The passing of the torch in the NFL can be cruel and never ceases. I’m referring to players: old and established giving way to players in their prime, all being chased by the up-and-coming new faces.
In Green Bay we have the example of future Packers Hall-of-Famer Donald Driver having ceded territory the last two years to the likes of Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Now fresh faces like Tori Gurley, Diondre Borel, Shakey Smithson, Dale Moss are all trying to get noticed.
I was reminded of this last evening, as I sat (and stood) in my local musical venue watching the still-amazing 75-year old Buddy Guy (video below) fill the air with powerful blues riffs and entertain a crowd like few others can.
Opening for Guy was Jonny Lang, a former child guitar-playing prodigy (now 31) who had his first album released at the age of 14 and was a Grammy-nominated artist at the age of 16. Guy was one of the people responsible for discovering and pushing Lang towards success.
Towards the end of Guy’s show, Lang naturally came out to jam with Guy and they tore the house down (or so we thought). That was until Guy brought out a new guitar-playing prodigy he had first discovered at the age of 7! Now 13, this young boy came onstage looking as uncomfortable as you might expect from a 13 year old, then proceeded to sound like a guitar God from the 60’s. he jammed the blues with Guy and Lang, then veered off into some Hendrix and finished up with some Eric Clapton (Cream-era).
Guy looked on with as wide a smile I’ve seen this side of Donald Driver, mesmerized himself by the talent of this young kid. Lang was smiling, but looked a little uneasy, as perhaps he saw his status as a modern-day blues virtuoso soon to be eclipsed by some teenager.
And that’s where I make a connection to the NFL and the Packers. Donald Driver is Buddy Guy, the aging veteran who just wants to keep playing and displaying his talent. Guy said to his fans last night, “I don’t come out here and play for Buddy Guy anymore, I come out for you.”
Lang is probably in the position of James Jones right now. Sandwiched between the fan-favorite aging veteran and up-and-the up-and-comers, he’s probably a little uneasy of what his immediate future holds for him.
And the young boy, who’s name I couldn’t make out, is the up-and-comer. Hoping to get noticed, hoping get signed to a record contract, with Guy actively stumping for him.
And that’s where the football comparison ends, because no matter how great of a person Donald Driver is, he’s not going to be pushing for any of these young guys to win a job – that would probably mean he loses his.
On that note, here are some worthwhile links for you to check out with emphasis on the “passing of the torch” theme:
Pete Dougherty, for Sports.Madison.com, writes on how Driver’s re-signing puts Gurley and Borel in Limbo.
Details of Driver’s new contract are given by scout.com.
A nice post here by packapologist over at AcmePackingCompany.com on how the Packers can improve their running game without changing personnel.
Tom Oates of Sports.Madison.com looks at the Packers running back situation – are they operating on a hope and a prayer?
Tyler Dunne of JSOnline.com has a fabulous interview with the enigma known as Jermichael Finley:
Lori Nickel of JSOnline has an equally fabulous article about one of the newest Packers, Philip Merling.
Very interesting storyline by Brian Carriveau at CheeseheadTV, speculating that with all of the new competition on DL, if we might not see more than the usual share of training-camp flare-ups (i.e. fights).
Packersnews.com reports on former Packer Aaron Kampman being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Note: For anyone who hasn’t seen Buddy Guy perform live, put it on your bucket list – but don’t wait too long, he is 75 years old. Watch him shred here:
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.