Category Archives for "Blog"

FREE-LANCE WRITING OPPORTUNITY GONE

For the first time in 15 years, I won’t be covering prep sports this season. I learned this about a one and a half months ago.

When Gannett purchased the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – thus NOW Newspapers – they turned the web sites and the Journal Sentinel sports pages into USA TODAY II. For example, their MLB page shows scores which are 2 days old because of earlier deadlines.

Then they fired some outstanding sports reporters and photographers at NOW.  At first I was told it wouldn’t affect free-lancers and about a month and a half ago I received an email that said Gannett canned the free-lance budget. They seem to think ‘No one cares about prep sports.’  They compared the website ‘clicks’ on the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and Badgers to prep sports. Now they took away TMJ Prep Editor Mark Stewarts’ prep free-lance budget.

The bottom line is just that – the bottom line. Quality is no longer the most important thing.  For example, they’re delivery service is worst than ever. I am 68 years old. I love the internet, but I still like my morning paper with my coffee. I went on vacation and when I returned my paper started up 10 days  later than it was supposed to. I couldn’t get through on the phone and I emailed a generic website (heard back a week later).  All I wanted was the paper I paid for already.

I want my paper, so every day I went to the gas station and bought one. They continue to miss me on some Saturday’s, so when I call, they deliver the Saturday paper with the Sunday paper. They seem to miss the point that I don’t want Saturday’s news on Sunday. I want credit.

When I retired June 30, 2016 I subscribed to the Waukesha Freeman, which does a good job covering prep sports, focusing on the Waukesha Schools, but also covering the other county schools.

If you’re reading this, you know I started a website called preps2pros.net and I did it for one reason – I wanted to write feature stories about some of the top prep kids and tell their stories. Last year I started on Aug. 18 – my birthday – and wrote 51 stories about athletes from Brookfield, Wauwatosa and New Berlin.  I do this because these kids keep me young and every kid I met were great people as well as good kids.

So you might not see me covering a prep game, but I will be continuing my web site and will attend games when available.

After-all I am one of those people who still enjoy prep sports.

 

BREWERS’ STEARNS STUCK TO HIS GUNS

It was with mixed emotions I watched the trading deadline come to an end with the Milwaukee Brewers basically standing pat and not improving their sinking ship.

The addition of Anthony Swarzak and Jeremy Jeffress can’t hurt an overworked and not too talented bullpen (Jacob Barnes, Oliver Drake, Jared Hughes, Carlos Torres).  Paolo Espino and Wei-Chung Wang haven’t pitched enough to be considered yet.

That leaves you with Corey Knebel and Josh Hader as the closest to ‘sure things.’

Jimmy Nelson and two starting pitchers who don’t look like they’re old enough to shave (Zach Davies, Brent Suter) will hopefully be joined by Chase Anderson and Matt Garza off the disabled list soon. They won’t get you to the playoffs, but they will get you through the season.

Hopefully as they fall out of it, some of the minor league hurlers (Brandon Woodruff) will get an opportunity because Stearns is obviously looking to the future.

How good is the Brewers farm system? Obviously very good because many of the trades that didn’t happen were because other teams wanted their top prospects. Hopefully Stearns’ patience will pay off.

MR. NEGATIVE

I have been called negative because I have said all along that this team was not good enough to win the Central Division. Who cares if they are in first place June 1 or at the All-Star break, it’s where they’re at Oct. 1 that counts.

Sonny Gray was not going to get this team to the World Series and you have to be pretty stupid to think so. I think Stearns and his people have done a fine job since the Brewers are probably one and a half to two years ahead of schedule.

But the bottom line has more to do with the Chicago Cubs, the defending World Champions, than with the Brewers.

The Cubs weren’t playing up to their potential – they proved what they can do last year – and when they did they passed the Brewers. They simply have more talent.

But the other thing was the Cubs are playing to win the World Series – not the division – so they could afford to give up top talent and they did and got Jose Quintana and Justin Wilson, two players the Brewers probably coveted.

WHAT’S NEXT?

You can dream about catching the Cubs but that’s not going to happen. The Brewers need to worry more about St. Louis and Pittsburgh than they do the Cubs.

