Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 NFL Draft – Bryan Bulaga to the Packers

With the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select offensive tackle from Iowa University…Bryan Bulaga

Did anyone expect Ted Thompson to pick an NFL draft attendee? With four offensive tackles already taken before Bulaga in the first round, it appeared that Ted Thompson still believed he needed to upgrade an offensive line that allowed a league-worst 51 sacks last season.

Look no further than Bryan Bulaga, the Big Ten conference offensive lineman of the year in 2009. The only downside of Bulaga…"I'm an NFC North fan, growing up in Illinois. So I was ecstatic to get the call. I liked the Bears, yeah, but I think my allegiance has changed for sure now."

Ted Thompson announced Thursday night that he would like to see Bulaga enter OTA’s and training camp as the left tackle. With aging left tackle Chad Clifton (34) and right tackle Mark Tauscher (33), Bulaga will immediately step in and challenge the veterans for a starting role and at the same time, prepare to replace them in the near future. Bulaga has even played 5 games as guard on the O-Line in his senior season at Iowa, which shows his versatility.

Was Bryan Bulaga the best draft pick for the Green Bay Packers at 23 overall? Highly touted wide-receiver Dez Bryant, and outside linebackers Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes were all potential players still available. I think it was the right pick for Ted Thompson, who needed to address improving his offensive line in case of an injury to Clifton or Tauscher at some point throughout this year.

The thing that excites me the most about Bulaga is that he comes to the Packers healthy, is an excellent pass blocker, and his technique weaknesses will be easily correctable by the coaching staff. Overall, Bryan Bulaga is a great value pick for the Packers and let’s hope that he can be the kind of impact that last year’s 23rd overall pick in the draft was to his respective team…Michael Oher.

(Photo courtesy of JSOnline)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Packers re-sign Clifton

It's been a rather busy day for the NFC North today. The Chicago Bears signed All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers and former Viking Chester Taylor and the Detroit Lions made a big splash by landing their own All-Pro defensive end, Kyle Vanden Bosch and another former Viking Nate Burleson, along with acquiring former Packer Corey Williams from the Cleveland Browns.

To counter the moves made by their division rivals, the Packers re-signed veteran offensive tackle Chad Clifton. Clifton and the Packers reached an agreement on what ESPN.com reported was a three-year, $20 million deal, including a guarantee of $7.5 million.

It was assumed among most Packers fans that the team would let Clifton go, but all along the Packers were in the hunt for his services. The 33-year-old Clifton did not want to go somewhere else to finish his career and accepted a deal that will pay him slightly more in average pay than his previous contract.


My Take

Whatever the case, the price isn't out of line for a veteran left tackle. This isn't a capped year, so the Packers should have plenty of money to spend.

Though it's a three-year deal, Clifton may only be a starter for one more season. The Packers are likely going to use the draft to build up their offensive line, and this could wind up being a transition year for them. Clifton has indicated that he feels he can play three more years and said that with the exception of an ankle injury that caused him to miss four games, his body felt as good as it had over the past couple of years.

Clifton wasn't the dominating pass blocker he has been in previous years, but he was someone coach Mike McCarthy could rely on. If Clifton stays healthy next year, the Packers will be happy with their investment. Job well done, Mr. Thompson.

(picture courtesy NFL.com)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Packers resign Derrick Martin to 2-year contract

Safety Derrick Martin, a key member of the special teams last year, became the first of eight potential restricted free agents the Green Bay Packers were able to take off the market before the signing period begins March 5.

The Packers and Martin, 24, agreed on a two-year contract extension Monday, ending about two weeks of talks between the two sides, Martin's agent, Brad Cicala, said. Though he wouldn't give specifics of the deal, Cicala said it did include guaranteed money Martin might not have received had he gone into free agency.

“Derrick wanted to stay,” Cicala said. “They were fair with us, and we were fair with them.”

Martin was acquired from the Baltimore Ravens Sept. 5 in exchange for offensive tackle Tony Moll and became an instant contributor on special teams.

Martin started at safety in the fourth game of the season after Atari Bigby injured his knee, and Martin struggled in that game. He played sparingly on defense the rest of the season.

A former cornerback, the 5-10, 198-pound Martin, moved to safety during the 2009 off-season with Baltimore and didn’t have a chance to play corner with the Packers.

