Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Take -> Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

2016 is a Super Bowl or Bust season. Anything shy of a Super Bowl victory is a pure disappointment for me. It's a defining year in the legacy for Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. If Aaron Rodgers plays as he did on Sunday, we might be witnessing the last of Mike McCarthy as Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers. Right or wrong. 2016 is this crucial. And, Ted Thompson has built a team that is constructed to win in 2016.

Sometimes in life, a man needs to chill. I'm doing so right now with a Trinity Menacing Apple. 6.5% ABV. Created with Palisade, CO apples. It has a light better hop finish and pours a slightly cloudy Apple Juice color. I'm pairing it with the Railroad Earth 1/17/14 show from the Fillmore in Denver, CO. A great show. I'm inspired by Railroad Earth. Caught them at Red Rocks last Friday night. It was an epic show. A true winner.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Mike McCarthy's decision to go for it on 4th down was complete amateurism. He let Mike Zimmer dictate the tempo of the game. He played as though Minnesota was the better team. As it turned out, they were. But, it was in large part due to a terrible 4th down coaching decision by McCarthy and poor play by his 2-time MVP QB.

* Aaron Rodgers. Hard to recognize him as a QB. He's holding the ball. He's not seeing the field. He's not recognizing the defense. He's stuck on Davante Adams. The 4th Quarter lost fumble was an absolute shame. It was 1st and 10 from the Minnesota 40. Trailing by 3. On the brink of FG range. McCarthy called a pass in the flat to Cobb. Cobb was wide open. Would've been a 3-5 yard gain at a minimum. Rodgers looked. He carelessly held onto the football. He fumbled. He lost possession. Still, the Packers defense held. The Packers moved the ball with good precision until Rodgers lofted one gently into the hands of Waynes. Makes me sick.

* Why doesn't Rodgers look to Jared Cook more often? He's a constant mismatch. He was targeted 6 times. He caught 4 balls. One of the incompletions was an absolutely awful pass on a play in which Cook would've easily picked up a first down.

* Davante Adams is not an NFL receiver at this stage. I'd rather see Abby running his routes. Or I'd like to see Montgomery on the field. In the slot next to Cobb. With Cook spread out wide on one side and Nelson on the other. Adams has become a liability.

* Liked when McCarthy went power football. Wish he'd learn that Richard Rodgers isn't a power football player. He went two TE. He pounded the football. He picked up 9 yards. Then, Richard Rodgers got beat on an easy first down run and was called for holding. The drive stalled. Instead, I wish McCarthy would play Ripkowski in the backfield more often. Ripkowski is a bruiser and a pass receiving option in the flat. Plus, he can help Lacy by directing him to the hole.

* McCarthy can call crossing routes all day. WR's will be open. But, if Rodgers misses the throws or doesn't see the open man, it won't make much of a difference. The 2-time MVP was an absolute let down.

* Lacy was running the ball well. Wish he'd had gotten more touches.

* Sam Bradford outplayed Aaron Rodgers in a crucial NFC North battle. Read that again. Make you want to vomit? It makes me.

* We might be seeing the last of James Starks. He's not seeing the field very well. The team needs a better speed option. CJ Spiller fits the mold. I was happy to see that he received a tryout. Hope he gets signed.

* I'm baffled the Abby and Ty aren't seeing snaps on offense.

* Donny Barclay. Rubbish.

* Epic to see Ty Montgomery's animation after the blocked kick!

* Jordy is looking good. Not 100%. But, he's looking good. And, big plays are nearing.

* I forgive Damarious Randall. He has better days ahead of him.

* The Packers Defense looked Super Bowl worthy. Perry, Peppers, Daniels, Guion, and Clay were dominators. Thought Blake Martinez played well. Jake Ryan was physical. Joe Thomas was aggressive and a sure tackler. Kenny Clark made a couple of nice plays. Loved when Clark got his hands up and knocked down the pass. Felt like Fackrell had some high energy snaps and might make a couple of meaningful plays this year.

* Need HaHa to make a game changing play. Feel like it's coming soon.

* Morgan Burnett. Unacceptable. Need to knock down the pass that was a TD for Rudolph. Burnett looked unathletic and unaware. Didn't know his surroundings. I was fist-pounding and overly pissed after that play. It should've been 4th down. Or a capable pass-defending safety would've intercepted that pass.

* Was nice to see Marwin Evans tackle Cordarrelle Patterson in the open field. I had wanted to see Brice make the tackle ten yards previously, but Patterson outran him. Good to see Evans cleaning up the mess.

* I've seen enough of Jacob Schum.

* The NFC North is wide open. But, the Packers should win the Division. Minnesota has lost Kalil and AP. Detroit is without Abdullah and - for the time being - Ansah. The Bears still suck. If Green Bay can't win this Division, we need to restructure our make-up.

I'm headed to Titletown, U.S.A. this weekend. Yes, it was Red Rocks Amphitheater last Friday and it's Lambeau Field this Sunday. I go from the best venue in music to the best venue in sports in a week. Grand livin'!

The Lions have looked good through 2 weeks. Granted, they choked away the Week 2 game in vintage Lions form, but nonetheless, they played with a physical nature that I didn't expect. Matthew Stafford looks like he might be ready to take the next step. Theo Riddick looks like he's ready to become an elite NFL back. Riddick is shifty, he can block, he's a lethal pass catcher and he has a nose for the first-down marker. He could have a massive game this weekend. With Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin; the Lions have 3 WR's that compliment each other really well. Boldin mans the slot with physicality. Jones and Tate are dynamic on the outside. Both create mismatches for the Packers banged up secondary. Eric Ebron has been finding the zone over the middle of the field. He's flashed play making skills that I believed would make him an NFL star coming out of college. I'd like to think that the Packers DL will beat up the Lions OL. Tomlinson, Swanson and Warford are young and talented on the interior. But, Mike Daniels is an animal and he should win his battle. I like the way the Packers stack up against Taylor Decker and Riley Reiff on the outside.

Defensively, the Lions have underrated talent. Even without Ziggy Ansah this weekend, the Lions defense will provide a stiff test. Devin Taylor extends well, has great length and creates mismatches. Haloti Ngata can still provide a push. DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead and Kyle Van Noy are athletic LB's who are hungry to find the football. All can play both the run and the pass. Darius Slay is an elite CB. Nevin Lawson has improved, but will be targeting throughout. Glover Quin has been around the ball. Tavon Wilson can be beat.

I expect a dog fight. I look for the Packers to try and target Nevin Lawson early and often. Lawson will use his hands, he'll get physical and won't be worried about penalties. He'll look to pester the Packers WR's. As a whole, the Lions defense will be aggressive. They'll look to be more physical than the Packers offense. They'll annoy. They'll pester. They'll be trash talking in-your-face fighters. They'll play the run well. They'll slow down Eddie Lacy.

