Change Is Here, Are Packer Fans Ready?

With changes in the Packers organization happening at a rapid rate, were the fans ready?

Since winning Super Bowl XLV in glorious fashion and following up that season with an epic 15-1 campaign that went on to see a disappointing playoff loss to the Giants, each season thereafter saw fans increasingly clamoring for change around the Packers organization.  From wanting Dom Capers’ head on a silver platter to calling out the dogs to sic on Ted Thompson, each season that didn’t produce another Packers Super Bowl victory found more and more heads being called for around the organization.  In more recent years, it has been the calling for the firing of Coach Mike McCarthy to the cleaning house of veteran players who weren’t producing like they once were.

I think that most fans knew at some point last season that this offseason would produce some change.  But as these changes have started taking effect, have fans been truly prepared for some of the consequences that come with the business side of the NFL?  Clamoring for a coach’s firing or a high profile free agent signing is easy as a fan, but many tough decisions often have to precede or follow one of these decisions.  And so far this offseason, the change has been plentiful around 1265 Lombardi Avenue. 

As the 2017 campaign for the Packers ended, Dom Capers was let go from his defensive coordinator position.  At the time of his firing, he had been the longest-tenured defensive coordinator with one team in the league.  Fans and media had been calling for his termination for a long time and this was absolutely the right call for the organization.  A week and a half later, a surprise hire was made to replace Capers in Mike Pettine.  A lot remains to be seen on what Pettine will bring to the field of play, but this change has all the feeling of being a solid one.

Around the same time Capers was let go, Mark Murphy announced that Ted Thompson would be taking a new role with the team and the search for a new GM would be starting.  Once again, a change that fans had been calling for was taking place and this change created a lot of buzz.  The Packers had several internal candidates in line for the position as well as some external options as well.  In what some considered to be a surprise move again, the Packers opted to hire internally with Brian Gutekunst taking the position.  Right away, fans were worried that Gutekunst would run the operation too similar to how Thompson ran things and this change wouldn’t be enough.  But with the personnel moves over the last week, it is quite obvious that a new sheriff is in town and, to quote Bob Dylan, the times would continue to be changing for the Packers.

The trade of Demarious Randall to the Browns for the DeShone Kizer and some exchange of draft picks took everyone by surprise.  Even though some considered him to be a cancer to the team, Randall’s performance to end the 2017 season left a lot of fans wanting to see more out of him in 2018.  Then leading up to free agency, thoughts were all over the map on how Gutekunst would handle free agency.  The almost immediate signings of tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson sent a shockwave through fans as well.  It had been years since multiple high-profile free agents were signed by the Packers.  Many predictions obviously floated around about who they would sign, but nobody could have predicted the three personnel moves above.

After announcing the signing of Graham, word came out that Jordy Nelson was being released by the team.  In an instant, happiness turned to utter sadness for a lot of fans.  Nelson epitomized what being a Green Bay Packer meant to most fans by being great on the field, excellent in the locker room and a stand-up gentleman in the community.  But in the end, the business side of the NFL always comes out on top in personnel decisions and for the Packers to make the necessary changes to their roster, the wide receiver group needed to significantly lower their share of the yearly salary cap. 

Here we sit less than a week into free agency and the change that fans have been yearning for is upon us.  Were fans ready for what has initially happened with the organization in just a little over two months?  Being attached to a team guy like Jordy is okay and having some emotion is okay when watching him sign with Oakland.  If I learned anything from the offseason that occurred just 10 short years ago, it was that moving on quickly and having a forward view with the direction of the team is important.  Murphy, Gutekunst, McCarthy and all others on the Packers staff are moving forward and so should we as fans.

Seeing how the first week of free agency has played out should leave us excited for the coming months leading up to training camp.  If Gutekunst’s approach to free agency is an indication that he will run a draft differently, we have no reason but to be excited.  The Packers hold a wealth of draft picks coming up and until April 26th, we’ll just be left to speculate how the draft for the Packers will unfold.  Quite possibly, this speculation will include some aggression that Packers fans haven’t seen in a long time out of their team.

With the change that has been desired now finally here, this is sure to be one of the most exciting offseasons that many Packers fans have seen in a long time.  The complacency of Thompson is gone and the team is moving forward and excitement will continue to fill the air.  

