May 30, 2010

Sending out an SOS: Brewers need shakeup

Category: Brewers — Patrick Stumpf @ 7:15 pm

Ken Macha

First, let me apologize to everyone out there who tries to keep a pulse on everything Wisconsin Sports. Understand that I wish to be that oasis for you all, however, my studies up in the Twin Cities at the University of St. Thomas prevented me from doing so on a daily basis. But good news: summer is upon us. I assure you that I’ll be running 3-4 posts a week or more for these next three months.

But enough fluff, onto business at hand. With the 9-4 loss at Miller Park this afternoon, the Brewers just wrapped up in some eyes a pretty successful home stand at 4-2. Coming into today they had won 5 of 6, and had closed the division gap to 8.5 games, a manageable deficit considering we’re just ending May. Look closer at you’ll see that if it weren’t for the offense’s resurgence, in particular Corey Hart, it may have been 1-5. Not to be Mr. Negativity, but the main concern for this team has continued to be the bullpen. Shortened outings from the rotation has translated into a worn-out pen, thus placing even more pressure on the bats.

I’ve been piecing through some of the fan comments on the Brewers game blogs on JSOnline, and while I will say that it is stilll very early, Ken Macha’s managerial credibility has taken a serious hit. After promising to become more aggressive on the basepaths, in many situations that merit sending Carlos Gomez, Alcides Escobar or Ryan Braun in motion, he sits on his hands. Not exactly how you put pressure on opposing pitchers, Ken. Another example is continually shaking up the lineup, like today, just a day after his team put 8 runs on the board. Or when he inexplicably brought in Jeff Suppan to a smattering of boos in a 2-2 game, only to have him concede four runs in the sixth and seventh. By the way: that $42 million investment now has a ERA of 7.22 and has given up 23 earned in 28 and 2/3 innings. Quite the production if you’d ask me.

After the team wrapped up their series in Minnesota, I saw a great column by Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal saying that the Brewers focus needs to be on consistency, and model themselves after a team like the Twins. Not just settle for one “flash in the pan” year like 2008. If Doug Melvin and the rest of the front office is committed to turning things around, priority No. 1 needs to be accountability. Simply put, if you don’t produce, your going to get replaced. Claudio Vargas was just designated for assignment, likely meaning his time in Milwaukee is done. But Suppan needs to be next. I mean he’s making $12.5 million to be a “mop-up” guy…umm…are you kidding me? And it’s not like Macha hasn’t given him plenty of chances to reconcile, either. Nashville lefty Kameron Loe has put up a very respectable 4-3 record with a 3.16 ERA, while posting the best K/BB ratio of any AAA starter at 39/19. More importantly, Loe has an “out” clause in his contract which allows him to walk if he’s not recalled by this Saturday. There’s one option. Huntsville’s Amaury Rivas has also put up good numbers, at 5-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 10 starts.

So honestly Doug, enough’s enough. Here’s what should be done with the 25-man by the end of the year. Other opinions?

C: George Kottaras, Jonathan Lucroy (both kept)

1B: Prince Fielder (traded for pitching/1b stopgap?), Mat Gamel (call-up when healthy-platoon)

2B: Rickie Weeks, Joe Inglett (kept)

SS: Alcides Escobar, Craig Counsell (kept)

3B: Casey McGehee (kept)

OF: Ryan Braun (kept), Carlos Gomez (kept), Corey Hart (traded for pitching), Jim Edmonds/Jody Gerut (platoon)

SP: Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Dave Bush, *Doug Davis, *Chris Narveson (all kept- unless upgrade is traded for)

RP: Trevor Hoffman, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, John Axford, LaTroy Hawkins, Manny Parra, Chris Capuano, Kameron Loe (all kept)

Sent to AAA: Jeff Suppan, Marco Estrada, Zach Braddock, Adam Stern.

