Thursday, December 27, 2018

My Take -> Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

6-8-1. Yes, the game may appear meaningless with regards to playoff scenarios. And, I understand that a 5-10-1 record would’ve likely netted the Packers a top 9 selection. Still, I can’t get on board with tanking in the NFL. It’s helpful for the youngsters to taste victories. The locker room needs to feel the winning emotion. It’s good for team camaraderie.

I depart for NYC tomorrow. Phish at MSG. That doesn’t suck. Thus, as I write, I’m listening to the Phish Bakers Dozen vinyl. I was fortunate to attend the first 3-nights of the bands epic 13-night run at the Worlds Most Famous Arena.

My quick vibes from the last week:

If Joe Philbin was in consideration for the Head Coaching job, the first Quarter of the game against the Jets was an indication that this team would not respond to him. The team was unprepared. The team looked like they didn’t want to be in New York for the game. The team was full of blown assignments. The team was mentally unfit.

Aaron Rodgers’ stats were terrific. But, his play felt more like 2018 Aaron Rodgers than 2014 Aaron Rodgers. His ball placement still seemed odd. He held onto the ball too long. He ignored the check down too often. Yes, it was good to see his movement. Yes, the dart to Adams for the victory was riveting. Yes, it was great to see Rodgers connect with 9 different WRs. But, it certainly felt like the Packers were the beneficiary of multiple questionable calls in the 4th Quarter and OT.

At first glance, Jamaal Williams does not wow you with his place. But, more often than not, he does all of the little things right. He runs hard. He catches the ball well. He hits the hole with intent. He’s a physical blocker. In fact, the one time he kissed his block, I was legitimately stunned. Quite simply, Williams brings soul to this team.

Davante Adams is an absolute superstar. With his knee injury, I’d throw him two WR screens on the first drive to give him the catch record and then I’d tell him to rest up.

ESB looked more comfortable last week than at any time this year. An ascending performance. I hope he is able to play this week.

Great to see MVS getting targets down the field. Not surprising to see multiple penalties down the field. He’s a tough cover.

Kumerow!!!! We’ve been waiting all year for that play!!! He was also open for a TD in the end zone on the crossing route, but Rodgers didn’t see him. Out of all of the young WRs, Kumerow seems to run the most precise routes. He looks like the most natural route runner, too.

I do not want Jimmy Graham back. Twice, Graham was bailed out with bad calls in the end zone, one of which was the 2-point play that should’ve resulted in 2 points for the Jets. Graham can no longer create separation with quickness. Graham can no longer win jump balls. It appears as though Gutekunst is trying to compile tough minded, physical football players. Gutekunst looks to be attracted to high end athletes. At this stage of his career, Graham is none of those things. After giving a thorough review of Gutekunst’s other additions, I’m surprised that he gave Graham such an astronomical contract. Bad drafts don’t cripple a franchise. Bad contracts do. Graham’s contract is a terrible one.

Another gutty performance for McCray. He has warmed every penny of his contract.

Bulaga is a gamer. If I was guaranteed to have him for 12 games next year, I’d be thrilled to have him back at his current contract.

Lane Taylor is clearly battling injury. He’s also regressed at an uncomfortably quick rate.

Tyler Lancaster had another really strong showing. He’s active. His motor his constantly running. He will be on the roster next year.

Montravious Adams also showed pretty well. He, too, showed good quickness and hustle.

I will never understand why Oren Burks was not given more opportunities this year. I’m officially concerned as to why he’s not getting snaps.

Fun to see Tonyan grabbing a 4th and 1 pass to extend the drive.

Ron Zook. Lol.

Note to Josh Jackson: when Jaire went out with the injury, Pettine’s first move was to put Tony Brown on Anderson. And, initially, Brown followed Anderson around the field.

It’s noteworthy to point out that when the Packers trailed 35-30 late in the 4th and the defense was in need of a stop, on both 1st and 2nd down, Tony Brown stepped up with physicality and made fierce tackles in the run game. I wonder — at times — if Brown is best suited for Safety.

Tony Brown was also a punisher blocking the gunner on special teams.

It was good to see Aaron Rodgers showing the BELT and wearing a smile. I'll admit that I wondered where that swagger was all year, but nonetheless, it was really great to see him showing confidence and having fun.

Can we please see Donnerson before the year is over?

It was nice to see Jamerson on special teams. I hope he gets Eddie Pleasant’s snaps on defense. Pleasant can’t play.

I like the way Breeland breaks and tries to high point the ball.

I wish Josh Jackson played with the toughness that Jaire, Breeland and Brown play with.

I love that Gutekunst put in a waiver claim for Swearinger! He’s trying to reconstruct the roster via all means necessary.

Another decent game by Fackrell. He doesn’t win play-in and play-out but he had a couple of really intriguing plays in both the run and pass game.

Blake Martinez has shown really well on the inside blitz all year long. His 4th Quarter sack on 3rd down was a springboard for the comeback.

Behind the scenes, I've often wondered if Brian Gutekunst admired the way that the Baltimore Ravens have played football through the years. If you watch the types of players that Gutekunst has brought onto the team, most fit the Ravens profile. So, I guess it doesn't fully surprise me that the first 2 people he has interviewed for the job were on the Ravens staff, at one point. Pagano coached with the Ravens from 2008-2012. Pagano also coached with Pettine in 2012. Pagano and Pettine both carry roots from the Ravens defense. Pagano also hired Philbin as his Assistant Head Coach in 2016 and 2017. So, in many ways, if Gutekunst likes the idea of having Pettine as the DC and Philbin as the OC, Pagano might be a logical Head Coaching candidate. Admittedly, I was not overly impressed with Pagano as the Head Coach in Indianapolis. I do not want Caldwell as the next Packers coach.

In this week's Fanspeak Mock Draft, here's how the board fell for me:

Round 1a: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky.
Round 1b: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama.
Round 2: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia.
Round 3: Jalen Jelks, EDGE, Oregon.
Round 4a: Andrew Wingard, S, Wyoming.
Round 4b: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech.
Round 5: David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State.
Round 6a: Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson.
Round 6b: Alex Bars, OG, Notre Dame.
Round 7: Sheldrick Redwine, S, []_[].

This week - it's the Lions. At Lambeau. To finish the Packers 100th season.

I expect to see Rodgers flashing a big smile, once again. I expect Adams to break the Packers reception record. I expect to see Clay grab one final sack in a Packers uniform. I expect to see Kumerow and MVS targeted deep down the field. I expect to see one final Randall Cobb Red Zone TD in a Packers uniform. I expect the Lambeau Faithful to be in a joyful mood.

This one won't help the Packers Draft status, but hopefully, the winning feeling can be carried over into 2019.

