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Andrew's answers: Tuesday's mailbag

Injured Packers; Fisher/Titans split; Vick-Kolb deja-vu Andrew Brandt

Print This February 01, 2011, 11:01 AM EST

First, we have created a link for archived Packers and Steelers articles, including several with personal insights on players from my time at the Packers, including thoughts on Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver, Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson and more.  Enjoy. 

Also, as someone with eternal optimism about the resolution the NFL Labor dispute, I'll have CBA questions and answers tomorrow, as I do every Wednesday.

Now on to the questions of Super Bowl week..

What are your thoughts on the public battle at the Packers about the guys on the injured list, the team picture, Aaron Rodgers’ comments, etc?

As I wrote last week, the Packers extraordinary number of players on the injured list  – 16 – may be due in part to the lack of a Salary Cap this year and freedom to take on charges that in any other year would count against the Cap.

A bloated injured list creates logistical issues with trainers and training tables. The priority for the training staff is getting active players ready to play. Therefore, the IR players’ treatment schedule is based on the trainers squeezing them in before or after the active guys.

The Packers had some of their key veterans play through injuries this season – Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Chad Clifton, Cullen Jenkins, etc. – and they take priority over the any of the players on injured reserve.

Thus, the issue of rehabilitation away from Lambeau Field always becomes an issue. There were no bright line rules about this. Some players come and go from Green Bay after their initial acute phase of injury. And some players prefer to rehabilitate in a more geographically desirable place than Green Bay.

The key to this is what direction the players had from the management, coaching and medical staff of the Packers. Players cannot make decisions to leave unilaterally; they are allowed or, in some cases due to the space issue, encouraged to leave to have their treatment schedule elsewhere.

It was a big story in a slow news weekend before the Super Bowl.

What did you think of Jeff Fisher and the Titans parting ways after all this time?

Years in the NFL are like dog years. Thus, Fisher’s 16 years in Tennessee are really something like 112 years.
Seriously, I take Fisher at his word: sometimes it is just time for a change.

Relationships can get stale and little things once brushed aside become more pronounced. It appears that there was a divide in the Titans offices between the owner/front office on one side and the coaching staff on the other. And the continued support of Vince Young from ownership through last season when it was clear Fisher wanted no part of him caused fractures in the relationship.

Further, there comes a time where the players have heard the same message, the same speeches, the same stories, the same expletive-laced tirades from the same guy and the effect is either lessened or lost.

Did you know Fisher or have dealings with him?

I did not, but heard him present rule changes every year at the NFL meetings. Fisher was co-chair of the Competition Committee and I found him to be very impressive for two reasons:

(1) He would present his position and the Committee’s position – which were sometimes at odds – in reasoned and measured tones, without any presumed bias on what were occasionally divisive issues; and (2) He would take a view on issues beyond the view of a coach: whether it was good for players, for management, and for the game as a whole. He will be missed from that role.

What do you think of the news that the Eagles may place the Franchise tag on Michael Vick and listen to trade offers for Kevin Kolb?

It is the logical choice. The only hazard to doing so is potential discord from one or both players but the Eagles are fortunate that these two guys are not ones to make waves.

Vick has become the dynamic player that Andy Reid envisioned when he pushed for his signing. And he is a more dedicated player with a higher work ethic than he was years ago. However, Vick’s strength on the field works against his long-term financial security. Vick takes so many body shots that a team has to question a high-risk contract into the future for him, in addition to concern about character flaws from the past.

As for Kolb, of course the Eagles will listen but I wouldn’t be so sure they would trade him. Kolb is still the same guy that Reid and the Eagles handed the keys to their franchise a year ago in trading Donovan McNabb. And, as mentioned above, Vick puts himself in harms’ way more than any other quarterback (although is faster to get away from harms’ way than any other quarterback). If I were the Eagles, I’d set the bar very high on what it would require to move Kolb and stick to it.

Financially, keeping both quarterbacks in this scenario would require about the same commitment that it did in 2010.

Kolb was extended in the offseason with a $10.7 million bonus along with his $715,000 salary. Thus, for 2010, between Kolb’s $11.415 million and Vick’s $8 million ($5.25 million salary plus almost $2.75 million of incentives) , the Eagles were paying out roughly $19.4 million to their top two quarterbacks in 2010

Should the Eagles apply the Franchise tag to Vick in 2011 – expected to be around $18 million -- and pay Kolb his scheduled salary of $1.4 million, they would pay the exact same $19.4 million to their top two quarterbacks in 2011.

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