Packing it in
Green Bay's long, cold offseason; Skins fans chime in
Posted: Friday March 16, 2007 10:54AM; Updated: Friday March 16, 2007 10:54AM
Silliest thing I've heard since my last mailbag column is that the NFL's steroid and HGH testing program is in serious trouble because the league doesn't want to pay the testers as they would salaried employees. In other words, it would have to provide benefits, such as medical, retirement and clean straw to sleep on at night. Much cheaper to call them contracted help and pay them by the specimen.
Way to go, NFL. I mean the money pinch is really severe, isn't it? But once again, I have a solution. Pay them as full time workers, but fill in their schedule with full time work, such as painting helmets, mowing grass, sewing torn jerseys, and the like. I'm glad to help out, NFL, and please feel free to call at any time.
No questions about this thorny problem? Mostly free agency? OK, Andrew, I'll try to provide a little light to go with the heat. Austin of Reno, Nev., asks: "Wouldn't it make sense for the Pack to trade for Randy Moss, allow him to have his one great year before the problems start up, and then trade him away when his stock is super high?"
Bad call here, champ. The Raiders tried it, got the problems without the good year, and now they've got an untradeable problem child who has about as much desire to play football as he does to work in a steel mill.
Another Packers fan, Erick of Cable, Wisc., hasn't seen much free-agent activity since Ron Wolf left. Well, let's look. As of March 16, their only signing was cornerback Frank Walker. Last year their biggest signing was Charles Woodson. Not great but a lot better than what they had. Patriots reject Adrian Klemm was their most important of two free-agent signings in '05, supposedly to bolster a deteriorating offensive line that had lost both guards. He lasted one year as a part-time starter.
In '03 and '04 they brought in six nondescript free agents, with Mark Roman making the major contribution as a two-year starter at strong safety. None of them are still with the team. Joe Johnson and Ki-Jana Carter, both busts, were their free agent signings in '02, the year after Wolf left, but they traded two fourth-round drafts to New England for wideout Terry Glenn. He lasted a year, finishing third among Packers receivers with 56 catches.
This isn't a good record in five-plus seasons. It isn't a mediocre record. IT'S DOWNRIGHT AWFUL! Bring back Ron Wolf!
From Joe of Hartford, Conn., whom I and my wife and children thank for his kind words: "As a New Yorker, can you explain what the Giants are doing in this free-agency market?" Do you mean you want me to explain, as a New Yorker, or that you want to know, as a New Yorker? Well, until last week I'd have said the Giants were in a period of watchful waiting. They watched what other people did and waited to get lucky. And then they picked up Reuben Droughns. Yes! I think this guy is terrific, but I'm always a sucker for the blood-and-guts runners. People have written that he'll give Brandon Jacobs relief. I think it'll be the other way around. Re-signing center Shaun O'Hara for big bucks is a move I'll never criticize unless I feel a guy is a stiff. Firming up the offensive line, gearing things to a pounding attack behind a pair of big backs is a good way to keep Eli Manning off the field ... whoops, I didn't really say that ... is a good way to, uh, ease the pressure on Eli Manning.
"What pressure? He's getting paid, isn't he?" says The Flaming Redhead, who can get tough at times. I don't know. Maybe he did the banjo accompaniment when his brother did the tango, and he never told anybody about it.
Which plays right into the question of Kevin of Norwalk, Conn., who sees a relatively small, athletic Giants line blocking for big backs. Is this OK? Yeah. The smaller, quicker O-lines are in vogue now, as far as establishing a running game, no matter what size the backs are.
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