Cicala said Martin would like to be more involved with the secondary next year, possibly as a nickel corner, which is where he played most of his first three years in Baltimore.

The Packers' other restricted free agents are: safety Nick Collins, end Johnny Jolly, cornerback Will Blackmon, guard Daryn Colledge, fullback John Kuhn, guard/center Jason Spitz and Bigby.

(story courtesy of JSOnline)
(photo courtesy of Daily Radar Ball Hype)

My Take

The signing of Derrick Martin is a great decision by Ted Thompson. Since acquiring Martin at the beginning of last season, he immediately had a nose for the football and eventually became a special teams playoff captain.

While he may be one of the least important players of the 7 restricted free agents remaining to be signed, he significantly helped a Packers special teams coverage unit that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL.

Martin's agent mentioned he would like to see his client play the nickel corner next year. I would like to see Martin start there if and only if Ted Thompson doesn't upgrade in that postiton and would rely on guys like Jarrett Bush or Josh Bell to play that position instead.....but that's a different rant I will save for another day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marquette Men's Basketball....a bubble team???

Needing a victory after Thursday’s loss at home to Pittsburgh, the Marquette Men went on the road and knocked off Cincinnati in overtime 79-76. Darius Johnson-Odom and Lazar Hayward each scored 20-points to lead the Golden Eagles. Hayward’s 3-pointer with 27.5 seconds left tied the game at 67 to force overtime.

The difference in this game can be found by looking at the charity stripe. Marquette hit 16 of 17 (94.1%) while Cincinnati connected on just 8 of 16 (50.o%).

With the win, Marquette improves to 17-9 overall and 8-6 in the Big East. Cincinnati (6-8, 15-11) was also a bubble team and could have tied Marquette in Big East play with a win.

Marquette has four-games left before the Big East tournament; at St. John’s, at Seton Hall, home with Louisville and home with Notre Dame. Only Louisville holds an above .500 Big East Mark.

(story courtesy of Wisconsin Radio Network)
(photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

My Take

Is Marquette still an NCAA bubble team? I think at the moment they are, but looking ahead at their schedule, it is going to be either theirs to win or lose.

The Marquette Golden Eagles will close out the regular season before entering the Big East tournament playing just 1 team in the remainder 4 regular season games that is over the .500 mark. In my opinion, they should and need to win at least 2 of those 4 games.

With the Big East conference regarded as the most difficult in the nation, don't expect Marquette to hang around too long in the Big East conference tournament except if Hayward, Acker, and Cubillan provide the senior leadership to lead their team far.

My prediction: Marquette wins 3 out of 4 to end the regular season, win 1 game in the Big East tournament, win a nail biter as a low seed in the NCAA tournament opener at possibly a #12 seed, and lose the following game to end the year.

I do however, have strong optimism next year as the Golden Eagles and head coach Buzz Williams will be returning DJO, Jimmy Butler, and welcoming Madison Memorial recruit, Vander Blue.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Greg Jennings' favorite NBA team???

My Take

Make sure to add Greg Jennings on Facebook...he is a very nice guy and sometimes you can catch him on Facebook chat and ask him a quick question.

As far as picking the Cavs and Lebron, are athletes that play in Wisconsin required to root and cheer for Wisconsin based teams???

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bucks and Sixers agree to trade

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a trade that will send Jodie Meeks and Francisco Elson to the Philadelphia 76ers for Primoz Brezec, Royal Ivey and a second-round draft pick.

(photo courtesy NBA.com)

My Take

Nothing much to see here. The Bucks welcome back Royal Ivey and continue to add to more culture to their diverse roster. Brezec has played in seven games for the Sixers this year and has averaged a whopping five minutes per contest. The Bucks are preparing his seat at the end of the bench as we speak.

It's disappointing to see Meeks go. He has loads of potential and I can only wish him the best luck in Philadelphia. As for Elson, get well soon...your seat at the end of Philly's bench will be very lonely while you're recovering from hernia surgery.

Bucks trade for Salmons

The Milwaukee Bucks made it official on Thursday by announcing they have traded Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander, whose contracts both expire at the end of the season, to the Chicago Bulls for John Salmons.

The Bucks also have the option of switching first-round picks in this year's draft, provided the Bulls' pick isn't in the top 10. The Bulls added second-round draft choices in 2011 and 2012.

