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

I’ve read a lot of about Aaron Rodgers and “trust” during the last few weeks of this painfully long and more-boring-than-usual Green Bay Packers offseason. Here’s a story about Rodgers trusting Davante Adams more. Here’s a story about what Jeff Janis has to do to gain Rodgers’ trust. Here’s one on what Janis has to do during practice to win the QB’s trust.

I’m not disagreeing with any of these stories and the value of trust between a quarterback and his receivers, but step back for a moment. How fortunate are the Packers that they have such a plethora of talent that they can place such an emphasis on trust? The answer is extremely fortunate.

Most teams don’t have the luxury of not playing guys who struggle or take longer than normal to grasp the playbook or offensive signals. The Packers are so deep at the pass-catching positions that they can hold players like Janis back or give Adams a reduced role as they learn and grow. It’s also a nice test to see if the up-and-coming players truly put in the time to earn the quarterback’s trust and grasp the offense instead of relying solely on their raw ability.

A lot of other teams probably find themselves playing receivers who aren’t quite ready mentally, but they have no choice because they don’t have a roster filled with the likes of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

On the other hand, I’m not so sure Rodgers should be using the trust talking point too often this offseason. The back-shoulder timing route — the one where Rodgers throws to the sideline, the receiver stops, turns toward the sideline and makes a contested catch — rarely worked in 2014. The receiver often kept running downfield and Rodgers ended up throwing to a large empty space out of bounds.

Rodgers obviously trusted his receivers to make those throws, but something was lost in the line of communication along the way.

In addition to continuing to build trust with his young receivers like Janis and Adams, Rodgers should also spend some time fine-tuning communications with his veteran weapons. The back-shoulder throw has always been a great weapon and I’d like to see Rodgers and company return it to glory in 2015.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Aaron Rodgers did a lot of media work this week. My favorite was probably this Pete Dougherty Q & A in the Green Bay Press Gazette.
  • As long as he stays healthy, I see no reason why Eddie Lacy won’t top the 1,100-yard mark again like he has his first two seasons.
  • There are 44 Packers set to appear in Jordy Nelson’s charity softball game. If I were a big-time professional athlete, I’d host a professional wrestling event instead of a softball game for my charity event.
  • Sam Shields says the Packers cornerbacks will be better than last season. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt says not so fast. My take: The potential is there to be better than last year, but potential and actual ability are two different worlds. We’ll see how the corners stack up after a couple of rough games, injuries and the ups and downs of an entire season.
  • Letroy Guion needs to put down the bong if he wants to stay in the league.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • The wrestling world lost one of the greatest of all time on Thursday when “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes died at the age of 69. Rhodes was one of the greatest promos (interviews) of all time. His “hard times” promo remains an all-time classic. Here’s a 4-hour podcast that covers the entire wrestling career of Rhodes.
  • I’m always a sucker for biographies on American presidents. I just finished “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” and I’d rank it right up there with anything Robert Caro has done on Lyndon Johnson.
  • Ghost is one of my favorite newish bands and they’ve got a new record coming out Aug. 23. Here’s the creepy (and awesome) video for the record’s first single.

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

It was 26 years ago on Friday that Bob Harlan was elected as president of the Green Bay Packers.

Under Harlan, the Packers went from a laughingstock to one of the most successful franchises in all of sports. Thanks to people like Mike Holmgren, Reggie White and Brett Favre, the Packers became “cool” again. Harlan has even played a role in building today’s team. Before retiring in 2008, Harlan hired Ted Thompson, a general manger who has brought in players like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson to keep the team “cool.”

Rob Demovsky at ESPN chronicles Harlan’s impact in this piece at Demovsky notes Harlan’s biggest move probably had nothing to do with personnel and everything to do with how the Packers were run. At Harlan’s urging, the Packers’ seven-member executive committee backed off from middling in football decisions.

Harlan brought in great football minds like Wolf and Thompson, and those minds were allowed to do their thing without a committee of businessmen looming over their shoulders.