March 9, 2010

$3.3 million richer, Collins should still be upset

Category: Packers — Patrick Stumpf @ 12:53 pm

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As the uncapped year of NFL free agency is in full swing, to no surprise, the Packers have once again been relatively quiet.

Among the moves that have transpired in recent weeks, both safety Nick Collins and corner Tramon Williams received 1st and 3rd round tenders. And while that may appear to be business as usual to the naked eye, it’s no surprise that Collins was once again irked by the disrespect the front office has shown him and his agents, Herman and Dave Butz. Earlier today it was just announced that Collins has signed that one-year tender, worth $3.3 million. And while talk of a holdout will go away, long-term deal discussion is still at a standstill.

Seriously what is it with not paying this kid? The 26 year old has 13 interceptions in the past two years, to go along with three which he took to the house. Drafted in the second round out of Bethune-Cookman, he wasn’t the flashy pick at the time, but he’s proven to be on the cusp of a top-10 safety in the league. That’s nothing against Tramon Williams, because he performed admirably in a starting role last season after Al Harris went down with a torn ACL, and looks to be an integral part of Dom Capers’ secondary for years to come. But heck, even Derrick Martin, almost exclusively a special teamer (remember the Steelers game? Yep, that’s why), got $1.2 million. Does production mean anything in the NFL anymore? I’d be frustrated too, Nick.

Post-Combine Draft Outlook: Expect Ted Thompson to have several positions at the forefront of his board come pick #23 in April. Among those should be a pass rushing 3-4 outside linebacker after the loss of Aaron Kampman to the Jaguars, an understudy at left tackle after Chad Clifton retires and possibly a running back to ease the load off of Ryan Grant. Some names to remember:

OLBs:

~ Sergio Kindle, Texas (pictured above)
~ Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
~ Brandon Graham, Michigan

OTs:

~ Bruce Campbell, Maryland
~ Anthony Davis, Rutgers
~ Charles Brown, USC

RBs:

~ Jahvid Best, Cal
~ Ryan Matthews, Fresno State

That’s it for now. More to come in a few weeks- you should all know how giddy I get over the draft.

January 18, 2010

Wisconsin Professional Soccer

Category: Sports General — @ 8:44 am

I bet you didn’t know that Wisconsin has it’s own professional indoor soccer team. Well it does. The Milwaukee Wave have been around for nearly 25 years now and are a lot of fun to watch. The early years for this soccer team were brutal and not very successful. But starting in the late 80’s the Wave started winning and becoming a force in the league. They are a part of the National Indoor Soccer League. I haven’t been out to see a game yet but I’ve heard it’s awesome and plan to soon. Have you? You can learn more about the Milwaukee Wave soccer team at their official website.

milwaukee_wave

On a slightly different topic, the UEFA Cup, which is the second most prestigious European football contest after the UEFA Champions League, has changed it’s name to the UEFA Europa League, after having the previous name for the past 38 years. If you would like to find out about Europa League Betting or get information about the current teams participating (in the 09-10 season) be sure to Google it by the new name.

August 28, 2009

News and Views: Crew preparing shakeup?

Category: Brewers,Bucks,NFL General,Packers — Patrick Stumpf @ 2:14 pm

denNews: Josh McDaniels announced at a noon press conference that management has decided to suspend disgruntled receiver Brandon Marshall for the remainder of the preseason for conduct detrimental to the team.

Views: And you thought Vick’s return to the NFL was a big story? This newest Mile-High incident will heighten the intrigue for tomorrow’s matchup between the Jay Cutler-lead Bears and the Marshall-less Broncos more still. Remember Cutler was traded away to the Bears earlier this summer after his drama-king antics. Whether Marshall will get what he wants [more money and a trade] remains to be see, but punting and swatting down balls at practice won’t help his cause or his value around the league.

gnbNews: The Packers will be in Tempe, Ariz. tonight to take on the defending NFC Champion Cardinals in their third preseason contest.

