Lose-Lose for Packers, Green / Big Ten Outlook

So who wins in the Ahman Green to Houston Texans move? The Packers for sticking to their guns and not paying Ahman more than the organization thinks he’s worth? Or Ahman Green for his fat new contract?

Obviously, we’ll need to see how it plays out over the next couple of seasons, but it appears to be a bummer deal for everyone. Sure, Green will get paid, but will he be happy playing for the Texans? Besides the appeal of being reunited with former head coach Mike Sherman (who is now the Texans’ offensive coordinator), the Texans, along with the Detroit Lions, are one of only two teams that you can guarantee every year will stink.

And, worse for Green, the Texans are weakest up front — quarterback David Carr hits the ground more often than I predict John Ratzenberger will on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. Throw an older player like Green who has had injury and fumble problems behind a line that can’t block and you have the makings of the beginning of the end of Green’s career. You think Green would have learned from the similar situation that befell Edgerrin James in Arizona, but apparently the roar of the money drowned out any hope of Green obeying any logic.

Green would have been better off in every way except financially (and I believe he still would have been able to fulfill at least the bottom two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with what Green Bay would have paid him) to stay with the Packers. Better team, better offensive line, better fans, more yardage, more touchdowns, more Lambeau Leaps. And the Packers would have been better off holding on to Green. Sure, Green’s career and legacy takes a bigger hit than the Packers, but Green Bay will suffer. Not only will the team miss Green’s abilities on the field, but they will miss his veteran presence on what is a very young and ragged — though improving — group of players. And of course the big question is who will fill Green’s shoes? Vernand Morency? Morency’s a nice player, but hardly a featured back.

It appears unlikely that the Packers will open up their wallet to grab one of the few remaining big name running backs in free agency, so look for them to draft Marshawn Lynch if he’s still on the board when the Packers pick 16th. Lynch is a talented running back — he was the 2006 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year — with loads of upside, but it’s impossible to expect him or any other rookie to come in and make Packer fans forget Green. And with Brett Favre running out of playing days, now is not the time for the Packers to be taking steps backward. Favre needs a solid running game and Green was their best option for 2007. But it’s also unlikely that what Ahman will be able to achieve with the cursed Houston Texans will have many Packer fans Green with envy.

Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament — The Short Version: Although upsets tend to reign at the Big Ten tournament, I like Ohio State to win. No shocker there. I do think that Michigan State has mentally and physicaly exhausted Wisconsin enough over their last two contests that they will upset the Badgers on Friday night. As much as I hate to admit it, the Spartans have been better at shutting down the Badgers’ scorers than the Badgers have been able to shut down Drew Neitzel. I like Illinois to then beat Michigan State after upsetting Indiana and then lose to Ohio State in the championship.

Big Ten Men in the Big Dance: I like the Big Ten to sneak in five — earlier in the week I thought six, but now I think five: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan State. Purdue and Michigan will be on the outside looking in. Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State will have their hopeless basketball programs stripped by the NCAA. Iowa will win the NIT.

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