Where would the Packers be today if a committee still played an active role in football decisions? Where would they be if Harlan instead used his election as some sort of power grab and ran the Packers like a Jerry Jones or Al Davis, stifling Wolf and the others in favor of his own personal glory? Would the committee have signed off on trading a first-round draft choice for an unknown and unpredictable young quarterback named Brett Favre who was toiling away on Atlanta’s bench?

Today, an entire generation thinks of the Packers only as “cool.” Wolf, Holmgren, Favre, White, Thompson, Rodgers and others deserves a ton of credit for that. But it’s Harlan who probably deserves the most praise.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Aaron Nagler at Cheesehead TV wonders if Aaron Rodgers playing more during the exhibition season would help the Packers start faster (they’ve began three straight seasons 1-2). To me, the issue with the Packers slow starts isn’t Rodgers, it’s a bland and vanilla scheme on offense. It seems to take Mike McCarthy a month or so to really start mixing things up and trying different things on offense. Would that change if Rodgers played more? Maybe. Even if it does, I’d still be skeptical about playing my MVP quarterback who has had significant injuries in consecutive seasons and has already endured multiple concussions too much in games that don’t matter.
  • You probably already knew this, but Tex at Acme Packing Co. goes into detail why the Packers are among the best at drafting offensive players.
  • Not to toot our own horn here at, but……toot, toot. There’s been some great content on the site this week. If you missed it, check out Jay’s X’s and O’s piece on nose tackles and Thomas’s viewpoint on the nose tackle position. If you’re thirst for defensive line talk still hasn’t been quenched, check out Jeff on the Packers d-line overall.
  • Lost amidst the season-ending collapse in 2014 was the fact that punter Tim Masthay wasn’t very good. The Packers brought in Cody Mandell to compete with Masthay in training camp. Hey, a little competition seemed to work for Mason Crosby. We’ll see if it also works for the other guy on the team who makes his living with his leg.
  • Big Phat Eddie Lacy isn’t worried about being too fat. Lacy can enjoy all the crab legs and crawfish he wants as long as he keeps trucking defenders.
  • The Sporting News picked the Packers to win the Super Bowl. In other news, I had no idea The Sporting News was still around.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • This guy was held captive by Somali pirates for 977 days and he’s got an amazing story to tell.
  • Man, check out all the eating former Chargers center Nick Hardwick had to do in order to maintain his size. I never really think about how much an offensive linemen or defensive linemen eats. I always assumed they’re just big dudes, but obviously, that’s not always the case.
  • Yesterday was the 10th International Day of Slayer. How did you celebrate?

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

As a Packers fan, do you want to see this Adrian Peterson drama carry over into training camp and the regular season? Or would you rather see the Vikings cut or trade Peterson?

We’ve seen firsthand in Green Bay how a superstar player going off the rails can cause a distraction and impact the entire team. It’d be nice to see Peterson do that in Minnesota, but as a Packers fan I’d much rather see the Vikings get rid of him.

Peterson is the sole reason that the Packers don’t beat the Vikings by four touchdowns every time they play. Peterson is successful against every team he plays, but against the Packers he rushes for 118 yards per game and has scored 11 touchdowns. Peterson on a different team or Peterson sitting at home on his couch in early retirement is much more preferable to watching Peterson plow through the Packers’ defense, no matter how angry Peterson might be at his own team or the state of NFL contracts.

As much as I’d like to see Peterson not wearing a purple jersey this season, it won’t happen. As asinine as it might seem in Peterson’s case, this is what NFL players do when they’re trying to gain some financial leverage. Peterson knows he’s a 30-year-old running back coming off a child abuse charge. He wants more of his salary in future years guaranteed.

I don’t think Peterson is going to win this battle, but apparently he thinks it’s one worth fighting.

