Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Take -> Week 7

Greetings, G-Force.

3 in a row! Tied at the top of the NFC North! Time to dive into a beer that I've never sipped before. The NeoMexicanus Native Pale Ale is crafted by Crazy Mountain Brewery, a small brewery tucked away in the heart of Edwards, CO. It's a beer that "is an exploration of a largely undocumented hop, native to the South Western United States." At the first sip, it offers a skunky, fruity feel. Fruit smell akin to the citra hop. The pour is cloudy with a solid head. The texture is sticky. My mind is blissful.

My second beer will be the Perennial Aria. It's been aging for roughly 15 months. It's a Belgian Style Ale fermented with Brettanomyces. When I last tasted, it was sweet up front, with a funky butt to it's finish. At 7.2%, I'm stoked to see how's it's evolved with age.

The Packers are 4-2. With 5 of the next 7 at Lambeau!

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* R-E-L-A-X. Yes, XLV MVP, I have relaxed.

* In the 1996 Super Bowl, Andre Rison was caught on camera screaming, "We got the fuckin' MVP throwing us the damn ball!" It feels like, once again, the Packers have the MVP throwing the ball.

* The Packers have great camaraderie on this team. They enjoy one another. It appears as though the locker room is selfless. Loved Eddie Lacy's tweet after the game. As I've mentioned before, Lacy is nicknamed the Green & Yellow Bumblebee. After the game, Lacy posted a photo of himself standing next to James Starks. He stated that Starks was his "Big Brother" and was now nicknamed the "Green Hornet." I'm on board. Huge game by Starks! Especially on the final drive!!!

* That was one of the most dramatic finishes I've ever been to (an asterisk is that I don't include non-Packers games such as the Tebow TD pass to Thomas to beat the Steelers in the playoffs). It was right there with Majik to Sharpe in the "After Further Review, the Bears Still Suck" game. It was there with the Favre to Freeman "He Did What?" game on MNF vs the Viqueens. It was right there with the Favre to Kitrick Taylor win over the Bengals. It was there with the Favre to Thomason victory over the Raiders to kick off the '99 season. It was there with the Favre to Bradford TD to beat the Viqueens in '99. It was there with Favre to Freeman over the Bucs in '99. This win is fresh, but as of now, if I had to rank them, I'd go: Majik to Sharpe, Favre to Taylor, Rodgers to AQ81!, Favre to Bradford, Favre to Thomason, Favre to Freeman over the 'queens, Favre to Freeman over the Bucs. This victory was action packed! It was special. I was back in Miami. For the first time in nearly for 4 years. It was sentimental. The victory was sweet. Without that buzz, it might rank 5th.

* 3rd & 9. The defense desperately needs a stop. Philbin calls a run play. Miller had the blocking in front of him. HaHa takes on the Left Tackle and the Left Guard. He knives through both of them. He makes the tackle. The Packers get the crucial stop. HaHa was sensational in Miami. If that's the HaHa of the future, we have reason to be excited!

* Jordy Nelson. Forever!

* Once again, Randall Cobb shines in the Red Zone. He's seriously become a lethal Red Zone weapon!

* Boogie On, Davante Adams. Dude has flair. He's funky. He has shake. A good mix of James Jones & Greg Jennings. He's becoming dangerous after the catch. He's learning the Jordy stiff arm. He's playing with confidence. Soon, we'll see Davante on a double move. And, it'll be epic!

* I want Jeff Janis to get the ball, but the guy does not get in-and-out of his breaks. His route running needs significant work.

* TJ LANG! Play of the game with the fumble recovery. Plain and simple, he wanted it more. Well done, TJ. You deserved a game ball.

* Thought Sitton and Linsley played really well.

* Another good game from Bakhtiari. Yes, he got beat for a sack, but man, if you were paying attention, it was clear that Vernon jumped offside on the play. Should have been a penalty. Bakhtiari didn't have a chance.

* Bulaga will have better days. He won't play that film when he's negotiating his next contract.

* AQ81! Point to the sky, young man! Point to the sky!

* The jumbo package with Sherrod? I don't get it.

* On both sides, it was a terribly coached game. In the first half, the Packers controlled the clock. And, they had nothing to show for it. McCarthy needed to get greedy. He never did. He had multiple occasions in which all he needed was a FG to grab a 2-score lead. He never capitalized. He was ridiculously conservative. And, then, when all he needed was a couple of yards to get into FG range, he called the play-action and put Rodgers right into the face of Wake. Generally speaking, I'm in favor of the call, but not in that situation. I thought he should have pounded the ball at the left side of the line of scrimmage. We were having success running behind Bakhtiari. Wished he would have called a run to manage the game.

* What was Joe Philbin doing when he called the timeout before the 4th & 10? The crowd was rockin'. The Packers were scrambling after the sack-fumble. We looked unprepared. Philbin bailed us out. I'll be surprised if he's the Fins coach next year.

* Julius Peppers is SO CLOSE to having a multiple sack game.

* So is Mike Neal. Thought it was going to happen last week, but Neal seems to lack the killer instinct when he gets within striking distance. He doesn't drive through the tackler. Especially the QB. He's a bit passive.

* Once again, I thought Letroy Guion played a really nice game. On the goal line stop in the 1st Quarter, I thought Guion was a stud.

* Speaking of the goal line stop, what a play by Morgan Burnett on 4th down!

* Mike Daniels was quiet until the last drive of the game. And, when we needed a stop the most, Daniels was crucial.

* Soon, Clay Matthews is going to make a big play. He has to stay patient. He looks like he's pressing. And, possibly frustrated.

* My, oh my, Brad Jones is awful.

* AJ Hawk isn't tackling anyone is space.

* The fake-spike to Adams was legendary.

* Hyde not only was solid on special teams, but he looked assignment-sure on defense.

* Mike Pennel has to finish the sack.

* Casey Hayward! That was a tremendous interception. He was also more assertive when going to make a tackle.

* Ras Davon with the great break on the ball. But, dude, catch the ball. Elevate. Take your game to the next level.

* Sammy Swagga was disciplined. The interception was pure brilliance. Man, I hope he's OK. Something doesn't feel right about it.

* T-Mon was having a great game prior to the injury. Sure, he gave up the TD, but he was in perfect position. It was a great throw and a nice catch. Give credit where credit is due.

* Eddie Lacy. Yo, man. Hit the hole and go. If your first read isn't there, plant. Look for the cutback. Lower your shoulder. Burst through.

* I'm starting to really like this draft class. It's possible that we've drafted 3 gems. I like HaHa. I love Adams. Linsley looks like he can ball. I'm hopeful Bradford can emerge as a decent ILB and a solid special teams player. I believe that Janis will develop into a noteworthy WR and/or special teams returner. But, at this stage, it's clear that Aaron Rodgers has zero confidence in Richard Rodgers. He doesn't even look towards him. Even when Richard Rodgers is open, he's far from the XLV MVP's mind. And, as a blocker, Richard Rodgers remains useless. He's not even remotely developing. He can't even get in the way. I really hope I'm wrong, but I'll be surprised if Richard Rodgers ever amounts to anything.

* I'd love to see a no-huddle drive with DuJuan Harris as the back. I'd run a screen early in the drive.

* Why can't we figure out our special teams units? Can't make a tackle on a kickoff. Get a punt blocked. Absolutely unacceptable.

* Brandon Bostick should never play on special teams again. He's putrid. With that said, I still believe that we're going to see Bostick used in the next couple of weeks as a receiver. He'll be the target. There'll be a play designed for Bostick as he's either streaking down the seam or running a 15-20 yard crossing route. Wait for it. It'll happen in the next 3 weeks. I am convinced.

* Kevin Dorsey got his shot on kickoff coverage. He looked like he was afraid of contact. Disappointing.

* I said it before, I'll say it again: I believe Jeff Janis will block a punt this year.

