Monday, February 11, 2008

Green Bay's Off Season

Now that the Pro Bowl (which I did not watch) is over, football's gone until Draft speculation starts. Oh wait....

Anyway, I might as well structure this post like the Badgers one from the other day. So without further ado, the coaching situation:

The only noteworthy development on the coaching front is that Mike McCarthy signed a 5 year contract extension. Probably a pretty good move. In order to flesh this bit out, I'll include a little front office news.

Green Bay's got a new President and CEO. After the now you see him now you don't John Jones situation that delayed Bob Harlan's retirement, the powers that be settled in on Mark Murphy. From what I've read, Murphy sounds like a pretty smart guy who's going to be content staying out of player personnel issues. Again, probably a good move.

Interestingly, there seems to be a little confusion at Packers.com. In a "Where Are They Now?" story about former Packer Mark Murphy, the name links to a bio of current executive Mark Murphy. Head's up, nerds, they aren't the same guy.


Moving on to the players:

Well, hey, why don't we see what the professionals have to say. CBS Sports.com's own Pete Prisco did a team by team needs evaluation. Will he address the issue with Green Bay's safeties? Their aging shut-down corners? Hmmm...

Will he or won't he? That's the question everybody wants to know about Brett Favre possibly playing another season. He will take time to consider his future, but I think he will come back for one more try at a Super Bowl.

Holy. Shit. Prisco gets paid for that? I really think that everybody involved with the Packers is operating on the assumption that Favre is coming back. (Seriously, after getting so close to the Super Bowl, coming off one of his best seasons since the last time Green Bay went to the Super Bowl, I can't imagine him hanging it up now.) If he, for some reason, shocked the world and did retire, Green Bay would need to find a new back up for A-Rodg, but I still think that the defensive secondary and offensive and defensive lines would be a higher priority. My guess is that Craig Nall'd get another one year deal and they'd look for a veteran that they could get up to speed in case Rodgers is as injury prone as he's seemed these past few years. I don't know, Tim Rattay, maybe. He played in San Francisco when McCarthy was there, right? Right.

Okay, I'm assuming Favre's coming back. Halfback Ryan Grant and fullback Korey Hall are probably no-brainers for the backfield. The receiving corps is young and made great strides and Donald Lee is becoming the tight end Green Bay's needed the last few years. I think the biggest concern is the offensive line. Tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher aren't getting any younger and although the line settled in towards the end of the season, McCarthy et al have seemingly been shuffling the line up constantly over the past two years.

Defensively, the Packers are going to need to figure out how to replace Corey Williams on the line, likely to leave as a free agent. Ideally, Justin Harrell will develop into a beast. The starting linebackers are pretty well set, but depth is a legit concern. The d-back situation is going to need to come together. Al Harris and Charles Woodson are getting a year older every season (mathematics!) and will eventually need to be replaced. They've been pretty stout and have been willing to play through injuries, but, while Tramon Williams and Jarrett Bush have showed progress in nickel and dime roles, they're probably not ready to start. Nick Collins is a decent starting safety (although he hasn't quite lived up to the next Darren Sharper hype he'd started generating after his rookie season), but the other spot's still wide open. It would be great if Atari Bigby could progress enough in pass coverage to not be a liability (you've gotta love how he hits, though).

Last, but not least, on special teams Mason Crosby's likely to be the kicker, Jon Ryan might be the punter, and Tramon Williams will probably return kicks. Punt returns will probably be left to Charles Woodson, but I'd expect some of the young turks to get worked out in the summer and preseason. It's great that Woodson doesn't fumble, but it'd be nice to have someone that could break a few.

So recappin':

As a team, for the first time in a long time, there don't seem to be many holes. The free agent season and Draft (mostly the Draft) will be used to add depth.

If the Giants had gotten waxed by the Pats in the Super Bowl, I'd say Green Bay would be the prime preseason contender for the NFC rep in XLIII, but like the PTI battle cry says, you've got to beat the champs to be the champs. At the very least, they should be considered the favorites for the NFC North and should be the most likely candidates to face the Giants in the NFC title game.

2 comments:

Rochester Binghampton said...

I think another thing you guys might want to worry about is Aaron Rodgers. Favre is coming back next year. After that? Whoa, Daddy! What do you think they should do to make sure that Rodgers doesn't grab the front office by the Nene-s and screw ya'll in 2009. It is not entirely out of the question.

3000 said...

Well, that's true. Thing is, I'm pretty sure that Favre's gonna be a one and done next year, so Rodgers' apprenticeship will (at long last) be up.

If I'm not mistaken, he's signed through the '09 season, so he'd be in the last year of his contract his first year as a starter. It's likely he'd get a new deal (I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign before next season starts) and assurance from Favre (at least privately) that next year will be his last.

Rodgers could hold out, sure, but unless he took the league by storm in '09 it's unlikely he'd get more from the field then he would from the Packers. Plus, while it's hard to replace a legend (ask any of the Dolphins quarterbacks over the last fifteen years...), Rodgers would be quarterbacking a young, talented team in a town that idolizes Packers (I bet Don Majkowski could still drink for free anywhere in Green Bay) and, unlike Philadelphia, doesn't turn on players (people still, unbelievably, where Mark Chmura jerseys...).

Long story long, unless Rodgers is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, I can't see him leaving.