Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

The Packers 2014 schedule was released on Wednesday and it contains five night games. If the Packers have another successful season, odds are another night game or two could happen due to flex scheduling.

Night games are a good thing in my situation. My son is going to turn 1 year old in early October, so I’ll have to watch Packers games with one eye while making sure my boy isn’t putting his fingers in a light socket or trying to open the front door and run out into the middle of an intersection.

Night games mean my son should be sleeping before kickoff. So that gives me five games where I shouldn’t have to worry about him tumbling down the stairs or eating the dog’s food while I yell at my TV about Mike McCarthy calling a John Kuhn fullback dive on an important 4th and 1.

Five night games also might not be a bad thing for the Packers. After the Thursday night season opener, Green Bay gets a 10-day mini bye to savor a victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. Then again, if the Packers lose, it means a week-and-a-half of doom and gloom from the more worrisome sector of the fanbase.

The schedule is fun to talk about now for a couple of reasons: 1) There’s literally nothing else in the NFL world to talk about; and 2) we can begin making plans around Packers games. Throwback Weekend is set for Oct. 18-19 when the Packers play Carolina. Speculation has started about when and if the Packers might retire Brett Favre’s number (Thursday night against the Vikings? Sunday night against the Bears?). Now is the time to try and wriggle out of boring weekend family functions that might interfere with watching the Packers.

But ultimately, while schedule-talk is a fun time filler as we go nuts waiting for the NFL draft that seems like it will never get here, it’s meaningless. We already knew the Packers’ opponents. Does it matter all that much when they play them? It does for our personal plans, but that’s about it.

I can remember talking last April and May (and June, and July and August) about how difficult the Packers 2013 schedule was. You had Washington and RGIII in week two, at the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens in week five, at the always-tough-to-beat Giants in week 10, the perennial contending Falcons in week 13 and the Steelers in week 16.

None of these teams ended up being very good (and neither did the NFC North) and the Packers schedule wasn’t as difficult as many of us feared.

We’ll see what this year brings, and if I can manage to watch the games without my son sneaking away with my iPhone and throwing it in the toilet. Meantime, if my boy decides he wants to stick his finger into a light socket tomorrow, I might join him and see if it helps the draft get here any faster.

Packers news, notes and links

  • For more on the Packers schedule, check out this post from our friends at Acme Packing Company. While you’re there, be sure to click around and check out Acme’s draft coverage. It covers all of the angles that need covering from this Packers fan’s perspective.
  • Every draft season we feature some looks at some not-so-obvious prospects for the Packers. Here is a post on some under-the-radar defensive line prospects.
  • Make sure you’re following Jersey Al’s NFL mock draft picks for the Packers at
  • The ‘Ol Bag of Donuts podcast is back! No Huddle Radio and From the Benches also cranked out quality Packers podcasts this week.
  • Remember how I said worrying about the schedule in April doesn’t make any sense? I still believe that, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and make way-too-early predictions about the Packers record like John Rehor does here.
  • Colleen takes down “Al Davis” in this post at Pocket Doppler.
  • Many people think Ohio St. LB Ryan Shazier could end up being drafted by the Packers. has a Shazier profile that is worth your time.
  • Why stop at four days? I think the NFL draft should run throughout the entire season. Every night at 8 p.m., a new team makes a selection.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

I’ve been complaining for the last month about the NFL draft getting pushed back to May and how this is one of the more boring Packers offseasons in recent memory.

Thankfully, Out of the Park Baseball 15 (OOTP) was released on Monday. For those of you unfamiliar with OOTP, it’s the best video game you will ever play. Seriously, it’s that good. I could go into a long description of what the game is, but that’s all you really need to know — it’s the best video game you will ever play.

Go check out the website if you want more details. You’ll find out that it’s a baseball management sim, that you use your brain instead of your thumbs to play it, and that it’s amazing.

With annual sports game releases on the big consoles, you often get the same old game every year with updated rosters and maybe a few minor tweaks here and there to fill up the description space on the back of the box. Not with OOTP.

