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Poor Timing + Worse Analysis = Offensive Column

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Poor Timing + Worse Analysis = Offensive Column

The column suggesting the Packers "pull the plug" and "shut it down" on Justin Harrell for being injury prone by Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette deserves every bit of criticism it gets.

Granted, Harrell missed his first day of practice on Tuesday since preparation for the 2010 season began, a huge red flag considering one missed day of practice signified the end of his season in 2009.

But after practice, Harrell told CheeseheadTV.com that he woke up with back tightness and would be back on Thursday.

Especially egregious, the author fails to even acknowledge in his column that Harrell missed Thursday's practice due to the reported birth of his child. Furthermore, head coach Mike McCarthy said Harrell would have practiced on Thursday if available.

The former first-round draft choice does not get a free pass onto the 53-man roster because he had a child, but he does get a free pass until further notice (this evening at a minimum).

Until proven otherwise, we can only take these men at their words. And they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Prior to Tuesday, Harrell pulled out of one half of one practice early due to heat-related issues. Not to make excuses for the defensive lineman, but if there's one person who may not be in good enough shape to handle the rigors of an NFL training camp, it figures  it would be Harrell after sitting out the past season plus.

And after sitting out of Tuesday's action, Harrell has missed exactly one day due solely to a back that has twice had surgery. One day.

That brings us back to the topic of the birth of a baby. And not just any birth, one that also reportedly necessitated an emergency C-section. Does not a situation like this warrant an exercise in restraint? Vandermause has not typically been one to push the envelope in his columns, but this one exceeds proper decorum.

On top of all that, Harrell is coming off what at least one observer considers to be the single best performance by any player on the entire roster in the first preseason game a week ago against the Cleveland Browns.

At least the columnist acknowledges a similar assessment from defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, which he should heed.

“Justin I thought showed some signs of life,” said Trogovac. “I thought he did some good things in the game. It’s just a matter of keeping him out here. Justin’s a good football player. He’s a strong kid that can move. When he’s in there, he does a good job for us.”

Harrell isn't off limits to criticism, but if his back is truly a problem, the writer could have waited until after tonight's game at the very least (and probably longer).

According to Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "I'm told DE Justin Harrell made the trip for the Packers."

Given that information, Harrell's word and McCarthy's word, there's every possibility the defensive lineman will suit up and play this evening in spite of any pain, criticism and doubters he may have.

Vandermause writes, "It’s possible Harrell’s back could loosen up in time for him to play in the preseason game against Seattle Saturday night, but even in the unlikely event that happens, how long can he last?"

Unlikely is turning into likely before our very eyes.

There were and will be several chances to pen a similar column. One of them was a year ago when the Packers placed Harrrell on injured reserve. Another was this offseason and yet another will be the coming weeks when the Packers have to choose between cutting Harrell or another player.

Because of a failure to give Harrell the benefit of the doubt, this column in the Green Bay Press-Gazette doesn't get off the hook like Harrell should, at least until next week.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

JohnRehor's picture

Excellent job Brian. If Mike V. did his job better he wouldn't be getting torched on the blogs because of his post.

Michael (Pat/s Twin)'s picture

Torched on a blog is really going to break his heart. You think he cares what you say? Come on give me a break! You people do act like little kids with these kid threats. (Pat you are right there are alot of crib babies on here)

bigfog's picture

Glad I'm not the only one who thought this. I can relate to Harrell, as my wife had to undergo an emergency C-section for the birth of our daughter. Vandermause went down several notches in my eyes.

Michael (Pat/s Twin)'s picture

Like C-sections is some new type of giving birth? Should be glad she has good doctors because some people in the world don't have professional care.

MadMan's picture

I read the article today and wondered where all the negativity was coming from. Can't see why Mike V. has a bug up his butt for Justin. As much as I am concerned with the long term prospects of Harrel as a player with the Packers, I have sympathy for him regarding his bad back. I have suffered for many years with back pain and it aint no fun.

Michael (Pat/s Twin)'s picture

So your saying keep the player because of his back being sore and not fun because you have suffered. What does that have to do with Packer Defense accountability as a professional. Life is tough and it gets tougher in the NFL and if a writer wants to showcase his opinions why would a rookie writer slam on his words. Maybe your saying a player should feel sorry for himself having a baby when things are not looking good in making the team? Hmmmm many people in the U.S. are suffering via economics and they don't get chances like Professional Football. Yes and having babies with out jobs and or careers. Many ladies have bad back problems young and old and don't feel sorry for themselves.

bogmon's picture

Vandermause just comes off lazy here, in my opinion. Typical of his style. He often just echoes the redundancies of popular opinion rather than digging deeper into a topic and fleshing out all the details. Sometimes I feel like these local Green Bay guys spew out whatever drivel they can muster just to fill in the spaces.

jclombardi's picture

Essentially, this comment sums it up. Bloody awful with no class, typical of fluff local sports press. JC

Michael (Pat/s Twin)'s picture

Writing sports stories is not popular because they get paid the big bucks to expose everyday life situations. Truths are exposed and may seem harsh but the players know there life is being magnified everyday and every hour. Its like the creative style of some on here to bash myself as a new poster. Nobody feels sorry for me and I don't care because I have been exposed to many critical agendas. For me it is a challenge to showcase my perseverance.

