Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Feel a Draft In Here

I enjoyed this draft immensely. The junction of college football and pro football (my two favorite spectator sports) is tons of funs to watch. The NFL will soon air the first round on its own night and then show round 2 and 3 the next night. And for good reason, because it's good football fun at the halfway-until-football-comes-back mark.

Now I'm not a paid NFL talent evaluator, but I thought several teams did well. I will start with the ACME Meat Employees.

I wanted Raji a month ago. Of all weakness, I hate to be run on the most. Getting the biggest fattest guy in the draft was my hope. I am glad to have had the choice and I am glad we selected him. Give me D-line depth please. He was the consensus #1 D-Linemen. Ours. Minnesota has led the lead in rushing D for 3 years because they have 2 huge fat guys. It's not even disputed. Glad to have a highly rated fat guy.

When the jingle came on and I heard (of all things!) the Packers traded up I was all aflutter.

The Packers select Clay Matthews
Warrior of Troy
Son of Clay, and Clay before him
Nephew to Bruce Matthews, Master of Durability

Needless to say, I love this pick. He plays like a downhill long jump skier, with a forward lean. We need a blitz/cover OLB and we TRADED up to get him. With our first 2 picks we filled 2 major holes. The defense became so much easier to envision in 2 hours. Matthews as weak OLB, opposite of Kampman playing over the tight end. Hawk and Nick in the middle. Viola. Raji, Pickett, Jenkins, Jolly, Harrell. On the line. I like it.

Then in later rounds we get bigger. Big strong tackle, and then we sneak up and get another big tackle. Big FB to lead Block. Then a D-Line pick.

I also like the Underwood pick. Underwood was on his way to being a stud at Ohio State, but he flunked out. That's what we need is guys who are too dumb to stay at Ohio State. That's talent.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thank Goodness

The UW athletic department finally gives in--- and scraps the stupid student ticket lottery. Although it's only for football, sadly. Now tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis, but done online only. I guess the embarrassment of a 70% empty student section at the start of every game, even for night games against decent opponents, was enough to shame them into action.

Hopefully, this change will lead to more kids who actually want to go to the games getting tickets, and thus there being more kids in the seats and more intensity from the student section during games, resulting in a better, more intimidating home environment. Okay, maybe it won't be a sea change. But it's got to help. And the kids who keep getting shut out of the lottery will finally have some recourse.

The policy change will also likely mean that for fans looking to buy a scalped student ticket every once in a while, like myself, prices will be a bit higher. But don't worry, the online sales method ensures that people who aren't really interested in going to the games will still try to buy season tickets just to resell them. We couldn't have kids camping out or anything, could we? Nooooo, never. That'd be way too much fun.

Dean Wormer said it best: "No more fun of any kind!"


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Sunday, April 26, 2009


What a wild moment with Michael friggin' Crabtree and BJ Raji still on the board, eh? Fun stuff. I kind of wanted Crabtree, thinking about him on one side and Jennings on the other for the next six years, but Raji makes far more sense. Honestly, I think drafting another wideout would have forced the Packers to make a losing trade of either Driver, Jones or Jordy Nelson, and probably would have ruffled Jennings' feathers in a serious manner-- not good given the team and his agent are in the middle of contract negotiations. Plus, I read somewhere that Jennings and Crabtree have the same agent. What weirdness that would be. Finally, if the team drafted Crabtree and reupped Jennings, that would be devoting a ton of money to the two players at the same position. Kind of a weird scenario.

My main concerns with Raji were (after reading far too many comments from Greg Bedard over at the Journal-Sentinel's Packer blog) (1) I was skeptical that he'd make a good 3-4 nose tackle, and was more suited to be a run stopped in a 4-3 front, and (2) the general fact that defensive tackles have a pretty high bust rate. (Ahem.) But he was the consensus top defensive tackle in the draft, and the Packers d-line totally let them down last season. Plus, that for someone who loathes Notre Dame, that remarkable highlight against the Irish is about the funniest thing ever.

The Clay Matthews pick is fascinating. First, there's just him as a player-- three immediate relatives were great NFL players, a walk-on at USC, redshirting, kicking ass on special teams, growing taller and gaining a ton of good weight, earning a schollie and then turning into a stud in his last season. Yeah, and he graduated with an International Relations degree four months ago. Whoa. His tapes make him look pretty relentless, with fine change of direction, and good ability to flight off blocks-- a big weakness for the team's current crop of linebackers. I suppose he's someone who could eventually supplant Poppinga, or replace Kampman after this next season, if the plan to move him to an LB position doesn't work out. Cool stuff.

My enthusiasm for the pick is tempered by the opinion of a close friend who covers USC football as a beat writer for a SoCal paper. He didn't trust Matthews, in large part, because of his lack of experience (he only started about 80% of one season), and because of his sudden weight gain-- something like 20 pounds of muscle in about a year. Of course, the three top notch USC linebackers were drafted in the exact opposite order of how he thought they should have gone-- since he also thought Cushing was injury prone, dumb, and on a Bill Romanowski like regime of performance-enhancing substances.