Every year the developers of OOTP make legitimate improvements to the previous version, and OOTP 15 is no exception. The level of immersion in OOTP was already amazing (sometimes even overwhelming). This year the immersion level is dialed up another notch with seven international leagues featuring real rosters, the ability to retire numbers of your franchise greats, more league options and an improved computer manager.

And the best part of OOTP? The entire game is customizable. You can play it however you want.

Want to create a league filled with teams that only play in Wisconsin cities? You can do it. Want to take over in 1901 and play out the entire history of baseball to see how your league ends up compared to real life? It’s easy. Want to make yourself general manager of the Brewers and see if you can win a couple of World Series rings? You can replace Doug Melvin with yourself in just a couple of mouse clicks.

OOTP 15 also adds 3D ballparks and a revamped interface that makes navigating this monstrosity of a game simple.

I could go on and on about the hours of enjoyment I get out playing OOTP every year. I could even bore you with the details of my current franchise, where after seven years of play my Minnesota Twins have yet to make the world series. But I won’t.

Instead of reading this, take what precious time you have and spend it playing OOTP 15. Believe me, it’s worth your time and $39.99. I would’t be writing about it on a blog about Packers football if it wasn’t.

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: QB Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

Packers prospect profile:  QB Teddy Bridgewater

Player Information: Teddy Bridgewater,  QB, Louisville,  6-2, 214 pounds  Hometown: Miami, FL


NFL Combine:

Vertical jump: 3o inches

3-cone drill: 7.17 seconds

Broad jump: 113 inches

20-yard shuttle: 4.20 seconds

News and Notes:

Threw only four interceptions his final season. … Completed over 68 percent of his passes and threw just 24 interceptions in his career. … Dual threat QB out of high school, but developed as a passer in Louisville’s pro-style passing game. … Holds Lousivlle record of at least one touchdown pass in 22 straight games. … Third player in Lousiville history to throw for over 9,000 yards. … Rallied Lousiville to a win over Rutgers in 2012 despite wearing a cast on his wrist. … Graduated in just three years

What they’re saying about him: 

  •  While Bridgewater’s arm is impressive, the poise, vision and touch he demonstrates could serve as a “how-to” video on effective quarterback play. Critics will continue to point out Bridgewater’s flaws. He is not as big or strong as Andrew Luck nor as nimble as a healthy Robert Griffin III. Among the quarterbacks potentially available in the 2014 draft, he’s the most polished and accurate.
  •  Terrific competitor. Extremely driven to succeed. Well-prepared and confident in his approach. Operated a progression-read offense where he is asked to scan the whole field and help steer protections. Footwork is very clean and in rhythm — throws on balance with sound mechanics, a fluid delivery and smooth stroke. Very good timing, touch and anticipation — throws receivers open.
  • MMQB: Compared on film to other potential quarterbacks in his draft class, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t jump off the screen. But NFL teams still like what they see, and when they dig a little deeper, that like will turn to love.


Video Analysis:.

  • Bridgewater can really move. But more importantly, it’s obvious that he understands the importance of squaring his shoulders and maintaining proper mechanics while on the move. Check out the throw 35 seconds into the clip.
  • The knock on Bridgewater is that he’s skinny. But this isn’t the WWE. He’s going to be throwing passes, not body-slamming people and flexing his muscles. The kid can flat-out throw the ball and is mobile enough to avoid big hits on his smallish frame.
  • Missed some downfiled throws on this clip. Based on the few games I watched Bridgewater play during the season, I noted downfield accuracy needed some work.
  • Check out the play at 6:10 of the clip. Oh, man. If your team needs a QB, how do you not draft this kid?

If drafted by the Packers:

He won’t be drafted by the Packers. So, why am I profiling him? Because I think he will be drafted by the Vikings, and that worries me. Give this kid a year to learn under Norv Turner while Matt Cassel or whoever else starts and Bridgewater could develop into something dangerous.

