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.

March 3, 2008

As fevery continues, Thompson hunts in bargain bin

Category: NFL General,Packers — Patrick Stumpf @ 11:20 pm

Four days in and NFL Free-Agency is hotter than ever. But Ted Thompson’s plan hasn’t changed since the moment he got here. And fans should have no complaints about what they are seeing so far this year. The fact of the matter is 1) this team was 13-3 last year, 2) was one game away from playing in a Super Bowl, and 3) is returning every core player for 2008.  So why the whining? What reason justifies Ted delving into free-agency to make headlines just because he can? It seems unfortunate I have to give this same speech every year, but the attitudes of the green and gold faithful haven’t changed I guess. It’s good that they’re passionate.  But look, we all know that after the initial wave of supposedly “superior” crop is plucked off the heap, solid talent remains to be had, and for a fortune less. And really when you look at it, the numbers between a elite first tier guy and middle second tier guy aren’t all that drastic. To be honest, I have no idea what some teams are thinking. The Raiders. Re-signing DE Tommy Kelly to a seven-year, close to $51 million deal- all for a guy who played a mere seven games last year. Wow. After that deal, Teddy looks like a genius once again for getting Kampman at four for $21 million. Guess what? Ex-Cardinal LB Calvin Pace just got 6 years, $42 million from the Jets. Now anyone care to tell me who that is? When it comes down to it, is Pace really going to outperform Niko Koutouvides, who signed a three-year deal for probably $30 million less? Probably. But are those extra 20, 30, 40 extra tackles worth all that money? Is it worth investing money into a player who has only churned out one good statistical season? I say no. Ted Thompson can and will wait for his chance, believe me. He might not make a big splash, but please, don’t judge prematurely. Wait until after the guy has played out his deal. That’s all I ask.

Rumor Mill: The Packers have apparently contacted former Lions’ LB Boss Bailey’s agent. Exciting stuff (sigh). At 28 years old, Bailey has been a boom or bust guy with injury-problems in his career, hardly the kind of guy I would want to sign in this outrageous market. I’d much rather prefer, LB Brandon Chillar, who was supposed to meet with Arizona either today or tomorrow. The Cardinals have been said to be hot on this guy’s heels, so I’d be shocked if he got to visit Green Bay. The Packers are set to meet with LB/DE tweener Corey Smith tomorrow, and may offer him a contract to be a special teams guy. One guy I still like out there is Colts’ OG Jake Scott. He surprisingly hasn’t drawn much interest up to this point, and would certainly look good in a Green Bay uniform.

February 26, 2008

Vikes' Williamson dealt after failure to produce

Category: NFL General — Patrick Stumpf @ 5:59 pm

After an unfruitful three-year stint with the Vikings, former 7th overall pick Troy Williamson was traded today to the Jags–for a 6th round pick. Just goes to show how much the guy’s stock has fell, after being sky high in 2005. Everyone should remember when Minnesota selected the South Carolina speedster over Mike Williams, which sparked immediate controversy and the direction the team was going post- Randy Moss. According to the Vikes’ front office, Williamson fit the Moss-mold better than Williams did, with his big play ability down the field he exhibited in college. Either way, Williams went three picks later to the Lions, and to this day neither one of them has shown anything. Granted, the QB carousel in Minneapolis didn’t help Troy, but a #7 overall selection is expected to be a difference maker no matter what situation he inherits. Williamson certainly has not been; he’s only managed to compile three TD’s thusfar. Now he will head to a great situation in Jacksonville, and for dirt cheap.  At still 24 years old, Williamson provides David Garrard with another target, with Reggie Williams, Dennis Northcutt, Ernest Wilford, and Matt Jones already in the fold.  While it’s yet to be seen if he will start, no question he’ll get every opportunity to do so, he just needs to prove himself worthy. 

Combine wraps up: With the NFL Combine wrapping up today, some of the biggest movers include Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, who clocked an impressive 4.33 40 time.  CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a player many mock drafts have slotted to the Packers in the opening round, also ran a blistering 4.33 time.  Rodgers-Cromartie not only showed up in the individual drills, but more importantly he had a terrific Senior Bowl.  Coming out of Tennessee State, he needed to show what he could do against top-flight competition, and it sounds like he accomplished what he set out to do. We’ll see where Ted Thompson ultimately decides to go in two months, but for now corner and running-back look like the top two options, with a TE possible in the later rounds after Bubba Franks’ release.

February 16, 2008

Shock Value: Crumpler's cut bad news for ATL

Category: NFL General — Patrick Stumpf @ 1:11 pm

I’m sure alot of people were taken back Thursday, not just Falcon fans, with a wave of popular name cut loose. With Atlanta’s new GM Thomas Dimitroff in, it’s obvious they are parting with all baggage from the Michael Vick Era and move forward. Headlining the list were Byron Leftwich and Alge Crumpler, both thought to be big parts of the team at the start of last year. While I agree 100% with giving the door to Leftwich, who can’t stay healthy much less beat out Joey Harrington for a job, I can’t concure with Crumpler’s release. He took a step back in 2007 after stellar 2005 and 2006 campaigns (as Vick’s favorite target), but the man is still, in my opinion, a top-5 all-around tight-end in the league. He not only boosts their steady running machine, but he has consistently produced as their best receiving threat minus Roddy White, who took giant strides last season. And with rumors of Joey Harrington’s and possibly Warrick Dunn’s release on the horizon, this move is even more of a head scratcher. D.J. Shockley would seemingly be the next in line, and for a young QB like that, you need to have a saftey valve like a Crumpler to ease your progression. Without him, the Falcons will really struggle. Obviously, they feel they have an adequate backup plan, but I don’t see it as of yet. Regardless, Crumpler won’t be out of a job very long. Hey, the Packers could use a tight-end, but does Ted Thompson have enough guts to pursue Alge? He’s better than Bubba Franks, but only time will tell. 

