Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Take -> Week 7

Greetings, G-Force.

I'm no journalist. I'm a fan. A die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. A loyalist, to the bone. The intent of this blog is to take an optimistic yet realistic point of view on the state of the Green Bay Packers. Today, the outlook is tough. As my brother Chad says, "it's tough to be positive and genuine." Normally, I look for a spin. As I write, the future looks bleak. If this isn't rock bottom for the Green Bay Packers, what does that look like? In fact, I haven't feel this uncomfortable about the future of the Green Bay Packers since 2005. This year is Super Bowl or Bust for me. Presently, the Packers are leaving me with an aching heart.

I write with a Funkwerks Tropic King. An Imperial Saison Ale that "pairs well with hula hooping." Think bananas and hops. And perfect carbonation. So smooth. 7.5%. This past weekend, I took my son, Dylan, to the record store. I asked what he wanted me to buy. He said, "Bob Dylan." So, I bought the Essential Bob Dylan vinyl. A number of the songs seem to mimic the state of 1265 Lombardi Ave. "Blowin' in the Wind" seems to be where the Packers are grasping for answers on offense. Yet, they answer is always, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" as they go back to what has been broken for the last year. As they go to bed, the staff has to fear that "The Times They Are A-Changin'" as the offense continues to falter downhill "Like A Rolling Stone." All in all, it leaves me with "Subterranean Homesick Blues."

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* What was Mike McCarthy thinking on 3rd and 1 on the opening series of the game? Trailing 7-0. The OL was in control. With relative ease, the offense moves into the Red Zone. The offense was far from predictable. Then McCarthy goes heavy on a formation that was clearly going to Ripkowski as the ball carrier with Barclay and Spriggs added to the offense. What a joke. If you want to give the ball to Ripkowski in that scenario, have him lined up as a FB. Or spread the Cowboys out with 3 WR or 4 WR on the field. The OL was winning the 1 on 1 battles. And, then trailing 20-6 in the 3rd Quarter, the Packers offense establishes themselves as they move the ball to the 1 yard line. 74 yards on 11 plays. Ball on the 1. McCarthy goes empty backfield. And a QB draw from shotgun? BAFFLING! FREAKIN' PATHETIC! I get the QB sneak call, but a draw? From SHOTGUN? Who are we fooling? That was a joke! Both plays were catastrophic to the Packers. Both plays defined the state of the Packers performance in a crucial home contest at Lambeau Field. And, with the loss, any shot at home field advantage throughout the playoffs went directly out the window.

* As a fan, it genuinely makes me sad to see this version of Aaron Rodgers. For so long, he was so graceful. He was authentic. He was carefree yet fully passionate. He was loose. He was easily loved. It brought joy to watch him perform. He bled excellence. Everything about him. Today, I don't recognize him.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! He brought conviction to the offense. And, now, there's rumors that the IR is in his future? If so, this season could run away from us.

* Starks is out for multiple weeks? Why not cut him?

* As I write, Don Jackson is not active. So, as of now, the Packers are going into the game against the hated Bears with Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery and Knile Davis as their RB's? How is that even possible? Don't get me wrong, I like Davis. In fact, when he was entering the Draft, I wrote: "Knile Davis - Terrific size and speed combo. Always hurt. Occasionally, a fumbler. But, dude is a freakish athlete. The type of back that the Packers might take a shot on. The sky is the limit for Davis although I wonder if he'll ever be healthy enough to maximize his potential." He's wearing Ahman Green's #30. He has many of the same traits of a young Ahman. Ahman came for Fred Vinson. Davis comes for a conditional 7th rounder. I'm not saying. Not by any stretch. But, I'm cautiously optimistic about what Davis could bring.

* Jared Cook, hurry back.

* The last 2:00 of the first half were enough to make a man vomit. Trailing 10-6. Feeling momentum. The Packers offense melts down. The Packers punt. The ball is downed at the 2. McCarthy goes aggressive and calls timeouts - which I agreed with. But, on third and 1, Julius Peppers lined up on the outside. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Julius Peppers can longer play on the outside. And, when he is playing on the outside, the offense should always run the ball to his side of the field. He can no longer contain the run. 26 yards later, the Cowboys were in business. Then, Gunter gets burnt on two plays and the end result was 98 yards in 33 seconds.

* Aaron Rodgers' interception on the opening drive of the third quarter. In 9 years, I bet you can count on one hand the number of times we've seen him get picked off in a situation like that. He didn't see Barry Church. It was gross. He led the WR right into Church.