The Brewers need to get back to playing good baseball, finish second and win over 81 games. Now that would be a good – no make it a great – season.

 

 

DON’T BE FOOLED – BREWERS ON THE RIGHT PATH

If the Milwaukee Brewers are to continue to battle for a Central Division title – ‘if’ being the key word here – it is going to be a roller-coaster season.

One of the major reasons with the Brewers being in first place is a World Series hangover by the team 90 miles south. The Cubs are starting to wake up and anyone who thinks the Brewers match up with their talent, please stop reading right here.

I picked the Brewers to win 78 games. The fact that they have won 32 games on June 9 is amazing. The bottom line is this. They will have to win the division to make the playoffs, because there are too many good teams in the Eastern and especially Western Divisions to win a wild card spot.

In every area, the Brewers are having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde season. Let’s take a look.

HITTING — David Stearns has done well with the offense. Corners Eric Thames and Travis Shaw and catchers Jett Bandy/Manny Pina have excelled. When healthy – which is not often – Ryan Braun is still one of the better hitters around – and it looks like Domingo Santana is coming into this own.

SS Orlando Arcia is holding down the fort on defense and I don’t expect him to be more than a .250 hitter this year. But the improvement is there.

That leaves Jonathan Villar at 2B and Keon Broxton in CF with disappointing seasons so far. Eric Sogard has been ridiculous in a good way filling in all over as has the always reliable Hernan Perez. Jesus Aguilar at 1B, who has struggled defensively lately, but not enough to be worried, has been a key bat.

The Brewers fast starts have been talked about a lot, but they have a tendency to shut off the offense down the stretch, especially with RISP.

MY THOUGHTS — It’s not a perfect world, but this offense is fun to watch, knowing there are reinforcements around the corner.

STARTING PITCHING — As of June 9, the jury is still out on this staff. I like Junior Guerra and Zach Davies – but as fourth/fifth starters on a decent team (not a title team). I feel this is it for Jimmy Nelson. Hopefully he feels the same way. He is really up and down, pitching well lately.

Matt Garza when healthy – like Braun, not healthy enough – has changed his way of pitching (adjusting from power to change of pace and control). I admire him for being able to do it and hope it lasts. Most importantly if he can’t be traded, he’s gone after this year.

Then there is Chase Anderson, who is going for Teddy Higuera’s team consecutive shutout record. He started strong, slumped badly and now he’s like “Who is this guy?” Man has been fantastic lately.

MY THOUGHTS — Sorry people. But there is no way I can see this rotation line up in a playoff series and be successful.

BULLPEN — Oh my goodness, I feel bad for Craig Counsell. Corey Knebel is the only one of eight relievers I have any confidence in. Jacob Barnes is the next best hurler, but there is a gap between him and Knebel.

Now the tough question. Please raise your hand if you feel brimming with confidence when Oliver Drake, Jared Hughes, Wily Peralta, Neftali Perez, Rob Scahill or Carlos Torres enters the game – no matter what the score.

I’m sure not too many hands went up.

MY THOUGHTS — No matter what the house line is about some of their righthanders can get lefties out – they have trouble getting right-handed hitters out. Somewhere they need a lefthander.

You can get one like Brad Hand of San Diego, who is rumored to be on the market, although the Padres would sooner trade closer Brandon Maurer, but Hand would cost an arm and a leg. Lefthanders are hard to find and expensive.

Or you can look to within. If you are limiting Josh Hader’s innings now to 2 innings an outing at Colorado Springs to save his arm, let him do that in the big leagues and keep an eye on him.

I remember when I worked with the Brewers. Dan Plesac was coming off a 12-5, 4.97 ERA season at Double A El Paso. Manager George saw him in his first spring training and was impressed by his stuff. Bambi said let’s use him in the bullpen and keep an eye on him instead of sending him out and Plesac never went back to the minors again.

I see a possibility of doing this with Hader.

BOTTOM LINE — I have said ‘enjoy the moment’ because I don’t feel the Brewers are going to make the playoffs. I have hardly missed a game. I do get upset because I care. When they mess up big time like walking the opposing pitcher on 4 pitches – or to strike out on a pitch a foot outside the strike zone – I go nuts on Twitter.

