Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Take -> Week 12

Greetings, G-Force.

7-3. Back on top of the NFC North! In dominating fashion! What’s the cure to a slump? A road trip to visit your little brother. And, thus, a ray of hope flickers through the Nation’s most admired sports franchise.

To celebrate, I poured a Central Waters Black Gold. An Imperial Stout that measured in at 11%. Aged in bourbon barrels. Thick, nearly oily, throughout the pour. Little head at the brim. Heavy chocolate taste with hints of vanilla and robustly bourbon. A great addition to a celebratory night.

The “Trick or Treat: Best of the String Cheese Incident” spins loudly. Love the version of Get Down Tonight. Leaves me in party mode.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. It was clear from the get-go that McCarthy wanted to set the stage with an aggressive tempo. The 4th & 1 call on the opening possession showed that McCarthy meant business. The Packers were fortunate to draw the off-sides penalty, but regardless, the decision to potentially leave 3 points on the table was a mental trendsetter for the game.

* For the first time in the 2015 season, the Packers looked like a team that was capable of sustaining a significant playoff run. It was a playoff environment. A physical game. And, the Packers were the far more physical team. The ‘queens are a tough group. The Packers punched them in the mouth. Early and often. The Packers dominated the line of scrimmage and outmuscled the ‘queens. Much in the same way that you’d expect big brother to dominate little brother in a street fight.

* For the ‘queens, it was their Super Bowl. For the Packers, it was a crucial Week 11 NFC North dogfight. The Packers played focused, physical and fully determined to leave victorious. The ‘queens played undisciplined, desperate and scrappy, which is totally out of character.

* The #1 focus of the MN franchise is beating the Packers. The Packers went to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and left with a dominant victory. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a lingering mental effect for both teams over the next 2 weeks. To a man, the ‘queens looked mentally and emotionally defeated. Meanwhile, the Packers looked unified and at times, they even appeared to be having fun. There smiles, embraces and even an all-telling fist bump between HaHa & JPepp. How cool was it to see Pepp, Clay and HaHa enjoying a chill moment on the bench after a bicep-flexing, testosterone-driven display of dominance.

James Jones gon’ HOODIE!

* The NFC North is ours for the taking. It’s time to build on this momentum. While the performance wasn’t pristine, there was enough positives to enhance the mood inside the locker room at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! With a vengeance, EDDIE shows up! 100 yards. In a crucial game. A tone setting display as he carried Linval Joseph on multiple occasions. His spin move offered belief in a time of need.

* Throw the stats out the window, after the initial drive in which Rodgers looked jumpy; the MVP was in form. He was in control. When the ‘queens cut it to 19-13, Rodgers engineered a drive for the ages. The 1st & 15 connection to Adams was brilliant. The 3rd and 6 pass to HOODIE when he was rolling out to his left was beautiful. The TD pass to HOODIE when he was rolling to his right to elude duress was one for the ages. And, the 2-point conversion was totally awesome. A memorable backhanded flick to HOODIE that felt beltworthy.

* Before the game, the ‘queens fans paid to have a drone flying over their tailgates. The drone was burning an Aaron Rodgers jersey. During the game, the reigning MVP torched the ‘queens for 30 points on two passing TD’s. Prior to the Packers game, the ‘queens had only given up more than 20 points on one occasion; a 23-20 loss at Denver. Stay classy, ‘queens fans.


* Love the screen to Starks! The block by Lang was a Pro Bowl play.

* James Jones. Always the fashion artist. HOODIE!

Randall Cobb is pressing. He’s trying to make things happen. Desperately. He’s in a panic mode. He’s overly anxious. And, he and Rodgers aren’t on the same page. They aren’t seeing the field the same way. They aren’t in unison, but I really enjoyed the business conversation that they had as they walked off of the field together post the 3rd down incompletion in which Rodgers thought Cobb was going to take the route across the field. Instead, Cobb stopped his route and the ball hit off his hands.

* Last year – I thought Cobb was among the best Red Zone receivers in the league. It was good to see him shake loose for a TD to close the first half.

* Championship teams finish and start halves in elite fashion. It was sublime to see the Packers move the ball 80 yards on 9 plays for a TD to close the 1st half. And, it was equally as nice to see the Packers start the 2nd half with a FG on a 61 yard march. It was a 12 play drive that ate up 4:47 off the clock.

