Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Take -> Draft Review

Greetings, G-Force.

I relax. I casually sip a 3 Floyd's Dreadnaught, a purposeful beer selection as I reflect on the Packers 2014 NFL Draft. Fittingly, as I excitingly ponder on my writing approach, my headphones echo with Bunny Wailer's "Retrospective" album. Got Roots? Got Radics? If so, find the ROCKER in you. I'm about to Rebel Rock my way thru my NFL Draft thoughts. Vibe On, Packers fans! Also, give the Tribal Seeds "The Harvest" album a listen. I promise you'll enjoy, especially the introduction to the song "Away", which I promise will get you bouncing.

Over the last couple of years, much has been made about issues surrounding the Packers team speed. In the 2014 NFL Draft, Ted Thompson didn't draft mudders from the Midwest who are accustomed to plowing thru the November-January. Largely, he selected players who have rarely, if ever, seen slow snow ridden turf. He targeted players who have played in warm climates. While his draft picks didn't run in cheetah like fashion when they were timed in the 40, Thompson's draft choices excelled in football competition on a fast track. Additionally, in UDFA, he grabbed a number of warm weather prospects. Further, they brought a fun swag to the field. A genuine confidence that should freshly penetrate the Packers locker room.

It was clear that Ted Thompson targeted team needs over the Best Player Available. He had to fill holes on the roster. He also loaded the WR position as leverage in the upcoming contract negotiations with Nelson, Cobb & Boykin. Thompson protected himself at the position.

From top-to-bottom, this feels like a 90-man roster that is going to breed intense competition from Day 1 in Training Camp. On paper, from top-to-bottom, this roster is loaded. I can't find 25 players on the roster that I think are an absolute long shot to make the roster. Last year, I said early on that the Packers would finish 9-7, 10-6 at best. They didn't have depth. This year - the roster looks to have talent all across the board.

The Packers and the Alabama Crimson Tide have a long history together. Don Hutson & Bart Starr are legends. Eddie Lacy is the reigning Rookie of the Year. With HaHa Clinton-Dix & Adrian Hubbard the Packers have added two more Alabama ballers.

Here's a quick outlook on each draft choice:

Round 1: HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. If you have followed along, you know that I wanted Deone Bucannon with this pick. I embrace HaHa. I'll also forever compare Bucannon & Clinton-Dix. I was really hoping HaHa would be given #36. #36 was becoming an honor to wear for a Safety in GB. With HaHa wearing #6 in college, I thought it was a natural transition.

HaHa didn't fly at the Combine. But, put on the film. The dude can move. He has football speed. He can get sideline-to-sideline. He roams. While he isn't always successful, he's a willing tackler. He'll be an enormous upgrade over the Safety play that we saw in Titletown, U.S.A. last year. He brings swag. He brings flavor. He brings confidence. He brings attitude. For the record, when the Packers were on the clock I ranked my top 3 as Deone Bucannon, Darqueze Dennard, HaHa Clinton-Dix.

Round 2: Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State. Comes across as a blend of James Jones & Greg Jennings. He speaks with confidence. Adams catches the ball at the high point similar to the way Jones did. He has wiggle like Jennings did in the open field. He doesn't run away from you, but he plays at a speed similar to Jones. He's smart. He's elusive. He's well spoken. Oh, and he wore #15 in college like Jennings. It's exciting to have him as a target for Rodgers!

Round 3: Khyri Thornton, DL, Southern Miss Explosive. Solid speed/power combo who excels with a tug & pull move on the interior. Shifts well to his right off the snap. Intriguing 1st step. He does lose the leverage battle - on occasion - as he finds himself playing too tall. With that said, he looks like a natural getting his paws in the air in an attempt to swat passes. Thornton was undoubtedly the best player at the NFLPA Bowl. He showed off a variety of moves. He was quick off the ball. He had a high motor. He extended his arms and used his hands well. He consistently finished plays. He fought thru double teams with aggressive pursuit and showed excellent hustle. He got solid penetration with a quick burst off the ball. When he was stood up at the line, he chased after ball carriers and played until the whistle. If he learns from Mike Daniels and masters the leverage piece, look out!

Round 3: Richard Rodgers, TE, CAL. Playfully, I say this: The last time the Packers drafted a #11 from CAL with the name Rodgers, it worked out in MVP form. The Rodgers pick surprised me. I don't know a ton about him, but from what I've seen, he hasn't been an overpowering blocker nor elite after the catch. But, the situation he was put in throughout his college career was less than ideal. He was asked to drastically fluctuate in weight and to change positions. He's been around the game. He knows the game. He's well spoken and he's loaded with upside. Since he will be exclusively playing TE in GB, I'm excited to see how he grows in the role.

Round 4: Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State. In March, I wrote this: "Prior to the Peppers signing, my pick was Carl Bradford, OLB, ASU. Shows up down the stretch. Good hustle. Sometimes inconsistent, but his good buzz is awfully positive. Can stand up or plant his hand in the dirt. Have not seen him drop into coverage much." Bradford may have small hands. He may have short arms. But, Bradford has heart. He has fight. He has tools that cannot be coached. He can beat you on a spin to the inside, with speed to the outside or on a stunt. On 3rd downs in college, he was occasionally used as an ILB in which he'd come on blitzes up the gut. He shows good recognition and a never say die attitude. He'll chase down plays. And when he hits you, he's looking to make a play. Also, late in games, Bradford makes plays. He'll make an impact this year. I'm certain of it.

Round 5: Corey Linsley, C, Ohio State. Kudos to Ted Thompson. With the addition of Linsley, the Packers OL is littered with competition and depth at each position. Linsley is pro ready. A stout bull that is a willing distributor of punishment. He's a mudder. Full of guts. And, a lifelong Packer fan.

Round 5: Jared Abbrederis, WR, WI. Have to be excited about this one. He's a WI boy. Staying home. Late in the 5th, he's great value. He's a student of the game. With the game on the line, he's a gamer. He'll fearlessly go up and get it. I do have concerns about his concussion history, but he was too good to pass up this late in the Draft.

Round 6: Demetrius Goodson, CB, Baylor. He's an athlete. Booming with confidence. He possesses the mindset required to succeed in Dom Capers island style defense. He's not afraid to take chances. He can turn and run. But, he's also mistake prone. He's not overly physical. But, he's still evolving as a football player. He's unprocessed. If he ripens in the proper light, Goodson could bloom into a solid NFL player.

Round 7: Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley. My only exposure of Janis came at the Senior Bowl. Admittedly, I've yet to review his film from his practices. I plan on doing that next week. During the game, he was slow off the snap. Often, he was the last of the 22 players to move post snap. But, when he released, he can fly. He looks the part in his uniform. He's a big target who can move. He dropped a pass in the game on a short route. Looked like he might have been afraid of contact on the play. He's a raw, developmental prospect. A good project.

Ted Thompson luxuriates in the oxygen offered by undrafted Free Agency. When he walked into the undrafted free agency light, his eyes were opened widely. Basking in this limelight, once again, it appears he was stepping with grace and ready to attack. He added a dozen rookie free agents. I have a take on a few of them. Here goes:

With Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama, I fancy that he nabbed a motivated Defensive Predator who is destined to be Thompson's next elite UDFA catch. With the ball as his prey, at times, Hubbard flashed 2nd round potential. He's massive. He moves well. He's comfortable as a 3-4 OLB. He's successfully dropped in coverage. He's played the run. He's pursued QB's. He has phenomenal length. Frankly, I had assumed he was drafted. I was stoked he ended up in Green Bay. It sounds like an irregular heart size hurt his draft stock. His Senior Bowl performance didn't help either.

It's noteworthy that the last time the Packers added a #42 from Alabama, he won the Rookie of the Year. Eddie Lacy made an enormous impact in his Rookie Year. It's heavy to expect Hubbard to make a similar impact, but I feel confident in saying that I believe Hubbard will be on the 2014 roster. I struck out - in Rob Deer fashion - on my Chase Thomas prediction. The same won't be true with Hubbard. He has too much upside. And while Hubbard isn't littered with elite pass rushing skills and he's been somewhat inconsistent, I will be surprised if he doesn't make the 53-man roster.

Colt Lyerla! Be excited! Yes, he has a questionable past. But, if the Lambeau Faithful embraces him in the fashion that they should, Lyerla might be doing Lambeau Leaps for the next decade. He has the potential to evolve into a premier Red Zone target. He's tough to bring down. He understands the game. He's a solid route runner. He's leaping ability is second-to-none at the TE position. He'll be a legitimate threat down the seam. Think about this: he's 6-4 with a 39 inch vertical. The 2nd best vertical at the combine was 35 inches. In essence, consider him a 6-8 TE with a 35 inch vertical. Unbelievable. Deep down - Rodgers is salivating at the thought of the Packers going 5-wide. Boykin, Adams, Nelson and Cobb as the WR's with Lyerla at TE. Rodgers out of shotgun. Lyerla comes in motion. He lines up next to Rodgers. A previously viewed passing formation is now potentially a run formation. Lyerla offers that versatility.

