BY BILL JOHNSON
I love the NFL Draft. I liked it better when it was on a Saturday and Sunday, but I still love it. I love speculating on who will go where. There are tons of mock drafts, but truth be told do we really care who the Jags, Bills, Browns or anyone else takes? For this draft, I will endeavor to predict who the Packers will take. While they may trade around, I've made these picks based on the 9 picks they currently own.
Round 1, #21 overall- LB C.J. Mosely- Alabama
- Having watched rivals San Francisco and Seattle win with velociraptors at inside linebacker, the Packers finally pick up the pace and pick a playmaker. This may or may not require the release of Brad Jones, depending on whether they believe that Jones can fill in on the outside.
Round 2, #53- TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins- Washington
- Potential character issues (a DUI conviction) will drop Seferian-Jenkins into the second round, and the Packers won't be able to pass at 53. 6'6" and 265 pounds, Seferian-Jenkins will need to be more physical at the next level. He runs good routes and will create big match-up problems for opposing defenses. Would be a nice new weapon for 12.
Round 3, #85- SS Deone Bucannon- Washington State
- An effective compliment to Morgan Burnett, Bucannon will be a physical presence against the run and a deterrent to receivers across the middle. Stout and tough, his coverage skills will need some honing.
Round 3, #98 (compensatory selection)- WR Jared Abbrederis- Wisconsin
- Badger Nation will rejoice toward the end of Day 2 as Ted Thompson has a value receiver fall into his lap. They love old QB's and will overlook the injury history. He'll be a nice surprise in 2014.
Round 4, #121- CB Chris Davis- Auburn
- Sound familiar? Yep, he's the guy that ran back the missed FG to beat 'Bama in the Iron Bowl. Obviously, he's not afraid of the big play, but this is a physical corner with some potential. He drops because he doesn't possess preferred height (5'10".) Smarts and athleticism will make up for lack of stature.
Round 5, #161- C Brian Stork- Florida State
-A badass who was one of the leaders of the National Champion Seminoles. A true believer. Attitude coming out of his ears, along with a healthy dose of football savvy. Could challenge to start, but he'll need to strengthen his lower body starting immediately.
Round 5, #176 (compensatory selection)- QB Aaron Murray -Georgia
- Murray will fall because of his late knee injury in 2013 and his lack of ideal height (6'1"), but the Packers will see him as a Matt Flynn type with a better arm and more potential as a starter. Will challenge to back up 12 in 2014.
Round 6, #197- OLB Ronald Powell- Florida
- An injury risk the Packers will be willing to take late in the 6th round. Missed all of 2012 after tearing his ACL twice. Strong work ethic brought him back to be a speed threat off the edge for the Gators in 2013.
Round 7, #236- OT Cornelius Lucas- Kansas State
- Huge and aggressive, Lucas fits the suit, but he'll be a project. Motivation was a question as a freshman and sophomore, but an All Big 12 first teamer as a junior. Worth a flyer in the seventh.
BY BILL JOHNSON
Well here it is. To quote the Prince of Darkness, "Will this season ever end?"
1. ORIOLES WILD CARD GAME
WC2. RED SOX RED SOX OVER A'S
5. BLUE JAYS DIVISIONAL SERIES
ORIOLES OVER RANGERS
AL CENTRAL TIGERS OVER RED SOX
4. WHITE SOX ALCS
5. TWINS TIGERS OVER ORIOLES 4-2
NL EAST WORLD SERIES
DODGERS OVER TIGERS 4-3
3. PHILLIES WILD CARD
4. METS REDS OVER BRAVES
NL CENTRAL DIVISIONAL SERIES
1. CARDINALS REDS OVER NATIONALS
WC2. REDS DODGERS OVER CARDINALS
3. BREWERS (85-77)
1. DODGERS DODGERS OVER REDS 4-1
BY BILL JOHNSON
It's the start of Day 2 of my 2014 NCAA Tournament adventure with the Milwaukee Panthers. It's Wednesday, the day before the game with Villanova.
We arrived yesterday at around 1pm Eastern. This trip was different from the start. Rather than our usual nine seat puddle jumpers, the team, the band, the cheerleaders, plus coaches, administrators, extra staffers and long haired play by play men all boarded a 757. (That's 10 more than a 747) After a crisp one hour flight over three great lakes and a frozen tundra, we were in Buffalo, NY.