When the dust settles and the tweets become slightly less insane, Peterson will remain a Viking and will probably add to his gaudy numbers against the Packers.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Good on the Packers for continuing to use Clay Matthews at inside linebacker and good on Matthews for embracing the role. At least that’s my take after a week of OTAs. Matthews has the versatility to be a bigger, whiter, longer-haired Charles Woodson type of player along the front seven. He good enough to do more than just crash into tackles over and over again from the outside. I’m looking forward to seeing what Matthews does from different positions all over the field.
  • Jordy Nelson says he feels fine after offseason hip surgery. Jordy seems like an honest guy, so I believe him. But hip injuries are always worrisome. In Nelson’s case, his production tailed off down the stretch last season. Hopefully the surgery corrected whatever was ailing him.
  • Jared Abbrederis and Don Barclay returned to the field during OTAs, less than a year after each suffered ACL injuries. I’ll be pulling hard for Abbrederis, but if the receiving corp remains healthy, I think it might be tough for him to make the team.
  • Eddie Lacy is ESPN’s top fantasy football running back. As long as I don’t draft him, expect Lacy to have another big year.
  • Friend of Brian Carriveau is absolutely killing it with his Packers coverage at If you haven’t read Brian at his new gig yet, check it out.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

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

When ya’ll fire up the grill this Memorial Day weekend, what will you be cooking? Here’s my ideal Memorial Day meal:

  • Steak, preferably T-bone or tenderloin, from beef raised on my in-laws family farm in Ringle, Wis. I cook my steak slowly over low heat on a charcoal grill. Get that propane stuff outta here. I like my steak medium rare or rare. If you listen closely, you can still hear the slab of meat mooing before I cut into it.
  • Potatoes, diced, salted (heavily), buttered, sprinkled with pepper, wrapped in tinfoil and grilled. You can also add mushrooms, green pepper or onions for an added touch. Now, you can go a couple different ways with how you grill the potatoes. I lightly spray the tinfoil with cooking oil and put the potatoes directly on the coals. This makes the bottom layer of potatoes crispy and crunchy. If you don’t want them crispy and prefer your potatoes to be more soft, spray a lot of cooking oil on the tin foil and put the potatoes on the top rack of the grill, not directly over the heat. Either way, be generous with the salt. You really can’t salt them too much. I don’t like things too salty, but no matter how much salt I’ve put on the potatoes using this method, they never taste “too salty.”
  • Salad, whatever your wife wants to make so it seems like the meal is somewhat healthy.
  • Corn. Odds are you won’t have corn on the cob this early in the spring. What I do every summer is freeze some corn from a particularly good batch of sweet corn every summer. That way I always have good-tasting corn to eat while I wait for sweet corn season to kick in again.
  • Beer. My personal favorites are Spotted Cow or Surly Furious. If you’re not a beer person, try a Lazy Uncle Jack: Jack Daniels, sweet and sour, a cup full of ice and black berries.
  • Venison sausage. Whenever I grill meat, I like having a side meat to throw on the grill just for the hell of it. This gives you a little extra meat to eat during the main meal, and ensures you’ll have leftovers the next day. My side meat is usually homemade venison sausage from my dad. Other good side meat options include brats, brats or brats.
  • I’m not picky when it comes to dessert. Something sweet or chocolaty does the trick. But if I absolutely had to pick just one thing, I’d go with a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie. My brother-in-law makes a strawberry rhubarb pie that makes me cry it tastes so friggin’ good.
  • If you want to go all out and make an appetizer, try smoked egg salad. It’s great on bread or crackers. Put a dozen eggs in boiling water, boil for 2 minutes, cover and let eggs sit in hot water for 8 minutes before draining and covering in ice water. Peel the eggs and place them directly on the grill grate, and smoke for 30-40 minutes. Dice the eggs, add 1/2 cup mayo, a squirt of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of mustard, and a dash of kosher salt, pepper and paprika. Serve and enjoy.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Would you pay between $34 and $55 to watch a flag football game if that flag football game included Brett Favre? That’s too rich for me. I’d pass.
  • I like to think I stay fairly up to date on pop culture and Hollywood. However, I had never heard of the movie “Pitch Perfect” until “Pitch Perfect 2” was released last week and several Packers made cameos. I guess I’m not as hip as I think I am. Anyway, if you want to know how the Packers got involved in “Pitch Perfect 2,” read this.
  • Keep an eye on undrafted rookie RB John Crockett. I really like this kid and have talked to a few people who have worked with him. They all say he has what it takes to make it.
  • Have you ever yearned to hear my silky smooth voice? Then listen to this. Thank you to Brian Carriveau for having me on the Railbird Central podcast this week to talk Packers and the new NFL extra point rules.
  • Only in Green Bay……