Views: If Green and Gold fans want to consider watching a preseason game, this would be the one. The starters are expected to play into the third quarter as is custom, and it should be a great gauge of the team’s new 34 scheme- pitted against one of the league’s best aerial attacks in Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Other areas to keep your eye on: the punting battle between Jeremy Kapinos and Durant Brooks and the progression of first-rounder B.J. Raji. I’ll try to give my full roster and season predictions mid-next week.

milNews: After receiving a $1 qualifying offer from the Bucks nearly two months ago, still nothing has materialized between point guard Ramon Sessions and the Knicks or Clippers, his rumored suitors.

Views: The acquisition of forward Carlos Delfino and point guard Roko Ukic looked to seal Sessions’ fate with Milwaukee, as the team would have three points on the roster (including and Brandon Jennings, Luke Ridnour) while pulling the team’s cap close to luxury levels. But this issue just won’t go away. GM John Hammond has rumored to have been in ongoing sign-and-trade talks with the Knicks’ Donnie Walsh and Clippers’ Mike Dunleavy, with little substance to this point.

On another note, Bucks beat writer Charles Gardner brought up a good observation the other day, noting the influx of players with international experience added to the roster this off-season. Delfino, originally from Argentina, played in Russia last year. Ukic was born in Croatia. Turkish-born Ersan Ilyasova, who re-upped to a new deal, has played in Spain the past two years. And finally, first-round pick Brandon Jennings skipped college ball to play in Italy.  Hopefully the emphasis will be placed on team basketball this year and not dishing the ball to Michael Redd for a low-percentage three every other possession.

milNews: Four Brewers have cleared waivers according to FOX Sports.com: catcher Jason Kendall, infielder Craig Counsell, outfielder Mike Cameron and pitcher Braden Looper. Future Hall-of-Fame closer Trevor Hoffman was also claimed by the Giants, but a deal doesn’t seem likely.

Views: If any deals going to be done it will most likely come before Monday, as players acquired after August 31st aren’t eligible for the post-season. So don’t be surprised if Melvin, who says he’s not trading any veterans, is bluffing here. He may not be getting a deal he likes now, but if teams like the Rockies or Giants slip a few games back of the Dodgers in the coming days, they might get desperate and offer a deal Brewer management can’t refuse. One thing is clear, however. As this team fades into the sunset once again, they will have to seriously considering shaking up their future core. They have Braun locked up, but guys like Fielder, Hart, Hardy all should be trade chips for young, durable pitching, because they won’t be competitive again until they get some.

June 27, 2009

Jennings best case scenario for Milwaukee

Category: Bucks — Patrick Stumpf @ 12:50 pm

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Since his selection by the team #10 overall in Thursday night’s draft, there’s been a lot of “Hatorade” spilled on Brandon Jennings by Bucks’ fans.  Yes, on the surface he appears nothing more than a 19-year old punk who’s has an ego already comparable to Terrell Owens with not much proof to back it up. Yes, he only averaged 5.5 points and 2.2 assists last year playing in Italy for Lottomatica Roma. Yes, he has no frame to flaunt about at a mere 6’1, 170 pounds. And yes, he acted like a bit of a goof in New York making his entrance on stage in the middle of the 14th selection. But at this point, the Bucks’ organization needs to be resuscitated; needs a jolt of swagger. After all, it’s been awhile. They haven’t seen a character close to Jennings’ since the “Big Dog” Glenn Robinson’s arrival in 1994, when he held out into the beginning of training camp looking for the richest rookie contract in NBA history. And despite the fact Jennings does exude a flash of arrogance, he’s arguably one of the only kids from a relatively weak overall class with superstar potential. Jennings has already made his mark as a trailblazer choosing to play professionally overseas straight out of high-school, an unprecedented feat. And through the interview processes leading up to the draft, Jennings “hot shot” attitude has seemed to drastically cool off. Not only has he voiced his grown maturity level and sense of independence, but he’s learned to place an emphasis on team basketball while playing with grown men.  In comparison to his peers, his experience has no doubt given him a leg up on the NBA learning curve, and perhaps most importantly, sparked by all of his doubters, he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder.

