Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Found this interesting article on FoxSports.com about a timeline of lies from former Jets QB, Brett Favre. This is just too good not to pass on:
March 2, 2001, after signing a contract that made him the NFL's first $100 million player: "I do want to be a Packer for life ... I couldn't envision myself playing with another team ... If that was to ever come up, I would probably just retire."
November 7, 2003: "I don't know if it's going to be this year, next year. I mean, I still think there's a lot left out there for us and a lot left out there for me."
March 31, 2006, Biloxi Sun-Herald: "If I do play this year, it will be my last. There's no doubt about that."
May 6, 2006: "I know I said that. But I hope you guys will respect me. I'm going to play this year, give it my best and not talk about it."
September 6, 2006, in response to a question by Bob Costas, he says he's "99.9 percent" sure he'll retire as a Green Bay Packer.
December 31, 2006, interviewed by NBC's Andrea Kremer after Green Bay's 26-7 win over the Bears at Soldier Field: "If today is my last game, I want to remember it. It's tough ... tough. I'll miss these guys, and I'll miss the game ..."
February 3, 2007, quoted by Packers GM Ted Thompson in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "I think I'll go one more time."
May 14, 2007: "... I don't want to be traded. I want to finish my career as a Packer."
January 10, 2008, in the Biloxi Sun-Herald, three days before a playoff game against Seattle: "For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game. I would like to continue longer."
January 21, 2008: "I'm not going to rush to make a big decision, but it will probably be quicker than it's been in the past."
March 6, 2008: "It's been a great career for me, but it's over ... I don't think I've got anything left to give."
April 3, 2008, asked about Favre coming back, his agent, Bus Cook, tells the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer: "That's news to me. I don't think that has anything to do with anything. He's retired, period, point blank."
April 10, 2008, Biloxi Sun-Herald: "I very well could be enticed."
April 25, 2008, before a luncheon honoring his image on the cover of Madden '09: "First of all, I'm not going to keep myself in shape ... There were always second thoughts ... It wasn't ever a clear-cut decision."
July 14, 2008, interviewed by Fox's Greta Van Susteren, Favre says he was "never fully committed" to retiring: "If I play, it's going to be 100 percent commitment."
August 8, 2008: "I'm here for one reason ... I'm here to help the Jets win."
February 12, 2009: "It's been a wonderful career, I couldn't ask for anything more. It was worth a shot for me to go to New York. I wish I could've played better down the stretch. I didn't.
"It's time to leave."
June 15, 2009, asked by Joe Buck about the Vikings (after his wife had made a deposit on a condo in Minnesota): "It makes a lot of sense because the pieces are in place."
July 29, 2009: "I didn't feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable. I would like to thank everyone, including the Packers, Jets and Vikings, but, most importantly, the fans."
August 18, 2009, asked about wearing a Vikings helmet: "It was different. I'm not going to lie to you."
And we end on that one. The man quoted as saying, "I'm not going to lie to you.".
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Thought it was over....well this just in, former Jets QB, Brett Favre will sign a One Yr deal with the hated Vikings, pending a physical. All of you that are familar with the Favre-gate in 2008, he's currently on a plane headed for MN.
The former Jets QB had retired for a 2nd time, and now also unretired for a second time to now "stick it to the Packers", a team I think he has some ties to somehow. We'll look into that further!!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This is the team's darkest day of the season. Brewers outright release Bill Hall ended his career with the Brewers. They send J.J. Hardy down to AAA Nashville, who has been in a season long slump statistically in the bottom of almost every category for SS in the NL. And the Brewers fired Pitching Coach Billy Castro, who's pitching staff has been miserable in the last few months.
Some fans have been calling for this move for months, but the Crew also called up SS, Alcides Escobar from AAA Nashville and promoted Chris Bosio to Brewers Pitching Coach.
Now that heads have rolled, what should fans make of all this?
Well, there’s one of two ways that I see.