I hope Stearns sticks to his guns and doesn’t trade a good prospect if the Brewers are close. If he trades the farm to improve this team I would be disappointed.

The Brewers are ahead of schedule, which means the plan is working. Stick to it.

 

 

 

 

 

BREWERS FANS, ENJOY THE MOMENT

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently in first place in the National League Central Division. Say it again. The Milwaukee Brewers are currently in first place in the National League Central Division.
If anyone thought this would happen with Memorial Day right around the corner, I would like to take them to the Black Jack table at Potawatomi Casino.

Since he has been hired, I have been a fan of David Stearns, Brewers general manager. Like most fans I understand what ‘rebuilding’ means. It’s those fans who don’t know what it means who bother me.

Stearns has done a nice job of finding some talented stopgaps at the corners in Eric Thames at first base and Travis Shaw at third. They have already surpassed what I thought they would bring to the table.

I would pay to watch Orlando Arcia field a baseball. If he hits .260 this year I would be thrilled – maybe surprised is a better word – because this kid gets paid to FIELD a baseball.

I said that Jonathan Villar had a career year last season and I stick to my guns. He reminds me of Carlos Gomez without the flair for the dramatic. His base running skills are dangerous to the opponents as well as the Brewers, unfortunately. Villar is definitely a stopgap until some of the many talented minor league middle infielders who Stearns has accumulated are ready.

Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana is a respectable outfield. We all know everyone wants to trade Braun. But with all the talented outfielders at Triple A, I wouldn’t hesitate to move Santana as well. I am a Broxton fan. There aren’t a lot of outfielders who can run down a baseball like Keon. And he has worked hard on improving his batting style.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the outstanding catching combo of Manny Pina and Jett Bandy. Offensively AND defensively, they have surpassed my expectations.

I love Craig Counsell’s ability to move players around. Hernan Perez, Eric Sogard and Nick Franklin give the team flexibility and they know what to do with a bat in their hand. Jesus Aguilar was also an example of a good pick up by Stearns and his staff. Although limited to one position, he is an offensive threat off the bench and a solid fill in for Thames, who also adds versatility by having the ability to play the corner outfield positions. I think one of these guys (Franklin?) might be cut when they add a starter on Friday.

NOW LET’S GET REAL
This team is not going anywhere with the current starting staff. If anything holds this rebuilding back, it will be the lack of front line starters on the current team.
The fact that Matt Garza is the best starter on this staff (2-0, 2.43 ERA) since returning from the disabled list says a lot. I like to watch Zach Davies pitch, but if he is not nicking the corners (and more importantly getting the call), you’re looking at home run derby. Junior Guerra had a fine season last year, but he is no better than a fourth starter – if he can put together another good year at 32 years of age.
I’m not a fan of Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson. When they walk out to the mound you have no idea what to expect.

Little by little – this season – the Brewers need to work the young guns into the rotation. In any order – Josh Hader, Luis Ortiz, Brandon Woodruff, Jorge Lopez, Aaron Wilkerson, Corbin Burnes or Cody Ponce, just to name a few. Hopefully at least two of these guys see some starting action this year.

Corey Knebel has been off to an amazing start in the bullpen and Stearns has done a nice job of bringing in Carlos Torres (last year), Jared Hughes, Oliver Drake, Neftali Feliz and Rob Scahill. Locals Jacob Barnes and Wily Peralta round out the bullpen.
The poor starting pitching – if someone goes into the seventh inning is shocking – and will eventually will wear out the bullpen.

DON’T DO THIS
If the Brewers are still in a possible playoff mode at the end of July, please don’t trade a minor league ‘stud’ to add a pitcher and stray from their plan of rebuilding.
The Brewers ‘rebuilding’ is ahead of schedule which is nice. But they are still rebuilding, so don’t mess up a good thing.

BUCKS’ FUTURE IS GETTING CLOSER

The future is getting closer to being owned by the Milwaukee Bucks as they have been advertising.

Having just been beaten (4-2) by the No. 3-seeded Toronto Raptors – and only being blown out of one game – the young Bucks are closer to being a top contender in the Eastern Division of the NBA.

Here are my thoughts on this team.