* There was a Jeff Janis sighting. In a big way. The Kickoff return was a momentum swinging play. The queens had just taken the lead. The crowd was rowdy. Janis showed his speed. The PI play was no fluke. I fancy that if the Packers ran that play 3-4 times a game, they’d likely get a big play nearly every week. He was also wide open on the previous possession on 3rd down, but the blitz got to Rodgers too quickly. Or else, Janis might have had a long TD. He had a step on Newman. Janis also continues to shine on special teams. Area of improvement: he needs to become a better blocker. Especially in the open field.

* Justin Perillo is a solid route runner. He’s not fleet of foot, but he gets out of his break well. Like how he sits down in the zone as well.

* Week in and week out, Richard Rodgers amazes with how poor he blocks. Little to no recognition. Lacks fight. On Lacy’s first run, he had a huge hole, but Richard Rodgers ignored Harrison Smith. Unbelievable.

* TJ Lang is a stud. A total throwback.

* It was telling to see Corey Linsley and Aaron Rodgers share an embrace before the game. They’re working on their mojo.

* Huge game for JC Tretter. Stepped in with great form!

* I like when Josh Walker is used as an added blocker. It’s predictable that they’ll run behind him when he’s on the field, but it it’s been successful as Walker is winning his battle. Richard Rodgers’ inability to block has forced the Packers to design new strategies to get a push in short yardage situations.



* Wasn’t Bakhtiari’s best game, but he’s a fighter. Same applies to Bulaga.

* Clay Matthews. What a Superstar. Totally dominating. He won with both speed, power and intelligence. He shot gaps. He got around the corner. He was in AP’s head. Fantastic performance from Clay. He’s undoubtedly the 2nd best Packer defender in my lifetime.

* Good to see Peppers getting a push. Looked fresh. Looked possessed.

* Datone Jones might be listed as an OLB, but who are we kidding? The Packers were clearly in a 4-3 and at times, we were lined up in a 5-2 formation. What a fantastic performance from Jones. Two crucial sacks and an epic batted pass on 3rd down. Datone’s best game as a pro.

* Speaking of the 5-2 formation. Loved the creativity by Dom. Guion, BJ, and Daniels were punishing. Neal and Peppers were collapsing. Dom was a mastermind.

* BJ Raji is earning a contract. Spectacular game from Raji. He came on a variety of moves. Showed good quickness on the spin move. Displayed great strength at the point. Forceful game from Raji.

* Mike Daniels was a star. High impact plays in the run game. Intimidated AP. Awesome sack of Teddy. Stokes my fire when Daniels is animated.

* Mike Pennel and Letroy Guion held the point of attack in fine fashion.

* I’m eternally grateful that Clay Matthews is a member of the Green Bay Packers. Love his game. Spectacular presence. Fun to see him attacking the football and going for the strip.

* HA HA! Masterful game. Terrific play on the sack. Forceful tackler. Makes his presence felt.

* Burnett and HaHa merging on the forced fumble of AP was a riveting moment in my life.

* Sammy Swagga was ballin’. Made a number of key tackles on third down. Played well in coverage. He was inspired.

* Casey Hayward with his best tackling game of the year. Even affected a play on a blitz, which shocked me.

* Liked seeing the Packers utilizing Q-Rollins on the blitz. He didn’t get home, but I’m interested to see his nose for the football when he’s attacking a QB. He’s fearless.

* Monster game from Mason Crosby. Way to rebound!

* Liked how Jayrone Elliott was utilized in the rotation. He didn’t get home, but he was close on a couple of occasions.

* What was Joe Thomas thinking? He ran right by Teddy when he had a clear shot at him on a third down. He went to cover a back that wasn’t even remotely a threat. It’s that type of play that makes me cringe and absolutely salivate at the thought of adding another star ILB to this team. Between Thomas and Palmer, we lack instincts. We lack playmaking ability. They’re decent gang tacklers, but they aren’t going to make a game changing play. Ever.

* Think of how dominating Clay would be if we had an above-average ILB lined up next to him? The Packers should draft 3 ILB’s this year. I’m not joking.

* I want to see more of YELLOW JAKE, but two weeks in a row he’s been slow to close the hole in special teams and thus, big plays have happened because of it. While YELLOW JAKE can’t be worse than Palmer on the inside, I’m concerned about his quickness ILB. Hope I’m wrong.

* Good to see Demetri Goodson drawing a penalty as a gunner.

* I want to see more of Janis as a kickoff returner. Adds a weapon to the arsenal.

* Just fair catch the ball, Randall Cobb.


