Packers need Walker

The biggest story this off-season for the Green Bay Packers has been the absence of Pro Bowl wide receiver Javon Walker from the team's first two minicamps.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, though, because when training camp opens later this summer most expect Walker to be a holdout for who knows how long. Walker attained the services of agent Drew Rosenhaus this off-season, and any team who has a player with Rosenhaus as an agent moans and groans just like we do when we eat too much pizza.

We don't know how much camp Walker could miss. A day, a week, a month, the start of the season? Rosenhaus believes Walker has earned the right to a new deal after exploding on the NFL scene last year, catching 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. Rosenhaus has a point — those are good numbers. He's trying to strike while the iron is hot, and he knows what Walker means to the Packers.

Without Walker what would the Packers' receiving corps look like? They would start Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson. Both are gamers, but both, especially Ferguson, seem to always be battling injuries. Beyond them, there's Antonio Chatman, who's barely a threat, and second-round draft pick Terrence Murphy.

As a rookie remember how Walker and Ferguson did? They struggled. In other words, after the top three receivers on this team, there are questions. Which means not having Walker for any part of the regular season could really impact the Packers' offense.

Walker is the complete package as a receiver. He's 6-foot-3, weighs 215 pounds, has the speed to go deep and the size to go over the middle. Driver and Ferguson, both above average receivers, aren't as complete.

I'm not saying the Packers should give Walker a new deal. That is his signature on his current deal, isn't it? Also, when he struggled his first year and a half, did he ask for a pay cut? No.

It'll be interesting to see what transpires with Walker this summer, but one thing is for sure — the Packers need him.

Worried about Rodgers?
The Packers admitted during the last minicamp rookie quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't show the same accuracy he did in college when he completed 66 percent of his passes. Is this a red flag? No.

Rookie quarterbacks have so much to learn via the playbook that somewhere else their performance in these camps will likely suffer. He's in a new world where everything, to him, moves at the speed of light.

As he gets more comfortable, the former California Golden Bear should regain his accuracy. Midway through the preseason Rodgers should make strides, but the good thing is with Brett Favre, Rodgers doesn't have to be ready for this season.

Rotten QB Situation
The Dolphins' battle for the starting QB position is between A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte. Honestly, I'd rather have Rodgers if I was Miami.

No wonder why they drafted Auburn RB Ronnie Brown and are interested in Ricky Williams' return. They likely want to run the ball 90 percent of the time.

Crazy Talk
Minnesota QB Daunte Culpepper was amazed at the comparison Randy Moss made about him and his new Oakland QB Kerry Collins, saying Collins may be as good, if not better, than Culeppper.

"When I first heard that, I figured maybe Randy had fallen and bumped his head to say something that crazy," Culpepper said. "All they've got to do is look at the numbers. I mean no disrespect to Kerry Collins. I understand that (Moss) has to say something good about his quarterback. But he didn't have to say anything that crazy."

One last thought
It's early, but some "experts" have said Arizona could be a surprise team this season. Maybe so, as the Cardinals have added some talent. But with Kurt "Happy Feet" Warner at QB it will take some convincing for me to be in the Cards' camp.


Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a longtime sportswriter and former Packers beat writer for the Green Bay News-Chronicle. E-mail at dritchay@sbcglobal.net.


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