to be one of the most important plays of the season.

With just about everybody on the defense keying on Hill, UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst called for naked bootleg by Donovan to the left.

"If you 're a coach up in the box, you tell (the defensive players), 'Hey, here comes 39, here comes 39,' " UW coach Bret Bielema said of Hill's number. "A great call by Paul and ultimately great execution by T.D."

Even though he had told Chryst earlier in the game to give him the ball, Hill was delighted when the bootleg call came. "I loved that play," Hill said. "I was like, It's definitely going to work.' ' '
First, Donovan faked a handoff to Hill, who was going right, along with everybody else on offense except for Swan, who was wide to the left and dragged his defender downfield on a pass route.

When Hill was asked how many defenders were sucked in by the play fake, he smiled and laughed.
"We were watching the film (Sunday) and like the whole defense, line, linebackers," Hill said. "(Donovan) had that one guy to beat and he beat him."

That one guy was linebacker Star Fuimaono, who Donovan initially thought was lined up in the perfect spot to foil the play.

"They had a defense set up that probably could have reacted pretty good to it, with a guy coming off the edge," Donovan said. "That goes back to P.J. doing a good job all day. A lot of their eyes were on P.J."

With Donovan's speed, he had no trouble getting outside of Fuimaono, who made a futile dive. Swan, meanwhile, was downfield at the 15, putting a block on cornerback Geoffery Howard.
That's a hard block to make, since it's out in the open, where holding calls are often made, and lasts for a couple of seconds.

After Donovan got past the block, he was in a race with cornerback Mil'Von James for the end zone. Donovan made an incredible leap from the 3, reaching out the ball with his right hand to swat the pylon for a touchdown with 1:53 left.

Courtesy of Tom Mulhern from today's Wisconsin State Journal:

Packers pull out a win

While Sunday's season opener might not have been pretty, it's still a W in the win column. The Packers got a lot of help from the football gods at Lambeau, recovering 2 fumbled punts, 1 for a TD and the other to setup the winning 42 yard field goal from rookie kicker Mason Crosby. Crosby was 3-3 on field goals, hitting from 53, 37, and the game winner of 42.

The offense looked terrible in the 16-13 win over the Eagles, never reaching the end zone. The obvious hole showed up at RB, with rookie Brandon Jackson only gaining 40 yards on 15 carries. With all the cap money the Packers have, there is some question to what Ted Thompson is thinking sticking with the current RB situation.

If this trend continues, it should be a long season for the Packer offense. While the win was great, future HOF QB Brett Favre isn't getting too excited. "The competitive side of me is not letting me enjoy it as much as I should."

The Packers defense looked great. They held the Eagles to 13 points all day, created turnovers, and made the Eagles offense go 3 and out on many occasions. The D looks to be the strength of this year's Packers.

The Packers travel to NY to take on the Giants next Sunday. The Giants could be without QB Eli Manning who left yesterday's game with a bruised shoulder.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No. 6 pick Yi finally signs with Bucks

















After all the talk, the media circus, and the frustration by Bucks fans, Yi Jianlian finally signed Wednesday night in Hong Kong to a multi year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Yi played five games this summer with Team China Basketball in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He averaged 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots. He had a team-high 23 points against Memphis, and 20, including the game-winner against Cleveland.

"We are happy that Yi will be playing with the Bucks to further develop his skill and his contribution to both the Chinese National Team and the NBA," NBA commissioner David Stern said.

"There has been a genuine excitement throughout our city and state, as well as internationally, following our selection of Yi in the NBA Draft," Bucks owner and team president Herb Kohl said. "We all anticipate Yi's arrival and welcome him and his family to Milwaukee. We look forward to a successful relationship for many years to come."

Curtesoy of Associated Press

Awful Brewers lose to 1st place Cubs

It's been so painful to follow the Brewers of lately. They dropped the 1st game against the Cubs yesterday and have now dropped to 3rd place in the division after a Cardinal win. Maybe next year is the year!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vikings sign Ferguson

Robert Ferguson ended up in a place with multiple ex-Green Bay Packers. It just wasn't Houston, like most folks expected.

Instead, the veteran wide receiver signed Tuesday with the Minnesota Vikings, joining former teammates Ryan Longwell and Darren Sharper in getting a chance to play against his former employer twice a year in the NFC North.