* Crucial point of the game: 2:19 left in the 2nd Quarter. 4th & 5. Trailing 10-6. Rodgers has Cobb open. Could've been a TD. Rodgers misses him. Tough pass, but we've come to expect Rodgers to make that throw.

* When the Packers play without Shields, Rollins and Randall; it'll be tough for the Packers to beat anyone in the NFL.

* Good to see Morgan Burnett make a play.

* I felt as though JP had a strip sack coming. Was good to see it happen. Also, nice to see Joe Thomas around the football again.

* Amazing that Edgar Bennett protected the football so well. He almost never fumbled. But, his team can't hang onto the football with him as the Offensive Coordinator.

* Jordy. Man. Two weeks in a row in which Jordy has not been the guy that we know and love.

* I want to see Don Jackson.

This week - it's the hated Bears. At 1-5, the Bears record is abysmal. Don't let the record fool you. They could easily be 3-3 if not for losing to late games. They'll give the Packers all we can handle this weekend. The Bears will play two deep safeties. They'll test McCarthy and Rodgers' patience. They'll let Montgomery catch 10 balls. All underneath. They won't give up the big play. They'll get in our outside WR's face. They'll get physical with Cobb. They'll plug the middle of the field. Drop 7 on nearly every play. Rodgers will have time. He won't have many open receivers. And, since the Packers don't have a RB, we won't be in a position to pound the football at the heart of the Bears defense.

Offensively, the Bears will be conservative. They won't turn the football over. They'll run it with Howard on 1st and 2nd down. They'll try to get it to 3rd and manageable. And, then, they'll try to hit Jeffery or Meredith on 3rd down. Both will be tough for the injury riddled Packers secondary to cover. Brian Hoyer isn't going to amaze with his arm, but he's going to take care of the football. Sure, he's had poor performances in his career, but for the most part, Hoyer has been a steady NFL QB. He's won games. His teams have mostly been competitive. He's a savvy player who knows how to move the sticks. The Packers front 7 should dominate the Bears OL. That'll be key in order for the Packers to win.

I expect an extremely frustrating night of football at Lambeau Field. Ultimately, the Packers prevail in a nail biter.


Packers 17.
Bears 16.

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Take -> Week 6

Greetings, G-Force.

First and foremost, thank you for the vibes last week. Last week, I received more Facebook and Twitter shares than I've ever received. With each week that passes, it gets more difficult to find time to get in front of the computer for an hour or two. Without distraction. Readership inspires me to carry on. Thank you.

3-1. In fairly blissful fashion. As fans, we demand excellence out of our beloved Green Bay Packers. We expect flawless precision. Even though, we should recognize that it's nearly impossible to achieve such greatness. In the regular season - for the most part - we've been spoiled over the last 24 years. But, we need to remind ourselves that it is tough to win in the NFL. And, as much as the losses pain us; we have to enjoy the wins.

In the past, it was viewed as though the Green Bay season ticket holders were the ones who were the difference makers. The Milwaukee season ticket makers were the ones who were reactionary. After thoroughly criticism the fans in Week 1, which were the Green Bay season ticket holders, I have to thank the Milwaukee season ticket holders. It was significantly louder vs the Giants than it was vs the Lions. It looked festive. It looked fun. TJ Lang even went to Twitter and posted this: "Fans were awesome last night at Lambeau!! What a great crowd. Let's be even louder this weekend!! #GoPackGo" Yes, fans make a difference. Players notice it. I'll be interested to see if the Green Bay season ticket holders are interested in getting off their ass and on their feet this weekend. Thanks for making a difference, Packers faithful.

As I write I have two albums lined up. I have the Bob Weir "Blue Mountain" vinyl lined up and I have the Phish "Big Boat" album lined up on my iTunes. I'm still waiting for the "Big Boat" album to be delivered since I pre-ordered it. I'm getting anxious. Nonetheless, the song "More" is a beautifully moving musical piece. Makes me joyful. Also, "Things People Do" seems to ring well in my ear. I sip a New Glarus Scream IIPA. Daniel Carey writes on the bottle: "Some people paint, some sing, others write...I brew." Yes, you do, Daniel. And, we're all better for it. Keep after it. You've master the art. Oh, and be sure that it remains ONLY IN WISCONSIN.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Good day, Packers fans. Your team wins with defense. Recognize! Props to Dom Capers.