Packers 27.
Lions 20.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, December 21, 2018

My Take -> Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

5-8-1. The 2018 Packers season has been a complete bust. There is no way to put a positive spin on it. Along with 1999, the 2018 is unquestionably my least favorite Packers season that I’ve suffered through. There is no silver lining. And, with 2 games to play, other than Jaire’s ascension, there is nothing to hold onto going into the offseason. For that reason, I’m hoping that one of our youngsters can make a play that has me dreaming of big things throughout the offseason. If not, in my eyes, the 2018 season will go down as a complete waste. Outside of Jaire, that is. See, we already knew that Kenny Clark and Davante Adams were ascending Pro Bowl caliber players. Yes, it was nice to see them live up to the expectations, but it was not a surprise.

As I write, I listen to Christmas Music. ‘Tis the season. To start, I always pop on John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over). It’s my favorite “Christmas Song.” And, it’ll forever remind me of Mac (My Dad) playing it at Lambeau Field on 12/24/95. The Yancey Thigpen game that helped the Packers secure a Division title. After Lennon, I normally choose Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time.”

Here are my quick vibes for the week:

Joe Philbin has his team prepared to play. He had his team in position to win. The Packers had the ball at their own 26 yard line. It was 14-14. There were just over 14 minutes to play. The defense had just recovered a fumble. It felt like victory was waiting in the wings. And, then, much like most of the 2018 season, the offense faltered. Rodgers got sacked on first down after holding onto the ball too long. On second down, Rodgers missed a wide open Randall Cobb deep down the field. And, on third down, Rodgers had MVS wide open for an apparent 76 yard TD. Except Rodgers overthrew MVS by 3 yards. It was a crippling series for Rodgers when it mattered most. In the Packers 8 losses and 1 tie; the Packers have had the ball with the lead or with a chance to take the lead in the 4th Quarter in 6 of those game. The Rodgers led offense didn’t deliver. He did in the first Bears game and he did in the SF game. But, really, in 8 games in which he had a chance to either deliver a knock-out punch or put the team in position to win, Rodgers only came through on 2 occasions. What a buzzkill!

Nonetheless, in classic 2018 fashion, after the Rodgers incompletions, the Packers folded. JK Scott mishit a highly returnable low lining 40 yard punt that Cohen easily returned for 9 yards. The Packers defense melted down and gave us 45 yards on 5 plays for a Bears TD. Again, the Packers went 3-and-out. Yes, on two crucial 4th Quarter drives, the Packers offense, uh-um, respectably gained -2 and -5 yards. Again, JK Scott failed to flip the field position. Again, he hit a low liner. This one traveled 39 yards. Cohen got on his horse and easily ran 44 yards to Packers 15-yard line for the dagger.

Somehow, someway, the Packers are 14 games in the season and Rodgers is still talking about not the Packers lack of details. So, over the next two weeks, let’s get this team on the same page. Let’s get Davante Adams his record breaking catches. I don’t care if we throw him a bunch of bubble screens, but let’s get the record out of the way and then let’s work on getting MVS, ESB and Kumerow on the same page. There’s a definite learning curve for rookie WR’s. Let’s put in the work right now to try and expedite their development.

Jamaal Williams is a physical beast. He might not be a game breaking runner, but he’s a reliable pass blocker, he’s a hard fighting runner and he’s a reliable receiver. He’s steady. He’s dependable.

I want Aaron Jones to be a superstar in this league. He has the potential. I am concerned about his durability. This is his third injury in two years.

Tyler Lancaster had a really solid game. He was stacking, shedding and getting to the ball carrier. He’s been an impressive player for the Packers down the stretch. He has a stop in this league.

Fadol Brown played with great energy. He was active along the DL. Hustling to chase down the ball from behind. He did a good job extending his hands and fighting play-in and play-out.

I was happy to see Clay grabbing a sack.

The Rodgers interception was another reason that Jimmy Graham needs to be cut. Yes, the pass was slightly behind Graham. But, Graham did not have the quickness coming out of his break to create separation. Throw the stats out the window. Stats are for fantasy football. Graham has been a total disappointment. He has not been able to catch the ball in traffic. He has not been able to create separation. He doesn’t block. He is scheduled to make $12,666,666 next year. He is scheduled to be the highest paid TE in the game. When the season is over, I’d be quick to release him to save $5,333,333 in cap space for next year and to make sure that he wasn’t carried onto the 2020 cap. If Graham happens to be on the roster, he will absolutely be the worst contract on the roster.

Eddie Pleasant. A total stiff. He couldn’t make the plays in the passing game against AZ. And, then, against Chicago, Pettine sent him on a blindsided blitz on 3rd down. It was a masterful call by Pettine. Trubisky did not see it coming. Pleasant had a clear shot at Trubisky. He whiffed. And, then, Trubisky picked up the first down. Sorry, Pleasant. But, if you can’t make the play in either the passing game or if you can’t make the play while attacking the ball; I don’t want you on the team. I’d have understood if you were out of position because you didn’t know the defense; but that hasn’t been the case.

I hope Natrell Jamerson is fit enough to play this weekend. I want to see Jamerson.

I also want to see Donnerson rushing the passer on 3rd down. I’m curious to see if he can get home once before the season is over. Let’s play him!

Can we please see Tonyan? Why doesn’t he play? I can’t be convinced that he can’t offer us what Kendricks is giving us. Also, consider this: he’s a better block than Graham. And, we’ve seen Tonyan do something that we haven’t seen Graham do this year: he outfought a defender for a deep ball that resulted in a TD. I want to see Tonyan running down the seam and going to get the ball in traffic.

It’s time for Oren Burks to get significant playing time as well.

I want to see Looney play as well. If we’re going to keep Gutekunst’s picks around, let’s get them some action, at this stage. Let’s see if we have something to work with or if they’re just going to be training camp fodder next year.

Josh Jackson needs to toughen up. He’s playing way too soft.

In my Fanspeak Packers Mock Draft, the board fell significantly different than it has in past weeks.

Round 1a: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky.
Round 1b: Greg Little, OT Mississippi.
Round 2: Irv Smith, TE, Alabama.
Round 3: Oshane Ximines, EDGE, ODU.
Round 4a: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State.
Round 4b: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan.
Round 5: David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State.
Round 6a: J.R. Reed, S, Georgia.
Round 6b: Jamal Peters, CB, Mississippi State.
Round 7: Preston Williams, WR, Colorado State.

This week – it’s the Jets. In New York. Is this the Tankathon battle? Man, oh man. Who would’ve thought that the 2018 Packers would’ve dreamed to be the Browns, Texans, Dolphins, Chargers or Colts? I mean, have any of those teams won a playoff game since 2014? Nonetheless, here we are.

It’s hard for me to jump on the let’s lose bandwagon. If Rodgers is healthy and if he doesn’t need surgery after the year, I want him to play. I want him to work on his chemistry with the youngsters. I want to end the season on a positive note. But, I see the other side. If you play Kizer, you’re able to see how he’s developed and you’re likely to lose. And, if you go 5-10-1, you’re likely going to secure a top 9 selection; which would all but secure one of the top 3 EDGE players in the draft. There’s value in that, too.

