CheeseheadRadio News 09-15-11- Week 1 Happenings

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Jayme Joers (As heard on Cheesehead Radio (9/15/11 ).

To listen to the show, click on the play button below.

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Packers News 9/15/11

Al:The news coming out of Mike McCarthy’s press conference yesterday was not good. Injured Packers defensive end Mike Neal will be missing more games after undergoing a surgical procedure on Tuesday. Details of the procedure were not released, but Mike McCarthy said the doctors were pleased with how it went. McCarthy would only say Neal will miss “significant weeks,” but he doesn’t think it would be long enough to put Neal on injured reserve.

Jayme: The news was better about Tramon Williams. Thanks to the extra 3 days between games, McCarthy believes Williams’ shoulder could be improved enough for him to play Sunday at Carolina.

McCarthy also said that it wasn’t a requirement Williams be able to practice this week to play in the game. Sounds like Mike really doesn’t want to play the game without him…

Al: NFL sources have reported that Packers cornerback Charles Woodson was fined $10,000 for punching Saints tight end David Thomas in the third quarter of last week’s game. Although Woodson was flagged for a penalty, he was not ejected, which the rules call for. After the game, Woodson said he regretted that it happened, but he didn’t exactly apologize for doing it.

Jayme: Aaron Rodgers certainly has nothing to apologize for with regards to the Saints’ game. Rodgers lit up the stat sheet with 3 touchdown passes, 304 passing yards, no interceptions and a 132.1 passer rating. For that fine performance, Rodgers was named NFC offensive player of the week for the 3rd time since last season.

Al:   James Jones, on the other hand, didn’t win any awards or possibly any friends after voicing some concerns about his role in the game plan. While Jones was only thrown to once, he seemed more concerned about how little he was used, and even how he was used. Seems that half of the less than 20 plays Jones was in for were three tight-end formations and running plays. Jones also made a comment that it’s pretty obvious who the #3 guy is now…



The NFL Lockout is Finally Over: What Roger Goodell was Really Thinking

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to be feeling good about his sport as the NFL lockout ends.

Roger Goodell was asked today if there were any damages from the NFL lockout that need to be repaired. He said:

“Well, I would say from the Commissioner’s perspective, we know what we did to frustrate our fans over the last several months. They want football and our job is to give them football. We think that through a 10-year agreement here, we’ve secured the future of the game to ensure that pledge to bring great football to our fans. I think we have some work to do though to make sure they understand that we are sorry for the frustration we put them through over the last six months, but our commitment is to bring them better football going forward. I think we ought to make sure that we understand that our bond with our fans is probably the primary issue that all of us have to keep focused on, whether you’re a player, or you’re an owner or you’re the Commissioner.”

While Goodell was giving this beautifully crafted and politically correct answer, here’s what he was really thinking:

“Hell no there aren’t any damages! Are you freakin’ kidding me?! We’re the NFL, not the NBA, MLB or NHL. Twitter literally melted into a pile of social networking goo once the lockout ended? ESPN basically threw a party live on the air. The NFL Network is covering this news conference like someone just brokered a peace deal in the Middle East. Fans are more excited for the upcoming football season than for any other season in our league’s history.

And do you know why? Because this lockout forced everyone to skip the boring parts of the offseason. How great is it that we didn’t have to endure a summer of free-agent speculation or BS stories from minicamps about how this player or that player looks really good running around in shorts and a tank top? Wasn’t it nice not having to read about how Albert Haynesworth or some other criminal in shoulder pads appears “focused” this year and wants to “put the past behind him?” We even managed to keep Brett Favre quiet until I gave him the go-ahead to start his unretirement rumors on Saturday night.



With Unanimous NFLPA Vote, The NFL Lockout Is Over


That wasn’t so bad now was it?

Yes folks, it is finally over.  With the player reps for the soon-to-be-again NFL Players Association unanimously approving a new CBA with slight modifications from the version the owner also unanimously approved recently, the NFL lockout is over and football is back.

