Some year-end mea culpas
Elton John wrote “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” in 1976. Today, as another year is about to come to an end, we offer our sincere apologies to those members of the Packers we wronged in 2010.
Let’s begin with John Kuhn, a player we’ve been trying to get rid of for years. To be fair, we weren’t the only ones wrong about this guy. He wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine, no scouts showed up when he held his Pro Day, the Steelers released him and no teams showed any serious interest when he hit the restricted free agent market the past two springs. Did we mention we almost dry heaved when Mike McCarthy named him the No. 2 halfback after Ryan Grant got hurt? Well, that was then and this is now. Kuhn has more than earned our respect by becoming an integral part of the offense this season. He’s far and away the team’s best short-yardage runner and he’s scored six touchdowns. We wanted him out of town four months ago; now we can’t imagine the Packers without him.
Next comes Charlie Peprah, the only free agent signed by GM Ted Thompson during the offseason. Not only were we unimpressed by this transaction, we were actually angry about it. Why bring back a guy who wasn’t very good in his first stint with the Packers? That’s what we thought. We were wrong. And listening to the coaches rave about Peprah during training camp didn’t change our minds. What changed our minds was watching him play. He isn’t any bigger or faster than before, but he’s healthier, and more importantly, Dom Capers has found ways to minimize his weaknesses while maximizing his strengths. In the end, Green Bay got an adequate starting safety and we got a story idea.
Our final apology is to Sam Shields – although this one isn’t quite as heartfelt. While we didn’t think the ex-Miami star was ready to be the team’s starting nickel back, we were quick to tout his potential. In fact, we wrote a very positive article on Shields after only the second day of training camp. And while it didn’t take a professional scout to see how much talent the young man possessed, it didn’t seem possible for an undrafted rookie with only one year of experience on defense to hold up for 40 or 50 snaps a game against some of the league’s best wide receivers. Well, he has. In fact, he’s been so impressive that it wouldn’t be a shock to see Charles Woodson move to safety a little sooner than expected.