The first is that the Brewers are making these moves to shake up the roster and staff in one last-ditch effort to make a run at the division title. That is plausible since it would obviously seem Alcides Escobar is an upgrade at shortstop at this point and the Brewers cut dead weight in Bill Hall. Maybe seeing that some jobs aren't safe will spark this club into a final push. It worked with the Colorado Rockies, although that happened way earlier in the season when they fired manager Clint Hurdle.
The other way to view optioning J.J. Hardy, DFA-ing Hall and firing pitching coach Bill Castro is that the Brewers are throwing up the white flag and finally making moves in mid-August that probably should have been made a month ago. Making them now might appear to be too late to make a legitimate run at the playoffs, so the result is the Brewers finally cutting Hall and Castro and seeing what they have in Escobar while they decide what to do with Hardy long-term.
Realistically, it seems the second option is more likely, although the Brewers are still going to say they believe they can make a push toward the postseason. That may be true; the Brewers as a team and organization might still believe the playoffs are a reasonable goal considering their strength of schedule right now and in the near future. But the standings have already started to say otherwise.
Castro is a fall guy for the staff. There is no way it can be said he was given a full toolbox when he was given this construction job. Everyone who follows the team knew when spring training started that the starting rotation was paper-thin and one injury or poor stretch by one pitcher could leave the pitching staff in shambles. Remember, Seth McClung was the fifth starter before the team went and signed Braden Looper.
The Brewers had the injury to Dave Bush and the poor stretches by Jeff Suppan and Manny Parra, a guy the Brewers hoped could slot in behind ace Yovani Gallardo and give them a solid and young 1-2 punch.
The Brewers were fortunate, and manager Ken Macha has even called it “lucky,” that the rotation held steady for so long into the season. The Brewers were one of the last teams in the majors to use the five starters they entered the season with, but once Parra was sent down things snowballed.
The rotation became one of the worst in the National League and the pitching staff as a whole ranks near the bottom of the league in way too many categories, including being second-worst in team ERA and the starters have the worst ERA (5.13), are 10th in victories (37), third-worst in innings pitched (633), have issued the second-most walks (271), have the third-worst batting average against (.277) and have allowed the most home runs (107).
Obviously, some blame has to land on Castro as the pitching coach, but let’s not kid ourselves into believing he had the ingredients to deliver a dominant rotation.
This season seemed to be one of some accountability for the players, but only when it came to Parra in the rotation and Hall starting at third base, and even then his leash was still lengthy and he was given several chances to prove he could be the everyday starter.
The Brewers didn’t want to make this move with him until they were totally convinced he was a lost cause for their team, we should assume. The main reason is his contract, which the Brewers now have to eat. But the bottom line is Hall wasn’t cutting it and had ended up being a non-contributor for his final months.
Hardy, it seemed, was where some accountability stopped. He has struggled offensively all season. Among NL shortstops with at least 250 plate appearances, he is second to last in average (.230) and third-worst in on-base percentage (.301).
Despite that and Escobar coming on strong at Class AAA Nashville, Hardy was still the everyday shortstop, even when the team acquired Felipe Lopez to play second and freed Craig Counsell to play more shortstop.
Now, with the team 6.5 games out of first place in the division with two teams ahead of it and 6.5 out of the wild card with five teams ahead of it, it looks like the Brewers are out of the races, especially since they show no real signs of breaking out of this slump that has seen them go into a tailspin since July 1.
Do you guys think these moves have come too late and are signs the Brewers have decided to look into the future by discarding some of the past, or is these moves to really make a run?
To summarize the moves made this morning by the Brewers:
1. Pitcing coach Bill Castro was fired and replaced by Class AAA Nashville pitching coach Chris Bosio. Castro, in his first year as pitching coach after 17 years as bullpen coach, paid the price for a staff that ranks 15th in the NL with a 4.84 ERA and has taken several beatings in recent weeks. The starting rotation's 5.16 ERA is last in the NL.