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • The NFL made some changes to the extra point this week. Boo.
  • Click here if you were ever curious what was on Osama bin Laden’s book shelf when we finally found him.
  • Former Timberwolves GM David Kahn chose to draft Johnny Flynn over Steph Curry. Being a Wolves fan is really, really difficult.
  • Aaron Rodgers should bring a different teammates’ kid to every postgame news conference this season.
  • I always enjoyed David Letterman and was sad to see him sign off this week. One of the reasons I liked Letterman was that he’d give some love to metal bands on his show. Here are some of the best metal performances on Letterman in the show’s history.

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

Because I got fired up and went long on a couple of different points in the Green Bay Packers links and non-Packers links sections of this week’s Surviving Sunday, I’ll spare you the long, drawn-out intro and get right to it:

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Folks were all up in arms earlier this week when a report was released highlighting how NFL teams, including the Packers, have received taxpayer dollars from the Department of Defense for various military marketing programs. The original report was light on details, and, in my opinion, reeked of a news outlet trying its hardest to cash in on the OUTRAGE culture that grips a certain segment of folks. The Journal-Sentinel did a little more digging for the Packers’ side of the story. Sounds like most of the funding went toward traditional marketing activities for the military, not “honor our troops” type of ceremonies that every team coordinates. I always find it baffling when we demand that our government behave more like the private sector, then when it does, we get angry. The private sector spends money on marketing and advertising. Our all-volunteer military has to market and advertise to help with recruitment, retention and general goodwill. Marketing and advertising costs money. A lot of it, especially when you’re partnering with the NFL. Yeah, it makes me squirm a bit to think about the Packers not doing “honor the troops” types of activities strictly out of the goodness of their hearts. But it sounds like the vast majority of the dollars were not dedicated to those types of activities. If that’s the case, this story is nothing to get OUTRAGED over.
  • Aaron Rodgers: Packers quarterback, NFL MVP, Super Bowl winner, Celebrity Jeopardy champion.
  • As the years have gone on, it’s kind of become cool to like Jarrett Bush. The guy works his ass off and goes all out on special teams. We still cringed whenever he lined up at defensive back, but we came to appreciate his attitude and take-no-prisoners approach to the game. If Bush is, indeed, done in Green Bay, I’ll miss him. Even though on several occasions I have unleashed a string of profanity that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush following a Bush blown coverage, I grew to respect him and appreciate what he did for the Packers when put into the proper role.
  • Brett Favre doesn’t think Tom Brady was cheating. Never mind that he also said he hasn’t been paying attention to the issue. That hasn’t stopped any red-blooded American from having an opinion before, so have at it, Brett!
  • Luther Robinson will forever be known as the dude who tipped that pass that led to that really awesome Julius Peppers pick-six against the Vikings on a random Thursday night.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • I hate how whenever something like Deflategate happens, there’s a sector of people who try too hard to be contrarians or find some type of gray area on the issue. I’m a gray area guy myself. Most things aren’t black and white, but I think Deflategate is about as clear cut as you can get. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that Brady cheated. Four games is perfectly reasonable for what the evidence overwhelmingly shows Brady did. It doesn’t matter how much you hate Roger Goodell. It doesn’t matter how Goodell has handled past issues of discipline. It doesn’t matter if you think every team cheats and Brady was the unfortunate soul who got caught. It doesn’t matter if you had issues with the NFL’s reasoning for suspending Brady beyond the mere fact that he cheated. It doesn’t matter if you think deflating the football isn’t a big deal and didn’t give Brady any type of advantage. There’s overwhelming evidence that Brady broke the rules and a four-game suspension is more than justified. Period. Don’t overthink it. Leave the overthinking to lawyers.
  • That said, I laughed hard as I was reading this.
  • I just learned that Ric Flair has a podcast this week. WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME ABOUT THIS BEFORE?!?!?!?! Whooooooo!
  • I can’t say enough good things about Dave Koch Sports and his tremendous lineup of Action PC sports management games. If you’re a giant nerd like me, check them out and support a Wisconsin resident and fellow Packers fan.
  • Now what the hell am I going to do at the county fair that I can’t look at the chickens? Seriously, though. This bird-flu thing is a mess. My thoughts go out to the farmers dealing with it. Here’s hoping it gets cleared up soon.
  • \m/ New song from Lamb of God \m/

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


When we’re looking back at the Green Bay Packers 2015 draft class five years from now, will we be nodding our heads in approval or shaking our heads in disgust at the players Ted Thompson passed up?

