24

August

Packers News: Anthony Hargrove among five cuts

DL Anthony Hargrove

DL Anthony Hargrove

With the first mandatory roster reduction scheduled for Monday, the Packers got an early start to their cuts by releasing five players on Friday.

 

The team’s first five cuts were defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, wide receiver Andrew Brewer, offensive tackle Herb Taylor, and defensive backs Micah Pellerin and Dion Turner.

Hargrove, carrying an eight-game suspension from the Saints’ “bounty-gate” scandal, is the most notable name among the five cuts. The 29-year-old signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent in March in hopes of bolstering the pass rush, but the Packers have clearly decided that they have better options on the defensive line.

Taylor, 27, is a journeyman offensive tackle with 18 career regular season games of experience. After staring left tackle Marshall Newhouse suffered a concussion in the Packers’ Family Night Scrimmage, Taylor was inserted into the starting lineup and provided very little resistance to opposing pass rushers.

Pellerin, 23, and Turner, 23, were clearly two of the Packers’ weakest defensive backs in camp, and neither player made a serious push to make the team in a crowded defensive backfield.

Brewer, 25, was cut after spending just over two weeks in Green Bay. He was claimed off waivers from the Eagles on August 8 but was never a threat to earn a spot on the Packers’ stacked receiving corps, which is perhaps the best unit in the NFL.

Friday’s roster moves leave the team at 85 players, and the roster must be down to 75 by Monday.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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13

July

NFC North Sending Sending Three Teams to the Playoffs This Season?

The NFC North is set to be one of the NFL’s toughest divisions during the 2012-13 season, despite being home to the lonely Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are the reigning kings, but the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are certainly formidable foes.

With so much talent in the division, there is a good chance the North could see three playoffs with the Packers, Bears and Lions continuing their season past the first weekend in January.

Green Bay Packers
The Packers aren’t only favorites to win the division, but likely the conference and possibly even the Super Bowl. Dominating their way through the regular season last year, minus a Kansas City hiccup, the Packers were able to bring back the majority to key contributors.

The team lost center Scott Wells via free agency and cut Chad Clifton due to financial reasons, but replaced Wells with veteran Jeff Saturday. Clifton had fallen out of rotation due to his back troubles.

The Packers didn’t lose much in terms of personnel and added reinforcements on the defensive side of the ball via free agency and the draft. Key draft picks Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward as well as free agent signing Anthony Hargrove (after his suspension) and many others will have opportunities to not only make the team but improve the defense.

After finishing 15-1 and sweeping the division last season, the Packers should be even better in 2012.

Detroit Lions
Following their first playoff appearance in more than a decade, the Lions will look to get back into the postseason rather than start a new streak of missing out. The Lions are filled with talent on both sides of the ball.

Wide receiver Titus Young is a player to watch while defensives focus their attention on stopping Calvin Johnson. With good health, Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best could provide more stability for the Lions offense in terms of a running game. With strong cores on both sides of the ball and even more young talent, the Lions are in good shape.

This offseason, the biggest and most frequent news out of Detroit has been the legal issues hanging over the team’s players. Leshoure and Nick Fairley have seen their names pop up in legal mess. In addition to the off-field issues Ndamukong Suh has had his separate issues on field.

9

July

Monday Morning View: Roger Goodell Has Ethical Responsibility in Bounty Suspensions

Roger Goodell

As NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell has a responsibility to act ethically in bounty scandal suspensions.

We’ve all been following this New Orleans Saints bounty scandal for a while now, and although NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell recently upheld the four player suspensions in their appeal, the fight is far from over. The NFLPA has now filed a lawsuit on behalf of Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove, and Scott Fujita claiming that Goodell violated the labor agreement in the “investigation and arbitration process.” Jonathan Vilma is currently involved in a separate lawsuit against the NFL.

But I want to back up a little bit. When the news was released that Goodell denied the players’ appeals, he wrote a “public” letter to the players involved that outlined the foundations of his decision. Here is some of the text in case you’ve missed it:

Throughout this entire process, including your appeals, and despite repeated invitations and encouragement to do so, none of you has offered any evidence that would warrant reconsideration of your suspensions. Instead, you elected not to participate meaningfully in the appeal process . . .