2. Shortstop J.J. Hardy was optioned to Class AAA Nashville and will be replaced by top prospect Alcides Escobar, called up from that club. Hardy has struggled at the plate all year and is batting .229 with 11 homers and 45 RBI. Hardy is seven weeks shy of having five years in the majors, which allows players to turn down minor-league assignments.
3. INF/OF Bill Hall was designated for assignment and replaced on the roster by OF Jason Bourgeois, called up from Nashville. The Brewers have 10 days to trade Hall, release him or have him accept a minor league assignment, which he already did a couple of weeks ago. The club probably will be stuck with the $10 million or so remaining on the contract of Hall, who has been in a two-year slump at the plate and was batting .201 with six homers and 24 RBI.
You can file these moves under the "What Have We Got to Lose?" category. The team has lost 23 of 35 games since July 1, won only one of 10 series and fallen two games below .500 and 6 1/2 games out of first place in the NL Central.
In other words, the team was already going down for the count. Why not shake things up and see if there's any life left? Owner Mark Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin obviously thought they had to try something to salvage the season.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
It has been four years since a wide receiver has led the University of Wisconsin football team in receptions or receiving yards.
That’s too long, in the opinion of sophomore wide receiver Nick Toon.
“Hopefully, we can change that around this year,” Toon said in the spring.
The last receiver to lead UW in catches and receiving yards was Brandon Williams, who caught 59 passes for 1,095 yards as a senior in 2005.
Since then, it has been all tight ends, all the time.
Travis Beckum led in both categories in 2006 and ’07. Last season, when Beckum was limited to six games by injuries, Garrett Graham caught 40 passes for 540 yards.
“I don’t think it’s any secret Travis was the go-to guy,” Toon said of the past three seasons, when Beckum was healthy. “He’s gone now. It’s someone else’s turn to step up.”
Graham, a first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection a year ago, is back for his senior season and is the leading candidate. So, there’s no reason to expect the tight end trend to vanish this season.
Still, given the improvement of the wide receivers in the past year, they should at least re-establish themselves as more than blockers and decoys.
Receiver was one of the youngest positions on the team last season. Now, with everybody back, it’s one of the most improved — and deepest.
The receivers bonded through the adversity of the first half of 2008, when drops and inconsistent play were issues. The group started to emerge in the second half of the season.
David Gilreath, now a junior, helped snap a four-game losing streak with two touchdown grabs in a 27-17 victory over Illinois in the eighth game. He finished second on the team with 31 receptions for 520 yards and three TDs, and earned second-team All-Big Ten Conference recognition.
Toon caught 14 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown in the last five games, while Isaac Anderson, now a junior, had a breakout performance against Minnesota in the penultimate regular-season game with six receptions for 114 yards.
“We did come together,” Toon said. “Coming together also comes with maturity. We’re maturing as a group, getting older. That helps. We have a lot of threats at the receiver position. I think we can take over that role (go-to receiver) this year.”
Wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander is certainly aware of the diminished role for his players but said they have to prove themselves worthy of getting balls thrown to them.
“We don’t talk about it,” Alexander said of tight ends leading the team in receptions. “I might be aware of it. They’ve led the team and they deserve to do that, with Travis and the type of player he was. Our goal is to lead and help in any way we can.”
Toon and Anderson led the way in the spring. After coaches toyed with the idea of moving the 6-foot-3 Toon to H-back, he lost weight and now looks poised for a big season. He was close to 230 pounds in spring 2008, but was down to 207 last spring.
In the spring game, Toon caught four passes for 62 yards, including a touchdown on a 4-yard fade route from Curt Phillips.
“You saw Nick, they just can’t stop him,” Phillips said afterward.
Anderson battled injuries — mostly muscle pulls — during his first two years, including a redshirt season in 2007. He managed to stay healthy in the spring until suffering a minor foot injury in the spring game.
The way Anderson responded to his opportunity in the Minnesota game is what Alexander is looking for from the group.