For those still up in arms, consider this: GM John Hammond just decided to deal Richard Jefferson to the Spurs, which contrary to his comments, was effectively a salary dump. The Bucks are now left with no bonafide superstar, with the oft-injured Michael Redd as their only proven commodity. No matter which way you slice it, the team is still stuck in as deep of a rut as they were after Ray Allen was traded. So does the fact they’re rolling the dice on this classic boom or bust really affect their playoff status for 2010? Probably not. No matter who the team could’ve selected, they’re likely bound for another lottery appearance next year. At the very least, the new breed of athleticism added to the roster in Jennings, second-round pick Jodie Meeks and high-flying Amir Johnson will put butts in the seats. There’s sure to be no shortage of excitement in the BC. And at this point in the rebuilding process, that’s all management and fans should reasonably expect.

May 24, 2009

Peavy talks signal new era in Milwaukee

Category: Brewers — Patrick Stumpf @ 3:23 pm

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Tuning in to my local sports radio station last week, as I regularly do on weekdays at 3:15 P.M. I was blind to the fact the Padres and White Sox had struck an agreement that would send Jake Peavy to the Windy City’s South Side. However, rumor had it Peavy was more than likely going to nix the deal. Simultaneously, a deal between the Brewers and Padres had been unofficially announced, and speculation was that it involved the ace. And because Peavy has stated he’s wanted to stay in the NL it only got hopes up even higher, only to crush them after it was reported to be a mere swapping of Tony Gwynn Jr. and Jody Gerut. In recent days, the whispers have led many to question: how crazy would the Brewers’s front-office be if they decided to go after Jake Peavy (AKA, to do this all over again)?

A lot of fans have criticized Doug Melvin the past few years for expending the team’s farm system: first, grabbing reliever Scott Linebrink from the Padres for three players in 2007, and then C.C. Sabathia from the Indians for four players, including their top prospect Matt LaPorta, last year. Criticism against the trades argued both Linebrink and Sabathia were “rentals,” and both essentially were being acquired in July. However, in retrospect, how much did the team actually lose? Yes, the 2007 deal didn’t bring the team’s playoff aspirations to fruition, however, as a Level-A free-agent, the team was able to pick up two high draft picks in exchange for Linebrink’s big contract signing with the White Sox: LHP Evan Fredrickson and 2B Cutter Dykstra. And Sabathia not only carried the Brewers back to the playoffs after a 26-year absence, but the team will again receive a sandwich pick between and the first and second rounds as well as the Yankee’s second round pick for his signing of an 8-year, $180 deal with the Bronx Bombers. If you ask me, the reward outweighed the risk.

How does the Peavy speculation tie into all this? Well, for one thing, while C.C. was due to be a free-agent in ’09, the 27 year-old Peavy will be under contract through 2012 with a club option for 2013 before he can become a free-agent in 2014. The Brewers, who hope to be in contention for a division title this year, may wind up being in a similar position as last year. Pitching will be at a premium yet again, and while the team’s bullpen has been stellar thus far, will it hold up? Scooping up Peavy now would not only fortify the club’s rotation, but perhaps more importantly prevent the Cubs from being in the running for his services come the All-Star Break. Having former-teammate Trevor Hoffman close games for him again might be a good omen for the Milwaukee’s chances to land him, too.

Offering a package of say J.J. Hardy, Bill Hall and a couple minor-leaguers might be enough to get a deal done, of course, that’s as long as those prospects exclude up-and-coming shortstop Alcides Escobar and third baseman Mat Gamel. If Mr. Melvin could work his magic again, Escobar’s track would probably be escalated to being September call-up, and if Gamel can get his defense figured out, he might be right behind him. While it would be a risky move, one thing is clear: the Milwaukee Brewers have turned a very important corner. Once a team destined to be sellers year-in and year-out, has now become legitimate buyers with the big boys. With all that said, why not make a run at him?