Early in the game, I look for the Packers to try and establish the run. I see the Lions having success stopping the run. I see the Lions frustrating the Packers WR's on the outside. I see the Lions getting off the field.

I envision the Packers defensive front dominating the Lions OL. Stafford gives the secondary opportunities to make plays. Randall and HaHa both grab picks. Perry has two sacks.

The Lions hang tight throughout. They keep the sticks moving with Riddick catching check downs and making people miss. The Lions eat clock.

It's a frustrating game until the middle of the 3rd Quarter when Rodgers hits Nelson on a deep strike. It gives the Packers a two-score lead. The defense gets a big stop late.

Packers 20
Lions 16



Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Take -> Week 2

Greetings, G-Force.

What a win! Dramatic! A great way to start the season. Defense wins championships. Last Sunday, our defense was nearly Championship worthy.

To celebrate, I sip a Locavore Lightnin' Hopkiss. It's a smooth sailin' Double IPA. It tastes like a hopped-out resin ball. Yet, it's crispy. Thick hops. Small citrus hop finish to provide balance from the skunk front. I listen to the Postal Service "Give Up" album. Fun, happy beats. Head bouncing music. Makes me smile. Uplifts me. Keeps my energy up-to-speed.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Heavy credit to Mike McCarthy. The Jags had an aggressive game plan. They have a really good team. McCarthy went aggressive in the 2nd Quarter. He brilliantly mixed it up in the 3rd Quarter as well. Kept the Jags off-balance. Did a good job attacking. Wish the 3rd down confusion didn't happen from the 2-yard line. Rodgers audible'd beautifully. Felt like an early 4th Quarter dagger and a Week 1 style Championship Drive. The miscommunication really spoiled what was otherwise a mastermind of a play-calling drive by McCarthy. He rotated his troops. He got Montgomery involved. He inserted Abby. Leads me to believe we're going to see more of that combination this week.

* While I watched the game, I consistently thought: well, players like Aaron Rodgers don't need a preseason. Neither does Clay Matthews. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb don't need the preseason. But, the likes of Morgan Burnett and an aging Julius Peppers need preseason. Peppers to get his timing down. Burnett looked good in run support and on the blitz. But, he struggled in coverage. He did, however, play quicker than in past years.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! He didn't show a quick burst, but when he got moving, he showed more speed than in past years. He also showed great physicality bouncing off of defenders. He made two game changing plays. One in the run game and the other on the screen. Good start for the Dreaded RB.

* JORDY! He's back! Great to see him in the end zone. Great to see him in lock-step with Rodgers on the back-shoulder pass. Jordy is going to have a monster year.

* Randall Cobb. He's a different player when Jordy is lined up next to him. Things open up underneath. Cobb showed his versatility. He showed endurance. He showed toughness. Wish he'd have caught the deep ball cleanly. Looked like it would've been a beautiful busted play TD. Cobb looks like he's going to have a great year.

* Davante Adams. He's 50/50. He loses his balance on a slant route which would've been a first down when the Packers were pinned deep near their goal line on 3rd down. He drops a deep ball that would've likely been a TD. But, then, he comes down with an epic TD on what'll likely be one of the more magical TD's of the season.

* Thought Jared Cook would be more involved. Was riveting to see him draw the PI call that set up the TD before the half.

* Richard Rodgers displayed fantastic hands. Still struggled in the run blocking category, but I've resigned to the thought that he'll never improve as a blocker.

* Really like the addition of Ripkowski as a blocker. He crushes people.

* Congrats to Bakhtiari! He's a MAN! Happy that he'll be protecting Rodgers' backside for the next 3 years. And, since the Packers still have more than $12 million in cap space for 2016. I hope Tretter is next. Home town discount. Loving the way Tretter is playing. He's moving people. He's showing first-class athleticism. He's getting to the 2nd level.

* Good start, Lane Taylor. Keep it going. Looked like a pro.

* TJ Lang needs to stay a Green Bay Packer.

* I was surprised that Jhurell Pressley didn't last on the roster. But, just as I'd hoped, here the Packers sit with only 3 RB's on the roster. 1 of which is a FB. Gotta wonder if Pressley was brought in merely to get an inside scoop on how the 'queens were talking about Green Bay.

* The #1 thing that the 2016 Green Bay Packers need on their roster is for Kenny Clark to nut up. Dude got pushed backwards nearly every play. He was consistently blown off of the line of scrimmage.

* Thought that Dean Lowry darted through the line of scrimmage nicely on a couple of plays.

* Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion. WOW! Moving people backwards. Need that trend to continue. Especially this week. They were physically dynamite! Intimidators!

* Felt like Christian Ringo offered some decent snaps. Fought hard. At this stage, he appears to be worlds beyond Kenny Clark. That's scary.

* CMIII. The Claymaker. Magnificent burst off of the line of scrimmage. He can't be judged by the box score. You need to watch the intimidating impact that he makes. He's all over the field. He's around the ball. He's busting up plays. Love his game.

* Nick Perry played really, really well. Tremendous run stopping OLB.

* Have a sense that Datone Jones is going to have a really solid year. Wouldn't surprise me if he grabs 6 sacks. Love how he rotated both inside and out. He looks lightning-like quick off the ball. He's been able to get small and slice his way through the OL.

* Who made the first tackle of the year? Kyler Fackrell. Wrapped up nicely on the opening kickoff.

* Blake Martinez showed good organizational skills, high intelligence and a conservative approach towards stopping the run. He didn't take any chances. He didn't do anything extraordinary. He didn't do anything that was overly flawed.

* Liked the way Jake Ryan hit people.

* I'm not stressed about Q-Rollins. But, he should almost strictly be used in the slot. He's not ready to be a perimeter CB. He's a natural, quick-twitch slot CB. I'm not bothered about how he was exposed on the outside. I was bothered by the missed tackle on the TE screen. He has to make that play.

* Damarious Randall is flashing signs of being a star CB in this league. Huge play on 4th down.

* Can't say enough about Joe Thomas. Great hustle throughout. Loved his energy on the interception, the Matthews sack and on the final 4th down. He was flying to the football. Great job, JT.

* Get healthy, Sammy. Quickly. I'm concerned.

* HaHa Clinton-Dix looks ready to take the next step. He has the potential to be a superstar in this league.

* 2nd Jags drive of the game. 3rd & 12. What was Burnett thinking of that PI? Even if Robinson catches the ball, he's still 8 yards short of the first down. Just wrap him up Burnett! Think!!!

* Unlucky start to the game. Smelt like a game that in which the Packers could blow out the Jags early. But, the sun didn't allow Hyde to catch two punts. Dramatically effected field position and the flow of the game.

