Lombardi blog: March edition

Candidates to back up Rodgers; thoughts on Favre's decision to retire from football

March 7, 2008
Favre's Replacement
Aaron Rodgers will get the first crack at replacing Brett Favre, but should he be the only one? All reports indicate that the Packers will sign a veteran to back up Rodgers. Mark Brunell, David Carr, Gus Frerotte are some of the names being bandied about. But should the Packers look to find a guy who might challenge Rodgers for the starting job? Should they just hand it to Rodgers, or make him earn it?

Why not go after a guy like Matt Cassel, Tom Brady's backup, or J.P. Losman, or even Brady Quinn? What about a guy like Chris Simms? Or draft a guy with one of those second round picks if they measure up?

Just a thought. I liked what Rodgers did last year in the Dallas game, but the difference between being a spot player and QB1 are vastly different.

March 5, 2008
Favre - The Next Day
Now that the news has begun to sink in, what to make of all this?

Will he come back?

Some folks think he might change his mind. The theories are varied. Some think he is trying to force the Packers to do more to improve the team. Others think he is trying to get them to show him some love. Others think he will realize that he misses the games too much to give up before he can no longer play at a high level. Are any of these scenarios reasonable? I think the first one has some merit. The second is bunk and the third is very reasonable.

I think that Favre would like to see some improvement on the offensive side of the ball. I know that they had a good season and there are some weapons on offense, but that is more by accident than through any action by the team. Greg Jennings, James Jones and Ryan Grant look like they will have good careers, but if anyone predicted they would be this good this quick is crazy. And how much of their success is the result of Brett Favre himself and what he brings to the table. I can see Brett wishing that the team had traded for or traded for Randy Moss or done something a bit more dramatic. And this goes back three years now. I do not think that this offseason was the cause, but rather it was an accumulation of things. He just had enough.

As for this being a temper tantrum, I just cannot see it. Maybe they did not do enough to communicate with him about coming back. I do not know. Ted Thompson does not seem to be a real outgoing guy, but Mike McCarthy is. Maybe Brett thinks that their words said come back, but their actions did not. I can see him thinking, "Don't tell me, show me."

I can see him missing it before the season starts, but will he have the guts to try and come back and will they take him? Will it be too late? What if he calls them on August 1 and says he has the itch? Will he be in shape? If they do not want him, will they let him go somewhere else? Can you see him in a Dolphins uniform or Chiefs uniform?

One thing I do know about Favre is that he says what is on his mind and keeps saying it. He is a talker. This season will be tougher than last year. The schedule is harder. The Packers will not sneak up on anyone. Teams will be prepared for them. They avoided serious injury to their key guys. Their older guys are older. To think they can duplicate last years results without some luck and improvement is a tall order. I guess Brett did not see enough to think he can live with the stress and scrutiny given what he saw as their chances.

March 4, 2008
Who is the Back up?
Now that Brett Favre is riding off to the sunset and Aaron Rodgers is the man, who will be the No. 2 guy?

Daunte Culpepper?
Trent Green?
David Carr?
Chris Simms?
Byron Leftwich?
Craig Nall?

March 4, 2008
Favre Retires
I saw in the news reports that Favre told Coach McCarthy the news. Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that Brett told McCarthy Monday evening. I wonder if that has any meaning to it. Especially since the Packer website goes out of its way to say he informed Ted Thompson.

It has been reported that Favre left Mortensen a voice mail where he said he wanted to come back and win a Super Bowl, but thought that would be a tough road to travel and he was not mentally up to the challenge. Did Brett feel (that in spite of the success the team enjoyed in 2007) that they were not up to task? I do not think it is any secret that Favre was not overjoyed with the moves made by the Packer brass over the past few years. He lobbied for help and even though he got some, I guess he wanted more. I guess Brett did not think the Packers did enough or wanted him to come back.

I got this quote from the article on ESPN.com that spells it out in my mind. It is from his agent Bus Cook.

"I talked to Brett this morning and I told him 'nobody forced you to make this decision to retire, but the flip side is nobody encouraged you to play,'" Cook told Mortensen. "Two years ago, Ted [Thompson, the Packers' GM] encouraged him to play, but there was nothing this time around from them offering encouragement or him to come back."

Let the Aaron Rodgers era begin. I guess Ted Thompson wants it that way. I know that many folks will look at this as Favre retiring because he is not happy or not loved enough by the team. If they had got Randy Moss to come here, would he have come back? Who knows? If they had done something more to convince Brett to come back, would he have come back? Should they have? Who runs the team? Brett or Ted?

I guess time will tell. If the team continues to win, then history will prove Thompson right. If the team struggles, especially at quarterback or on offense, then Thompson will suffer the consequences.

John Lombardi is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at johnlombardi22@yahoo.com.

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