Versatility and special teams were the buzzwords surrounding this Packers’ draft. I’m not one of those people who gets all wound up about the draft. I say let’s see these kids play before we get too upset about passing up this player or that player.

But like most football fans, I do enjoy second-guessing. So for this edition of Surviving Sunday, I’ve put together a five-round Packers “Second-Guess Draft.” When I put my second-guessing hat on, these are the players I would have taken instead of the players actually drafted by the Packers.

I doubt my second-guess picks will turn out to be better than Thompson’s actual picks, but it’ll be fun to pull up this post a few years from now and compare.

Round 1

Actual pick: Damarious Randall, DB, Arizona St.
Second-guess pick: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas

Many would probably second-guess my second guess in this situation. Inside linebacker Stephone Anthony went to the Saints right after the Packers selected Randall. Obviously, the Packers need all the inside linebacker help they can get. But I want Brown in my second-guess scenario. There’s no guarantee that BJ Raji will be any good coming off injury or that Letroy Guion can repeat the success he had last season. Plus, both of those players are free agents next offseason. Brown seems like the type of big body the Packers need up front.

Round 2

Actual pick: Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
Second-guess pick: Quinten Rollins

I had never heard or Quinten Rollins before the Packers selected him. After the selection, I thought, “Great, another basketball player with minimal football experience.” But after doing a lot of reading, Rollins’ ceiling seems so high that I think it’s a great pick. I second-guessed this selection when Thompson first made it, but not any more. I’d stick with Rollins in my second-guess draft.

Round 3

Actual pick: Ty Montgomery, WR, Standord
Second-guess pick: Paul Dawson, ILB, TCU

Here’s where the Packers get their inside linebacker. Dawson’s 40-time was awful, but anybody who spends a minute or two watching game-film of Dawson can see that he actually can play. It’d be tough to pass up the dynamic kick/punt return potential of Montgomery, but my second-guess pick here would be Dawson.

Round 4

Actual pick: Jake Ryan, ILB, Michigan
Second-guess pick: David Cobb, RB, Minnesota

This second-guess pick was a tough one between Cobb and Grady Jarrett, NT, Clemson. I went with Cobb because I think he’ll be a very consistent running back and will be able to step right into the third-down role once James Starks’ time in Green Bay is up. I also think Cobb might be a more steady runner than Starks should Lacy be injured for an extended stretch.

Round 5

Actual pick: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Second-guess pick: Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska

Here is where I would’ve picked up some additional wide-receiver depth in my second-guess universe. Bell has a sweet afro and is the kind of smart, route-running receiver Aaron Rodgers and the Packers seem to like.


Packers News, Notes and Links

  • If you missed out on all the draft podcasts from the Packers Talk Radio Network, be sure to Packers draft There are a lot of great pods that go in-depth on the Packers’ selections.
  • This Packers draft post from Acme Packing Co. on the Packers 2015 draftees is also a great read. In my opinion, the immediate best case scenario for this class is they take the Packers special teams from awful to good. Long term best case scenario is Rollins turning into an all-pro and Jake Ryan steadily improving in 2015.
  • Want to know more about the Packers undrafted free agents? Packers undrafted free agents from Jeff Albrecht has you covered. I’m most excited to see what John Crockett, RB, North Dakota St., can do.
  • The Packers Nick Perry the fifth-year option of OLB Nick Perry. A good decision by the Packers. Let’s see if putting some pressure on Perry leads to more production.
  • Bye bye Jarrett Bush The Packers gave Rollins Bush’s No. 24. That likely means Bush won’t be back with the Packers.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • Turns out Tom Brady likely wasn’t Mr. Innocent in “Deflategate.” I’m not saying the Patriots don’t win the Super Bowl if Deflategate never happens, but this isn’t some little thing to just brush off, either. Obviously, if Brady and the Pats didn’t feel like deflating the football would give them some type of advantage, they wouldn’t have done it. With so many NFL games, especially late in the season, being decided by the slimmest of margins on one or two key players, any little advantage helps. In Brady’s case, it appears that he got that advantage by cheating.
  • This is a tough read, but a worthwhile one.