"That's definitely icing on the cake," Ferguson said. The actual cake is the role Ferguson could play for the Vikings, whose wide receiver corps are, to put it politely, inexperienced.

A less polite description? Bad.

The Houston Texans, with ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman as their offensive coordinator and a host of Sherman-picked ex-Packers on the roster, were thought to be the frontrunners for Ferguson, who is a Houston native and makes his offseason home there.

"Obviously once I found out I was released from Green Bay, that was the number one team that came into mind," Ferguson said. "But things changed dramatically once I visited here and got to talk with the coaches and talk with the teammates here."

A disappointment in Green Bay as a 2001 second-round pick, Ferguson joins Minnesota's 12-receiver group as the wideout with the most NFL experience (six years), most games played (60), most starts (26), most receptions (116), most yards (1,577) and most touchdowns (12). Bobby Wade currently is the Vikings' No. 1 receiver, while drop-prone Troy Williamson is No. 2 and rookie second-round pick Sidney Rice is the No. 3 receiver.

By the Vikings' Sept. 9 opener against Atlanta, Ferguson, who according to an NFL source signed a one-year, $700,000 deal that includes incentives that could boost the contract's value to $1.3 million, could work his way into the starting lineup.

But don't discount the revenge factor. "He has the same feeling I did when you leave Green Bay," Sharper said. "You want to play those guys twice a year."

Courtesy of Jason Wilde from today's Wisconsin State Journal:
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/sports/index.php?ntid=206534&ntpid=4

Friday, August 17, 2007

Brewers continue to slide

Still barely hanging on are the Milwaukee Brewers to a 1/2 game lead over Chicago. After last night's 8-0 loss and sweep by St. Louis, the Cardnials now pulled to within 2 1/2 games and are considered a legitimate contender.

The Brew Crew are 14-25 in their last 39 games. They lost for the eighth time in their last 10 games. They've even lost four straight at home.

Ferguson is Done in Green Bay

The Green Bay Packers' patience with Robert Ferguson finally ran out Thursday.

Around 5 p.m., about 90 minutes before the team took the field for its final night practice of the summer, Ferguson was informed by coach Mike McCarthy that an attempt was being made to trade him to another team. If a trade can't be made, then he will in all likelihood be released.
"Robert will no longer be a Packer," McCarthy said after the night practice. "We're going to go in another direction. We're just moving on with the other guys and that's where it stands right now. I'll have more definitive information for you tomorrow."

McCarthy said the Packers were in discussions with several teams about a trade for Ferguson. It's possible they have a firm offer for the 27-year-old receiver and are trying to see if they can do better.

If released, Ferguson, a six-year veteran, would not be subject to waivers and would be free to sign with any team in the league. Players with four or more seasons of pension credit are exempt from waivers until the end of the trading period Oct. 16.

It's unlikely the Packers will be able to get a lot for Ferguson - probably a low-round pick at most - and it's questionable whether a team would be willing to take on his $1.8 million base salary.

One potential suitor could be the Houston Texans, where former Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman is the offensive coordinator. Sherman was influential in the Packers selecting Ferguson over Wisconsin's Chris Chambers in the second round of the 2001 draft and it's possible Ferguson, whose off-season home is in Houston, might be willing to adjust his salary in order to play in his hometown.

What is certain is that Ferguson had little chance of making the Packers' roster. The writing was on the wall after receiver Carlyle Holiday clearly outperformed Ferguson on special teams in the exhibition opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Read More here from Tom Silverstein's article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jones makes a big-time impression

Last year, a second-round pick who lacked big-time name recognition coming from Western Michigan, justified his selection from the very first practice and, had he not suffered a midseason ankle injury, might've put up a 1,000-yard season as a rookie. His name? Greg Jennings.

Don't look now, but it appears to be happening again, this time with third-round pick James Jones.

"It's crazy, I'm only in my second year, and he kind of reminds me of myself," Jennings said Tuesday. "He's doing everything that people don't expect a rookie to do."

Added Driver, who watched Jones from the sideline during the first three days of practice: "I think he has what the coaches look for — confidence and comfort in the offense. When I came in in 1999, that's what I wanted to do right off the bat, come in and prove that I could play with anybody, regardless of who they were."

