Packers' Rookie Class Impresses

As the season reaches its midway mark, the 2010 Packers rookie class has really made an impact so far and could continue to do so for years to come.

In my newest weekly column, I take a look at the Packers' rookie class as the season approaches the halfway mark:

Based upon early returns, Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson really hit the jackpot.

The column appears in the Bliss Communications platform of publications including the Janesville Gazette, Janesville Messenger, Stateline News and Walworth County Sunday.

It also appears in the Reilly family of newspapers including the Dodgeville Chronicle, the Pecatonica Valley Leader and the Democrat Tribune of Mineral Point.

Follow the above link to read the column.

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Comments (62)

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RockinRodgers's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:01 am

I really like all these guys. I hope they can stay healthy next year.

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

Until the focus of the conditioning and medical staff changes from rehab (of the obvious injuries) to prevention (of the difficult to identify minor joint misalignments)the major injuries will continue.

Since McCarthy, Thompson, etc. do not have the background of fixing joint misalignments they will continue to be bamboozled by the medical and conditioning staff.

It breaks my heart seeing preventable injuries decimate this team.

My hope is may be just may be someone in control will think outside of the box and bring in a qualified person that can identify and correct the small joint misalignments before they they blow up and become season ending.

Yes, they have a chiropractor. But how are they using him. Is he actively working on the "healthy" players helping to prevent injuries. Or is he relegated to rehab work.

If he is working in a preventive manner he is doing a poor job.

If he is relegated to rehab work...shame on management.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:37 am

And do you have the background about how the Packers medical and training staff operate?

Or are you just bamboozling readers with your uninformed opinions?

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:40 am

I have the background to find and correct the small misalignments that are failning under stress and resulting in large and season ending injuries.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:42 am

But you do not have access into the inner workings of Packers organization?

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:47 am

I don't have the skills to evaluate coaching, drafts, offensive schemes, defensive schemes, special teams. But I do have the skill set to see injuries occurring and the ability to determine if they were preventable or non-preventable.

Too many preventable injuries. This is correctable with the right personnel and organizational philosophy.

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CSS's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:54 am

Highly athletic men often carrying mass 40 lbs. or greater in excess of what their bodies were naturally intended to carry, on weight baring joints no less, colliding with other men of similar stature. Every collision is the equivalent of a 5-10 mph car crash. Also, they play on surfaces that frequently don't give, meaning a joint, ligament, cartilage or tendon must.

I run a multispecialty ambulatory surgical center and have been in medicine (real sports medicine) for 10 plus years. Few if any of these injuries are 'avoidable' in the NFL. Every player by week 5 is playing with an injury, some have the misfortune of sustaining season ending injuries.

Last year it was the Stealers in a similar position. Some team suffers this fate yearly, nothing to do with their training staff.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:11 am

Gotcha. Maybe you should send the Packers your resume.

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jeremy's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

Since this problem is big and obvious why is it assumed the Packers are not looking into adapting their training? I've read many references to the fact that MM is ahead of the curve in designing his training and practice programs. I'm sure he's more concerned about the injuries than any one of us. If they can prevent them in the future, they will sure try to.

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nerdmann's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:34 pm

If what you say is true, why don't you refer us to information about it? I'd like to know about that stuff myself.
Injuries happen and whatnot, but damn. Two out of the past three years to just be decimated like this? If injuries happen, why our team, two out of three years? Why aren't all teams getting whacked like this?

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PackerAaron's picture

October 27, 2010 at 03:27 pm

The Colts have been hit just as bad and have been as frequently throughout the years. We're just attune to the Packers injuries because we're die hard Packer fans. Plenty of other teams go through this, trust me.

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:38 am

And yes, Ted Thompson is a fantastic player evaluator and GM. We are fortunate to have him. However his efforts are being trumped by a less than effective medical/conditioning staff.

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CSS's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:40 am

Same medical and conditioning staff that accompanied the team throughout the NFC championship run 3 years ago where they were relatively injury-free.

There is no correlation, it's misfortune at best.