Warrick, a 6-9 power forward, averaged 10.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in half of a season with the Bucks. Alexander, the eighth overall pick in 2008, has battled a hamstring injury this season and hasn't played.

Salmons has a $5.8 million player option for next season that the Bulls didn't want to deal with as they clear space to be a major player in free agency this summer. Salmons will fill in for injured shooting guard Michael Redd.

"He's a good pro guard," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of Salmons. "He's been a solid player for quite a while, and we feel like we still need to solidify one of our perimeter spots, especially with Michael out. So it made sense."

(story courtesy ESPN.com)

(photo courtesy NBA.com)


My Take

I think that this move makes the Bucks better for sure. Will it put them over the top and clinch the 8th seed? Maybe.

Alexander never did anything close to remarkable in his rookie year, unless you consider being a candidate to be voted into the dunk contest (which he lost) an accomplishment. It's safe to say he has been a bust, regardless of how much time he spent in Milwaukee.

Warrick is an energetic and hard-working player, but he doesn't play a whole lot of defense, and coach Scott Skiles heavily promotes strong 'D'. Thankfully we'll now be spared from watching his ugly fade-away jumper from the top of the key. He can be a quality player when given proper minutes, but he's not much better than a decent backup.

Salmons will likely take over for Charlie Bell in the starting lineup, and on some nights Carlos Delfino. His versatility is nice, and he should be the third scoring option for the Bucks.

What's even more important are the draft picks that the Bulls included. Milwaukee will have the option of switching first round picks in this year's draft as long as Chicago's pick isn't within the top 10. The Bulls will also send a second round pick in 2011 and 2012.

Overall, I think this trade is a win for the Bucks. They have an opportunity of making the playoffs AND receiving a lottery pick, both of which are important for the resurgence of this franchise. Playoff experience is needed for the young roster and the best way to build a team is through the draft. It'll be exciting to see what Salmons can do for the Bucks and hopefully we'll still be watching them play when the regular season is over.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brewers sign reliever Schoeneweis to minor league deal

Left-hander Scott Schoeneweis has agreed to a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewrs and was invited to major league spring trainig. Schoeneweis would get an $800,000, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster and would have the chance to earn $700,000 in performance bonuses.

The 36-year-old is 46-57 with a 4.97 ERA in his 11-year major league career, making 93 starts among 562 appearances. Schoeneweis has played for six major league teams and was 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA in 45 relief appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

(picture courtesy MLB.com)


My Take

Hopefully Schoeneweis (whose name is quite hard to spell, by the way) will be able to provide something for the team, as it's always nice to have another veteran lefty. However, if he does make the club, lets hope he'll put up slightly better numbers than when he was in Arizona. That 7.13 ERA is just nasty.

Brewers to unveil statue of Bud Selig

Without the persistence of Bud Selig, the Milwaukee Brewers might still be the Seattle Pilots.

That same persistence resulted in the building of Miller Park, which guaranteed the franchise would not relocate again.

On those two counts alone, much less his other accomplishments, the Brewers figured Selig deserved to stand - in bronze - with Hank Aaron and Robin Yount outside of the club's retractable-roof facility.

The Brewers announced recently that they will honor baseball's commissioner and the team's former owner with a statue at Miller Park's Home Plate Plaza.

Selig's statue will be unveiled in a ceremony at 1 p.m. Aug. 24.

"We are proud to honor Commissioner Selig for all of his efforts on behalf of the Milwaukee Brewers and Major League Baseball," owner Mark Attanasio said in a statement released by the club.

"The Brewers and Miller Park are in this city because of the commissioner's vision and dedicated efforts. Just as importantly, he has remained a prominent and highly philanthropic member of our community while effectively leading Major League Baseball during his tenure as baseball's top executive."

"I'm very honored, grateful and proud," said Selig when reached at his downtown office. "Nobody symbolizes the Brewers more than Robin, and everybody knows how I feel about Hank. It's really hard to express my feelings. I never could have dreamed anything like this."

It was the Allan H. (Bud) Selig Foundation that donated the statues of Aaron and Yount, which were unveiled on April 5, 2001, the first year of Miller Park.

Selig's ownership group sold the club to a group led by Attanasio before the 2005 season. Now, his successors will honor his founding-father status in franchise history with a statue.

"You could never dream of anything like this," said Selig. "I can't really tell you what it means to me."