* It's worth mentioning: Percy Harvin is out of the NFC!! He's been kryptonite for the Packers. Much like Colin Kaepernick. That's big news!

* A couple of key elements with respect to the Packers getting compensatory picks in next years NFL Draft: Evan Dietrich-Smith has started all 6 games for the Buccaneers this year. In 5 games, CJ Wilson has 10 tackles and 2 sacks. In 5 games, James Jones has 26 catches for 328 yards and 3 TD's. He is on pace for 83 catches, 1050 yards and 10 TD's. Admittedly, while I understand that games started, statistics, post season recognition, and salary are all in the equation, I don't know the exact formula for the distribution of compensatory picks. But, it's worth mentioning that the Packers received a 3rd round pick for Greg Jennings after he had 68 catches, 804 yards and 4 TD's. Last year, Erik Walden finished with 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 45 tackles in 15 games. The Packers received a 5th round pick for Walden. If Dietrich-Smith starts 16 games, Wilson finishes with 5 sacks and Jones continues his pace and production reigns supreme in the compensatory equation; the Packers could finish with a 4th and a 5th as compensatory picks. That'd be exciting! Any way, as I slowly piece together my mock draft, I'm projecting two 5th round picks for the Packers.

This week - it's the Panthers. At Lambeau. In October. In the Throwback uniforms. That sounds festive! Party On, Packer People!

Cam Newton scares me. He could enter Colin Kaepernick territory this weekend. I was hoping for weather in the mid-40's. Instead, we're going to get nice fall weather. A picturesque day at Lambeau. Cloudy. Mid-50's. That calls for Fall football. A brisk air. A hoarse voice. The way Football was meant to be played.

If Kelvin Benjamin plays post his concussion and T-Mon doesn't play due to his injury, that's frightening. Benjamin is a big target that makes plays in traffic. With Sammy Swagga out for the game, it's likely House will have to shadow Benjamin. Casey Hayward will shadow Jerricho Cotchery. I'd expect Hayward to win that battle. J-Bush will muscle against Jason Avant. And, Micah Hyde will follow Greg Olsen. If the Packers try to guard Olsen with either AJ Hawk or Brad Jones, Olsen will explode. I wouldn't mind seeing Lattimore on Olsen, but I don't foresee Lattimore playing this week.

Jonathan Stewart will get the start. But, he's banged up. And, therefore, he doesn't scare me.

I watch a lot of football. I'm not overly familiar with anyone on the Panthers OL. Peppers, Matthews, Daniels, Neal and Perry better have big games.

Carolina's defense is overrated. It's a shell of what it was last year. Charles Johnson can get to the QB. He'll cause problems. Star Lotulelei is legit. Other than that, they have mediocre talent in Kawann Short, Dwan Edwards, Wes Horton and Kony Ealy. Don't get me wrong, I like Short and Ealy, but neither is ready to elevate to the next level. Maybe in time, but not at Lambeau this Sunday. Also, if Colin Cole sees significant playing time, the Packers better run right at him.

The middle of the Panthers defense is entertaining. Thomas Davis has stood the test of time. He's fought through injury. He still brings intensity. Luke Kuechly is arguably the best ILB in the league. He's dominant. He intimidates. He can do it all. AJ Klein intrigues. I was interested in him coming out of college last year. He's a try hard player who finds the football.

The Carolina secondary can be had. Antoine Cason, Josh Norman, Roman Harper, Thomas DeCoud, and Bene Benwikere are all interesting names. None are stars. I liked Benwikere coming out of college this year. He might be able to fight with Cobb for a bit, but he cannot battle him for 60 minutes. Neither Cason nor Norman has the size or muscle to fight Nelson. Both will also struggle with Adams as well. Roman Harper is old. Thomas DeCoud is just a guy.

I'd have Clay play ILB. I'd have him shadow Cam. I'd have Perry, Neal, Elliot and Peppers rotate on the outside to keep legs fresh. But, Clay would play every down. He'd shadow Cam. He wouldn't let Cam get loose. If Clay plays OLB, which I anticipate he will, it'll be crucial for Clay to stay patient. Especially on the read-option. We cannot let Cam get loose. The Panther will use a bunch of play-action. The Packers will have to stay disciplined. It won't be easy. But, if we're assignment sure, Cam will give the Packers opportunities to make plays.

Early in the game, the Packers establish the run. Lacy pounds away for chunks of yards. McCarthy lines the Packers up with 3-wide. He runs the ball with Lacy. Then, it's play action. And, a big ball. It goes to Nelson. It's a TD.

HaHa grabs a pick. The Lambeau Faithful elevates.

Lacy grabs more yardage. "EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE" echoes through the most hallowed of theaters in American sports.

The Packers grab an early lead. Cam loses patience. His body language looks defeated. He throws another pick. This time to Hayward.

Packers 27
Panthers 16

I'm way behind on my studying of Draft Prospects for next year. I've been working too many 12-15 hour days. With that said, here's a list of players that have jumped out at me so far: Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri; Kevin White, WR, WVU; Denzel Perryman, ILB, []_[]; Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky; Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State; Rashad Greene, WR, FSU; Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State; Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan; Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss; Justin Hardy, WR, ECU; Trey Flowers, OLB/DE, Arkansas; Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss.

I'll have a Mock Draft out in the next couple of weeks. I plan on spending time to get caught up.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Take -> Week 6

Greetings, G-Force.

Two wins. 5 days. Both against our most heated NFC NORTH rivals. That's cause for two different beer treats. Russian River's Temptation and the Crooked Stave Mama Bear's Sour Cherry Pie will treat me swell.

Here are my quick hits from the last week:

* Single back. The XLV MVP under center. Eddie Lacy as the back. A Packers fans delight. Stick with it, Mike McCarthy.

* Tim Masthay! The Packers were playing a beat-up, defeated Viqueens team. Early in the game, field position was crucial. Masthay was rock solid. Constantly dropping kicks inside the 20. This allowed the Packers defense to play with speed, intensity and confidence. Christian Ponder wasn't going to engineer 85 yard TD drives.

* That's the Letroy Guion that I thought the Packers had signed.

* Mike Daniels was dominant. A bull. Completely overpowering.

* That might have been the best game of Morgan Burnett's career. Statistically, he may have had better games, but he was a commander. He saw the field well. He wax a firm tackler. Loved the 3rd down play in the 1st Quarter when he read the crossing route, took the proper angle and made the tackle short of the first down. You set the bar, Morgan. Live up to it.

* JULIUS PEPPERS! AMAZING! Loved his post game interview on the NFL Network. Great work by the fans as they yelled, "THE BEARS STILL SUCK!" Peppers didn't acknowledge it. But, he embraced it. Guaranteed!

* Jamari Lattimore! Playing with brilliance. He'll have a Pick-6 this year. Maybe this week.

* I enjoy an active Clay Matthews. Hope that groin is fully rested.

* Hope Datone Jones is healing. Don't want the injury to be a season long thing.

* Luther Robinson with the crucial play on the Peppers Pick-6!

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! I heard the chants. That means the weather is turning.

* Great game, Josh Sitton.

* Don't be shocked if Jeff Janis blocks a punt this year. With Kevin Dorsey's promotion from the Practice Squad, he, too, will be a threat to block a punt.

* Sean Richardson is playing well on special teams.

* I'd like to see Jeff Janis on the reverse.

* Congratulations, Davante Adams! Nice slant route. Epic 1st career TD.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! The Green & Yellow Bumblebee! He was stinging defenders. Running with confidence! Looking for contact.

* Liked seeing James Starks get the corner.

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. The 66-yard TD pass to Rodgers was design. It was creativity from the play-calling shed. I also loved the play-action pass on 1st and 10, up 14-0 in the 1st Quarter. McCarthy went for the dagger. Rodgers barely under threw Nelson or else it'd have been a 51-yard TD.

* Aaron Rodgers. Yes, Aaron, I can R-E-L-A-X! He's an MVP candidate.

