Early Bird Prediction
This time of year is the most difficult time to be a football fan. Nothing is going on, the majority of folks who work for any of the NFL teams are on vacation and the only news being created is a signing here or there of a low round draft pick.
That being said, it might be appropriate to give you my initial prediction on how the Packers might do this season. It is next to pointless to do so before training camp begins, but it is why I am here.
Given that the team finished 8-8 last year, largely on the back of a favorable schedule, I find it hard to imagine it surpassing that record. Losing David Martin and Ahman Green will hurt them, but not greatly. They did next to nothing in free agency and it is a lot to ask a rookies to contribute immediately. One or more of them may have to start and it is not unreasonable to think that a rookie may have a large impact, but it is asking a lot.
So they are going into the season with fewer proven weapons on offense and effectively the same defense as last year and the schedule is more difficult. Maybe Marquand Manuel will be replaced and maybe the first round bonus baby, Justin Harrell, will get some time if he can stay away from the injured list. Otherwise, barring injury, the defense may look the same.
Assuming another year is good for those guys, the team should be better. The coaching staff has been together another year, is set in their spots and should do a better job. The schedule is harder and the Packers could have a better year but finish with a worse record.
It would be sad to see Brett Favre end his career on a losing team, but everything I know about the NFL tells me the team will be lucky to get to 8-8. Once training camp opens and we can see the rookies in action, I may be singing a different tune, but until then, mediocre is the best I can see.
July 6, 2007
Maybe you have seen the news reports that the NFL is limiting media outlets from running long video or audio clips on their web sites. Sites, like PackerReport.com can only show up to 45 seconds of video or audio of NFL related content. This is done to both protect and drive viewers to the NFL affiliated web sites, like the Packers official website.
I do not speak for PackerReport.com here, but I can see where many of these media outlets would be disturbed by this policy. This embargo does little to me, because I do not dabble in the video production arts and do not have the patience to watch something so long on a computer, but I can see why it will inconvenience some. The NFL wants to strengthen and protect another of their investments.
Of the two sides in this "conflict," I kind of side with the media outlets. They are in business just like the NFL and their teams. They cover the NFL not because they are big fans, although they might be, but because it is their job.
The NFL sometimes forgets that it is the most popular sports entity, in part, because of the "FREE" publicity that newspapers, television and other media outlets give the league.
This move may come back to bite the NFL in the behind. The league should do less monopolizing of the Internet and spend more time scouting, coaching and keeping its guys off the police blotter.
Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.