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Stop focusing on free agency! Seattle beat everyone in the draft!

Monday, Feb, 3 2014

With the Seattle Seahawks hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after a dominant 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48, Packers fans have already taken it upon themselves to point out what Seattle did that Green Bay didn’t. 

It happens every year in the NFL; the Super Bowl Champ goes on the pedestal and that is the “new plan” to a Championship.  It happened last year with the Ravens, the year before with the Giants, and (yes Packer fans) Green Bay after they won it in Dallas.  Remember the Falcons trading their entire draft to get Julio Jones???

The main theme this year being tossed out by Packer fans will be Seattle’s willingness to go after free agents.  Their GM is John Schneider, who worked under Ted Thompson in Green Bay, but appears to have a different approach.  In his 4th year, Schneider took the Seahawks to one of the bottom teams in the league to the pinnacle. It feels like Packer fans think this is all because of his willingness to sign free agents and now Green Bay must do the same!

It is true; Schneider did bust out the pocketbook on a strong group players.  In fact, on the Super Bowl Roster, here is the list in no particular order with trades:

- QB Tarvaris Jackson (2013 FA)
- RB Marshawn Lynch (2010 trade)
- FB Michael Robinson (2010 FA)
- WR Percy Harvin (2013 trade)
- TE Zach Miller (2011 FA)
- OL Paul McQuistan (2011 FA)
- OL Breno Giacomini (2011 FA)
- DL Chris Clemans (2010 FA)
- DL Michael Bennett (2013 FA)
- DL Cliff Avrill (2013 FA)
- DL Clinton McDonald (2013 FA)
- DL Tony McDaniel (2013 FA)
- LB O’Brien Schofield (2013 FA)
- LB Heath Farwell (2012 FA)
- S Chris Maragos (2011 FA)

Impressive list, I can’t lie about that.  By no means am I saying the list of players on the 2010 Packers who were free agents/trades is comparable, but, somehow, it is forgotten that Thompson actually did go out and do that: Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Howard Green, Charlie Peprah, Dimitri Nance, Tom Crabtree, Erik Walden, Diyral Briggs, and Matt Wilhelm.  Brandon Chillar, Derrick Martin, and Anthony Smith were also brought in but ended up on IR. 

The Packers situation has definitely changed in the last few years.  When the Packers won the Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers was in the bottom half of the league in QB cap figures, Clay Matthews was yet to be paid, and a majority of their key players were on rookie deals. This allowed the Packers to be a little more flexible.  I see that being similar to where Seattle is.  When Schneider came in, it was a roster overhaul so out of necessity he brought in free agents.  Thompson did that, too.

This brings me to my big point.  Drafting and developing.  This is where Seattle has BLOWN Green Bay (at their own game) out of the water since Schneider left.  Take a look at his 2010-2012 drafts. I am leaving 2013 out because impact is too early to see: 

- 2010: OT Russell Okung (1), S Earl Thomas (1), WR Golden Tate (2), CB Walter Thurmond (4), S Kam Chancellor (5)
- 2011: OT James Carpenter (1), LB K.J Wright (4), CB Richard Sherman (5), DB Byron Maxwell (6), OLB Malcom Smith (7)
- 2012: DE Bruce Irvin (1), LB Bobby Wagner (2), QB Russell Wilson (3), RB Robert Turbin (4), Jeremy Lane (6)

Let’s take a look at the Packers drafts over those years and who is on the roster:

- 2010: OT Bryan Bulaga (1), DL Mike Neal (2), S Morgan Burnett (3), TE Andrew Quarless (5), OT Marshall Newhouse (5), RB James Starks (6), DE C.J Wilson (7)
- 2011: OT Derek Sherrod (1), WR Randall Cobb (2), CB Davon House (4)
- 2012: LB Nick Perry (1), DL Jerel Worthy (2), CB Casey Hayward (2), DL Mike Daniels

Startling, isn’t it?  Suddenly the free agent list looks pedestrian..

Since the Super Bowl Championship in Green Bay, key players like James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Tramon Williams, Josh Sitton, Morgan Burnett, Brad Jones, Jermichael Finley and others received extensions from their rookie deals.  Not that all of those moves were great, but they were made and thu tied up a lot of money.  Seattle will be going through that soon (especially with Wilson and Sherman).  In that time, the Packers have (by financial necessity more than willingness in my opinion) relied on the “draft and develop” mentality that Thompson is known for.  It hasn’t worked and that is the difference.