* Randall Cobb has become a lethal Red Zone target. I'm still not sold on him as an elite slot receiver, but he's among the best in the Red Zone.

* I'm still looking for a time when the Packers go no-huddle with DuJuan Harris. Would love to see him on the screen. Might happen this week.

* The short down-and-out to AQ81 is a first down every time, it seems.

* While I'm not a huge Brandon Bostick fan, I'm confident that the Packers are saving him for something. There'll be a game soon that he gets at least 3 targets. Much like Finley in '09 at Minnesota and AQ81 vs Minnesota at Lambeau in '10. It'll happen soon. My guess is that we will see Bostick running down the seam against the Bears after the bye. But, it might happen in New Orleans as it'd give the Bears something else to plan for. Bostick is soft. But, he is a downfield threat, when healthy.

* David Bakhtiari has been elite two weeks in a row.

* Jordy Nelson. FOREVER!

* TJ Lang is fun to have in Green & Gold.

* I wouldn't have guessed it, but Corey Linsley might be the best Packers draft pick from this years class.

* Bryan Bulaga looks like a man who wants to get paid.

* Richard Rodgers confuses me. He's so big, but he has absolutely no idea how to win the leverage battle. Mike Daniels should talk to him about it. If Rodgers can master this art, he might become an average blocker. He genuinely looks like he wants to block. He simply plays too tall instead of maximizing both his length and his frame.

* J-Bush is very quietly having a really nice year on special teams.

* It's not saying much, but it was the best we've seen Casey Hayward play since 2012. Good to see him smiling.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! It worked last week, so I'll offer my pep talk, once again. In my best form of patois, here you are, Eddie: Galang Sponji, Eddie! Ju be Bumblebee on dem would-be tacklers. If so, everything will be cook & curry. Mek We Dweet!

* Jeff Janis is in the box score!

* Mike Pennel was giving effort.

* AJ Hawk was hitting like he meant.

* Liked HaHa on the blitz.

* There was a Nick Perry sighting. In a big way.

* Still love the way Dom Capers is rotating defenders. Keeping legs fresh. Utilizing depth. He'll need to do the same in the sweltering Miami heat.

* Mike Neal might only have 1 sack this year, but he'll have a 2-sack game soon. He's active. He's pursuant. He'll find fortune.

* 6 sacks. 16 QB Hits. 3 turnovers. 1 TD. WOW!

* I really feel like the internal competition at ILB & S are pushing Lattimore and Burnett to stretch their talent lengths. It'll be interesting to see how they perform as the season continues to evolve.

* On the year, the defense has 12 sacks and 10 turnovers. I'm hoping for a 40/40 season.

* If you haven't watched the Alshon Jeffrey SoundFX clip from the Packers v Bears game, get after it. He refers to Rodgers as "Houdini" and it's beyond sublime.

* Kurtis Drummond, FS, Michigan State is a name to watch in college football. Cody Prewitt, FS, Ole Miss also intrigues, but he's a 3rd round prospect. I was bummed when I saw analysts had Kevin White, WR, WVU as a 2nd round prospect. When they had the Dub-V WR as a 7th round prospect before the year, I knew they were crazy. I'd be stoked if he was in Green Bay.

I lived in Miami for 8 years. I haven't been back in nearly 4 years. I've been saving it for this weekend. Brotherman Vargas & I are heading to SoBe to Rebel Rock at Joe Robbie...I mean Landshark...I mean Dolphin... I mean Sun Life Stadium. A visit to Sun Life reminds me just how precious it is that I'm a Packers fan. I love how the Packers have consistently renovated Lambeau Field. We've preserved our History. The blood of Starr, Hornung, Nitschke, Dickey, Lofton, Sharpe, Majik, Favre, Butler, Rodgers, Woodson and Matthews is all in the same land. So is the snot of Lombardi, Holmgen, and McCarthy. The same should have held true at the Orange Bowl. The OB was legendary. Fully historic. Ghosts of Football Stallions echoed thru the Stadium. The Palm Trees waved harmoniously in favor of both the Dolphins and da []_[]. I loved the Orange Bowl. I miss the Orange Bowl. For me, a large piece of Miami died when the Orange Bowl was knocked down.

Miami has a special place for me. My cell phone will always be my 305 are code. My first dog was named Clayton. After Mark Clayton, who is one of three players to catch a TD pass from both Marino & Favre. The others? Mark Ingram & Keith Jackson.

But, this week, I have no love. The Packers are going to show the Dolphins what real Swagga looks like. It's a statement game. Win this week and 5 of the next 7 are at Lambeau. In order for the Packers to get a first round bye, we have to go 8-0 at home and 4-4 on the road. 12-4 should do the trick. Well, this HAS to be 1 of the 4. It won't be easy.

The Packers face Joe Philbin. He knows us. We know him. It'll be unbelievably hot. With 30% chance of rain, it'll be ridiculously humid.

I wasn't high on Ryan Tannehill coming out of college. I still don't think highly of him. If you attack him with upfield rushes and keep him in the pocket, he panics. Look for Peppers, Matthews, Elliot, Neal and Perry to not let Tannehill outside. With Daniels pushing forward, look out!

The 'Phins miss Mike Pouncey. They better hope plays this week or else trouble will ensue. I anticipate that Pouncey will play.Especially if Samson Satele cannot play. They're vulnerable up the middle. Daryn Colledge and Shelley Smith will try to block Mike Daniels. If Daniels is hydrated, that'll be comical. I hear Smith might start over has Dallas Thomas, who has been awful. If either Samson Satele or Pouncey plays, they'll need to double on Daniels. All day. I'd like to see Datone Jones against this interior, but my guess is that Jones will be sidelined. I imagine that Josh Boyd's feisty pizzazz will be problematic for the Dolphins interior as well. Guion is in line for an opportunity to have another big game. Luther Robinson will be active, at home in Miami, and hungry to make an impact.

Branden Albert is a star at LT. Ja'Wuan James is a rookie. He played in the SEC, so he's used to playing against elite talent. But, he's never seen Julius Peppers before. Go get him, JP!

The Dolphins weapons are simple. Stick Sammy Swagga on Wallace. Don't let him get deep. No biting on double moves. Single coverage. Brian Hartline is a possession receiver. Stick T-Mon on him. Tell him to be aggressive. Jump routes. Give him help over the top in case of a double move. Philbin WILL test both CB's with double moves. He knows them too well. So, tell Sammy to be disciplined is his homecoming. Tell T-Mon to make the big play. Give T-Mon help, in case it's necessary. Hartline is a solid, underrated receiver who runs great routes. Brandon Gibson is a decent slot WR, but I fancy Hayward can have his way with him. I believe in Jarvis Landry. He has a bright future, but Davon House matches up well with him on the outside and T-Mon matches up well with him on the inside. Richard Matthews is also a noteworthy WR who can be tricky to defend. Dom will undoubtedly be watching like a hawk as to who the Dolphins are putting on the field. He will play the match-up game.

On 3rd down, watch Charles Clay. It wouldn't surprise me if Clay catches 5-7 balls. Philbin will get Clay open in the flat. I'd have Lattimore or Burnett and not AJ Hawk on Clay. They match-up better. Dion Sims better not do damage.

Lamar Miller can be lethal. He has breakaway speed. He's dangerous. He must be contained. Know shown Moreno is expected to be back. He'll be a solid change of pace back, who offers great versatility.

Defensively, the Dolphins can get to the QB. Cameron Wake scares me. Olivier Vernon can flat out ball. Randy Starks is legit. Jared Odrick plays with conviction. Philip Wheeler can run. Jelani Jenkins has been a better player than his college teammate, Bears LB, Jon Bostic. Koa Misi hasn't become the player I thought he might become. I wanted Louis Delmas. He loves to play GB. He can hit. Cortland Finnegan is a pest. Although Brent Grimes is still licking the wounds James Jones gave him in January of 2011, he has a nose for the big play. Jimmy Wilson has tackled well, but he'll be exposed.