February 3, 2008

Giants' pass-rush will be decisive factor in XLII

Category: NFL General — Patrick Stumpf @ 3:01 pm

With the Super Bowl just hours away, I felt obliged to provide my own breakdown of the Pats and Giants.  Let me say first that people aren’t giving the G-Men enough credit.  Maybe they weren’t as pretty winning games then the perfect Pats, but no one gave them a chance to win three consecutive games on the road, and for that reason, this game should be alot closer than the Vegas odds may dictate.

Quarterback: Eli Manning (NYG) vs. Tom Brady (NE)

Advantage: Patriots. You can’t argue with the 3-time Super Bowl winner, and Eli has been anything but consistent in 2007-2008.

Running Back: Brandon Jacobs (NYG) vs. Laurence Maroney (NE)

Advantage: Giants. It’s close, but the bruiser will have to be a big factor in this game if the Giants want to win.  The scat-backs, Kevin Faulk and Ahmad Bradshaw, will be X-factors, but how can you bet against the 260-pound Jacobs? I can’t.

Wide-Receivers: Burress, Toomer, Boss (NYG) vs. Moss, Welker, Stallworth, Watson (NE)

Advantage: Patriots. Disregarding Burress’s hot air, the Patriots’ off-season acquisitions make their group one of the best in the league.

Offensive Lines vs. Defensive Lines (pass rush)

Advantage: Giants. These will be the important key to the game. Both Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who blitzed the Pats 50% of the time in the Week 17 matchup, and Patriots’ defensive head-man Dean Pees will bring the pressure once again, but Strahan, Umenyiora, and Antonio Pierce have manhandled competition all year.

Secondaries: Ross, Madison, Wilson (NYG) vs. Samuel, Hobbs, Harrison (NE)

Advantage: Even. The Giants get the nod at corner, but they will need all that depth they can get handling the Pats plethora of receivers.  However, if it comes down to the secondary level, I’d take Rodney Harrison.

Special Teams: Tynes, Feagles (NYG) vs. Gostkowski, Hanson (NE)

Advantage: Patriots. They don’t have Mr. Clutch any longer (Vinatieri) to bale them out, and the weather won’t be a factor, but for the same reason I like Brady over Eli, Tynes has been very shaky.

Coaching: Coughlin (NYG) vs. Belichick (NE)

Advantage: Patriots. They’ve cost the team a 1st round draft pick for next year, but you better believe under that eerie hoody Belichick will conjure up a brilliant game-plan.

I will recline from making a prediction because I’m a terrible prognosticator, but if the Giants can put the pressure on Brady, it will be a lot better (and closer) game then most assume. 

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*UPDATE: 9:25 PM:  Congrats to the New York Giants and their fans.  No one gave them a chance, but Strahan, Osi and Co. lived up to their hype, and frustrated Brady all night long.  I don’t agree with Eli’s MVP selection, but what can you do.  David Tyree saved the game, and Mr. Burress, hey, I doubted you all season, but I applaud your resiliency through injury, and who knows, I may consider you for a 2nd or 3rd round fantasy selection next year.

January 21, 2008

Dungy to stay; Caldwell will wait his turn

Category: NFL General — Patrick Stumpf @ 5:21 pm

Rotoworld reports:

Head coach Tony Dungy has decided to return to the Colts
Owner Jim Irsay says that it’s not necessarily just for one season, despite previous reports. The news is somewhat surprising after Jim Caldwell got a lucrative deal to stay with the Colts. Profootballtalk.com hints Caldwell was telling others last week that he was set to take over as head coach in 2008. The Colts will now pay $7.5 million to their top two coaches as they move into their new stadium. No word yet on whether Dungy will spend any extra time away from the team. Jan. 21 – 4:09 pm et

Great news for the NFL, Tony is one of the few class acts out there. While Jim Caldwell certainly would have been the “sexier” choice for the job, Indianapolis brought back the right guy. Dungy has that rare blend of experience in big games, as well as comradery with his players, which should translate to more victories ahead with Peyton at the helm and Addai in the backfield.

December 30, 2007

Pats finish without blemish; greatest of all time?

Category: NFL General — Patrick Stumpf @ 11:56 am

The New England Patriots, no matter how much everyone may love to hate them, obviously don’t care what people think.  After a 38-35 drubbing of the Giants, the question is brought up, are they the greatest of all time? As I presently get some help from the NFL Sunday Fox Crew, my answer is yes, IF they can win the big one.  And how can anyone argue?  They’ve had to overcome a more balanced league then the 1972 Dolphins, and have not just beat teams, but blown them out.  A season that continues to be overshadowed by spy scandals, many continue to question, me included, how valid have the Patroits’ accomplishments been the past decade? But after personally witnessing this team play, it just awes me.  Tom Brady carves teams up as if they were high-schoolers, and when he tries, Randy Moss is easily the most talented player in the league.  What added to the mystique was Brady and Moss hooked up for two more TD connections, placing Moss on top of legendary Jerry Rice as the NFL single season touchdown record holder.  Consequently, that same pass was Tom Brady’s 50th, launching him ahead of Peyton’s unprecedented  04′ campaign.  I still question if anyone can challenge them, and even as a die-hard Packer fan, all I can say is good luck.