A reach?

Jones has caught virtually every ball thrown his direction, including two beauties on Tuesday morning, when he skied over No. 3 cornerback Patrick Dendy to reel in a touchdown from Aaron Rodgers, then went up and got a high Paul Thompson pass for another TD in the back of the end zone.

"That's why we drafted him," wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said matter-of-factly. "We knew he could do that."

Perhaps, but when the Packers took Jones with the 78th overall pick in April, the selection caused some head-scratching. Most of the pre-draft know-it-alls had Jones pegged as a second-day pick, as low as the sixth or seventh round, so he was considered a reach by many.

Plus, in some ways, the Packers opted for Jones' long-term potential over the short-term help a trade for Randy Moss could have provided. Moss went from Oakland to New England for a fourth-round pick (No. 110 overall), and general manager Ted Thompson could have dealt the pick for Moss had he wanted to.

Instead, Thompson opted for a guy who caught 70 passes for 893 yards and 10 TDs in 13 games as a senior at San Jose State last year after catching just 56 balls his first three college seasons combined.

"You definitely want to make a real good first impression. You want to open some eyes as fast as you can so the coaches start looking at you," Jones said. "I just go out there and make the most of my chances."

Learning curve

While Jones' ability to pluck the ball out of midair has gotten everyone's attention, coach Mike McCarthy cautioned that, unlike Jennings, who picked up the offense almost instantly, Jones "is thinking (a lot) right now. You can see when he breaks the huddle, he's thinking about the formation, he's thinking about the play."

Or, as Robinson put it, "Things came easy to Greg. I don't think they necessarily come as easy to James, in terms of the scheme. But he's handling it pretty well to this point.''

Indeed, while veteran cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson have been supportive of the rookie, they're also holding him to a higher standard after seeing what Jennings did last year in camp.

"From what I've seen, he's got real good hands. But this is camp," Woodson said. "It was kind of different with Jennings last year, there was just something with him that everybody could just kind of see. Jones, he catches some good balls, but I've got to see him in the game."

Added Harris: "I wouldn't quite say he's like Jennings was, because Jennings, he really caught on really fast. He was real smooth in his routes. James works hard, and he's got very strong hands. He caught a slant on me the other day where he ran a good route. He just needs to do that more often — sell his routes better, be crisper. But he catches the ball very, very well. I haven't seen him drop a pass."

And that might be the best part of Jones' strong first impression: He isn't getting swept up in his early successes. While his highlight-reel catches have been a staple of the local news stations' 10 p.m. sportscasts, he's acutely aware of how far he has to go. Told of Woodson and Harris' comments, he simply nodded in agreement.

"Definitely. I need to improve on a lot of parts of my game," he said. "I can run routes better, I can read coverages better, I can understand the game a lot better — I can do a lot of things better to elevate my game. That's why we're practicing, and that's what we're here for, to practice the things we need to get better on.''

Courtesy of Jason Wilde, Wisconsin Sports Writer of the Year from today's Wisconsin State Journal:

UW football: Beckum back for more



















Take a moment to digest the numbers.Travis Beckum set University of Wisconsin records last season for a tight end, with 61 receptions for 903 yards and five touchdowns.

Now, consider the consequences.Beckum is a former defensive player who just moved to the position in the previous spring and admittedly didn't start to feel comfortable until the Big Ten Conference opener against Michigan.

Finally, contemplate the future. Just how good can Beckum, a junior, become with a full year at the position under his belt?"Travis improved so much as the season went along as a football player, but also as a person, as a student, as someone who can maybe help us lead a little bit on the field," UW coach Bret Bielema said after the spring game."

And the competitive nature he has — I always kid him about being pretty and being fast and all this. I said, 'I want you to become a football player.

I want you to use your hands when you block, I want you to stay in good football position.' It's been steady (progress) over time, little doses here and there, and he's continued to develop."Given everything Beckum accomplished last season, it's easy to overlook senior Andy Crooks, another former linebacker who also made the move to tight end in the spring of 2006.

Yet, when offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was asked this spring to evaluate some of the potential leaders on his side of the ball, Crooks was the first player mentioned."He was a lot of our (offensive) personality, I felt like, last year," Chryst said.