* In the 1st Quarter, Mike McCarthy was in control. Consistently shifting formations. Changing personnel. In control of the line of scrimmage. He used a variety of looks. The Giants defense was on their heels. They had no answers for what was coming next. On the opening drive, the Packers ran 16 plays. Gaining 75 yards. Chewing up 8:42 of the 1st Quarter. It was text book. A statement drive. On the 2nd drive, again, McCarthy was a mastermind. 10 plays. 71 yards. 4:21 off the clock. The drive ended in an unfortunate interception, but we'll get to that later. Regardless, McCarthy was a strategist. He was an offensive maestro. Then, in a flash of light, he went predictable. No more 6th OL. No more lead FB. It was 3 wide with Adams, Cobb and Nelson along with Richard Rodgers and a RB. The RB was usually James Starks. Suddenly, the offense was predictable. And, our offense stalled. Often. In fact, there was a stretch where over 5 consecutive possessions the Packers accumulated a total of 32 yards. That's unacceptable.

* Aaron Rodgers. There was a glimpse of the MVP. Then, he went away from the crossing routes. He became indecisive. He held onto the ball. And, when he was quick to release, he was off-target. It's interesting. He moves like the #12 that we know and love. He looks like the #12 that we know and love. He was playful like the #12 that we know and love. But, he's missing his spot with his throws. He's almost out of rhythm. Looking for his groove. Hope he finds his touch soon. I still believe he has a big season in store.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Love the motivation that he's running with. Up 7-3. Eddie put the Packers on his back. He tossed would-be Giants tacklers out of the way. 2 carries. 37 yards. Both looked like they'd be minimal gains. Eddie picked up chunks with pure effort. Fantastic to see.

* RIP! Falling for him. Can't say enough about him as a lead blocker. I've said it before and I'll say it again; at times, Lacy struggles to see the hole, but Rip really helps him find the hole as his lead blocker. And, as a ball carrier, Rip reminds of William Henderson. Pushing the pile. Forcefully moving sticks. I'm anxious for a pass in the flat to RIP. We've seen goodness from it before. I anticipate good things happening again.

* James Starks. Dude. We've been loyal. We're forever grateful for the XLV run. Hell, you can have a space in the Packers HOF because of your playoff game against Philly. The Packers weren't winning that game without you. But, man, your time has come. You struggle to see the hole. You struggle to catch the ball. And, the fumble was absolutely intolerable. Thanks for the memories. All love.

* Randall Cobb. "Vibrating with love and light. Pulsating with love and light. In a world gone mad. A world gone mad. There must be something more than this."

* Rodgers is anxious to get his chemistry with Jordy back on track. Forcing it. All in time, 12. It'll come.

* Prime example that this team is going to continue to grow in 2016. Packers were in the midst of a CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE. Up 20-9. Seeking a dagger. Forcefully beating the Giants into the ground. 2nd and goal. Under 7:00 to play. Ball on the 7. Aaron Rodgers hits the normally sure-handed Richard Rodgers in the hands. Richard drops it. Then, on 3rd down. It's back shoulder to Jordy. The play was open. The pass was thrown up the field. Had it been 1 foot behind the defender, it'd have been a touchdown. Still, Nelson had the ball in his hand. He couldn't corral it in. And, thus, the Giants were kept alive. I fancy the Packers will close that drive with a TD in the near future. I really do.

* A glimpse of the 2014 version of Davante Adams. Word, yo.

* Someday, we'll see Abby lined up in the slot. I'm excited for that moment.

* Someday, we'll see Ty Montgomery involved in the offense. We'll see him and Cobb lined up in the backfield together. Defense will be confused. We'll see a lot of motion. We won't have any idea as to the play design based on the formation. I'm excited for that moment.

* Generally, Mike McCarthy's teams have improved as their has progressed. I have an inkling that this year will be much of the same. We'll see more variety in personnel and in formation as the season progresses. I keep thinking back to that NE game in 2014. McCarthy has the creativity in him. We'll see it again this year. I'm excited for that moment.

* TJ Lang. ALL PRO.

* David Bakhtiari. Forever Aaron Rodgers LT. That epic.

* Bryan Bulaga. Rock solid.

* JC Tretter. His athleticism amazes me. So quick. Strong. Gets side-to-side. Gets forward. All with elegance. Gotta lock him up.

* Lane Taylor. Doing his thing. Playing very well. Holding the point. Often, moving his man.

* There was a Jason Spriggs sighting. And, I liked it. That surprised me.