Yes, I realize that it's still a long shot for Lyerla to make the roster. But, he couldn't have landed in a better spot. The locker room will embrace him. Plus, it's tough to get in trouble in Green Bay. You have to work at it. I fully anticipate Lyerla to make an impact this year. Be excited, Packers fans!

Rajion Neal, RB, Tennessee. The only time I watched him play, I was sitting with my brother sipping on some of the best hops in America. At the La Cumbre Brewery. Tennessee was hosting Georgia. Neal was an absolute beast. A one-cut runner who excelled when the defense was spread out. He hit the hole. Neal has good hands and is a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. If what I saw on that day is the real Neal, he's going to make it tough for Franklin, Starks and Harris in the competition for the rotational role behind the Green & Yellow Bumblebee.

LaDarius Perkins, RB, Mississippi State. He's an undersized back who had a great Junior year. He was less productive in his Senior year. He's a solid kickoff returner as well. He'll bring a new dimension to the crop of backs. Against LSU, Perkins was able to get loose to the tone of 8.1 yards per carry. He has big play potential. It'll be interesting to see how McCarthy uses him in the preseason.

Jayrone Elliot, OLB, Toledo. Elliot is a prime example of why I believe the Packers 90-man roster is way better than it was in previous years. He's a natural 3-4 OLB. He fits. He's active. As a tackler, he'll often come with short arms. Regardless, he attacks the football. He's around the football and has ideal length to play in a Dom Capers system. He was dominant in the MAC. Against Northern Illinois, he was a difference maker. I don't see him on the 53-man roster, but he should compete for a Practice Squad role.

Joe Thomas, ILB, South Carolina State. I've never seen him play an entire game. I have watched his highlights. He dominated FBS football. Without a doubt, he intrigues. Looks a little like DJ Smith coming out of college. I'm interested to learn more about him early in camp.

Jake Doughty, ILB, Utah State. I DVR'd the Northern Illinois v Utah State Bowl game. I watched it to see how I viewed Jimmie Ward. I had mild interest in Utah State CB, Nevin Lawson. I watched 2 drives when Utah State was on defense. I deemed Lawson was too small. Early in the game, Doughty was aggressively pursuing ball carriers. For whatever reason, I stopped watching Utah State play defense and then deleted the game. Afterwards, I find out that Doughty dominated and was named the Defensive MVP of the game. I'm bummed I don't have the game on my DVR any more. Doughty puts his helmet into your chest when he's making a tackle. He's coming after you with intent.

The preseason games should provide high intrigue this year. For 4 Quarters. With Flynn & Tolzien leading the way in a big battle for the back-up QB role. With the Packers having strong depth on the OL, Flynn & Tolzien should get protection. At RB & WR, the Packers have more depth than I can ever recall. The Packers have 7 TE's on the roster. Defensively, we'll likely be watching players like Jerel Worthy battling in the 4th Quarter. Playing for a roster spot.

Summer is here. Training camp is around the corner. Until then, be blessed.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.
talkins-mac.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/buzzboy3

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Take -> Final Mock Draft Thoughts

Greetings, G-Force.

It's that time. We've waited. It's here. Sit back. Trust Ted Thompson. Watch. Not assuming trades, hope that this happens:

Round 1: Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Round 2: Troy Niklas, TE, ND
Round 3: Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
Round 3: Paul Richardson, WR, CO
Round 4: Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
Round 5: Aaron Lynch, DE/OLB, South Florida
Round 5: Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky
Round 6: Jay Bromley, DL Syracuse
Round 7: Beau Allen, DT, WI

Give me Nickoe Whitley, Alex Neutz, Bene Benwikere, Devekeyan Lattimore as undrafted FA's.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.
talkins-Mac.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Take -> Sublimely Crafted Packers Mock Draft

Greetings, G-Force.

It's always a joy to wear Packers gear with purpose. It's unique to do so in early May. But, when I sit down to write about the NFL Draft, I 'm stoked. Joining me is a Batch 60, which was hand crafted by the good folk at Crooked Stave. This American Wild Ale is brewed masterfully. A true gem. After the Batch 60, I have a Rufus Corvus Barrel-Aged Sour Ale from Avery waiting for me. My music choice is Black Uhuru's Bubbin' It Live with Sly & Robbie Album.

It's a long ride to the top of the NFL mountain. We've been there twice in my life. Blissful moments. If we're going to make it to that elevation again, the Packers have to find talent in the Draft this year. When your philosophy is founded on a Draft & develop approach, you can't afford multiple misses. Depth has to be replenished. Further, as the Matthews and Rodgers contracts steepen, the Packers have to find inexpensive gems via the Draft. Here's a quick projection of drafted players that will be on their first contract next year:

2010 - Bryan Bulaga.
2011 - Derek Sherrod, Randall Cobb, Ryan Taylor, Davon House.
2012 - Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy, Casey Hayward, Mike Daniels.
2013 - Datone Jones, Eddie Lacy, David Bakhtiari, JC Tretter, Johnathan Franklin, Micah Hyde, Josh Boyd, Sam Barrington.

For the record, I didn't include Nate Palmer or Kevin Dorsey from the 2013 class. I believe that Chris Harper will beat out Dorsey and that the Packers will draft a WR this year. I also feel that Chase Thomas will take Palmer's spot on the roster. Further, I view Derek Sherrod, Ryan Taylor, Davon House, and Jerel Worthy as "on the bubble" with respect to making the 2014 roster. It's also very possible that Cobb signs an extension before the season. In my mind, the 2014 NFL Draft is absolutely vital to the future of the Green Bay Packers.

Thompson looks like he had a really solid 2013 Draft. He must duplicate those efforts this year. There's power in numbers. Heading into the Draft, he has 4 of the first 100 picks. Currently, he has 9 selections. I fully expect him to draft 11 players this year. I hope he can add a 5th selection in the first 100 picks. As I've mentioned earlier, the 49ers are a likely trading partner. With Denver's offseason strategy, it wouldn't shock me if they were a trading partner either. There's a draft-day trade history between those two teams.

I'd like to remind you of a few important guidelines to follow in my Packers Mock Draft: First, I'm not a "draftnik." I'm a fan. Secondly, unless an OL absolutely jumps off the charts at me, I normally don't comment. And, most importantly, I'm exclusively sharing my thoughts. Therefore, if I didn't watch the player play, I'm not commenting. Sadly, this year, I've watched much less college football than I have in past years. With that said, let's go!

On Fanspeak, I ran computer simulations with 4 different Draft Boards that allowed me to play the role of GM for the Green Bay Packers. Here were my results:

With the DraftTV Big Board:

Round 1.) CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Round 2.) Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Round 3.) Marcus Martin, C, USC
Round 3b.) Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
Round 4.) Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
Round 5.) Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt
Round 5b.) Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU
Round 6.) Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State
Round 7.) Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt

With the Fanspeak Big Board:

Round 1.) CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Round 2.) Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Round 3.) Marcus Martin, C, USC
Round 3b.) DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
Round 4.) Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
Round 5.) Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Round 5b.) Dontae Johnson, CB, NC State
Round 6.) Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina
Round 7.) Nickoe Whitley, S, Mississippi State

With the Walter Football Big Board:

Round 1.) CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Round 2.) Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Round 3.) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Round 3b.) Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
Round 4.) Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Round 5.) Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
Round 5b.) Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
Round 6.) Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU
Round 7.) Nickoe Whitley, S, Mississippi State

With the Ourlads Big Board:

Round 1.) CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Round 2.) Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
Round 3.) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Round 3b) Chris Borland, ILB, WI
Round 4.) Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Round 5.) Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona
Round 5b.) DeAndre Coleman, DT, CAL
Round 6.) Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt
Round 7.) Jay Bromley, S, Syracuse

I also jumped on the first-pick.com website to run a simulation. They allow for trades. I traded down in the third round and the fourth round and I picked up two extra 6th round picks and an extra 7th. Here's what I came away with:

Round 1.) CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Round 2.) Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Round 3.) DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
Round 3b.) CJ Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Round 4.) Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
Round 5.) Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Round 5b.) Aaron Lynch, DE/OLB, South Florida
Round 6.) Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Round 6b.) Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
Round 6c.) Shamar Stephen, DT, UCONN
Round 7.) Nickoe Whitley, S, Mississippi State
Round 7b.) Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt

There you have it. It's unanimous. In every mock draft simulator that I ran, my first round pick was CJ Mosley.

For the purpose of my official Packers Mock Draft, I turn to the CBS NFL DRAFT SCOUT rankings to guide me. But, before I dive into the Mock Draft, I had to re-emphasize three Draft thoughts that I've previously written:

a.) The NFL Draft has to be viewed differently that it previously had been. For the most part, it's difficult to draft the Best Player Available. Free Agency ruined that philosophy. Instead, teams have to patch holes during the early portions of the Draft. They have to find talent that can make an impact their rookie year. It's more important to fill needs that it was in prior needs.

b.) I said it earlier. I'm saying it again. It's that important. Ted Thompson is armored with four of the top 100 picks. Last year, the Packers and 49ers traded twice together. The 49ers have two picks in the 2nd round and 2 picks in the third round. Could the Packers trade down in the first round and pick up the 49ers third and fourth round picks? The Draft Trade Value Chart says it's fair. If so, Thompson would have a first, a second, three thirds, two fourths, two fifths, a sixth and a seventh. He'd be in position to litter his roster with youthful exuberance.

c.) It really feels as though the Packers need to draft an ILB & a S in the first two rounds. The depth at ILB is light. If they don't attack the position early, the options are limited. Additionally, in 2005, Ted Thompson drafted two safeties in the first 4 rounds, I wouldn't be disappointed if he did so again in 2014.