With both Beckum and Crooks back this year, tight end is one of the strongest areas on a deep and experienced team.Beckum and Crooks proved to be such an effective combination, the double tight end formation became a staple in UW's offense.

The versatility of Crooks, who can also line up in the backfield, allowed the offense to overcome injuries to fullbacks Chris Pressley, who missed the entire season with a broken ankle suffered in fall camp, and Bill Rentmeester, who was in and out of the lineup all season with a shoulder injury. Crooks had 19 catches for 206 yards and four TDs and was also the team's best blocking tight end.

Even in passing situations, Chryst often preferred to use two receivers and two tight ends, rather than three receivers and a tight end, or four receivers."I want the offensive coordinator to call plays to our guys, but they have to merit that," receivers coach Henry Mason said in the spring. "It doesn't make any sense to take Travis Beckum off the field in passing situations."Crooks missed spring practices, following post-season shoulder surgery and third tight end Sean Lewis was also out with an injury.

That allowed Beckum extra reps to concentrate on his blocking, the weakest part of his game."With Crooks and Sean being gone, (I'm) kind of getting all the blocks down — down blocks, zone blocks," Beckum said in the spring. "Last year I was kind of limited in what blocks I did. I think that's good experience for me to be able to do all the blocks."

Former quarterback John Stocco used to joke that Beckum didn't always know where he was going, either. So, Beckum was working on polishing his route-running skills, too.

But it's hard to find another tight end nationally who impacted games — and defenses — as much as Beckum. In Big Ten games only, Beckum ranked second in the conference in receiving yards, averaging 75.1 per game.

Even with defenses increasingly focusing their coverages on him later in the season, he still caught five or more passes in each of the final five games, counting the bowl victory over Arkansas."I expected it," Beckum said of the different coverages he faced, including bracket coverage, with a linebacker underneath and a safety over the top. "It's just something I kind of look forward to."

If defenders are going to bracket me and put more defenders on me, it's going to leave other players open. Once that happens, we can have a complete offense."The popular perception, going into the season, is Beckum will be a better all-around player, but might not put up the numbers he had last season.

But given his extraordinary talent and competitiveness, don't rule out an even bigger season."That was kind of a point for me, to have an even better season this year," Beckum said. "The numbers I put up were kind of large last year. I definitely think I'm capable of doing it."

Courtesy of Tom Mulhern from today's Wisconsin State Journal:
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/sports/index.php?ntid=203605&ntpid=4#

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UW football: Swan catches on

That's OK if you have underestimated University of Wisconsin senior wide receiver Luke Swan in the past. He's used to it.

Swan, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, came to the Badgers as an unheralded walk-on from Fennimore, who supposedly was too small and too slow to be a receiver in the Big Ten Conference.

So, when Swan went into fall camp a year ago listed atop the depth chart, it seemed like a nice story, but almost no one expected it to last. It was supposed to be only a matter of time before Swan was overtaken by one of two true freshman receivers, Isaac Anderson or Xavier Harris.

Despite missing part of camp with an injury, Swan not only held on to the starting job, he finished third on the team with 35 catches for 595 yards, an average of 17 yards per reception that topped the team. He also tied for the team high with five touchdown catches.

Once again, most fans figured Swan had reached his glass ceiling, as a nice intermediary complement to tight end Travis Beckum and deep threat Paul Hubbard.

But Swan defied the popular opinion again, taking his game up another notch in the spring.
"He's a better player right now than he was at the end of (last) season," receivers coach Henry Mason said in the spring. "He's really got a feel for things."

In fact, Swan was so good in the spring, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst started thinking of ways to feature him in the offense. Chryst took it a step further when he compared Swan to departed quarterback John Stocco.

"The thing you appreciate — and you try to get others to understand — you know what you're going to get (with Swan),'' Chryst said.

" 'Swanny,' maybe, is like 'Stoc' at quarterback, not real sexy, but you're going to win with him. If he should be open, he'll be open. He's a heck of a competitor. There are some of the same qualities."

If you're keeping track at home, that means Swan has gone from walk-on, to starter, to receiving a scholarship, to being a featured receiver, all in the span of a little more than one year.