Let me repeat: FOOTBALL. IS. BACK.

There are still some issues like the players actually reforming their union, but those matters will be resolved as players report to camp.  There were a few casualties on the calendar such as delayed free agency, no organized team activities (OTAs) and no Hall of Fame game but going forward the NFL schedule remains largely intact with free agency scheduled to take place as training camps open.

Players must also ratify the new CBA but there is little no doubt that they will overwhelmingly.    Once that happens, players can once again start being paid.

What remains to be determined is any long term damage to the game.  Fans will return and cheer for their teams as they have since the league was created.  The damage to the legacy of Commissioner Roger Goodell remains to be seen.  He never lost any regular season games, but he still presided over the league’s first work stoppage in over 20 years.

There will be debates over who were the big winners and losers of this new deal and the debacle that preceded it.  Now is not the time for that, however.

Today is a day for celebration, joy and a big sigh of relief. Football is back.

Get ready fans.  Free agency and training camp will be occurring at the same time.

You think the process to end the lockout was chaotic? You haven’t seen anything yet.   At least this part will be fun to watch.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke




Cheesehead Radio News 07-18-11 with Packers Legend Jerry Kramer

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Holly Phelps (As heard on Cheesehead Radio (7/18/11 ).

To listen to the show, click on the play button below. The Jerry Kramer interview begins around the eleven minute mark.

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Packer News 7/18/11

Al: This past week marked the return of Packers President Mark Murphy to the NFL negotiating table. It also has been full of optimistic news about the potential end to the lockout with the players to vote on Wednesday on a proposed settlement. It could be coincidence, or as CheeseheadTV’s Aaron Nagler suggests, Murphy’s presence might have made a difference.

Holly: Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio attempted this week to put together a list  of things the Packers need to do when football resumes. Unfortunately, the very first one was an epic fail. He listed Howard Green and C.J. Wilson as the candidates to replace Cullen Jenkins – completely ignoring the guy that will surely have the job, Mike Neal. Neal took it in stride on twitter and said he will use it as additional motivation.

Al: Jermichael Finley made an appearance last week along with Donald Driver at the fourth annual “Green and Gold training camp”, an event to promote active lifestyles for children. When interviewed by Brandon Storlie of the Wisconsin State Journal, Finley was his usual outspoken self, saying “We will be in Indianapolis”, a reference to the site of next year’s Super Bowl.  My question is, did he start the sentence with “I got one word:”

Holly: Well, FoxSportsWisconsin also caught up with the talkative Finley, who called the lockout a blessing in disguise for allowing his injury more time to heal. Finley also said that having to watch games from the sideline gave him a new understanding of the tight end position and helped him learn the defenses. Now, isn’t that what game tape is for?

Al: That’s the preferred way… With the return of Ryan Grant and the drafting of Alex Green, there has been a lot of discussion about the Packers’ suddenly crowded offensive backfield. Grant told Packer Report that if necessary, he would accept a backup role for the good of the team. That doesn’t mean it’s what anyone expects. Grant has been told he’s #1 on the depth chart to start and of course, he plans to stay there.



NFL Lockout Update: Owners Ratify Proposal, Players Wonder What Just Happened

It’s 11 p.m. central time on Thursday night and I’m going to watch some Japanese wrestling and go to bed. Before doing that, however, I thought I would provide a quick summary on the NFL labor front for those of you that were smarter than me and chose to not pay attention to the kerfuffle that developed Thursday evening.

If you’re reading this in the morning, there’s a decent chance something else could have occurred overnight. You probably should check out Profootballtalk.com or follow Aaron Nagler on Twitter for the latest. Both of those guys will likely spend the night monitoring the situation instead of watching Japanese wrestling.