Packers 23.
Jets 20.

I wish all of you a Happy Holiday season. Thank you for keeping me going during both the good and bad times.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin’ S-Mac.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

My Take -> Week 15

5-7-1. A victory. A breath of fresh air. A Sunday evening that didn’t force the mind to remove itself of sports doldrums. Refreshing!

Speaking of refreshing, the Packers looked rejuvenated. They felt free spirited. They looked like they were having fun. It was almost as though a burden had been lifted.

As I write, I’m listening to the Grateful Dead's 5-8-77 show. My love for the Packers will "Not Fade Away" whether we are 5-7-1 or 12-1. The record won't change my affection for this franchise.

My quick vibes from the last week:

Thank you for keeping the ship afloat, Joe Philbin. And, thank you, for putting the smile back on Aaron Rodgers’ face.

Aaron Rodgers seems happy again. He connected with ESB, Cobb, Adams, and MVS on the opening drive. The ball was getting out of his hand quickly. Where has that Aaron Rodgers been?

Aaron Jones dominate the game in the second half. Why he didn’t touch the ball much in the first half is beyond me.

That was Jaire’s second best game of the year. Behind the Rams game. Jaire mostly shut down Julio Jones -- unless the officiating got in the way with two horrible calls that awarded Jones with catches.

The Packers have to sign Breeland. He’s not Pro Bowl material, but he’s the perfect compliment to Alexander. Breeland physical. He’s tough. He jumps routes. He plays with confidence. If Alexander is going to man up against the #1 WR’s, I’m fully confident that Breeland can nut up against the #2’s. Additionally, it appears as though Alexander and Breeland have formed a strong bond. I want Breeland on this roster.

Davante Adams. All Pro. He does it all.

I like when the Packers get MVS the ball in space. I'm still anxious to see MVS catching another crossing route and taking it up the field. It feels like we've only seen that twice this year. Once against the 49ers and MVS turned it into a 60 yard gain. The other time was against NE and Rodgers errant pass led MVS out of bounds after the catch. I want to see MVS operating out of the slot before this season is over.

Kenny Clark ate up blockers while playing through an injury. He is a cornerstone in the future of this franchise.

Tyler Lancaster is quietly playing decent football.

Justin McCray is really limited athletically, but he plays with great effort. He fought through pain and played well.

Another positive game for Dean Lowry.

It was fun to see Clay Matthews make a couple of dominating plays. Seeing him attack the QB makes me feel nostalgic.

Lucas Patrick standing up for Aaron Rodgers was a highlight of the season for me. With the team faltering through the season, the players bond in the locker room did not separate.

A really physical game from Tony Brown. He's developing well. I'm not positive that he has a future in the league, but I'm pulling for him. He has all of the physical traits that you look for. I really hope that he can put it all together. I wonder if he's better equipped to play in the slot than on the perimeter.

Breeland’s pick-6 was a riveting play. I’ve been waiting for a game changing interception. That was only the Packers 7th interception of the year. Breeland has two of them in 4 games.

Yes, Jimmy Graham, your "numbers suck" as you said. Catch the ball. Fight for the ball when the ball is in the air. Be the aggressor.

Rodgers was quick with his feet. He was picking up first downs. It was his headiest game of the year.

I've been waiting all year for a game that we watched last Sunday. The Packers picked up first downs on 3rd down. The Packers converted in the Red Zone. The Packers forced turnovers. The Packers got to the QB. The Packers got the running game going. The Packers made their FG's. It was a total team effort. The basics were mostly covered. Onward. Upward. We go.

In my weekly Fanspeak Mock Draft, I was able to get my #1 rated EDGE player, my #1 rated ILB, my #2 rated TE and my #2 rated CB. For what it's worth, as of now, I rank my top 10 players that would fit in Green Bay as follows:

1.) Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
2.) Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
3.) Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
4.) Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
5.) Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
6.) Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
7.) Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
8.) Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama
9.) Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
10.) Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

My weekly Packers Mock from Fanspeak:

Round 1a: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky.
Round 1b: Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama.
Round 2: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia.
Round 3: Irv Smith, TE, Alabama.
Round 4a: Jalen Jelks, EDGE, Oregon. I just missed out on Oshane Ximenes, EDGE, ODU.
Round 4b: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware -- cousin of Packers legend, Herb Adderley.
Round 5: JR Reed, S, Georgia.
Round 6a: Mitch Hyatt, TE, Clemson.
Round 6b: Daniel, Wise, DL, Kansas.
Round 7: Carl Granderson, EDGE, Wyoming.

This week - it's the Bears. At Soldier Field. A place where the Packers have not lost since we gained the Trump Card by winning the Halas Trophy in the Visitors Locker Room in January of 2011. Since then, the Packers have had a number of historical victories at Soldier Field. The Packers clinched a Division title at Soldier in 2012. In 2013, the Packers clinched the Division title at Soldier Field, once again, when Rodgers hit Cobb on a 48-yard TD with 00:38 left on the clock on 4th and 8. In 2014, we saw the berth of R-E-L-A-X at Soldier Field. In 2015, the Packers kicked off the season with a victory at Soldier Field. In 2016, the Packers won a thriller when Mason Crosby hit a game winning FG at the buzzer after Rodgers connected with Jordy on a 60-yard bomb in the waning seconds. In 2017, the Packers kept their slim playoff hopes alive when Brett Hundley led the Packers to a victory against Mitchell Trubisky's Bears. If the Packers can knock off the Bears in 2018, maybe, just maybe, we can start thinking about the playoffs in 2018. We'll need some help, but a win against the Bears would go a long way.

In order to win, the Packers will have to find a way to block Hicks and Mack. Hicks and Mack wreck games. They damn near ruined the Week 1 contest. With the Packers beat up OL, they'll be hungry to attack Rodgers. The Packers have to devise a game plan that quickly gets the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands. If Rodgers is holding onto the ball and trying to extend plays, the Bears will eat up the Packers banged up OL.

Early on - I'd like to see the Packers attack Fuller on a double move. Fuller will bite. There will be a big play awaiting.

Additionally, on offense, the Packers should run Aaron Jones up the middle. The Packers can have success running between the tackles. The Bears DT is dominant, but they'll over pursue. The Packers have to take advantage of the Bears DL aggressiveness. Stick with the run, Philbin. Jones will pop a big one.

If the Bears are patient and they stick with the run, it'll be tough for the Packers to stop Chicago. I have a hard time envisioning the depleted Packers DL slowing down the Bears running game. But, the Bears have not consistently stuck with the run. They've put the ball in Trubisky's hands to create plays. Trubisky will give the Packers opportunities to intercept him. The Packers have to catch the ball. If so, the Packers will be in position to win the game.

Trubisky's legs scare me. On third downs, I'd have Blake Martinez spy him. I'd also have Josh Jones marking Cohen. You can't cover Cohen with a LB. You have to put either a Safety or a CB on him.