The stability Swan and Hubbard — fifth-year seniors who spent all last season as starters — bring to the position is crucial with the recent news the Badgers will be without the popular Mason, who was hospitalized with back problems and replaced by interim coach DelVaughn Alexander for the season.

Not only do Swan and Hubbard have experience in the offense, they complement each other perfectly, along with Beckum.

"Swan, he's the precision route-runner," Hubbard said. "Me, I've got the speed, so I can open it up, I can blow the top off, give Swan some room to work in traffic. Travis, he's both. He does what he needs to do, to make the play."

Swan's face lit up when told Chryst was talking about featuring him more in the offense.
"That's a great thing to hear," he said. "That means he's got confidence in me, that I can be a playmaker. That gives me confidence to go out and make more plays."

Hubbard, 6-4 and 213 pounds, proved to be a playmaker, too, catching 38 passes for 627 yards and five TDs, but his lack of consistency was maddening at times. He was plagued by drops, a result of inconsistent route running and hands.

He didn't seem to change much in the spring, either. At the end of last season, Mason said Hubbard, in terms of physical talent, could be one of the top receivers in the Big Ten.

"It just hasn't happened yet," Mason said in the spring. "Right now, looking at him, you can pull 25 plays off the spring tape, you watch them and you say, 'He might be top 10 as far as receivers in the country.'

"There's another 20-25 plays where you say, 'I don't see it, it's not there.' He's got to be able to close that gap. He's got too many negative plays."

The other big issue in the spring was the failure of a third receiver to emerge.

Redshirt freshman Maurice Moore made the biggest jump, but he's a converted quarterback who still has a long way to go.

Anderson is a burner who can't seem to stay healthy. Harris left the team in the spring and returned home to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for personal reasons, but he is back and will be ready for camp. However, Mason said Moore has bypassed Harris.

Junior Marcus Randle El could be the favorite for the No. 3 job, but he was limited in the spring after returning from reconstructive knee surgery. The coaches won't know what Randle El can do until camp opens.
Courtesy of Tom Mulhern from today's Wisconsin State Journal:

Injury will keep Morency out at least two weeks

It will be at least two weeks before Vernand Morency returns to the practice field, and when he comes back, the gap could be narrowed between him and the rest of the pack in the competition for the Green Bay Packers' starting running back job.

Morency's injured knee turned out to be worse than originally thought, and although coach Mike McCarthy said surgery wouldn't be needed to repair it, the third-year back will be sidelined "a couple of weeks." McCarthy wouldn't reveal any details about the injury and Morency did not make himself available to reporters in the locker room after practice.

On Sunday, general manager Ted Thompson described the injury as a bruise, but after further examination from the team doctor it was determined to be more than that.

"Pat McKenzie just thinks it's a little more serious than he initially thought," McCarthy said. "It's going to be a couple of weeks."

Morency injured his knee in the first practice Saturday. He's unsure exactly when it occurred, but McCarthy said there were two consecutive plays where Morency put stress on his knee.

"The one where he had the hard cut to the left, he kind of fell a little bit there, and there was a play, I think it was actually prior to that, where he was in a situation where his legs got crossed up on the pass protection that he was blocking on," McCarthy said. "I think it happened on one of those two plays."

Morency's injury raises some flags about his durability. He has never been a full-time starter in the National Football League and has had some injury problems, including a lower back ailment that forced him to miss two games last year and limited him to 11 carries in the three games after that.

If he's out only two weeks, Morency will still have three exhibition games to make his case for the starting job, but if he's out three, he'll be cutting things close. The third exhibition game is always the most important because of the amount of time the starters play, so if anything, he should be shooting for the Jacksonville game Aug. 23.

"I think it's for precautionary reasons," fullback Brandon Miree said. "I don't know what everything is. They just want to make sure he's healthy. We need him for the entire season. It's one of those things we don't want to take any chances with."

In the meantime, the Packers are introducing some added competition to the race. Since Morency went out, rookie Brandon Jackson and second-year pro P.J. Pope have been first in line to audition for the job.

But seventh-round pick DeShawn Wynn is gradually coming back from a stomach virus that caused him to lose 10 pounds and miss the first two days of practice, and rookie free agent Corey White is getting an extended look. Because nothing is settled in a backfield without a clear-cut starter, there will be an opportunity for someone to prove he's more reliable than Morency.