Although you claimed to have been ‘wrongfully accused with insufficient evidence,’ your lawyers elected not to ask a single question of the principal investigators, both of whom were present at the hearing (as your lawyers had requested); you elected not to testify or to make any substantive statement, written or oral, in support of your appeal; you elected not to call a single witness to support your appeal; and you elected not to introduce a single exhibit addressing the merits of your appeal. Instead, your lawyers raised a series of jurisdictional and procedural objections that generally ignore the CBA, in particular its provisions governing ‘conduct detrimental’ determinations . . .

In sum, I did not make my determinations here lightly. At every stage, I took seriously my responsibilities under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I determined the discipline for each of you

(1) only after a long, detailed and professional investigation by NFL Security’s experienced investigators;

(2) only after the results of that investigation were carefully reviewed by an independent expert, former United States Attorney Mary Jo White;

(3) only after I heard the appeals of the Saints’ coaches and staff regarding discipline for their roles in the program;

24

June

Examining the Anthony Hargrove “Give Me My Money” Video

Here’s a very interesting breakdown by Mike Florio of the National Football Post of the video the NFL claims shows Anthony Hargrove saying “Give me my money.” I don’t agree with Florio on many things, but I believe he is right on the money (pun intended) with this one.

There is NO way anyone can watch this video and conclude it’s Anthony Hargrove saying those words. It might be him, and it might not. Lets take a look:

 

Today, Florio spoke with NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash, who told Florio this about the video: “…demonstrates Mr. Hargrove’s awareness of the program and his understanding that it existed, and it demonstrates that his statements to our investigators in early 2010 denying the program and saying there was nothing like that  in existence were false.  That is the basis on which the Commissioner imposed discipline on Mr. Hargrove.” Here is that video:

Florio is quick to point out that Pash’s point is pretty much invalid if Hargrove didn’t say it himself, Florio writes,  ”His second point continues to depend, however, on a finding that Hargrove and no one else said, “give me my money.”  And the video simply does not prove that.”

Now, I’m not suggesting there wasn’t a bounty program, we all know there was. I’m only saying that this particular piece of “evidence” the NFL is touting, which happens to affect Anthony Hargrove directly, does not prove what the NFL says it proves.

My take on the video is that it’s Remi Adoyele saying “give me my money.” Ayodele’s head turns towards Vitt just before those words are spoken and then away from Vitt right after those words. Ayodele was one of the players in on the violent hit on Brett Favre that Vitt thought had knocked Favre out of the game. Hargrove wasn’t even in the game on that play. Why would Hargrove have a reason to say “give me my money?”

The NFL is wrong on this, and they know they are wrong – which is why they are refusing to let this matter get taken outside the confines of the NFL. That begs the question, what else are they wrong about? If you want to explore that point further, take a look at this article by Mike Freeman of CBSsports.com. Mike goes down the list of the NFL’s evidence and grades the validity of each one.

18

June

Hargrove to Appeal Suspension Today: Agent Rips Into NFL

Green Bay Packers Anthony Hargrove

Hargrove appeals suspension today.

Anthony Hargrove and the three other players suspended in the “BountyGate” scandal will have their appeals heard today by none other than the man who handed them out, Roger Goodell. That is one big bone of contention for the players and their representatives, who previously pushed for an impartial arbitrator but lost that battle.

According to Keven Seifert of ESPN, Hargrove’s agent, Phil Williams, is not the type of loud-mouthed agent who goes spouting off on a regular basis. Yet, he felt so strongly about this case and the “injustice” being layed down on Hargrove that he put his own reputation on the line with a blistering letter questioning the NFL’s honesty and underhanded tactics.

The NFL waited until just days before the appeal hearing to release their “evidence,” in a rather transparent attempt to make it as difficult as possible for the players’ representatives to build an appeals case. While it’s accepted as fact that a bounty program was in place at New Orleans (as it probably was on many other teams), is it fair to single out just four players for punishment when many more participated?

But beyond those types of questions, my main issue with this whole case is how the NFL (and specifically Roger Goodell)  are suing strong-arm tactics and in the process, eliminating any sense of fairness. This would be like a trial judge who imposed a sentence showing up on the judge’s bench when the same “defendant” appeals their case.