Yes, it's the Packers and Bears. In December. And, when it's all said and done, the Bears fans will be moaning on Monday morning as they're walking through the frozen Morning Dew. Through the records aside, with this rivalry, it doesn't matter any way. Once again, at Soldier Field, the Packers pull out a thriller to keep the slim playoff hopes alive.

Packers 23.
Bears 20.


Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, December 7, 2018

My Take -> Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

4-7-1. And, in the end, the 100th season in Packers history was a complete fuckin’ disaster. A colossal meltdown of epic proportions. A low point in the recent history of the franchise. One of my least favorite seasons as a fan. A year to forget. With the utterly embarrassing loss to the lowly Cardinals - at the once proudly adored Lambeau Field - the team and their fans got knocked out of their misery. Beneath the misery, resides a presently dark existence. One of curiosity. One of concern. One of hope.

Michael Franti makes me feel good. As I begin writing, I’m listening to Stay Human 2, his new song.

Here are my quick vibes for the week:

Thanks for the memories, Mike McCarthy. I’ll remember you fondly. Others will consider your time as stale. Those - that do - are highly entitled fans. Sure, we're all disappointed that we didn't win more Super Bowls. We all wish that Julius Peppers did not tell Morgan Burnett to sit down in Seattle. We wish Bostick had caught the onside kick. We wish HaHa would've knocked down the 2-point conversion. If any of those things happen, the Packers are playing in a 2nd Super Bowl. None did and we're all forever haunted. That game is Holmgren's equivalent to Super Bowl 32. With that said, I hope that stale for the Packers will always be a 13-year stretch that includes 9 playoff appearances, a Super Bowl win, a 15-1 season and 4 NFC Championship Game appearances. Mike, you gave us a magical year of Favre and helped to develop Rodgers into a 2-time MVP at QB. Additionally, Mike, through the years, you've twice had to endure playing without your star QB for the better part of the season. Mike, you also lost three integral pieces to the core of the defense while they were in their prime in Nick Collins, Desmond Bishop and BJ Raji. We dealt with game ending heartbreaks. It was a tall task to keep this team together. You always did so. It's been a great stretch. Someday - Packers fans will yearn for the success of this last decade. With that, Coach Mac, best of luck in the future. I'll always be cheering for you.

Aaron Rodgers was awful against the Cards. The pass to ESB in the first quarter made it look like he wasn't even trying. The same could be said with the swing pass to Aaron Jones. Again, on a crucial 3rd down in the 4th Quarter, Rodgers was dumping the ball into the dirt and at the feet of an open WR. Baffling!

If Rodgers plays like he did against AZ for the rest of the year, the Packers will not win another game and they’ll end up with a top 5-7 pick of the Draft. That’s sad.

I actually like the timing of the firing. Saved MM the questions for the next month. Team was unprepared against AZ. Packers can start the search now — before others who will be searching for a new coach. And, they can do so openly.

The Packers can save roughly $20,000,000 in cap space for next year by cutting Graham, Crosby, Spriggs, Bulaga, Tramon and Perry. The Packers will have a boat load of dead money to pay out, but they would’ve rid themselves of all bad contracts on the roster. With the draft picks in his arsenal and the pending salary cap space, if Gutekunst has a two year plan in place and the Packers hire a good HC (whoever that may be); they should be ready to compete again in two years. And, with that strategy, the Packers would never have to go through a rebuilding phase with an aging Aaron Rodgers.

If the Packers do indeed free up a bunch of cash, I hope that the Packers sign Landon Collins. The Packers need a hard hitting, play making Safety. Collins would fit the bill. Collins hasn't played as well in 17 and 18 as he did in 16, but I'd still be willing to pay him the money that he demands. Give the Packers Landon Collins and a couple of EDGE rushers in the Draft and the defense should be in position to close games.

I have full confidence that Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst will identify a quality Head Coach.

Aaron Rodgers' and Brett Favre's careers have so many similarities. I'm hoping that Rodgers can find the Brett Favre version of Mike McCarthy. The one that ignited a spark in the suddenly declining player. McCarthy brought Favre another life. The Packers need to find someone who can inject a fire into Rodgers.

We have had two Super Bowl winning coaches in 50 years. Holmgren couldn’t wait to get out of GB. He quit on the team before the Super Bowl and essentially smirked his way off the field after the devastating loss in SF the following year. On the contrary, here is McCarthy two days after getting fired, absolutely yearning for one last speech. Amazing!

I do not want Josh McDaniels as the next Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers. I don't think he can be trusted. I don't have a wish list at this point, but I know I don't want McDaniels.

The Cards game was another really good day at the office for Kenny Clark and Jaire Alexander.

Dean Lowry shows glimpses of being a really good football player.

I'm a fan of Mike Pettine, but it should be noted that his defenses have not been the same team in the 4th Quarter as they have been in the 3rd Quarter. Granted, he's playing with a makeshift lineup, so he deserves a pass. Nonetheless, consider this: Pettine's defense couldn't get off the field when it mattered most in the 4th Quarter against Minnesota, the Rams, the Patriots, the Seahawks, and the Cardinals.

I'm officially worried that Josh Jackson will be really limited as an NFL player. I want him to be great. The Jackson and Alexander vibe seems to be good to be a true. It seems like a dream. They're buddies. But, JJ looks to be a step slow and he doesn't look tough enough. Over the last 4 weeks of the year, I'd argue that a JJ interception is near the top of my wish list. I want him to build some confidence before the end of the year.

It's time to see a whole lot of Robert Tonyan and none of Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks. Tonyan is in the future plans. Lewis and Kendricks are not.

I was bummed that Kevin King went to IR. I really wanted to see the secondary with King, Jaire and Breeland in it. King has really handicapped the Packers. When he's on the field, he's been a decent perimeter CB, but availability has been key and at this point, King has left the Packers with a hole at CB. With King being unavailable, I am hoping to see the likes of Will Redmond, Natrell Jamerson and Tony Brown on the field. Let's see if these guys can be in the 2019 plans.

I liked the Natrell Jamerson signing. Jamerson can run. He has the physique and intangibles to be a slot CB. Prior to the Draft, I wrote this about Jamerson: "Natrell Jamerson, Wisconsin. Round 6-7. Jamerson is undersized for a pure safety, but translates well as a possible mid-to-late round slot CB. Jamerson can fly. He ran a 4.4 and was super quick in his 10 yard split. He has good lateral movements and he's willing to throw his body in the mix."

With the Jamerson signing, I found this little nugget: Gutekunst has not added 4 of the top 13 speedsters in the 40 at the Combine last year. He also has 3 players who finished in the top 8 in the 20-yard shuttle at the Combine last year. He feels the need for speed!