It's big that Dion Jordan and Derrick Shelby won't be playing. The Dolphins depth is thin. Look for McCarthy to incorporate the run game early to preserve the defense and to tire the Miami front. The Miami rotation is light upfront.

Single back. 3 wide. Lacy. BOOM!

Single back. 3 wide. Play action to Adams on the pump fake for a big one. McCarthy wants this game. He has elite respect for Philbin. Philbin wants go beat his former mates. Badly. McCarthy has been saving an Adams double move. It comes this week. Adams shows the slant. Hungry for the big play, Grimes bites. Adams carries on deep. Rodgers hits him in stride. Adams has a TD.

Multiple times over the last 4 weeks, we've seen Adams on the slant. This week, that slant is a double move and a big play. Watch it.

Annoyingly, the Dolphins keep this thing close. They chip away with multiple 3-4 yard plays that sustain drives. They milk clock. They test our endurance. Capers fights fatigue with multiple substitutions. Again, we see confusion and wasted timeouts as the Packers struggle to find the right personnel defensively.

Once again, the Packers struggle on 3rd down as Wake and Vernon collapse the pocket.

But, a big Tannehill mistake occurs. The Packers take advantage as Rodgers and Nelson strike.

The Dolphins score late to make the score close. The Packers recover the onside kick.

Packers 27
Dolphins 23

To the many Packers fans that'll be in attendance, be careful. Dol-fans can pester. Intentionally. Smile. Acknowledge. Carry On. No need to respond. From my experiences, they're seeking a fight. More so than they do in Chicago and New York where the fans are more or less being loud to intimidate. Dol-fans will swing. Aggressively. Be smart. Enjoy. Let's own Sun Life Stadium this Sunday!

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Take -> Week 5

Greetings, G-Force.

Trump card lives. It reigns supreme. In glorious fashion.

Sometimes, silence is the loudest noise. The pre-game walk down Lake Shore Drive was entertaining. Beautiful energy in the air. A Great Lake fog raged thru the sky. It felt like a good day was ahead.

As we walked into the Stadium, the Bears fans were spitting fire. Confident. In their minds, this was the year the Bears were taking down the Packers at Soldier Field. The opening drive elaborated those thoughts. "BLOW PACKERS BLOW!" "FUDGE PACKERS!" "SLICED CHEESE!" Yeah, that's what was being yelled into the air. It was loud. It was emphatic.

In 2000, I was at Soldier Field with my old friend, Center. Midway thru the 4th Quarter, he yelled, "Hey Soldier! Half the Stadium is Packers fans. And, half the Stadium is empty!" Well, on Sunday, for the last 10 minutes of the game, he could've yelled, 'Hey Soldier! 1/4 of the Stadium is Packers fans, 1/4 of the Stadium is Bears fans and the other half is empty!' Dominance. Authoritative.

My Dad was in pure disbelief as to how quickly the fans were leaving in masses. With more than 13 minutes left, Bears fans were sprinting for the exits. Bears fans were silent. Instead, "GO PACK GO!" rang loudly. On repeat.

After the game, as my Dad & I were walking out of the Stadium, we were called "Fuckers." My Dad replied with "thanks." We weren't saying a word to anyone. Simply walking with each other. Embracing the silence that echoed loudly as Bears fans suffered thru another afternoon of rooting for Ray Nutler. Stay classy, Bears fans.

As we walked from the Stadium to Navy Pier, the loudest noise was the sounds of the Lake Michigan waves crashing. Bears fans were silent. Packers fans listened to their leader. We were living 5 letters: R-E-L-A-X.


Here are some quick vibes from the last week:

* Yes, XLV MVP, I am relaxed. Thanks for calming me. In MVP form.

* Great break on the ball, T-Mon. It should be noted that in the two Packers wins this year, T-Mon has made the game changing play. It's also noteworthy that I've been in attendance for the two wins.

* So stoked that McCarthy gave the game to Rodgers. Well coached. Good creativity. Solid design. Showed looks we haven't seen before. Offered confusion. Was surprised to see Lacy lined up as a WR. Saw Cobb lined up out wide in 2 WR formations.

* The design on Cobb's first TD was pure brilliance. Nelson in the slot. 3 receivers to the right. AQ81 wide to the right. Single coverage on Cobb and AQ81. I called a quick out to Cobb for a first down. Instead, it was a wheel route for 6. Gold!

* Loved Sammy Swagga in gazelle mode as he was sprinting past potential tacklers. Sammy Swagga has dropped the hammer at Soldier. He's clinched the Trump Card game with a pick. He sealed the NFC NORTH title with a pick last year. And, he danced all over Soldier for 62 yards in the victory this past Sunday.


* The T-Mon block on the Sammy Swagga interception was magnificent!

* It was another day in the park for Randall Cobb at Soldier Field.

* Ray Nutler makes me smile.

* While HaHa's speed is inconsistent; when he hits you, he means it. Big tackle on Bennett at the 1!

* Clay Matthews didn't look healthy on that interception. I expected that to be a TD!

* Julius Peppers was in position. He couldn't finish the play. On multiple occasions. He, too, looked hobbled. Seemed to be walking gingerly.

* For years, I heard Bears fans hate on the Cheesehead. For the record, I've never worn a Cheesehead. But, on Sunday, I saw more "Grater Heads" than I've ever seen Cheeseheads at a stadium. Yes, the Bears fans are rocking Foam Cheese Graters. In high quantities. I'm fairly confident that the only things they were 'shredded' on Sunday were their own fans, Ray Nutler, and Mel Tucker.

* On Sunday, I saw multiple Bears fans fighting each other in the stands. Like full-on meltdown mode. It was both terrifying and comical.

* On Sunday, I heard multiple Bears fans shouting vulgarities and obscenities towards Ray Nutler. I could only laugh.

* Jordy Nelson tossing Kyle Fuller to the turf with his stiff arm was straight comedy. Welcome to the Greatest Rivalry in Sports, Rookie.

* Jamari Lattimore be hip-boogie on Soldier Field. Dude has shake when he dances.


* Morgan Burnett flexes on Soldier Field. Chicago, seriously. Morgan Burnett was flexing on you in the 4th Quarter. For Bear fans, seriously, that's rock bottom. Full on ugly.

* Datone Jones goes Jared Allen lasso on Soldier Field. Yes, Chicago, Datone Jones was rubbing salt. Feel the pain.

* Eddie Lacy lacks confidence. He's not seeing the field well. He's not lowering his shoulder. He's not attacking contact. He's looking for the big play rather than punishing forward with confidence to get positive yardage.

* In my best form of patois, I offer this Lacy this pep talk: Galang Sponji, Eddie! Ju be Bumblebee on dem would-be tacklers. If so, everything will be cook & curry. Mek We Dweet!

* Micah Hyde has to be better than he was in Chicago. He wasn't turning to see the ball. He wasn't making tackles. He looked lost. He looked dazed. He looked confused.

* Not sure what's up with Casey Hayward? But, ShowCase used to be a willing tackler. Not a physical guy, but he'd at least show his nose on a tackling attempt. Now, he's afraid. He's overly soft.


* Jayrone Elliot with an appearance and a nice tackle. Kid is on the board. Liked his length on the field. Looked pedestrian. But, got rid of the kinks. And, hopefully the nerves are gone.

* Mike Pennel saw the field! And, then he was pushed backwards. Pennel did have a tackle and an assist.

* Letroy Guion is far from the player that I thought he was. Awful.

* J-Bush is running with belief in himself!


* Richard Rodgers is on the board! And, he was running free a couple of times in the 2nd Quarter. He improvised well on broken plays. He's still a terrible blocker.

* David Bakhtiari was spectacular. So was Bulaga. And TJ Lang. Sitton as well. I'm also really liking Linsley's evolution.