* Was sad to see Callahan leaving the system. Good for New Orleans. They picked up a QB project who has been well groomed. It created a roster spot. I'm hoping it's for Don Jackson. Jackson has wiggle. He has shake. With Starks' injury, it's possible that he doesn't play. I'd like to see Jackson getting a couple of opportunities on the draw and on a screen. I'd like to see him in the open field. If given the opportunity, carpe diem, Jackson.

* Starks' poor play has me wondering. What happened to Jhurrel Pressley? Why was he added and then cut so quickly? Why was nothing reported about it? I'm confused.

* Richard Rodgers continues to be an incapable blocker.

* Kenny Clark, Letroy Guion and Mike Daniels continue to win their battles. It's great fun to watch!

* Kyler Fackrell! With the game changing play. Great presence of mind to go for the strip as well as the sack. Brilliant play!

* Claymaker! FLEX ON! Long hair - don't care.

* Jayrone getting home. Negated by a penalty. Still, good for the morale. Confidence booster. He has a play coming.

* JP. Guy can no longer contain the run from an end/OLB position. Needs to play on the interior. I think he has a forced fumble coming soon. A strip sack. Game changing play.

* Nick Perry. Don't pinch yourself. He's in contention for the defensive player of the year. Yes, I wrote that. Keep on, keeping' on, Nick.

* Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas. I thought this was going to be the weakest part of our roster. It's been a strength. Blake has been plugging holes. Thomas has shown around the ball every week. And, Jake has been a steady tackler. Don't fool yourself though, there's room for improvement. This group needs to continue to improve in coverage. We're going to give up a big play to a TE or a RB in the pass game on a play in which the ILB core will be fully responsible.

* Ladarius Gunter. Again. Looking like he belongs. Nice.

* Q-Rollins. Solid performance.

* Micah Hyde. Making a case for a solid contract. Mr. versatility. Wish he was returning punts as well. Know that the injuries in our secondary makes us vulnerable to exposing him, but still he is a weapon back there.

* Jacob Schum. Yawn. Time to find a replacement. He sucks. Period.

* Soon, I'll have a 2017 Packers mock draft again. Admittedly, I've been slacking on watching College Football. I'm far behind where I've been in years past. And, where I was originally paying heavy attention to ILB's and DL, I now need to shift to RB, CB and TE. Total shift in focus. I'm lost. I'll watch a lot of college football this weekend, and I hope to catch some over the next 2 weeks. Should bring some clarity.

This week - it's the Cowboys coming to Titletown, U.S.A. In this case, for most, the first memory is either the Ice Bowl or Dez Bryant's no-catch review. But, for me, it's November 23, 1997. A crisp late-fall afternoon. Bright blue skies. The Cowboys were the nemesis. Even though the Packers were the defending Super Bowl Champions. The Packers led 24-17 early in the 4th Quarter. We then witnessed the most parade-like celebratory final 10 minutes of a game in my Packers life. The Packers scored 21 points in the final 10 minutes. And, Mac, yes, my Dad pumps in "Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys" over the loud speaker at Lambeau. It was fan pandemonium. Crowd was singing in unison. Arms around one another. It was glorious. A memory I'll hold onto forever.

Offensively, this Cowboys have some similarities to the Cowboys teams of the '90's. They have a young QB, Dak Prescott, who doesn't make mistakes. They have a young running back, Ezekiel Elliott, who sees the hole and hits it hard. The Cowboys have young WRs in Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams who are fully dangerous. Cole Beasley will man the slot in a fashion that Packers fans wish the Packers would use Abby. Much like the 90's Cowboys, this version of the Cowboys has a dominant OL. They have no weak spot along the line. Jason Witten is a consistent threat. He's also a blocking dynamo. Alfred Morris is a great back-up RB to Elliott. He pounds away and pushes forward. The Cowboys have been banged up on offense this year, but they look to be getting healthy this week as both Tyvon Smith and Dez Bryant are expected to play.

The Cowboys defense has overachieved, thus far. They lack a presence on the DL. I expect the Packers OL to manhandle the Cowboys DL. The Cowboys DL will work hard, but they won't be able to out-work the Packers OL. Sean Lee is a gem at LB for the Cowboys. Andrew Gachkar and Anthony Hitchens give high energy and offer good speed, but they can be overpowered. Brandon Carr has been a solid player at CB. Morris Claiborne is finally living up to his 1st round draft status from 2012. Byron Jones offers speed and physical stature. Barry Church is a staple for the Cowboys. JJ Wilcox is an intimidating force at Safety. Jeff Heath doesn't belong in the NFL. The Cowboys lack depth in the secondary.