I'm happy that Donnerson is on the 53-man roster. I want to see Donnerson, Alex Light, Oren Burks, Tony Brown, Will Redmond, ESB, MVS, Tonyan, Kumerow, Looney, Lancaster, Adams, Raven Greene and Jamerson getting snaps. Let's invest in our future and see if the kids can bring us wins. I want to see ESB with a 7 catch, 100-yard game. The same can be said with MVS or Kumerow.

I hope that Cole Madison reports to camp in 2019.

If I were Brian Gutekunst, I'd say; "Hey Randall Cobb. You've been a really solid Packer. But, availability is a key to success in the NFL. You weren't available for the better part of 2018. With that, you're going to be relegated for the rest of the year to our 5th string WR behind Adams, MVS, ESB and Kumerow. As you know, you won't be back with the team in 2019, so the only really exposure that you're going to see will be as the Punt Returner. Thanks for your commitment to the Green Bay Packers."

I will forever wonder why Mike McCarthy never went no-huddle to try and create urgency in the offense in 2018. We played without a pulse on offense. I kept waiting for the shift. It never happened.

Eddie Pleasant. Can he please be cut? Like, seriously. How can his teammates ever look the guy in the eye again and think that he can be trusted to make a play? I'd rather have a 52-man roster than to see him on the team for another day.

In this week's Fanspeak Packers Mock Draft, the board rankings fell differently. Most of the guys that I've been high on throughout the year have climbed the overall rankings. Josh Allen was a player ranked in the 40's, he's now in the top 20. Brian Burks was also in the 40's, he's now in the 20's. It forced me to alter my Draft approach. I went heavy on the OL in the top 3 rounds. Cajuste can likely play either RT or RG. Edwards looks like a starting RT. It's interesting to note that the Packers will likely have 6 of the top 120 picks heading into Draft weekend. Here's how it fell for me:

Round 1a: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky.
Round 1b: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama.
Round 2: Yodny Cajuste, OT, Dub-V.
Round 3: David Edwards, OT, WI.
Round 4a: Landis Durham, EDGE, Texas A&M.
Round 4b: Osahne Ximines, EDGE, ODU.
Round 5: Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford.
Round 6a: Tanner Muse, S, Clemson.
Round 6b: Iman Marshall, CB, USC.
Round 7: Sheldrick Redwine, S, []_[].

This week - it's the Falcons. I'll always remember the Packers at Falcons Divisional Playoff game. It was one of my favorite days in Packers history. I was in attendance with my Brother Bob and my Brother-in-Law, Paul. It was a legendary day in Packers history.

Can the Packers cover the Falcons in 2018? Well, that depends on if Breeland can play. If he can, then the Packers might be able to match up well. If he can't, well, then Atlanta could put up a minimum of 35 points. And, unless Rodgers finds his old form, the 2018 Packers aren't capable of putting up points in bundles.

My hunch is that Rodgers plays carefree. He hasn't played in a game like this Sunday since 2008. Consider that? Yes, as fans, we've been that fortunate during the Mike McCarthy era. We have played highly meaningful, non-desperate December games every year since 2009. The only other team that can say that is the Patriots. We've been spoiled. Nonetheless, look for Rodgers to play without stress and to be gunning the ball all over the field. We see the Rodgers of old. The one that we have adored since 2008. There's that confident spark to his step. The CA swag is back. Rodgers catches fire.

Packers 31.
Falcons 30.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, November 30, 2018

My Take -> Week 13

4-6-1. 1-4 in the season defining 5-game stretch. And, while the Packers are not officially eliminated from the playoffs, it doesn’t feel like this team has a pulse. However, we must remember that in life, fear is contagious. But, hope carries the same weight. And, optimism exists within each of us. Thus, even though it appears as though we are living a time of great despair in PackerLand; I’m going to promote positivity until the Packers reach 7 losses. I’m going to cling onto the hope that 9-6-1 will somehow earn a playoff berth. Go Pack Go, baby!

As I write, I listen to the Movement's "Set Sail" album. If you're not familiar with the Movement, give them a listen. Set Sail and Habit are two beach-style vibes that cleanse the soul. The music will uplift you. I promise.

My quick vibes from the last week:

Mike McCarthy. I swear he’ll never learn that he should not call a timeout near the end of the half. McCarthy’s offense showed creativity, disguise and some misdirection. It didn’t show execution. They looked like they are trying to install a new offense and they’re still working on the kinks.

This team is the equivalent of the 1999 Green Bay Packers, which was one of my least favorite years as a fan. Both teams consistently underachieved. Both teams had a couple of dramatic early season victories. Both teams had former MVP QBs that battled lingering injuries for a large part of the season. Both of those former MVP QBs played significantly below the level of play that we were accustomed to seeing them play at. Both offenses ran an extensive amount of go-routes. Both teams had defenses that melted down in the second half week-in and week-out.

The Packers are built around Aaron Rodgers. In 2018, Aaron Rodgers has failed this team.

Aaron Jones runs really hard. I’m happy that he’s locked up for two more years.

If this season falls short of a playoff berth, I’ll forever wonder why the 2018 Packers didn’t go to the hurry up offense to try and increase the urgency of the unit.

Congrats to Davante Adams on eclipsing 1,000 yards. I’m happy that he, too, is locked up for years to come.

Why doesn’t Aaron Rodgers look to MVS more often?

Once again, Kenny Clark was tremendous.

Montravious Adams played a pretty good game. I liked to see the way that he stacked and shed at the line in the run game a couple of times. He showed good quickness, too. He was non-existent as a pass rusher though.

Before the season is over, I hope to see what our defense looks like with Breeland, King and Alexander at CB.

There has been one year in my life in which I thought it was in the best interest of the franchise for the Packers to lose games. That was 2005. In ‘05, Favre was handing the ball off to Samkon Gado. He was throwing the ball to the likes of David Martin, Robert Ferguson, Andrae Thurman, Donald Lee and Antonio Chapman. Adrian Klemm and Will Whitticker were blocking for Favre. These weren’t players that I wanted around in 2006. So, whether we won or lost wasn’t important. I wanted Reggie Bush. I viewed Bush as a game changer. A difference maker. Potentially, a generational player. In 2018, we have Aaron Rodgers. He’s throwing the ball to Adams, MVS, ESB and hopefully Kumerow. He’s handing the ball off to Jones and Williams. Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Linsley, Taylor and Bell are all players that I want on the team next year. Clark, Martinez, Burks, Jaire, and JJ all have a shot to be crucial components to the core of our defense for years to come. I don’t want them to experience a losing culture. I don’t want them to think this is the norm. I want them to experience wins. I want a platform for them to build off of into the future. Let’s rise up, Packers fans. Let’s help this team find a win!