* Davante Adams has a solid future.

* A lot of talk that Starks needs to see the ball. I agree, but it would also be nice to see DuJuan Harris in the hurry-up one time.

* A lot of tackles for AJ Hawk. All of them multiple yards downfield.

* Nick Perry looks like he's carrying sand bags as he runs. Lacking intensity. Looks defeated.

* I used to be a huge stats fan. For the most part, I've grown out of stats nerdism. Not fully. But, mostly. Largely, it's because of games like this. The Bears had the ball for more than 36 minutes. The Bears rushed for 235 yards, while the Packers rushed for 56. The Bears were successful on 63% of 3rd downs. The Bears were successful 50% of the time. Nutler threw for 256. Rodgers threw for 302. Smells like a Bears win, right? Yeah, except they had Nutler throwing 2 picks. 38-17. The Packers stomped the Bears in their own crib.

* I'm not sure what else Dom Capers could've done. He played everyone. He came on a variety of blitzes. He used a number of different schemes and alignments. We simply couldn't win 1 on 1 match-ups.

* I really wish T-mon had held on for the defense's third interception of the day.

* Need more consistency from Mike Daniels.


This week - it's the Viqueens. On a short week. It'll wrap up 3 games in 12 days. All against the NFC NORTH. Two of them on the road. A 2-1 record in these 3 games would be a success. We need this one. Badly.

The 'queens have talent. A lot of it. I've been watching Teddy Bridgewater since he was in high school. I went to see him play under the lights on Friday Night. Twice. He's always been able to run. He's always seen the field well. He's always made big plays on 3rd down. He's elusive with his feet. But, you can frustrate him. Chip away at him. Get in his head. He will occasionally lose both composure and confidence. As a defender, you have to talk to him.

The 'queens have weapons at WR in Cordarralle Patterson, Greg Jennings, and Jarius Wright. At TE, they'll be without Kyle Rudolph. Rhett Ellison will take his place and he's a significant downgrade. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon are a sound 1-2 punch at RB. Not household names, but Asiata is the type of back that has long given the Packers headaches.

The 'queens have big investments at Tackle in Phil Loadholdt and Matt Kalil. John Sullivan has been a staple at Guard. Vlad Ducasse and Charlie Johnson are potentially weak links on the OL, but they'll be battling an area of struggle for the Packers in 2014. So, don't be shocked if we see a lot of Matt Asiata pounding between the tackles. Right at the mouth go the Packers defense. Eating clock. Keeping Rodgers off the field.

Defensively, Minnesota has some stars as well. Harrison Smith shocks me. I didn't think much of him coming out of college. Now, he's an elite Safety. Captain Munnerlyn was a nice pick-up. Xavier Rhodes has developed well over the last year and matches up well with Jordy. Josh Robinson isn't a star nickel back, but he's OK and Robert Blanton can be attacked with a worthwhile receiver. It might be wise to get AQ81 involved early in the game.

The 'queens don't have great depth on the DL, but they have a talented front 4. Robison and Griffen have given the Packers fits with their tireless pursuit. Sharrif Floyd is big and still finding himself at the pro level, but he's a force. Linval Joseph is strong. He's brute. He punished us as a NYG last year. Minnesota will also be playing without Chad Greenway, but they do have great talent in Anthony Barr. Barr will soon be a household name for NFL fans. I don't like having him in the Division.

Special teams could play a role in this game. Patterson and Marcus Sherels are both dangerous returners for the 'queens.

I don't like Thursday games. I'd be furious if I rooted of Minnesota. Bridgewater is supposed to play on a bum ankle on 3 days rest? In temperatures that are likely to be in the high 50's. With rain. And wind. If this was Sunday, it's no worries. That's fall football in the Midwest! But give the players a chance to heal during the week, so we can get the teams best performance. Minnesota has a big decision to make on Thursday Night.

Both teams are 2-2. It's a monster game for both teams in what his sure to be tough competition for the NFC NORTH crown. The weather levels the playing field. It'll demand toughness. The more physical team will win.

Minnesota will pound Asiata at us. McKinnon will get his opportunities as well, but I don't imagine the turf will be ideal for his scat back ways. Instead, it's Asiata in bunches. Coupled with short routes to Patterson. And reverses to Patterson. They'll send Patterson in motion on multiple occasions. Drawing attention away from the pound it away attack that they'll implore much of the night. They'll try Wright on short routes out of the slot. We see Casey Hayward show up as a solid match-up against Wright. And, for the first time in 2 years, Hayward makes a big play. T-Mon muscles against Jennings. Sammy Swagga runs with Patterson. The Packers keep a Safety over the top on Patterson.

Lacy heeds my pep talk. He runs with might. He bullies forward. Edgar Bennett gives him a 'mudder' discussion. Finally, Lacy gets going in 2014. Then, there's a screen to Starks who slashes forward and pounds into Blanton for a first down. It's Nelson delivering a stiff arm as he jabs forward for yardage. Davante Adams grabs his first TD.

Its October in Titletown, U.S.A. It's sloppy. It's a win.

Packers 23
Viqueens 16


Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Take -> Week 4

Greetings, G-Force.

Early Saturday morning. Attempting to be in flight. Bloody Mary in hand. Still drinking away sorrows from what feels like the ugliest Packers loss since the Giants in January of 2012. There were no "what ifs" to take away. We were beaten. Badly. By a team that we were better than. And, we played miserably.

I'm headed to Chicago. Stopping in St Louis. Renting a car. Buzzing with my Dad tonight. At the Hilton on the Mag Mile. Ready for Soldier Field. Full of pizzazz. Enthusiastically hoping that my energy can help shift the vibes before our season runs away from us. A loss this weekend and the season is likely doomed.

Here's some quick takes from the last week:

* I realize that it's a long season and that I'm among the Packer fans that need to "relax", but I thought that this team would look way different than it does. Instead of being well oiled, we are clunking along.

* The Lions grabbed two players off of the streets prior to the game. Yet Randall Cobb wasn't the first read? He was guarded by people I'd never heard of before.

* Julius Peppers! That strip sack was legit!

* This defense needs a healthy Clay Matthews. When he's healthy and on the field, the defense balls.

* Nice pick, HaHa.

* Good fight, Mike Neal.

* Rasta Davon playing with great energy! And grabbing the pick.

* Great catch, AQ81!

* I couldn't figure out Mike McCarthy's game plan. Seemed to lack strategy. No design. No creativity. Where was the screen?

* Aaron Rodgers isn't seeing the field well.

* Eddie Lacy lacks confidence right now. Eddie, believe in yourself. Run straight ahead. With zest. Be you. Power forward. None of this East-West bounce to the outside.

* So, does Jarrett Boykin.

* I understand that this offense needs a target like Bostick right now, but man, he's a poor special teams player.

* I'm concerned that Richard Rodgers is a bust. He's not a threat as a receiver and he's an absolutely pathetic blocker.

* T-Mon & Sammy Swagga are off to a nice start.

* Morgan Burnett's attempt at tackling Reggie Bush on Bush's TD run was comical. Also, not sure what Micah Hyde was thinking on the play.

* Liked Dom Capers' schemes. Mixed it up well.

* I'd like to see more of DuJuan Harris in the no-huddle.

* Sign Tom Crabtree. This team needs a blocking TE to spice up the run game.

* I'd be curious to see if Jeff Janis could add a deep threat dimension to this team.

This week - it's the Bears. In Chicago. In three consecutive calendar years, the Packers have won a title in the City on the Lake. A NFC Championship Game in 2011 that landed Trump Card Forever. A NFC North crown in 2012. And, then 2013's epic 4th & 8 play that'll be remembered forever. Grandiose!

Right now, the Bears are playing better football than the Packers. Even with the injuries. Alshon Jeffery has evolved into an elite WR. Brandon Marshall is a Superstar. Matt Forte is dominant regardless of his statistics. Martellus Bennett is a match-up problem. The OL has muscled their way through injuries. And, the defense has both forced turnovers and gotten big stops to secure victory in the last two weeks.