Let's get to the action.

Round 1.) CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama. Mosley will hit you in the mouth. He's played big boy football. He takes on blockers. He stacks those blockers, sheds those blockers and finds the ball carrier. He doesn't have elite football speed. But, he's instinctive. He's able to cover the TE. Last year, the Packers hit it big with Eddie Lacy - a player with injury concerns. Might lightning strike twice? Sure feels like a possibility. Others to consider:

a.) Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State. Doesn't take on blockers well. Explosive, so he'd need to be covered up. Didn't play exceptionally well against Clemson, WI, Michigan State last year. He loaded box scores against lesser competition. Compare these stats with Mosley: Shazier had 8 Forced Fumbles in 3 years, while Mosley had 2 in 4 years. Shazier had 44.5 tackles for loss, while Mosley had 23. Shazier had 24 sacks, while Mosley had 6.5. Shazier racked up stats. I'm not positive that he's physical enough to play 3-4 ILB.

c.) Contradicting my earlier point about drafting the best player available; if Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA falls to the Packers (there's rumors that he's dropping), he should be the pick. He's an ideal 3-4 OLB and a future stud across from CM3.

d.) If Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State is on the board, he's the selection. I believe he'll be gone.

e.) If Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU is on the board, he's an ideal fit. He can return kicks. He's lethal after the catch. He reminds me of a young Greg Jennings.

f.) HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. He recently posted a picture of himself wearing a Packers t-shirt on Instagram. Beneath it, he wrote, "Only God can judge me". Clinton-Dix is a Free Safety. If Morgan Burnett is going to play exclusively in the box, Clinton-Dix fits. He has good range. He plays the ball. But, he isn't overly intimidating and he isn't the surest of tacklers.

g.) Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville. He hits you with a vengeance. He has the range. He can cover in the slot. He's a little short for the position, but he plays with great athleticism on the field. He plays with great confidence and his physical is infectious.

h.) Two WR's that fit in Green Bay: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt and Marqise Lee, WR, USC. Matthews is a do-it-all WR. He's tough-minded. He's a gamer. A Ted Thompson "Football Player' who'd fit into the Green Bay locker room. He'd make an instant impact. Lee is a hit-or-miss player. He has elite skills. Could be among the best players to come out of the Draft, but he comes across as aloof. He seems playful and well engaged with his teammates. When the ball is in his hands, look out.

i.) I want to love Eric Ebron, TE, UNC. He's an elite athlete. He makes great plays in traffic. He has a number of J-Mike similarities. He has questionable hands. He's a soft blocker.

j.) Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State. If he's on the board, it'll be tough to say no. He plays possessed. Leave him alone and let him do his thing. He can man-up with most. He's confident. He's not afraid to tackle. He's a can't miss prospect.

Round 2.) Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State. Some people play well, they look good in pads and then they go to the Combine and they're top of the table at their position. That's Deone Bucannon. Bucannon is my unquestioned favorite player in the Draft. I consider Bucannon a top 15 player in the Draft. He'd instantly change the attitude of the defense. The vibe in the huddle would be different. He brings physicality. He slaps wrists when he tackles. He also lowers the shoulder with a boom. He intimidates. He plays fast. He's solid in zone coverage. He can play deep down the middle of the field. He can cover a TE. He makes plays on the ball. He's intelligent. His one negative that I see: he can't cover a WR out of the slot. But, really, who cares? The Packers have Hyde and Hayward to handle those duties. The Packers need to have Bucannon. For the record, even though nearly every Draft Simulator shows Bucannon lasting to this pick in the Draft...and even though CBS DRAFT SCOUT has Bucannon as the 65th ranked player in the Draft...Deone Bucannon will NOT last until the 53rd pick. It won't happen. I would be stoked if Bucannon was pick #21 for the Packers. There's no one like him in the Draft. He's a Brian Dawkins clone. Others to consider:

a.) Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State. He has the swagga. He has the speed to get sideline-to-sideline. He has great range. He can cover in the slot. He is a sure tackler. He has attitude. He's not a massive presence, but you'll know he's around.

b.) Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois. A terrific slot cover S. Great in coverage. While he doesn't look physical, he's a sure tackler. Plays with cat-like quickness.

c.) The 2nd round will have an abundance of TE talent. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech; Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington; Troy Niklas, ND can all play. They'll all make an impact as a rookie. Niklas has grown on me mightily. He seems to have Mark Chmura tendencies. I'd be excited if he were in Green Bay. Amaro might have the best hands of all of the TE's in the Draft. Seferian-Jenkins, if healthy, is probably the best all-around TE in the Draft. He's massive. He has soft hands.

d.) If the Elephant position is here to stay, Kareem Martin, DE/OLB, UNC has to be considered as a developmental prospect behind Julius Peppers.

e.) Stephon Tuitt, DL, ND. Tuitt has the ideal size to be a 3-4 DE. He was a productive player at ND. He isn't overly quick off the ball, but he plays with solid effort. When he hits you, he punishes.

f.) Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice. Dude has the length to play CB. He runs well. He turns and sees the ball. He can play both zone and man. He fits the Packers style of defense as he can be left on an island. I like his smarts. But, I feel like the 2nd round is early for him.

g.) Keith McGill, CB, Utah. He has the Richard Sherman length. He can run. He moves well. He doesn't have first-class hands, but he plays the ball well and has the ability to make an immediate impact in the league.

h.) DaQuan Jones, DL, Penn State. He's more attractive in the third round, but I like his game. He plugs holes. He gets off the ball well. He fights and finds the ball carrier. He plays with good energy.

i.) Chris Borland, ILB, WI. While many think he'll be an early 3rd round pick, if the Packers don't draft an ILB in the 1st round, he has to be considered in the 2nd round. When he hits you, you better hold on tight. He's coming with purpose. I'd love him in Green Bay.

j.) Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State; Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson; Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU are three different styles of WR's and all would bring a fun dimension to the offense. Robinson is the best all-around WR of the bunch. He catches the ball at it's highest point. He's stellar in traffic. He sells out to find the ball. Bryant is a tall, athletic WR who is dangerous after the catch. Benjamin is the best jump ball WR in the Draft.

k.) Don't be shocked if the 2nd Round pick is either Marcus Martin, C, USC or Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State. Both would come in and immediately compete for the starting C role.

l.) Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State. I really like his game. Love the way he chases ball carriers from behind. Can shed blockers and extend to make the tackle. A big time player late in the game. Often either disrupted the play or grabbed a sack with the game on the line. Will take plays off, but when he's on, he's on.

Round 3.) Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU. If Jarvis Landry is available in the 3rd round, this should be a no-brainer. Landry was a terrific 3rd down WR at LSU. He was elusive after the catch. He wasn't afraid to run across the middle. He can play in the slot or on the outside.

Round 3b.) Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech. Admittedly, I've struggled with this pick, but from what I've seen on Ellis, he's potentially the player to replace Ryan Pickett. He plugs holes. He's quick enough to slide off blocks and grab RB's. He's aggressive. I like his hustle. He seems to be a high-effort player. Others:

a.) Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton. He was big time in the Senior Bowl. But, I haven't seen enough of him to commit to making him a 3rd round pick. I heard him in an interview and I was impressed with the way he communicates.

b.) CJ Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa. He has the size you desire in a TE. He's a big target who plays with confidence. He enjoys blocking. He finds gaps in the zone. He'd fit in Green Bay.

c.) Christian Jones, LB, FSU. Jones is versatile. While he can play both ILB or OLB, I think he projects well as a 3-4 ILB. High impact player who was a leader in the middle of the 'Noles defense. Knows the game. Great instincts.

d.) Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU. He'll likely be gone before our 3rd round pick, but if he's there, he has to be considered. Top flight athlete who can get to the QB or drop in coverage. Would be a great long-term 3-4 OLB across from the Claymaker. I see him as a 2nd round pick, but if he's around in round 3, he's a target. If he'd have come out of college last year, he'd have been a sure-fire 1st round pick.

e.) Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado. I wish he was thicker because this dude can play. He has shake to him with the ball in his hands. He's smooth. Gets behind coverage. Solid double-move sideline route runner.