With regards to a playoff push, we should think about this: Dallas still plays Philly. Philly plays Wash twice. In all of the things that are posted about the Packers qualifying, it never mentions the Cowboys, but it helps if Dallas loses 7 games; in case Wash or Philly does not. I'm confident that 2 of the 3 NFC East teams loses at 7 games. So, we turn our attention to MN, SEA and CAR. Oh, and I’m also the only person that you’ll hear say this: I’m not ready to give CHI a pass. NYG could beat them this weekend. After that, they’d still have the Packers, Rams and MN. They aren’t out of the woods yet. So, we'd need 3 out of 4 between CHI, MN, SEA and CAR to hit 7 losses. CAR would need to lose 2 games and they still have to play NO twice. MN plays both CHI and SEA, so someone has to lose. The bottom line is this; yes, we will be scoreboard watching, but if the Packers can somehow finish 9-6-1, there is a possibility of sneaking into the playoffs. Yes, I'm saying there's a chance!

In this week's Fanspeak Packers Mock Draft, I was able to draft two EDGE studs to kick it off and it opened up the Draft to focus on the best available player in addition to focusing on using the 3-player draft technique at a position of need in the late-to-mid rounds.

Round 1a: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida.
Round 1b: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky.
Round 2: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi.
Round 3: Joe Jackson, EDGE, []_[].
Round 4a: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri.
Round 4b: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington.
Round 5: David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State.
Round 6a: Alex Bars, G, Notre Dame.
Round 6b: Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Round 7: Sheldrick Redwin, S, []_[].

This week - it's the Cardinals. One of my favorite Packers moments happened in January of 1983 when the Packers beat the Cardinals in the playoffs. It was a formative day in my life. I saw Lambeau Field living for the moment. Enjoying right now. Acting in spontaneity. And since winning was new, we weren't quite sure how to act. For a 5 year old boy, that was riveting. I was all-in. Hook, line and sinker. Gary Lewis blocking FG's. Lynn Dickey tossing tuddies. John Jefferson and James Lofton giving high fives. THAT WAS FUN! I'll forever cherish those memories.

For this week, I'm going to keep this simple. If the Packers can contain David Johnson and slow down the Cardinals pass rush, the Packers will win convincingly. If the Cardinals pass rush wins the battle or if Johnson controls the clock, the Packers could be in trouble.

Packers 34.
Cards 17.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

My Take -> Week 12

Greetings, G-Force.

4-5-1. 1-3 in the season defining 5-game stretch. Still winless on the road after another gut wrenching loss. Now, in order to make the playoffs, the Packers will likely need to win out. Yes, it’s possible that a 9-6-1 could sneak the Packers into the playoffs if things fall right as we scoreboard watch, but it’s highly unlikely.

As I write, I intensely listen to the Rolling Stones "Flashpoint" album. The Factory Girl on this album is on fleek. So is the Paint It Black. If you haven't listened to it recently, vibe in. You'll enjoy.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

I'm thankful for each of my readers. I'm thankful for the likes, the shares, the RT's, the comments. I'm thankful that you read and that you let me know that you did. It keeps me going. Even when the team is playing bad football.

I'm thankful that I'm born and raised in Green Bay, WI. I'm happy to be a Packers fan. I love Titletown, U.S.A. Even when my team is 4-5-1, I promise to watch, to cheer and to carry on with heavy faith in the future of the franchise. I'm a believer in the past, the present and the future. Even when I know that I have my Packers blinders on. I'm emotionally vested and I'll always root with optimism.

Plainly stated, Pete Carroll outcoached Mike McCarthy. It was painful. The Packers were the far superior team. But, the difference in the game was QB play and coaching. Seattle kept running the ball. Green Bay did not. Russell Wilson was clutch in the last 20 minutes of the game. Aaron Rodgers was not.

With the season slowly faltering directly in front of our eyes, Aaron Rodgers horrendously missed a 2-yard pass that would’ve extended the drive.

There were 9 minutes to play. The Packers were 12 yards from paydirt. Leading 21-20. It was 3rd and 5. Aaron Jones was wide open over the middle of the field. Aaron Rodgers never saw him. And, thus, Rodgers took a miserable sack.

Before the season, I thought the Packers would finish 9-7. At present, it looks like I’ve over projected. But, there's a lot of football left and I'm bullish on the way this team will finish the season.

If I’m Gutekunst, I demand a meeting with McCarthy and Murphy. I pound the table. I firmly request that Tonyan sees all of Kendricks’ snaps. I want to see what we have in this kid. He might be special.

I’m crazy, yes, but I still have faith that this team is going to turn it around. Throughout their careers, Rodgers and MM have almost always got the last laugh in the regular season. I’m banking on that happening again in 2018.

For those wanting to talk about Mike McCarthy's pending exit, there will be a time for that. That time is not now. For now, I focus on the Packers making a playoff run. And, when people ask me what I want in the remainder of the season, my reply is fairly simple. I'd like to see the NFC rankings go like this: 1.) Rams 2.) Saints 3.) Bears 4.) Redskins 5.) Packers 6.) Panthers. In the Wild Card, the Packers beat Washington and Chicago beats Carolina. The Packers beat the Rams and the Bears beat the Saints. The Packers flash trump card in Soldier Field, once again. The Packers play in the Super Bowl. Pipe dream? Undoubtedly. But, as long as there is a chance, I'll hold onto belief. I'm ready to enjoy this ride. One game at a time.

Kyler Fackrell! Wow! Where did that burst come from? He was a man on a mission. Hopefully, he can continue to play with purpose and to be a pass rushing demon.

Loved the Clay Matthews forced fumble. It was the exact thing that the Packers needed to start the game. It was fun to watch the Packers capitalize on the turnover as well.

Is Kumerow going to be activated?! You know that Rodgers is fired up about that possibility! If Kumerow plays, he will be targeted!!

Mettle is my favorite word in the direction. Mike McCarthy has displayed tremendous mental mettle throughout his career in the regular season. His teams have always handled adversity well. I'm confident that this team will finish the season with authority.

The Packers secondary has been in position to make plays, but their either not turning their head around or they are a half step late. Josh Jackson especially. He's really close to hauling in an interception. I think it happens this week.

With Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, the Packers have premier players at RB and WR. With ESB, MVS, Cobb, Kumerow and Williams, the Packers have great depth at both positions as well.

Well done, Trevor Davis. You got screwed on the long kickoff return. That was not a hold.

Not to gripe on the officiating, but how do you overturn that catch on the sideline? David Moore didn't even think he caught it. His body language told it all. Game changing call by the officials.

I loved when the Packers got Jones involved in the passing game to close the 2nd Quarter. Where was that in the second half? Rodgers has to look at his check downs. They're wide open!

Davante Adams. Total stallion.

Robert Tonyan. BOBBY!

Without Mike Daniels, our DL depth is razor thin. Expect all opponents to do exactly what Seattle did against us. They'll pound it right at the teeth of our defense. Time of Antonio Morrison to step up in the run game. He can stack and shed at ILB. He'll need to play a major role in the defense without Daniels. It's also time for Montravious Adams to step up and take advantage of his opportunity. Seize the moment, Adams!

MVS needs more than 3 targets a game.

The play design on the opening drive was fantastic. It had disguise. It had misdirection. It had motion. Then, it went back to the same old, same old deep ball.

