So it seems that all has come to a stalemate in the "retired-just-kidding-what-do-you-mean-I-can't-start?" drama between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. Mike McCarthy announced last night that Aaron Rodgers will remain the starting quarterback and that Favre's future will not be with the Packers. Rumors of trade negotiations between Green Bay and Tampa Bay have already surfaced. If that's true, I actually feel really bad for Tampa Bay's current starter, Jeff Garcia. He's actually started to produce a decent offense down there, and to get shoved out by Favre's ego would be a slap in the face (in my opinion).
And yet, I can't get too mad because, like it or not, the NFL is a business. If the Bucs, Jets, or any other team showing interest in Favre thinks that he's the best chance their franchise has for success, of course they're going to take it! They'd be stupid not to. With a guy like Favre, ticket sales, merchandise sales, and publicity would skyrocket. Whoever has Favre this season is going to be in the spotlight whether the team has a horrific season or a great one. Everyone is going to be watching to see what happens. This soap opera is going to reach Mike Vick proportions.
Elsewhere around the NFL, training camps continue with the usual random injuries, hold-outs, and competitions for depth chart positions. Mostly, I've just been keeping an eye on the black and gold. I was VERY excited to see James Walker's recent report from the Steelers training camp. This season has potential to be the best of Roethlisberger's career thanks to the weapons and defense being built up around him. That's not to say the upcoming season will be a piece of cake. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Their opponents this season have a .598 winning percentage giving the Steelers the hardest strength of schedule in the NFL. On tap they have games against the entire NFC East (and I live with a Redskins fan!), a Jaguars team that was very strong last season, the ever in sync Colts, Patriots, and two potentially tough games against their division rivals, the Cleveland Browns. As much as it pains me to say it, Cleveland has the players to be a very competitive team this season. Their question mark lies in the players' ability to create a team chemistry.
What gives me confidence are the reports of good mentoring to the rookies on the parts of the veteran Steelers players. Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall could prove to be a dangerous two-back tandem.
Oh, and did I mention that 12 year vetern Hines Ward was voted the NFL's smartest offensive (non-quarterback) player by the NFL coaches?
That's right, behind that never-ending grin is a player who can study a defense quickly on the field and adjust his route/timing as necessary. That's a big advantage for the passing game.
On the other side of the ball, Pittsburgh returns this season with most of it's top-ranked defense intact. The injury bug has been around already to aggravate Troy Polamalu's hamstring and James Harrison's groin, but the way I see it I'd rather it happen now than mid-season.
The only lasting training camp injury that hampers the Steelers is Daniel Sepulveda's ACL tear, in his kicking leg no less. Sepulveda is set for surgery and currently out for the season. His ability to bury offenses on the other side of the field was a huge boon to Pittsburgh's defense, and now someone will have to come in and fill those shoes.
The Steelers' preseason begins this Friday evening versus the Philadelphia Eagles. I doubt we'll see much of the starters, but I admit I'm very curious to see if Donovan McNabb is as healthy as the Eagles are claiming him to be.
Also starting this Friday are the Beijing Olympics! From last week's post, I'm sure you all can tell how excited I am for that. Not too much else is going on in Neen's world this week. According to UPS, my package from Vitalady should be delivered today, so I'm really hoping I can try some new protein bars/ice creams and share some more recipes with my wonderful readers.
I hope that everyone is having a wonderful week. If you're feeling discouraged (I was last night after an experiment gone wrong in the kitchen), remember that you can always seek advice and try again. Things don't always work out the first (or even the second) time, but if you resolve to keep trying and remain determined to reach your goals, you'll surely make it. Keep thinking positive! Ciao for now.