(story courtesy JSOnline)
(picture courtesy NBCSports)

My Take

Mr. Selig truly deserves this honor. Without this one man, the Milwaukee Brewers as we know them wouldn't be in existence. Summers in the state of Wisconsin would be long and boring without a team to follow. Although his later years of ownership and his tenure as commissioner have been frowned upon, he still is the man to thank for bringing baseball back to the great city of Milwaukee.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Badger forward Leuer near return

Although Wisconsin officials have declined to provide any updates on the progress of injured forward Jon Leuer, it appears the junior has taken a step toward returning.

Leuer, who has not been available for interviews, generally does conditioning work during practice. Recently, he was seen wearing only a black brace on his injured left wrist when he came out to watch practice at the Kohl Center.

Previously, Leuer had worn a white cast under the brace.

After watching practice for several minutes, Leuer left the court to put the cast back on. He accompanied assistant coach Gary Close up to the Nicholas-Johnson Pavilion, presumably to work on shooting.

Leuer suffered a broken bone in his left wrist on Jan. 9 in UW's 73-66 victory over Purdue.

He underwent successful surgery on Jan. 12 and barring any setbacks could return near the end of the regular season but before the Big Ten tournament, set for March 11-14 in Indianapolis.

(photo courtesy Bleacher Report)

(story courtesy JSOnline)

My Take

The Badgers haven't lost a step since Leuer's injury, and his return would only make him better. In his absence, junior Keaton Nankivil has stepped his game up, averaging 12.7 points and 6 rebounds per game. His career high of 25 points came in a loss at Purdue. Nankivil hit 7 of his 8 3-point attempts in the game but the Badgers fell short in the end.

Leuer, who is second on the team in points per game and first in rebounds per game, would be a huge addition to the team come conference tournament time. It wouldn't be smart to rush his return, however, as the Badgers face a relatively easy schedule to end the regular season.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bucks assign Alexander to D-League


(photo courtesy of NBA.com)

The Bucks recently announced that they have assigned forward Joe Alexander to the Fort Wayne franchise of the NBA Development League.

Alexander, who had his contract option declined by the Bucks in November, was working out with the team on its western road trip to prepare for a return to action. He has not played in a game this season due to a right hamstring strain he suffered in late September, just before training camp opened.

"This is nothing more than providing an opportunity for Joe to get on the floor in extended, live minutes," Bucks general manager John Hammond said Wednesday. "It's a chance for him to get his timing, feel and flow back to a real-game rhythm." He looks healthy and Joe would say he feels healthy," Hammond said. "But he's to the point where he does need to be on the floor."

Alexander played limited minutes as a rookie, appearing in 59 games with the Bucks after being selected eighth overall in the 2008 draft. After he was injured in September and aggravated the hamstring strain in October, the Bucks decided not to pick up the first option year on his rookie-scale contract.

That will make the former West Virginia player an unrestricted free agent at the end of the current season.

"There's not a predetermined time as to how little or how long he'll be there," Hammond said. "There's no way an experience like this could ever hurt Joe. The primary purpose is not for experience. It's just an opportunity to get on the floor and play in live game action."

(story courtesy of JSOnline)

My Take

Na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye! Tally up another Milwaukee Bucks draft lottery bust. Alexander has made it clear that he would like to be traded and have an opportunity to earn playing time on a different team. This move could spark some trade talk prior to the February 19th NBA trade deadline so don’t be surprised to see the Bucks making a move in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Brett Favre aftermath of NFC Championship loss

(story and photos courtesy of journalist Rick Cleveland from The Clarion Ledger)

So, I was talking to Bus Cook, sports agent of the stars, today about one of his clients, Antonio Johnson, the starting defensive tackle for the Indianapolis Colts. And I asked Bus about the health of his most famous client Brett Favre.

"Beat up," Bus answered. "You should see the photos of his ankle and his hamstring the day after the game."

I said I'd like to do just that. Cook emailed them. Brace yourself. For all those who have criticized Favre for throwing instead of running on that last play against the Saints, check out Brett's left ankle and his right hamstring.

That he even finished the game is testament to why he is football's all-time iron man, the toughest football player I've ever seen.

My Take

Whether you love him or hate him, there is a valid point why Brett Favre is NFL’s “Iron Man.” Now I ask you: How many guys would have played with that?

The ankle:



The hammie:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

NFL Rumor: Julius Peppers to The Green Bay Packers?