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Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Comments (41)

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cheesehead1's picture

March 16, 2018 at 01:13 pm

Would really like to see them pursue Tyrann Mathieu if the cost is doeable. Always impressed with him in Arizona.

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Cubbygold's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:38 pm

I believe that Josh Jones is a talented player. Obviously depth is critical. I'm not against signing Tyrann if the cost is manageable, but would that take Josh off the field most plays, or how would you see him fitting into the defensive scheme?

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kevgk's picture

March 16, 2018 at 05:26 pm

while Mathieu is more traditionally a safety, he has the speed to be a number 2 corner, especially in stopping short passes. While I dont think he would be played as a deep boundary corner, he is still full of raw talent and would make the secondary better as well as provide depth to corner and safety. They could line him as a slot corner or safety, and allow Jones and Haha to be on the field as linebacker and safety without having to pay burnett or play brice.

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billybobton's picture

March 16, 2018 at 01:16 pm

Yes Randal was an inspiration at the end of the season. He held that bench FIRM! It got nowhere!

Many us chanted and sent letters to get more of him on that bench!
but instead we got rid of his lazy, entitled, cowardly person

good riddance!

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Bearmeat's picture

March 16, 2018 at 01:20 pm

As Dobber said in early January: "Many have gotten their wish. It remains to be seen if the new guy(s) will improve the team or not."

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:09 pm

They have to at least try, right?

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Turophile's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:24 pm

It's like the old shares warning. The team, like investments in shares, can go up or down. Much too early to say which way they are going at this point..... strap yourselves in.

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Ryan Graham's picture

March 16, 2018 at 01:32 pm

Spader, that single handedly improved the defense and Im really excited to see what he does differently. I want to see what BG does as well as we transition out of the 'frenzy' stage and who he continues to target at CB. Also still got as feeling he's not done trading, I feel like he wants to move up in the draft. Be it two picks in round one or moving up from 12, I see that move being made if the price is right.

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kevgk's picture

March 16, 2018 at 05:28 pm

My dream would be trading up into the top 10 to grab a top DB then trading their second into a late first for a pass rusher. That would instantly propel this defense into a top team, and they have the picks to trade with.

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Michael Hughes's picture

March 17, 2018 at 06:54 am

Then its a good job you are not a GM.

You trade up because there is a player you desperately want in a slot you think is value that you think will not last to your slot. That is the only reason.

Trading up because you had a planned intention to and want a top 10 pick is truly awful GMing.

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Cubbygold's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:25 pm

Pettine is who I'm most excited about, though seeing Graham in the red zone is a close second.

It seemed like last year Daniels was drawing a line in the sand. He had enough of the disrespect and lack of passion on their side of the ball, and times were changing. Anyone not on board with that was going to hear from him and he was going to get them in-line.

And then...nothing.

For awhile I was thinking Daniels is all talk, but I'm also realizing that these guys probably showed up and Capers lulled them into a daze they couldn't wake up from. Poor schemes led to poor results, poor results led to frustration, frustration led to blame, blame led to blowups. This is the narrative I'm telling myself anyways.

I hope daniels brings the same passion this year. I hope Wilkerson matches that and they feed off each other. I hope Pettine is right there all camp shining a spotlight on the weak link and inserting competition wherever possible. This defense needs to find some success, some small wins that they can use as a group to build off of and get some momentum going. If pettine is that catalyst for all that, he'll be the biggest improvement all offseason.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 17, 2018 at 12:58 am

With Capers gone everyone gets a second chance to improve. Which ones we'll see. That brings more hope alone.

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croatpackfan's picture

March 16, 2018 at 01:36 pm

Lot od fans here were calling for radical changes. Those changes came. Now very few accept that changes without complaints.

I will name Nick Perry. He got what he wants and he is happy. Few others express themselves the same way. But others would like to have changes without changes. They are fantasizing that Packers ca keep 120 players on the roster and that Salary Cap is 500 mil $.

They are fantasizing about home discount from Aaron Rodgers. And when Jordy Nelson got low offer, they claim that offer is rude and humiliating...

Decide what you want. And be consistent as Nick Perry.