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

It was luck.

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CSS's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:42 am

It's the same team phycisian and head-trainer that took them to two super bowls. Still luck?

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Brian Carriveau's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:13 am

And that last comment was intended for Bad Knees, CSS. Not you.

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thepretzelhead's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:42 pm

I think there is much to be said to what Knees is saying here. Let's also not forget our med staff let players dehydrate during that frigid championship game loss.

Perhaps they do deserve a closer examination...problem is very few are in a postion to pass judgement.

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

Still luck. With a better staff would have won some Super Bowls. The team physician and head-trainer are the weak link to this organization.

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CSS's picture

October 27, 2010 at 10:57 am

Same head trainer and physician they ALREADY WON A CHAMPIONSHIP WITH.

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

Sometimes the GM and coaches can overcome deficiencies with the medical/conditioning staff. Most often they can not.

The coaching staff is usually the first to be replaced followed by the GM.

Didn't Sherman go 4-12 before he was fired...seem to remember a lot of key injuries that year. Sherman took the fall. Sherman normally won about 10 games per year. Bad coaching that year or lack of healthy bodies?

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nerdmann's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:41 pm

Lack of Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:05 am

I'm sorry - you have no idea what you're talking about. Period.

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lebowski's picture

October 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm

There are two kinds of luck, 'good' and 'bad'. For you to dismiss their success as merely 'good luck' and rant about all the injuries as being preventable shows poor judgement and a lack of acknowledging that sometimes bad luck plays a hand.

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:00 am

Last game. Ankle sprain and calf strain. Were the players ankles and knees checked and adjusted prior to taping, stretching and warm up exercises? If not...Preventable injury, lost game time, lost practice time, and almost another lost game score.

A muscle strains when a joint is misaligned. When stress is put on the misaligned joint it either fails or the muscle strains or both...PREVENTABLE INJURY!

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RickyBobby's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

You are annoying.

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Bad Knees's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

Also right.

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PackerAaron's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

YOU DON"T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!

JESUS I am sick of this shit. Are you on the sideline? In the training room? No? Then shut the fuck up. You drone on and on but have NO CLUE what is really happening with the players. You go by WHAT YOU ARE TOLD BY THE MEDIA and then assume you have some kind of knowledge as it pertains to the injuries of athletes you have never seen or worked on in person - and in the process you insult one of the best trainers in the NFL in Pepper Burruss.

Just shut the hell up.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:08 am

Thank you!

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JerseyCheese's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:23 am

LOL, Nagler, that just made my day!

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lebowski's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:34 am

articulating what the rest of us wanted to say:)

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jeremy's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:36 am

It's the same thing with people assuming that because they heard of someone like Adalius Thomas TT should sign them instead of Nance or Briggs or whoever he brought in.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:37 am

I'd say it's even more ignorant than that.

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lebowski's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

or my favorite, Shawn Merriman. Yuk.

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thepretzelhead's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:46 pm

How are trainers judged?

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lebowski's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:38 am

But back to the article, wow, that is quite a haul for the future. What a damn shame Burnett and Neal only lasted a game. And can you imagine Finley and Quarless on the field together next year?!

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Chad's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:41 am

In other news...

Great article, Brian! This is something that's been on my mind recently. TT really did a fabulous job this year picking up new talent for the team. As you pointed out, almost all of them have already contributed with quality results, and they should continue to improve and "build for the future."

And for the record, I like the signing of all the LBs. A 3-4 scheme can never have enough.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

And they all have experience in the 3-4.

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corey jenkins's picture

October 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Just wow. That was hilarious. And fab write up also, Brian lol.

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CEA's picture

October 27, 2010 at 01:42 pm

HIT THE JACKPOT!!! WHAT??? BULAGA, NEAL, BURNETT, STARKS, NEWHOUSE, QUARLESS, CJ WILSON.