* Jake Schum. Decent game until the last punt. Need much better than that. He looks like a steady punter. Good hang time. Kicks ranging from 42-46 yards. Not much return opportunity. Not much of a friendly bounce.

* Need better from Abby as a gunner.

This week - it's the 'queens. In Minnesota. As the 'queens open the doors to US Bank Stadium. The 'queens wanted the Packers as the opponent to open their new home. Well, they got us. Be careful of what you wish for. This Packers team means business. And, after the 'queens won the NFC North last year, the Packers are hungry to take the title back.

Offensively, the 'queens will run the ball, take an occasional shot deep, they'll utilize the middle of the field with Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen, and then they'll run the ball some more. I anticipate that Sam Bradford will be the starting QB this week. You don't give up a 1st round pick for a QB and then not give the guy the ball when you're playing the biggest game of the year. The 'queens traded for Bradford because they believed he gave them the best chance to win. Expect AP to carry the ball at least 25 times this week. The 'queens spent coin on their OL this offseason. They added Andre Smith and Alex Boone in an attempt to get tougher. With Joe Berger and Brandon Fusco, the 'queens think they're mean in the middle. Matt Kalil might not play due to injury, so TJ Clemmings would get the start. The 'queens need Kalil on Sunday Night. Clemmings can't handle the Packers DL/OLB front. Kyle Rudolph always gives the Packers fits. Stefon Diggs is becoming a legitimate starting WR threat. He's dangerous. He runs solid routes and he's elusive after the catch. Adam Thielen is a fast-rising slot WR. He's dependable. He's fearless. He runs crisp routes. He gets open. He's an underrated player who will move the sticks multiple times this weekend. Cordarrelle Patterson remains one of the best Kickoff Return specialists in the game. He's dangerous. Jerick McKinnon is a shifty back who is tough to bring down in the open field.

Defensively, the 'queens are very well coached and extremely opportunistic. Brian Robison, Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, and Sharrif Floyd are hungry defenders. Floyd has been battling injuries and might be limited this weekend. Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Chad Greenway make up a terrific LB core. Harrison Smith is among the best safeties in the game. Andrew Sendejo is a talented wingman to Smith, but Sendejo occasionally struggles in coverage. Xavier Rhodes is likely to miss the game this week. He'll be replaced by Trae Waynes. I loved Waynes coming out of college. He's yet to show that his game translates to the NFL. Waynes will be tested. Terence Newman can no longer run. The Packers will test him on double moves. Newman will either grab or he'll get burnt. Either way - advantage Packers.

The 'queens don't want this game to be put in Blair Walsh's hands.

A simple breakdown: I'd be really disappointed if the Packers don't score a minimum of 23 points and I'd be really surprised if the 'queens score more than 23. I can see a scenario in which the Packers struggle to stop Minnesota in the red zone. In which case, I suppose the 'queens could score 3 TD's and a FG to get to 24. But, that would be really frustrating. I consider it unlikely.

Look for the Packers to pound Lacy early in the game. They want to get Harrison Smith up in the box, which will open up the play action roll-out and the deep shot to Nelson.

The 'queens pound AP. Thielen and Rudolph grab passes for first downs. The 'queens unsuccessfully try a deep ball to Diggs against the depleted Packers secondary.

The 'queens crowd is ready to rock. They make noise. The PA also pumps in noise for added effect. But, Aaron Rodgers is on a mission. He's not to be denied. He extends plays. He finds Cobb. He draws Griffen offside and takes a shot deep down the sideline. He beats Terence Newman. He hits Nelson on the back-shoulder against Waynes.

Rudolph continues to annoy. So, does AP. But, the 'queens stall and have to settle for FG's.

Montgomery grabs 3 balls. Cook grabs 3 passes. Datone notches a big sack. Jordy grabs a deep ball TD.

The Packers win a nail biter.

Packers 23.
'queens 19.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Take -> Week 1

Greetings, G-Force.

I sit in Morrison, CO. On a night in which Star took the short ride to Red Rocks Amphitheater to see Sound Tribe Sector 9. Me? I'm marinating with my boys. At home. I watched the sunset behind the foothills and embraced today. I exist and I'm grateful. So, I remind myself to relish what I have. It was a cool evening, so I put on a Packers sweatshirt. Over my "GET LOUD LAMBEAU" t-shirt. Above my Packers sweatpants. I'm straight chillin'. And, to boot, I'm wearing green socks. COlorado is home. But, my roots rest in Titletown, U.S.A. And, I'm damn proud of it. We are all products of our youth, yo. So apply them today. It's the best way.

I'm sipping a New Glarus Cran-bic. My Mom brought it to me last weekend when she came to kick it with my 2 boys and 2 of my nephews over Labor Day weekend. My brother, Chad, and his wife, Ashley, came up from LOBO-land to marinate in Phish vibes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. It was a magical weekend. The Cran-bic tastes like the beauty found in yellowish leaves falling from trees as they slowly blow towards to the turf. It seems as though the beer is crafted with crystalized cranberries that carbonate throughout the mouth. In many ways, it coats the palate like sparkling water. It's refreshing. It's an early fall treat. I listen to the Phish 1995 New Year's Eve vinyl. It spins with wickedness on the player.

It's a Super Bowl or Bust year. So, we all better bring it. All year. No bad vibes. We control the destiny. Super Bowl 51 is ours. Do your part. I'm doing mine.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* I'm ├╝ber stoked that the Packers kept 6 safeties. And, with Banjo being banged up and with Burnett not having played in the 2016 preseason, I wouldn't mind seeing Brice and/or Evans on the field. They should definitely both be active. They should definitely be asked to perform on special teams. I fully anticipate that they'll both be around the football in that phase of the game. Keeping Brice and Evans gives merit to the preseason games. Had their been only 2 preseason games, we might not have seen Evans on the team. As the preseason carried on, Evans was phenomenal.

* Josh Sitton. There has to be more to it. It was such an un-TT like move. Sitton was in a contract year. The Packers were sure to get a 3rd or a 4th round compensatory pick for him in the 2018 Draft. It was part of TT's long term plan as far as continuing to build the team. And, then, he gets cut? That has a certain stink to it. I've heard the rumors. I won't comment on them. This move quickly decimated the OL depth on the Packers roster. Last year, we saw how crucial OL depth was to successful football teams. It's baffling. The only positive to this situation is that it cleared enough cap space to ensure that Bakhtiari should definitely be the LT for the rest of Rodgers' best football years.

* I don't love the thought of Lane Taylor being the starting G. Wonder if Tretter moves to G when Linsley is healthy?