Courtesy of Tom Silverstein from today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Brewers 1 of 3 teams able to trade for Gagne






















The Yankees grew discouraged about their chances of landing Rangers closer Eric Gagne on Tuesday morning, an indication that the reliever could be headed to one of three other teams trying to acquire him — the Red Sox, Brewers or Mets — or nowhere at all.


The Mets and Brewers are among the 12 teams that can acquire Gagne without his permission, according to major-league sources. The Red Sox are not.

The Mets, who are unwilling to trade Carlos Gomez, also are pessimistic about their chances. Meanwhile, two of the Rangers' other potential center-field targets — the Red Sox's David Murphy and Brewers' Tony Gwynn Jr. — might not be everyday players.
For the Red Sox, time is running short.

Their chances of landing of White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye are fading, according to sources. And, with the non-waiver deadline fast approaching, the Sox need to not only reach a trade agreement with the Rangers, but also persuade Gagne to waive his no-trade clause to Boston, perhaps by guaranteeing his remaining $3.65 million in potential bonuses for games finished.

Even if they did that, Gagne still might balk at the deal, preferring to close rather than set up for Jonathan Papelbon


Courtesy of Ken Rosenthal from Foxsports.com:
http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7072074

Monday, July 30, 2007

Woodson returns to form

Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson would rather take the chance he might have to wear a shoulder harness again this season than let a surgeon cut him open.

So, instead of allowing team doctor Patrick McKenzie to explore what it was that was causing Woodson so much pain the second half of the season last year, he decided to treat his right shoulder the same as he treated his ailing left knee.

During the off-season, Woodson went to Houston as he always does and began rehabbing both injuries with the intent of being ready for the start of training camp. So far, he thinks he did the right thing.

"The knee was fine pretty much a month after the season," Woodson said. "It took the shoulder a little longer, I'd say well into June before it was where I wanted it to be. It feels good right now. I have full range of motion. It's not sore at all. I haven't really hit anybody, but it feels good for the most part."

Woodson said he doesn't know if there are floating bone chips around the shoulder or some other ailment that caused him so much pain he had to play with the harness last year. He only knows that he was able to get back to health without having to go under the knife.

"They said the only way to find out was to actually go in," Woodson said. "I wasn't too thrilled about that. I figured I'd just play with it and if anything comes up with it again, I'll put the harness back on and continue to work."

Woodson gutted it out for all 16 games last season despite the knee injury, which he suffered in the St. Louis game Oct. 8, and the shoulder injury, which appeared after the New England game Nov. 19.

He led the Packers with eight interceptions and also was the team's primary punt returner, fielding 41 kicks for an 8.9-yard average.

During the first two days of practice, Woodson has resumed his role as the primary punt returner and seems set on doing it again despite the risk of injury. So far, coach Mike McCarthy has shown no hesitation in allowing Woodson to field punts, although that could change when the games start.

Courtesy of Tom Silverstein from today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Couch Comeback

We haven't seen anything like this since the Jeff George Experiment 2.0, 3.0, & 4.0.

Quarterback Tim Couch, whose career appeared to be over after undergoing two major shoulder surgeries, is scheduled to work out for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, sources said. The Atlanta Falcons also have called to set up a workout with Couch.

Couch, the No. 1 pick of the 1999 draft when he was taken by the Cleveland Browns, is trying to get back into the NFL after three years out of the league. He has been working out near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and recently directed his agents to contact NFL teams to let them know he is healthy and prepared to play again. He turns 30 next Tuesday.

The Browns released Couch after the 2003 season and he developed shoulder problems during training camp with the Green Bay Packers in 2004. The Packers cut him before the 2004 season started and Couch subsequently underwent two shoulder surgeries, the last in July 2006.

Attempts to reach Couch for immediate comment were unsuccessful.

Courtesy of Josh Peter from Yahoo sports

BLEW - ERS..........road woes continue

I really don't even have to go into detail and actually it's too painful after this weekend. Brewers lost both games in a doubleheader and lost miserable game yesterday to the Cardnials. Sadly enough the Brewers were for the most part winning everyone of those games and surrendered 5 runs, 6 runs, and end up losing the lead.