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

The NFL draft kicks off on Thursday and we’ll finally have some new Green Bay Packers players to root for. I’m not a Draftnik, but based on what I’ve read, listened to, seen, heard or thought, here are the top 5 players I’m most excited about possibly landing with the Packers in this year’s draft:

Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
How can you watch this and not get excited about Williams teaming with Aaron Rodgers?

Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
If Collins ends up in Green Bay, hopefully he’ll take up drinking Miller Lite instead of smoking weed. If he does, the 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has all the tools to be a star.

Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
This year’s inside linebacker class isn’t jumping off the charts, but Kendricks looks like the type of versatile and athletic player who can complement the aggressiveness of Sam Barrington inside.

Ellis McCarthy, DL, UCLA
The Packers are going to need at least one fat guy for the defensive line out of this draft. If they can nab McCarthy on day 2 or 3, I’d be pleased.

Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska
The Packers already are overloaded at receiver, but Bell stands out as another later-round find for Thompson as wide receiver.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Which dates do you have circled on the Packers’ 2015 schedule, which was announced on Tuesday? I’ve got Oct. 18 against San Diego because that’s the date for Throwback Weekend 5 and Thanksgiving Night against the Bears because 1) it’s against the Bears, 2) Thanksgiving night at Lambeau is going to be amazing, and 3) the Packers will be retiring the number of some guy named Favre.
  • Speaking of Packers vs. Bears: Did anyone else notice how pissed off Bears fans on Twitter were when they learned they opened the season against the Packers? Check out some of these tweets. My favorite: “So packers open with a bye week?”
  • Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is the best dead tree traditional newspaper reporter to read during the lead up to the NFL draft. Here’s McGinn’s profile of Iowa’s Brandon Scherff.
  • Want more draft insight? Download this week’s “No Huddle Radio” podcast where Jersey Al and Jason Perone break down cornerbacks and inside linebackers with Dan Shonka from
  • CheeseheadTV’s Aaron Nagler recently started a podcast and it’s really good. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was a guest this week.
  • A fun read here from Marcus at Ranking the NFC North’s 10 best players.
  • Packers GM Ted Thompson held a pre-draft news conference this week and, per usual, didn’t say much of anything. But if you want a quick summary of the nothingness, Jason at Acme Packing Company sums it up.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

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

This week’s edition of Surviving Sunday features my annual review of the best video game series on the planet: Out of the Park Baseball. But before we get to learning more about Out of the Park Baseball 16, let’s cover the Packers news and notes from this week.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • It’s decision time for the Packers on Sean Richardson. The safety signed a $2.55 million restricted free agent offer sheet with the Raiders, and the Packers must decide if they want to match it by late Monday. If they do, Richardson would be the 13th highest paid player on the team based on 2015 cap numbers. That’s a lot for a backup safety, but let’s not forget Richardson’s special teams experience. If the Packers really want to improve on special teams, they should want Richardson back — event if they have to pay up to keep him.
  • Don Barclay will be back with the Packers next season, assuming he’s all healed up from his knee injury. I thought Barclay was a tad overrated when he got extensive playing time in 2013, but (if healthy), he should be a much better backup/depth option at tackle and guard than what the Packers had last season.
  • With Barclay back, the Packers offensive line is shaping up to look like this: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, T.J. Lang and Bryan Bulaga starting. J.C. Tretter and Barclay coming off the bench. Is it September yet? Seeing the Packers offensive line return in tact, with Barclay added to the mix and Tretter with a year under his belt, makes me want to watch this team right now.
  • The Packers will play the Patriots, Steelers, Eagles and Saints in the 2015 exhibition season. That’s a brutal preseason schedule. I bet McCarthy is fired by week 3.
  • Here’s a nice summary of who various analysts have the Packers taking in several mock drafts.
  • Some interesting insight here from Tex at Acme Packing Co. on how the suspension of Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell could set the standard for whatever punishment the Packers’ Letroy Guion will face.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

