The big news in Packerland this week was the suspension of defensive end Johnny Jolly by the NFL for the entire 2010 season.   Jolly has had a court case pending in his hometown of Houston, Texas for over a year regarding charges of drug possession, specifically the trendy codeine concoction known as “purple drank”.  Considering that Jolly’s case has yet to be settled and the protocols of the NFL drug policy don’t mandate a full year’s suspension for a first offense, it’s logical to assume that Jolly’s problems go way beyond what has been reported about him so far.

It’s also reasonable to assume that the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson were well aware of the potential for Jolly’s unavailability and planned for just such a contingency.  Jolly’s suspension casts the flip-flop of D-linemen Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji, along with drafting of Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson, in a decidedly different light.  Along with holdovers Justin Harrell and Jerious Wynn, Thompson has provided plenty of candidates but unproven depth.  I liked the idea of Pickett and Raji tag-teaming at the nose in an effort to keep them both fresh and effective.  Now, with Jolly’s departure and Pickett’s move outside, it’s imperative that the Packers find another nose tackle to keep Raji and Pickett from wearing down by playing too many snaps.

Meanwhile, the news for Jolly doesn’t portend a promising future.  If he couldn’t stay out of trouble while he yet had football to concentrate on, how is he going to maintain his focus without that outlet for a year?

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Down in Milwaukee, the clock has officially started ticking on the trade watch for first baseman Prince Fielder.  Agent Scott Boras’ comments this week pertaining to Fielder’s prospects in free agency have made it plain that it’s no longer an issue of if the Brewers should keep Fielder, but how and when they will deal him away.  The Brewers had already abandoned talks about a contract extension and Boras’ premature predictions of his Hall of Fame worthiness have clearly placed him out of Milwaukee’s financial reach.

The problem for general manager Doug Melvin is that the trade value of Fielder, as well as outfielder Corey Hart and possibly 2nd baseman Rickie Weeks, may be outweighed by their importance to the Brewers.  In fact, I would be surprised to see anything major happen before this month’s trade deadline.  Obviously, owner Mark Attanasio doesn’t want his club to be perceived as giving up with 3 months left in the season and Melvin has repeatedly stated that it’s easier to generate a better market for a player in the offseason when theoretically more suitors can be brought into play.  Thus, the Brewers may be all but forced to play the rest of this season with the current underachieving hand, much to the chagrin of many of their fans.  On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine their value will be any greater with less time under a team’s control.  The Brewers may ultimately end up letting them play out their options and eventually taking the compensatory draft picks.  The danger there is that they could end up getting screwed out of a first round pick as they did with CC Sabathia.

In other Brewers’ news, the club placed newly reinstated left-hander Doug Davis back on the DL with elbow tendonitis.  The corresponding roster move was the long awaited call-up of centerfield prospect Lorenzo Cain.  On the surface, Cain’s presence puts another right handed bat on the bench and provides outfield depth as the Brewers are concerned about overworking 40 year old Jim Edmonds.  The reality should be that Cain is immediately inserted into the starting lineup in center field.  The Brewers can’t continue to live with Carlos Gomez anemic bat, plus he made an egregious error Friday night that allowed an Atlanta run to score.  It simply doesn’t make any sense to bring Cain up to the big club only to have him languish on the pine.  Cain’s time with the Brewers may be shortlived as pitching ace Yovani Gallardo should soon return to the active roster but, as long as he’s there he needs to play.

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There are plenty of things about ESPN that annoy me, the most recent of which was their complicity last week in LeBron James “Decision”.  But I have to commend them on their coverage of “The Open Championship” from Royal St. Andrews golf course in Scotland.  This is the first major championship to be broadcast entirely on a cable network, moving over this year from ABC.  Last year, I remember being incensed that ABC was on the air for nearly an hour on Sunday morning before they showed any players in competition.  By comparison, ESPN was already on the course only 10 minutes after beginning their coverage yesterday morning.  They still spend too much time previewing the leaders on the practice range (thankfully, other networks don’t seem to do much of that) but at least they interweave it with actual golf being played.

Having said that, I do have one bone to pick with the ’4-Letter’.  When they list “other notables” that aren’t at the top of the leader board, they never seem to include Edgerton’s  Steve Stricker.  Stricker is currently ranked 4th in the world and 2nd in the FedEx Cup standings; he should be more than worthy of mention.

Speaking of ‘The Open’, I had hoped that one of the “notables” would make a charge on Saturday to create some drama for Sunday’s final round.  Phil Mickelson looked good on the front nine Saturday but faded on the back nine to fall back in the pack.  I guess it will fall to South African Louis Oosthuizen to come back to the field to make things interesting.

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QUICK HITS:  Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy has offered up Lambeau Field as a venue for a future Big(12)Ten conference football championship game.  An intriguing idea but I would see Chicago or Indianapolis as better bets………..I wonder what the criteria are for being selected to the Packers Hall of Fame.  First it was Don Majkowski; now the devaluation of the Hall continues with the inclusion of tackle/guard Greg Koch………..I cringed when I saw Ryan Braun laying out for that diving catch early in last Tuesday’s All-Star game.  It would be just the Brewers’ luck this year for their starting left fielder to break a wrist in an exhibition game………..Add Eric Arnett to the list of first round Brewers’ pitching busts.  Arnett was recently returned to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers after a stint in the Arizona instructional league.  Not that he earned the recall; Arnett had an ERA over 7.00 in AZ.  Apparently, the Brewers can’t scout college pitchers any better than high school ones………..PGA pro Ricky Barnes is having a fine season but really needs to lose those painter’s caps………..Where is John Daly getting his golf outfits these days?  From the ‘Herb Tarlek” collection?………..Tiger Woods has been under the gun the last few months for obvious reasons, and rightly so.  But he deserves credit for waving British Open legend Tom Watson up from the group ahead so Watson could complete what was likely his final round at Royal St. Andrews on Friday.  It was a classy gesture, especially since Watson has been critical of Woods in the recent past……….Miguel Angel Jimenez had a ‘Tin Cup’ moment Saturday by playing a shot backwards off the stone wall beyond the 17th green.  Unfortunately, he missed the ensuing bogey putt but that may be the single greatest golf shot I’ve ever seen………..It’ll be interesting to see if any batters get hit in today’s Brewers/Braves finale.  The guess here is that it won’t take long. 

Thanks for reading.  Enjoy the rest of the British Open weekend.

 

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  • Chris

    Irks me about the exclusion of Stricker, too. Not only is he one of the best golfers in the World (and has been for the past three years), but he is a nine time winner on Tour. You’d think that would make him “notable.”

  • Jon

    Big Snake Man needs on disclaimer on the need to play Lorenzo Cain…rumor has it that he has picked up Cain for his fantasy squad.

  • http://mike BigSnakeMan

    Yeah, but I had to let him go already. I’m afraid he’ll be sent down once YoGa’s activated.