“All of those guys know the opportunities are there, they just have to seize the moment, as coach (Paul) Chryst would say,” Alexander said. “I’m hoping they recognize that and take ownership in doing that.”
Gilreath did the best job of that last season, emerging as a big-play threat as both a runner and receiver. He had 125 receiving yards against Cal Poly and 168 rushing yards against Indiana.
Kyle Jefferson leads all receivers with 40 career receptions for 601 yards and two touchdowns. He looked ready in the spring to shake off the effects of two vicious hits that resulted in severe concussions in each of his first two seasons.
Toss in highly regarded incoming freshman Kraig Appleton and the competition should be keen for the top four spots. Appleton, 6-4, 200 pounds, likely will be ready physically. So, his playing time will depend on how quickly he picks up the offense.
“Coming in the door, when you know nothing, it’s tough,” Alexander said when asked how much Appleton could contribute. “All these guys have come in and played as freshmen. They’ve taken spots (from other players) and had their spots taken, so they understand that.
“If (Appleton) comes in and does some of the little things, he’ll have opportunities. If he can’t, then they’re safe. (The older players) are going to hang onto what they can.”
Third-year linebacker looks like good fit for 3-4
If linebacker Desmond Bishop keeps playing the way he has in the early days of training camp, he's going to force the Green Bay Packers to play him - somewhere, somehow.
Nobody on defense has proved to be more physical or more improved since camp opened than the 6-2, 238-pound Bishop. Whether it's decking running back DeShawn Wynn and causing a fumble on Monday or executing a shock-and-rip move on fullback Korey Hall during a blitz drill, the third-year pro is making a case for himself early.
"That's what I'm out there doing for the most part," Bishop said. "I'm sure things go into it. I'm trying to find a spot for me. I don't have to be the starter or an every-down (guy), I just want an opportunity to get out there and play a little bit and contribute."
Bishop is listed on the depth chart behind A.J. Hawk at the "Mack" inside position, which in the 3-4 defense equates somewhat to the weakside position in a 4-3. He is also learning the other inside position, the "Buck," which is being manned by Brandon Chillar while starter Nick Barnett rehabilitates his knee.
Last year, the Packers got a taste of what Bishop could do when he replaced the injured Barnett in a game against the Minnesota Vikings Nov. 9. Early on, Bishop performed like a guy who hadn't played in awhile, allowing running back Chester Taylor to catch a pass in the flat and run by him for a 47-yard touchdown and abandoning his gap on running back Adrian Peterson's game-winning 29-yard touchdown run.
However, he was also personally responsible for stopping running back Adrian Peterson on a key fourth-and-1 play, knocking the ball out of Peterson's hands while trying to bring him down, and totaled nine tackles. The blown plays overshadowed the good ones and the Packers moved Hawk to the middle because they didn't think Bishop could handle the starting assignment.
Built compactly, the knock on Bishop coming out of college was his lack of speed and that hurt him in the previous system. But in the 3-4, Bishop looks to be a good match because most of the pass coverage at his position is zone, so he won't get exposed as often by guys like Taylor.
And the key ingredient to making the thing work is blitzing, something Bishop definitely can do.
"I think I have a knack for blitzing. I think I always have," Bishop said. "Really from a timing aspect, I have a knack for how to disguise it good and knowing when the quarterback is in his cadence when he's going to snap the ball."
He also has the ability to run through or around guys. In the first practice, he knocked guard Josh Sitton back to the quarterback during a blitz period and on the very next play threw a head-and-body fake that froze Sitton and allowed him to run right to the quarterback.
"People call it the crossover," Bishop said of the latter move. "I play basketball a lot, so I think that's kind of helped me. I've been playing basketball since I've been younger. In basketball, you have to go around people with a basketball. So here you don't have a basketball and it's that much easier."
Wynn, who is arguably the team's best pass blocking running back, keeps having to take on Bishop, and he admits he's getting tired of it. Bishop came so hard one time, that when he collided with Wynn his helmet went flying like it was shot out of a cannon. Bishop isn't the only guy who can blitz, but when you line him up with the team's best, he's not very far from the front.
