17

February

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

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

As I get older, I can’t tell if I’m getting soft, getting smarter, or both.

I was always one of those people who wasn’t bothered by the use of American Indian imagery and slang for team logos and nicknames. I went to school at St. Cloud State University (the Harvard of the Midwest), which was in a hockey conference with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

The Fighting Sioux nickname has been debated endlessly in North Dakota and Minnesota for years. Some say it’s offensive to American Indians and should be scrapped. Others say it’s honorable and should be kept.

In college, I proudly supported keeping the Fighting Sioux nickname. I was the guy at parties who had one too many Keystone Lights and got into fierce political debates. When someone said that the Fighting Sioux nickname should be changed, I would shout them down while cracking open another can of Keystone.

I’ve grown up a lot since then. Most importantly, I now drink good beer, not Keystone Light. Almost as importantly, I now hate American Indian team logos and nicknames.

The Fighting Sioux nickname is bad enough, but nothing gets me going more than the Washington Redskins.

I mean, seriously. The Redskins?! How is it ok to name your team after an obvious racial slur? The fact that our nation’s capital still refers to its professional football team as the Redskins in the year 2013 makes me embarrassed to be a football fan.

Nicknames like the Braves, Fighting Illini or Fighting Sioux are questionable enough, but at least they aren’t blatant racial slurs.

Of course the people in my life who knew me during my pro-offensive-Native American-nickname days are stunned by my change of heart. They ask me when I became so politically correct, why I turned into a weak-ass liberal, or why I care either way.

I tell them it’s got nothing to do with being PC, and it sure as hell has nothing to do with liberal or conservative politics.

6

October

Packers Running Back Debate: Modern-Day Cedric Benson vs. Ryan Grant In His Prime

Cedric Benson Vs. Ryan Grant

Cedric Benson Vs. Ryan Grant

Welcome to tonight’s Packers running back debate featuring Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant.

Television stations throughout Wisconsin were very upset that the last presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney drew a 0.0 rating. That’s right, not a single person tuned in to watch the presidential debate in Wisconsin. 

Research by Nielsen suggested that most television sets were tuned to highlights of the Packers 28-27 win over the Saints, or simply turned off because the weather was nice and people would rather stare at trees and grass than either presidential candidate.

Whatever the reason, Wisconsin television stations need to recoup the ratings that were lost during the debate and the there’s only one tried and true method to make that happen: Packers talk. 

Specifically, a Packers debate.

Tonight’s debate features present-day Cedric Benson vs. Ryan Grant in his prime. They will be debating who is the better running back. Remember, this is present-day Benson and Grant in his prime (late 2007-2009). We’re not focusing on overall career arcs or anything like that. We’re only focusing present-day Benson and Grant from late 2007 through 2009. 

Without further delay, let’s turn it over to our moderator, ALLGBP.com staff writer and the only undefeated team owner in the ALLGBP.com fantasy football league, Mr. Adam Czech.

Moderator: Welcome Mr. present-day Benson and Mr. in-his-prime Grant. Here are the rules for tonight’s debate:  

  • Don’t swear. The youth of America is watching.
  • Don’t hit each other. We’re on the same team here.
  • Take your time. We bought like three kegs of beer for the audience and they’ll be mad if the debate is over before they had a chance to drink it all.

The first question: A Wisconsin newspaper recently suggested that Benson might be the best Packers running back since Ahamn Green. So, Is Benson the best running back the Packers have had since Ahman Green? Mr. Grant, you may answer first. 

Grant: Hell no!

Moderator: Language, Mr. Grant. Think of the children. 

Grant: Sorry. No bleepin’ way! Did you see me run in the snow globe playoff game? Did you watch me gain 1,200 yards in consecutive seasons? Did you see how I pass blocked for Favre and Rodgers? Our quarterbacks and receivers might have gotten all the glory, but I fit in just fine with the Packers system and did some really impressive things. Benson is just the current flavor-of-the-month.

26

April

Green Bay Packers Draft Matchup: DE/OLB Andre Branch vs. G Kevin Zeitler

NFL Draft Prospect Profile Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

This decision comes down to need for the Packers. Do they take Andre Branch and fill an immediate need on the defensive front? Or do they select Kevin Zeitler and fill a likely future need at center or guard?

Usually I don’t pay much attention to the NFL draft, especially all the pre-draft hoopla, but this year the draft has sucked me in. I’ve watched video, studied scouting reports, and tried to follow the opinions of analysts I respect.

One of my favorite players to watch and learn more about has been Zeitler. He’s quick out of the gate when he pulls and a wrecking ball when he heads upfield looking for defenders to take out and pave the way for Wisconsin’s running backs.

Branch’s pass-rushing game is built mostly around speed, but what makes him even more attractive to the Packers is his versatility. He lined up in both a two- and three-point stance at Clemson and could move around the Packers defense if needed. He’s definitely a Dom Capers type of player.

If both players are available when the Packers pick late in the first round, I’d go with Branch, but it’d be a tough call. Zeitler looks like he has the skills to play right away and be an effective offensive lineman for a long time. Branch looks a little more raw.

I went with Branch because his ceiling is a little higher and the Packers have an immediate need up front. It’s always nice when you get a player you’re fairly confident will be solid for at least the next five years (Zeitler). But if you have a chance to hit a home run with a first-round pick, you swing for the fences. Branch’s ceiling is higher, his position is more important, and he fills an immediate need.

In other words, Branch has more potential to be a home run.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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29

July

Green Bay Packers Release 11-Year Veteran Mark Tauscher

Mark Tauscher

Mark Tauscher's release by the Green Bay Packers was an expected yet heart-breaking loss to fans and the team.

@jasonjwilde: Mark Tauscher has been released by the @packers.”

That tweet, instantly relayed by dozens of Jason Wilde’s followers today, was simple, striking, and emotional all in one. News of 11-year veteran Mark Tauscher’s release by the Green Bay Packers was to be expected; however, many had hoped the statement would be about his retirement instead.

Along with bookend left tackle Chad Clifton, Tauscher has been one of the foundations of the Packers’ offensive line for just over a decade. Selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft, he became a full-time starter after Earl Dotson suffered a back injury early in the season. He has made 132 regular season starts since that time.

Mark Tauscher has earned a large spot in Wisconsin’s heart, and that will make it hard for fans to see him go. A native of the Badger State, he began his football career at Auburndale High School and was a two-time All-Conference honoree. He also actively participated in baseball and basketball, earning state honors in those sports as well.

After graduating from high school in 1995, Tauscher went on to the University of Wisconsin as a walk on, where he played his first few years as a backup to Chris McIntosh. He finally saw playing time during his fourth year in unbalanced line formations, and became the full-fledged starter at right tackle in his fifth and final season. Tauscher was considered an essential blocker in the line that gave success to Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne.

As a Packer, Mark Tauscher continued his high level of play and gained further adoration from Wisconsin fans. His work ethic and charm made him one of the great faces of the organization.

The past two seasons have, unfortunately, been an omen to his final days in Green Bay, as he only played a total of 13 games during that span of time. It seemed the injury bug had hit him, with a torn ACL at the end of 2008 and a shoulder injury early last season. He was replaced after the most recent injury by 2010 first-round draft pick Bryan Bulaga, who started for the remainder of their championship year.