I see all the characteristics necessary to be a good to great NFL quarterback in Bridgewater. He keeps his head up and looks downfield while moving around, and outside, the pocket. He’s accurate. He’s tough. He came into college as a running quarterback and worked hard to learn a pro-style offense that relied more on a traditional passing game. By all accounts, he lives, breathes and eats football. I think he’s one of the best players in the draft and I don’t get why there’s buzz about him falling down team’s draft boards. Shouldn’t NFL teams know by now that quarterbacks with Bridgewater’s skill set don’t come around very often?

I hope Bridgewater is gone by the time the Vikings pick at No. 8. Or I hope that the Vikings do what the Vikings typically do and make a mistake by not drafting him.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

As we sit here waiting…and waiting…and waiting for the NFL draft to come around, now is as good a time as any to look back on Packers general manager Ted Thompson’s draft classes.

This draft will be Thompson’s 10th. Let’s rank his first nine classes best to worst, even if it’s still too early to judge some of the more recent classes.

  1. 2005. How do you not put the draft where Thompson selected Aaron Rodgers and Nick Collins in your top slot? I scratched my head when Thompson took Rodgers (apparently he couldn’t find a trade partner in time), but, unlike 23 other general managers, Thompson pulled the trigger and rescued Rodgers from the green room at Radio City Music Hall. It might have been a bit of a head-scratcher at the time, but now the Packers have the best quarterback in the league. The Packers would probably still have one of the best safeties in the league if Collins didn’t have his career shortened by a neck injury. Thompson’s first draft was 2005 and was a helluva way to start off as the new general manager. I suppose if you’re a glass-half-empty type of person, you could say Thompson’s drafts have all gone downhill since.
  2. 2009. After taking B.J. Raji ninth overall, Thompson traded back into the first round to nab Clay Matthews. He also picked up T.J. Lang in the fourth and Brad Jones in the seventh. Yeah, Raji fell off a cliff last season, but let’s not forget what he did to help the Packers win a Super Bowl. When Matthews is healthy, he’s one of the most dynamic defensive players in the game. Grabbing a starting guard in Lang and solid backup/fringe starter in Jones later in the draft gave 2009 a slight edge over…
  3. 2008. I probably would have given 2008 the nod over 2009 if not for Brian Brohm, a complete bust of a pick in the second round. But Thompson did end up finding his backup quarterback/oh-crap-what-if-Aaron-Rodgers-flops option later with Matt Flynn in the seventh round. Before finding Flynn, Thompson took Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finely and Josh Sitton. Yeah, that’s a helluva haul.
  4. 2013. Yup, I’m ranking 2013 this high even though we still don’t know for sure how the players from this class will turn out. Eddie Lacy helped save the Packers season in his rookie campaign. Micah Hyde played like Charles Woodson-lite at times. David Bakhtiari was thrown into the deep end of the starting lineup at left tackle and didn’t drown. Datone Jones didn’t do much, but you need to be patient with rookie defensive linemen. I’ve got high hopes for the 2013 class taking a big step forward and helping to make up for some of Thompson’s whiffs in 2011 and 2012.
  5. 2006. A.J. Hawk has not lived up to the expectations of a No. 5 overall pick, but he’s one of the few defensive players drafted by Thompson who is not made of paper. Unlike the rest of the Packers defense under Thompson, Hawk has stayed healthy and played in 126 games. Thompson found Greg Jennings in the second round of this draft and also added Johnny Jolly in the sixth. Throw in Daryn Colledge in the second, and it was another solid showing
  6. 2012. We’ll find out for sure this season if the 2012 class will move up or down these rankings. It’s time to find out if Nick Perry can play and if Casey Hayward can stay healthy and build on his rookie season after missing most of 2013. Can Jerel Worthy bounce back from a major injury and fill some type of role on the defensive line? Can Mike Daniels keep playing like a Tasmanian devil and give the Packers the pass rush they need from the defensive line?
  7. 2007. Justin Harrell in the first round torpedoed this draft. James Jones, Desmond Bishop and Mason Crosby turned out to be decent finds later in the draft, but the shadow of Harrell will always loom over this class.
  8. 2010. A ho-hum class that had potential to be good with Bryan Bulaga at the top. Unfortunately, like too many of Thompson’s recent draft picks, Bulaga can’t stay on the field.
  9. 2011. The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010 and Thompson followed it up with this dud of a draft. Derek Sherrod, Alex Green, D.J. Smith and Ricky Elmore. Yuck. Not even Randall Cobb could rescue this class from a last-place finish.

Packers news, notes and links

  • Want to be even more depressed about the Packers 2011 draft? Check out Zach Kruse’s analysis over at CheeseheadTV.
  • Who’s got two thumbs and needs to stay healthy in 2014? Clay Matthews. Unfortunately, it sounds like Matthews injured thumb isn’t 100 percent yet, but he thinks it will be by training camp.
  • The Packers re-signed Matt Flynn. No more talk about backup quarterbacks until at least 2020, please.
  • Mock drafts drive me crazy. They’re useless. But for some reason, whenever I see a new mock draft pop up on Twitter, I click on it and read the whole damn thing. If you like driving yourself crazy like I do, here is a good summary of Packers selections in various mock drafts.
  • John Rehor shares a story about meeting Lynn Dickey.
  • We’re still like three weeks away from the draft. This is maddening. NFL: Don’t ever delay the draft into May again.
  • The longer the draft gets delayed, the more stuff like this happens.

Non-Packers news, notes and links

  • The weather has been crappy all week and it even snowed. But it was still a good week because Mastodon released a new single.
  • This is an amazing story about the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig. Take the time and give it a read.
  • Back when I played baseball in high school we pulled some good pranks on each other, but never this good.
  • The new version of Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) comes out Monday. Those of you who know me know I am obsessed with sports management sims and OOTP is the best out there. I’ll have a full review/overview of the latest version next week.

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: CB Justin Gilbert

Justin Gilbert

CB Justin Gilbert

Packers prospect profile:  CB Justin Gilbert

Player Information:

Justin Gilbert,  CB, Oklahoma St.,  6-0, 202 pounds  Hometown: Huntsville, TX


NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.37

Vertical jump: 35.5 inches

225 lb. bench: 20 reps

Broad jump: 126 inches

News and Notes:

Second team All-American in 2013. … Averaged 26.8 yards per kickoff return, second all-time at Oklahoma St. … Six kickoff returns for touchdowns in college. … Picked off 12 passes during his career. … Fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine among defensive backs. … One of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top cornerback. … Appeared in 51 games and started his final 39. … A former track star in Texas.

What they’re saying about him: 

  •  Gilbert changes directions fluidly and has impressive acceleration to handle deep coverage responsibilities against speedy receivers. Gilbert possesses prototypical height and overall frame for the position with broad shoulders and long arms. He extends well to snatch the ball out of the air and times his leap well. Gilbert is a willing tackler, who closes quickly and effectively…Gilbert can be physical and tough in press coverage, but his technique and footwork are inconsistent. He is too grabby in tight coverage, and his contact downfield will easily attract penalties at the next level.
  •  The most talented cover corner in this year’s draft class, Gilbert has size, speed and flexibility to blanket receivers at the next level. Also brings impact ability as a kick returner. Is capable of stepping into the starting lineup from Day One and playing at a high level if he adheres to a professional approach to the craft. Could stand to improve in run support.
  • The tape says he may have a rough rookie year, but has potential to be pretty good. I’m souring on the idea of taking him in the mid-first round, though someone probably will. If he falls to 30, I’m OK with it, but not jumping up and down. In the 2nd I think you’re starting to talk about a real value with what he brings to the table, though there’s likely a fat chance of that happening.



Video Analysis:.