* Congrats to Joe Callahan. I wonder if him being kept on the 53-man roster is a sign that the Packers are concerned about Brett Hundley's health. I'm curious to see who will be the back-up QB this weekend. If it's Callahan, then it might be telling that he made the roster due to Hundley lingering injury. If it's Hundley as a back-up, for me, that'd be an even greater nod to Callahan's fine play throughout the preseason.

* Jhurell Pressley!!!! Prior to the Draft, I wrote: "Would love to have a LOBO in GB. He's elusive. He runs with a purpose. He produced at a ridiculously high level. Every time he touched the ball, it seemed like he was picking up a first down. Gets outside and turns the corner with a possessive eye. Won't be able to be an every down back in the NFL as he lacks the size to run between the tackles on a consistent basis, but if given an opportunity, he'll be able to to make an immediate impact as a situational runner." I'm really excited that he's on the roster. He'll bring a fun dimension to the team. He'll add speed. He'll be a great threat on the screen. He will make impactful plays in 2016. Guaranteed.

* With Josh Hawkins, Marwin Evans, Kentrell Brice, and Makinton Dorleant; Ted Thompson found 4 DB's in UDFA who can play in the NFL. Dorleant is being tucked away for a season on the IR, but he'll be on the roster next year. Great work by Teddy T!

To kick off the 2016 season, the Packers travel to Jacksonville. It won't be an easy contest. The Jaguars are my favorite to win the AFC South. And, there are two things that you can't train for: Altitude and Humidity. Unless your body acclimates to both, you're destined to have pains as the game lingers. With temperatures expected to be in the mid-90's, the weather is supposed to feel as though it's as high as 105 degrees. The Packers better be drinking water in abundance in preparation for that heat.

Jacksonville has a young team. I really like the make-up of their roster. Blake Bortles - in some ways - reminds me of a young Favre. He's tough. He rolls out well. He's gritty. He has a cannon of an arm. He makes odd decisions, at times, as he tries to force throws into coverage. He has a bit of the ol' gunslinger mentality. He's going to make a couple of big plays every game, but he's also going to be prone to making mistakes. He will give you 2-3 chances to force a turnover every game. You just have to capitalize on those opportunities. Bortles is littered with weapons. With Yeldin and Ivory, he has two solid RB's. At WR, he has Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns who both topped 1,000 yards last year. He also has two extremely talented young WR's in Marqise Lee and Rashad Greene. Both have the quickness to do wonders in the slot. With Julius Thomas and Mercedes Lewis, he has two play-making beasts at TE.

On the OL, Jacksonville has invested on the left side. Luke Joeckel was the 2nd pick of the 2013 Draft and they bought Kelvin Beachum in FA. The Jags have big expectations for Joeckel and Beachum lining up next to each other. I think that they can be beaten with speed around the edge. The right side of the Jaguars line is suspect. AJ Cann and Jermey Parnell aren't household names. They aren't for a reason. Both can be exposed. Look for Capers to overload the right side of the Jaguars OL. The Packers will confuse the right side of the Jags OL and we'll create problems.

The future of the Jags defense is bright. Dante Fowler, Myles Jack, and Jalen Ramsey are all young gems in the making. Malik Jackson was the prized FA in 2016. Jared Odrick is a tenacious fighter on the DL. Telvin Smith is energetic. He brings great speed to the defense. Paul Posluszny brings a veteran toughness to the defense. Davon House had a great year as a Jag last year. Prince Amukamara is a solid #3 CB. The safety play is suspect. Johnathan Cyprien is still developing. He has speed, but he's been exposed in coverage. Tashaun Gipson can be exposed.

Aaron Rodgers must test the middle of the Jaguars defense. It'll be important for McCarthy to start the game with some easy throws. To get his QB into the flow of the game. Sure, Rodgers is a seasoned superstar, but he also hasn't played much football since last January. So, I'm hoping McCarthy starts the game with a couple of play-action roll-outs. Give Rodgers some options. A couple over the top, but with the immediate design being an underneath route. Something safe to get Rodgers in rhythm. To set the tempo. I'd give Rodgers the opening possession of the game. Let him do wonders with his arm. Cook is used early. He's used often.

Defensively, it'll be important to stop the run. Can't let the Jags eat clock early in the game. Not only will it wear the defense down, but it'll open up the play action pass. We can't have either. I don't want to fall behind early in this game.

Sammy Swagga matches up well with Hurns' speed. Randall's length pairs well with Robinson's height. But, Randall will need help over the top. Robinson runs shifty routes, he gets off the jam and he, too, can run. Randall will need help on the deep ball. If not, it could be a big play. I'm scared of the damage that Lewis and Thomas could do at TE. I hope we have figured out how to cover a TE over the offseason.

Look for Lacy to pound away in the 2nd Quarter.

Mid 3rd Quarter, McCarthy gets creative. It's 5 wide. Cobb, Montgomery, Jordy, Cook, and Abby. Cobb and Montgomery switch downs flip-flopping into the backfield. Jordy and Cook are spread out wide. Abby is consistently in the slot. The Jags don't have a solution. It's a game defining drive. It finishes with a Rodgers to Cook TD pass.

I'm happy Brett Goode is back in GB. I'm happy that the Packers have moved on from Tim Masthay and are giving Jacob Schum a crack at the punter/holder role. I don't want the game to come down to a last second FG in which both of them are asked to make a play as a long snapper and a holder. I'm concerned about their execution in the kicking game this week. Thankfully, it won't.

With the lead, the Packers punch forward for the game winning first downs and run out the clock. It's victory formation bringing the Packers to a 1-0 start to the 2016 season.

Both teams score 5 times. Red Zone efficiency is the difference.

Packers 27.
Jags 23.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Take -> Preseason Week 4

Greetings, G-Force.

The season is anxiously nearing. The Packers look deep at most positions. They look prime for an exciting season. To mellow my mood, I sip an Odd 13 Vincent Van Couch. It's an American Session Sour. 4.7% ABV - after all - it's Monday. So, I need to take it easy. Small citra taste. Slight mosaic scent. Lightly soured. Typically a solid afternoon beer with a hint of carbonation at the close. I listen to the Toots & The Maytals "Flip And Twist" album. It was written in 2010, the XLV year. This album is often overlooked, but I love a soulful new age Toots. He's reflective. He's spiritual. He's diverse. It's not my favorite Toots album, but it shouldn't be passed over. Fans of this Reggae legend should certainly give a listen to how he evolved in his later years. It's smiley and head bopping worthy.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* Marwin Evans and Kentrell Brice. They play Legion of Boom style. I'm seriously amazed as I watch them play Safety for the Packers. Both look like they could start in this league. They impress. They play with confidence. When they hit, they command attention. They bring an intensity that our defense has yearned for. Both better be on the 2016 Packers 53-man roster. No way would I keep Banjo over either of them. No chance at all. Evans and Brice have a future in Green Bay. But, if you keep reading, you'll see how I believe the Packers can keep Banjo, Brice and Evans.

