GREEN BAY – On the calendar today, the players continue check in to their digs at St. Norbert College with training camp about to get underway, but even more important might be Cheesehead TV's "Tweet-Up" tonight at Titletown Brewing Company from 7 to 9 p.m. ...
Yesterday's visit by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the annual shareholders at Lambeau Field was marked by rhetoric encouraging a new labor agreement. "'Our No.?1 priority is to reach a new agreement,' [Packers president Mark] Murphy told more than 8,300 Packers fans gathered on a sunny day on the east stands of Lambeau Field for the annual shareholders meeting," writes Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Goodell began a tour that will take him on a tour of training camps all over the country over the next couple weeks.
Even though the commissioner answered a lot of questions yesterday, he really didn't say anything. That's the opinion of Cheesehead TV's Aaron Nagler. "What might have been an excellent opportunity for a frank discussion about the many issues facing the league as it heads into the final year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, instead was a milquetoast affair with Packer fans almost relegated to stage props in the NFL’s propaganda war with the NFLPA," opines Nagler.
Plans for Lambeau Field expansion in the south end zone were given in rough detail at yesterday's annual meeting. The plan, which has been called to create a "wall of sound" is further explained by Bill Huber of Packer Report. "Murphy envisions five 'levels' of construction that eventually would boost the stadium’s capacity from 72,928 to almost 80,000," writes Huber. "The extra seating would be geared toward some of the 83,000 fans stuck on the famously long season-ticket waiting list." Standing room only rooftop seats similar to those at the Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park are a possibility as well.
Ambitious plans for the newly dubbed "Titletown Development District" were shared during the shareholders meeting as well. "[Packers vice president Jason] Wied touched on a list of possibilities, including hospitality, retail, entertainment and health/wellness ventures, an exhibition hall and a youth sports complex, any or all of which would be undertaken with the goal of bringing 7 million to 8 million visitors to the Lambeau Field area per year, more than double the 2.6 million to 2.8 million that visit annually now," writes Mike Spofford of the Packers official website. I am impressed by these ideas that would potentially bring fans to Green Bay for reasons other than the Packers. I also this this is inevitable and will be something Wisconsin and the state of Wisconsin will be proud of.
The commissioner was asked about Johnny Jolly's suspension but refused to provide any details. "Goodell declined to comment on whether Jolly's suspension had anything to do with a prosecutors' contention that he was distributing illegal drugs," reports the Journal Sentinel. At some point, I'm not sure confidentiality is acceptable anymore, perhaps when a player is in phase one or phase two of the NFL's substance-abuse program. But when Jolly is suspended indefinitely, I think fans and owners deserve some answers, something which the NFL has been unwilling to do up to this point.
A Lambeau Field Super Bowl was proposed to Goodell, who said it probably wasn't likely. "It's not about weather as much as it is infrastructure," Goodell is quoted as saying by the Journal Sentinel. "You need 25,000 hotel rooms within 60 miles. It's an extraordinary undertaking." As Don Walker reports, there's only about 3,000 hotel rooms in the greater Green Bay area currently, so they figure to be a long way away from a Super Bowl being considered.
General manager Ted Thompson gave an overview of player personnel and addressed expectations for the upcoming season. “I know there are a lot of expectation about this year. Talking with the board members inside, there’s a lot of excitement. (And) there should be,” Thompson is quoted as saying by Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. “This is a good team, I think we have a lot of confidence in ourselves, but know this: The NFL is a very hard business, it’s very unforgiving, and it will trample you to death if you don’t get up. ‘That’s one of the things we always talk to our players about: You’re going to get knocked down, but make sure you get back up.’" Other than that, Thompson didn't say a whole, acknowledging that he wasn't going to give bulletin-board material other teams around the league. But the normally reserved Thompson also appeared to be very jovial yesterday.
Even though a Super Bowl may not be in Green Bay's future, some other events might be. "Goodell did acknowledge that Green Bay could host an event such as the NFL Draft, which the league is considering moving from New York and rotating throughout various NFL cities, and the third Thanksgiving Day game that’s played on the NFL Network," writes Wilde. Goodell seemed to intimate that the draft could move around to different cities on different days of the draft. For example, Day 1 in New York, Day 2 in Green Bay, etc.
A personal account of yesterday's proceedings were provided in a column by Al Davis of Packernet. "If you were at [yesterday's] shareholders meeting you can’t possibly not be fired up for the upcoming season," writes Davis. "With the Packers being a good team with the potential to be great, the atmosphere at Lambeau today was as electric as any shareholders meeting I’ve been to with the possible exception of the first post-Favre gathering. Packers’ fans are expecting a Super Bowl run and I believe they are going to get it." Davis goes onto relate a story about a fan who drove all the way from Virginia for the meeting, a moving experience for the author.
For tons of news and notes from the meeting, our live blog covered the event in real time. Among the tidbits assembled from the media include Wilde's: "Premiere of Lombardi ESPN movie to be at Lambeau weekend before Super Bowl. Murphy says everyone then heads to SB to see Packers play in it." It should be noted that the movie will be premiered in 2012. Also of note is that the NFL's Red Zone channel will be shown in the stadium during breaks in the action.
The Packers tried out a player earlier this week. "Green Bay Blizzard linebacker Maurice Simpkins earned a tryout with the Packers on Wednesday," writes Kareem Copeland of the Press-Gazette. "Simpkins (6-foot-1, 236 pounds) was named first-team all-IFL defense last season after posting 126 tackles, five sacks and five interceptions. He returned two picks for touchdowns." The Blizzard are Green Bay's entrant into the Indoor Football League. Simpkins figures to be a long shot, and the Packers would have to cut a player in order to make room for him even if it did happen.
Players began to move into the dorms yesterday. "The college also rents out other student housing facilities for visiting college and high school football coaches and NFL officials who come to training camp," writes McLean Bennett of the Press-Gazette. If I'm correct, players aren't required to move in until today when they'll be going through physicals and testing.
An interesting interview with Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders is provided by Acme Packing Company. Barnwell discussed yards after the catch. "I think it was just the sheer amount of explosive players in the lineup," said Barnwell. "Greg Jennings was tops in the league in YAC in 2007, then fell off to 4.2 YAC per catch (28th) in 2008, but was back in fifth with 6.8 YAC per catch in 2009. James Jones was seventh, at 6.1. The biggest difference, though, was Jermichael Finley (5.3 yards after catch, 18th amongst tight ends) replacing Donald Lee (2.8 yards after catch, 37th amongst tight ends in 2008). "
The cornerbacks are previewed by Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette.
Railbird endorsed video: Cameron Clark of WLUK-TV has more on the Titletown Development District ...
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