Kyle Fuller has been great. He'll be attacked this week.

The Packers have long struggled to block Jared Allen. Willie Young has also given us fits in past years. Both will test the Packers tackles.

But, they still have Ray Nutler at QB. And, if history continues to repeat itself, Nutler will make a big mistake this week.

Look for Mike Daniels to forcefully dominate the interior of the Bears OL. Look for Julius Peppers and Mike Neal to force Nutler to step into the rush as they pursue on upfield, outside rushes. Clay Matthews always has good games at Soldier.

Aaron Rodgers finds his groove. Once again, playing against a beat-up secondary. He learns from last weeks mistakes. McCarthy gives Rodgers the game. He attacks early through the air. I expect Cobb to catch 8 balls this week. Then, it's Lacy pounding away to seal it late.

Packers 27
Bears 23

Yes, trump card will be on display this week. The reality is that the Bears are probably the better team right now. But,there's another reality: we own Ray Nutler. We also own trump card. It's like playing spades and always having the Ace of Spades in your pocket. It's used when it's necessary. For example, if it's 4th & 8. With the NFC NORTH Crown on the line. What do you do? You throw trump card and drop a 48-yard TD on their ass with 00:38 left in the game. You win the crown. You dance on their turf. You remind them of your superiority. You pop Champaign bottles in the Visitors Locker Room. You place that bottle right next to the Halas Trophy. You not only display TRUMP CARD, but you duplicate it. You Boogie On next to your Reggae Woman.


Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Take -> Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

An epic tailgate party. A victory in the home opener. Multiple New Glarus Cran-bic beers ensued. If you live in WI and you aren't ALL IN with the New Glarus fruit beer series, you're missing out. Big time. They're making the best fruit beers that I've tasted. And they're punching out a wide variety of flavors.

As I write, I have Toots and the Maytals "Slatyam Stoot" album in my ear. His "It Was Written Down" song is absolute brilliance.

Here are some quick hits from the last week:

* Mike McCarthy outcoached Rex Ryan. Early, Ryan had the better strategy. McCarthy adjusted. He turned to the quick slants and the short comeback routes. The Jets still got pressure, but the ball was out of the XLV MVP's hands. And Nelson, Cobb and Adams were in business. Had Ryan slowed down his tendency, the Jets had that game in hand.

* Down 21-3. It was scary. But, the grit and fight that this team showed gives me great confidence that the 2014 Season has a ton of promise.

* Aaron Rodgers. Pure excellence. Taking shots. Bouncing up as if to say "that's all you got" in Favre like fashion.

* Jordy Nelson. Forever a Packer. Total stallion.

* T-Mon with the game changing play of the game.

* Randall Cobb does well in short spaces. He's best in the Red Zone.

* While Derek Sherrod improved as the game went along, he was way too soft. In the run game, he gets little-to-no push. And, thus, the Green 'n Yellow Bumblebee hasn't been able to be unleashed yet.

* I liked when DuJuan Harris was inserted as a change of pace back on the final drive of the first half.

* DAVANTE ADAMS! He doesn't have elite speed nor strength, but the guy comes across as a football player who'll give you everything that he has on every play. Really excited about his future.

* It's funny, growing up, I got way more out of a football game when I was in attendance. I had an eye for it. But, I attended as many games in person as I watched on TV. Now? My eye sees more on TV. The speed of the game in person gets the best of me. I still enjoy being at the game WAY MORE than watching on TV, but my eye isn't as good. With that said, there's things that you cannot experience on TV that you get in a game experience. The body movement on the sideline. Prior to the game, I made a mental note that Jarret Boykin's posture didn't look the same. He looked like he was mentally setting himself up for disappointment. Then, he drops a pass and follows it up with an inability to get open on a slant in the end zone. You could tell that Boykin's body language meant that something was wrong. Next thing we saw was increased playing time from Adams.

* Another beautiful thing about being in the stadium is that you get a bird's eye view as to how the defense were going to attack. And, post the 1st Quarter, Aaron Rodgers saw the field with absolute brilliance. He attacked all angles of the field. He saw his mismatches and he attacked.

* The 4-3 defense isn't producing the pass rush I anticipated, but it did wonders in the run game.

* Mike Daniels is a star.

* Clay is adjusting to his new role. Getting comfortable. Wasn't his best game, but he was dominant in the 4th Quarter.

* On 2nd & 3rd down of the Jets final drive, it was Julius Peppers who made the play.

* After a shaky start, Sammy Swagga played a solid 2.5 Quarters.

* Good game, Davon House. But, Rasta, pick off that crossing route!

* Morgan Burnett is a step slow. He should have picked off the 2nd down pass in the 3rd Quarter. Instead, Decker made a great grab and McCarthy wasted a challenge and a timeout. Burnett did make a nice play when he broke up a pass in diving fashion. But, his timing on jump balls is way off. He's always falling backwards. He's not high pointing the ball.

* In person, Ha Ha Clinton Dix looks slow.

* Wrap him up, Datone Jones!

* Great effort, Josh Boyd.

* I'm hoping Letroy Guion is just getting in shape because, once again, he was pushed backwards.

* Good fight, Mike Neal.

* TJ Lang and Josh Sitton are fun teammates.

* We need you healthy, Micah Hyde. I like T-Mon as a cover corner out of the slot, but as a blitzing CB; that role should be reserved for you.

* Nick Perry is off to a really slow start.

* With Mulumba out, I'm wondering if Jayrone Elliot will see action.

This week - it's the Lions. In Detroit. Wow. What a September schedule. At the Super Bowl Champs. A home opener at the Jets. At Detroit. At Chicago. That's December intensity in September!

As I talk to knowledgeable football fans who are non-Packer fans, they're all saying the Lions win this week. They think that Detroit will out-score us. That we'll have no answer for the Lions offense. And, in the end, they believe the Lions will get pressure on Rodgers, which will create necessary stops. I disagree. Fully. The Lions have injuries at CB and RT that cannot be covered up.

Matthew Stafford has elite potential. He's clutch. When the games on the line, he produces. When he's given time, he's difficult to stop. Calvin Johnson might be the most difficult WR to cover in the history of the NFL. Golden Tate is a fantastic #2 WR. Ryan Broyles does good work in the slot. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have traditionally given the Packers fits. They compliment each other well. Brandon Pettigrew is nice 3-down TE, Joseph Fauria is legitimate Red Zone weapon and Eric Ebron is a pass catching threat who could evolve into a match-up nightmare.

The Lions are flashy. They lack brute strength. The Packers front 4 on defense will be more physical than the Lions OL. Mike Neal/Nick Perry should win against Riley Reiff. Rob Sims/Dominic Raiola/Larry Warford are not scaring Mike Daniels. Julius Peppers will LaAdrian Waddle. And, Clay will make a game changing play this week. The Packers will be in Stafford's face.

Defensively, the Lions are stacked up front with Jason Jones, Suh, Fairley and Ziggy Ansah. But, the Lions don't have the depth up front that they've had in previous years. I like Caraun Reid, but he isn't ready. Devin Taylor is an intriguing developmental prospect, but he's not Willie Young or Cliff Avril. I expect the Lions to play with only two LB's throughout. With Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy, the Lions have a couple of work-hard ballers. Who'd have thought that Levy would evolve into a Pro Bowl player? Not me. I thought he was average at WI. With the Lions, he's a game changer. Tulloch is consistent. Won't miss tackles. Won't dominate. he's good enough. The Lions secondary will get exposed. Rashean Mathis has had a solid NFL career, but he's 34 years old. He can't run with Nelson. Darius Slay is an aggressive CB. He'll get beat on a double move this week. Cassius Vaughn? Mohammed Seisay? These guys aren't covering any of the Packers WR's. Wherever they are, I expect Nelson to be close. Rodgers will take advantage of that mismatch. At safety, Glover Quan and James Ihedigbo are physical performers who can intimidate over the middle.