* Rodgers to Cook. On the slant. Out of the slot. Hit him on the belt, 12. That was magic. Had me tapping my head with excitement.

* Callahan! I don't care if he ever throws a pass in Green & Gold again. I'll remember him. He played with spark. He played with leadership. He was organized. Great composure. The dart to Abby was spectacular. The pass to Adams - which was dropped - was magnificent. Great playing, Callahan.

* The first-team OL continues to dominate. Off to a great start this preseason. And, EDDIE looks the part.

* Abby locking up a spot. He's playing with confidence and comfort for the first time since arriving in Titletown, U.S.A.

* I can see a scenario in which Adams doesn't make this team. I'd consider keeping Allison over him. Continuously, he hasn't delivered. It's like you hold your breath every time that the ball is thrown his way. It is a 50/50 chance that he catches it. I'd absolutely be talking to teams to see if they were interested in him.

* Liked seeing Allison catch the ball in traffic. And, on the out route. If he doesn't make the 53-man roster, I wonder if he gets claimed before being able to make the Practice Squad.

* Burks > Crockett. Burks has shown burst that we haven't seen since DuJuan Harris in 2012. He has vision. He catches the ball nicely. I have enjoyed his effort as a pass blocker as well.

* Lane Taylor. Damn, man. Need better. Much better. Isn't playing with recognition. Beat to the spot. Whiffing often.

* Kyle Murphy showing well in run blocking. Adequate in pass blocking, too.

* Spriggs. Gulp. Hope he improves. Quickly.

* All kinds of weapons on offense. Richard Rodgers is not one of them.

* Trevor Davis. So close. Yet so far away from making two really big plays. Could've had two TD's. Just missed. Can't coach speed. He has it.

* The Claymaker was as quick as ever. Loved watching him chase down the ball from behind.

* JP looked old. He's destined to solely be used as an interior pass rusher on 3rd down. He was stuck in quicksand on the cut back to his side of the field.

* Mike Daniels continues to show that he's the leader of the defense.

* The Packers should sign Pot Roast Terrance Knighton. They need DL help when Pennel is out. Knighton might not be able to be a force for 16 games, but he'd certainly help over the first 4 games of the year. Especially with Clark being injured and with Lowry appearing as though he'll need time to get accustomed to the NFL speed.

* Kyler Fackrell guaranteed himself a roster spot in the 4th Quarter against SF. Prior to that, he was in a dog fight for a roster spot. Fackrell showed quickness and endurance as a pass rusher. He also displayed creativity with a variety of moves.

* Where is Jayrone Elliott? A complete disappearing act. And, now, an injury. Not sure what to do with him.

* Carl Bradford was, once again, arguably the Packers best ILB. He has to make the team.

* Jermaine Whitehead won't make the 53-man roster, but he should definitely make the Practice Squad. Like the speed and physicality that he plays with.

* Ringo seems to be bringing energy to the DL. Interested to see how the Packers move forward with him.

* Makinton Dorleant got hurt again. Wonder how serious. Suppose it's possible that the Packers make the injury out to be more than it really is, so that they can store him on the IR for the year. Dorleant has shown a lot in limited opportunities. Definitely a developmental talent.

* I've seen zero practices this year, but I've watched the Family Night and 3 preseason games. Thus far, I'm much more impressed with the UDFA class than I am the actual draft class. Reggie Gilbert looks like a really good prospect. Brice & Evans should be locks for the roster. Dorleant and Hawkins are talented CB's. Allison has been solid. Burks has been flashy. Callahan has been to watch. Beniquez Brown should make the Practice Squad.

This is not a prediction. This is what I'd do if I were putting together the Packers 53-man roster:

QB: Rodgers, Hundley.

RB: Lacy, Starks, Ripkowski. With versatility offered by Ty and Cobb, the Packers would be able to only keep 3 RB's. And, keep two RB's on the practice squad in case of emergency.

WR: JORDY, Cobb, Ty, Abby, Janis, Davis, Adams. I'd do everything possible to unload Adams. Even if it were for a 6th round pick. If I were able to deal him, I'd likely keep Allison.

TE: Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo.

OL: Bakhtiari, Sitton, Tretter, Lang, Bulaga, Spriggs, Murphy, Taylor, Barclay. Would try to trade Walker for a 7th round pick.

DL: Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Peppers, Ringo, Guion. Ringo is 53rd man kept due to a numbers game. Peppers is at DL as he's largely used as a 3rd down rusher.

ILB: Ryan, Thomas, Martinez, Bradford. Would try to trade Barrington for a 7th round pick.

OLB: CM3, Perry, Jones, Elliott, Fackrell. McCray and Barrington are the last 2 cut.

CB: Randall, Rollins, Sammy Swagga, Gunter, Hawkins.

S: HaHa, Burnett, Brice, Evans, Hyde, Banjo.

K: Crosby

P: Masthay

LS: Lovato

Practice Squad: Callahan, Robertson Daniel, Brandon Burks, John Crockett, Jermaine Whitehead, Brian Price, Beniquez Brown, Reggie Gilbert, Lucas Patrick, Allison (Binford and Gatewood miss out).

SUSPENDED: Pennel, Goodson.

PUP: Linsley

IR: Dorleant.

Every year - prior to the Labor Day kickoff to the college season, I put together a way too early Mock Draft. So, here goes:

Round 1.) Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida. The Packers are in great need of a fierce, play making presence at ILB. Davis is that guy. He's fast, he's beastly. He's flat out nasty. Heading into the 2016 College Football Season, I'm targeting 1 of 3 guys as a 1st round pick for the Packers: Davis; Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama; and Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State.

Round 2.) Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan. The Packers need more athleticism and dominance along the DL. Wormley is a leader of the Michigan defense. He can play the run and get to the QB.

Round 3.) Davon Godchaux, DL, LSU. He's largely a run stuffer, but he's also displayed a knack for applying pressure and getting to the QB. He is inconsistent from an effort perspective, but when he's on, he's dominant.

Round 4.) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado. Locks up well. Turns and runs. Plays the ball well. Long. Plays bigger than 5-11. Plays ball well. Likes to be challenged. Has made big plays late in games previously. Others: Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma. Big time playmaker at CB. Finds the football in the air. Top notch athlete. Only a Junior, but he seems like the type of player that comes out early. Plays with confidence. And swagger. If Thomas were a Senior, I'd have him as this selection. Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU. Largely a run-stopping ILB. A leader. Great playing straight ahead. Attacks the line of scrimmage with purpose and intent.