  • His speed is no joke. Appears to be as fast on the field as he was at the NFL Combine.
  • Don’t believe me? Check out the play at 2:10 of the video clip.
  • Closes quickly once the ball is in the air.
  • Didn’t seem very psychical on running plays. Sam Shields is at least a willing tackler now, so maybe the Packers can coach some more physicality into Gilbert.
  • I do get where some analysts are coming from when they say Gilbert’s technique needs work. He’s upright a little too often and bounces instead of getting into an athletic stance so he can move with receivers who cut hard.
  • But his speed…man. Yes, he’ll have to clean up his technique some against NFL competition, but the rest of his game is there.
  • Appears to have the physical tools that translate to an NFL game.

If drafted by the Packers:

So what the hell do the Packers do if Gilbert falls to No. 21? They don’t really need a cornerback, but how do you pass up a guy as physically gifted as Gilbert who can also change games on special teams? Personally, I don’t see Gilbert falling to the Packers, but if he does, I’d have no problem if Ted Thompson drafted him. A defensive backfield that features Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and Gilbert  is a defensive backfield I can get behind. Gilbert would have some time to develop (if necessary), chip in as needed in 2014, and be ready to take over for Williams in 2015. Meantime, he can return kicks and add another dangerous element to the Packers.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers football.

Last season it was Mike Daniels. The season before it was Randall Cobb. If the Packers are going to contend for a Super Bowl in 2014, at least one player will have to make the leap from potential to breakout star.

Here are the top contenders:

WR Jarrett Boykin
Boykin is probably at the top of most people’s most likely to break out lists. He was successful last season and he has Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. Teams will be ready for him in 2014, though. If he’s going to make the leap, he’ll have to do a better job of getting separation.

DL Datone Jones
Unlike Boykin, Jones is probably near the bottom of most people’s lists. Fans soured on Jones late last season and, apparently, so did the coaching staff as fellow rookie Josh Boyd got more snaps down the stretch. I still have high hopes for Jones and I think he can fulfill those hopes. You need to be patient with young defensive linemen. They rarely break out in their rookie seasons. Let’s see what year two brings for Jones.

CB Davon House
We’ve been waiting for House to take the next step for a while now, haven’t we? If he doesn’t take it in 2014, he probably never will. House’s size appears to make him an ideal fit in Green Bay’s defense, but whenever he strings together some good plays, he follows it up with a couple of stinkers and winds up on the bench. With Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward on the roster, House doesn’t have much room for error.

LT David Bakhtiari
We all groaned when Bryan Bulaga went down and the rookie Bakhtiari ended up starting at left tackle. By the end of the season, those groans turned into “Huh. That kid can play.” Yes, it was a good debut for the kid whose last name I hate spelling, but his ceiling is higher than just a feel-good, surprising rookie playing well in a tough spot. The Packers offense can be a whole lot better if Bakhtiari transforms from promising rookie to left-tackle anchor.

TE Brandon Bostick
Based on what little I’ve seen of him, Bostick seems to do everything well except catch the ball. He especially seems to struggle with drops in traffic. If he develops his hands, especially in tight spaces, I like what he can do in the passing game.

LB Jamari Lattimore
Remember when Lattimore had a few good games in place of Brad Jones and we all pegged Lattimore as the next breakout guy? He faded down the stretch, and now we’ve kind of forgotten about him again. I have no inside info (or “sources,” as the big shots on Twitter would say), but I don’t think Lattimore was healthy late last season. It’s going to be another long year on defense if A.J. Hawk and Jones once again get most of the snaps at inside linebacker. Lattimore will get a chance to show what he can do and we’ll probably find out for sure if he’s the real deal or not.

DL Jerel Worthy
Wouldn’t it be nice if Worthy bounced back from his ACL injury and broke out? My expectations are low on Worthy for multiple reasons: 1) He wasn’t that great as a rookie, 2) he’s coming off a serious injury and 3) Ted Thompson hasn’t exactly been hitting the ball out of the park with his defensive line draft choices lately.

