OK, it’s been a month since the draft and this page has been strangely quiet. Let me apologize up front. The whole idea behind theheadcheese.com is for me to post all the time, but the labor issues have me singing the blues–I’m sure you’re in the same boat.
I have to say, I’m very surprised by the results of our current poll. As of this writing, 45% of you are 100% sure the Pack and Saints will play on September 8th. Two-thirds of you are at least 75% sure. I wish I could be so certain. DeMaurice Smith has dug in his cleats and wants to make his mark–only a favorable ruling for the owners in court will make me feel like the season will start on time.
In a perfect world, the defending champs would be tinkering with the roster and implementing the rookies–maybe even, shudder the thought, bringing in a free agent. But of course none of this is happening. Does it take some of the fun out of being the Super Bowl champs? Yes.
But on the flip side, the Packers are the team that is least affected by the lockout. The new trophy is in the case and the rings have been ordered. The team is at the top of the mountain and the other 31 teams are trying to get there. Their needs vary from tweaking to complete makeovers. Pity the teams with new coaches and/or new QBs. The offseason gets shorter by the day. These teams have no shot to prepare the way they need to if they want to get to the playoff party.
So things could be worse. Green Bay is in the enviable position of not needing their first round pick to take the field in week 1, or whenever the season starts. Derek Sherrod can be afforded the luxury of learning behind Chad Clifton, waiting in the wings until he’s needed due to injury, or appears so ready that the team needs to find a spot for him.
The lockout may not have a huge impact on the next two picks, either. Randall Cobb will be the instant punt returner and will slowly be integrated into the offense. There’s no urgency here, even if James Jones packs his bags. With Jennings, Driver and Nelson, along with the return of Finley, Cobb doesn’t figure to be a major weapon in the first part of the season–but his impact could grow as the season moves along. Alex Green can step right in, once he figures out how to pick up blitzes and shows he can pass protect.
What we most likely won’t see this year is a Sam Shields or a Frank Zombo. Pity the undrafted rookies, who may have wink-wink deals in place with teams, but won’t have a chance to show their wares until training camp opens. The shortened camps and potentially abbreviated preseason games will make it very difficult for these guys to turn coaches’ heads.
For now, we’ll wait for a labor breakthrough. Here’s one thing to look forward to: in the coming days I’ll be adding a merchandising page to this site where you can get your very own HeadCheese shirts and caps. Talk about the perfect Father’s Day gift!
And if anyone has some topics they’d like me to write about, I’m all ears.