Should He Stay Or Should He Go? A Donald Driver Debate
There has been a great deal of debate and discussion on the internet and Twitter lately about the future of Donald Driver and where he will play football this upcoming season. Driver himself has said that he wants to play, optimally for the Packers; but elsewhere if the Packers decide he does not fit into their plans. Analysts have analyzed, pundits have pundited (that’s a word, right?) ad nauseam, coming to either the conclusion that Driver will stay or that the Packers have too many weapons and will cut him loose.
We at Pocket Doppler are no different in the diversity of opinions on this subject. Colleen and BigSnakeMan in particular disagree on this issue (we know, this is your shocked face). Read on, and choose your side.
Of course Donald Driver should stay a Green Bay Packer. Only a pompous windbag would conclude otherwise. I say that not only as a huge fan of Quickie’s (one who owns his jersey and votes on five different phones every week, oh, and online as well, to keep him on Dancing With The Stars) but as a shareholder who wants the team to do well.
Two years ago, during the Super Bowl run, Driver was the #2 receiver on the team. The year prior to that, he was the leading receiver. Last year, of course, he dropped in those standings to fifth, but a lot of that had to do with the return of the (finally) healthy Jermichael Finley and not due to a drop in ability. His percentage of dropped balls is virtually even with Greg Jennings and James Jones. Driver is definitely still holding his own.
Post season, the numbers don’t lie either. I suffered through the abject humiliation of the Giants game last January. The one thing that kept me full of pride was the way Donald Driver stood up during that game. He had more yards than any other receiver and the only touchdown amongst the corps. He kept his cool, and he came through. In 2010 during the Super Bowl run, he was number three in receiving. Quickie knows his way around the playoffs and he’s proven himself to be dependable when all others crumble.
The last reason to keep Driver is really an intangible. Leadership and character. Driver is the senior veteran on the Packers team. He has been through it all – ups and downs, Super Bowls and losing seasons, not to mention the Favre drama that enveloped the team he obviously loves as well as one of his very close friends and he’s handled it with class and an enjoyable lack of drama.
Quickie still matters and he still brings talent and capability to the Packers. Let’s not waste all of this by letting him go to another team, especially (shudder) to the Vikings.
Colleen, you ignorant slut!* Once again I’ll be the bad guy here and say what everyone else is thinking.
Even a pompous windbag knows that, in these days of roster limits and salary caps, there is little room for sentiment in professional football (seriously, 5 PHONES?!). Packers’ General Manager Ted Thompson has never let emotion guide his football decisions (Jarrett Bush notwithstanding), nor should he. After all, that philosophy resulted in a Super Bowl Championship. If the Packers could move on from Brett Favre, who had a far greater impact on the field at the time of his exit, they can get along without Driver. Many of the fans lamenting Driver’s departure now would be the same ones complaining if they kept him at the expense of another receiver who could’ve performed better during the season.
There are many signs that point to the idea that Driver won’t be back with the Pack.
There was much speculation after last season’s playoff defeat at the hands of the Giants that Driver had lost a step when New York chose to cover him with a linebacker for much of the game. The Packers also went to great monetary lengths last season to keep practice squad wide receivers Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel in the fold after they had opportunities elsewhere. It seems unlikely that they would take that step if they didn’t expect at least one of those two to claim a roster spot this season. Throw in the addition of promising undrafted free agent Dale Moss and Driver could get caught in a numbers crunch at the position. Finally, the Packers seem particularly reticent to comment in the press on Driver’s future. Considering all these factors, it doesn’t look positive for Driver to return.
Seriously, though, I can’t take too hard a line against Driver. He’s had a great career and has been the epitome of “Packer People”. Unfortunately, that won’t guarantee him a roster spot. If the Packers determine that he still has a place on the team, I have no problem with that. But all good things must come to an end eventually. It’s always sad to see great athletes try to hang on past their prime. Sadly, I can speak from personal experience that we become more prone to injury as we get older. While Driver’s current participation on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ means that he’s in great shape, it also suggests that his aging body hasn’t had the rest and recovery time that it otherwise would have had in the offseason.
Driver has also stated in the past that he’d like to play until he was 40 years old, which could put the Packers in an uncomfortable position going forward. Perhaps it’s better to cut the cord now, for the sake of both Driver and the team, than to revisit this issue again.
Personally, I think the best thing for all concerned would be for Driver to retire. Then I would like to see the Packers offer ’80′ a similar promotional deal to the one they reportedly offered ’4′ to stay ‘retired’. He’s been a far better ambassador for the team than that other individual ever was and it would go a long way to insure that Driver not only remain in the Packers’ good graces, but that he’ll also have a healthy remainder of his life for his family.
*(Reference to an old SNL bit http://youtu.be/H3t-DuN8t6U I actually love Colleen like a sister…….REALLY!)