(Before we begin: Tuesday is normally our day to take a glance at the Green Bay Packers’ opposition for that week. As much as we’d love to write about the Washington Redskins, sorry, there was just too much else going on Tuesday. Don’t worry – you’ll get our full wrap-up of the D.C. trip next week. That is, if I don’t have a heart attack on the plane. Okay, I’ll stop writing about that now.)
Aren’t Tuesdays supposed to be the off day for the NFL?
It certainly wasn’t the case on this particular Tuesday. There was more than a little activity of interest involving the Green Bay Packers.
Only, really, none of it actually involved the Packers.
The first piece of news broke in the early afternoon when we learned that running back Marshawn Lynch had been traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Seattle Seahawks. The Bills reportedly received a fourth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional pick – believed to be either a fifth or sixth round pick – in 2012.
The second piece? Well, that was even more interesting, wasn’t it?
Seemingly out of nowhere, we learned Tuesday night that the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots are discussing a trade that would send Randy Moss back to the Vikings. The compensation is believed to be a third-round pick and, according to multiple news outlets, the trade hinges on whether or not Moss and the Vikings can agree to a contract extension (Moss is in the last year of a three-year deal signed back in 2008).
Whew. I don’t even know where to begin, honestly.
Okay, let’s talk about Lynch first, as he was a player many Packers fans – myself definitely included – hoped the team would land.
In short, Ted Thompson dropped the ball here. While maybe not a player Green Bay needed to have, for that asking price (even if it had been higher), Lynch was certainly a player the team should have acquired. Cheesehead TV’s Aaron Nagler Tweeted at me that Bob McGinn was reporting that Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix wouldn’t take Thompson’s call. If McGinn reported that, I’d believe it. Still, you have to think Thompson would have found a way to get him on the phone if he really coveted Lynch.
And coveted he should have. Lynch would have been a real difference-maker in this offense. I understand that Mike McCarthy does not want to run the ball. And, in some ways, I’m okay with that. After all, we know where this team’s bread will get buttered, so to speak.
But, even if you don’t want to run the ball, you at least need someone that opponents spend some time gameplanning for. That was where Lynch would have really helped this team. Remember when Ryan Grant was placed on injured reserve and we all immediately began downplaying his importance? Turns out, we were only half-right.
We were right to say Grant is not an elite player. But was Grant a threat to break 100 yards every week? Absolultely. Teams had to watch out for him. By doing so, opponents couldn’t fully breakdown every single thing Aaron Rodgers and Co. were doing in the passing game. Face it – teams do not respect the grouping of Brandon Jackson/John Kuhn/Dmitri Nance/James Starks (presumably when he returns). And why would they? Sure, the performance against the Bears was expectedly bad, but against two far-from-elite teams – Buffalo and Detroit – the grouping disappointed.
Under these circumstances, every team that faces Green Bay the rest of the season is going to nickel-and-dime the Packers to death. Sure, Rodgers can make that work most weeks. But if he can’t, if he has a bad week (which is going to happen, bank on it)? Honestly, I’m not sure how this team is going to score. Lynch, while not an elite player – he’s at about the same level as Grant, in my estimation – would have been someone to lift pressure off Rodgers in those games, even if he was only used as often as Grant was. There will be times where we’ll find ourselves wishing Thompson had gotten this done. The sky’s not falling, by any stretch, but it’s certainly a little darker after this.
Speaking of the sky not falling, I’m not ready to panic regarding Moss. First, the deal has to get done. Not as easy as you might think, even if he and Brett Favre have long-standing man-crushes on one another. The Vikings have several key players looking for more money, such as linebackers Chad Greenway and Ben Leber and defensive end Ray Edwards. To hand over a big deal to Moss – say, in the three-year range, my guess for what he’ll want – could create trouble in the lockerroom.
Even if a deal is done, though, you shouldn’t panic. That’s not to say Moss isn’t top-shelf talent anymore, because he certainly is. But stand back and look at the situation, as a whole.
And by “the situation”, I mean Favre and head coach Brad Childress.
The soon-to-be 41-year old quarterback appears to have lost much of his ability to make guys miss in the pocket, always his most underrated trait. That isn’t helped at all by the grossly overrated offensive line in front of him, either. If Moss is to enter the fold, you just know Favre will believe he’s been rejuvinated, as a result. He’ll try to do what he’s always wanted to do with Moss – turn the game into a series of long balls downfield – only he won’t have the time to do so. That’s not going to end well, most of the time. Even if he gets time, those are low-percentage throws.
If that happens, there’ll be a ripple effect. Do you think Adrian Peterson’s going to like being reduced to an afterthought? Or how about Visanthe Shiancoe and Percy Harvin taking lesser roles? How do you make room for Sidney Rice, if and when he returns?
And what happens if Moss doesn’t pull the savior act with this team and it continues to lose? Favre, Moss, Peterson, Jared Allen, etc. – those are some mighty big personalities. Does anyone believe Childress can handle these personalities if they turn sour after a few losses, something that could happen considering Minnesota’s next four games are at the Jets, at home with Dallas, at Green Bay and at New England.
The Vikings have made it clear they’re all-in for this season, so I won’t be shocked if they land Moss. That’s fine with me – it’s only going to make it that much sweeter when they get a loss handed to them in Lambeau on Oct. 24.
And Nov. 21 in Minneapolis.