BULAGA: HAS A WAYS TO GO BUT NO ARGUEMENT GOOD PICK, BUT IT ALSO FELL IN THOMPSON LAP, HE WAS PROJECTED BY MANY TOP 15 AT THE VERY LEAST

NEAL: OUT FOR THE SEASON. LIMITED PLAY THIS SEASON. 2 GAMES I BELIEVE. WAY TO EARLY TO TELL. HE COULD BE ANOTHER JUSTIN HARREL, HOPE NOT BUT STILL TO EARLY TO SAY.

BURNETT: OUT FOR SEASON. HAD SOME GOOD PLAYS AND A LOT OF BAD PLAYS. STILL I THINK HE WILL BE A GOOD PICK, BUT AGAIN TO EARLY. OUT FOR THE SEASON AND AS MM SAYS YOU HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE.

QUARLESS: OF COURSE HE IS BETTER THAN CRABTREE, BUT NOT BETTER THAN AN AGING DONALD LEE AND STUD JERMICHAEL FINLEY. QUARLESS WILL BE SUITABLE. AVERAGE AT BEST.

STARKS: HAS NOT PLAYED FOOTBALL SINCE 2008. MORE THAN LIKELY THE WORST PICK IN THOMPSON'S TENURE. INJURY PRONE. TALL FOR A BACK. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT KIND OF PLAYER HE IS. WILL NOT BE WITH THE A PACKERS IN THREE YEARS. TAKE IT TO THE BANK!

NEWHOUSE: INSURANCE PICK. HAS POTENTIAL. I THINK, BUT WHO KNOWS MIGHT NOT SEE THE FIELD ALL YEAR?

CJ WILSON: EVERYONE IS NOW ALL ON THE CJ WILSON BANDWAGON, B/C HE PLAYED WELL IN ONE GAME. THIS IS THE SAME PLAYER THAT THEY DRAFTED, THEN PUT ON THE PRACTICE SQUAD BECAUSE HARREL MADE THE TEAM, THEN GOT LOST FOR THE SEASON IN GAME ONE, THEN GOT BROUGHT BACK UP, RIGHT? NOT TO SAY HE WON'T BE OKAY, BUT THAT IS PROBABLY ABOUT IT.

NOW EVERYONE IS GOING TO MENTION THE UFA'S:
SHIELDS
ZOMBO
MCDONALD
MATASAY

SHIELDS COULD BE THE REAL DEAL AND COULD BE USED IN SEVERAL POSITIONS.
AS FAR AS THE OTHERS WELL, I DOUBT ANY WILL BE AROUND PAST NEXT YEAR.
ZOMBO MAYBE, BUT NOT IF THE PACKERS DRAFT A COUPLE LB'S.

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. IT IS WAY TOO EARLY TO REALLY TELL ANYTHING ABOUT A DRAFT CLASS AFTER SIX GAMES. BUT CONSIDERING ALMOST ALL HAVE HAD TO PLAY SAYS THOMPSON, AGAIN WENT ON THE CHEAP, LACKED DEPTH IN TRAINING CAMP, AND YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF ROOKIES PLAYING, OF WHICH,TWO OF YOUR TOP THREE PICKS ARE OUT FOR THE SEASON AND REQUIRE SURGERY. ONE HAS NOT PLAYED THE GAME OF FOOTBALL IN TWO YEARS. ANOTHER DID'T EVEN MAKE THE OPENING DAY ROSTER. ANOTHER ONE HAS NOT PLAYED A DOWN OR IS USUALLY NOT ACTIVE GAME DAY AND ANTHONY QUARLESS. LOOKS LIKE QUARLESS AND BULAGA, IF THEY STAY HEALTHLY, OF THIS DRAFT CLASS WILL CONTRIBUTE FOR THE SEASON.
I WOULD SAY THAT IS FAR FROM HITTING THE JACKPOT.

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PackerAaron's picture

October 27, 2010 at 01:59 pm

1. Why are you yelling?

2. You did read the first part where Brian said "Based upon early returns..." right? Of course you did.

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CSS's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:06 pm

They're not just playing, they're productive. Yes, you need 3 years to fully judge a draft/FA class, but Brian is absolutely correct in sayin 'early returns' are positive.