        KEEPERS

Giannis Antetokounmpo –  Of course, the ‘Greek Freak’ is one of the best players in the NBA and should make second-team All-NBA at least. Besides being talented, his work ethic will go a long way toward him being a true MVP candidate down the road. Forget about 3-point shots, he needs to work on his free throws and his mid-range jumper. The treys would be a bonus.

Jabari Parker – He was coming into his own when he went down with the devastating knee injury (20.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG). Unfortunately, he will miss most of the season, so I don’t think he will be much help next season. But I like his future.

Khris Middleton – Made a nice comeback (14.7 PPG, 4.2 RPB, 3.4 APG) from his injury, but his shooting skills lost something in the playoffs when he was especially needed. His FG% and 3-PT% from the regular-season (45.0, 43.3) to the playoffs (39.7, 36) went down. He definitely gives the Bucks a legitimate 3-pronged attack.

BRIGHT FUTURE

Thon Maker – I was incensed with this pick because the Bucks needed another ‘project’ like I needed another 10 pounds. I felt if you draft this guy, play him! When he had some instruction and talks with Kevin Garnett and Jason Kidd started getting him some exposure, he showed an excellent outside shot – especially for a 7-footer – and shot-blocking ability. Now he needs to spend time in the weight room so he can bang heads with many powerful NBA big men.

Malcolm Brogdon – Possible Rookie of the Year candidate, but he lost some luster with a C grade at the best in the playoffs. Intelligent player, a steal by GM John Hammond in the second round. His court sense is beyond his years.

PLEASE STICK AROUND

I have been a Greg Monroe fan all season. He lost weight, improved his defense and was a threat inside or from the 10-foot mark. He accepted his role as offense off the bench and showed some solid passing skills on the pick and roll. He has a $17m option and I don’t know how the Bucks feel, but I hope he takes it. He was a key player when finally given an opportunity to play on a consistent basis.

Tony Snell – I wasn’t excited about the trade that brought Snell to the Bucks, but that’s why Hammond is a NBA General Manager and I’m a fan. Snell brought the defense and the length that was expected of him, but he added an important quality – a solid 3-point shot (45% from field, 40.6% from the 3-point line) and became a threat. He will be sought after as a free agent if he doesn’t accept his option.

LET THEM HANG AROUND

Jason Terry and Gary Peyton II add something to this team. Despite his age, his experience, his locker room presence and his ability to still shoot the 3 is a good reason to hang on to Terry, an ad hoc coach already. I put Peyton II here because of his defense and he signed a 2-year deal.

TRY TO MOVE THEM

Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and Mirza Teletovic – I would try and move all three of them. Don’t like their production for the salary they are being paid. I like Delly’s punch you in the face attitude, especially in the playoffs where the Bucks were pretty meek. But I don’t need him shooting as many 3’s had he had to. Henson doesn’t see much action because of injury and coach’s decisions and his lack of time in the playoffs really showed that. Telly didn’t perform from the outside in his limited action and disappeared in the playoffs when a veteran is needed. If Hammond can give these guys away and free some of the salary he would be a genius.

SEE YA

Michael Beasley, Spencer Hawes and Rashad Vaughn – two veterans and an unfulfilled rookie who is supposed to be shooter. They certainly can be upgraded.

COACH

I was not a Jason Kidd fan. By that I mean I didn’t want him fired, but I couldn’t figure out his thought process when it came to the rotation. Sometimes I wondered if he knew what he was doing. I admire his coaching style on the sideline, I like the fact that being a Hall of Famer, players want to come here and play for him and he has a good coaching staff.

FRONT OFFICE/OWNERSHIP

John Hammond has done a good job, although I’m not a fan of all his moves. But he is right more than wrong. Now if the ownership will spend less money on the surrounding neighborhood and let Hammond spend some big money on some free agents that will bring the future here quicker, that would be nice.

 

LANCERS NAME CO-HEAD BOYS VOLLEYBALL COACHES

John Jablonowski & Riley Stone have been selected as the new Co-Head Coaches of the Brookfield Central Boys Volleyball Program.