May 13, 2009

Vander Blue spurning UW to play at MU?

Category: Badgers,Golden Eagles — Patrick Stumpf @ 5:43 pm

Whispers around the Wisconsin basketball scene are that star-recruit Vander Blue is seriously considering de-commiting to UW-Madison and the promises he made to Bo Ryan more than a year ago. And if the rumors I’m hearing come to fruition, the 6-3 junior guard from Madison Memorial could be headed to the other D-1 school in the state. According to my source who’s been in contact with John Casper, a former Marquette alumni and beat writer, if Blue does officially decide to de-commit, he’ll in all likelihood join the Golden Eagles. Blue had verbally committed to play for the Badgers way back in April of last year, however, he apparently has been rethinking his non-binding decision as of late. 

UW officials say they know nothing about Blue’s second-guessing, and to their credit Blue has yet to come out public on the situation, however, it could be a PR-ploy. Let me just say that if the rumors are true, Vander will have made the right decision. Not only does Marquette fit his style of play better, but he would also join former-teammate Jeronne Maymon at Marquette for the 2010-2011 season. I have a feeling that if Blue decided to stick with his original commitment and play under Ryan in the swing offense, he’s numbers would severely dip as opposed to playing in the aggressive-style Buzz Williams employs. I was fortunate to see this guy play this past year down in Madison during the Division 1 State Tournament and couldn’t see any obvious flaws in his game. Not only did Vander prove himself on the offensive end, knocking down jumpers from beyond the arc and throwing down some spectacular dunks, but he was a monster defensively, anticipating passes which lead to those easy transitions points. He was without question the most dominant player over the course of the weekend, despite the fact Maymon (committed to Marquette) and Racine Horlick senior-forward Jamil Wilson (committed to Oregon) were expected to be. Now obviously, this is a developing story, so I’ll keep you posted with any new stuff I hear.

UPDATE (May 20): Blue has officially decommitted, according to JSOnline. Here’s the link: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/badgers.html. Blue hasn’t ruled out Wisconsin yet, but I think it’s safe to assume he will be looking heavily elsewhere. Systems like Buzz Williams’ at Marquette, Rick Pitino’s at Louisville and Bruce Pearl’s at Tennessee are speculative destinations.

May 4, 2009

New presents fall to Packers on Draft Day

Category: Packers — Patrick Stumpf @ 4:41 pm

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With the 2009 NFL Draft a week old, and the initial media-hype and critiquing wrapping up, I figured today was the best day to take a look back on how the Packers did. Coming into the draft, every draft hub around speculated the Packers could have gone in a number of different directions. However, as we all know, especially the final days leading up to Draft Day, players’ stock rise and fall like gas prices. Fortunately for the Packers, two players in particular, Tyson Jackson and Darrius Heyward-Bey, were those late-risers. And because of their controversial selections at 3rd and 7th overall by the Chiefs and Raiders, respectively, Ted Thompson reaped the benefits, having his choice between two prime players at their respected positions: Michael Crabtree and B.J. Raji. Interestingly, it was leaked Friday night by the Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn that Crabtree was the highest rated player on Green Bay’s board, and should he fall he may have been too good to pass up. And just as rumor had it, the stars aligned perfectly for Thompson, giving him his choice. Take the flashy receiver, who has the potential to be a future superstar at a position of strength? Or take one of the only true nose guards in the class to anchor your new defense for years to come? And as it turned out, management opted for the beef. Putting sexiness on the back-burner for a second, this was the right pick. Yes, I understand the receiving core isn’t necessarily built for the future at present with Donald Driver aging and Jennings not yet locked up. However, not only would Crabtree have demanded more money as a premier position player, but he was someone the Packers just did not have the luxury of taking. 

