Monday, June 22, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Live from Green Bay
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- That's right. The NFC North Winnebago pulled into the Bay late Sunday night, and I'll be at attention when the Packers open minicamp Monday morning.
(Those who make the trip across Wisconsin state Hwy. 29 will be glad to know that the Wausau overpass has been completed. No stoplights now between I-94 and Shawano. Nice.)
I'll be stationed here for the next couple of days to bring you some perspective on the state of the Packers and their transition to a 3-4 defense. I think I have a pretty good idea of what you're interested in, based on your missives during the offseason, but be sure to leave a note in the comments section of this post if you have any last-minute issues for me to address.
The morning practice starts around 11:15 a.m. ET. Look for some early-afternoon updates before the second practice, scheduled at around 4 p.m. ET.
First, let's catch up on the weekend:
- Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette documents a 10-day trip that Packers receiver Donald Driver and defensive end Aaron Kampman took to Africa in February. Said Kampman: "You get a different reality of the fact there's a lot of need in the world. Everyone can do this. It doesn't just have to be a professional athlete."
- For those interested in the business side of sports, Green Bay reported a $20.1 million profit for 2008, but an investment loss brought its net income down to about $4 million. Here's a take from Chris Jenkins of the Associated Press. Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke down the numbers here. The Packers release this information because they are a publicly-owned business.
- The key to the Packers' 2009 season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers tells Greg A. Bedard of the Journal Sentinel, is to avoid distractions. "There are always going to be distractions, we just have to manage them. We have so much talent in this room; the only thing that can stop us is ourselves. And we stopped ourselves way too many times last year. If we can limit the distractions, I think we're going to be in a position to make a big run."
- Rodgers isn't likely to be distracted by Brett Favre's arrival in Minnesota, at least not this week. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune points out that Vikings coach Brad Childress is on vacation in Alaska, where he is fishing with Philadelphia coach Andy Reid.
- Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune talks to former players about new Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. Said Tampa Bay's Chris Hovan: "I'll never forget this quote from him for the rest of my life: 'If I see a little, I see a lot. If I see a lot, I see nothing.' That's the basis of his teachings. He was always on the details."
- Former NFL receiver Peter Warrick, who is playing for an indoor football league in Illinois, would love to play for the Bears, writes the Tribune's David Haugh.
- Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com looks at the positional battles brewing as Detroit opens minicamp this week. New coach Jim Schwartz literally has no depth chart at this point.