Jablonowski is a 2011 graduate of Franklin High School where he played volleyball for 4 years. As a senior, his team qualified for state. Jablonowski earned 1st Team All-State Honors and was named MVP of the Southeast Conference. Jablonowski went on to attend UW-La Crosse where he continued his playing career, earning MVP honors twice as a member of the NCVF D2 National Champion teams in 2012 and 2015. He earned 1st Team All-Tournament honors in 2013 and 2014, and was named Wisconsin Volleyball Conference MVP in 2014 and 2015. Jablonowski coached JV girls at La Crosse Logan High School in 2015, and has coached the Franklin High School Freshman team for the past two years, where he currently serves as a high school science teacher. He has coached the 16-boys and 17-boys for the Milwaukee Sting since 2015. Jablonowski stated, “This is a great opportunity, at a great time with the new direction of the program. I am excited to get to work on further improving and developing this team to its utmost potential.”

Stone, also a 2011 graduate of Franklin High School, was a 2 year captain for the boys volleyball team there, qualifying for state his senior year and earning Honorable Mention All-State honors. Stone went on to attend UW-La Crosse where he played for the 2012 D2 National Champions. He transferred to UW-Milwaukee in 2014. Stone has coached the Franklin Freshman Boys Volleyball team for the past 3 years, and is currently in his 3rd season coaching 14-boys for the Milwaukee Sting. Stone stated, “John and I have been fortunate enough to play and coach alongside many great volleyball minds over the years. We look forward to using that experience to put our own stamp on the boys’ volleyball program here.”

“The selection committee was impressed with Coach Jablonowski’s and Coach Stone’s volleyball background, their shared vision for player development regardless of skill level, and their commitment to increasing student interest and participation in boys volleyball at BC”, said Don Kurth, Athletic and Activities Director at Brookfield Central. “We are thrilled that they will be joining our staff.”

HOLD ON FOLKS, THE BREWERS HAVE PLAYED ONE WEEK

My thoughts on the Brewers start.

Brewers

Baseball – Brewers and fantasy – is off an running and I can’t wait to sit in front of the TV or go out to the ball park and watch.

I predicted the Brewers would win between 68-72 games last year in the first year of the rebuild – and they won 73. Jonathan Villar, Hernan Perez, Carlos Torres, Junior Guerra and Zach Davies were good all season. Others like Keon Broxton, Wily Peralta, Chase Anderson and even Matt Garza had solid finishes.

For those fans who don’t understand the word ‘rebuild’ and there are a lot of you out there based on the ridiculous negative reaction of the 2-5 opening homestand, here’s what you should be looking for in Rebuild – Year 2.

1 – What players who did well last year are repeating their performances?

2 – What players have come down to earth?

3 – Who has shown signs of improvement?

4 – What have the new additions added?

***

1 – What players who did well last year are repeating their performances?

So far – of the players I mentioned – based on eight games – 8 games – Broxton, Torres,  Peralta and Anderson have been solid.

2 – What players have come down to earth?

Villar, Perez and Davies fall into this category and Guerra and Garza (surprise) got hurt. What does this mean after eight games?

Nothing.

For Villar to do what he did last season would have surprised me. I still think he will have a solid season offensively – 15 homers, 30+plus steals. What has shocked me is his struggles defensively at second base. That is a shock and has to turn around.

Perez has played good defense but is struggling at the plate. But once again I think he played over his head last season and if he comes down to earth some he is still valuable because of his tremendous versatility.

Davies is a control pitcher who hasn’t had any in his first two starts. He started slow last year. When he is precise, he is a solid No. 4 or No. 5 starter. If he can’t regain his control, forget it. The jury is out on Guerra and Garza (not really).

3 – Who has shown signs of improvement?

If he stays healthy, Domingo Santana has power and a great arm. But he can’t perform from the DL.

People need to understand that Orlando Arcia will become a better hitter – have some patience – but right now he is an absolutely outstanding defensive player with a cannon of an arm. His fielding is worth the price of admission. If you don’t think so, you don’t know baseball. Personally, I think he will eventually be a .270 hitter who can steal 20 bases.

I have liked Manny Pina since he came up and he has done a solid job with the bat and an excellent job defensively.

