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Packers can thank Favre for producing Matthews

  • Blog Post by: $author
  • January 13, 2011 - 11:33 AM

While wondering if Jay Cutler is aware that Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune did some research and discovered a that quarterbacks making their playoff debuts are 5-19 since 2003 ...

FIRST DOWN: 

The first sentence of my column the day the Packers traded Brett Favre to the Jets in 2008 went like this: GREEN BAY, WIS. -- The Green Bay Packers handled a difficult situation beautifully.

I'm still recovering from the e-beatin' I took. Vikings fans ripped me. Favre fans torched me. Ted Thompson haters were even more PO'd.

Former Packer and then-Vikings safety Darren Sharper, a big TT Hate-ah, supposedly was asking for me as he walked onto the practice field in Mankato. I wasn't there, but he politely told me later on that I was completely nuts.

Favre made it personal between himself and Thompson. Thompson had a viable replacement he felt would become an elite QB in Aaron Rodgers. So Thompson dumped Favre outside the conference in New York for a conditional fourth-round draft pick.

I thought a fourth-rounder was a steal for a soon-to-be 40-year-old who had already played 17 seasons. A year later, that steal became a ridiculous steal, a third-rounder because Favre played more than 50 percent of the Jets' snaps.

I mention this now because in a few weeks, Clay Matthews is expected to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

And what does that have to do with the Favre trade, you ask?

Well, in 2009, Thompson packaged that third-round pick with others in a trade with New England that gave Ted the 26th overall draft pick. And with that pick, Thompson selected Matthews, who wasn't exactly a star at USC. Now, Matthews is about to be named the league's best defensive player.

SECOND DOWN:

I also was in favor of the Vikings trading a third-round pick for Randy Moss this season. I was wrong and this is why you wouldn't want me matching wits with Ted Thompson.

I assumed Moss was the missing piece and wouldn't act like a jackass since he was in the last year of his contract and would like to make a few more millions down the road.

As we all know, Moss lasted 26 days before Chilly snapped and threw Moss out the door. Then Zygi threw Chilly out the door awhile later.

So, to recap: The Packers got 16 years out of a future Hall of Fame quarterback and then traded him for a third-round draft pick that netted them Clay Matthews, who will be around for another decade or so. That's pushing 30 years for two players. Meanwhile, the Vikings took a third-round draft pick and turned it into a 26-day rental of a player who couldn't co-exist with his head coach.

It's at this point where I'd like to remind any Wilves reading this the virtues of having a good general manager to run your team.

THIRD DOWN:

Michael Silver of yahoo.com has an interesting column on Thompson. Ted is a brilliant GM, and this year's Packers team is proving that. The team has 15 players in IR, including six starters. Week after week, unsung no-names that Thompson found late in the draft or off the street are stepping up with monster games. Whether it's recent street free agent Erik Walden racking up 16 tackles and three sacks in a must-win game over the Bears, or running back James Starks, a sixth-round rookie who didn't even play as a senior at the University of Buffalo, Thompson's fingerprints are all over this team. And that's in addition to Ted's first move as Packers' GM -- selecting Rodgers 24th overall a few years back -- and then working with coach Mike McCarthy, whom he also hired, to stick with Rodgers when Favre decided to unretire.

Silver cornered the media-shy Thompson after last week's playoff win at Philly -- the first for the franchise in the post-Favre era. He asked Thompson if he really knew Rodgers would be this good when he made the move with Favre in 2008.

“I’m not going to touch that,” Thompson said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

But you know that he and McCarthy knew exactly how good Rodgers would be. Otherwise, they wouldn't have been able to stand up to Favre, risk their careers and do what was best for the franchise for the long haul.

The Vikings made the right move bringing in Favre in 2009. It didn't cost them anything other than Zygi's money, and he was light years better than anything they had on the roster. The Vikings also can't be blamed for bringing him back this season after leading them to the NFC title game the year before.

They did what they had to do. But now it's time to learn from the Packers and get this QB mess cleaned up and pointed in the right direction long-term. Everything else is No. 2 on the To-Do list.

FOURTH DOWN:

So how would you rate the quarterbacks left in this year's playoffs? Here's my list:

1, Tom Brady, Patriots. Duh.

2, Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers. Some would say Rodgers, but give me the guy with two rings first.

3, Rodgers, Packers. He can carry an offense, but might not have to since Starks has emerged.

4, Matt Ryan, Falcons. He's got the No. 1 seed and he's 20-2 at home.

5, Joe Flacco, Ravens. He's played six playoff games in three season. All of them on the road. And he's 4-2.

6, Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks. Don't count the old, bange-up vet out just yet. He's 1-0 in Chicago this year.

7, Mark Sanchez, Jets. He's a clutch player, but way too inconsistent and inaccurate at this point.

8, Jay Cutler, Bears. He's the only one of the eight who has no playoff experience. He's also the most likely to freak out and throw four picks.

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