Monday Musings: Al Of Famer

The Saints choosing to play their opener in Jacksonville because of its proximity to New Orleans and the hot weather makes perfect sense, but choosing Jacksonville because Packers fans are less likely to travel there seems both petty and stupid. Packers fans will travel anywhere to see their team play – something Sean Payton and company will find out on Sunday. Here are three more Packers-related thoughts that ran through my mind recently:

1) Al Harris took his rightful place in the Packers Hall of Fame last week, and it brought back memories. I first saw the future Pro Bowler at an Eagles’ practice in the summer of 1999, not long after he’d been unceremoniously dumped by Tampa Bay. Harris wasn’t the biggest or the faster corner on the field, but his physicality really stood out. He intimidated all the young receivers and never once backed down from vets Charles Johnson and Torrance Small. It was this mindset, along with superb technique, that allowed Harris to become one of the best corners of the early 2000s. Kevin King has more natural talent, but he’s never been close to as good of a player. Eric Stokes, this year’s No. 1 draft pick, is also more talented. The Packers would be thrilled if someday he’s compared to No. 31.

2) If timing is everything in life, GM Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur must be wearing Rolexes on each wrist. Both of their contracts are up after the 2022 season, which means they’ll almost certainly sign lucrative long-term extensions with the Packers sometime in the next 12 months. So what makes the timing so perfect? Well, there’s a good chance they’ll cash in without having to play a single game sans 3-time MVP and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. So even if we find out after 12 leaves that Gutekunst and LaFleur are closer to Lindy Infante and Tom Braatz than they are to Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren, it won’t come until they’ve both hit the jackpot.

3) Plenty of people criticized Gutekunst for selecting a punter in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, but nobody had a problem with the punter he chose. That’s because JK Scott, who was released last week, had a brilliant career at Alabama and came into the league with one of the strongest legs in recent memory. In fact, the only real concern about Scott was how he’d handle inclement weather after spending his college years in the South. Ironically, the Wisconsin cold was never a problem. His averages were very similar at home and on the road. Consistency was always the issue – and that proved to be a problem whether the temperature was a bone-chilling 25 or a climate-controlled 72.

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Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

4 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Al Of Famer

  1. Lindy Infante and Tom Braatz never had back to back 13-3 seasons. And before anyone starts the Aaron Rodgers argument. It’s always Aaron Rodgers when we win. And never about him when we lose. Kevin King was last years whipping boy. Last I checked Kevin King wasn’t on the field when Rodgers had 1st and goal at the 8 yard line. Kevin King didn’t go 4-11 for 54 yards and a FG in the 4th quarter of the NFCC game. Rodgers never having to answer to, let alone take responsibility for, that game because he goes directly into his diva nonsense. I’ve never bought into the narrative we can’t be successful without Rodgers. Why are we so afraid of life without Rodgers? We haven’t been to a SB in 11 years anyway. Isn’t that why you play? Couldn’t careless about MVP awards. Gutekunst will be defined by the Jordan Love pick. And so far, the returns are promising. They both deserve contract extensions.

    Then there’s this to consider. Mark Murphy is 65. Mandatory retirement at 70. He isn’t going to reinvent the wheel. If he was going to move off Gutekunst he would have done so at Rodgers request. Instead he defend his GM and in the process poked fun at Rodgers. I’m guess Murphy was echoing the sentiment of the executive board.

    I think your right about JK Scott. There’s no question he’s got an NFL leg. But he’s wildly inconsistent. What really did him in was that he was terrified of contact. Not a good thing when your trying to improve special teams.

    1. Harris was one of my favorite players. It’s still hard to believe Mike Sherman made such a good trade.

      I don’t think the returns on Love so far are promising. He didn’t look good or bad in the preseason. He was OK. I went to a few practices and he was also OK. I agree Gutekunst will be defined by the Love pick, and as far as I can tell, it’s a flip of the coin.

  2. Al Harris will forever be loved in Packer Nation for making one of the most iconic plays in GB history. I still think that ‘03 team was super bowl bound until the 4th and 26 play derailed a special season. Another playoff heartbreak.

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