This one is widely billed as a marquee match-up of the Packers DL v the Cowboys OL. Rightfully so. Both are among the best in the business. I believe that both will score wins against each other.

Really though, this game will come down to the turnover battle. Dak Prescott has yet to turn the ball over in his young career. That changes this weekend. HaHa grabs a pick.

Expect the Cowboys to play a lot of 2-deep safeties. Especially with the injuries at RB for the Packers. Lacy plays. He pounds away. Ty Montgomery gets opportunities on swing passes. He nickels and dimes the Cowboys defense to move the sticks. The Cowboys defense dares the Packers to shoot defense. Rodgers stays poised. He stays calm. He stays patient. He sticks with the underneath routes. He moves the chains.

Rodgers throws for 250 and 3 TD's. The defense holds Elliott under 80 yards. The Packers flex their muscles to a 4-1 mark.

It's a highly intense game in Titletown, U.S.A. The Packers prove that they're championship worthy.


Packers 24.
Cowboys 20.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Take -> Week 5

Greetings, G-Force.

As I hope is a lifetime tradition for me, I went to the Packers home opener. It was terrific to see Lambeau. Plush green grass. Unscratched brick. The holiest of sporting venues. I had a fantastic tour given by my Dad. If you haven't seen Mac give a tour at Lambeau, what are you waiting for? It's first-class. Get your tickets. Make a request that Mac is your guide. Take the Champions tour.

As for the game, Lambeau is not what it once was. The fans in attendance are yawners. They aren't their to be rowdy. Lambeau has become much like Augusta. It looks beautiful. The crowd sits in silence. It applauds a good shot...or in this case, an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass. But, for the most part, due to the lack of the crowds presence, I view Lambeau as mostly a neutral site. If the Packers are the better team, they'll win. If they're having an off day, they'll lose. But, the fans at Lambeau won't make the difference. Multiple times, I was encouraged to sit down as I tried to get the crowd off their ass and on their feet. Frankly, as a fan, it was defeating.

Lambeau used to be a place to leave with a hoarse voice. You walked in proud to be a rowdy Packers fan. Today, it is a place to be seen. Fans sit. They watch. They aren't their to play a role in the outcome of the game. They aren't their to help swing momentum. They aren't their to create a difficult atmosphere for opposing QB's.

I hope that vibe changes. Quickly. Or else, once again, the Packers will have a 5-3 record at home. The naysayers will blame the team. They'll blame TT. They'll blame MM. They'll blame Rodgers. They'll blame the defense. They won't blame themselves for sitting on their hands for 4 Quarters and bitching about a missed tackle. If you can't tell, it was a frustrating experience to be a fan at Lambeau Field against the Lions. In fact, their was only one time that the crowd was vocally visible. It was the only GO PACK GO chant throughout the entire game. It happened as the Packers were in the huddle and designing a play as they tried to clinch the game. Cobb even waved to quiet the crowd. I wondered where that noise was as Stafford casually audibled along the line of scrimmage like he was the boss of Lambeau Field. I was in disbelief.

It's a Super Bowl or Bust year. The fans should get on board and try to help the cause.

I sip a Renegade Grapefruit Endpoint. Triple IPA. 11%. Sips as though it's a 7% ABV IPA. Has a beautiful grapefruit bite to it coupled with what appears to be a bit of a citra hop. Great fruit buzz throughout. I listen to the Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars album "Living Like A Refugee." It's tribal. It's communal. It's uniting. Much like I used to feel when I sat in the stands at Lambeau.

Here are my quick vibes from the Lions game:

* Loved MM's play calling. Enjoyed the FB in front of Lacy. Lacy has seemed to struggle to find the hole. Ripkowski helped direct Lacy. Ripkowski added a power element. In addition, it opened play action. McCarthy was aggressive in his attack. The offense generated 31 first half points. Had Nelson held onto the one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone, Rodgers would've thrown 5 first half TD's. While some will complain that the offense went conservative in the 2nd half, I can't say that I fully agree with it. Had Davis held onto the pass and had Bulaga not been penalized, the offense's numbers would've looked much better. A couple of mental mistakes were extremely problematic for the offense's production in the 2nd half.

* Aaron Rodgers: I'M BACK. Yes, Aaron. Yes, you were.

* Lacy throwing defenders around. Great fun to see Julius Peppers emphatically cheering him on from the sidelines. TEAMMATES!