Had Rodgers hit Adams in stride on the first deep ball, it'd have been a TD. Instead, the throw was a little behind him and because of it, Adams could not make a play after the catch.

Great grab, ESB!

Tony Brown has limited talents, but I love his fight and his confidence. He was put in a tough spot. He played well.

This team needs Breeland and King healthy. Badly. I want to see this secondary with Breeland, King and Jaire at CB.

This week - the board fell different than past weeks in my weekly Fanspeak Mock Draft. I was surprised that Greedy Williams was around with my 1st pick in the 1st round, so I had to grab him. I also went DL earlier than I would've preferred, but Derrick Brown was around in Round 2, so I couldn't pass him up. Because of it, my EDGE defenders are different than what I've been targeting on a weekly basis. Here's what I ended up with:

Round 1a.) Greedy Williams, CB, LSU.
Round 1b.) Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky.
Round 2.) Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn.
Round 3.) Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan.
Round 4a.) Yodny Cajuste, OT, Dub-V.
Round 4b.) Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford.
Round 5.) Max Scharping, OT, NIU.
Round 6a.) Carl Granderson, EDGE, Wyoming.
Round 6b.) Lukas Denis, S, Boston College.
Round 7.) Sheldrick Redwine, S, []_[].

This week - it's the 'queens. In Minnesota. On Sunday Night. When we last walked into this Dome, the Packers were 4-1 coming off of a season that fell one game short of the Super Bowl. The vibes around the Franchise were overwhelmingly optimistic. Rodgers went down and ever since then, the Franchise's buzz has been spiraling down hill. Well, "the roller coaster has to roll to the bottom before it climbs to the top again" and I can't think of a better place to reenergize this franchise than to find a win in the building that started this nasty state of mind.

We know them. They know us. When we played earlier in the year, Minnesota threw the ball 48 times and ran it 18 times. The 'queens would be crazy to only run the ball 18 times this week. In fact, I believe that the team that rushes the ball for more yards this weekend will win the game. I don't envision a scenario in which the Packers can stop Minnesota's run game. The DL is too depleted. The only thing that will stop Minnesota's run game is their impatience. Thankfully, I believe that Minnesota will try to throw the football. They'll look to Diggs deep down the field. They'll target Thielen on slants and ten-yard in-routes. They'll try to get the ball to Rudolph in the flat. They'll want to find Cook and Murray on swing passes. And, Cousins will make a mistake.

I really believe that Josh Jackson will have an interception this week.

McCarthy must stay patient with the run game. Big plays can happen at the teeth of the Minnesota defense. If you try to win with speed to the edge, the queens LB's are too fast. You have to attack run between the tackles. Win the trenches.

And, Rodgers has to look at the crossing route. It'll be open. Behind the LB and in front of the safety.

With Rhodes likely marking Adams all day, MVS will be a speed mismatch for Trae Waynes. Waynes cannot keep up with MVS. And, Waynes is susceptible to either giving up the big play on the deep ball or to being called for pass interference. I'd target him early.

The Packers have to finish in the Red Zone and Rodgers has to focus on three step drops on 3rd down.

This has the makings of a thriller!

Packers 31.
queens 27.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

My Take -> Week 11

Greetings, G-Force.

4-4-1. 1-2 in the season defining 5-game stretch. Firmly in position to make our push in both the NFC North and the Wild Card race. Really, when it’s all said and done, it feels like this will be the outlining week when describing the 2018 Green Bay Packers. With the win over the Fins, the Packers improved to 4-0-1 at home. On the road, the Packers are 0-4. And, now, the Packers travel to Seattle, which has been a house of horrors for our great franchise. Making matters even more complicated, the Packers travel on a short week to play in the Pacific Northwest.

When life needs a pick me up, I listen to Michael Franti. Right now, I'm vibing into his new tune, "Stay Human 2" and it hits home.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

Yes, an aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. But, McCarthy has to keep his wits with him. He should be most concerned with the down and distance coupled with the situation at hand. There was no reason to go for it on 4th and 2. Punt the ball. Play field position. Don’t let the opposition in the game. There’s a difference between being aggressive and being intelligent.

It was an absolute treat to see the Packers converting Red Zone opportunities into TD’s.

The Packers backs were against the wall. In return, the Packers based the majority of their offense around Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. The results were unsurprisingly splendid. It offers optimism for the future.

Aaron Jones is a flat-out superstar. A gem of a runner. His burst, his leverage and his toughness are an extremely unique combination. He has to continue to get a minimum of 15 carries and ideally, he’ll get 20 per game. He’s a true difference maker.

Breeland and Jostling Jaire bring an attitude that accompanies winning football. They’re confident. They’re physical. They’re tough. They break on the football.

Mad props to Raven Greene! The sack was awesome! The fake punt was thrilling. I loved how he broke on the ball near the goal line. He needs to hang onto the football, but still, it was a great treat to see him in position to make a play.

Tony Brown continues to play with a confident swagger to his step. He’s an intense mind. A weaker character would be defeated with his boneheaded plays in past weeks. Not Brown. He mans up and fearlessly sticks his nose into each play.

Looking around the secondary, we feel way more athletic with Josh Jones, Breeland, TMon, Jostling Jaire and Greene manning the back end of our defense.

Toughen up, Josh Jackson. Don’t grab. Tackle! I keep waiting for him to make a game changing play. He’s been close. He’s yet to finish.

Oren Burks is a bulldog on special teams. I want to see him coming on inside blitzes.

Again, Kyler Fackrell deserves props. Crucial third down sack. He’s dropping into coverage. He’s playing his best football as a Packer.

Kenny Clark. All Pro. Synonymous.

Breeland with the pick!

Save three plays and this was a mostly impressive performance! Take away the TMon fumble, the blocked punt and the decision to go for it on 4th and 2 in the 2nd Quarter. Other than those moments, this team felt a little different than other games this year. Sure, Rodgers still missed throws. Yes, Rodgers took a sack to knock us out of FG range. Yes, the tackling could’ve been better. But, overall, the team looked faster, better prepared and more efficient than we have all year.

Imagine this defense with two EDGE rushers? Pettine is doing wonders with a severe lack of pass rushing talent. Still, somehow, this team notched 6 sacks. It was very cool to see Jaire calling Pettine the best DC that he’s ever been around.

Corey Linsley was a stud. He consistently got to the second level. He ate up defenders and took out multiple players on a number of Jones’ big runs.

A gutty performance by Byron Bell. He played through pain and again, he stepped up on the interior of the OL.

Another really solid day for MVS. It’s clear that defenses are shifting a safety over the top to help track MVS on the deep ball. Once again, his hands were money. Instead of targeting him deep down the field, they targeted him underneath the sticks to keep the defense honest. In return, look for a wheel route

Wins cure all. It’s time to build a little momentum. It’s time for Rodgers to get in a quick release rhythm. It’s time for the defense to continue to force turnovers.

