By Reggie Tobias
With Spring just around the corner most fans are getting excited to see their favorite team shaking off the rust and head into baseball season. Football fans are now drooling over the free agents emerging on the market. This is when fans really find out football is a business. Over the past few days, there are some big names being released for no other reason than to save on bonuses, salaries and the always favorite tone, we are moving in a different direction. The two biggest players to date, LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook were released by the S.D. Chargers and Phila Eagles. Both teams cited declining abilities, age and injuries and the reason for releasing these players. The small print, the large salaries due to these players next year. Quotes of they will make a great addition to another team and will be leaders to what ever team they are on. Even read a silly comments of retirement.
A short time ago both running backs were at the top of their perspective games in tds and rushing yardage. Now the simple economics of the business and salary cap are making such cuts like this the norm. In most cases this is the harsh side of the business that fans hate. The player gets released and reeks havoc on the team that let them go, by going to a team in their division. No big deal, this happens all the time, right? Why take the chance on a trade when you can simply release them.
This may be the only time you hear me say this about Brett Favre, but he was in a very similar situation. The perfect end to the storied career was for Brett to retire after the NFC title game. The fans are happy, the organization is happy, but was Brett happy. Looking back on the situation, pressuring Brett in the locker room just after losing the title game doesn't quite seem fair. The team does have to move on after all. I compare it to asking a father, when is he going to be back to work after a child is born. I have three children. I am by no means comparing the seriousness of child birth to a game. I remember going back to work within a day or two after my first two children were born. When my third child was born, I took 2 weeks off without pay to spend with both my wife and child. It was very rewarding and relaxing. I went back to work when I was ready both mentally and physically.
Sound familiar, pressuring someone to come back to work before they are ready. Asking Brett to make a commitment in the locker room, is like asking a father in hospital when they are going back to work. This was a business decision solely based on Aaron Rodgers becoming a free agent and adding those dreaded words,"We need to move in a different direction."
This is the time to start looking at those players being released. Look beyond the front office stating a player is washed up, beyond their days or not worth the money. Players are more valuable off the field to their communities than some of the performances on the field. One name comes to mention and every Packer's fan would agree, Reggie White. How many people would have anything bad to say about when he left the Packers. We need to look for players as people that make the most of their days off the field as well. The Packer's have a few players who may be facing the chopping block in the near future; Driver, Woodson, Harris, Kampman and Poppinga. This is based on age and salary.
The Packers should be looking to strengthen the offensive line. I thought they did a good job at pass blocking but need to work on their run blocking after starting Clifton and Tauscher on the outsides. Aaron Rodgers should immerse himself in game films and learn how to get rid of the ball. There were times when he held on to the ball too long and took a sack instead of just getting rid of the ball. Second and ten is better than second in fifteen or twenty. Field position and taking a beating only fuels the defense as the blitz happy coordinators that reign in the league. Nothing more frustrating than getting to a quarterback after the ball has been released. All the effort exhorted to getting to him and having to let up on him to avoid roughing the passer penalties. Learning to get rid of the ball will make Rodgers a much better quarterback, eliminate unnecessary hits, and prevent injuries.
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