(photo courtesy of NBCSports.com)


With free agency fast approaching, it's an endless list of prospective destinations for defensive star, Julius Peppers.

Peppers made it clear during last year's offseason that he has no interest in finishing his career in a 4-3 defense. A worthy request for a sack machine, as the sack leaders in the last ten years have been primarily based out of a 3-4 system.

At 6'7", 283 pounds, though, Peppers' potential as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense would be exotic, to say the least. The Carolina veteran is undoubtedly a sack-master, finishing second only to Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney in sacks per year (10.1).

The question, rather, is whether or not he can be effective as a coverage man in open field. There are no qualms about his speed or athleticism, but at such a heavy stature, there is a concern that he won't be able to keep up with speedy tight ends or maintain a large area of space in zone coverage.

Rather, my guess is Peppers will find his way to an already successful team that uses a 3-4, a team like the Green Bay Packers or the New England Patriots.

I have my money on the Packers, despite the odds that are stacked against them. General Manager Ted Thompson, nicknamed "tight-wad Ted" has never been the type to shell out loads of money for any one player, something Peppers will most certainly demand as a free agent.

Peppers is, after all, thirty years old and he isn't getting any younger.

(story courtesy of BleacherReport.com)

My Take

Julius Peppers to Green Bay will be almost as unlikely as Brett Favre returning to the Packers under the Ted Thompson regime in the coming years.

I remember hearing these rumors last offseason, but even with the emergence of the Packers defense, which finished as the NFL’s 2nd best this year, no way do I see Ted Thompson bringing in Julius Peppers. Peppers is 30 years old and we all know Thompson loves to build youth from the draft.

Julius Peppers is the equivalent of Aaron Kampman. Kampman could not adjust to the 3-4 defense this past year as a linebacker and was lost for the season due to injury. I do not foresee the Packers organization resigning him or taking a risk on Julius Peppers, considering the type of money he will bargain for. Peppers, like Kampman should be playing as a defensive end regarding the type of scheme due to their production as sack leaders atop the NFL.

The Packers defensive end list currently consist of Johnny Jolly, Cullen Jenkins, Justin Harrell, Jarius Wynn, and Mike Montgomery.

The ONLY way I see Peppers strapping on the green and gold is if Johnny Jolly ends up in serious trouble with his codeine charges or if Justin Harrell is finally released after failing to stay healthy for yet another season.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bucks' Elson out six weeks


















(picture courtesy Nike.com)


Milwaukee Bucks center Francisco Elson will miss six weeks after having surgery to repair a hernia.

The 7-foot backup center has been used sparingly for the Bucks, playing 60 minutes over 11 games. The 33-year-old Elson has 10 points and 13 rebounds this season, his seventh in the NBA.

General manager John Hammond confirmed Monday that Elson had surgery on Friday.

(story courtesy ESPN.com)

My Take

Not a big deal as far as the team goes, but here's to wishing Elson a full recovery.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where are they now?.....Brian Butch

One of the few greater basketball players to come out of Fox Valley Association (FVA) conference from Appleton West High School in 2003, Brian Butch, known by teammates as “The Polar Bear, has taken many fans by recent surprise.

Butch is a former Wisconsin Badger center who played in 36 games his senior season and averaged 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.8 blocks per game.
In his junior season with the Badgers, Butch suffered a gruesome elbow injury against Ohio State, which ended his season. When he recovered, he attempted to rehab and make a push towards the 2008 NBA Draft.

In July 2008, Butch began playing Las Vegas summer league games for the Memphis Grizzlies in hopes of getting a contract with the team after going undrafted.

Fast-forwarding to 2010, Brian Butch is trying to revive a comeback to the NBA as he is currently a member of the Bakersville Jam in the NBA Development League. Wearing #44 and standing a mean 6’11” 240 lbs, Butch is averaging 17.6 points per game with 8.5 rebounds. Butch is joined on the team by teammate Reece Gaines, formerly a point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005-2006.

In conclusion, Brian Butch is making a name for himself in the NBA D-League and fans out there of “The Polar Bear” should not be surprised if we hear his name mentioned in the near future. On a side note, Butch has even briefly starred in a recent local commercial for Pep’s Frozen Pizza.

video



EDITOR'S NOTE:

Butch's elbow injury came during his junior season, therefore it did not end his career.

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