We joke about Buffalo (event though WE'RE from Milwaukee.) As you fly in, you feel like Rocky and Paulie flying into Siberia to train for the Drago fight in Rocky IV. It is snow-covered and stark. Many of the buildings do have that Iron Curtain feel.
Even though it's Buffalo, the Tournament is always a great ride. It's just different. It feels like a big deal. As I walk into my hotel room, I see the difference.
Yes, a Final Four towel adorns my temporary address. I wonder if I'm supposed to take this with me? Hmm….
After settling in, I head down for lunch with the coaches and team. Amazing how much these guys eat. I think I've done a better recently in not trying to compete with them at the training table. Team meals are also a great place to enjoy the comic stylings of the coaching staff. Some days its better than others, but it's always funny.
On the way out, manager Brett hands me this.
A new Adidas sweat suit. It's an XL, obviously built for someone about 6'9", but I am grateful. It brought on an old guy moment. Most of the swag that I get has a Milwaukee logo. This is an Adidas sweat suit with a D. A D? Well, I figured we're at the DoubleTree. Maybe it's a DoubleTree suit. Hmm..It was pointed out to me later that the graphic around the D was indeed a rose. D Rose, as in Derrick Rose. Bessie, get my lumbago medicine and bring my walker.
We have practiced the last two days at Mediaille College in suburban Buffalo. It's a small gym with real walls very close to the court. The practices have been very intense and spirited during this five game winning streak. Today, Coach Jeter stopped practice to question the intensity and encourage the team to turn it up a notch. When the 2013-14 Panthers need to turn it up to 11, they turn to Matt Tiby. The sophomore from Urbandale, Iowa brings it with his play, but also with his voice. Tiby's booming baritone rings through the gym as he encourages every one of his teammates personally. The starters go into a defensive scrimmage versus the scout team. The chatter and the noise is deafening. This is true competition. Tomorrow they'll play Villanova. Today they're against each other, and there is no "back down" in scout team players Quinton Gustavson, Evan Richard, the Prahl twins, and the seasoned veteran, former Penn State and Wisconsin standout Sharif Chambliss. They aren't kidding around. They want to win.
The Black team (the starters and key subs) are at their best defensively today. Intense and encouraging, they look like velociraptors as they hunt for turnovers. It's a practice so good that it ends early.
Well, maybe it ends early to because the OFFICIAL practice is coming later today at 6:40 Eastern at the Niagara Center.
I'm lucky to be here and so grateful.
BY BILL JOHNSON
Jason and I have gotten some negative feedback over the past few weeks. There's nothing new about that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Maybe we're too easy on Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, or our expectations are to low, or we don't hold management's feet to the fire enough. Topics like that are the kind that sports radio is based on. People with differing opinions have a forum, and hopefully it's entertaining.
That's not what we received negative feedback on over the past few weeks.
It hasn't been over a difference of opinion, but the fact that we've brought two related topics to the show: Gay NFL Draft candidate Michael Sam and and the NFL's position on SB1062, a piece of legislation that would've given business owners in Arizona the right to deny service to gay people based on religious reasons.
For me, these were two huge topics, especially out of season.
There have been gay players in the NFL since the beginning. They've been afraid to say anything while they were playing. Michael Sam took it a step further. He let all the NFL teams know ahead of time. We always say that things like this shouldn't matter anymore, that in these progressive times we are all the same. We all know that isn't true. The reaction of players and fans will be closely monitored, now and in years to come when more gay players enter the league.
Seems like a pretty meaty topic with room for plenty of differing opinions. Our negative feedback didn't involve differing opinions, not directly anyway.
According to some listeners, we weren't supposed to address the topic at all.
Same thing for SB1062, a piece of legislation in Arizona that was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer. It involved business owners being able to deny service to gay people based on religious beliefs. While I thought it was silly and unnecessary, that really wasn't our angle on the story. The NFL was, directly or indirectly, threatening to move next years Super Bowl out of Arizona if this bill had become law. My question was whether or not the NFL should get involved as, for lack of a better term, a lobbyist. A massive wing of the entertainment industry sticking it's nose in state politics. Is that right?
Again, a small yet vocal segment of our listenership complained, not that our opinions differed with theirs, but that the topic was brought up at all.
