GREEN BAY, Wis. — The backdrop created a blur of what Aaron Kampman‘s new life as an outside linebacker must look like at times.
The canvas, across the street, was legendary Lambeau Field, empty but still imposing, the backbone of this community. Cars whizzed down Oneida Avenue, slowing down to catch a glimpse — between pedestrian onlookers — of the Packers’ recent minicamp workout on an uncustomary 94-degree afternoon. With coaches hustling to different stations and players scrambling to locate helmets or get doused with water, the scene looked like midtown Manhattan at 5 p.m.
This snapshot of chaos is what it’s like for Kampman and most defensive ends who are moving to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme — a scheme being adapted by more and more teams. The Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos join the ranks of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and others to use the linebacker-friendly, turnover-causing system
Full article from NFL.com
Jon Gruden, former Raiders and Buccaneers coach and current “Monday Night Football” analyst, is joined by Tom Coughlin, Bill Cowher, Jeff Fisher and John Harbaugh on the inaugural NFL-USO Coaches Tour. The group is traveling to meet and greet service members for several days in the Persian Gulf region. Gruden sent an update from the tour:
Posted by Jon Gruden from ESPN
TAMPA, Fla. — I’m on a seven-hour time change. I just flew 15 hours from Iraq.
On Saturday we met with Gen. Ray Odierno and went to a military meeting with some of his staff. It was incredible. We spent an hour with him and at 10 a.m., we watched the naturalization of 237 soldiers who were to receive their citizenship for the United States. Once again, Gen. Odierno gave a great speech. Vice President Joe Biden was there, and he gave a great speech. Every soldier was introduced individually, presented an American flag and given their official U.S citizenship. It was unbelievable. There was a great band there. We all recited the Pledge of Allegiance while dozens of people watched from the rafters. The soldiers congratulated each other after receiving their citizenship. Ultimately, it was a great way to spend the Fourth of July.
From there, we traveled to several events around Baghdad. We had a chance to meet many other soldiers. We finished the night by visiting the USO’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new center.
I’m done talking about the last QB before Aaron Rodgers (until our Packers line up to beat that guy.) But when you mention Superstar and ‘the Packers’, the only two or three names that come to mind the past two decades are usually Reggie White, Sterling Sharpe, and that guy.
Is there a young guy on this current roster that has the game to become a verified “Superstar”?
Well that depends on your definition, but one thing that helps is the Super Bowl spotlight. Let’s assume, for a moment, that this team gets to a Super Bowl, or few, over the next four to six seasons. Who will emerge as marquee superstars?
Let me list them off, in order, of who I think will achieve that lofty status. Number one, the QB Aaron Rodgers. He has had that national publicity, plus he put up a hell of a first season starting, and the QB usually gets the glory anyway, in good times.
Next is a guy most Packer fans already think is a superstar, and that’s WR Greg Jennings.
After that, I think you have to look on defense. Charles Woodson, in my opinion, is already a superstar. But he’s quiet and underrated around the country, despite making the Pro Bowl last year.
AJ Hawk has the game and youth to become a superstar. He also has the name and fanfare. I believe Clay Matthews does too, as well as BJ Raji.
Aaron Kampman has already been a Pro Bowler, and if he plays lights out in Dominator Capers 3-4 defense, it will further enhance his status.
Justin Harrell and Cullen Jenkins have the skills to dominate as well, but a DE in the 3-4 will be hard pressed to achieve the superstar label so that’s a longshot. Nick Barnett’s best days are already behind him, although he’s got some great tweets in him still.
July 06, 2009
-Dan Arkush, Pro Football Weekly
This is the first in a series of analytical fantasy columns, which will move into high gear next Monday, July 13, with daily articles leading up to your fantasy league’s draft day. Also, check out the new print edition (July 2009) of Pro Football Weekly, which features a 12-page fantasy football insert, with an exclusive draft board, player reports and The Fantasy Buzz. You can buy a copy at a retail outlet near you or online at PFWstore.com.
Because of the quiet, steady way he goes about his business — both on and off the field — Greg Jennings has had a tendency to drift under the fantasy radar.
Truth be told, though, there are only a couple of pass catchers on the planet who can come close to matching the fourth-year Packers wideout when it comes to racking up big-play bonus points.
Picking up with Aaron Rodgers where he left off with Brett Favre, Jennings’ non-stop explosiveness has been hard to ignore the past two seasons. Actually, the Packers quickly recognized Jennings’ special skills three seasons ago, when the second-round pick out of Western Michigan became the franchise’s first rookie to start at wide receiver since Sterling Sharpe.
With the Packers reportedly $21.5 million under the salary cap after giving star WR Greg Jennings a three-year contract extension averaging almost $9 million per year in late June, team insiders tell us the odds are strong that there will be a fair amount of wheeling and dealing in July involving the seven remaining starters entering their contract years.
Word is the odds are equally strong that Pro Bowl FS Nick Collins will become even more unhappy than he already is if he isn’t first in line at the bargaining table among those seven starters, which apparently is quite possible.
The way we hear it, it’s more likely that, in no particular order, both starting OLG Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz, who is expected to replace Scott Wells as the starting center, are better bets……..