Were you able to catch linebacker Nick Barnett on ESPN2′s First Take yesterday? Of note, he didn’t back down from his “Super Bowl or Die” mantra. He reiterated the phrase he introduced last week on the NFL Network’s Total Access. Here’s what’s going in the world of Packers today …
Tight end Jermichael Finley is in attendance at Larry Fitzgerald’s famous offseason football camp in Minnesota. Among others, Finley is receiving instruction from Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin. “You’ve got Hall of Famers out here and Pro Bowlers,” Finley told the Associated Press. “Everybody can learn from everybody. That’s what I did. I just came out here, listened to Mike and took things from him. I’m going to go with it and see what I can do.” Other players at the camp include Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins and Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis.
Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson was a guest of a Washington D.C. sports radio talk show on 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday in part hosted by former Washington Redskin linebacker LaVar Arrington. The podcast is available where you can hear Woodson say he can play football for another five years.
Another Packers personality was a sports talk radio guest yesterday when quarterbacks coach Tom Clements was the guest of Homer on ESPN Radio in Madison and Milwaukee. Clements was making an appearance on behalf of the upcoming Notre Dame Club of Milwaukee golf outing, but he also has a few takes on quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Check out the replay here.
Wide receiver Charles Dillon is profiled in a local California newspaper. Dillon was picked up as a street free agent this past offseason and is currently preparing for training camp that begins the end of this month. “I just can’t wait to get back to training camp and try to earn myself a job,” Dillon told the Ventura County Star. “My main focus is just working hard because there are a lot of guys out there just as good as me, but it is the extra work you put in that could be the difference.” Dillon faces an uphill battle to earn a roster spot, but he could have a chance to impress if he gets an opportunity to return kicks.
According to special teams coach Shawn Slocum, kicker Mason Crosby is looking as good as he ever has since becoming a professional. “Right now, Mason’s probably at his best since I’ve been here, and that’s five years,” Slocum told ESPNMilwaukee.com’s Jason Wilde. “I’ve been here the whole time he’s been here. I look forward to Mason having an excellent year.” Later on in the article both Slocum and Crosby mention how well the ball is coming off his foot. Now that just has to carry over to the regular season.
Packers Radio Network play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee shared a few thoughts on the Green Bay defense yesterday in a column written on JSOnline. “The Packers were also very solid against the pass ranking 5th in yardage 201.1 allowing just a 68.8 opponents Quarterback rating,” writes Larrivee. “They held 10 of 16 opponents under 200 yards passing (outstanding in this pass first age) and they garnered the most takeaways in the league. Yet despite all of these heady numbers, I would not call the Packers defense of 2009 dominant.” From a statistical standpoint, it’s an interesting read.
A theory that head coach Mike McCarthy has a tough time beating teams with final records of 10-6 and above is put to the test by “Jersey” Al Bracco. “Even good McCarthy teams, however, won’t necessarily beat the other good teams,” concludes Bracco. “2007 was by far the best, with a 3-2 record. But the record was only 2-4 in 2009 after subtracting the ‘thrown’ (Arizona regular season finale) game.” Of course, nearly all teams will have a worse record against good teams. Now the question is, why do the Packers struggle so much?
Former Packers halfback Tom Pagna passed away at the age of 77 yesterday. “Pagna was a Cleveland native and played halfback for Parseghian at Miami of Ohio,” according to the Associated Press. “Pagna played for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns, then joined [Ara] Parseghian as an assistant at Northwestern.”
Brandon Benson of Acme Packing Company gives some off-the-cuff comments on the possibility of Lambeau Field expansion. “More seating at Lambeau, and potentially more eager fans becoming season ticket holders, sounds like a good idea,” writes Benson. “It would make the neighborhood around the stadium even more of a post-game mess with an extra 10%+ fans at each game, and I’m not sure they could do anything about the additional traffic.”
Could overexposure hurt the NFL by extending the regular season? That question is pondered by Adam Czech of PackerChatters who thinks it could. “By adding two more games, you’re cheapening the product,” writes Czech. “Eventually, games don’t feel as important because you can watch one almost every night of the week over 18 weeks. The buildup to each game burns people out. People will still follow football, but maybe not with quite the same passion as they did before, which eventually leads to a drop in business.”
Current Packers are compared to football players in Hollywood movies by Jim Oxley on BrentFavre.com.