So in this offseason of trying to figure how the Packers can become the Seahawks, don’t lose site of the bigger issue.  It’s not the Packers willingness (or lack thereof) to spend in Free Agency, it’s the draft.  The Packers did better in 2013 (Lacy, Bakhtiari, & Hyde were all great gets) but they need to continue that trend in order to get back to the top of the NFC.  While a majority of people will be looking to March to see what the team does, I will be more interested in May.  If they continue to miss in the draft and guys don’t defelop, that will keep this team from getting back on top more than a token free agent or two.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 5 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Hull Yes or Hull No? First Brewer Projection

Monday, Jan, 27 2014

Projection time!

With most MLB teams having their rosters set for 2014, (I guess) it's a good time to start projecting out the season.  At least, that's what did.

His projection for the Milwaukee Brewers...77-85, which will be good enough for 4th in the NL Central.

I would say #HullYes.  Are they better than last year?  On pair, a little bit.  I still have questions about the rotation, the bullpen and first base.  That is a lot of questions.  If everything goes right, I think they compete for a Wild Card.  If nothing changes, it could be a repeat of 2013.

Are you on board with that pick?  #HullYes or #HullNo

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 6 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Hull Yes or Hull No? Matt Garza is now a Brewer

Thursday, Jan, 23 2014

The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly agreed to a 4-year, $52-Million deal with Free Agent Pitcher Matt Garza.

Here are 10-thoughts that have crossed my mind in the near hour since the news came out:

1.) 4-years is too long for a guy who has started just 42-games in last 2-seasons.

2.) 4-years is too long for any MLB player over 30

3.) Brewers probably needed to dangle the 4th year to get him.

4.) Numbers are better than Suppan and Wolf at time of deal & overall better than Lohse.  Lohse had better seasons right before coming to Milwaukee. 

5.) The Brewers do not squander a draft pick.  This I love.

6.) Garza gives the Brewers a respectable top 3 of the rotation.

7.) Would the Cardinals have made this deal? Probably not.

8.) When will the Brewers draft & develop a top of the rotation pitcher?

9.) 4-years is still to long...for any player, in my opinion.

10.) This move fits into my “Brewers are turning into the Bucks” feeling that has been developing in my mind that last couple years.  Does Garza put them to a championship level or does he place a band-aid over a real issue that will help get them to .500 on a good year.

Good signing?  Honestly, your guess is as good as mine.  Any signing that works is a good one.  Any signing that doesn’t is a bad one.  If Garza lives up to his numbers and stays healthy it will be a good signing.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 6 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Mark Murphy in favor of adding additional Wild Card Teams, eliminating presason games

Wednesday, Jan, 22 2014

As a member of the NFL’s competition committee, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy has his pulse on the latest rule changes being discussed.  This week, the big topic around the league has been about eliminating the extra point and adding a Wild Card team to each league.

“That’s something we have looked at” Murphy said when asked about expanding the post season.  “Right now of the 32 teams only 12 make it.  I don’t think we want to get where, not to criticize other sports, but, it seems like everybody makes it.  If we did the discussion would be one additional Wild Card team in each conference so it would still be less than 50% of the teams, 14 out of 32”

Murphy admitted he is in favor of this change.

“I would be in favor of it in the sense that it’s a way to add additional revenue.”

The tradeoff, as Murphy discussed, could be getting rid of a preseason game.

“If we could (add 2 Wild Card teams), and make changes in the preseason, maybe eliminate a preseason game, something along those lines, cause our preseason, really, is not of a high quality anymore.  So, I think that trade off would be really positive for the fans.”

The other topic of the week has been the elimination of the extra point.  Murphy confirmed that it has been talked about.

“Its gotten to a point where our kickers are so good that its almost automatic.  I think this year there were 5 missed extra points out of over 1200 attempts.”

Murphy cited Justin Harrell's season-ending injury on an extra point in 2010 as an example of a risk that could be avoided if extra points were eliminated. Player safety has been a major concern for the NFL in recent years.

Murphy also commented on the offseason, recent ticket surveys and work on the atrium.  Here is the whole conversation:

Murphy was representing the organization Tuesday night at the 49th Annual Red Smith awards banquet in Appleton.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 6 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Hull Yes or Hull No? The Extra Point in the NFL

Tuesday, Jan, 21 2014

A few weeks back, New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichek called the extra point a "waste of time."  This sparked some debate on whether the NFL would ever consider eliminating the play.

To be honest, I thought the thought and conversation was a "waste of time."  Well, per usual when trying to predict the sports world, I was wrong! 

If you haven't checked out the article at Pro Football Talk yet, here is the link. And as Dan Patrick pointed out on our airwaves, the NFL doesn't kick the tires on things, they strongly consider it.

So what do you think?  A #HullYes to getting rid of the extra point or a #HullNo to keep it around?

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 6 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

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