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Ryan Graham's picture

March 16, 2018 at 01:53 pm

Who is to say that he isn't? I'm sold on a few guys. He may not trade up into the first round but maybe into the second round again. I'm sold on a few guys that are set to go in the second as well, Sam Hubbard, St. Equanimeous Brown later potentially. I just don't see BG holding onto 7 picks in rounds 4-6. maybe turn tyhast into five picks in rounds 1-3. Would be a more aggressive approach...

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John Kirk's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:16 pm

JS...Croat is referring to CHTV's Nick Perry, the poster.

Croat doesn't understand nuance at all. Meat and potatoes, black and white, is how he sees.

Those who wanted Ted gone wanted him gone because we viewed him as an impediment to winning SB's. Same with Capers. Complaining about the new guy is not inconsistent in any way shape or form. Fans like NP want to see the Packers win the SB and do things that fit with their view of accomplishing that end. I'm no different. I want to see SB's. So, if Ted did something I didn't like, I "complained" and same for Dom. There was a long established pattern with both guys. I didn't like Ted's mindset from the outset. If Brian does something I don't feel is consistent with the idea of winning the SB, I'll "complain", too, because the goal wasn't to have Ted or not, it was to have someone making moves to win.

Thinking Brian low balled Jordy and finding that insulting has absolutely nothing to do with wanting Ted back or being inconsistent or the SB. Each move is it's own thing. I thought the org handled it poorly. I thought the org handled it brilliantly with Favre, but that didn't mean I was some big proponent of Ted because of it. No inconsistency. Just honest for each and every move. I want to see the team win SB's. What is in the best interest of that is what I'm all about more than any particular change and just what I feel is right, in general, in the case of Jordy.

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croatpackfan's picture

March 16, 2018 at 03:53 pm

Oh, thank you for trying to explain me something that complicated... But you failed. I'm to stupid...

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John Kirk's picture

March 16, 2018 at 04:03 pm

croatpackfan says:
March 16, 2018 at 03:53 pm

Oh, thank you for trying to explain me something that complicated... But you failed. I'm to stupid...

--- It's "too". Your English is really very good. You still in Croatia? Or... How long have you been here?

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Bearmeat's picture

March 16, 2018 at 07:18 pm

I'm pretty sure English is Croat's second language. It's actually much better than it was when he first started posting.

Or, to put it another way - respect to him! The only thing I can say in other languages is various versions of "where is the bathroom" and assorted curse words I learned in middle school. lol.

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croatpackfan's picture

March 17, 2018 at 09:05 am

Thank you Bearmeat for your support..

John Kirk, you're right. I made mistake, should I say typing mistake. It should stay "too", not "to"... And thank you for your correction. With every lession I got from you, people, my English will be better...

John kirk, I still live in Croatia and I know that my English is not polished, maybe not even good. But I'm happy you can understand me...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:53 pm

Let's not be so binary here.

Change in and of itself is no good or bad. Fans get to decide if the like a particular move or not.

I really like the Mo move, and I like swapping Capers for Pettine. I see the cut Nelson and sign Graham move as a wash but I don't care for the Randall trade, especially knowing McCourty was available.

It's sensible judge each move on it's own merits. Just because I wanted a GM who would use FA doesn't mean I would want them to pay Sam Bradford 20 million.

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Cubbygold's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:14 pm

The management changes absolutely had to be made and I expect that the team will be better for it. While I've been in favor of the free agency moves that have been made, at the end of the day a team can't win consistently through free agency. We can supplement, we can add impact guys when needed, but great teams are built on the backs of talented draft picks still playing on low salaries. Successful drafts can cure a lot of mistakes, and so while I'm applauding Gute for the moves he's made, the most important decisions are still to come.

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Cubbygold's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:29 pm

Breeland is available again? hmmm

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Cubbygold's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:33 pm

His deal fell through because he cut his foot and has an infection? It's march, I'm pretty sure that'll heal up.

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stockholder's picture

March 16, 2018 at 02:32 pm

Yes change is here. It is for the better? But the change comes with people bailing out. This ship is sinking. There are just so many questions. The band-aids remind me of the Bart Starr years after Vince left. Who doesn't question perry and Mathews health. Who can make the jump. All of it is going on A-Rods shoulders, much like Bart Starr. If we look at the years between super-bowls; Are we falling for Fools Gold. The secondary was to be fixed with King and Jones. Will we just see improvement, or are they making champions. The Bears won't suck. The Vikings are stronger. The lions beat us bad, and they went with changes too. The exchange is far from reality. We don't have the base anymore. (The players in their prime. ) It's tough being positive when everything looks like were rebuilding. And if were into rebuilding why pay A-Rod Millions? The money has to go to the future. I'm not seeing that. Tell me what I'm suppose to see here. I surely can't bet on this team!