If I'm Dom Capers, I'd have T-Mon cover Calvin Johnson. In past years, T-Mon has had some success. He has the leaping ability to make up for the height difference. While not as fast as Sammy, I believe that if you give T-Mon safety help over the top, we'll limit his success. Plus, I like the Sammy Swagga v Golden Tate match-up. Rush 5. I'd like to see a mix of Clay and Lattimore coming on inside blitzes. Have Hyde shadow Bush. Hyde is physical enough to scrum in the box. Savvy enough to understand the angle to attack Bush's speed.

Offensively, if Bulaga is playing, I'd run to the right on the first two plays of the game. Early in the game, the Packers have to slow down the Lions front 4. Punch them. Wear them down. Then test the Lions depth of the DL and their poor secondary with play-action.

Eddie Lacy, the Green n' Yellow Bumblebee is gon' sting some people this week. He's going to get to the 2nd line and into the secondary. We'll see DuJuan Harris shifting through the Lions defense on a screen pass. McCarthy gets into the minds of the Lions front 4. Lang and Sitton are flapping into the ears of Suh and Fairley. It's a great September fight.

Peppers has 2 sacks. Daniels gets 1. Clay gets us off the field on a big 3rd down. Sammy Swagga grabs a pick. Rodgers tops 300 and throws 3 TD's. Nelson goes over 100. Lacy picks up the necessary first down late in the game.

Packers 30
Lions 27

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Take -> Week 2

Greetings, G-Force.

It's a Douple IPA night. I enjoy the beer chase. Tonight, it's Begyle's Zeus and Revolution's Double Fist. The Double Fist is a steal. $8.99 a bottle. 8% ABV. It comes with a thorough grapefruit, piney feel. If you haven't had it, try it.

My quick hits over the last week:

* Nothing changes for me. If Bulaga is healthy, we will be Super this year.

* Brad Jones is injured. Unlikely to play. They're saying it's a quad injury. I'm saying it's a bruised ego. He was awful against the Champs.

* Prior to the Bulaga injury, I felt the Packers were the better team. After the Bulaga injury, we looked like a .500 team.

* Bulaga left with more than 11 minutes left in the 2nd Quarter. At that time, Lacy had 27 yards. Lacy finished with 34 yards. Yes, in nearly 3 Quarters of play, Eddie Lacy ran for 7 yards.

* We missed Donny Barclay.

* Sherrod isn't ready for prime time.

* Some are disappointed in the defense. I'm disappointed in the offense. Down 10-7. 8 minutes to play in the 2nd. We settle for 3. The defense gets punished. Gives up a TD. Down 17-10. 3rd & 4 from the 45. Rodgers could've run for an easy 1st down. Instead he overthrows an open Nelson. Defense gets a stop to end the half. Defense gets a stop to start the 3rd Quarter. Rodgers gets picked on the first play of the drive. 1st & goal from the 8. The defense holds to 3. The Packers move the ball to the 41. Fail on 4th & 5. Seattle takes over. The defense gets a stop. On the first play, it's a safety. Plus, a 15 yard penalty. It's good field position for Seattle. And, the game is over. You can't give the Champs that many opportunities. In a 16 minute and 11 second stretch in the game, the offense had the ball for 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Over that time frame, the defense had 3 stops, they yielded 6 yards which resulted in a FG and they gave up a momentum induced 53 yard TD drive. On the TD drive, the defense was clearly winded. The offense didn't do its part.

* Letroy Guion was an absolute disappointment.

* ¿Donde esta Mike Pennel? He was worthy in the preseason.

* I really liked the 4-3 look. Thought Clay was disguised and put in position to succeed. In the 4-3 form, the defense caused problems. Especially when Clay & JP were lined up on the same side.

* I loved seeing Clay & JP meet at the QB. Wish Brad Jones didn't nullify that greatness.

* Liked HaHa's speed on the sack. Not worries about the missed tackles.

* It's comical to me when I watch AJ Hawk & Burnett dancing with Harvin. The result? Hawk & Burnett run into each other as Harvin runs free for 34 yards. What else would I expect?

* Corey Linsley can flat out play!

* Sammy Swagga is a star.

* Well done, T-Mon.

* James Starks ran hard.

* Take a knee, DuJuan Harris.

* I will never understand why Rodgers didn't go after Sherman. Davante Adams had him beat for a 41-yard TD on the play where Rodgers threw deep across his body to Nelson. Then, on the next play, Adams had Sherman beat on the 4th and 5 for an easy first down.

* The Seahawks made adjustments. And, in the end, the Packers were out coached. The Packers should've never gotten away from the 4-3.

* Wish HaHa had picked off that pass.

* Mike Daniels will have better days.

The Seahawks rushed for more yards than the Packers passed for. Ouch.

* I hope Bulaga is healthy for 14 weeks this year.

* I can't wait to see Jamari Lattimore this week!

* Hopefully, that's as bad as our special teams will play all year.

* Sir Charles had a pick last week. A Packer safety hasn't had an interception since he left.

* James Jones had 3 catches and a TD. EDS got a start. CJ Wilson had a tackle. Marshall Newhouse saw action. All bodes well for the Packers getting 2 compensatory picks.

This week, it's the Jets. The last time the Packers had a home opener in Week 2 against an AFC East team? 2010. XLV Forever!

I'm headed to Lambeau this week. Couldn't be more stoked. The home opener. In glorious fashion.

The Jets will do a solid job rotating RBs. Chris Ivory pounds away. Chris Johnson can fly. Bilal Powell is an underrated back with a good speed/power combination. If the Packers step out of the 4-3, the Jets will pound it at the left side of their OL. D'Brickashaw Ferguson can play. Brian Winters is a promising youngster. Nick Mangold is elite. But, with Breno Giacomini & Willie Colon manning the right side of the line, the Packers should be able to win that battle.

If the Jets try to pass, I fully expect to see Geno Smith throwing off of his back foot. Instead, look for NY to aim to control the clock. They'll try to win the line of scrimmage. They'll try to frustrate the Lambeau faithful. I wouldn't be shocked if we see a little of Michael Vick running the read option.

Eric Dekker and Jeremy Kerley will not threaten our defense. Jace Amaro is a TE that needs to be covered. He's deceptively fast.

Muhammad Wilkerson. Sheldon Richardson. David Harris. Calvin Pace. Quinton Coples. All in the front 7. Yikes. But, get protection and good things will happen. Give the ball to Rodgers. Watch Jarrett Boykin have a big game. Dee Milliner will match up with Jordy. Kyle Wilson will be on Cobb. Phillip Adams cannot cover Boykin. I'm interested to see Calvin Pryor and Antonio Allen. I liked both coming out of college. But, they're similar players. Both belong in the box. Dawna Landry can play, but NY lacks a safety who can handle the deep ball.

Trust Sammy & T-Mon. Load the box. Blow them out.

Rodgers throws for 300.

It's an afternoon celebration at Lambeau. Bring a winter coat.

Packers 30.
Jets 13.

Here's my 2015 Packers Mock Draft. I have the Packers picking #32. As always, if I haven't watched, I don't comment. And, with that said, I haven't watched much yet. Also, I haven't paid attention to OL prospects. Clearly, I'm not qualified to write this. Nonetheless, here goes:

Round 1: Devin Funchess, TE, MI. Admittedly, I haven't fallen anyone who'd be a late 1st round draft pick. Any way, Funchess is a big receiving target who moves like a WR. Not a great inline blocker, but who cares, he can play. Other: Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford.

Round 2: Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky. Total stud. Can rush the passer. Plays the run. Has attitude. Others: Rashad Greene, WR, FSU; Justin Hardy, WR, ECU; Denzel Perryman, ILB, []_[].