* Randall Cobb sat down in the zone really well. Found the space. Had mental same mindedness with Rodgers. Good buzz!

* Jared Cook. That hurts. Looked really good until the play in which he got hurt. He's a clear mismatch. Hope he is back soon.

* Trevor Davis can fly. But, he looks lost when the ball is in the air. Doesn't appear to have good depth perception.

* Davante Adams showing passion as he fights his way into the end zone!

* Rodgers was seeing the field and quickly getting rid of the football. Thing of beauty!

* The OL was dominant. All game.

* Mason Crosby. Smooth.

* Mike Daniels. Total superstar.

* Kenny Clark. Showing promise.

* Nice to see Jayrone Elliott making a play.

* Nick Perry is playing like a Pro Bowl OLB. A monster in the run game. A physically imposing pass rusher. The MVP of the game.

* Micah Hyde was around the football. Wish he'd have corralled the interception.

* Joe Thomas is off to a really nice start. A tough minded pro. Should have grabbed the pick. Nonetheless, he's been in the right place.

* Kyler Fackrell! Nice sack!

* Good to see Dean Lowry making a play in the backfield!

* Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan seem to share chemistry. They're teammates. They read each other well. They're well schooled. They're playing MUCH BETTER than I had anticipated they would.

* Damarious Randall's interception was gorgeous. Sheer willpower. The rest of his game was not well played. I still believe that Randall is going to have a good year. I believe in him.

* Didn't like to see Q-Rollins getting beat out of the slot by Boldin with such ease. Have high expectations for him. Believe he'll improve as the year progresses.

* Ladarius Gunter looking like he can play in this league. He turns and runs. Gets his hands on the football. Should've held on, but still a nice play. He also stepped up in run support. He's been a sure tackler. Plays with a swagger to him.

* Josh Hawkins. Gulp.

* Kentrell Brice. Ummm. He was equally at fault on the deep TD at the end of the half.

* HaHa has a big play coming. He's an intimidating presence in the secondary.

This week - it's the Giants. In a crucial NFC contest. If you watched the Giants in Minnesota last Monday night, you saw that Eli struggles with crowd noise. The Giants OL struggles with crowd noise. You can create false starts. You can create miscommunication. You can create unnecessary timeouts. You can create 5 yard delay of game penalties. For most of the game in Minnesota, the NYG offense was unable to operate due to the crowd noise. The Packers must do the same this weekend or Eli Manning could pass for 400 yards. It's important for the Lambeau Faithful to create a tough environment or else the Packers will fall to 2-2.

Eli Manning is surrounded with talent on offense. OBJ, Victor Cruz and Sterling Sheperd are lethal WR's. All can play on the outside. All can play in the slot. All are dangerous getting in and out of their breaks. All can be used interchangeably. All are tough to tackle after the catch. Larry Donnell might be inconsistent catching the football, but he's still a physical mismatch for most LB's and Safeties. Will Tye is a big bodies, sure handed TE. Rashad Jennings - when healthy - offers a solid power-speed combination. Orleans Darkwa falls forward upon contact and wears on defenses. Bobby Rainey is a great pass catcher out of the backfield. Paul Perkins should see increased action out of the backfield. He's a shifty back who is sure to make the first tackler miss. The Giants OL has issues. Eric Flowers is an OK left tackle, but he can be beaten. Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg and John Jerry are all average pros. Marshall Newhouse is well, Marshall Newhouse.

Dwayne Harris is a dangerous kick and punt returner. He'll try to return the kick rather than downing it - more often than not.

JPP is not all the way back from his hand injury, but he's making his presence felt. Olivier Vernon has caused problems for Bryan Bulaga in the past. Jonathan Hankins and Damon Harrison add big beef to the middle of the DL. The NYG LB's are the wink link. Devon Kennard, Kelvin Sheppard and Jonathan Casillas can all be had. The secondary - when healthy - has played well. Last week - they didn't look good as they were beat up. DRC, Janoris Jenkins, and Eli Apple are very good CB's. If DRC or Apple can't play, Trevin Wade will be forced into action. He's terrible. Landon Collins is an up-and-coming safety. He's solid in run support, but can be beaten over the top.

I expect a shoot out. Both teams with their offenses rolling.

Aaron Rodgers throws three TD's. Lacy runs win in. Eli throws 4 TD's.

But, the Packers get the ball last. Crosby seals the deal.

Packers 34.
Giants 31.


Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

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.