Round 4.) Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State. I respect my brother, Chad's, opinion more than anyone I know when it comes to judging TE's. We watched him together. We both fell in love. Gillmore was sure handed. He caught the ball in traffic. He had a nose for the end zone. He was a willing blocker. He looks like he's still developing as well. He showed no fear going up for the ball in a crowd down the middle of the field. Others:

a.) Walt Aiken, CB, Liberty. He showed he belonged with the big boys when he performed at the All-Star games. He's not sitting next to Zyr Vodka on the top-shelf when it comes to playing the ball in the air, but he uses his hands well and is physical enough to play on Sunday.

b.) Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia. Another big target TE. Not overly fast, but he's committed to the game. Runs solid routes. High effort player. Never takes a down off. Not going to out run anyone, but finds a way to get open.

c.) Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State. If the Packers are going to invest a mid-round pick on a Tackle for the future, Mewhort is an option. Reminds me of Bakhtiari. He's going to fight on every play. He can be beat with speed, but he's not going down without a battle. Plays with passion.

d.) James Gayle, OLB, Virginia Tech. Looks the part in his uniform. Pursues with desire. Somewhat slow off the ball, but he can stand up or put his hand in the dirt. Has the tools to be a 3-4 OLB.

e.) Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers. Huge WR. Can beat you deep. Not afraid to run across the middle. Fights for yards. Runs a solid out route. Inconsistent hands might prevent him from being drafted higher. Huge upside.

f.) Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama. The captain at Alabama. True leader. Plays with will. Good hands. Understands route running. Squeezes himself to be his best.

Round 5.) Aaron Lynch, OLB/DE, South Florida. If the Packers are moving to less of a commitment to the 3-4, Lynch is perfect. While he is an ideal size for the 3-4 OLB role, he doesn't have significant exposure to dropping into coverage. But, Lynch is as naturally gifted as you'll find from an athletic perspective. If he puts it all together, he could be a steal in the Draft.

Round 5b.) Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech. Exum needs to stay healthy. He has everything else in his game. He'll get in your face at the line of scrimmage with confidence. He'll jam you off your route. He'll step up and make a play in the run game. If he had been healthy throughout, he'd be ranked significantly higher. Others:

a.) At one point, I was interested in two ILB's that seem to be suited for the 5th round: Max Bullough,Michigan State and Yawin Smallwood, UCONN. Bullough seemed destined for the Packers. And, then, he bailed on his team prior to the Rose Bowl for unspecified reasons. I always viewed him as a leader, a stand-up guy. His suspension and lack of desire to discuss his actions are disturbing. When Smallwood flashes, it's brilliance. But, he disappears too much. He has the talent. He needs the consistency.

b.) Kenny Ladler, S, Vandy. Prior to see him compete at the Senior Bowl, I was certain that I wanted him on the Packers. He was in ink on my Mock Draft. Thankfully, 'white-out' exists. He'll be a nice mid-to-late round pick, but he looked slow at the Senior Bowl and it showed up again at the Combine.

c.) David Yankey, G, Stanford. Love his grit. Gets in your head. Has good size. Gets underneath you. Intelligent baller. I'll say it again, "Football Player" in the words of Ted Thompson.

d.) Deandre Coleman, DL, Cal. Long, big bodied player. Lacks consistency, which knocks him down. A guy I want to love as he fits the 3-4 from a length perspective. But, he doesn't get up and down the line. Fills his gap with goodness. Often required a double-team on run plays.

Round 6.) Jay Bromley, DL, Syracuse. Gets up and down the line of scrimmage. At times, he's uber disruptive. He can rush the passer. He can play the run. Potentially, a great bargain this late in the Draft. If he's motivated, he's a must at this spot. Great insurance in case Raji doesn't have a long-term future in Green Bay. Others:

a.) Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky. Williamson is a tackling machine. I'd be really excited if the Packers invested a mid-to-late round pick on him. Simply put, he finds the football. In a lot of ways, Williamson reminds me of Desmond Bishop. He's a grinder. When he hits you, you'll know it.

b.) Three CB's to keep an eye on in the 5th-7th rounds: Dontae Johnson, CB, NC State; Andre Hal, CB, Vandy; Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona. All play the ball in the air. All get their heads turned. All fight with conviction. Johnson has great versatility and might end up playing Safety. Hal isn't the tallest CB, but he plays the ball extremely well. Richardson isn't afraid to gamble and jump a route.

c.) Prince Shembo, LB, ND. While he played on the outside at ND, I believe he has the football know-how to play ILB. He might be too short to play OLB in a 3-4. He's ripped. His muscles blaze. Great football IQ. Finds the ball.

d.) Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina. Hazel has the size-speed combo that you seek in a late round WR. Has good hands. Solid route runner. Catches the ball at it's highest point. Will go up and get it. Dominated small school competition.

e.) Shamar Stephen, DL, UCONN. Has the length and height that Capers is looking to build. Looks like a beast, but doesn't always play like one. Inconsistent jump off the ball. Can dominate. Also disappears.

Round 7.) Nickoe Whitley, S, Mississippi State. There's a good chance that he's going to be undrafted. Regardless, I want him. He brings attitude. He brings pizazz. He's looking to make a big play on each down. Others:

a.) James Morris, ILB, Iowa. Don't be surprised if Morris is in Green Bay. Ted Thompson loves his Iowa players. And, Morris fits the "Football Player" analogy that Thompson often drops. The Packers need to improve at ILB. If they don't draft an ILB early, Morris is among the best you'll find late in the Draft.

b.) Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU. Hoffman dominates. He doesn't have great speed. He doesn't get in and out of his breaks like you'd like him to, but the guy makes plays. Against almost everyone he plays against. Oh, and he finds the end zone. He scored 33 TD's in his career. Against Wisconsin, he caught 7 balls for 113 yards and 2 TD's.

c.) Two TE's interest me here for different reasons: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon; Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor. Lyerla has the potential to be the best TE to come out of this Draft. But, his attitude, commitment and personal life are a major distraction. I believe in 2nd chances. Thus, I'd like Lyerla late. Najvar interests me because he was underused. He could have a better pro career than he did in college. He is a solid blocker. He has good hands. He's an intriguing developmental prospect.

d.) Bruce Gaston, DL, Purdue. Gives it everything he has on all downs. An overachiever. The type of player you want in your locker room. Puts his hand in the dirt and pushes with a vengeance. Seeks contact.

Random Draft Thoughts:

a.) I like the Packers depth at QB. I'd prefer that the Packers don't draft a QB. If the Packers are to draft a QB, I hope it's David Fales, QB, San Jose State. I'm a fan of Fales. He's a developmental prospect who throws a nice ball and who keeps his vision downfield while he rolls out. He has the tools to play at the next level. I really like Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia, but I hope they don't draft a QB before Round 5, if at all.

b.) I didn't list RB's as the Packers are littered with depth. But, I believe Charles Sims, WR, WVU, would be a great fit in the Packers offense. He has great hands. He's versatile. He'd be a great compliment to Lacy. Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State is a mudder. When the ground is tough, he excels. Also, Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State is an interesting prospect. He had personal issues that ended his run at Georgia. He transferred to Alabama State. He's a big time talent. Worth a risk for someone.

c.) I love the depth at TE in this Draft class. I wouldn't have a problem with the Packers drafting two TE's this year. Really good value at TE this year.

d.) Players I'd like to see in camp as undrafted Free Agents: Alex Neutz, WR, Buffalo; Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose State; Devekeyan Lattimore, ILB, South Florida; James Wilder, Jr., RB, FSU; Jerry Gates, S, Bowling Green; Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford; Chandler Jones, WR, San Jose State; Kenny Bell, WR, Alabama; L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri.

In Ted I Trust.

Go Pack Go,

Talkin' S-Mac.
talkins-mac.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/buzzboy3

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Offseason Thoughts

Greetings, G-Force.

Dewar's. Ice. The Gladiators "Father & Sons" album in the speakers. Packers football. Who's with me?

There's a human element to Football. Often, we forget. We imagine the players as robots. They're expected to be perfect. When they do not perform with excellence, fans can often move into attack mode.

There's also a human side to playing GM. Sometimes you're the aggressor. Other times, you are reactionary. In his previous 9 years as GM, Ted Thompson showed very little emotion. Then, he met 2014.

To review the recent past, in 2010, the Packers hosted the Giants & the Bears in Weeks 16 & 17. Must win contests. We won. They went to Philly. Left victorious. We headed to Atlanta. We won convincingly. We went to Soldier and left with Trump Card Forever. After the game, Bears fans were burning Ray Nutler jerseys in the parking lot. We were World Champions after a hard found battle against Pittsburgh. 2011 was a high-flying year. 15-1. Division champs. An offensive explosion. But, due to injury, there were severe scars placed on the Packers defense. Nintendo Nick was gone forever. As was Desmond Bishop. Both were pillars during the title run. DJ Smith was a promising back-up. He, too, was lost to injury. The defense still hasn't recovered from these losses. In 2012, the Packers were, once again, Division Champs. Once again, winning a title in Chicago. The 2012 Packers were more gutty than pretty or forceful. 2013 was a struggle. It had tons of drama, but significant frustrations as well. Still, the Packers prevailed and won the Division title. Notably, the title was won in Chicago. Yes, that's three titles won at Soldier Field in 3 calendar years.

Over the last 4 seasons, the Packers have won a Super Bowl & three consecutive NFC North crowns. Yet, suddenly, on paper, the Division seems to have tightened. The Bears, Viqueens and Lions all were aggressive in Free Agency and added key elements. Packers fans bit nails. So, I assume, did Ted Thompson. After all, he's human.