Raji will come in and have a chance to be the Packers’ next plug in the middle, Ala Gilbert Brown. What a lot of people tend to forget was it was the defense, not the offensive, that held this team back last year. Namely, the rush defense, and when you have two backs on divisional rivals (Peterson and Forte) running circles around you, it needs to stop. For all those still hating the pick, here’s a stat for you: in their two games against the Packers, Forte accounted for 205 of the Bears’ 518 total yards (40%), while Peterson racked up 339 of the Vikings’ 716 (47%). Raji will not only demand double-teams at 335 pounds, but he’ll allow fellow linebackers Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk and newcomer Clay Matthews to fly around and make plays. Thompson then did something completely out of character, trading up to get the alluded to USC linebacker, Clay Matthews, the second from the trio of stud linebackers to here his name called early-on. Thompson was apparently so enamored with Matthews that he might have made him the pick should Raji not have slipped. So just like that, after only what had been a few hours, the Packers found themselves not selecting until the 4th round on Sunday, barring another trade-up. Yes, I realize that in giving up three picks (one second and two thirds) for Matthews and a 5th, Thompson got ripped off, but if Matthews pans out, no one is going to remember the trade that was unquestionably a head-scratcher. 

Sunday, the Packers proceeded to add six new players to the roster, including two highly-touted tackles T.J. Lang and Jamon Meredith, a bruising fullback in Quinn Johnson, a defensive end in Jairus Wynn, a corner/safety hybrid in Brandon Underwood and finally another linebacker in Brad Jones. The phones didn’t stop ringing either, as 11 more undrafted signees were brought on, most notably, Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton and a former teammate of Greg Jennings at Western Michigan, receiver Jamarko Simmons. And sitting here a week later, after the dust’s settled and the meticulous scrutinizing is over, all that’s left to do is lace-up the cleats, strap-on the pads and play.

April 8, 2009

Gallardo, offense need to be saving grace

Category: Brewers — Patrick Stumpf @ 6:13 pm

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I’m sorry Brewer fans, let me apologize in advance. While it pains me to start the baseball season off on a sour note, I hope we can all agree this season has the makings to be another emotional roller-coaster. Another love-hate relationship.

Unfortunately for Wisconsinites, Game 1 included more downs than ups. Coming off a supposed “fantastic spring,” Jeff Suppan, who was controversially tabbed as the Opening Day starter, seemingly outlasted reigning NL CY Winner Tim Lincecum before imploding, surrendering 6 runs in 4 innings. The Brewer hitters had the erratic Giant-ace on the ropes early, forcing his exit after a mere 3 innings and 78 pitches. With a 5-3 lead, however, Suppan and the rest of the pitching staff struggled to record some much-needed scoreless innings. Seth Clung went 2 innings allowing one run. Dave Bush followed, allowing one in two frames. And newcomer Jorge Julio capped it off, giving up another in his lone inning of work. It should also be noted that both Bush and Julio allowed first-pitch bombs to Bengie Molina and Randy Winn, respectively. Analyzing the 10-6 defeat, obviously poor pitching, but also strikeouts in key situations were the two eye-popping flaws of the team right out of the gate. Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Bill Hall and Jason Kendall accounted for 10 of the team’s 11 strikeouts and 18 of the 26 men left on base. The high strikeout totals are particularly disturbing too, because coming into camp cutting down on Ks was one of the offensive focal points. And while the offense will be given a more lenient leash (because they did enough to win), the pitching staff ought to be ashamed. Giving up 10 runs to a below-average offense is inexcusable. 

As I eluded to earlier, this season is likely to be much like last year. One problem. Take away the team’s dual aces in Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia, who nearly single-handedly carried the team into October, and you can see why there will be issues this year. The additions of Braden Looper and Trevor Hoffman certainly don’t hurt, but they aren’t game-changers. A rotation of Suppan, Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Looper and Bush shouldn’t strike fear into opposing clubs, which obviously is a glaring concern. Gallardo makes them a respectable group- without him- they are a nothing more than an average group of hurlers. Gallardo was expected to be the team’s “next big thing” last season, and lived up to those expectations (posting a 1.88 ERA through 4 starts) before suffering a torn ACL in that fateful game at Wrigley we’ll always remember. Yo will begin his ’09 quest to cement himself as the team’s ace tonight against Randy Johnson.

