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Can a prodigal son save Green Bay’s increasingly lost season? The answer, sadly, is, “No.”
With Aaron Rodgers free to heal and pursue work in a small indie drama that will establish his “serious actor” bona fides, the Packers were apparently both desperate and comfortable enough to bring Matt Flynn back into the fold.
Flynn, you may recall, was a loyal back-up for the Pack who shone in the brief time Rodgers reluctantly allowed him to share the spotlight, most notably a 6-TD masterpiece against Detroit in the final week of the 2011 season. Despite this performance, Green Bay went back to Rodgers in their next game, and their season predictably ended in another playoff loss at Daunte’s House. Adding insult to injury, Flynn was not brought back to the Packers the following season (jealous much, Aaron?), and was forced to catch on as a free agent with the Seahawks.
In the season-and-a-half since, Flynn has bounced from Seattle to Oakland to Buffalo to the unemployment line. It’s very fair to speculate that the machinations of Green Bay’s front office and their corporate spokesperson/QB affected Flynn’s confidence. After all, his loyalty and skill had been rewarded with a slap in the face, a wound visited upon everyone from Brian Brohm to Vince Young once Lil’ A feels threatened.
Now, though, with Seneca Wallace’s creaky groin sending him to the IR and the intriguing-but-raw Scott Tolzien as their only healthy quarterback, the Packers were forced to do the right thing for a change and bring Flynn back. Although he would have not been blamed for turning his back on a franchise that had burned him, Flynn is a pro’s pro, and re-signed with the club on Tuesday. Can he set an example that other quarterbacks on the roster will follow? You’d be forgiven for being skeptical of that.
This week, the Packers travel to New Jersey to face the equally dreadful New York Giants. Given the dire state of the NFC East, though, the Giants have an outside shot at sneaking into the playoffs. Can the Pack play the spoiler and ruin New York’s season for a change? In an increasingly lost season, don’t bet on it.
The early betting line for the Packers' game at the Giants has Green Bay as a 6-point underdog.
The early betting line when the Vikings played at the Giants last month had the Vikings as a 2.5-point underdog (the line eventually shifted to 4 points).
Now, to be fair, the Giants were winless at the time they played the Vikings, and they have since won three consecutive games. That said, only one of the wins was at all impressive (including the win over the Vikings, which might have been the worst NFL game ever): the 15-7 win over the Eagles.
Taking all qualifiers out of the mix, this just means that Green Bay -- without Aaron Rodgers -- is a bigger underdog than the Vikings were against the Giants. Both games were road games.
Have a nice night!
Respect for Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall? Growing. Per the Chicago Tribune:
“Look at it from this standpoint,” Marshall said. “Take a little boy and a little girl. A little boy falls down and the first thing we say as parents is ‘Get up, shake it off. You’ll be OK. Don’t cry.’ A little girl falls down, what do we say? ‘It’s going to be OK.’ We validate their feelings. So right there from that moment, we’re teaching our men to mask their feelings, to not show their emotions. And it’s that times 100 with football players. You can’t show that your hurt, can’t show any pain. So for a guy to come into the locker room and he shows a little vulnerability, that’s a problem.
"That’s what I mean by the culture of the NFL. And that’s what we have to change. So what’s going on in Miami goes on in every locker room. But it’s time for us to start talking. Maybe have some group sessions where guys sit down and maybe talk about what’s going on off the field or what’s going on in the building and not mask everything. Because the (longer) it goes untreated, the worse it gets.”
Lydon Murtha, who played his high school football at Hutchinson High and went on to star at Nebraska before joining the Dolphins from 2009-12 has an interesting piece on Monday Morning Quarterback today about the culture of the locker room in Miami.
I went to college at Nebraska with Richie Incognito, and I consider myself friends with him and Jonathan Martin, but I don’t speak with them regularly and I’m not taking sides. I’m only interested in the truth, which is what I’m going to share, from my own experiences and from conversations with friends still on the team.
Martin was expected to play left tackle beside Incognito at guard from the start, so Incognito took him under his wing. They were close friends by all appearances. Martin had a tendency to tank when things would get difficult in practice, and Incognito would lift him up. He’d say, there’s always tomorrow. Richie has been more kind to Martin than any other player.
In other situations, when Martin wasn’t showing effort, Richie would give him a lot of crap. He was a leader on the team, and he would get in your face if you were unprepared or playing poorly. The crap he would give Martin was no more than he gave anyone else, including me. Other players said the same things Incognito said to Martin, so you’d need to suspend the whole team if you suspend Incognito.
Which brings me to my first point: I don’t believe Richie Incognito bullied Jonathan Martin. I never saw Martin singled out, excluded from anything, or treated any differently than the rest of us. We’d have dinners and the occasional night out, and everyone was invited. He was never told he can’t be a part of this. It was the exact opposite. But when he came out, he was very standoffish. That’s why the coaches told the leaders, bring him out of his shell. Figure him out a little bit.
The most unfortunate thing about this situation is the consequence it will have on the careers of both men. Richie’s marked himself now as a racist and a bigot, and unfortunately that could be the end of it. Martin is on the opposite end of the spectrum, but no more likely than Incognito to return to the NFL if he wants. In going to the media with his problem, Martin broke the code, and it shows that he’s not there for his teammates and he’s not standing up for himself. There might be a team that gives him a chance because he’s a good person, but the players will reject him. They’ll think, If I say one thing he’s going to the press. He’ll never earn the respect of teammates and personnel in the NFL because he didn’t take care of business the right way.
Murtha didn't excuse Incognito for his racial slur, but he did attempt to explain or rationalize everything else, depending on how you look at it.
As we gather more opinions on this story, it becomes clear that we're dealing with an issue of where we draw the line when it comes to locker room culture and who we believe. It's not shocking to see so much defense of Incognito; then again, it is.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
All that said, only bad things can happen when you combine a bigger jolt -- a stun gun, or taser if you will -- into the mix and combine it with sports wagering.
Also, if it happens in Wisconsin ...
A 12:39 a.m. a Mayville Police officer responded to Dan’s King Pin, 31 N. Main St., to speak to a woman who reported that her husband had used a stun gun on her three times while at Sidelines Tap, 111 S. Main St.
The wife said that while the two were smoking cigarettes outside of Sidelines, John Grant, 42, had used the stun gun twice on her butt and once on her thigh. She said that she has burn marks on her butt although she did not request emergency medical treatment.
After the game the two walked back to the semi-truck that they call home and Grant was angry. He threw his wife’s dog out of the truck and would not let the woman in. At that time she walked back to Dan’s King Pin to use a telephone.
Grant said that the two had made a bet on the game as she is a Packers fan and he’s a Bears fan. If the Packers lost, she would be shocked with the stun gun.
In reviewing the woman’s text messages about the bet and a cell phone video, the officer determined that she did make the bet with her husband and that she did consent to having a stun gun being used on her. She told the officers that she didn’t think her husband would actually use the weapon on her.
Oh, Wisconsin. Don't ever change.