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worztik's picture

March 16, 2018 at 04:05 pm

Stock, I see that you hit a nerve with some on this site! I, however, agree with you 100%! Cut Mathews, Cobb and anyone else that’s dead weight, like Perry. We are rebuilding and anyone that can’t see that is blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other. I love the Randall trade. I look at it as a move for picks and not for Kizer, however, I really like that aspect as well! We got screwed out of a 3rd rd comp pick but, Gute just got it back with the Randall trade. Instead of picking last in round 3, we pick 1st in round four! Not any difference there as far as I’m concerned. (Sarcasm) OK OK... we can’t cut everybody I just mentioned but, we can attempt to decrease their impact on the cap. Rodgers, TOO! We ARE rebuilding, maybe that’s the strategy Gute is employing. One cut here, one FA there and no long term contracts. Graham better be something special, too, or else there’s another waste of cap space. Without knowing the contract terms, I can’t be real excited. Here’s my 2 “sense” worth...

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stockholder's picture

March 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm

They didn't leave any solution. Thanks for yours. It's not being negative. It's showing common sense. You spend money on young, faster, players. Is the future now? A lot of people think so. But I see some serious additions in Chicago. For years to come. Players better offensively than ours. And if they don't think so, they need to get their heads out of the butt. To stay with Chi. and the vikings. Gute must open the wallet. I'd still Sign Latimer and Wilson. I suggest they don't draft defense. It doesn't sound like anyone is happy about the offense. And if they don't want A-Rod hurt they better draft OL. Right now I'm all for trading the #14 pick. Because Ward won't be there. We need players. And I would dump it. They need picks in the second round to fill their holes. And the future. Draft Offense. Because this franchise doesn't know a damn thing about defense.

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Lare's picture

March 16, 2018 at 03:21 pm

While change is inevitable, it is really hard for some people to accept.

IMO, the Packers had been on a downward trend for a few years now due to TT's poor talent decisions, poor defensive coaching and an offensive scheme that seemed to be getting stale. So to me, I'm thrilled with the changes that have been made since the end of last season.

As to the roster, that's a work in progress that won't be finalized until the first week of September. I'll withhold judgement until then and will enjoy the progress over the next several months.

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Oz40's picture

March 16, 2018 at 03:24 pm

IMO the biggest payoffs are going to be Pettine and Wilkerson. I think the D-line is going to dominate on a level of Phillys last year....Hope I am right

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PatrickGB's picture

March 16, 2018 at 03:38 pm

I agree with most of the posters here. We asked for change and we got it. I, for one, welcome the changes. AND we still have a buttload of draft picks much higher in the order than we had for quite some time. All this has been done with limited cap space. My only concern is CB and speed at outside WR. But, its possible that the team can scheme around it and be just fine. On another note, I wonder who else will be cut come training camp?

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Since '61's picture

March 16, 2018 at 04:58 pm

Ryan - one of the changes that you left out of your article was the return of Joe Philbin. That should not be overlooked. His return could result in a quick and significant change to the offense. I think Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense had their best season in 2011 when Philbin was still here. The tragedy with his son and the distraction that I'm sure it created for the team contributed to the team's poor performance against the NYG in the playoff game.
In any case he is back and he brings some HC experience with him now which gives him an even broader perspective for the game. I believe that he was an advocate for signing Graham. Not sure how he feels about losing Jordy but I am confident that we are going to see a much more prolific offense than we have seen the last few seasons, especially if we add some speed to WR corps and if we get the right side of the OL solidified.
I was an advocate for chucking Capers and I am thrilled with Pettine as our DC. As for Gute, it's too early for me to make a call but I am good with the moves he has made so far, except for low balling Jordy. I feel that was unnecessary. Either release him outright or make him a fair offer. But the NFL is a cold, cruel place so nothing surprises me from either management or the players.
So far, I can see that we are moving forward with these changes and to me that is what's important. How it all works out, only time will tell. More changes to come so "fasten your seat belts boys(and girls), it's going to be a bumpy ride". Thanks, Since '61