As far as TT 'on the cheap': He's subject to criticism for his approach, no doubt. But the Vikings and Cowboys have two of the highest payrolls in football with an abundance of veteran/FA talent on the roster - HOW'S A COMBINED 3-9 RECORD BETWEEN THE TWO SOUND? (I can yell, too).

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CSS's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:09 pm

"Lacked depth in training camp"

No, this is ridiculous. Show me 5 teams in the NFL that have a better 2-deep roster at each position and tell me why.

They aren't losing close games as a byproduct of their hapless youth, it's the proven veterans making the difference between being at least 5-1 and their current record.

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nerdmann's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:45 pm

How many teams could lose half their starters and still remain competitive? Hell, our problem isn't all the injuries, it's having the team ready to play. TT's done a great job of filling this team with talented players.

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CEA's picture

October 27, 2010 at 06:13 pm

"Show me 5 teams in the NFL that have a better 2-deep roster at each position and tell me why."

Five teams? Why just five? I don't think I have to tell "why" about anything. Like any other forum, there are the ones that spend their existence on sites like this and will have something smart to say to anyone that disagrees with them. The ever popular bully mentality. Say something I don't like and all I can think of is an insult. No point or rebuttal.
So every position we have 2 quality starters. Really, at rb behind Jackson is that Nance or Starks who could start for any other team in the league. Neither of which were on the opening day roster. Jackson was, and it was his job for the beginning of the 2007 season. That is why they went out and got Grant. Jackson, didn't win the job in '08,'09 and now by default and he was a second round pick. Now Ryan Grant was the starter and Jackson was the third down back. Grant went down game one. We kept three fullbacks and two halfbacks. Since the first week, that has been a huge liability in our offense and you think we had enough firepower in the backfield. In the last two games our rb's could not even get a yard on the goalline.
In three years since Aaron Rodgers became the starter the best we can find for a backup is Matt Flynn. Give me a break!! So under your logic we are as good with Matt Flynn as Aaron Rodgers?? You have way more faith than I do. In years past we always had good backups. Jim McMahon, Mark Brunell, Ty Detmer, Aaron Brooks, Matt Hasselback, and so on and so on. All of which went on to other teams and became the starter or were a starter in the past.
And we used to always carry three quarterbacks. Instead now we carry three fullbacks. Yeah, we use them so much. With the way injuries have been going and the hits quarterbacks take if one goes down all we have is Matt Flynn. That is a scary thought.
The main point is TT has all ready done his job. Which was to come in here, get rid of some old high priced verterans and put us in a better place financially but also with some good core players. The problem is when TT was in Seattle he did the same thing. After TT left, the new GM brought in 13 free agents to fill in the gaps and to give the team experienced veterans. Players who had actually won playoff games. It was then Seattle went to the Super Bowl.
Now don't say: "what free agents do you want him to sign then."
It doesn't matter, again you are missing the point. That is against every fiber in his being. TT will always be cheap and never put us over the top. He just want take that risk. He loves all those draft picks. There is a small window of opportunity with a team that has several franchise type players in place. TT has done that. But the window has a couple more years left. I just don't see him doing what other teams in the past have done to get the championship. Isn't that what its all about?? Winning a Championship. Or always building team for next year, and next year, and next year.

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PackerAaron's picture

October 27, 2010 at 06:44 pm

"He just wont take that risk" - arisk like, say, oh, um, trading a bunch of picks to move back into the first round to draft Clay Matthews? Or to sign Charles Woodson when the rest of the league thinks he's done? Thompson takes risks. They are calculated, but they are risks.

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CEA's picture

October 28, 2010 at 10:16 am

You just don't get it. Keep drinking the kool-aid Aaron Nagler.
TT has been GM for six seasons. That is all your smartass came come up with. A trade for Mathews in 2009 draft and Charles Woodson. You are still missing the point. Hell, why not give TT and MM life long contracts. All of you bootlickers agree with everything they do and anyone that criticizes them you just belittle. Typical forum!

