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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 8 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 8 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Hull Yes or Hull No? Richard Sherman's Post Game Interview

Monday, Jan, 20 2014

Everyone has seen it by now; Seattle CB Richard Sherman's post game interview with Fox's Erin Andrews.  As soon as the 20-second Vince McMahon sytle promo was over, the twitterverse blew up with response. 

If you missed it...

I get why some enjoyed the blunt honesty because we live in a day and age of cliche, scripted resoponses.  This emotion is rare now.  However, to me, he took it too far.  There is a time and a place for everything.  I did not think this was it.

So, what did you think?  #HullYes to Sherman's comments or #HullNo.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 8 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

My Divisional Round Predictions

Friday, Jan, 10 2014

Last week, I went 2-2 in the Wild Card Round.  Take a look.  I will try to be better this week.

Division Game 1: #6 New Orleans @ #1 Seattle in the NFC (Saturday, 3:35 kickoff)

I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to make the logical pick here and go with Seattle.  However, by definition of the “J-Hull Black Sharpie Lock” I can’t as I picked New Orleans to win the NFC this year back towards the end of 2012.  As for this game…New Orleans proved an ability to win on the road last week by squeaking one out in Philly. Seattle has been deemed the “Super Team” for this year and rightfully so.  The way New Orleans will win is to stymie the Seattle offense, which can be done.  If Russell Wilson has a day, it could be a long flight home for the Saints.  So illogically, with my heart, I have to take New Orleans.  I really think its Seattle 27-20, though.

New Orleans over Seattle 20-14

Division Game 2: #4 Indianapolis @ #2 New England in the AFC (Saturday, 7:15 Kickoff)

Indianapolis shocked the world with their 28-comeback and in the process Andrew Luck added to his legend.  In my opinion, it’s a legend that will end up (probably sooner than later) with Luck in elite category.  If you like points, this game seems to be for you with both Indy and New England brining in less than stellar defenses.  New England has struggled this year having to squeak out a few games like Indy did this last week.  Based on last week, I think fate could be on Indy’s side so I will go with the young guy.  Also, weather keeps this game lower scoring than people believe.

Indy over New England 24-20

Division Game 3: #5 San Francisco @ #2 Carolina in the NFC (Sunday, 12:00 Kickoff)

After the 49ers beat Green Bay, it appears that pretty much everyone has penciled San Francisco into the NFC Championship game.  I am not everyone.  Colin Kaepernick’s performance against Green Bay was largely in part to defensive breakdowns by the Packers.  Carolina’s defense is far superior to the Packers.  A few weeks back, Carolina went to San Francisco and beat them.  Now they are at home.  While the Niners have been streaking themselves, I see Cam Newton doing more than enough for the Panthers to win fairly comfortably.

Carolina over San Francisco 24-13

Division Game 4: #6 San Diego @ #1 Denver in the AFC (Sunday, 3:40 Kickoff)

With the Chargers performance on Sunday and Peyton Manning’s playoff record, the Chargers are becoming a fairly “sexy” pick this week.  I am not buying it.  I think this one will be pretty clear cut:  Broncos roll.  Way to many offensive weapons on the Broncos.  The Chargers will get it going at times, but the Broncos defense will come up with enough stops to give the World Manning/Luck II. 

Denver over San Diego 48-27

Enjoy the games!

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 8 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Packer free agency; who should they bring back?

Tuesday, Jan, 7 2014

According to Spotrac.com, 19-players under contract in 2013 are heading to free agency.  Taking a look at the list, a good number of the players have started or contributed the last few years.   Here are my thoughts, in order of importance, for the Packers to bring back in 2014.

#1.) CB Sam Shields – He is emerging as one of the better corners in the league.  With the future of Tramon Williams in question after 2014, Shields fortify the position for a while longer.  I think the Packers agree but will he get more elsewhere?

#2.) C Evan Dietrich-Smith – When it comes to offensive lineman, the less you talk about them, the better it is.  The only time I recall hearing about EDS is when he was injured.  Team doesn’t (appear) to have a set back up, so he should be a high priority.