Bearmeat's picture

Mike V is the worst sports writer in the state, and it's not even close. He's a homer (which is BAD for a sports writer), he doesn't research his facts, and his writing style isn't particularly engaging in the first place. Kareen Copeland hasn't excited or bothered me yet, and Dougherty's ok....I miss Tom P.

cheese5's picture

Rob Demovsky and Kareem are cool. Those guys are pros. I've met them and I appreciate what they do.

Jayme's picture

I don't have a problem with local sports writers being homers. Some of those guys have been covering the Packers for decades and after that amount of time it's almost impossible NOT to be a fan. That said, if a sports writer can't recognize and remove that bias from his writing, then he's just a hack.

Michael (Pat/s Twin)'s picture

Bearmeat what paper do you write for via your take. Have you ever tasted real bearmeat because I think your assumptions would be that of lamb via young and very young lamb. Hey Pat how can one be critical of a writer without looking at there own type. (Pitts your right this blog is to easy to have fun with via or is it via via)

madman's picture

Uh oh, someone else is using my cheap screen name. I bequeth it to thee. I will go with MarkinMadison.

Chris's picture

Harrell is "on the bubble" though. I didn't see much of him in the Seattle game, and when he was on the field he looked lifeless (but not much different than the other DL guys).
But I agree, the tone of that article was much too harsh.

dgtalmn's picture

Isn't about time for some hard decisions to be made? Forget whether a player is a high draft pick or undrafted, let's get the best players on the field and put the pride aside.

As for Harrell, since the Packers have not given up on him thru all of his health problems, I won't be surprise to see him make the 53.

hoogus's picture

Isn't that what's a writer is paid to do, i.e., write stuff that brings readers to the paper? People are saying "hey, did you see the Vandermause column on Harrel?" He wins. BFD.

cheese5's picture

He actually gets paid to Report News and not reporting about the fact that Harrell's wife had a baby is disingenuous at best

z's picture

And gets paid close to six figures from what I've heard. Know several Packer beat writers and folks at the PG who've cited this guy's work ethic and football knowledge as a complete joke. So if it makes you feel better, they all make fun of him, too.

nerdmann's picture

Vandermause isn't the brightest bulb. On audio/video, he's got a voice for print.

Keith's picture

I'm not a fan of ripping a player for always being injured. It's not like the player wants to be injured. They were just unfortunate to have a body that breaks down.

While I know it is frustrating, and eventually a team will have to move on from such a player, I can't bring myself to rip a guy for being hurt.

Oppy's picture

Some of you seem to be missing the point of this article:

Vandermausse seems to have written an article about a player's health issues, and has conveniently (ahem, intentionally) omitted facts surrounding the story which slants the story to support his personal take on the situation.

That's not news, it's not reporting. It's sensationalistic and opportunistic in the highest order; a cheap ploy to feed off of a bitter and suspicious faction of the fan base in order to get more reads.

He should save that sh*t for pieces he writes for the National Enquirer, or trade in his credentials as a sports JOURNALIST. It's garbage "reporting", pure and simple.

If he wants to editorialize, he should write a blog, not be a paper reporter. Even then, most bloggers have the good graces to point out their bias, as opposed to masquerading as a reporter and blatantly omitting facts.

What a joke.
/end rant

Michael (Pat/s Twin)'s picture

Oppy I suggest you attend a class on sports 101 because of your take on what sports writers should post because you control the verbaige. You sound like the person you are making assumptions about via your posts. Your sneaky because you attack from around the point of focus. Like the one poster stated Mike V. got people talking. So what!!!!!!!!!!

pat fermanich's picture

three words, cut him now.can read it CUT HIM NOW.

pat fermanich's picture

words do not perform on the field.work ethic,produce product, perform to your best abilities,give all, becomee a leader your a pro for a reason you were #1 act like it.

jeremy's picture

I have to totally agree about the distasteful timing.

However, calling the analysis worse is total nonsense. Unless you are completely oblivious to his entire personal history, Justin Harrell is a bonified injury risk. Probably too much so to gamble a roster spot on, unless you really have no one else worth putting on the field. But, I'm sure TT wants to see how he finishes out the preseason compared to CJ Wilson and maybe others before rendering a final verdict.

asshalo's picture

Kinda surprised someone would write that this early. Though earlier indicators weren't good Tuesday, he showed enough against Cleveland to make me hope.

Michael (Pat/s Twin)'s picture

Well you all seem to be getting on the band wagon of communicating about communications about a player and a writer and how positive or negative reaction should be towards the issue. Packers Public Relations handled the issue with class and the rest of us carry on with our own opinions of snowballing the experience. Private situations are private and any suggestions should be directed for ignoring a difficult life changing experience if it has nothing to do with football on a forum or blog.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

your posts read like a spam e-mail scam from Borat's neighbor, and yet you lecture us all on the realities of journalism...? why that is you are being pain in our assholes?

dilligaff's picture

I agree bad timing and manners.

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