And just on the horizon, the Mets one of the best teams in MLB is up next for the Crew. At least we don't have to worry about Bonds bringing his "juice" to town.

Brewers need some help, need some life, need to start winning again!!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brewers send 3 pitchers to Padres for Linebrink

In turnabout in trade philosophy, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired reliever Scott Linebrink from the San Diego Padres for three minor league pitchers on Wednesday, hoping to bolster their unexpected run at the playoffs.

Linebrink will be a setup man for closer Francisco Cordero, who has converted 32 of 35 save chances.

"I wasn't surprised. I knew I was getting close to the deadline and hadn't heard anything," Linebrink said. "It's usually when you don't hear anything that happens. Last year my name was thrown out plenty and nothing happened. When it goes quiet there is usually something in the works."

The Padres acquired right-hander Will Inman, a third-round pick in the 2005 amateur draft; left-hander Steve Garrison, a 10th-round pick in the same draft; and 25-year-old left-hander Joe Thatcher.

The bullpen is one of the Brewers' main concerns, in part because of injuries. Reliever Yovani Gallardo had to move into the starting rotation after Ben Sheets hurt a finger on his pitching hand earlier this month.

The Brewers have been in first place in the NL Central since a 25-11 start. Their 8½-game lead has dwindled to only two in the past week, a slide set up by the team's struggling offense.

The deal was a notable change for the Brewers, who are more accustomed to thinking about who they might trade away in July. Milwaukee hasn't had a winning record since 1992.

"It's a change for us competing for the postseason," General Manager Doug Melvin said. "You get to that point and you have to adjust your philosophy and your thinking."

It might wind up as the Brewers' biggest deal before the trading deadline.

"I'm not sure there's anything else we'd do," Melvin said. "This was one of our No. 1 goals. We have versatile players on the bench. We'd like our players on the offensive side to produce the way they did in the first half, when we got ourselves where we are. If they do that, we'll be fine."
Linebrink has been a dependable setup man for the Padres, going 3-3 with a 3.80 earned run average in 44 games this season. Last year, he led the Padres' bullpen with seven wins and 68 strikeouts. He also led the NL with 36 holds.

He's expected to join the team for a weekend series in St. Louis.

Read More here from Joe Kay of the AP courtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In-Depth look at the Packers D-Line

Obviously the Green Bay Packers D-Line was a position that Ted Thompson saw as very important. He draft Justin Harrell, DT Tennessee with the #16 pick and shocked pretty much everyone including the experts by taking him. Jason Wilde, Wisconsin sports writer of the year and regular on "The World's Greatest Talk Show", with Steve "The Homer" True, takes an in-depth look at the 2007 Green Bay Packers D-Line.

While it's true Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson did next to nothing during free agency to improve his team — hello, lonely cornerback Frank Walker — let's not forget what could turn out to be the club's most important offseason signing.

Or re-signing, anyway.

If Cullen Jenkins, who signed a four-year contract extension worth $16 million on Feb. 26, can come through with a breakout season the way Aaron Kampman did last year after getting his four-year, $21 million deal, the Packers' defense could go from being a decent outfit in 2006 to an elite group in '07.

Of course, there are other issues — whether Marquand Manuel (or his replacement) can prevent receivers from constantly getting behind him tops the list — but Green Bay has a potentially outstanding front seven and better depth on the line than anywhere on defense.

Jenkins registered a career-high 6.5 sacks (despite missing two games with an ankle injury) last season, replacing high-paid pass-rusher Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila as the primary defensive end opposite Kampman for the final four games, starting three.

The Packers won all four games, and the defense, much-maligned for most of the season, showed significant improvement.

The Packers' plan is for Jenkins to continue to play end on early downs because he is a better run defender than KGB, then move inside to tackle on passing downs to allow the Packers to have their three best rushers on the field simultaneously in Jenkins, Kampman and KGB.

Finding another edge rusher — Jason Hunter, perhaps? — would be a bonus.

"Guys like Cullen are very hard to find," defensive ends coach Carl Hairston said. "He's good for us because we can use him at end or tackle and put someone else in because he can play two spots. That doesn't happen often. You don't usually find a guy who can play both positions effectively, which he can do. Once he's inside, he's pretty disruptive there."