The dictionary definition of a czar is an “autocratic ruler exercising great authority or power.” There is no doubt that in the world of football, Roger Goodell has been a “czar” for quite some time. He is quickly approaching the title of despot – a tyrant or oppressor with absolute power.

Perhaps he’s feeling the pressure of this massive concussion suit and is circling the wagons in every way possible. But there’s still no excuse for being that unfair and frankly, I find it distasteful.

(Going off on a tangent, there is a VERY thought-provoking article at the Business Insider on what they see as potential radical changes that may be coming to the sport of football at every level as a result of the concussion issue. A must-read, whether you agree with their conclusions, or not.)

25

May

Green Bay Packers Taking Shotgun Approach to Improving the Defensive Line

Phillip Merling

Veteran free agent DE Phillip Merling became the twelfth defensive lineman on the Packers' offseason roster.

Call it the “shotgun approach.” Ted Thompson added his twelfth defensive lineman to the roster on Wednesday with his signing of DE Phillip Merling, who spent the last four years with the Miami Dolphins. Of the four (non-Packer) veteran free agent signings by Thompson this offseason, three have been defensive lineman: Daniel Muir, Tony Hargrove, and now Merling.

There’s obviously been some emphasis by the Packers on bolstering the talent and depth across the unit. The drafting of Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels take the total number of new linemen up to five, meaning almost half of the group will be new faces in training camp.

Is this a case of desperation in response to the horrible performances of last season? No, that’s taking it a bit far. Ted Thompson is not spending beaucoup money on these free agent players, which one would tend to do when desperate.

But he is stockpiling the talent pool in a variety of ways, and hoping a good number of them stick.

The three free agent signings are not superstars. Tony Hargrove is the most well known of the group, but he’s probably not going to be a game-changer. His career has been up and down, playing with four different teams over eight years and racking up just 19.5 sacks and 16 run stuffs in the process. Hargrove hasn’t started a game in two seasons, and he only has 25 starts to his name across his entire career. Those numbers aren’t meant to discourage anyone – they’re certainly not the whole story – but they’re not indicators of a guy who’s going to “tilt the field.”

Then there’s Daniel Muir, whose career contrasts with Hargrove’s. Both are 28 years old, but Muir has 3 years less experience in the league and a slightly less impressive resume. Unlike the travelling Hargrove, he spent most of his years with the Indianapolis Colts after his rookie stint with the Packers. Muir’s numbers aren’t as flashy (just a half a sack in his career), but he is also an inside tackle player rather than a defensive end, so his role is considerably different.

2

May

Anthony Hargrove Suspended For Half of 2012-13 Season

Anthony Hargrove says he's a Green Bay Packer

Anthony Hargrove will miss the first eight games of the 2012 season.

If the Green Bay Packers were expecting defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove to make an early impact during his inaugural season with the team, they might need to revisit their plans.

Roger Goodell handed out the penalties for four players from the New Orleans Saints for their involvement in “Bountygate” scandal.  Hargrove received the second-harshest punishment of all the Saints’ players (only Jonathan Vilma receiver a harsher punishment).

According to a report from NFL.com, Hargrove has been suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 NFL season.  This is a big hit to the Packers, who likely knew that some type of punishment was coming, but probably couldn’t fathom him missing half the season.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Hargrove and the other suspended Saints’ players are likely to appeal their suspensions.

While Hargrove’s play will be sorely missed by the Packers because of their desperate need for improved defensive line play, the suspension of Hargrove brings an entirely new issue to Green Bay.

The Packers have never been a team to deal with too much drama.  In fact, when drama surrounding the team occurs, Ted Thompson and Co. like to get as far away from it as possible.  This is completely understandable due to how much of a distraction a huge legal battle can distract the rest of the team from focusing on next Sunday’s game.

I don’t think that the Packers will completely wash their hands of Hargrove and simply replace him, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Hargrove spend the majority of the season on the bench after his suspension.  The Packers’ front office could let Hargrove contribute in a backup role, and give him the opportunity to fight for a starting spot come the following offseason.

The good news for the Packers is that they drafted two defensive lineman during the 2012 NFL draft.  Both Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels will now get a great opportunity to get on the field as rookies.  Worthy may even be talented enough to fight for a starting spot opposite Ryan Pickett on the defensive line.

The Hargrove suspension will be one to watch closely in the upcoming weeks, as it isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.