In nearly merciful fashion, against his character, Thompson has reacted in grand fashion. JULIUS PEPPERS! Ryan Clark posted a telling tweet: BEWARE: NFC North QB's.

Here are a few other rumblings that have flowed thru my mind recently:

* The Letroy Guion signing hasn't made much noise. He'll make an impact this year. He'll be disruptive. He'll be complimentary to those around him.

* I never like to see a piece of the XLV leave via Free Agency. James Jones was a fun Packer. I loved the bright yellow wrist bands or yellow tape along with the yellow gloves. Due to cap restrictions, it was time for a change. Hard as it may be, at times.

* Initially, I thought Chris Harper would play a role similar to what the Packers tried to do with DJ Williams. Not really a blocking TE, but a player that roamed in a variety of spots on the field. Sometimes in the slot. Sometimes in motion. Sometimes in the backfield. But, he is not tall enough. Coming out of college, I saw Harper as a steady, consistent player. I was convinced that he'd come to have a solid 7-10 year career as a possession WR. With James Jones gone, I'd give Harper #89. They're similar players. Both professionals with natural leadership skills. Both are largely possession WRs with an ability to occasionally win a deep ball. Both will fight for jump balls. Both will show bicep-infused emotion. While I believe the Packers will draft a WR, Harper will be given an opportunity to win the job as the #4 WR. And, I'm really excited about it. It's also noteworthy that Harper went to Kansas State, which is Jordy Nelson's alma mater. Nelson is a proud alum. Harper was a vital payer during Kansas State's exciting 2012 season.

* Speaking of Nelson, can we please sign him to a lifetime contract? I want an autographed Nelson photo in my basement. I'm holding out until he signs.

* Chase Thomas is on the 2014 roster. I might be crazy, but I'm calling it. He knows the 3-4 OLB spot. He knows zone coverages. He can drop in coverage. He can compete at the point of contact. He is a try hard man. He is more athletic than Frank Zombo. He is a competitor. He's a natural leader who can also play the role of follower. He is respected by past teammates. He loaded box scores at Stanford. He's a classic Ted Thompson "football player."

* The Eddie Lacy & James Starks Love Fest on twitter was epic. So was Mike Daniels kindness towards Julius Peppers.

* Compensatory picks are a part of the TT puzzle. James Jones & EDS should net the Packers draft picks. Marshall Newhouse signs with Cincy! Let's hope that he's active for 16 games. Hopefully, he'll play on special teams. CJ Wilson's future could net the Packers compensation as well. Wilson can play the run. He might fit in nicely in Oakland. With that said, I'd love 11 picks heading into the 2015 Draft.

* Owen Daniels was crazy to sign anywhere other than Green Bay.

Dear Owen, you should have done as Martellus Bennett did. Sign a 1-year deal in a super friendly TE environment. Stay healthy. Play as you do. Get rich somewhere else. But, first, prove yourself again. Show you can stay healthy. While Baltimore is TE friendly, they also have good depth. If the Packers were not aggressive in their approach, please ignore this message. Cheers, the BuzzBoy.

On a side note, Daniels is a Midwest man. From the 'burbs of Chicago. Went to school in Madison. He should've come home. He was a perfect Red Zone target for Rodgers. He would have instantly improved our TD efficiency. But, who knows, maybe the Packers weren't interested after visiting with him.

* I really hope Jerel Worthy can find his form. He was so good at Michigan State.

* If, in the future, I'm partial to the PAC-12, I'm sorry. I'm not really sorry, but I thought I'd apologize anyways. As people, we are a product of our environment and my life is committed to PAC-12 land for the foreseeable future. They play fun football out here. I promise to still keep up with the SEC, ACC, and Big 10. I know my roots and I'm proud of them.

* One of my favorite tweets ever comes from Lil Wayne: @LilTunechi: Eddie Lacy rookie of the year! Well deserved The green & yellow bumble bee bekuz if he hit ya it's gon sting!Green Bay all ****ing day!

* There you have it. Eddie Lacy = The Green & Yellow Bumblebee!

* Welcome back, Matt Flynn.

* I'm beginning to wonder if Free Agency has eliminated the notion of drafting the Best Player Available. The window for winning a Super Bowl is smaller than ever. GM's are forced to plug holes on the roster early in the Draft rather than taking the highest player on their draft board.

Heavy draft vibes are coming soon. But, to close, here's where I'm at in my Mock Draft. Admittedly, I'm unlikely to get any picks right this year, but if I were in charge I'd go heavy on players who force turnovers early in the Draft. I'd target the Forced Fumbles category.

One noteworthy item: Last year, the Packers traded down twice as the 49ers wanted to move up. Once again, the 49ers are littered with picks. They have two picks in the 2nd & 3rd rounds and 3 picks in the 7th round. A trade I could see happening: The Packers trade a #1 and a #5 for a #1, a #2 and a #7. The deal works with the draft chart and the Packers would have 5 of the first 100 picks. Thompson would be stoked!

As always, I use the CBS DRAFT SCOUT as my guide for which round to pick a player unless I want to draft higher than he is rated. And I only comment if I have watched him play. Further, it is rare for me to draft an OL as I do not follow the position as heavily at the college level. My mock:

Round 1: Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State.
Round 2: Troy Niklas, TE, ND.
Round 3: Chris Borland, ILB, WI.
Round 3b: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU.
Round 4: Christian Jones, ILB, FSU.
Round 5: Kenny Ladler, S, Vandy
Round 5: Deandre Coleman, DL, Cal
Round 6: Aaron Lynch, OLB, South Florida
Round 7: Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose State

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.
talkins-mac.blogspot.com
twitter.com/buzzboy3

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Multitude of Offseason Vibes!

Greetings, G-Force.

A joyful St. Patrick's Day to you. I'm drinking Guinness as I type. And, I'm full of glee.

Believe it or not, you aren't always blessed with a Hall of Fame QB. When you are, you have to appreciate it. This year - we witnessed the pain associated with uncertainty at the QB position. Still, we survived. And, the Packers won the Division. In dramatic fashion. I will remember the 2013 season fondly.

Here are some thoughts since I last wrote:

* I look forward to a future with Eddie Lacy. Defenders will have to make "business decisions" as Lacy roars forward for years to come. I couldn't be more excited for the future of our offense. Rodgers and Lacy. Riveting.

* Jordy Nelson. Get locked up. Forever.

* I'm stoked that Sammy Swagga is back. Didn't like what we had to pay, but it was mandatory to bring him back. And, ultimately, it showed that what we paid was market value.

* I'm happy to have a motivated BJ Raji back on a 1-year contract. Enough with body eating Raji. I want the play-making Raji. The XLV version. Sign a body eater next to him. Let him freelance.

* I'm hoping Letroy Guion is that body eater. I liked him in Minnesota. He was forceful in the middle. He had good quickness. He played the run well. He disrupted plays up the middle. He's a good addition.

* Julius Peppers, yo. Julius Freakin' Peppers! Yes, Julius Peppers! Oh. My. God. Julius Peppers is a Packer. Yes, he's past his prime. Sure, he's coming off of a down year. But, the contract that TT signed him to has little risk and it's going to add significant diversity to the defense. Further, he's going to be an excellent presence in the locker room. Imagine a 3rd down defense with Peppers, a Neal/Datone Jones/Daniels combo, and Perry manning the line of scrimmage. With the Claymaker lingering in the middle. Roaming for his gap to attack. This could be epic.

* Another Peppers thought: Why can't he play the same role in the 3-4 that Aldon Smith plays?

* Welcome back, James Starks. I liked the Lacy/Starks rotation. It'll be interesting to see how DuJuan Harris & Jonathan Franklin fit into the mix.

* I'm trying hard not to classify Micah Hyde in a category similar to the way I did J-Bush, Ruvell Martin and B-Jack after the 2007 and Jeremy Ross last year. Had Hyde caught the ball, the Packers would've headed to Carolina with loads of momentum.

* The difference between winning and losing is minuscule. One could argue that the Cowboys are three yards from the Lombardi Trophy being the Landry Trophy as Dallas would have won SB I & II. Meredith would be remembered. Not Starr. Had Desmond Bishop not tripped up DeSean Jackson, XLV might not have occurred. Had Micah Hyde caught the ball...ah, it's fun to speculate.

* By signing AQ81 & Neal, the Packers haven't gotten better, but continuity is important and both are hard workers who'll play hurt.

* Ever next to a lady pounding McDonald's burgers on a tight airplane? If not, the smell is painful. Trust me. It is kind of like watching MD Jennings play football. The Bears still suck!

* I loved the picture of Peppers at Lambeau Field in front of the Championship years. Add another, Mr. Peppers.

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good one. Down 20-17. 4th Quarter. Lacy and the Packers OL were bruising the 49ers defense. Pushing them backwards. 1st & goal from the 9. The Packers appeared destined to take the lead. Then, suddenly, Eddie Lacy was taken off the field. Instead, McCarthy handed it off to Randall Cobb. McCarthy got cute and played into the 49ers strengths. I'll never understand it.