Then there's the cost of the Matthews pick-- both third round picks and the team's second rounder. Pretty damn steep. And when you hear it's the Pats on the other side-- well, you have to think your guys have been hood-winked. Hell, even Thompson said the way things worked out on the draft value chart weren't "great." But two things make me okay with it. First off, Thompson (and some other folks) seem to believe that the Packers have a pretty solid core, and don't have a ton of holes. (Whether this is an accurate view is something to be debated.) Second, there was the cacophony of opinions that this was a historically weak draft. If that's the case, and Matthews, as Thompson said, was a guy they had been talking about for weeks and thinking of ways to acquire, then I applaud their decision. Seriously. When confronted with a weak draft, moving up and sacrificing quantity for quality makes sense. What good are three picks in a crappy draft? How do they compare to one pick for a guy that you viewed as a legitimate talent and have been targeting and thinking about for weeks? Makes good sense to me. Of course, history will be the ultimate judge. It's quite likely some guys taken after Matthews or when the Packers would have picked in the second and third round will turn out to be excellent players.

But in defense of my theory, this morning, after taking a hard look at the guys available, the Pats went out and traded away two of their third round picks, for two second round picks next year. Maybe this draft is weak, and the Matthews trade did make sense, eh?

Friday, April 24, 2009

If this is true...

then the DeKalb County State's Attorney is a colossal jackass. Yeah, I'm talking about the almost never-ending saga that is criminal case against former Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu and his brother Bill. Bill was tried separately this week, and acquitted. See here. Ha.

Given the facts laid out by the article, which I'm assuming tracks the evidence presented by both sides at trial, this whole thing should never have gotten to the point of felony charges. Bill's roommate was friends with the victim's roommate, and the two Ikegwuonu's went over there thinking there was a party. They let themselves in, and when the victim came home he saw the two of them in there and freaked out, and they ran off. After talking to his roommate and Bill's roommate, the "victim" tried to get the charges dropped, going to see the police, writing a letter, and calling the prosecutors. All to no avail. The "victim" actually testified in Bill's defense. This is a ridiculous overreaction by the State's attorneys, who were probably trying to show "how tough" they were by throwing the book at an NIU football player. They should be embarrassed. They nearly ruined Jack's career with this crap, and have ruined Bill's college career. He was playing for Northern Illinois at the time, but was suspended from school, and I doubt he managed to graduate after getting mired in this garbage.

And Jack is still set to go to trial the first week of May. What a load. Drop the charges already, you total nitwits.
Here's another article about the trial from the Dekalb daily paper. See the comments below the article.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hope against Hope

I am holding out hope, my fingers tightly crossed, that the Packers will be in position to use the ninth overall pick to draft this guy:

I'm not joking.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Draft in the Attic

Momentous events, like the signing of ex-Steeler safety Anthony Smith, the tendering of Atari "Sega" Bigby, and, yes, the blockbuster trade of triple J, aka JJ Jansen Golden Domer long-snapper extraordinaire, have passed without comment on this website. For that, I apologize fecitiously. I do somewhat regret letting the UW Spring Game and the build up to the NFL Draft (the best "watch while lifting weights" sporting event ever) go by without comment. But, what can you do? Life jumps up on you like a drooling, overeager Neapolitan Mastiff, and certain things fall by the wayside.

Anyhow, I'll try to make up for the hiatus by starting some discussion on the Spring Game, the general state of the UW football program and the NFL Draft over the next few weeks. I suppose I'll begin by being lazy and sharing what I'm reading and enjoying, these days.

To begin, I found this "scout's take" on the Packers and their draft needs, as related by Bob McGinn, to be quite fascinating. Whoever McGinn talked to didn't see a lot of holes in the team, which is encouraging. But at the same time, although this might not have been what McGinn asked him to do, he didn't ladle out strong praise for any Packer players. That seems to be the problem with this team. Solid, but lacking in the star/difference-maker department. Or maybe I'm wrong and Woodson, Collins, and Jennings are all legitimate stars, and A-Rodg is on his way? Hmmm.

I also stumbled across this fascinating piece in Football Outsiders, doing a full-on rehashing of the '03 draft, six years down the road. That was the draft where the Packers tabbed Nick Barnett at the end of the first round. Although they misstate Barnett's accomplishments slightly (he was not a Pro Bowl alternate this past season), they seem to think that the choice was a solid one. They also liked the Javon Walker pick in the '02 draft. I guess Sherman's picks weren't always so bad, eh? Anyhow, the analysis suffers a bit by only doing comparisons of picks within each position-- thus concluding that Barnett was a good pick for '03 linebackers, and Walker was the best of the '02 receiver class. A more critical look might redo the entire draft based on actual contributions, or, more harshly, show which players your team could have had at their spots instead of the guys they took. For example, instead of Barnett, Sherman could have drafted the league's current top corner Nnamdi Asomugha, current top tight end Jason Witten, or the agitating but fabulous wideout Anquan Boldin. Or, hell, even repeat Pro Bowl LB Lance "Rance" Briggs. (It looks like FO thinks Barnett's career has topped Rance's. I don't buy that one.)

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Camp Lambeau Loyalists and human being fans across the land, let it be known that at 9:28 pm on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, Dashiell Adrian Gansner was brought into this world screaming about the Minnesota Vikings awful uniforms. For the record, he is 7 lbs. 15 oz., and has small birthmarks shaped like the Vince Lombardi trophy on both bisceps.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Man. We are proud of you, we love you, and are thankful for the new addition. He is chosen. DA DA DEE DA NAH NAH NAH GO PACK GO!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ah, #&$%#%@!

The Sid Luckman era may have finally come to an end. The only way this trade flops for the Bears is if Jerry Angelo would have spent both of the teams ' '09 and '10 picks on defensive players.

A-Rodg may be back to being the second best quarterback in the division.

Two Outbreaks of Total Hilarity

Hilarious story number one: Are you kidding me? That would be sooooo appropriate.

Hilarious and awesome story number two: Nick Barnett rules. Now go sign Kevin Carter already.