It’s easy to be a leader when things are going smoothly. It’s tough to lead when it feels like things are falling apart. I’m not being the body language police, but it feels as though MM is grumpy. I want the fiery MM. The motivating MM. The MM that has consistently had his team playing fantastic football as the weather changes. I’m hoping that this victory continues to swing the vibes at 1265 back to full out positivity.

There’s a lot to like about this team. I like our OL. I like 12. I like Jones. Williams is a solid back up RB. I like Adams, Cobb, MVS and ESB. I like Graham in the Red Zone. I like Daniels and Clark. Lowry is a solid rotational DL, too. I like Martinez and OB. I like Jaire and Breeland. When healthy, I like King. I like TMon. Greene and Brown offer a sparkling personality. Josh Jackson has had good moments. I like Crosby. I like Scott. We just need to put it all together and we need Matthews + Perry to apply a pass rush. This season is not lost.

As long as there is hope for a playoff run, I’m not going to toss this season into the blender. We’ve seen Wild Card teams make Super Bowl runs too many times over the last 15 years. So, as long as there is a chance, I’m going to watch with positivity. I’m going to hope to see Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy as a unifying force. As Leaders. I’m going to expect to watch this team playing with extensive fight. I’m going to expect to watch this team playing with composure as they hold onto a lifeline. For today, the Packers are in good position to make a significant playoff push over the last 7 weeks.

Congrats on the career, Jordy! XLV FOREVER!

In the Fanspeak Packers Mock Draft this week, things fell really well for me. I was able to grab the premier TE in the Draft. I was able to draft two OT’s to build depth behind Bakhtiari and to give me insurance for Bulaga’s future. I was able to draft 3 EDGE rushers. I was able to find 2 Safeties that could immediately compete for playing time. I was able to get a talented ILB and I drafted a highly talented DL in the 6th Round. Here goes:

Round 1a: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa.
Round 1b: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky.
Round 2: David Edwards, OT, WI.
Round 3: Joe Jackson, EDGE, []_[].
Round 4a: Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan.
Round 4b: J.R. Reed, S, Georgia.
Round 5: Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State.
Round 6a: Dontavius Russell, DL, Auburn.
Round 6b: Kendall Baker, OT, Georgia.
Round 7: CeCe Jefferson, EDGE, Florida.

This week – it’s the Seahawks. In Seattle. It is difficult to imagine Seattle making the playoffs if they lose this week. And, while the game is not a must win for the Packers, per se, it also carries significant weight as a loss would leave very little room for error over the last 6 games. A loss would also mean that the Packers are going to have to start scoreboard watching on a week-in and week-out basis. If the Packers don’t win on the road, they don’t belong sniffing the thought of the playoffs. The Packers need this one for their confidence. The Packers need this one for momentum sake. The Packers need this one to inspire believe within the locker room.

The Seahawks offense is a different team when Chris Carson is on the field. If Seattle could have Wilson, Carson and Rashaad Penny on the field at the same time, they’d be in a position to create big plays in abundance. They’d redefine the way the RPO was put on film. Carson has a physically tough speed and power combination to him. He’s difficult to bring down and while he runs straight-up, he’s shifty in the open field. He also has the speed to hit the corner. Penny is a Homerun threat every time he touches the ball. Wilson remains among the most innovative in-play players in the game. When the play breaks down, he becomes even more dangerous. He’s always looking downfield when he is on the move and because of it, he often delivers a big play when it looks like a busted play. Historically, Mike Daniels has destroyed the interior of the Seahawks OL. He will have to, once again, do so. I can’t imagine that the Seahawks OL can move Daniels and Clark backwards. That battle will be a telltale of the game on Thursday Night. The Packers should have Jaire active. They need Breeland to be active as well. Baldwin and Lockett can get deep. And, they’re consistently in lockstep with Russell Wilson from a mental perspective. The Packers should have Jaire follow Baldwin all over the field. Nick Vannett has been a solid producer at TE for Seattle. He’s going to be a tough match-up for us. Vannett has minimized the impact that the Seahawks have felt by losing Jimmy Graham. David Moore has been a very good deep threat for Seattle. He catches the ball in traffic.

Defensively, Seattle is not what they once were. Frank Clark and Jarran Reed can get to the QB. Both have been stars at the line of scrimmage. Shamar Stephen has battled injury, but he’s been a pleasant surprise for the Seahawks when he’s been on the field. Bobby Wagner is still a stud at ILB. KJ Wright is also still playing at a really high level, but Wright might not play. Barkevious Mingo is littered with talent and has to keep putting his game together. He has not lived up to his expectations. Still, he can’t be discounted. The Seahawks secondary is still opportunistic, but they’re a far cry from the days of the Legion of Boom. There’s no reason for Rodgers to not eclipse 300 yards. Shaquill Griffin is the best of the bunch. He looks like Richard Sherman. He plays the ball well. He has a bright future. Brad McDougald is back from injury. When healthy, he plays the ball well in the air and is a decent tackler as well. Justin Coleman has the talent to be a slot CB. Tre Flowers is a classic John Schneider draft pick. He was little known, but he stands 6-3 and weighs 200 lbs. When you have those dimensions, Schneider is taking a shot. I hope Rodgers targets Flowers early and often. Neiko Thorpe is oft injured at the other CB spot. Tedric Thompson shouldn’t scare many at Safety.

Any interesting thing to watch will be the punting battle. Both Michael Dickson and JK Scott were 5th round picks in 2018.

Seattle is going to move the ball on Green Bay. Green Bay will move the ball on Seattle. Really, this game will come down to two things: Turnovers and Red Zone efficiency. Simply stated, it’s vital for the Packers to have to finish drives. Seattle’s run game scares me. I have a hard time envisioning the Packers keeping Seattle under 23 points. The Seahawks will likely have at least 5 scoring drives. It’s tough to play defense on a short week.

McCarthy would be wise to hurry up the offense. If Cobb is healthy, I’d like to see a lot of 4 WR sets with Jones in the backfield. I’d like to open up the middle of the field for the run game. It’d also open up the middle of the field for the newly found play-action crossing-route pass game that McCarthy has implemented over the last 4 weeks. But, it’s important for McCarthy to trust that his OL can block Seattle’s front. And, then, the big boys up front have to deliver. If so, the Packers will have success moving the ball.

We haven’t seen much of the play action roll out to the right shot play. We see it this week. It’s Rodgers to MVS for a big play and a tide turning TD to silence the Seattle crowd.

Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that Clay Matthews is going to come up with a big sack or two this week. He’ll be intent on hunting down Wilson. In many ways, I wish that the Packers would use either Matthews or Josh Jones as a spy on Wilson.

The Seattle run game scares me a lot. But, here’s to hoping that the Packers tackle better than I expect them to and then the Packers keep Seattle out of the end zone.

Jaire seals it with a pick late.

Packers 31.
Seahawks 23.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin’ S-Mac.