Here’s what went down:

  • The owners voted 31-0 to approve a 10-year labor deal and gave the players until Tuesday to reform as a union and accept it. The Oakland Raiders abstained from voting because they probably realize they will go 6-10 and could care less if there is a season or not.
  • The players said they never had a chance to review the proposal and accused the owners of trying to force a deal. Many people were expecting the players to vote on some sort of proposal Thursday, but they didn’t because the players claimed to not know for sure what exactly the owner’s passed.
  • ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported around 10:45 p.m. that the players eventually received all the details of the owners proposal and a vote could come as early as Friday. Will a vote actually happen? Who knows.
  • My take: I think one of two things happened. 1) The owner’s got sick of the player’s dilly dallying around about re-certifying as a union and other less-significant issues delaying the process and decided to approve a proposal and force the players to act in a more timely fashion. 2) The owners made a last-minute power play.
  • My other take: I’m fairly confident this thing wraps up soon. Once the players calm down and actually review what the owners proposed, I can’t imagine it being so incredibly bad that it would derail the entire process. Sure the players are probably offended that the owner’s publicly put the ball in their court, but they’ll get over it (I hope).


Dare To Be Great: Mike McCarthy’s Challenge In 2011

During his press conference after his Green Bay Packers–sans Aaron Rodgers–nearly upset the mighty New England Patriots in Foxboro, head coach Mike McCarthy uttered the phrase “we’re nobody’s underdog” to describe his team and that the Packers “came to win.”

McCarthy initially was mocked for the comments by many, but it turns out they served as a springboard for the Packers’ magical run to the Super Bowl XLV title. McCarthy and his staffed played the underdog card brilliantly and the Packers never looked back after that game.

So with the 2011 season upon us (I think), the Packers are about to embark on the defense of their throne.  They have gone from the hunters to the hunted which means the coaching staff has thrown the underdog card to the bottom of the deck.

This is McCarthy’s greatest challenge entering 2011.  The coach has spoken repeatedly about “handling success” as well as adversity.  We saw in 2010 how well his players respond to adversity, but how will they respond to having targets on their back?

Actually the Packers began last season as a chic pick for the Super Bowl, but as the season went on and injuries piled up, many people left the Packers for dead.   McCarthy played that into the “this is our time” theme throughout the postseason and into the Super Bowl.   It was a theme the players embraced and it showed as the Packers marched to Super Bowl XLV.

So what can McCarthy do for an encore?  Well, he really has to look no further than one of his predecessors.  While it is highly doubtful any team in the modern free-agency era will be able to duplicate the amount of championships in the same time span that Vince Lombardi’s Packers did, McCarthy could push his players to be the second Packers dynasty.

A way to approach that is that while winning one trophy is good, to be truly great you have to win two.  McCarthy could basically say to his players, “OK, you won one. You’re good. You want to be great? Go win another one.”  Winning two Super Bowls in a row is a tough feat to accomplish, but in order to truly be “great” you have to meet those kinds of challenges.



NFL Free Agency Begins – 8th Circuit Court Rules In Owners’ Favor

In a decision that most expected but at a time that surprised many, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of NFL ownership in the ongoing legal dispute that the lockout has become.

True to their word, however, the ruling was one that neither side really will like.  While they won the case, the court ruled that free agents are not eligible to be locked out due to no employer/employee relationship.

What that means is that free agency can finally begin.  While players under contract remain locked out, players whose contracts had expired (like Cullen Jenkins and many others) cannot be locked out and can begin visiting with other teams as soon as a hearing is held regarding the matter.

Despite this ruling, both the players and owners continue to negotiate.  With word coming out about a potential deal being reached in the next few days, there is no doubt many fans are concerned about this ruling giving all the leverage to the owners.

While that definitely is the case, the more ‘moderate’ owners have taken charge of the negotiations with people like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys being held in check.

It remains unclear if this ruling with break Jones out of his cage, but with the deals still so fragile yet a deal oh-so-close, it would be in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s best interest to not let this be a distraction

Time of course is beginning to play a big factor in these negotiations.  Teams are scheduled to begin training camp in a few weeks and the first preseason games are roughly a month away.

The clock is ticking. And the fans are watching (and stewing).


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke