Some day, this ongoing Favre v. Thompson Packers saga will end up being turned into a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. Here's a potential excerpt:
As the 32 NFL teams began their respective training camps, interest in Favre was limited because few general managers were willing to meet Ted Thompson's high demands. With just three days before the Packers' first practice, Favre has to make a decision:
* If you want Favre to lobby for a trade to Tampa Bay, turn to page 37.
* If you want Favre to report to Packers training camp and battle for his job, turn to page 51.
* If you want Favre to just go away, torch this book immediately.
You could have an endless number of possible outcomes, so perhaps that book is simply too overwhelming to ever be written. I found it somewhat interesting that Thompson likened the Packers to a family, citing that families don't always agree, but despite that, they're still family. Does that leave the door open a tiny crack for reconciliation between GM and QB? Not necessarily...
Thus far, Thompson has established himself as the judge and the jury in Green Bay, while dividing the fan base to the point where you could mistake the levels of rage between the two sides to be something on par with Obama v. McCain. The team's recent shareholder meeting took on the appearance of a Green and Gold political rally, as supporters of Thompson and Favre volleyed their opinions back and forth -- some in support of Thompson's decision, others begging for another year of Favre in their Sunday diet.
Somewhere in the middle, is fourth-year quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will be under the microscope every second from now until season's end, being criticized for every incompletion, interception or misstep, and subsequently being asked by the media how he thinks No. 4 would have handled that particular situation differently. Scrutiny comes with the job as an NFL quarterback, that's the same in every city, but following in the footsteps of a legend in Green Bay has exactly one positive outcome for Rodgers: A Super Bowl. Otherwise, it's a six-month layover in Scrutinyville, where he's judged for every decision down to Charmin v. Quilted Northern and Crest v. Colgate.
Is it Rodgers' fault that nobody else needed a quarterback after San Francisco decided on Alex Smith as the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft? Oddly enough, the Packers' NFC North rivals have all moved on from their respective first-round selections in that draft. Cedric Benson (No. 4, Chicago), Troy Williamson (No. 7, Minnesota) and Mike Williams (No. 10 Detroit) have all been colossal busts, while all three clubs have struggled to find consistency at quarterback in the years after "passing" on Rodgers. Detroit was in Year 4 of the Joey Harrington Era, Daunte Culpepper was about to play his final season as a Viking and the Bears were entering Year 3 of their perpetual lovefest with Rex Grossman. Needless to say, Rodgers would have already had multiple opportunities to earn a starting role had he been drafted by any of the other three NFC North clubs.
So how about a mulligan? What if the tide suddenly changed, and an interested team inquired about the cost of acquiring Rodgers instead of Favre? It's about as likely as a cheeseburger thunderstorm on my lunch break, but think about a couple of solutions that would actually do some good:
1. Rodgers gets traded to San Francisco for Alex Smith.
Without question, both quarterbacks would welcome a change of scenery. Smith's time in San Francisco has been far from pleasant, while Niners head coach Mike Nolan is actually opening up the competition for the starting job there (Shaun Hill? Really?) The Niners could get a fresh start for their seemingly failed Smith over Rodgers decision, Rodgers gets out of the three-ring circus in Green Bay and competes for the starting job during camp in San Francisco in Mike Martz's offense, while Smith continues to rehab his shoulder and studies the Green Bay offense behind Favre as the team's backup for 2008. Packer fans rejoice and make their plans to destroy Thompson accordingly if the team doesn't win the Super Bowl. This scenario also includes a three-way man-hug between Favre, Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy in the Lambeau Field atrium before practice on Monday.
2. Rodgers is traded for a couple of second-round picks (a la Matt Schaub to Houston in March '07) to an interested club.
There has to be an interested club first, but wouldn't Carl "I love holdouts" Peterson be willing to part with some draft picks in order to upgrade his QB situation? How about the Bears? They could have a chance to re-do the Cedric Benson pick, but Thompson appears very unwilling to deal with teams within the division. Detroit is probably married to the idea of Drew Stanton becoming their starter some day, so they're probably out, even though Cheech and Chong could put together a better draft board than Matt Millen. The Jets are going for Favre -- at least that's the word of the hour -- so they might not even think of Rodgers as an upgrade over Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington.
At the end of the day, there's really no way to precisely determine how it's going to end. Just don't be surprised if it takes a few more days of non-stop speculation, rumors and reports before the resolution surfaces. Enjoy the saturation.
Posted by Derek VanRiper at 7/25/2008 11:06:00 AM