Round 3: Jake Ryan, LB, MI. Listed as an OLB, I fee he fits at ILB in the Packers scheme. First class talent, if healthy.

Round 4: Bernard Blake, CB, CSU. Good length. Willing tackler. Aggressive mind. Light, but a fighter.

Round 5: Brock Hekking, OLB, Nevada. Energizer. King of the mullet. High energy. Good size.

Round 5: Kevin White, WR, WVU. The Dub-V product is listed as a 7th round pick. In a couple of weeks, he'll start soaring. Great size. Good hands. Plays well in traffic. Could be elite. But, right now, he's raw.

Round 5: Detrick Bonner, S, Va Tech. Powerful player. Versatile. Can man cover. Steps in box with confidence. Not afraid of space. Intriguing prospect.

Round 6: Olsen Pierre, DT, []_[]. Active defender. Always imp origins. Primed to take the next step.

Round 7: Jarvis West, WR, Iowa State. I'm not looking for him as a WR. Only as a KR/PR. He's elusive. He's fast.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Take -> Week 1

Greetings, G-Force.

A bottle of Crooked Stave's Sentience has been aging in my fridge for years. Three years ago, I bought three bottles of it. I drank one right away. I drank another after we saw Rodgers to Cobb at Soldier to seal the NFC North crown last year. My last bottle will be consumed as a post Packers victory celebration over the defending Super Bowl Champions.

As I type, I'm listening to the Hard Working Americans "Stomp & Holler." It's a Super song. Big props to Green Bay's own, Chad Staehly. Rock on.

Here are some short takes from the last week:

* DuJuan Harris will make a significant impact in 2014.

* Jeff Janis will also make plays this year.

* I'm really excited about Davante Adams' future.

* Jayrone Elliot continues to make plays. He played with more length than he did at the college level. I was surprised that it was Adrian Hubbard short arming tackles and not Elliot. Really liked both of their games heading into training camp. Elliot utilized his length. Hubbard didn't. Still really excited that Hubbard is on the practice squad. Like Hubbard's potential. He needs to learn how to extend himself.

* Great game, Jumal Rolle. You deserve to be on the team. Truly, you do.

* J-Bush EARNS a spot! Great preseason for Bush. The best of his career.

* Chris Banjo was a tough cut. He fought to the finish. Worked hard on special teams. Wouldn't be surprised to see him on the 53-man roster at some point this year.

* Randall Cobb absolutely needs to be returning punts for the Packers. He's our best weapon in the return game. Utilize him.

* Ha Ha continues to impress in run support. He's aggressive. He commits. He looks for contact.

* Carl Bradford showed more promise at ILB than he did at OLB. I'm still surprised that his motor didn't run more aggressively on the outside.

* Nice to see Barrington making a solid play on special teams.

* Man. Significant injuries on the both the offensive and defensive lines have depleted our depth.

* Happy that Myles White remains in the mix on the Practice Squad.

* Surprised that John Fullington didn't make the Practice Squad. Saw he ended up in SF. The 49ers got themselves an intriguing prospect.

* The Packers had to keep all 3 QB's. Flynn is battle tested. Tolzien showed too much promise and wouldn't have made it to the Practice Squad.

To Kickoff the 2014 NFL Season, the Packers travel to the home of the 12th man. I've always believed in the power of numbers. And, thus, I'm in favor of the Packers 13 World Champions over the Seahawks 12th man.

Heavy ups to the Seahawks. They're the Champs. The questioned victors. But, 2014 is a new year. As I said last year, I wanted this match-up. I don't like the way the Packers match-up against SF. I love the way the Packers match up with Seattle. I firmly believe that the Packers will out-muscle Seattle at the line of scrimmage. I also believe that Eddie Lacy is a better back than Marshawn Lynch. I'm ready for this game. I've waited 2 years for it.

The Packers and the Seahawks have had a fun little rivalry. Starting with Seattle stealing Holmgren. Then, we saw Ras Al Harris pick off former Packer, Matt Hasselbach, to dash the Seahawks hopes in '03. The Packers stole Ted Thompson. The 2007 Divisional Playoff game was Favre's last win as a Packer. It was a legendary game in the snow. Then the Fail Mary happened. Blood boils when these two teams meet.

Admittedly, outside of the Packers, I watched little-to-no preseason football. I did watch the 1st half of the Seahawks vs the Bears. Russell Wilson looked amazing. He uses his feet with brilliance. Rolling to his right, he has an absolute cannon. Especially on comeback routes. Most analysts will expect Marshawn Lynch to be a key to the game. I'm equally as worried about the handful of carries that I expect Robert Turbin to get. Turbin has a true speed/power combination. He's the type of back that has traditionally given the Packers trouble. Christine Michael offers those same traits. Doug Baldwin is a solid receiver who reminds me of a young Antonio Freeman. Jermaine Kearse is an underrated deep threat. Zach Miller and Luke Willson are steady TE targets who are also talented blockers. But, without question, if the Packers plan to walk into Seattle and leave victorious, they'll need to contain two players: Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin. Harvin has always given the Packers headaches. He'll have to be kept in check as he comes in motion. Harvin is the ultimate decoy. He can also take a reverse to the house at any time.

The left side of the Seahawks Offensive Line has two former 1st round picks in Russell Okung and James Carpenter. I expect Mike Daniels to punch Carpenter backwards. Max Unger is a terrific Center. Look for the Packers to attack the right side of the Seahawks Offensive Line. JR Sweezy developed into a decent RG, but he can be pushed backwards. At RT, Justin Britt is a rookie. I anticipate that Julius Peppers will welcome him to the NFL in grand fashion.

Defensively, the Seahawks have a magnificent rotation on the Defensive Line. Michael Bennett, Bruce Irvin, Cliff Avril, Kevin Williams, Jordan Hill, Brandon Mebane, O'Brien Schofield, and Tony McDaniel will be playing with fresh legs. They'll rotate often. They'll play with energy. At LB, the Seahawks are undersized, but extremely fast. And tough. KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner and Malcolm Smith can flat-out play. And, of course, the "Legion of Boom" is absolutely legit. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell make up the best starting secondary in the NFL.

Aaron Rodgers will attack the slot. Jeremy Lane get ready to be tested. Often. Look for Jordy to play some snaps in the slot to create the mismatch.

Early in the game though, look for a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy. The Green and Yellow Bumblebee will attack the interior of the Seahawks Defensive Line. Lang, Linsley and Sitton will outfight the combination of Mebane, Williams and McDaniel. Lacy will pound into the undersized LB's of the Seahawks and he'll fall forward. He'll grab chunks of yards.

Unlike the preseason, I don't anticipate the Packers to play much no-huddle. Instead, look for Rodgers to use clock. To stretch the throats of the 12th man. To slow down the Seahawks pass rush.

Look for play action roll-outs with Rodgers. If it's not open deep, the XLV MVP will have 2-3 underneath options. Including John Kuhn. The aim is to make each play a positive play. No 3rd & long situations.

Defensively, Dom Capers should use the Claymaker as a spy on Russell Wilson on both 3rd down and on obvious passing downs. Yes, I'm suggesting Clay as an ILB in those situations. I'd have Perry on the right side. Peppers on the left. Mike Neal on the inside and either Datone Jones or Mike Daniels lined up next to Neal. Send Peppers and Perry on rushes up the field in order to contain Wilson. We can't let Wilson out of the pocket. As he feels pressure and steps between the Guard and the Tackle. Matthews pursues. With a vengeance. It'll be fully disappointing if Russell Wilson beats us with his legs. There's no excuse for it. I'll take our 4-man rush against their 5-man pass rush. All day.

Contain Wilson. Keep a watchful eye on Harvin. Expect victory.

The first team to 20 wins. I believe this is the Packers year. A Super season starts with a win over the defending Super Bowl Champions.

Packers 20
Seahawks 16

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.