Every year that Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) releases a new version of its baseball management simulation game, I say the same thing: “This year’s version of OOTP is the best one yet.” Well, call me a broken record, because OOTP 16, released a few weeks ago, takes an already great game and makes it even greater.

With each new version of OOTP, I search hard for game-breaking flaws that would give me a reason to discourage people from buying the game. Every year I don’t find any. And believe me, I look. Closely. A game shouldn’t be this close to perfect, but OOTP 16 is.

If you’re unfamiliar with OOTP baseball, it’s a baseball simulation game that makes you the general manager and/or manager of a baseball team. To put the game in Packers’ terminology, you become Ted Thompson and/or Mike McCarthy — making roster moves, setting team strategies, drafting and developing, signing free agents, building team chemistry, working with a budget – to try and lead your team to championships.

Unlike console baseball games on Xbox or PS4, you don’t mash buttons or use a joystick to achieve success. In OOTP 16, you use your brain and baseball management IQ. OOTP 16 is a thinking man’s game.

The first noticeable improvement in OOTP 16 is its official MLB license. All real player names, modern-day and historical team logos and ballparks come with the game. No more having to download and install user-created mod files. A real-life MLB setup is possible right out of the box.

You’ll also notice several small additions that add to OOTP 16’s immersion. If you play a management simulation game for a certain amount of time, it can feel like you’re staring at spreadsheet instead of playing a videogame. Not the case with OOTP 16. The game’s graphical interface is second-to-none and keeps the game’s appearance fresh and interesting.

New features like improved playoff coverage, player info popups, better-written news stories and manager/coach personalities and traits completely suck you into whatever baseball universe you create.

My personal favorite mode is the random debut feature. You set up a new baseball universe, complete with however many teams, divisions, minor leagues and postseason slots you want, and the game creates a draft pool of players from throughout the history of baseball. When your initial draft is complete, you might end up with Ryan Braun in left field, Bob Uecker behind the plate and Mickey Mantle in center field.

If I had to find one gripe about OOTP 16, it’s the fact that it’s become too immersive. There are so many options to tinker with and features to explore that the game can be intimidating for new users. Heck, sometimes it’s even intimidating for me, and I’ve been playing it for 15 years.

If you read, chances are you think a little harder and deeper about sports than your average fan who might read the occasional newspaper column or tune into Sports Center. If that’s the case, you need to try OOTP Baseball 16.

You will get addicted, and before you know it, this period we’re experiencing now with no Packers football will fly by in no time at all.

You can find out all you need to know about OOTP 16, including purchase information, at

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

Happy Easter to all of our loyal readers from me and his entire crew here at Here’s hoping everyone has the opportunity to spend the day with family, friends, good food, and a cold beverage or four. If you’re not able to spend the day that way, thank you for whatever it is you’re doing — serving in the military, working at a business that’s open on holidays, serving the public as a police officer, firefighter, or something else important.

We all appreciate it.

Easter egg hunts are always popular with the kids on this day. If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent all 32 teams on an Easter egg hunt today, here are the three eggs I’d hope the Packers would find.

1. The egg that contains a stud middle linebacker. The middle of the Packers defense still appears to be a little squishy. This franchise is long overdue for a good inside linebacker to solidify it.

2. The healthy quarterback egg. Aaron Rodgers has suffered an injury two seasons in a row. The Easter bunny needs to leave a special egg for the Packers that will keep Rodgers fully healthy in 2015.

3. An egg that contained $10. That way the Packers could bid on the Jay Cutler autographed football that didn’t get any bids at a recent charity auction.

What other Easter eggs would you like the Packers to find during the hunt?