So with the pitching staff, specifically the rotation, full of question marks and unknowns (minus Gallardo), there’s no doubt the team’s offense will have to pick up the slack and become “Harvey’s Wallbangers” v2. Corey Hart didn’t try to hide that fact either. He told SI in their most recent ”Baseball Preview Issue” the offense will need to be on top of its game each and every night for the team to compete in the division:

“That’s our plan,” he said. “Score alot of runs. Score as many runs as we can.” 

Well Corey, we’d all love to be millionaires like you too, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon (you’re going to need some help). Let’s just say it now and get it out of the way: there had better be alot more consistency on both sides of the dugout, starting tonight, or it could be a long season. Could that statement be premature? Maybe. I hope so. Could it be prophecy? Absolutely.

January 25, 2009

Peppers in Green Bay makes too much sense

Category: Packers — Patrick Stumpf @ 1:56 pm

After the Packers inked 3-4 patron Dom Capers as their next defensive coordinator, it was only a matter of time before Green and Gold fans could expect to hear rumors circulating about Julius Peppers landing in Green Bay. Why? Because according to what Peppers’ agent Carl Carey told NFL.com, his client not only wants out of Carolina next year, but he may want out of the 4-3 scheme entirely.

“He certainly feels that he can excel and thrive in a 3-4 defense,” Carey said. “He is also open to just another system in general that will allow him to maximize his athletic abilities.”

And if that news wasn’t enough fodder for Wisconsin Sports radio hosts, Mike McCarthy sweetened the scenario even more by bringing long-time Carolina defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac in as his new defensive line coach…seems like a match made in heaven, right? Well, not so fast, there are several questions that remain unanswered:

1) It’s anyones guess what kind of rapport Peppers had with Trgovac until Peppers comes out publicly.  Clearly Peppers wasn’t happy with how he was being used in Carolina, and if their relationship has indeed been soured, Trgovac’s presence in Green Bay could be a turn-off.

2) Ted Thompson doesn’t get the name “tight-wad Ted” for nothing.  It’s obvious that he’s not willing to tie up a boatload of money in one player.  And if Peppers were to enter the free-agent fray, he’ll demand BIG bucks. This will more than likely be his last time for a payday, so chances are he’ll hold out for a ridiculous contract Thompson won’t be willing to dish out.

3) Carolina holds all the cards.  They’ll have the option to slap a $17 million franchise tag on Peppers, obviously something he’s praying won’t happen.  Taking into account that possibility, the only way the Pack could pry him away would be via-trade, which for the draft-pick lover Thompson would be an equally steep price to pay.

4) Even if Ted Thompson were to open his wallet (as unlikely as that is) and sign Peppers, there are mixed opinions as to what Peppers’ ideal position in a 3-4 would be.  At 6-7, weighing 283 pounds, Peppers would redefine the outside linebacking position, a spot he’d likely occupy in the Packers’ system.  Yes, his pass-rushing skills are unquestioned, but how would he fair in coverage?

5) While Peppers would no doubt be an upgrade in whatever capacity, many argue there will be other options available come February and March that would fit the Packers’ system better.  Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, the prototypical 3-4 linebacker, leads the pack of those with less question marks.  Not only is he proven in the system, but he probably won’t garner as much cash should he elude Baltimore’s franchise tag.  Another plus? Suggs is 26, Peppers is 29.

Bottom line: If Ted’s hard-pressed enough this year to open his wallet, and (hypothetically speaking) both Peppers and Suggs hit the open market, the decision should be relatively easy: throw every last egg into Suggs’ basket, not Peppers’.