The Green Bay Packers took a well deserved break following their big win over the Dallas Cowboys last week. Packer management, however, was busy during the bye week and they made a couple milestone personnel decisions in Titletown.
Longtime starting cornerback Al Harris was cut. The soon-to-be 36-year-old Harris has been rehabbing from a serious knee injury suffered last year, but Packer management apparently felt that his best days were in the past and thus decided to waive him. Harris had a very nice career in Green Bay, including a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2008. Tramon Williams stepped in when Harris was hurt last year and his impressive performance since and favorable upside no doubt contributed to the decision.
In other news, the Packers placed long-time right tackle Mark Tauscher on Injured Reserve. This move probably means the end of the line for the venerable tough guy who played his entire professional career for the Packers. Like Harris, Tauscher, a seventh-round draft pick from the University of Wisconsin way back in 2000, had a very productive career. Tauscher’s replacement, this year’s first round draft pick Bryan Bulaga, has played well.
Professional football is a physically demanding sport favoring youth. Harris’ 13-year tenure and Tauscher’s 10-year career are far longer than average NFL players enjoy and so Father Time marches on. Fortunately the Packers have two good up-and-coming players in Williams and Bulaga and thus these decisions make sense.
While the Packers were relaxing during the bye week, events were turbulent and entertaining in Minnesota as the Packers’ next opponent continues to provide circus-type headlines. The Vikings lost by two touchdowns last week to the Chicago Bears bringing their record to 3 – 6 in the year they thought they were going to the Super Bowl. Column space here is insufficient to document all of the nitwitery going on within that rudderless organization this year.
Brad Childress has not yet been fired from his Viking head coaching job, but that just might happen next week if the Pack pulls off a decisive victory in the Humpty-Dump. The fair weather Viking fans are screaming for his scalp but that would not provide much hair. Childress has apparently lost the confidence of some of the Viking players, according to reports. Could he get the pink slip after a second loss this year to the Packers next week, in which case he would join Cowboy ex-coach Wade Phillips in the unemployment line as the second coach to be fired after losing to the Packers?
With the side shows going on in Viking lala land, the Packers need to concentrate on their mission and not be distracted by Benedict’s indiscretions or Childress’ management shortcomings.
One interesting player that Cheeseheads might keep their eye on is rookie running back James Starks, who was activated this past week. Starks has an injury-plagued past, but he brings fresh legs and tons of talent to the party. He just might be the key to sparking the Packers’ running game and what timing that would be as the weather gets colder and that aspect of the game becomes more critical.