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Best of luck to CheeseheadTV writer and longtime friend of Brian Carriveau as he embarks on a new professional venture. Brian’s been around the Packers’ blogosphere longer than I have, and that’s a long time. When it comes to solid, insightful and level-headed Packers’ analysis, Brian is one of the best in the business.
  • The Packers re-signed nose tackles B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion on Monday, but both players will have to earn their salaries. Of the two, only Raji got any guaranteed money ($500,000). Both players have incentives and roster bonuses that are certainly achievable, but even so, these are solid, safe deals for the Packers. I thought Raji for sure would be able to command a little more on the open market.
  • What was your favorite Jamari Lattimore moment in Green Bay? Yeah, I can’t think of one either…
  • If Shaq Thompson falls to the Packers in the actual NFL draft like he does in this Acme Packing Co. mock, I’ll leap through my ceiling.
  • It might be the offseaosn, but the Packers Talk Radio network is still cranking out podcasts. Get all caught up on what you might have missed here.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • I wouldn’t classify myself as a Badgers fan, but watching last night’s Wisconsin win over Kentucky with my in-laws who are small dairy farmers in Central Wisconsin was a helluva lot of fun.
  • Sounds like Minneapolis is the frontrunner to host Wrestlemania 33. Attending a Wrestlemania is a close second on my list of things to do before I die, right behind being in the building when the Packers win a Super Bowl.
  • Moving into a new home and getting really busy at work hasn’t allowed me the time to play Out of the Park Baseball 16. That’ll change this week. Expect a full review next Sunday.

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

The Green Bay Packers aren’t doing anything in free agency, I’m frantically preparing to move later this week, so let’s go with an abbreviated Surviving Sunday:

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • What was your favorite Tramon Williams moment in Green Bay? Williams signed with the Cleveland Browns this week. In last week’s Surviving Sunday post, I predicted Williams would re-sign with the Packers by Tuesday. The fact that Williams immediately signed with Cleveland is further proof that you should never, ever listen to anything I say.
  • Wes Welker to the Packers? Eh. I’d pass if I were Ted.
  • Bring Greg Jennings back to the Packers? Eh. I’d also pass if I were Ted.
  • Charles Woodson was back in town this week and revealed that he wanted to return to Green Bay after the Packers signed Julius Peppers. Woodson is one of my favorite all-time Packers, but I can’t see how he would have helped much last season.
  • The Vikings signed former Packers RB DuJuan Harris. It’s like the fine print in every contract a player signs with the Packers contains fine print that says the Vikings will pick you up once we cut you. I’m going to miss the “Rolling Ball of Butcher Knives.” Seemed like a good guy and he had a great story.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • The hyperbole and ridiculous hot sports takes surrounding Chris Borland’s retirement would be laughable if they weren’t so absurd. In this piece, Dave Zirin compares football to Russian Roulette and claims players from middle class background will become “scarce” one day. The injuries caused by football should be taken seriously, but comparing the sport to a pointing a loaded gun at your head and pulling the trigger will not make people think more seriously about the football’s risks. Claiming the game will be played only by people who come from poor backgrounds also doesn’t move the discussion about the role of football in our society forward. The issues raised by Borland’s retirement are legit and real. They should set the stage for meaningful discourse. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there like Zirin who take the sports-talk radio route of seeing who can yell the loudest and most ridiculous thing about the issue, stifling meaningful conversation and drowning out the insights of reasonable and smart people.
  • Wanna win a 20-game Twins season ticket package courtesy of Minnesota’s corn farmers? Click here for details.
  • I’ll have a full review next week, but Out of the Park Baseball 16 releases on Monday. If you’ve never played Out of the Park Baseball, it is the greatest sports simulation game of all time.
  • Here’s a story about high school students serving as tour guides at Ground Zero in New York City. I’m not sure a 16-year-old version of me could do that. Kuddos to these kids.
  • Lately there have been a lot of good pieces written (like this one) by media members about the struggle of media members to develop meaningful relationships with today’s professional and collegiate athletes. As a member of the media myself, I see this firsthand, but I can’t imagine anybody besides other media members care enough to warrant the number of stories written about the subject.