"When you're a running back, you're basically standing flat-footed and you have a guy who can run into your chest and catch you off balance or if you lean looking for the bull rush, he can run by you," Wynn said. "Desmond Bishop, he has a variety of different things. He does the bull rush good, but he's also quick to get a running back to set his feet and beat him either way."
Bishop spent his summer in Arizona working with a personal trainer on his quickness and agility and feels he's better prepared than he was a year ago. There's a long way to go until the season starts, but given the importance defensive coordinator Dom Capers puts on blitzing, Bishop could find himself replacing Hawk or Barnett in certain passing situations.
For now, he just wants to make sure the coaches notice him. So far, so good.
In 2008 the major weakness for the Packers was on Defense. The team struggled with a long list of injuries to some key players on Defense like Cullen Jenkins, Nick Barnett, Al Harris, and Atari Bigby to name a few and finished 6-10. They lost seven games by less than five points, four of those coming down to a field goal or less. This was due in large part to the defense failing to come up with stops at crucial points in the fourth quarter.
The transition to the 3-4 defense represents the greatest challenge for the Green Bay Packers heading into the 2009 season. T
he one position that has been under a microscope the most are the Linebackers. In a 3-4 scheme,the Linebackers are the heart and sole of the defense. And the Packers have several players who fit the 3-4 very well. But with that said, they also have a lot of question marks.
Most notable question mark is Aaron Kampman. Kampman has been to two Pro Bowls and has 37 sacks over the past three years. He's making the switch to LB and playing a position he hasn't played since High School.
Early reports from Training Camp say Kampman has struggled in the early goings and looks lost, especially when dropping back in coverage. So do the Pack try to trade him, while his value is still high or hope new Linebackers Coach, Kevin Greene can turn him into a real threat in this Defense.
If anyone can do it, it's Dom Capers and Kevin Greene. Campers helped turn former DE, Tracy Brackens in Jacksonville and Jason Taylor in Miami into solid LB's in the 3-4. In 1999, Brackens, who was 6-4 and 267, had 12 sacks, which topped his previous high of seven; in 2006, Taylor, who was an elite defensive end but also had a prototype 3-4 build at 6-6 and 255, had 13 ½ sacks and was named NFL defensive player of the year at age 32.
For another former defensive end, the change to 3-4 outside linebacker already appears to have been a boon. Jeremy Thompson (6-4, 260), a fourth-round draft pick from 2008, goes into training camp with an edge over first-round draft pick Clay Matthews for the starting job at right outside linebacker. Thompson (6-4, 260) opened the offseason at that position and played well enough to stay ahead of Matthews through the final minicamp.
Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk will be the starting inside linebackers in a scheme that’s designed to free them to make most of the tackles in the inside run game. The move to a 3-4 Defense should help A.J. Hawk show his elite talent that made him the #5 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Other players in the mix at LB include Desmond Bishop, Brandon Chillar, Brady Poppinga, and 7th round pick Brad Jones. Jones could be a nice surprise if given the opportunity. He's a perfect fit for the 3-4. Brady Poppinga and Brandon Chillar are two players that also could flourish in the 3-4, as they were meant to play in this style Defense.
All in all the LB corps of the 2009 Green Bay Packers should be a position of strength and will be fun to watch these guys from week to week. It sure beats the Bob Sanders way.
Charles Woodson put in his two cents about the Defense from last year and the new scheme: "You guys have watched us in this defense for the last three years and when you watched our games, I'm sure you could call out what we were running a lot of times," Woodson said. "It's one thing for things to look the same every play but you can't just run the same thing every play. So this defense gives us a great chance to give the offense different looks, move around a little bit, just showing them different things, throw them off-balance. So it's a defense you can have a lot of fun in. Of course, there is a lot to it so you definitely have to be on your Ps and Qs as far as making your calls and making sure everybody's on the same page. But when everything's clicking, it's a very, very fun defense."