Round 5.) DJ Jones, DL, Ole Miss. Pursuing interior defender. Quick. Moves well for his size. He moves around OL and wiggles his wide frame into the backfield. Uses hands well. Needs better endurance, but solid prospect.

Round 5b) (For Casey Hayward). Jordan Willis, OLB, Kansas State. High effort pass rushing edge player. Not elite burst off the ball, but wins with tenacity and desire. Has great fight.

Round 6.) Ben Boulware, ILB, Clemson. Leader. Knowledgeable, straight-ahead player. Solid in run game. Good on the interior blitz as well. High effort, intelligent player. More of a 1st & 2nd down player than a nickel ILB. Football player.

Round 7.) Rushel Shell III, RB, Dub-V. Gifted RB who is talented as a receiver out of the backfield. Good in space. Elusive. Darts to the second level. Change of pace type back who runs hard as well.

This week - in the final preseason game - the Packers travel to KC to wrap up the 2016 preseason. I expect to see Joe Callahan playing most - if not all - of the game. Callahan, once again, plays with great command of the offense. He uses his weapons well. He's efficient. He manufactures points.

Abby again has a solid game.

Ringo notches a sack. So does Fackrell.

Brice and Evans dominate.

Hawkins picks off another pass.

Burks runs hard. Averages more than 5 yards per carry.

Murphy takes another step forward at RT.

Packers 23
KC 16

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Take -> Preseason Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

I enjoy watching the Packers win. Whether it's Week 2 of the preseason or it's the Super Bowl, I revel in the thought of Packers victories. Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" rings thru the speakers as I sip an Odd 13 Super Sneak Hop Bursted Sour. This refreshing beer is 6.5% of goodness. Fruit forward citra hops gets you smiling and a Lacto/Brett yeast blend has you craving more. Odd 13. Always a winner.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* It was a total treat to watch the starting OL dominate! Lang moving people. Sitton forcefully winning the point of attack. Tretter getting to the second level. Bulaga and Bakhtiari in control. Thing of beauty.

* I know it was only the 2nd preseason game, but MM looks to be in midseason form as a play caller. First two plays had Rip wide open in the flat on roll-outs. Got Hundley into the flow of the game. Then, MM hits you with EDDIE who looks to be ready for a big year. MM spreads out Cook who will be a mismatch all year. Seriously beautiful play calling by MM.


* Fantastic play by Damarious Randall.

* Love the athleticism that Q-Rollins brings to the secondary. He's going to make a number of plays this year.

* Starks looks quick. Just wish he wasn't quick to bounce it to the outside. Wish he instincts encouraged him to cut it up the field.

* Jason Spriggs. Gulp. A week after being encouraged, I'm nervously biting my fingers. In order for the Packers to be Super in 2016, we're going to need solid depth along the OL. Spriggs was drafted to be that depth. Against Oakland, he looked weak, he was off balance, he was slow. He was beaten with power. He was beaten with speed around the edge. He didn't finish blocks in the run game. He looked confused. He looked incapable of holding up when the lights are turned on. While it was obvious that he was destroyed while pass blocking, he looked equally poor as a run blocker. He lacked fight. And, now, I'm concerned about him.

* I'm shocked that I'm about to write this, but after two Packers preseason games, Blake Martinez looks to be the most NFL ready of all of the Draft picks. He looks quick. Loved to see his special teams tackle. It was really good to see him finish the play on 3rd down to keep the ball carrier 1-yard short of the first down sticks. It's really early, but thus far, he's exceeded my expectations.

* When I listed my top 10 things to watch in preseason, I listed Josh Hawkins. I've long been a fan. He was my UDFA darling. He will be a tough cut. He can play in this league. If he gets cut, he won't clear waivers to make it to the practice squad. He jams well. He turns and runs. He plays the ball in the air.

* As a whole, this defense has taken on Mike Daniels' attitude. Daniels, the new leader of the defense, brings intensity. Thru two preseason games, this defense looks like it'll be a defense that pursues the football. Chasing down the football.

* Really going to miss Mike Pennel over the first month. Especially in the first 2 games. Guarantee that J'ville & the queens attack the heart of the Packers defense via the run game over the first two weeks. Neither Kenny Clark nor Dean Lowry appear ready to make a Week 1 impact. Happy that both are Packers, but concerned about their ability to perform to start the season. Hope that Clark recovers quickly from the back injury.

* Kentrell Brice looks like he could start someday at Safety. He has to make this roster. He has instincts and anticipation at a first-class level. He seems to have command of the defense, too. He plays fast and he has been a sure tackler.

* I was really bummed that I didn't get this out before McGinn wrote it earlier this week, but the player who most impressed against Oakland: Marwin Evans. Played with great physicality. Hit with intent. A jarring tackler. Showed great desire to find the football.

* If it were me, I'd keep Brice and Evans ahead of Banjo. Both have the physique to be able to play special teams at a high level and both have a much larger upside as a defender than Banjo. I realize that Banjo has been a valuable special teams contributor, but I wouldn't expose Brice nor Evans to the open market. Both would be claimed prior to the Packers trying to add them to the practice squad. They both belong on a 53 man roster.

* The Packers are going to have tough decisions at LB. Bradford, Barrington, Thomas and Martinez have all played well enough to make this roster. Bradford has been the biggest surprise of camp. Ryan started at the end of last year and would be a solid bet to make the roster even though he's been injured throughout training camp. And, at OLB, CM3, Perry, Jones and JP will all make the team. I'd highly doubt that TT would cut his 3rd round pick, Fackrell. And, McCray has outplayed Fackrell in both preseason games. Additionally, McCray would be a more valuable special teams player. Also, Jayrone Elliott has to be in contention for a roster spot. Even though he's yet to make an impact in the preseason. Elliott has been a huge disappointment this August after two dominant years. But, Elliott has been a proven special teams performer and he's made plays when he's been given the opportunity to do so in the past. I'm struggling with putting the #'s together.

* I've been more impressed by the Packers UDFA class than I have been their Draft picks.

* Makinton Dorleant. Showing swagga. Quick as a cat. Uses his hands well. Showed happily on special teams. Stepped up in run support. A teammate. Worth consideration for a roster spot. Guaranteed a spot on the practice squad if he's released and I could see someone claiming him to put him on their 53 man roster. He has the personality to play CB in this league.

* I kept waiting for Robertson Daniel to make a play. So, did the Packers. Clearly. They had him on their #1 special teams units. But, Daniel has been outplayed by Dorleant and Hawkins.

* Loved seeing McCray and Perry chasing running plays down from behind. Showing effort. Showing speed. Limiting gains.

* Christian Ringo was given an opportunity to impress early in the game. He got moved backwards. Consistently. Disappointing.