DB Micah Hyde
If Hyde hangs onto that late interception against the 49ers, Hyde’s star would be shining much brighter than it already is after a solid debut season. Even though he couldn’t come up with that big pick, he still could be a difference-maker on defense, either at safety or as a slot corner. Hopefully he avoids the second-year injury bug that struck down Casey Hayward.

Packers news, notes and links

  • Why haven’t the Packers re-signed Matt Flynn yet? Are we really going to play the backup quarterback game again? I hate when the backup quarterback becomes an actual issue. Fans overreact to the issue and the whole ordeal gets annoying. Sign Flynn and get it over with.
  • Stop whatever it is you’re doing and listen to this No Huddle Radio podcast with Dan Shonka from Ourlads NFL scouting service. You’ll be up to speed on NFL draft prospects in no time.
  • The Packers exhibition schedule includes games against James Jones, Charles Woodson and the Raiders, John Dorsey and the Chiefs, as well as the Titans and Rams. Yawn…
  • John Rehor gets the debate flowing once again this week with a post about the Packers passing game. What if Randall Cobb gets hurt again? What if Jordy Nelson also goes down? What’s up at tight end? Depth could be an issue in the Packers passing game for sure, but we’ll see what the depth situation looks like after the draft.
  • This is one of the most boring stretches of the offseason in recent Packers history. I suppose that’s a good thing. It means players are staying out of prison and there aren’t any soap-opera like situations like we’ve experienced recently with Brett Favre and Greg Jennings. Kind of makes blogging about the team a challenge, though. Thanks for sticking around and reading during these slower times.

Non-Packers links and other nonsense

  • RIP Ultimate Warrior. Here’s hoping you’re shaking the ropes in the big ring in the sky.
  • I quit drinking soda pop in high school and I’ve never regretted it. This piece about the history of soda in the United States is fascinating and re-affirms that I made a good choice. That said, if you want to drink soda, drink soda. Making laws to discourage people from consuming soda is silly.
  • You can make fertilizer out of wind energy? Yup, you can make fertilizer out of wind energy.
  • Yes, we are all stupider because of politics.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers football.

Take a look at this NFL mock draft at There are three tight ends selected before a running back is chosen with the 50th overall pick.

Last year in the actual NFL draft there were two tight ends selected before the first running back was snatched off the board (Giovani Bernard at No. 37).

When I was growing up, running back was the glamour position. When we went out for recess to play football (this was back when you could still play tackle football at recess), everyone pretended to be Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith, not some tight end. Most teams wouldn’t dream of taking a tight end over a promising running back in the draft.

Times have changed. Running back is a de-valued position in today’s NFL. That’s not breaking news. But has the de-valuing gone too far?

The top two teams in the NFC last season, Seattle and San Francisco, based their offense around bruising running games. The Packers turned to rookie Eddie Lacy to keep their heads above water after Aaron Rodgers broke his collar bone. Even with Tom Brady at quarterback, the Patriots pounded the ball on the ground early in the season, outrushing opponents in three of the first four games and starting 4-0.

Even on pass-happy Denver, with Peyton Manning at quarterback and a stable of exceptional receivers and tight ends, running back Knowshon Moreno finished with almost 1,600 total yards from scrimmage.

For a while, the NFL also appeared to be de-valuing the safety position, but that might be changing.

Only three safeties were picked in the first round from 2008-11. In the last two drafts, four safeties have gone in the first. In the opening days of NFL free agency, the top safeties on the board flew off the shelf for big money.

I think a lot of teams are emphasizing the safety position again because they see the importance of versatility in today’s game. Safeties are often best suited to handle multiple tasks: provide coverage over the top, match up against a tight end, play the slot, stop the run, drill whoever has the ball, occasionally blitz, etc. Take a look at the Seahawks and 49ers again — both were strong at safety.

While free agent safeties signed quickly and for big bucks, most of the productive running backs on the market are still out there, waiting for some team to show interest.

