27

March

Anthony Hargrove: The Green Bay Packers Should Not Want Him

Former Saints DE Anthony Hargrove

Did Hargrove get paid extra for this hit?

In a further sign that the apocalypse may actually occur in 2012, the Green Bay Packers have waded into the free agency waters with Ted Thompson at the controls.

As someone who prefers to mainly build through the draft, Thompson largely bypasses the free agency period but with center Scott Wells leaving for the St. Louis Rams, Thompson was backed into a corner a bit and signed former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday to a two year contract.

The Packers needed a center and Thompson signed one, one that arguably may even be an upgrade at the position.  It’s been a move fans have largely approved.  Thompson signing a “name” free agent worked out pretty well when he signed Charles Woodson in 2006 and fans hope to see the same in the signing of Saturday.

Thompson is apparently not done in free agency this year, either.  Seahawks defensive end Anthony Hargrove apparently took to Twitter to announce he was likely headed to Green Bay to become a Packer.  The Twitter account claiming to be that of Hargrove’s is unverified, so it is unknown whether or not it is Hargrove actually sending those tweets, but the Packers earlier hosted the real Hargrove at Lambeau Field on his free agency tour.

There’s little doubt the Packers could use someone like him. The Packers had an anemic pass rush in 2011 and it was one of the big reasons an otherwise highly successful 15-1 campaign fizzled out in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.  Hargrove is a decent pass rusher who recorded five sacks in the 2009 Super Bowl-winning campaign for the Saints before heading to Seattle for one year in 2011.  He was drafted by the Rams in 2004 and recorded 6.5 sacks his sophomore season in 2005.

Here is the catch: Hargrove has a series of off the field troubles, most recently being named as a player that may have received a bounty in the now infamous New Orleans Saints bounty program that rewarded players in cash for knocking opposing players out of the game with extra incentive if they left the game on a cart.   Hargrove was implicated in the NFC Championship game where Brett Favre took the biggest pounding of his career in the Minnesota Vikings’ loss to the Saints.

25

March

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

The Packers signed free agent center Jeff Saturday this week to replace the departed Scott Wells. Yes, I said the Packers signed a free agent. A free agent that I actually heard of, nonetheless.

I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to react to this occasion.  It’s been a while since Ted Thompson blew the dust off the checkbook he uses to sign free agents from other teams and actually brought someone in. Fans from other teams often celebrate like they just won the Super Bowl after inking a free agent so….congrats fellow Packers fans?

Thompson obviously didn’t know how to react to the occasion, either. He was so confused and out of sorts about what he just did that he turned around and did it again, signing free agent defensive lineman Daniel Muir.

Now, Muir fits the mold of a Packers free-agent signing much more than Saturday. Muir is a journeyman that Thompson signed and released once before. He’ll have to fight hard just to make the team and anything he contributes during the season will be a bonus.

Saturday, on the other hand, will be expected to be what he’s been his whole career: A reliable pass-blocking center who quarterbacks the offensive line for one of the most explosive offenses in the league, often during no-huddle situations. I’m sure Saturday is up to the task, but he’s also going to be 37 years old when the season starts.

Yes, Saturday has started all 16 games in six of the past seven seasons, but the thing with 37-year-olds is that they’re, well…old. You never know when the body of a 37-year-old football player might say enough is enough, or their skill set diminishes almost overnight.

Saturday was a good signing. No arguments about that. But it’s still going to be business as usual for the Packers at the center position. Saturday will (hopefully) fill in nicely this season and possibly next, but the Packers will still likely draft a center in April, both to solidify the position long-term and provide insurance in case age gets the best of Saturday.

Tim Tebow, Pat Lee/Jarrett Bush, Anthony Hargrove

11

March

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

I was watching the Minnesota Gophers play the Michigan Wolverines in the Big 10 tournament on Friday night and somehow the end of the game made me think about the NFL.

It was one of those down-to-the-wire college basketball games that makes the sport so exciting, or at least should make the sport so exciting. Unfortunately, whenever the intensity got ratcheted up to 10 and you were getting to the edge of your seat, a timeout would be called. Or the refs would need five minutes to review a play. Then another timeout. Then another review. And so on, and so on…

The end of what should have been a memorable game was ruined by meddling coaches and refs who relied too heavily on the crutch of instant replay.

So what does this have to do with the NFL? I guarantee you if a similar problem existed in the NFL, it would do something to correct it. The NFL isn’t afraid to innovate, even if it means upsetting some people in the process.

If I was in charge of college basketball, I would ban timeouts in the final two minutes. Actually, I would still allow timeouts, but only to stop the clock. Once a timeout is called, the clock would stop, the team that called the timeout would get the ball out of bounds, and play would resume. There would be no long break as the players wandered over to the bench, listened to their coach draw up another play, then wandered back onto the court.

This would be a fairly major change to college basketball, one that would causes coaches and longtime fans resistant to change to start whining. Loudly.

They would claim the new rule alters the way the game is played. I would say, damn right it does. It makes the game better.

They would claim coaches need those timeouts to set up crunch-time plays. I would say that is what practice is for and admonish the coaches for not properly teaching their players how to function in high-pressure situations without someone holding their hand.

They would say the new rule is only to placate casual fans. I would say all fans will appreciate a more exciting game, except maybe for you and your fuddy-duddy friends.