I'd like to talk about something that is of particular interest around the NFL lately and that hit home for us last week.
Reports say that Nick Barnett was arrested for "assault" outside of an Appleton Night Club. I put "assault" in quotes not because I dispute the validity of the charge, but because we need to keep in mind that 1) he has not been proven guilty and that 2) assault does not mean that he caused bodily harm to another. What it does mean is that he was seen in an act that COULD result in bodily harm. We really don't know what happened. It may have been what was reported, or it could have been based on the reports of witnesses who were involved and may or may not have gotten the entire story straight. Hopefully it is taken care of swiftly. Our hope is that Nick can move on and start earning his keep with the six-year, $34.85 million extension that we just gave him in April. If convicted and even if not, Barnett could be suspended for some time under the league's "No Tolerance" policy. That would be a detriment to our team and a defense that needs all of the leadership that we can get.
I see it, however, as a win-win either way. If he is not suspended, he can move on and hopefully not have to go through it again. That is the best case scenario. If he is punished, the hope is that the punishment will deter the player from making similiar mistakes in the future. Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packer organization has made it clear that they do not tolerate these type of things and I'm sure that the team will handle the situation appropriately once all of the details come out. We will need Barnett's hustle, determination and leadership for the years to come as we strive to get atop the NFC North Division and bring another Lombardi trophy home to Green Bay. I see him having the potential to be a value to the team much like Ray Lewis is in Baltimore. If history repeats itself in that case, remember that since being acquitted in his involvement with a murder charge years ago, Lewis has been an integral part in the Ravens' success and has led them to a Super Bowl victory along the way.
With the recent news that the team has increased revenues and profits over the year prior and are now in the top half of the league in that category, I have reason to believe that some good years are ahead. While we have not been atop the division in recent years and have had some questionable months this off-season, this is still one of the most storied franchises in all of professional sports. We are fortunate that the Packers are not known as an organization that is often embroiled in negative press (see the Cincinnati Bengals). I hope the team takes this as an opportunity to regroup and align themselves to the common goal to improve on last year. Any time a player comes to a new team, there is an adjustment period and we have all seen examples of players who did not mesh and produce like they had in the past in their new environment (Terrell Owens, Eagles; Randy Moss, Raiders) With many of the Packer roster players returning next year, one thing is certain: this team knows one another and has one more year of experience playing together. Look for signs of that to come out week in and week out this upcoming season.
Jason, email@example.com, Chandler, AZ
Larry Johnson not worth the draft picks, money
I'd be disappointed if TT gave up draft picks & a huge chunk of the salary cap space to acquire Larry Johnson.
I don't believe LJ is even close to the type of back GB needs for their zone blocking system. Plus, I agree that LJ is probably on the other side of his career. He is leaving his prime, not entering it.
Some teams who are 1 or 2 skill players away from being an elite team may have an interest in LJ, but that is not GB. Although I do believe GB has play-off possibilities this year, I still think their younger players need more time before GB can be an elite team, even in the NFC.
Finally, GB & TT need to retain a sizeable amount of cap space in order to sign a FA QB after the 2007 season. I believe (I hope) that 2007 is it for Favre. I'm not convinced that A. Rodgers is the answer at QB.
Doug N., firstname.lastname@example.org, Juneau, WI
Packers should pursue veteran backup quarterback
Read your QB article today. I honestly believe that GB needs to sign another legitimate QB that could start and possibly win a game if Favre or Rodgers is out.
I live in Nashville, TN and saw Ingle Martin play in H.S. He was a tremendous athlete, QB, runner, kicker and punter. However from watching him at preseason camp last year and preseason games, he just did not impress. Maybe he will get a lot better, but I just don't get the feeling he will ever be more than a guy fighting to make the team. Seems to me that there are some better free agents, such as Joey Harrington that would offer more game experience and ability to win a game. I am not saying Harrington is a star, but he did improve a lot last year with Miami with a good OL to block for him. Your thoughts?
Steven Wells, Stevenpagewells@aol.com, Nashville, TN
Ingle Martin will have to do better in training camp this year than last year to make the team, and I think he will. He seems much more comfortable with the offense. I'm sure last year's camp was a whirlwind for him, and he only gets a few reps in each practice to make an impression. Should be better this year. We'll see.
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