* I am stoked with how the OL looks. Bakhtiari, Sitton, Lang and a presumably healthy Bulaga! Also, Tretter offers excitement. Barclay can play. Sherrod should be fully recovered. The prospects of a dominating OL are promising.

* The 28-yard TD pass to Vernon Davis that gave SF a 20-17 lead makes me sick to my stomach. How did Morgan Burnett whiff? As I've watched it again, I've begun to wonder whether Burnett has the speed, athleticism and recognition to play in this league. He appeared to have no vertical leap. I swear that ball went right thru Burnett's hands.

* While it is fun to be hopeful about Brandon Bostick's potential impact, I'm not confident that he will ever be able to stay healthy. Seems soft.

* I'm excited that Chase Thomas is in Titletown. He can drop in coverage. At he college level, he made plays in space. And, he pressured the QB. He could surprise. Prediction: he's on the 2014 roster. Will be interesting to follow.

* If Owen Daniels is healthy, he's a perfect fit. If I'm Owen Daniels, I sign a 1-year deal in Green Bay. I expect to have a big year. And, then I make a big splash next year in FA. It happened with Martellus Bennett. Daniels could experience the same. I'd be shocked if Daniels isn't a Packer.

* James Jones was a great Packer. A true professional. Forever to be remembered in a positive light. Good luck in Oakland, JJ!

* I'm sorry if I was tough on you, EDS. You surpassed my expectations. Happy trails. Play well. Start 16 games. Net us a 5th round compensatory pick, please.

* I'll be sad to see J-Mike go. So much potential. So much to offer. Too bad that none of it was realized in Green & Gold. It feels like we've seen his last down in Titletown.

* Packers fans needed to chill after the first couple of days of FA. There was a lot of offseason left. TT has a plan. I trust him. We are the NFC North Champs! Others have to catch us.

* Julius Peppers is a Packer.

The Packers need to improve and/or add competition at S, TE, ILB, WR, and C. In that order. I'm early in my draft preparations, but he's a start to a mock draft. More to come in the near future. As always, I use the CBS DRAFT SCOUT site as a barometer for a rough estimate as to others will be drafted. I will occasionally move players forward, but never back.

Round 1 - Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State. Others will consider this a stretch. They'll view him as a 2-3 round pick. I think he'd change the culture of the Defense in a similar fashion that Eddie Lacy altered the aura on the offensive side of the ball. The biggest pain on the roster is at Safety. Bucannon solves this pain. With intense fashion. More to come on him as Draft Day nears. Other: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville.

Round 2 - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vandy. Big play WR. Gets deep. Full-on gamer. Shows up when needed. Clutch. Great hands. Can play on the outside or in the slot. Others: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech. Has the size and athletic ability to replace J-Mike. Was often used as a split receiver. Played in the slot. Absolutely destroyed Dub-V in Morgantown. And, every time Tech needed a play, he came through in the clutch. Has a nose for the end zone. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington. Love his size. Great hands. But, to my eye, he's disappointing after the catch and he isn't an overpowering blocker. Slow with the ball, but man, he caught everything when I watched him and he sat down in the zone. Further, he caught the ball in stride and didn't break pace. Prior to the Peppers signing, my pick was Carl Bradford, OLB, ASU. Shows up down the stretch. Good hustle. Sometimes inconsistent, but his good buzz is awfully positive. Can stand up or plant his hand in the dirt. Have not seen him drop into coverage much. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington. Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State. This dude DOMINATES on the inside. If Lang were to move to guard, Jackson would make great sense. Marcus Martin, C, USC. For my eye, he was the best Center that I have seen in my minimal viewing of the position. He can play either Guard or Center. TT likes versatility. Martin offers it.

Round 3 - Chris Borland, ILB, WI. He'd instantly be a fan favorite. Reminds me of Zach Thomas. A bruiser. He may not measure up, but man, put him on the football field and he dominates. Slaps wrists. Jars the football loose. Legit 3-4 prospect. Other: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU. When I watch Landry, I see a young Greg Jennings. Can play in the slot or on the outside. Crisp route runner. Lethal after the catch. Charles Sims, RB, Dub-V; Terrence Brooks, S, FSU.

Round 4 (a) - Christian Jones, ILB, FSU. Gets sideline to sideline. Hits with a menacing mind. Can pressure up the gut. Would help change the mentality of the defense.

Round 4 (b) - Kenny Ladler, S, Vandy. Been watching Ladler for two years. He's always around the football. Fits the Capers scheme as he can play In the box or deep down the middle of the field. Other: CJ Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa. Great 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle at the Combine. Big body presence. Solid hands.

Round 5 - DeAndre Coleman, DL, Cal. An absolute body eater. Inconsistent, but when he balls, he plays at a HIGH level. Would be an ideal fit for the 3-4 and fits nicely next to Raji, if motivated. Great length who uses leverage to establish a push. Disruptive when it's important to him. Other: Max Bullough, ILB, MI State. Tough minded. Displayed leadership skills prior to the mysterious disappearance before the Rose Bowl. A gutty, winner who gathers the troops. Blitzes well. Has the heart and mind to make an immediate impact.

Round 6 (a) - Aaron Lynch, DE/OLB, South Florida. Sometimes you have to draft on potential. Especially late in the draft. He has all of the tools to develop into an elite player. But, for whatever reason, he never hit his ceiling at the college game. Ideal size/speed for the 3-4. Lynch is worth a look. Other: Howard Jones, DE/OLB, Shepherd. Has the speed off the line of scrimmage that entices. Gets a good jump off the ball. Attacks the QB. Dominated lower level competition. Kasim Edebali, OLB, BC has limitations, but he is a try-hard developmental 3-4 prospect. I was disappointed in his ability to bring ball carriers to the turf in open space, but he does a good job showing recognition.

Round 6 (b) - Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose St. Not an elite tackler, but he wants it. Plays the ball exceptionally well when it's in the air. Solid playmaking skills with the ball in his hands as well. Could develop into a REALLY good player. Other: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State. Fun to look at RB's who were stallions at a big school and then got into off-field trouble. If there's a fire burning, a steal can be had. James Wilder, RB, FSU. Going to be a better pro than he was college player. All the tools. Tough runner.

Round 7 - Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor. Love Najvar as a blocker. Good hands. Tough to overlook. Has the size that translates to being an elite threat at the next level. Underused at Baylor. Other: Alex Neutz, WR, Buffalo. Neutz can play at the next level. He'll likely be an undrafted FA. If so, I want him. Dionate Spencer, WR, McNeese State. I wish I knew more about Spencer. From my limited sample size, he looked like he was a threat after the catch. A possibility as a return man/slot receiver. An undrafted player.

Football's new year is upon. And the Packers have added a gem. I'm looking forward to seeing what else is in store.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.
talkins-mac.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/buzzboy3

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Take -> Wild Card Round

Greetings, G-Force.

I'm a happy man. I like to surround myself with happy people.

It is likely an appropriate time to remind everyone that I'm not a journalist. I don't write for the public. I write a blog. It's intended for the fan. Notably, fans of the Green Bay Packers.

I promised myself to write in sobriety for the rest of the season. It's not happening. After all, since Sunday, if I haven't been working, I've been celebrating the glory that is the Green Bay Packers. I've had two pints of Lagunita's Hairy Eye Ball, a 1/2 pint of Cuvee des Jacobins and I'm now sipping a Stillwater Cellar Door that has been aging since 04/23/13. Forgive me.

Once upon a time, two hated rivals met. In a city located on a lake. One had good karma. The other, not so much. There was a joyful team located in the heart of America's Dairyland. They were called the Green Bay Packers. The Packers were playing the Monsters of the Midway. Those Monsters were city boys. They went head-to-head in a heated battle. Until...

...

On January 2, 2014, I received this text from a Viqueens fan: "Remember last year when Rodgers thew a 48-yard touchdown pass to Cobb on 4th and 8 with :38 seconds to go in the game, to beat the Bears, in Chicago, for the NFC North Championship and a ticket to the playoffs?"

...

Yes. Yes, I do.

Packers v Bears. In Chicago. For all of the marbles. Win or go home. Bears fans say, "Nutler outplayed Rodgers." Statistically, maybe that's true. And, then, Rodgers had his moment.

4th & 8. Less than a minute to go. Rodgers, who'd missed nearly all of 8 straight games, is lined up out of shotgun. Trailing by a point. The season on the line. Facing an all-out blitz.

Julius Peppers has a shot, but Kuhn makes a sublime block. Peppers swings his leg in an attempt to trip the alluding Rodgers. Rodgers gets to the outside. Cobb, who'd missed the past 10 weeks is supposed to run a curl to the yard-mark, but he notices a lapse in the defense and sees a flat-footed Chris Conte. Mid-play, Cobb audibles to a fly route. Arm-raised, he streaks past Conte. In mental unison, Rodgers sees the same as Cobb. In elegant fashion, Rodgers tosses a rainbow into the arms of Cobb for a touchdown.

Fittingly, Ray Nutler finished the game with an interception into the hands of Sammy Swagga. You know, Sammy Swagga. He's the same guy who ended the TRUMP CARD FOREVER game with an interception.

Are you kidding me? Hollywood couldn't have wrote it better.

