Five random thoughts

Alvarez says he was offered job as coach of Packers

1. My gut tells me Brett Favre will return to the Green Bay Packers in 2006 and maybe beyond. This has been a tough year for Favre and the Packers, but things could turn around quickly next year. The Packers should be able to secure some very good talent in the draft due to their record and they also have a good amount of cap space for free agency. This is Favre's first losing season as quarterback of the Packers and there is no way he will leave the game in that status. Besides, Favre still has the physical skills that made him great, but his decision-making, at times, has been questionable. Those decisions were made because Favre has great faith in his wide receivers making plays.

Favre has made many throws this year that turned out to be interceptions that in the past were catches. The difference? Javon Walker. Walker would catch just about anything Favre threw in his direction. Robert Ferguson has skills, but he is no Walker. Favre has found that out the hard way.

2. Speaking of Ferguson, it should be remembered that he took a brutal clothesline hit from safety Donovin Darius late last year that could have been a career ending play. Ferguson has always shown courage as a player, whether it be a wide receiver or on special teams. He simply isn't in the class of Walker. Favre needs to understand the limitations of each of his receivers. Ferguson is big and strong, but he just doesn't have that innate ability to go get a ball like Walker.

I know Ferguson hates the comparisons, but what if the Packers had taken Chris Chambers instead of Ferguson when they had the chance in the 2001 NFL draft? Chambers is under 6-feet tall, but he plays and jumps like he's 6-4. We all know Favre likes to let his WRs make plays, and Chambers has shown that he would have been a great target for Favre in Green Bay.

3. Aaron Rodgers has handled his backup status very well. He has said all the right things and it appears that he is fine with sitting as long as Favre is with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers will get his chance some day. I believe he will be the future leader of this team. That future just won't be for a couple of years.

The Matt Leinart rumors are nothing more than draft posturing by Ted Thompson. Rodgers was Thompson's first ever pick as General Manager of the Packers and I believe Thompson made a good pick. Rodgers was the first pick overall on a lot of mock draft boards and to get him at No. 24 was a steal. Rodgers played very well in the Pac 10 and especially against USC. He beat them once and almost beat them a second time. He had a career touchdown to interception rate of over 3-1. Rodgers has also learned a lot playing behind one of the greatest legends in NFL history. He has also learned what it's like to live in Green Bay when the Packers are losing. That is an invaluable experience. That is a taste that Rodgers will remember when he finally is given the keys to the car in Packerland. But that driving lesson will take place in a couple of years.

4. Defensive coordinator Jim Bates has been everything he was advertised to be and then some. Considering how pitiful the Packers looked on defense last year, especially in pass defense, this year's results thus far are incredible. The Packers currently are the number 5 ranked defense in the entire NFL and they are number 1 in pass defense. The tackling has been much better as well and the players seem to love Bates' scheme. Bates has also put himself in a very good position to be the next head coach of the Packers if Ted Thompson does fire head coach Mike Sherman after this year. Bates proved last year on a interim basis in Miami that he can get the job done as a head coach and the job he has done in Green Bay this year is even better. I would expect Bates to get some head coaching offers somewhere this off season, even if it may not be Green Bay depending how the Sherman scenario is played out. Sherman also deserves a lot of credit for having the Packers play hard week after week in this disappointing 2005 season.

5. Speaking of coaches, there seems to have been "a failure to communicate" between former Packer VP & GM Ron Wolf and Wisconsin Badgers athletic director and head coach Barry Alvarez. Alvarez was on a Steve True's "The World's Greatest Sports Talk Show" recently and he recalled a meeting that he and Wolf had after Ray Rhodes was fired after the 1999 season. "Ron Wolf called and asked if I wanted the job, and he and I met on it. I took a few days, told him I would let him know what I was thinking. That was right when I went through my knee situation and I didn't know if I'd ever walk again, I really didn't. It got a little more serious than what people thought. (Wolf) snuck out of the office one day, drove out through the garage, lying in the back of a car, and he and I met. We met in a hotel in Fond du Lac. They had no idea who we were."

Wolf had a different recollection: "I interviewed him but I didn't offer it to him, no," Wolf said. "We never got that far." So who has the better recollection here? First off, Alvarez's stock was never higher at the time, as he was just coming off back to back Big 10 and Rose Bowl championships. Wolf, on the other hand, was being openly questioned about his decision to hire and then quickly fire Rhodes. My take on all of this is that I side with Alvarez's take on this story. Why? Because I have a source that told be me about this meeting shortly after it happened. This source also said he was at the meeting and that Alvarez was offered the job.

Bob Fox is a freelance writer from the Tampa, Fla. area and frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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