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Spock's picture

March 16, 2018 at 07:10 pm

'61, I agree with the majority of your post. I'm withholding judgment on the reported 'lowball offer' to Jordy as none of the numbers have been substantiated by actual facts. Agree on the Philbin return. One thing that gets constantly overlooked is that the players going into the NYG game went to TWO FUNERALS that week. People forget that one of the lineman's (Lang?) father also passed away in that time period and most of the players attended that service as well. The tragic death of Philbin's son got more press because of the circumstances. It's tough enough to deal with one death, two compounded the team's emotions. There was a funk to the crowd and team before that game even started at the stadium.

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Chuck Farley's picture

March 16, 2018 at 05:07 pm

Cheap ball aka Ted t. We're spending some money on has been, notice top fee agents team did not go after aka Ted t mold.
I see our bikes got a top def player today. Our two fa's won't cut it. Long season ahead.

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dobber's picture

March 17, 2018 at 10:36 am

I need the decoder ring that goes with this comment...

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kevgk's picture

March 16, 2018 at 06:17 pm

All I can say is that I haven't predicted ONE move that Gute has pulled of so far. Everything came out of nowhere. So excited for the draft, I have no idea what to expect except trades for sure.

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Chuck Farley's picture

March 16, 2018 at 10:45 pm

Expect a bunch of developmental types who will contribute little to the team this year and by the way, the vikes, bears and lions get to draft too and were the team with the most needs not them

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dobber's picture

March 17, 2018 at 10:37 am

"were the team with the most needs not them"

Then you haven't been paying attention to the Lions recently...

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Chuck Farley's picture

March 16, 2018 at 10:43 pm

The Pack is in dire straights considering what the Bears and Vikes, the team that finished 6 games ahead of us have done in free agency.
That Rogers contract is destroying this team, Ya you pay him the top money when he has the top people to go with it but he aint winning any games on his own. No receivers, no pass rush, no pass defense. All because the pack org is holding off not knowing what this guy is going to ask for

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dobber's picture

March 17, 2018 at 10:38 am

" Ya you pay him the top money when he has the top people to go with it but he aint winning any games on his own."

Well, then we need to make up our minds, because just about everyone is convinced that he was winning at least 10 games all by himself the last several years....

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Royalty Free GM's picture

March 17, 2018 at 05:19 am

This seems to be mostly a some kind of insiders cult where just mentioning your God’s name is wrong LOL
Here you go; Gutekunst sucks.

Be realistic. Not much has changed.
What have Gute done so far? The ONLY bigger move he has done is overpaying old injury proven TE. That’s it. That was a very questionable move combined with (a mistake) cutting Nelson instead of Cobb(one of the most overpaid slot-receivers in history)
Gute should be held accountable. Next GM better be coming outside, this is not working.

Signing Graham was not bold move at all, it was an expensive and a coward move, so he doesn’t have to draft Ridley, because offense already got “something“.
If he is going to draft Ridley that would be his first gutsy move. And the right move. But it seems he will continue play safe just like TT and draft defense with 1st pick.

FA: All the good CBs (the biggest need) are gone. Now you can expect signings like old CBs (Rodgers-Cromartie, yuck) and old “speed” receivers (Wallace, yuck). Now we might have to overpay AND spent valuable draft picks to get some good players. Trumaine was there to anchor our secondary for years to come...

And when we hit full desperation mode again, we can just start talking about “development players” and “potential players”.... again.

I’m now ready to pay ARod 30-35M because he has been covering our executives/coaches mistakes for a decade now. And it seems he has to continue doing so. At least he has earned all of his money.
Maybe Gute will even drive away ARod with his gutless and stupid moves and sent Packers into a long mediocre era...

Please downvote if you agree.

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dobber's picture

March 17, 2018 at 10:40 am

"Please downvote if you agree."

Nothing personal, but stop it. Make a comment and stand by it. That's amateurish crap.

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Denise Chanterelle's picture

March 18, 2018 at 10:54 am

The moves were needed and we're not done yet. More fireworks to come. Sure has made the the long slog between the Bowl and the Draft a lot more fun. Go Pack!

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