So, for the third time in three calendar years, the Packers have beaten the Bears at Soldier Field to clinch a title. In 2011, they won the NFC Championship Game. In 2012, they won the NFC North title. In 2013, they once again won the NFC North title.

THE BEARS STILL SUCK. FOREVER. YES, FOREVER! And for Bears fans, I'm sorry, but envy is the ugliest word in the dictionary. Thus, I'd be afraid to look at myself in the mirror.

This Division title feels sweet. It was absolutely improbable. Consider the football miracles that allowed this happen. The Packers trailed Minnesota 23-7 in the 4th Quarter. They rallied to tie the game. The Packers trailed Atlanta 21-10 at the Half. They rallied to win. The Packers trailed Dallas 26-3 at the Half. Once again, they rallied to win. Then, a 61-yard FG diced Detroit and allowed us to control our own destiny. That 61-yard FG was the longest game winning FG in the history of the NFL. The Packers appeared playoff bound until an NFL-admitted officiating mistake prematurely cost the Packers a hard-fought game against Pittsburgh. However, once again, Detroit choked. This time to the lowly Giants. Regardless, the hated Bears had a chance to clinch the Division. On national TV. Against the Eagles. Until, Philly dropped 54 points on them. Yes, FIFTY-FOUR. A game in which Ray Nutler threw as many TD's to the Eagles as he did to the Bears. All of this set-up:

4th & 8. Less than a minute left. On the road. Rodgers to Cobb. Dagger. Heart. Inserted. Twisted. NFC NORTH CROWN. Therefore, the Trump Card is furthered to even greater depths.

I don't believe in schadenfreude. Unless it's dealing with the Bears, their fans and their organization.

THE BEARS STILL SUCK. THE BEARS STILL SUCK. THEY REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SUCK. THE BEARS STILL SUCK.

Here are some takeaways from the NFC North clinching victory over the Bears:

* As I've said for years, an aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good thing. A conservative Mike McCarthy is never a good thing. On the final drive, McCarthy was aggressive. He went for the gusto. Because of it, THE BEARS STILL SUCK.

* 4th & 8. Forever.

* 00:38. Yes, thirty-eight seconds. That's 38. It's all that remained. It signaled victory. Remembered forever.

* Aaron Rodgers' run on 3rd & 3 from the 30 was absolutely amazing. He fooled Briggs out of his cleats. Dove for the necessary yardage. All guts. A Championship play.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! I hope to hear the chants in abundance this weekend.

* Welcome back, Randall Cobb. 2 catches. 55 yards. 2 TD's. Including the game winner, which was an NFC NORTH winner.

* Jordy Nelson. Man, I'm not sure that there are 5 WR's I'd take over him. Jordy, dude, sign with Green Bay. Forever.

* Well done, JJ!

* Fun buzz, Jarrett Boykin.

* James Starks is healthy. He's running with a vengeance. We haven't seen this type of purpose out of Starks since the XLV run. Brings back kind memories.

* John Kuhn powers forward for an all-important yard. He then follows it up with a killer block on Peppers.

* 4th & 8. Beat it, Chicago.

* Good concentration, AQ81.

* Be ours, Jordy. Until death do us part. And then some.

* Once again, I'd like to congratulate Eddie Lacy on setting the record for the greatest rookie year for a RB in the HISTORY of the Green Bay Packers organization.

* Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the NFL. Rusty or not, I want #12 on my team.

* Once again, Sammy Swagga sealed victory. Glorious!

* I enjoy the way T-Mon is playing. He's tackling well. He's reading plays. He has another big play in him this year.

* Andy Mulumba. Man, you have to appreciate his grit. He's still raw. But, he a fighter who plays the run well. Fun to see him notch a sack.

* Good effort, Mike Neal.

* ¿Donde esta, BJ Raji? Honestly, until I saw him celebrate after the 4th & 8 play, I wondered how much he cared.

* Jamari Lattimore and AJ Hawk left a lot to be desired.

* Micah Hyde is an Artisan. The more he plays, the better he's getting.

* Morgan Burnett and MD Jennings make me yawn.

* Sean Richardson. Dude, you have to make that tackle. If you can't, you don't belong.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!

* Mason Crosby has been gold this year.

* Rodgers to Cobb. With 38 seconds left. On 4th & 8. For the win!

* The game ended on a Ray Nutler interception. That was a mint moment.

* ¡Ay dios mio, Nick Perry!

* On the Bears second to last possession, the 2nd & 12 play was huge. Mulumba held the edge to perfection after Mike Daniels won the point of attack and busted up the play. Forte tried to make the best of what was around, but Mulumba was a student. Word up, Daniels and Mulumba!

* I feel good about the Packers OL. Bakhtiari balls. Sitton and Lang are studs. EDS and Barclay play with guts.

* I haven't gone crazy. Since Thanksgiving, the Packers defense has been Championship quality with the exception of the 1st half of the Cowboys game. Once again, turnovers and poor special teams play put the Packers defense in a bad position. When the defense has needed stops, they've gotten them. They've also forced turnovers.

* Eddie Lacy is a Green Bay Packer. Yes, the Green Bay Packers have a running game. Man, that feels good.

* As my cousin Danny said, this is the 2nd greatest Packers v Bears game. Only behind TRUMP CARD FOREVER.

* The Halas Trophy rests in the Visitors Locker Room. So, does the NFC NORTH Crown. TRUMP CARD is healthy. It lasts forever.

* Someday, you'll be sitting on your porch. Your Grandson will turn to you and say, "Grandpa, tell me a story about the Packers and the Bears." You'll pick up your glass of Dewar's on the rocks. Sip it slowly. You'll set the glass back on the table and you'll say, "It was 4th & 8..."

* THE BEARS STILL SUCK.

This week - it's the 49ers. In the Wild Card game. Yes, the same 49ers who have owned the Packers the last three times we've met.

I'm on record. If the Packers played the 49ers 10 times, I believe SF would win 8 of them. Regardless of whether the game was played in Green Bay, in San Francisco or on Mars. SF matches up well with Green Bay. San Francisco isn't necessarily a better team than the Packers, but they match-up well with us. Just like I believe Green Bay matches up well with Seattle.

First of all, if you've followed along, I'm a Mike McCarthy fan. I don't know a bigger fan. The issue is that I view Jim Harbaugh as a top-3 coach in the league. Harbaugh is a master of creating mismatches. He's the best in the league at it.

San Francisco has a beefy, athletic, intimidating offensive line. Arguably the best in the NFL. The Packers DL hasn't been elite. Colin Kaepernick's speed presents problems especially without the Claymaker. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are punishing backs who will - more often than not - push through AJ Hawk, Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore for yards. Vernon Davis is a match-up nightmare for the Packers defense. Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are far more physical than T-Mon and Sammy Swagga.

Defensively, the 49ers front 7 is as good as it gets. Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman can run with WR's out of the slot. Ray McDonald and Justin Smith are superstars. Aldon Smith is among the best pass rushers in the NFL. Until this year, Ahmad Brooks has been vastly underrated.

Thankfully, in the secondary, the 49ers are banged up as Carlos Rogers and Eric Wright might not play. Donte Whitmer and Eric Reid are legit at Safety. Tarell Brown can play. Tramaine Brock is physical. Don't underestimate the injuries to Wright and Rogers. If they're unable to play, that's a huge advantage for the Packers.

So, how do the Packers win? Spread them out! Then, pound away with Lacy and Starks. Get Jarrett Boykin on the field. Play JJ, Nelson, Cobb and Boykin. With Lacy or Starks as a single back. While I like AQ81, the mismatch is in the slot with Cobb and Nelson vs LB's or a depleted SF secondary.

Defensively, aim to contain. Single deep safety. 8 in the box. Limit the big gains on the ground. While over the past 8 weeks the Packers have played with 2 down lineman in abundance, I expect to see a lot of 3 down lineman this weekend. Stack the box with brute strength. Play with robust intensity. Trust Shields and T-Mon. Force Kaepernick to throw into the elements. Know that opportunities are coming. When the opportunities present themselves, carpe diem.

Also, feel fortunate for the cold weather. It'll slow down Kaepernick and make the read-option less lethal. It evens the playing field from a speed perspective. Advantage: Packers.

I fully anticipate the G-Force to be animated. Loud and proud. In full-effect. Making it difficult after the Packers grab an early lead.

It's a grind-it-out kind of game. Both teams looking to pound it at each other. With SF leading 23-17 late, Rodgers gets the ball. Destiny on his side. It's Rodgers to Nelson to move sticks. It's Lacy pounding away. With the crowd elevated, it's Rodgers to Nelson for a game-winning TD.

It's a nail biter. It ends in the Packers favor. Destiny is on our side.

Packers 24.
49ers 23.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.
talkins-mac.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/buzzboy3



Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Take -> Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

7-7-1. Yet, almost amazingly, we control our destiny. They say that cats have 9 lives. Clearly, so do the 2013 Green Bay Packers.