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PackerAaron's picture

October 28, 2010 at 11:18 am

If you actually took the time to look back through my posts and what I've written about Thompson you would see how off-base you are. Talk about "typical forum" - why can't we let the season play out? And why does it always have to be "this guy sucks" or "this guy is great"? You can have lots of different opinions on how Thompson is building the team. There's no law that says you must love everything he does or hate everything he does. And as for "smartass" I usually tend to respond to comments in the manner in which they are presented. ;)

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CSS's picture

October 28, 2010 at 11:07 am

Nagler and others (including myself) spend plenty of time criticizing and disucssing the shortcomings of TT's philosophy, but we look at all aspects of the approach, compare it to the rest of the NFL and his core philosophy is no more right than it is wrong. The truth is somewhere in between.

You're primary criticism that TT is 'cheap' doesn't hold water either. Recent veteran extensions of Pickett, Woodson, Jennings, Tauscher, Clifton and Driver tell a story the exact opposite of what you're claiming.

Would it be nice to add additional pieces to the puzzle through FA, sure. But it needs to be a fit, not just screeming 'TT DOESN'T SIGN FA'S' all day long.

There's something to be said for continuity in your roster by retaining your core players (veteran extensions) and turning over your roster with good draft picks (which TT does).

TT 'bootlickers', nobody here is. Nor do we offer vacuous circular arguements that can easily be contridicted like you do.

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CSS's picture

October 28, 2010 at 11:11 am

Not being a bully in any way, simply asking you to support your position. You didn't, you just turned into the exact person you claim everybody else is by slinging insults and turning up the volume, not the content. I asked a simple question, no bullying whatsoever.

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hoogus's picture

October 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm

He did. He disagrees that the backup players are good players. What more can he do?

I think people just don't want to hear what he's saying.

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nerdmann's picture

October 27, 2010 at 02:46 pm

Zombo needs a year of development and he'll be above average. He'll easily be better than Poppinga.

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lebowski's picture

October 27, 2010 at 03:54 pm

I agree, but then again that's like saying McDonalds is better than Burger King... both are options but you're better off looking for something else.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 27, 2010 at 04:10 pm

too true... rotflol

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nerdmann's picture

October 27, 2010 at 05:31 pm

I think Zombo's got decent upside.

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Corwin's picture

October 27, 2010 at 05:05 pm

um, CJ Wilson was never on the practice squad

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CEA's picture

October 27, 2010 at 06:19 pm

your right. sorry. i was thinking of Jarius Wynn.

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thepretzelhead's picture

October 27, 2010 at 04:42 pm

How long you been waitin to pull that one out, Lebowski?

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Nononsense's picture

October 27, 2010 at 04:56 pm

Cj Wilson was never cut, that was Jarius Wynn.

Andrew Quarless not Anthony has already done more in his first season than Finley did as a rookie. Take that for what its worth.

Justin Harrell never looked as good as Neal did in his limited action in all the time hes been here.

Bulaga started learning LT, than LG and now hes playing RT a postion he is unfamiliar with and he struggled right away, Shocker.

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Black Hawk's picture

October 28, 2010 at 09:17 pm

Sherman was responsible for getting himself fired, he was a terrible GM, and an average coach who let Favre do what ever he wanted.

TT helped build Seattle's SB team and I think he can get the Packers there,...it will then be up to the coach (McCarthy or someone else?) and players to win it.

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hoogus's picture

October 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm

If Shermie can be criticised, i think it's also valid to point out that TT never got Seattle over the top. That might be his problem with the Packers, too: he can get you close, but not all the way.

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PackerAaron's picture

October 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Totally agree with this. Completely valid. I'll just point out your "manner in which" is in stark contrast to the bombast CEA came in here with...

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Black Hawk's picture

October 29, 2010 at 06:43 am

Totally agree Hoogus...Ted now needs to bring in those few vets to get us over the top. I want to see FA signings or trades that can get us over the top. The Eugene Robinson, Andre Rison, Bruce Wilkerson, Keith Jackson...Come on Ted!

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