To be fair, there isn’t the running back equivalent of a Jarius Byrd still waiting to sign. The group of running back free agents wasn’t stacked with players who remind you of Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles. And maybe we’re seeing a resurgence of safeties because there are simply a lot of talented safeties coming out.

That said, I still wonder if we won’t see running backs make a comeback in the next three years. That’s usually how markets work. People de-value something so much that it eventually starts rising in value again after smart people invest at the market’s lowest point.

While most teams are off trying to plug holes here and there or find the next great pass rusher, they’re not paying attention to the running back position. “You can find running backs later in the draft,” most of these teams are probably saying.

They’re not wrong, but a good football player is a good football player. Passing up on a running back you think is really talented in favor of a more questionable talent at another position simply because “you can find a running back later in the draft” isn’t the way to go. As more and more teams appear to be doing this, eventually a few general managers will recognize it and seize on the value opportunity, taking running backs off the draft board earlier than the recent norm and starting a resurgence at the position similar to what we’re seeing at safety.

The position likely won’t be elevated to what it was during the days of Sanders and Smith, but I bet it makes a comeback.

Packers news, notes and links

  • The Packers are the only team in the NFL who have yet to sign an unrestricted free agent (other than their own). Yes, GM Ted Thompson inked outsiders Peppers and Letroy Guion to deals, but they were released from their previous teams, not unrestricted free agents who hit the market after they played out their contracts. Why is this a big deal? Because by not signing any unrestricted free agents, Thompson isn’t hurting his chances at receiving a desirable compensatory draft pick for his own free agents that have departed (James Jones and Evan Dietrich-Smith).
  • Speaking of compensatory draft picks, the Packers will get an extra third-round pick and another fifth-round pick to compensate for the loss of Greg Jennings and Erik Walden during last year’s free-agent period. So Thompson picked Jennings in the second round in 2006, got a ton of production out of him, let him walk, and received an extra third-round pick. Thompson signed Walden off the street in 2010, got some mileage out of him, let him walk, and ended up with a fifth-round choice. That’s what you call squeezing all the value you can out of a player.
  • That said, I hope Thompson isn’t passing on unrestricted free agents he thinks could help the Packers just so he doesn’t damage his chances for a good compensatory pick.
  • Warm up those vocal chords, we’ve got another year of chanting KUHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNN! Hopefully re-signing Kuhn doesn’t mean we’ll see more fullbcak dives…
  • Bovada, a popular sports betting website (*cough* gambling online is illegal and is in no way endorsed or encouraged by *cough*) puts the over/under at nine for the number of sacks Julius Pepper will have this season with the Packers. That seems high. I’d pound the under (if doing so were legal). But that doesn’t mean Peppers will have a down year if he doesn’t reach nine sacks. I still think he’ll make an impact.
  • CheeseheadTV has all the dates for the Packers offseason program.
  • John Rehor wrote a throught-provoking piece about Ryan Braun receiving a standing ovation on Brewers’ opening day and how Braun’s reception differs from the scorn many Packers fans feel toward Brett Favre. I even tried to pick a fight with John in the comments section. I only venture into the comments section on posts that are really good, so you know John’s post on this topic is really good.
  • Have you listened to this week’s podcasts over at the Packers Talk Radio Network yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Included in this week’s batch of pods is an interview with Packers safety Sean Richardson on Cheesehead Radio.

Non-Packers links and other nonsense

  • If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get up to speed on the NFL draft, listen to the Greg Cosell episodes of the Ross Tucker Football podcast.
  • If you want to dig deeper into the draft, order the CheeseheadTV draft guide.
  • Anja Niedringhaus, an Associated Press photographer, was killed in Afghanistan this week. She wrote this amazing story back in 2011.
  • Mike Tanier over at Sports on Earth wrote the best piece I read all week about Desean Jackson.
  • This is way off-topic, but if any readers are in college or know of someone in college that is interested in agriculture, have him or her check out the MCGA AGvocate scholarship/leadership program.