You'll have to pardon my excitement in this blog. While I'm 100% sober in the mind during this writing, I'm absolutely drunk with Green & Gold flavor. I just spent 6 days in Titletown, U.S.A. A trip that included a marvelous Christmas with the family, the baptism of my niece, lunch at Kroll's, a Lambeau Field tour with my Dad as the guide, hundreds of dollars spent at the Pro Shop, a lunch at Kavarna's, a dinner at Zesty's, beers at Titletown Brewery, my Mom's cinnamon rolls, and multiple New Glarus beers. Oh, and it also included a snowfest at Lambeau Field. Ah, it also included one more newsworthy piece: breaking news that Aaron Rodgers will lead the Packers into Soldier Field with the NFC North title on the line. It's worth mentioning that he'll arrive with TRUMP CARD FOREVER in his pocket.

Sure, the Packers lost to the Steelers. But, man, what a game! It was beautiful outside. The energy in the stadium in the second half had a bit of magic to it. The fans were into it. The defense came alive when we needed them. Down 10 points, the defense forced a turnover and came away with two more consecutive stops. Meanwhile, Matt Flynn was engineering drives. Down 7, Micah Hyde raged a kick return 70 yards to put the Packers within striking distance. Yes, team fell short. However, it didn't come without a fight and it didn't come without excitement. No, I'm not finding consolation in a loss. What I'm saying is that I left Lambeau Field feeling proud to be a Packers fan. The 2013 Green Bay Packers team carries a NEVER SAY DIE mentality to the bone. Injuries have undoubtedly taken a huge toll on this roster. Still, with one game left, if the Packers win, we're in.

Before I get into takeaways from the loss to the Steelers, I want to write one playoff thought: Assuming Rodgers and Cobb are healthy, the only team in the NFC that I'd favor over the Packers would be the 49ers. San Francisco has the Packers number right now. Do I want to see the Packers play at New Orleans? Not necessarily. I'd pick the Packers over the Seahawks in Seattle. Yes, I'm drinking the Green & Gold Kool-Aid, but I've said that since early in the season.

Here are some vibes from the game:

* Mike McCarthy's team fought to the finish. In the end, they didn't get the job done. But, they never quit. McCarthy called a really good game. He was aggressive. In attack mode. If he stays that way for the rest of the year, the Packers might have 5 more games on their schedule.

* The "EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!" chants are alive and well. After the blocked FG/illegal bat play, you had to love the EDDIE chants. Most of the Packers huddle was trying to quiet the crowd down. Not Lacy. He was asking for more volume. On the next play, Lacy pounded it in for 2 yards. That was an epic moment at Lambeau Field.

* Some will criticize Dom Capers for the defense giving up 38 points. Not me. Flynn gifted Pittsburgh a TD. On the Flynn fumble, the defense held only to have special teams choke it away with a penalty. On the opening drive of the 2nd half, the defense held, but a fake punt extended the drive and gave the Steelers the ball at the 26. By the way, I was sitting next to my brother, Chad, and called that fake. It was so predictable. Terrible awareness by our special teams unit. Special teams also cost us field position before the half and thus, the Steelers were able to get 3 points. In all, I thought the defense played fairly well.

* For the third consecutive game, the defense forced two turnovers in the 2nd half.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!

* The Packers defense is better with Jamari Lattimore on the field than they are with Brad Jones on the field.

* The Packers defense is better with Sean Richardson on the field than they are with MD Jennings on the field.

* AJ Hawk with a fun interception!

* The Packers best run defender last weekend? Andy Mulumba. Gulp.

* Actually, Mulumba holds his ground well against the run. He has no pass rush moves.

* Dear BJ Raji & Ryan Pickett, what happened? At one point, I thought you were a robust duo. Now? A lot to be desired. Raji seriously walked away from $8 million? That's crazy talk.

* Sammy Swagga is a stallion.

* I dig T-Mon.

* Victor Aiyewa is an above average special teams player.

* It hurts to lose Clay and Jolly for the year. A lot.

* Micah Hyde. An artisan. He's vastly improved out of the slot over the last two weeks.

* Matt Flynn is what he is. He's a back-up QB who knows the Packers offense well. The team has confidence in him. McCarthy is comfortable with him as they've worked together long enough. Because the Packers have multiple weapons, Flynn can succeed on this team. Hell, without him, the season would be over. He's been good enough to keep the Packers alive. He's a top-10 back-up QB in the league. But, he's a back-up who has plenty of deficiencies. Namely, he struggles to see the field. On multiple occasions, Jordy Nelson had big gains coming out of the slot. Flynn rarely looked his way. With 10:07 seconds left in the 2nd Quarter and the game tied at 7, the Packers took over the ball at their own 7 yard line. On the first two downs of the drive, Jordy Nelson was WIDE OPEN. On the first one, he'd likely have scored a 93-yard TD. No one was near him. On both occasions, Flynn never looked his way.

* Congrats to Eddie Lacy for breaking the Packers rookie rushing record.

* I'll eat crow for my earlier EDS comments. He's a fighter. He'll never be a Pro Bowler, but he plays with guts.

* David Bakhtiari is a very good player.

* TJ Lang and Josh Sitton have become an elite Guard tandem.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!

* Jarrett Boykin is a baller. So is Jordy Nelson. So is JJ.

* Here's how the Packers could win the next 5 games and leave the 2013 season as Super Bowl Champions: James Jones spread wide to the left. Jordy in the slot to the left. Cobb in the slot to the right. Boykin split wide right. Rodgers in shotgun. Lacy lined up next to him. Jordy & Cobb are both lined up a 1/2 step off the line of scrimmage to avoid the jam. Rodgers is given two plays before each down. He's in control of the game at the line of scrimmage. How could you defend that? You'd need 6 DB's on the field or else you're covering Jordy or Cobb with a LB. Would the DB's be willing - much less able - to tackle Eddie? This offense could put up 38 points per game. Lethal. One game at a time. With five games in sight.

* Last weekend - I bought my wife an Eddie Lacy jersey and multiple Eddie Lacy rookie cards. EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!

This week - it's the hated Chicago Bears. At Soldier Field. For all of the NFC North marbles. Clearly, the Packers have had the edge at Soldier Field in recent history. In the 2010 season, the Packers gained TRUMP CARD FOREVER as they took home the Halas Trophy at Soldier Field. Yes, that's right. Halas Trophy. Soldier Field. Visitors Locker Room. TRUMP CARD FOREVER. Then, in 2012, the Packers captured the 2012 NFC North crown at Soldier Field. This year, they're gunning to do the same.

Thankfully, Ray Nutler will be the starting QB for the Bears. Throughout his career, the Packers have owned Nutler. In his career against the Green Bay Packers, Ray Nutler has combined stats that read: 9 games. His team carries a 1-8 record. 9 TD's. 17 Interceptions. He also limped out of the NFC Championship Game with an injury that the media questioned and Bears fans burned his jersey in the parking lot following the game. He was labeled a quitter. Yes, the Packers have dominated Nutler in his career. Let's hope it continues for another week.

This version of the Bears is different. They're loaded with weapons. Jeffery and Marshall are superstars. Martellus Bennett is a mismatch. Earl Bennett is a solid 3rd WR. Matt Forte is elite. The Bears OL is vastly improved. Marc Trestman keeps Defensive Coordinators guessing with a large playbook. The Bears have a first-class offense.

Oddly, while the offense is in the upper echelon, the defense is among the worst in the league. They don't tackle well. They apply limited pressure on the QB. They can't stop the run. They're safety play is as bad as the Packers' safety play.

Expect a high scoring game. Thus, the edge goes to the Packers. Rodgers > Nutler.

Give credit where credit is due. Had the Bears not knocked Rodgers out, the Packers would have won this Division already. The Bears did what they had to do. Therefore, with one week left, they have home-field advantage in the winner-take-all contest.

Trestman loves to send Jeffery on the end around. He doesn't always give it to him on the reverse, but it's good trickery. Often, he'll send Forte into the short side of the field on those plays. The Bears run the reverse often enough that you have to take Jeffery seriously as he's running across the backfield.

The Bears will also run the pitch to Forte a couple of times. They'll have Martellus Bennett lined up tight against the tackle. Brandon Marshall will be lined up wide. He'll come in motion. Slowly. Towards Bennett. The design will appear for the play to go the opposite direction. Instead it'll be a wide pitch, which makes it easy for Forte to get to the outside. Jon Gruden used to run this play often with Charlie Garner. It's consistently effective.

Trestman is a river boat gambler. He's aggressive in a video-game style. It doesn't always seem sensible, but on occasion, he's scored big with his tactics. He'll attack the Packers secondary early in the game. He'll send Marshall in motion and hide him in the slot. Then, Marshall will sit down beyond the first down marker.

Even with winds exceeding 20 mph, expect a shoot-out. Like most Packers v Bears contests, it'll be a back-and-forth game. It's Nutler who makes the big mistake. And, therefore, it's the Packers who walk away with the NFC North title.

Lacy runs for 120 and 2 TD's. Rodgers throws for 300 yards and three TD's.

Packers 38. Bears 34.

GO PACK GO! THE BEARS STILL SUCK! TRUMP CARD FOREVER!

Talkin' S-Mac.
talkins-mac.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/buzzboy3