Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

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Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football
Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Instead of a long intro this week, I’m going to save my bloviating for the non-Packers links and other nonsense section and get right to the Packers news of the week.

I’ll be back next week with a strong opinion on something related to the Packers or the NFL. For now, we’ll just catch up on Packers news and talk about a baseball text simulation game that everybody should own.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Center Evan Dietrich-Smith signed his one-year restricted free-agent contract tender this week. I’m surprised no other team offered him more money to lure him away from the Packers. I’m also happy that Dietrich-Smith will be back. Should we be worried that no other team bothered to offer him more than the $1.323 million he got from the Packers? 
  • Jermichael Finley was on KFAN in Minneapolis this week with Vikings play-by-play broadcaster Paul Allen. The interview is painfully bad, but if you want to know what Finley had to say, read this summary from Jason Wilde’s ESPN Milwaukee blog. Finley says he wants to play like Tony Gonzalez. In other news, I want to write like Shakespeare.
  • Does the fact that the Packers no longer host a Fan Fest type of event mean that they have “little connection to the fans these days?” John Rehor thinks so. I don’t agree with John’s headline — saying the Packers have little connection to the fans because there is no fan fest type of event is over the top — but I agree with the entirety of John’s post (I’m one of those weird people that actually bothers to read an entire post/article instead of just reacting to the headline). Something could be done to resurrect fan fest and make it more accessible than it was before.
  • Good post here from Evan at Acme Packing Company about the Packers “needing” to draft a safety in the first round. It’s good have posts like this to help us wade through some of the nonsense that’s out there for draft coverage. When I becomePresident, I’m going to pass a law that says only people appointed to my NFL Draft Council will be able to write about and analyze the draft. Way too much draft coverage out there these days and the quality is diluted.
  •  Uh-oh. RB Eddie Lacy finally ran the 40, and it wasn’t very good. I’ve been pimping Lacy hard lately as a Packers option in the first round. Do I need to change my tune? This is why I probably wouldn’t appoint myself to my own draft council when I become president.
  • Speaking of the draft, we’ve been cranking out a lot of NFL draft profiles here at ALLGBP.com. I encourage you to check them out. The guys really do a nice job with them and it’s a good way to learn a little bit about a bunch of players you may not have heard of before.
  • For more quality draft coverage, head over to Packerstalk.com and listen to podcasts on QBs/Kickers and a conversation with draft guru Sigmund Bloom from Cheesehead Radio.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

Friday was a national holiday. At least is should have been.

The new version of Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) was released and I’ve been playing it nonstop since. If you don’t know what OOTP is, go here for a quick primer.

In a nutshell, it’s the greatest sports game ever created. It puts you into a massive baseball universe — one that you can customize however you want — as a general manager and/or on-field manager. Instead of using your fingers to mash buttons and take advantage of weak artificial intelligence like most arcade baseball games on PS3 or Xbox, you use your brain and incorporate your own roster and team-building strategies to have a successful career.

You basically try to become the Ted Thompson of baseball. Believe me, it’s as cool as it sounds.

I’ve been playing OOTP since the second version of the game was released, all the way back in 2000. Friday’s release was the 14th version and so far, it’s the best one yet.

You remember how awesome the Packers offense was in 2011? How it would just march up and down the field and there wasn’t much other teams could do to stop it. OOTP 14 is to sports games what the 2011 Packers offense was to the NFL.

There’s a fine line in simulation type of games like OOTP. Some games try to do a few things and do them well. Other games try to do many things and only end up doing a few of them well.

With OOTP 14, developers seemed to have hit that sweet spot where all the new features they’ve added over the years are operating at an Aaron Rodgers-like MVP level, and the new additions to the game are also worthwhile and add to the overall immersion and enjoyment of the game.

The game uses PECOTA projections to rate this year’s major league roster set, which includes all minor-league players and even prospects in the upcoming draft. This year’s ratings look extremely accurate. Most of the errors, what few there are, will likely be fixed by Monday.

I’ve always found it challenging to track the development of some of my younger players in the game. A new player development tracking tool fixes that. No longer do I have to wade through screens of scouting reports for updates on my young phenoms. Now I can find out in a monthly update if my star young pitcher is losing velocity or if my a mediocre outfield prospect suddenly has surged in power and plate discipline.

Player creation algorithms,  player origin, fielding development and scouting have also been noticeably improved. I never used to play with scouting on. I turned it on in OOTP 14 and I’m loving it so far.

I could go on and on, but odds are you’re not reading this blog for a 2,000-word review on a computer baseball simulation. You’re a Packers fan, and you’re wondering why I’m bothering you with this.

Trust me, if even a small part of you is interested in A) baseball; B) sports games; or C) becoming a general manager, you need to check this game out.

Be honest with yourself. You’re going to get bored watching the later rounds of the NFL draft and you’ll need something to keep yourself occupied while the draft slogs on, right? OOTP 14 would more than do the trick.

EDIT: I should also mention that a scaled down version of OOTP is available on the iPad and iPhone. Both are also really fun.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

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  • CD Angeli

    When I was bummed up in the hospital last year for a few days with pneumonia, I downloaded OOTP for my iPad and it passed nearly all of my time. I don’t think I ever turned on the television, and my family thought I had died unless they came to visit me. It is pretty awesome. By the way, for dominance, start playing back in the 1920s or 1930s and build up through the years.

    • Adam Czech

      Yes, the iPad and iPhone versions of the game are also great.

      I wouldn’t put it past myself to one day fake that I have pneumonia just so I can get admitted to the hospital for a few days of uninterrupted OOTP play.

  • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

    Question to Adam and all my fellow Packers fans. Are the Packers that unhappy with or already given up on Jerron McMillian already that there is so much talk about the Packers taking a Safety in round 1 or 2? Bob Fox suggested that the Packers should take Phillip Thomas, from Fresno St. in the 1st round. Your feedback would be appreciated.

    • Stroh

      McMillan is certainly in the Packers plans. The problem is that McMillan struggled a lot in coverage and doesn’t have good balls skills. He is a physical player and that’s something the Packers need too, but whether or not he’ll become good enough to start in the NFL is debatable.

      IMO, McMillan and Jennings are both 1/2 of a very good safety. Jennings much better in coverage, but not good in the physical elements due to his lack of size/strength. McMillan has most of the physical elements (toughness and tackling) but struggles in coverage and doesn’t have ideal height/length.

      Personally, I like Reid the most and would consider him at #26. Phillip Thomas is much like Burnett, just not quite as fast, tho a little tougher or more physical in style of play. I don’t think he’s a 1st round pick and that’s the first time I’ve heard him mentioned in the 1st round. He would be a good pick in the 2nd tho.

      McMillan might develop if he learns the coverage aspects, but he never played as a deep Safety in college, he was always an “in the box” safety. Richardson is the same way.

      Those are my thoughts.

  • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

    Thanks Stroh.