Well, I hate to brake this to you, but people aren't going to stop being gay just because it makes you uncomfortable. Gay people have lived among us through history and they will continue to do so. They will be a lot like us. Some will succeed. Some won't. Some will be good people. Some will be bad people. I'm assuming that we all want things to work, but in reading some of your messages I'm not so sure. It's seems like some of you are convinced that if we don't talk about uncomfortable issues they don't exist.
How ever you feel about gay people or any other controversial issue that affects the Packers and the NFL, we will continue to discuss everything on Green and Gold Today. We will provide a forum for all opinions, not just our own, but we will continue to discuss ALL issues that affect the Packers and the NFL. We will not side step anything just because it might make some of our listeners uncomfortable. We think that's what makes the show work.
If I've offended you and you need to contact my superiors, here are their email addresses: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
But some of you already knew that.
BY BILL JOHNSON
I applaud the Big 12 on their decision to suspend Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart for three games for shoving a fan in their game at Texas Tech on Saturday. Under no circumstances can a player go after a fan. Something had to be done.
Something like this has been coming for a while. The fine line between active, involved crowd and unruly mob gets crossed almost nightly at some of the great college basketball venues in this country.
While students go too far sometimes, the majority of what I hear coming from student sections is based in humor. I've seen some very creative efforts from students in an attempt to distract opposing players. I like creative.
From what I've heard, there is nothing funny or creative coming from the adult hecklers that frequent college basketball games. I understand voicing displeasure for a bad call, or getting on coaches or players here and there. I get that.
There are a lot of Jeff Orr's out there. Orr is the Texas Tech fan that had the altercation with Marcus Smart. Fan's like Orr pay top dollar for tickets that are close enough so they can be heard, by players, coaches, refs, and play by play guys. I wonder if these fans even watch the game sometimes. They're to busy trying to think up what they'll say next. Some of them try to be funny. (emphasize TRY) Most of them try to act tough, which is absolutely pitiful. They push out their sagging chests and scream expletives anklet everyone know that they are still "the cock of the walk." Most of it is just stupid, tough talk. Some of it is borderline racism. I've even heard it go over the border.
Would any of this be acceptable in any venue other than a college basketball arena? Would Jeff Orr walk up to Marcus Smart or any of the other athletes that he taunts out in public and call them a "piece of crap?" Would any of these middle aged tough guys with good seats have the testicular fortitude to confront anyone without a 100% guarantee that there will be no retribution?
I think not. These are the guys that intentionally avoid driving through the inner city, and if they do, they lock their doors and clench their cheeks the entire ride.
What does that make them? Cowards, plane and simple. They scream expletives and epithets only when their safety is 100% guaranteed. They use their top flight college basketball seat to rid themselves of frustrations from everyday life that they are too cowardly to confront directly. The are deplorable. They sicken me.
Jeff Orr voluntarily surrendered his Texas Tech tickets for the rest of the season. It won't make a bit of difference. Who knows? It might actually be better.
BY BILL JOHNSON
Final score- Seahawks 27 Broncos 23
As happens more often than not in championship games, the immovable object triumphs over the unstoppable force. The Seattle defense continues to be the story. The pass rush frazzles Manning just enough. While the Broncos run defense regresses from their impressive performance versus the Brady Bunch, the Seattle run defense stymies the Broncos duo of Moreno and Ball.
MVP- Marshawn Lynch. The silent, Skittle devouring battering ram will find the going rough early on, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will not flinch. By the fourth quarter, Lynch will be ripping off five yards per carry. A big play from Lynch will salt this one away.
Russell Wilson will play well, but will be over shadowed by Lynch and the defense. In spite of winning the Super Bowl in only his second season, Wilson will continue to NOT be mentioned among the league's best QBs. Good news for Seahawks fans. This guy loves a challenge.
Good news for Broncos fans: The loss guarantees at least one more season of Peyton Manning. 18 will return, and the Broncos will continue to contend.
For those of you that make a wager, I like Seattle +2. Too close to call on the total. (over/under 48)
Some prop bets to consider.
MVP odds- Lynch 15-4, Decker 40-1, Ball 75-1
Player to score first TD- Lynch 11-2, Ball 16-1
There are tons of prop bets. If nothing else, look them up for your Super Bowl Party pools. Great fun!!
Enjoy the bowl!