I have hope that Jimmy Nelson gets his act together. I really think he can pitch like he did at the beginning of last season and not at the end.

Jacob Barnes and Corey Knebel look like they have finally come around to what the Brewers are expecting.

4 – What have the new additions added?

What haven’t they?  Travis Shaw has been outstanding offensively and solid defensively. Jesus Aguilar got hot in spring training and carried it into the first week. He has also flashed some very impressive leather.

Eric Thames has sat some games to get Aguilar in the lineup, but also has the ability to play the corner outfield spots and has hit well.

Nick Franklin was a good addition and Kirk Nieuwenhuis did a nice job as a fill-in last year, but with all the outfield talent most of his playing time will be as a pinch-hitter, late-game replacement.

Jett Bandy has teamed with Pina to give the Brewers a solid catching combo. He handles pitchers well, throws out runners and displays some power.

Jhan Marinez was a solid pick-up last year and Jared Hughes was a good last-minute pickup and has performed well in week one, while I don’t think Tommy Milone would be on this team if he wasn’t left-handed, but I hope he performs.

Neftali Feliz has hit 100 mph on the radar gun and gotten off to a solid start. If he does well he will help this team and then be turned into some young talent at the trading deadline.

Old reliable

And then there is Ryan Braun, an important part of helping this team win now. Unless you get a ton back for him, I wouldn’t think of trading him.

So watch the players I have hit on and see what happens before you give up on the team after one week.

One thing is for sure – David Stearns and Craig Counsell will do all they can to change faces on this roster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LANCERS REMAIN AT TOP OF MY RANKINGS, BUT IKE CLOSING IN

Here is a look at my final Brookfield, New Berlin and Wauwatosa Boys Rankings. I don’t base everything on just W-L record or head-to-head. A lot is based on how they are playing now.

Brookfield Central (20-2, 12-2, first) – The Lancers beat out New Berlin Eisenhower for the top spot, losing their finale to Menomonee Falls, 82-65, snapping a 10-game losing streak. There are worst things than losing a game before the playoffs, but it was the way they lost that was disappointing.

New Berlin Eisenhower (17-5, 12-4, second) – Coach David Scheidegger said people won’t want to play his team by the time the playoffs began and the veteran coach is right. The Lions have won 10 in a row and are 14-1 in their last 15 games. They are just a notch behind Central, the second-ranked team in the state coming into the week.

Wauwatosa East (12-10, 10-4, second) – Coach Tim Arndorfer’s Red Raiders are third because of their Greater Metro Conference record and finish. They are 2-6 outside of league play. The Red Raiders play good defense and have 9 players scoring between 4.4 and 10 points a game.

Wauwatosa West (12-10, 8-8, fourth) – The Trojans have too much talent to have such a disappointing record. They have lost 2 of 3 games going into the playoffs and they were 0-6 vs. Pewaukee, Eisenhower and Pius XI, the three teams above them in the West. Against the winning Woodland East teams they were 1-2, giving them a 1-8 record against winning conference teams.

Brookfield East (11-11, 7-7, fourth) – A tip of the cap to new coach Joe Rux, who had only one senior starter along with three sophomores and a junior freshman to work with. The Spartans were 4-20 and 0-14 last year.

New Berlin West (9-13, 3-13, sixth) – Coach Brandon Mattox continues to rebuild the Vikings program. They improved their overall record (5-19) from last year but their conference mark remained the same. They have not beaten a Woodland West team in a few years. Junior Joe Robey and freshman Desmond Polk give West a talented duo to continue the rebuild.

Change at top of my teams girls rankings

Here is my final New Berlin-Brookfield-Tosa girls rankings.

