Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Sinking Feeling?

Does anyone else have a sinking feeling, a rising pessimism, about the upcoming Packer season? Maybe it's just my natural instinct to low-ball expectations, but I'm starting to get concerned. Let's break things down, shall we?

First, we have the horrendous Favre situation, the most recent developments including Favre signing and submitting his reinstatement papers, and the Packers flying new president Mark Murphy down to Southern Mississippi, apparently in effort to talk Favre out of coming to training camp. Oh yeah, and for some reason Favre refuses to talk with trading partners the Packers have proposed (perhaps he's trying to force his release), and the Bucs' initial trade offer was a late draft pick. Hopefully, Murphy is actually going down there to ask Favre to cooperate with the trade dealings. Most reasonable fans are now hoping that Favre gets traded to a somewhat legitimate contender and the Packers get some decent compensation. Preferably right now. The situation just needs to end. It's turning training camp, which was supposed to be the final leg of the entire team-building/getting over Favre offseason-coehsion process into a circus. Hell, Sportscenter led last night's broadcast with camera interviews of Rodgers, Woodson, Driver and Mark Tauscher. Since when does a Mark Tauscher interview headline Sportscenter? Not good. (Way to wear the Wisco cap though, Tausch.) This is just distracting and draining the energy and focus of a young team that needs to be forging its new identity.

Second, there's the defensive line situation, specifically the DT issues. We all know that Corey Williams and his inteior pass rush were traded in the offseason. Johnny Jolly, already recovering from shoulder surgery, was then found with 1/5th of a kilo of codeine a few weeks ago. (Sal, as the resident physician, how many milligrams are in a normal dose of codeine?) Several writers have predicted that the resulting arrest will lead to a league suspension. Then there's Harrell, who hurt a disc in his back in June and underwent surgery. Now he's reaggravated that same injury, and is one the PUP list. The worst case scenario is he'd miss the entire season. If both of these guys are gone, Colin Cole starts DT next to Pickett, with last season's undrafted rookie Daniel Muir as the primary back-up. That's serious trouble for a team that relies on dominance from "the big uglies" to make its defense work.

Third, the only addition to the pass rush this offseason was the drafting of fourth-rounder Jeremy Thompson, who appears to be a developmental prospect. Anyone remember the Dallas and Giants losses? With KGB hampered or out, Manning the Younger and Tony "Nick Lachey sucks" Romo had all day to pick the Packers apart. The Packers needed to find a third and fourth option behind Kampman and KGB, and, unless Mike Montgomery or Jason Hunter emerge, have failed to do so.

Fourth, unless Trammon Williams is suddenly a star, the same problem holds with the corners. Woodson is good but brittle, and at age 33 Al is an American-made car approaching its 100,000th mile. It's already shown it can't perform at a top level (Burress, TO) and now you're just waiting for the wheels to fall off. As far as other potental replacements, rookie Lee is struggling in practice, Bush was ineffective last year, and Blackmon is injury prone and raw. We all better hope that Williams becomes a solid-starter caliber guy, and fast.

Fifth, Grant remains a holdout. Though we can hope that Wynn and Jackson have improved since last season, there's certainly no reason to think that they're better than Grant, who was stellar generally stellar. As Sal noted, a Favre-less offense will need a strong running game to function. Grant is clearly the best option, but this contract problem means he has not fully participated in any offseason practices, thus missing the opportunity to gel with Rodgers and the tweaked offense.

Sixth and finally, take a look at the schedule. In addition to the division (and an improved Minnesota), it's Dallas again, the Colts, an improving Houston team, at Tampa, at Jacksonville, at Vince Young and Tennesee, and at Drew Brees and New Orleans. Those are some tough match-ups.

Even if Brett had come back and been close to his '07 form, I'd say that repeating as 13-3 is essentially out of the question. 10-6 looks optimistic, honestly, and would require that Rodgers stays healthy and performs pretty well. And a record like that will not come close to satisfying the Favre fanatics, even if he goes to another team and flops or gets hurt. I know the Packers are very strong at LB and WR, and are overall a young developing team, but I just don't see a great year on the horizon. In fact, if injuries kick in at spots where they did last year (CB, DE, DT), I could see the team missing the playoffs and being labled one of the "disappointments" of the year. Combine that with the hangover from the Favre ballyhoo, and you have an organization and a fan base in serious turmoil.

Am I just being a curmudgeon? Can someone give me some reason for optimism, besides the fact that Aaron Rodgers has never lost to the Bears?


Papa Sal said...

Um...Aaron Rodgers has never lost to the Vikings?
I am also feeling crappy about this season. I think one of the things that got lost in this last season was the impotance of the defense, especially the line. Now that the d line looks weaker I am nervous. Last year was a case of a young team that improved over the course of the season and got some lucky wins early (ie. Philly). Still being young, a lot of this season also rides on early success. If they sruggle early, especially on offense, it could spell serious trouble. I really don't think this off season could have played out any worse than it has.

Mr.Man said...

Well, all the stuff you don't really hear about-- offseason practices, e.g.-- were supposed to have gone over well. Grant will probably get in camp eventually. Really, for me, it's the Harrell injury, the Jolly arrest and the Favre situation.

Hey, so how many milligrams are in a normal dose of codeine? I'm interested in determining how many capsules worth are in 200 grams.

3000 said...

I'm right there with you guys.... Right after the season ended, I was really high for this year. As time goes by, my expectations are tempering; probably for the best because then the team could (hopefully) only exceed my expectations.

By the way, without knowing the exact nature of what Jolly was caught with, it's near impossible to figure out how many doses it is. Reports say 200g of codeine syrup, but don't mention the strength of the syrup - mg per mL - or whether the 200g is in reference to the pure codeine in the syrup, or just the total amount of syrup.

I'd be willing to wager that the amount listed is the measure of syrup, because at 9mg of codeine per 5mL of syrup, he'd have to have about 100 liters of cough syrup to have 200g of codeine. That's like 26 gallons of cough syrup.

Assuming the 200g was amount of syrup, figuring out how much that was in mL (in order to find out how many mgs of codeine there were, and by extension the number of doses) would require knowing the syrup's specific gravity....

3000 said...

If that long-winded explanation wasn't enough, I crunch some more numbers here.

Randy Moss said...

hes a 400 lbs. D tackle. he needs his codeine.

and yes we shouldve kept corey williams. that was an arrogant trade by TT.

Papa Sal said...

Codeine is a weird thing to be busted with anyway. It's not particularily effective from a getting high perspective. Maybe he just had a really bad cough or something. Either that, or he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. Those estimates sound about right to me, so either it was a preposterous amount of codeinie syrup or it was a relatively trivial amount and not that big of a deal. You can get the shit over the counter in Canadia, so how bad can it be? I am not particularily overwhelmed by this event, and I hope the NFL doesn't over react.

Mr.Man said...

An arrogant trade, please. You take your time, do some careful analysis and place a value on a player. If keeping him results in having to pay him more than he's worth, you let him walk. Or, if you're wily, tab him with the Franchise tag and trade him, thus getting something of value in return.