It seems to be a running joke among football fans (Packers’s fans are no exception) that the goal for any team during that No Man’s Land between minicamp and training camp in July is simple: don’t get arrested. Sure, the Lions seemed to always lead the charge with a parade of bad decisions that end up on the police blotter. It’s usually something to snicker about, a chance to mock other teams for their unruly behavior and acts of sheer stupidity.
Yet with criminal offense comes the inevitable suspensions handed down from the NFL front office.
But this year the Green Bay Packers have not been immune to run-ins with law enforcement. Of course each time it happens, many jump to the reactionary “Cut him!” Others will try to pin the taint on the Packers QB Aaron Rodgers somehow by asking, “Would you want Aaron cut if he smoked weed/fired a gun in public/or did something ridiculously asinine to warrant a mugshot?” (For the record, no, I don’t think he’d be dumb enough to shoot a gun in the air in public or buy a bag of weed in a well-lit parking lot. But that’s just my opinion.)
And then there’s the whole argument about double standards which Jay Hodgson hit on earlier today at CheeseheadTV. Are lesser players punished and shown the door after screwing up a lot faster than the faces of the franchise?
Those are a lot of hypotheticals that remain truly unanswered. Yet there is no question that the Packers have seen an increase in, shall we say, choosing poorly. Yet at the end of the day, each of these infractions, arrests and citations are each different, but each has the possibility of impacting the team during the regular season.
Offense: Illegal discharge of a firearm. While he did try to hide both the gun and himself in a potted plant, he was only charged with the misdemeanor gun offense. From a legal standpoint, he’s lucky. He isn’t looking at the same charges that Plaxico Burress did when he accidentally shot himself with his own handgun. Burress was charged with two felonies, and spent 20 months behind bars in prison for his misadventures with his sidearm.
Level of stupidity: On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 11. Come, you’re a grown man trying to hide in a fern? Really, Q? That was going to end well, exactly how? Yes, it’s very laughable, especially when witnesses say he fired his .45 “in attempt to emphasize his dominance and manhood.” Couple that with the fact that shooting a gun up in the air, while may be a display of your testosterone-charged territorial markings, might actually hurt someone. Sure, Quarless may have intended his gunshots to be the exclamation point on the end of his, “Respect mah authoriteh!” But those bullets have to come down somewhere. He’s lucky no one was injured by his misguided machismo.
Chance of suspension: Pretty good. If criminal possession of weed gets you a one game suspension, good chances he’s looking at a two game suspension for this misdemeanor. Why? Because Roger Goodell has historically not been that forgiving when it comes to gun offenses. In 2005, Colts safety Mike Doss received a 2 game suspension for a misdemeanor concealed weapon violation. He didn’t even discharge his gun, and he sat for two. But if Doss received a two game timeout and never fired a weapon, I wouldn’t be surprised if Goodell tacked on more time for firing it to intimidate a woman who told Quarless to pound sand.
Impact on the Packers: There will definitely be a ripple effect, but it won’t be much. But let’s face it, no one has filled Finley’s shoes since his career-ending neck injury. Last year, Quarless had 29 receptions (20 of them for first downs) and 3 TDs. He may not have had a significant impact in the end zone, but he was better than a stick in the eye when it came to moving the chains. That said, his stats aren’t all that different from Richard Rodgers. Then again, Rodgers had the same numbers, but racked them up in only five games.
Is it curtains for Quarless? Probably not, because unless Richard Rodgers pulls away from the pack in performance, there are still some huge shoes to fill in Finley’s absence. Let’s face it, the tight end corps isn’t all that deep. Sure, 3 TDs in a season may not be enough to draw defensive coverage consistently, but his presence is still felt. My money is on Quarless staying after he takes his lumps.
Offense: Possession of a semi-automatic 9 mm handgun, 357 grams of marijuana and $190,000 (which may or may not be his salary). The combination doesn’t exactly look good and makes Guion look like an extra cast as a shady character on Miami Vice. He ultimately reached a plea deal, charges were dropped and he paid $5000 in court costs. Hopefully he can keep his nose clean, as this wasn’t his first run in with the law. So far he’s been pretty lucky, as previous charges of cyberstalking an ex-girlfriend and battery (her boyfriend) were dropped previously as well. If Guion was a cat, he’s already used up 3 of his 9 lives.
