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Bucks. B- Just above average performance for the Bucks during and leading up to the draft (let's hope they're not done dealing yet) in my opinion. Understand that the Bucks ultimately come up winners no matter how you slice it just for making Bobby Simmons and his cumbersome contract go away and actually getting a veteran All-Star who has been to the Finals in return (some say Jefferson's game is clearly in decline but only time will tell). Simmons was really the one piece that you had to figure was going to be the hardest to budge if any blowing up of the roster was going to take place. But now that he's gone and we have a mini logjam in the frontcourt positions with Alexander, Villanueva, Bogut, Jefferson, Dez Mase, Jake Voskuhl, plus a guy named Gadzuric (who's being paid starter money remember) it's looking like the door might be wide open for everyone not named Michael Redd. Which, if that is the case, is fine with me. Why? Because my earlier support for a Redd trade was based on my opinion that he is not the kind of player you build a championship team around, he has to play the Scottie Pippen role. So I figured he would be the best chance the Bucks would have to land the type of player that you could build something around. But now it looks as if their strategy has changed, from trying to build a team on the 'traditional' Kobe model (i.e. one star player with complimentary personnel) to more of a 'five-really-good-guys-on-the-floor-at-the-same-time' model a 'la the Pistons. Redd would be good for that. But wait, you say, the impetus for Detroit's championship push was their defense, something Redd (and this team in general) has sucked at. That's where Skiles comes in! Wow I've actually written that out and it still makes sense, cool. As I've said before I like the pick of Alexander, would have preferred Love but that was going to be a long shot. The second pick the Bucks completely botched. There were so many other more talented players available at that point: DJ White, Chris Douglas Roberts (will be better defensively than people think), and the infamous Richard Hendrix to name a few. High motor, athletic, defensive minded guys can be important pieces to a championship team but I would say you don't need more than one or two. We already have two, Gadzuric and Michael Ruffin, and really Des Mason too. So maybe one or all of those guys will be leaving soon. But I just hate that the Bucks passed up either Hendrix or CDR. I think at least one of those guys will end up making teams very sorry that they passed on them. But in the final analysis the Bucks did get what they needed most out of this draft, change.
Packers. So with training camp about a month away, the Pack is currently carrying 77 players under contract on their roster. NFL rules only allow for 80 players under contract on the roster. They haven't signed any of their draft picks or Ryan Grant yet. So unless there is some new math the league is going by there is going to be some snipping going on soon. Probably won't be any surprises though there could be some shakeups in the receiving corps where rookie Jake Allen really turned heads during the first minicamp. One guy who doesn't figure on getting cut anytime soon (yet) is Charles Woodson. He has appeared to be more inspired this offseason than in the past, attending more voluntary workouts and looking more spry and healthy in general after admitting the knee injury he suffered early in last year's schedule was more of a problem for him than he let on. Some people have even suggested a return to his Pro Bowl form would not be surprising. Now Al Harris might be a different story. Packers attended a workout session recently given by former Detroit Lion RB Kevin Jones who looked pretty good according to various reports. While Detroit let him go for a reason (mostly injury history) he probably would be an upgrade over every back currently on the roster (so that doesn't include Grant). He's a strong runner who has the ability to help stretch the field in the passing game as well as take it between the tackles and has reportedly always had a good work ethic. All around he sounds like a TT type of guy given the price is right. Coach McCarthy has taken a page from Brett Favre's media relations guide commenting that this years roster "is the best it's looked since I've been here as far as the names and the talent and the type of people on the board". Most people's general reaction to that statement might be be something like "how could he say that? Favre's gone." But this might actually be the most talented team overall that the Pack has fielded in sometime, on both sides of the ball not just top heavy on the offense. The year before last Brett had some people calling him senile because he suggested that year's edition was the most talented team he had ever been a part of in Green Bay, took the team another year to prove him right. I bet this year's team responds to their leaders challenge (that's what it is) even quicker. Speaking of Favre, The Frozen Tundra has the definitive commentary on the legacy of Brett Favre (and even addresses the interceptions issue for all you haters).
Brewers. C+ Brewers are still in third place in the Central, still around 5 games back, only .500 in the last 10 games though. So now the consensus seems to be that if the Crew is really going to make a run at this 'playing in October' thing they will need to make a run for some starting pitching help. Of course there is endless speculation about the C.C. Sabaithia trade, but the decisions management makes during the next few months could be setting the tone for the future of this franchise. There's not a whole lot of money to go around in small market Milwaukee, but there are several core players on this team who will be demanding it soon. Sheets is up and the end of the season and so far the media vibe is that the chances of Milwaukee being able to resign him (for a reasonable price) are slim to none. Some of our current core guys', like Fielder, contracts will be up in the next few seasons and will most likely be due for huge paydays that the Brewers can't dish out. We have great talent in the farm system to compensate for some of that but a trade for Sabaithia would most likely involve that top tier talent. Can the Brewers afford to give the future away for right now? Well there will probably not be any pitching relief (ha) coming in the form of Eric Gagne. He's barely getting through his rehab in Nashville. And with Torres doing well in his absence people are wondering just how he will be used when he returns. Invested big in him this summer so I feel like he needs to earn his keep. You know backup bat-boy, hold the spitting can for the chewing tobacco, keep score for the dugout card games, something. Ben Sheets has been pretty good this year and Brewer Fanatics are saying he is a mortal lock to start the All-Star game, which is pretty cool to a casual baseball fan even though this might be his last season in the pinstripes. And the Brewers already have two more locks for the All-Star game . . . the All-Star Futures game to be exact where Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta will be representing.
University of Wisconsin football. The time is fast approaching when a new wave of UW freshman will be exposed to the rich traditions of fall Saturdays at Camp Randall Stadium. Badgercentric welcomes all the new incoming Badger recruits.