 

  1. New Berlin Eisenhower (17-5, 14-2, tied for first) – I’m giving the Lady Lions a slight edge because they just beat their crosstown rival on Friday and they are hotter than New Berlin West having won their final 8 games.
  1. New Berlin West (19-3, 14-2, tied for first) – The Lady Vikings have the best overall record of my ladies’ teams, but they’ve lost 2 of their final 3 games. They have the top seed in the post-season and might have an easier road – if there is such a thing.
  1. Brookfield Central (14-8, 10-4, tied for second) – Coach Mallory Liebl has done a fantastic job of keeping this banged up team together during an emotional season. They finished the season 9-1 and could easily have had a 10-game win streak.
  1. Wauwatosa East (16-6, 8-6, fourth) – The Red Raiders closed out with 4 wins in 5 games, but they helped their record with an 8-0 non-conference record. Brooklyn Blackburn has been on fire lately.
  1. Brookfield East (11-11, 6-8, sixth) – A talented team without a senior means good things next season. But they were a little disappointing this season. Coach Michael Goodman needs to find a true point guard.
  1. Wauwatosa West (8-14, 5-11, fifth) – Coach Gordon Nikolic has had a fine first season changing the culture for the Trojans.

 

 

 

 

If Ted Thompson doesn’t adjust, the Super Bowl is just a dream

The off-season is here and you will find Ted Thompson at the Combine Feb. 28-March 6. That’s where he will get a first-hand look at all the top prospects available in the April 27-29 NFL Draft. Of course, Thompson will draft and/or sign players who aren’t at the combine because that is one of his strengths.

But if the Packers are going to be a Super Bowl candidate in 2017, Thompson needs to do more if the Packers are going to do more than win another division title. The more important date to look at is Thursday, March 9, when free agency begins.

Ted usually looks to re-sign his own free agents and I agree with that if they are worth signing – and the price is right. Let’s take a look at who I think is worth re-signing and some of the free agents who would make the Packers a serious Super Bowl contender instead of a pseudo one.

OWN FREE AGENTS

Jared Cook – Hopefully he realizes that Aaron Rodgers is one of the main reasons he played well down the stretch and he doesn’t ask for a ridiculous amount of money. The Packers need a good tight end who can stretch the field to be successful – period.

T.J. Lang – The Packers lack leadership on the offensive line and that is one of the main things Lang provides, along with talent and the ability to play with pain, something some of the other players don’t have. This is an interesting case because of the off-season surgeries he needs. Will someone take a chance and give him a ridiculous offer? If everything is right, this Pro-Bowler needs to be paid.

Nick Perry – When he was healthy he had a solid season and should be re-signed – but only if the price is right. He got after the quarterback and he showed a tremendous amount of courage playing with only one hand.

Micah Hyde – I never thought I would say this, but the Packers need to re-sign him if they don’t go big-time in the FA market. He is the jack-of-all-trades, master of none and their secondary would have been worse that it was without his fine performance. Plus he returns kicks.

Eddie Lacy – How anyone can re-sign someone who blew up like a balloon IN HIS CONTRACT SEASON I will never know. But Thompson will do it if the price is right. It’s moves like this which make me think he is starting to lose his touch. Oh, BTW, he was injured AGAIN.

OTHERS JC Tretter has versatility and he is a must sign if Lang doesn’t. Believe it or not, if the price would be right, I would take Julius Peppers back for his 8 sacks and his leadership. Datone Jones had one more sack than I did this year so why would you re-sign him? Because Ted’s ego would find it hard to cut a former No. 1 instead of what’s doing best for the team.

FREE AGENT MARKET

Thompson is too cheap – yes that is the correct word – to sign a FA who would help get the Packers over the top. Yet every year they have salary cap money left over. Some of the more reasonable FA’s that would be available, but I couldn’t see TT doing anything but watching them sign with other teams.

CORNERBACKS – A.J. Bouye (Texans), Trumaine Johnson (LA Rams), Stephon Gilmore (Buffalo)

DEFENSIVE LINE – Calais Campbell (Arizona), Syl Williams (Denver).

LINEBACKER – Don’t’a Hightower (New England).

TALK IS CHEAP

From Mark Murphy down to Mike McCarthy, the Packers sell their naïve fans on their goal is the Super Bowl every year. They have what I feel is the best QB in the league skills-wise in Aaron Rodgers, yet they have one Super Bowl with him at the helm.

Now please understand, I don’t wear green & gold glasses, but I’m a Milwaukee season ticket holder, and I hope they win the Super Bowl every year.

But while most fans get excited about their 8 division titles – who cares!  I’m more disappointed in the 1 Super Bowl.

Why? Because I do not feel they do what they can every season to try and get better.

I’m hoping that changes.