Level of Stupidity: I’m going to give Letroy a solid 5 on that scale of 1-10. A handgun, a garbage bag (truth be told, more like a big Ziploc) of weed and a bigger sack of money really don’t look good in combination. Again, it brings us back to the Crook of the Week on Miami Vice. While he got off nothing more than a slap on the wrist, it’s not an image that the NFL wants to put forward.
Chance of Suspension: Here’s the kicker, Guion has not been disciplined thus far by the league. Yes, he was he in possession of an exorbitant amount of weed. There is no denying that. But technically, no crime was committed because of the plea deal. Could he still be suspended? That is still definitely a possibility, but with Datone Jones below getting suspended for a lesser amount of marijuana, nothing is outside the realm of possibility. Taking a wild guess, he’s looking at a 1 game suspension, 2 if they take into consideration the volume of marijuana he had in his possession at the time he was pulled over. But who knows, it may be more just for the sheer stupidity of his actions.
Impact on the Packers: Of all the player with run-ins with the law this offseason, Guion’s potential absence would have the biggest impact. Sure, BJ Raji is back in the mix, but he hasn’t played a down of football in over a year. Guion is coming off his best year. Twenty-two tackles, 10 assists, a forced fumble, 4 stuffs and 3.5 sacks. He added stability to the line that had been lacking since Ryan Pickett departed. Not huge numbers, but definitely a threat at the line of scrimmage. He played all 16 games last year, and if he were to exit for a game or three, it would Raji holding up the line.
Is it curtains for Guion? Absolutely not. The Packers have stood behind their man and have since signed Guion to a pretty hefty one year $2.75 Million deal ($1.5 Million base salary, $1.15 Million, $100,000 roster bonus.)
Offense: Drowning his sorrows back in Green Bay after that gut wrenching loss in the NFC Championship game with a little Mary Jane with an ugly multi-colored glass pipe (paraphernalia is a separate charge) and obstruction. Not sure if the “But I’m a first round draft pick” led to the obstruction. Nope, that occurred when he tried to toss the evidence under a white Ford truck. (Is it just me, or do all crimes seem to involve white Ford automobiles?) As far as offenses go, this one was pretty minor. No mugshot or bail needed. Jones was issued a citation (read: a ticket) and has already paid the $880 fine for the 8 grams of marijuana (that would be 349 fewer grams than Guion had on him when he was busted.)
Level of Stupidity: I’m going to give it a 1. In the grand scheme of things, smoking some weed in a ugly pipe is lame. It’s a victimless crime. No one has ever overdosed from marijuana. It didn’t involve a gun. There was no epic police chase on Fox (Do they still have that show?), and no one was hurt. But it is still not legal in the state of Wisconsin. If you read the police report (you don’t have to, because I already did for you), Mr. Datone Wayne Jones gets an F-minus for the utter fail in the sneakiness of his nefarious ways. Green Bay’s Finest watched the whole cliched drug deal go down in a lighted apartment parking lot like it was some comedic sketch from Cheech and Chong.
Chance of Suspension: Done deal. The league has already handed down a one-game suspension. Congrats and welcome to the NFL drug monitoring program. Have fun with your random urine test. Please keep your hands inside the ride at all times, and do not move until the ride comes to a complete stop.
Impact on the Packers: Slim to none. There’s no question Jones has not lived up to his first round billing. Absent at times last year with an ankle injury, the team managed to be successful with our without him.
Is it Curtains for Jones: The Magic 8 Ball says “Cannot predict now.” Will a ticket for a dime bag of marijuana be enough for the Packers to give the heave ho? Absolutely not, but it is another hit against him after two lackluster years on the team. Not exactly a vote of confidence when you’re trying to make a good impression. It will be a make or break year for Jones, but how he performs on the field will be the ultimate factor in his future with the team.
It’s the first year in a long time that three players are potentially sitting out the beginning of the season for disciplinary reasons. No, none were violent offenses. No one was shot, or run over with a car, or beaten. But the Packers tend to have a low tolerance for BS when the law is involved. Those involved with domestic violence (Brandon Underwood and Erik Walden come to mind) tend to have a hasty exit from the team. I’m sure the last thing Head of PR Aaron Popkey wanted to do this weekend was put down his burger and beer at a family barbecue and draft a statement letting the world know the Green Bay Packers had a mugshot to explain.
The Packers, like their fans, have neither the time nor patience to put up with nonsense. Yet at the end of the day, the three offenses this offseason, while unique in their own ways, really won’t impact the team as it prepares for the beginning of the 2015 season.--------------