#3.) DT B.J Raji – If the Bob McGinn report is true, Raji may have left a lot of money on the table by not signing at $8-mil a year.  Defensive lineman, even solid ones, are tough to find.  Having one that plays average at his worse with signs of being very good (or better) may be worth over paying a little.  I predict he isn’t back AND will be missed at some point.

#4.) DT Johnny Jolly – Jolly was an unforeseen boost to the team after missing 3-years while serving his suspension.  When he was out there, and healthy, the Packers run defense was much better.  I assume the Packers will be able to get him, for a discount, on a 1 or 2 year deal.

#5.) OLB Mike Neal – Neal emerged, when healthy (the story of his career), as the best option opposite Clay Matthews at OLB.  It was his first year at the position after dropping weight and moving outside.  I am curious to see what year 2 (and beyond) brings for Neal as a 3-4 OLB. 

#6.) TE Andrew Quarless – I don’t think anyone was more critical of Quarless and the Packers keeping him than I was early on this year.  D.J Williams was released, a player that did a lot with in the offense/special teams, for a player that looked sloppy in camp.  About midway through the season, Quarless started to shine.  He got healthy and looked like a solid play.  I think he is back.

#7.) TE Jermichael Finley – Finley after Quarless?  Yup.  I think that boils down to money.  Finley may be looking to strike it rich after the spinal injury in 2013 while the Packers are scared off by it.  His worth in the offense is definitely known, but, Quarless (and maybe Bostick) can fill some of the void.  Think he’s gone but if the market bottoms out, he could be back.

#8.) DT Ryan Pickett – Pickett may have had his best year in Green Bay.  He told me after Sunday’s game that he felt better after this year than most others.  Ted Thompson’s plan is always to get younger, but some players voiced a need of veterans.  What is the potential market on a 34-year old defensive lineman?  Despite all that, Packers have just 4 d-lineman under contract for 2014.

#9.) WR James Jones – Jarrett Boykin emerged as a viable option with injuries to Randall Cobb and James Jones this year.  Cobb’s deal is up after 2015 & Nelson is entering the final year of his deal.  Biggest question; will the defense drop off without him?  Once again it’s a numbers game and Jones goes elsewhere. 

#10.) ILB Jamari Lattimore (Restricted) – I struggled placing Lattimore on the list.  ILB is arguably the weakest position from a depth and production standpoint on the team.  Lattimore had some great moments but has also shown some moments of weakness.  He is young, and restricted, so I think he is back though not a priority.

#11.) QB Matt Flynn – After Aaron Rodgers went down, the uproar from Packer Nation about needing a back-up quarterback grew.  I am staying the same on my thought, here.  If you lose Aaron Rodgers, it doesn’t matter.  Flynn would definitely be a capable back-up…but I think told Tolzein would, too. 

#12.) LB Robert Francois – Francois came back for 2013 on a one-year free agent deal only to see injury cut his season short.  Not sure what happens with him but re-upping would move the meter as much as letting him walk.

#13.) FB John Kuhn – Kuhn was one of the most debated roster spots in training camp but in the end, he was on the team.  It sounded like there was never even a debate.  With the FB position becoming somewhat “obsolete” and the way the Packers use their TEs as blockers, Kuhn’s price tag could mean a split.  I think he’s gone.

#14.) RB James Starks (Restricted) – Out of everyone who has stepped in for injured players (or subbed) this season, I think Starks was brought the least drop off.  Packer fans are in LOVE with Eddie Lacy, and rightfully so, but Starks was big at times this year.  Pending on the RFA tender, Starks may get some looks elsewhere. 

#15.) DE C.J Wilson – Wilson fought injury in 2013 AND, even when healthy, was inactive.  It’s apparent the team will move on from Wilson.  Not sure there is more that needs to be said.

#16) S M.D Jennings (Restricted) – I don’t think he gets a tender but with the depth at Safety, he may be back as a body.  Safety is the Packers #1 need so I expect an upgrade.

#17.) RB Kahlil Bell – Came in when Franklin went down.  Lacy is “the” guy, Starks get likely gets tendered and Franklin comes back, not sure where he fits.

#18.) OT Marshall Newhouse – I don’t see anyway Newhouse is back in 2014. 

#19.) QB Seneca Wallace – It’s more likely Newhouse is back than Wallace.

Thoughts?  Would love to hear.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 8 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

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