I‘m not much of a baseball fan, but these playoffs have been thrilling. That said, the games are way too long. It’s one thing to sit in front of your TV for four-plus hours in October; it’s a whole other thing to sit in front of your TV for four-plus hours in June. Anyway, here are three Packers-related thoughts that ran through my mind in the past few days:
1) The trade deadline is 12 days away, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for the Packers. With a game next Thursday night against currently undefeated Arizona, general manager Brian Gutekunst will finally get a chance to see how his banged-up defense performs against an elite quarterback and a high-powered offense. While that side of the ball has done surprisingly well without All-Pros Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander the past couple of weeks, neither the Bengals nor the Bears had Kyler Murray throwing the ball. Should the defense fare poorly in the desert, Gutekunst would know exactly what he has to do, and he’d have five days to get it done. Maintaining the status quo – which has been this GM’s MO at previous deadlines – and just praying that Smith and Alexander can return later in the season wouldn’t be a viable option for a first-place team in the middle of a so-called “all-in” season.
2) Speaking of that game against the Cardinals, who in the NFL office thought it was a good idea to make the Packers fly all the way to Arizona on a short week? That 1,496-mile journey is the second-longest any team will make this season for a Thursday night game. Only the San Francisco 49ers have to travel further when they play the Titans in Tennessee in December. By the way, the average miles traveled by road teams for Thursday night games this season is slightly over 900. So if having to play arguably the best team in the league on the road on a short week isn’t enough of a challenge, the Packers will have to battle a serious case of jet lag as well. Thanks again, NFL.
3) The newest members of the Packers Hall of Fame are outside linebacker Tim Harris and wide receiver Greg Jennings. In the case of Harris, it’s about damn time. I first wrote about the injustice of him not being enshrined over four years ago: “Harris was a tall and rangy fourth-round draft pick from Memphis in 1986 who cracked the starting lineup only seven games into his professional career. He would go on to lead the defense in sacks in each of his five seasons with the team, and his combined total of 33 in 1988 and 1989 earned him Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. To put it simply, No. 97 was one of the few reasons to watch Green Bay during that period of time.” Harris, like Jennings, left Green Bay on less than good terms. But unlike Jennings, Harris had to wait a quarter-century to be feted.
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