* Crockett came to play after a slow start. Really nice TD run. I'm still higher on Burks than I am on Crockett. Burks showed burst on his run to the outside. The Packers don't have another back on the roster who could've gotten to the corner.

* Like the drive blocking by Kyle Murphy. He was steady. Did a nice job sealing the edge on the big run by Burks.

* OL spots will be interesting to see how it's sorted out. Taylor has not played with the physicality that he showed last year. He showed quickness in the screen game, but he didn't finish his block. Josh Walker has been inconsistent. Barclay looks more fit than he's been in his Packers career. He's also showed versatility along the line. With the way the roster is shaping up, it'll be hard to imagine the Packers keeping more than 8, but with Linsley's injury, he could be headed towards the PUP. So, with that said, I could see a scenario in which Barclay, Walker and Taylor are battling for 1 spot. It's hard to see TT releasing either Murphy or Spriggs as they're his draft picks. Barclay has outplayed Walker and Taylor, but Taylor has guaranteed money and TT hates dead money on the cap. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

* JORDY! Can't wait to see him in action.

I'm really stoked to see Rodgers, CM3 and JP this week. I fully expect to see an explosive team. Both offensively and defensively. I envision a team that comes out with attitude. A team that wants to forcefully dominate from the opening kickoff. This team has a different feel to it. They look like they're having fun. They look like they're ready to win football games. Convincingly.

Packers 27.
49ers 16.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Take -> Preseason Week 2

Greetings, G-Force.

I marinate with a smile. Both of my kids have been healthy for the last two weeks. For the last 11 months, I've wondered if that'd ever happen. Sleep is nice. With sleep, "I'm feeling like old school, mixtape. That's all I need." I went to the Dirty Heads concert at Red Rocks last night. Fantastic show. Despite the rain. The crowd was vibrant like a cold Sunday at Lambeau in December. The harder the rain, the louder the cheers. The Dirty Heads song "That's All I Need" has been ringing in my head for the last 24 hours. It brings joy. Check it out. What also brings joy is a Trinity Saison Delivery. Heavy apple mouthful. Aged in Chardonnay barrels. Potent with sugar. A true dessert.


Here are my quick vibes from the Packers victory over the Browns:

* John Crockett had a chance to put himself in the lead for the 3rd RB, if the Packers are to keep 3 RB's & a FB. Crockett didn't seize the opportunity. In fact, I felt Brandon Burks was the better player. Burks was quicker to the hole. Burks caught the ball gracefully. Burks showed burst. As I write, I'd keep Burks over Crockett. Small sample size, but for my eye, it wasn't even close. Burks looked to have much higher upside.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Looked like the Rasta-back that we've known in loved in years prior to 2015.

* How is Richard Rodgers above Justin Perillo on the depth chart? What do we like about Rodgers? It took two plays to be reminded that Rodgers cannot block. And, with Rodgers looking much slimmer, I wonder if he'll get pushed around even more than he has in past years. Perillo, on the other hand, blocked well and he caught EVERYTHING that was in sight. Regardless of how he was defended. Really impressive performance by Perillo. Hell, I even liked Backman's upside above what we've seen from Rodgers.

* It was so nice to see Jared Cook in Green & Gold. 3rd & 7. He catches the ball running across the field one-yard short of the marker. Still, he moved the sticks. We rarely saw that in 2015.

* Great to see Ty Montgomery back on the field. He brings tremendous versatility. A true weapon.

* Jared Abbrederis is a lock to make this team.

* Jeff Janis - even with the injury - should be on the 53 man roster. We need his special teams play.

* Wasn't overly impressed with Trevor Davis. Thought he misplayed the deep ball. Mistimed the jump. Had bad depth perception. Not giving up on him obviously, but I expected more.

* Really wanted Herb Waters to make a play. Was disappointed in how he got in-and-out of his breaks. Didn't look worthy of a practice squad role. I expected better.

* Geronimo Allison running routes! Like the shake. And the use of his hands. Looked worthy. Want to see more.

* Once again, for my eye, Jason Spriggs showed he has the footwork to play in the NFL. Really liked his quickness. He's susceptible to the bull rush. He needs to get stronger in the upper body. But, he's a finesse tackle right now that is a better insurance policy than we had last year. We can win with him playing Tackle. And, he'll only get better.

* I'm really hoping Kyle Murphy plays this week. Wanted to see him.

* Thought Rotheram played well. Looked like he belonged.

* Riveting to see Chris Banjo on the spot for the fumble recovery. Have a feeling that the Packers coverage units could be really good this year.

* Ummmmmm. Kentrell Brice. He was active. He showed NFL quickness. Really hoping he gets significant playing time again this week. He was all over the place. He was in the box. He sideline-to-sideline. I thought he'd compete. He did much more than that. He'll be on a 53-man roster somewhere, if not in Green Bay.

* Micah Hyde! Thrilling pick! It was only Week 1 in the preseason, but the play felt big time. Had me jump out of my seat.

* Liked Josh Hawkins' play. Good to see him step up and make a tackle. Better to see him defend the pass that would've been a TD. Hawkins timed the play well and knocked the ball out at the last second. Hawkins will need to show better in order to compete for the 53-man, but he's in the mix for the practice squad. I'll be interested to see his playing time this week as it appears that Dorleant is back from injury.

* Robertson Daniel looks like part in his uniform. Now, I want to see him make a play to solidify his grip as the #5 CB. As of now, I have the Packers keeping Sammy Swagga, Q-Rollins, D-Randall, Gunter, HaHa, Burnett, Hyde, Banjo and Brice on the 53-man team.

* Datone Jones had a burst that I've never seen him play with before. He looked much more athletic. A lot thinner. Quick around the edge. Looked like he was capable of being a difference maker on the edge.

* Liked Letroy Guion's push.

* Love seeing Mike Daniels as the leader. He's instilling a different mentality in this defense. He wants this group to be nasty. SO STOKED!

* That's the Christian Ringo that I've been pining to see. Quick twitch. Burst to the QB. Lower the boom. Well done, Ringo.

* Kenny Clark showed leverage knowledge. Good to see him winning battles at the line of scrimmage and moving his blocker backwards. He didn't show much in the box score, but thought he played well.

* Dean Lowry looks like a Green Bay Packer. Good push. Good length. Excited to see him develop.

* The Packers will miss Mike Pennel.

* The LB play was much better than what I expected. Carl Bradford was really impressive. Looked like a different player. Beniquez Brown played with more quickness than I anticipated. He was aware. Looked like he understood the basic principles of the defense. Joe Thomas was hitting people like he meant it. Kyler Fackrell and Reggie Gilbert both brought quickness and burst around the edge. Really liked Lerentee McCray's intensity. He punishes.