The Packers finished last season with 46 sacks, ranking them fourth in the NFL behind San Diego (61), Baltimore (60) and Miami (47), and if reducing Gbaja-Biamila's snaps allows him to recapture his form from 2001 through '04 (49 sacks), their pass rush could be formidable. But the run defense, which finished ranked 13th at season's end, must improve as well.

The run defense will again rely on blocker-eating nose tackle Ryan Pickett, who came over from St. Louis as a free agent last year and, despite relatively unimpressive numbers (92 tackles, zero sacks, one fumble recovery, no fumbles forced) was a difference-maker.

"I felt like I had a re-start to my career," Pickett said. "It was a great year. Next year will be even better."

Who'll line up alongside him depends on first-round pick Justin Harrell, who did not take a single offseason snap in 11-on-11 drills because of the ruptured biceps tendon he suffered in his final season at Tennessee. Harrell played only three games for the Volunteers but the club expects him to be ready when training camp opens Saturday.

Read More Here from JAson Wilde's article in today's Wisconsin State Journal:

Gallardo pitches a gem on the road

Every now and then, you get away with one.

To hear Milwaukee Brewers closer Francisco Cordero, he got away with a big no-no - a hanging slider in the ninth inning Tuesday night to Cincinnati slugger Ken Griffey Jr., whose potential game-tying drive was caught at the wall by rightfielder Kevin Mench.

"I don't believe anybody in the ballpark thought that was staying in," said Cordero, who notched his major league-best 32nd save. "I know I didn't. And I looked at Ken Griffey. I know he didn't, either."

With that bit of good fortune, the Brewers hung on for a 5-3 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park, a rewarding turnabout from a tough 12-inning defeat the previous evening.

The victory allowed the Brewers to maintain their three-game lead in the NL Central over Chicago, a 4-3 winner in St. Louis.

"You can't get freaked out (by tough losses)," said manager Ned Yost. "You better stay steady. They have convinced me they have that trait. I don't worry about it anymore."

Right-hander Yovani Gallardo, already impressive in so many ways, gave yet another reason for the Brewers to believe he'll hold up to the scrutiny of replacing injured ace Ben Sheets.

Gallardo did not have his Grade A stuff and found himself rushing in the early going, but he made adjustments as if he were a 31-year-old veteran, not a 21-year-old rookie.

"The first three innings, I was in too much of a hurry," said Gallardo (3-1), who nevertheless kept the Reds off the board until the seventh inning. "I was trying to do too much.

"After that, I got back in a rhythm and made quality pitches. By the fourth inning, I kind of settled down, relaxed a little and pitched my game."

Behind 6 2/3 innings of gritty work by Gallardo, the Brewers bolted to a 4-0 lead against Cincinnati starter Matt Belisle. It took a great catch by Griffey in right field in the second inning to hold Damian Miller to a sacrifice fly and the Brewers to one run.

Griffey also made a diving catch in the corner in the third to turn a potential run-scoring, extra-base hit by Craig Counsell into a double play.

"Griffey saved them two or three runs," said Yost. "I mean, they were great catches, not routine catches. You almost catch yourself saying bad words when he makes those catches."

The Brewers scored three times in the fourth to knock Belisle from the game. Ryan Braun led off with a single and scored when Prince Fielder tripled high off the wall in left, a drive that barely eluded leaping Adam Dunn.

Kevin Mench went down swinging, but Geoff Jenkins yanked a double into the right-field corner to collect his first RBI since July 5 in Pittsburgh. Miller walked, Tony Gwynn Jr. bounced into a force at second and Gallardo helped his cause with an RBI single to center, chasing Belisle.

Brian Shouse helped bail Gallardo out in the seventh after Scott Hatteberg put the Reds on the board with a run-scoring double. But Derrick Turnbow found nothing but trouble in the eighth, allowing a two-run homer to Dunn and retiring none of the three hitters he faced.

But Carlos Villanueva, another impressive young right-hander, took over and retired the side, striking out the last two hitters. Villanueva had scuffled of late (11.00 ERA in six outings) but was glad to pick up Turnbow and keep his club on top.

Read More Here from Tom Haudricourt's article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=637652