* Congratulations to Peter Mortell! A dream come true! Exciting to see his initial punt get fumbled and that the Packers recovered. Epic karma shown there.

* Fun to Mason Crosby in mid-season form.

* Blake Martinez. Pardon me if I'm critical here. It's not my intent. But, the Packers drafted him to make a difference in 2016. He has to be better than he played. He stacked well. He shed the blocker. He was in position to make the play. He missed the tackle. I fear that we could see that a lot in 2016. I hope I'm wrong. But, when I've studied him, I've seen that before. He's a great leader. He has good quickness. He looked bigger in his uniform than I anticipated he would. I'm really pulling for him. The Packers don't need him to be a true difference maker, but he has to be a sure tackler. He can't miss tackles. We need him to be a trusted tackler. We can't afford whiffs. The inside pressure was really impressive. Liked his hustle and his pursuit. Hope we see more of that.

This week - it's the Raiders. Again, I'd rest most of the starters. I want to be certain that we have the best back-ups possible on the OL. Now is the time to find out who we need to keep. I want to see if we should keep 10 OL or 10 DB's or 7 WR's with only 3 RB/FB or 11 LB's. There's a lot of question marks. We need to figure out the depth of this roster. This is a great week to invest in determining who we should mover forward with.

The Packers give the game to Brett Huntley. He performs magically. He runs the offense like a pro. He uses the TE. He dumps off to the backs. He hits WR's as they're coming out of their break.

Burks makes an impact again. He wants a roster spot.

Jayrone gets to the QB.

Daniel snatches a pick.

I anticipate it'll be a high scoring preseason affair.

Packers 27.
Raiders 23.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, August 12, 2016

My Take -> Preseason Week 1

Greetings, G-Force.

The Michael Franti & Spearhead show at Red Rocks last Sunday night was legendary. I'm still soaking in those vibes. I'm listening to the SoulRocker album as I write. I'm sipping an Odd13 Codename: Superfan. It's a delicious IPA. My go-to beer right now. Fruity hops. Foggy after the pour. Smooth. Refreshing. Odd13 is brewing fantastic beer. Seek them out.

I'm itching for Packers football. But, I'm happy that last weeks game got canceled. In most preseasons, I'm a guy that likes aggression. I like fight. I like tenacity. I like to see most of the stars play some football. I like to see the team ready for Week 1. But, after losing Bulaga in 2013, Barclay in 2014 and Jordy in 2015; I'm good with an extremely conservative approach. With that said, I'd like to see the Packers rest most of their starters this week.

Here are some quick vibes in preparation for the Preseason Opener at Lambeau:

* I'd like to see a rowdy Lambeau Field. Let's set the tone for 2016. Make it a Friday night celebration. A party. Be vibrant. Party on, Party People. Rage up, G-Force!

* The OL is an absolute key to the Packers success in 2016. I'd bench all of them this week. I'd let Spriggs play deep into the 3rd Quarter. He needs reps. This week is a great time to give them to him. It's crucial to see if Barclay is back from his ACL injury in 2014. He needs reps. Let him play. Kyle Murphy needs reps. Play him most of the game. I want to see if Matt Rotheram can play in this league. There's no better time to find out. Josh Walker showed flashes last year. He needs to prove that he's worthy of a spot this year. Let him battle it out.

* I'd rest Lacy & Starks. It'll be tough to get this roster down to 53 players this year. One way to possibly do so is to only keep 2 RB's and 1 FB. To make up for the lack of depth at RB, the Packers could keep an extra WR and then Cobb & Montgomery would see more action at RB - essentially the combination of the two makes up the 3rd RB. The Packers value versatility in their depth players. Crockett doesn't offer much special teams value. So, it's important to see if Crockett can earn a spot. I'd give him 20 touches against Cleveland.

* Obviously, Jordy isn't playing. I'd also rest Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb. I want to see Janis, Abby, Adams, and Davis duke it out. It'll be fun competition. Additionally, I want to see Allison, Waters and Williams fight for a practice squad role. From what I read, Allison has stood out. He's long and runs a decent slant route. His hands were inconsistent at the college level, but it sounds as though he's done well catching the ball in practice. Williams showed well last year in the preseason. He was a fighter after the catch. He was strong. He got in and out of his breaks well. Waters was a deep threat at the college level. The Packers have a need for speed at WR. I want to see Waters try and get over the top.

* I'd rest Jared Cook. I was happy to see what he did in his first practice. He made an impact. But, I'd ease him into the full rotation. There's no need to aggravate an injury at this stage. Plus, it's important to see who fits best as the third TE. Is it Backman, Perillo or Henry? It'll be an important decision. Blocking and special teams play could be the determining factor. I assume Perillo will win the battle. Karma seems to be on his side.

* No chance I'd play Rodgers. And, with Hundley's injury, he's out as well. Callahan and Williams are playing for a practice squad role.

* On the DL, I'd rest Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion. I'd play Clark for a couple of series. But, I'd like to see Lowry, Ringo and Brian Price eating up a majority of the snaps. We need to see if any of them are worthy of playing time in Week 1 while Mike Pennel is out of action. I'm anxious to see Lowry.

* At OLB, there's no way that I'd play Clay or JP. Datone Jones should only get a series and that's only to allow him to get used to contact coming from a new position. I'm stoked to see Elliott attacking the QB. Let's give Fackrell exposure to the defense. The same can be said for McCray. I want to see Reggie Gilbert fighting for a practice squad position.

* At ILB, I'd let everyone play. Let Barrington get some of the kinks out. I'd play Blake Martinez into the 2nd Quarter, so that he can gain familiarity as well.

* At CB, Sammy Swagga, Q Rollins and Damarious Randall would not play if I were in charge. All were nicked up last year. All have been prone to nagging injuries. I'd rest them. Plus, I'm anxious to see what Gunter, Dorleant, Hawkins and Daniel bring to the table this weekend. I'd like them to get most of the reps. I smell a couple of picks this weekend.

* At S, Burnett, HaHa and Hyde would all be in street clothes. They'd be coaches on the sideline. The spotlight would be on Kentrell Brice who will bring speed and athleticism that the Packers crave. He's fearless. It'll be interesting to see if his college skills will translate at the NFL level.

* For the first time in a number of years, the Packers core unit is healthy. So is their depth. And, with that said, I'd be conservative to preserve that depth heading into Week 1. I'm really excited about the prospects of the 2016 season. As I said last week, I'm expecting a Super Bowl title this year. Let's put our best foot forward when the regular season hits.

Crockett runs wild. The Packers defense forces two turnovers. Perillo moves the sticks. Allison grabs a TD.

Packers 20. Browns 16.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.