It’ll be a day to remember at Lambeau Field. Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers all on the field at the same time. That’s magic. In Super fashion. Something to be thankful for and awesome that’s happening on Thanksgiving Day.

The Packers and the Bears. The greatest rivalry in American sports. The big city against the small town. They’ve played each other 191 times. The Bears lead the series 93-92-6. After Thanksgiving, the record will be even. Wild to consider!

Early in the year, it appeared as though the Bears would have a pathetic year. They seemed destined to finish 3-13. But, John Fox has turned it around. He’s reeled in Ray Nutler. In fact, Nutler has done a decent job protecting the ball for most of the year. The Bears have found a diamond in Jeremy Langford. Langford runs with speed, great vision and a quite toughness. He plants his foot and hits the hole. It sounds as though Matt Forte will also play this week, so expect the Bears to try and run the football north of 30 times this week. They’ll control the clock. They’ll try to run the ball right at the heart of the Packers defense. And, they’ll try to get the ball to Forte and Langford in the flat as both RB’s are solid receivers out of the backfield.

The Packers biggest defensive weaknesses play right into the Bears hands. The Packers struggle to cover the TE. Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller are both big play threats. With Micah Hyde’s status in doubt, look for Morgan Burnett to be pressed into coverage. The Bears will try to get Nate Palmer in space. If they succeed, we’ll be in trouble. The Packers struggle to cover crossing routes. The Bears live off of the crossing route. They love to use the middle of the field. The Bears offensive aim is to get their WR’s running in stride to enable them to gain excess YAC. Jeffery, Royal, Bellamy and Wilson are all dangerous after the catch. Jeffery remains an elite WR. Wilson is a young WR who is on the rise. Bellamy isn’t lethal, but he’s adequate. When healthy, Eddie Royal is steady.

The Bears OL remains a work in progress. I fully expect the Packers DL to win a couple of battles and to get into Nutler’s face. In the past, Nutler has done a decent job avoiding the Packers rush and using his feet to escape. In turn, he’s grabbed big yards running the football on 3rd downs. The Packers have to wrap him up. Vladimir Ducasse & Hroniss Grasu can be pushed around on the inside. Look for big games from Daniels and Raji.

The Bears do a solid job rotating players along their DL. Eddie Goldman has had a solid year. Jarvis Jenkins has been a great addition. Pernell McPhee has showed that he can be an every down player. He’s a great pass rusher. Willie Young is still a solid rotational pass rushing specialist. Bruce Gaston, the former Packer, has shown pass rushing promise from the interior. Lamarr Houston has ability and is a threat to get to the QB. At LB, Jonathan Anderson is developing into a responsible player. He’s been better than I imagined him becoming. Christian Jones has also flashed at times. Shea McClellin has had good games against the Packers previously. He’s a better ILB than he was an OLB. The Bears lack depth at CB. Kyle Fuller continues to play at a high level, but he can be beat on the slant and the 15 yard post route. Tracy Porter has found youth and is having a decent season. Adrian Amos belongs on the All-Rookie team. He’s not afraid of contact and plays the ball well. Antrel Rolle has been a stabilizing, gritty veteran addition for the Bears. The Packers have to spread out the Bears. They don’t have depth in the secondary and will give up big yards over the middle of the field.

The Bears come out controlling the clock. Grabbing chunks of yards consistently. 3-5 yards at a time. They find Jeffrey on a crossing route for 15. They settle for an early FG.

The Packers pound Lacy. With success. Lacy finds his bruising stride. It’s mudder season. Right where Lacy shines. It’s Rodgers to Cobb for a TD.

The Bears respond. Nutler to Wilson over the middle. Nutler to Jeffrey on the outside. Nutler to Bennett on an underneath route. Forte and Langford both annoy. They frustrate. They pick up 3rd & 3. Langford finds the end zone.

Rodgers is in rhythm. He hits Adams for 15 on a post. He trusts Janis and reaps the rewards with a big TD!

This has the makings of a night to remember. A classic Packers home blowout. But, the Bears are scrappy. They’re fighters. They’re competitors. They’ll keep this game close. They’d like nothing more than to spoil a grand ol’ Packers party at Lambeau Field on a Holiday. But, thankfully, we know that a big Nutler turnover is waiting in the wings. I’ve been waiting for a game changing play from Casey Hayward. Let’s hope this is the game.

Lacy grabs 90 yards and a TD. Rodgers throws for 275 and 2 TD's. Peppers and Matthews each grab sacks. It’s a great day to be a Packers fan.

Packers 27
Bears 23

Starr. Favre. Rodgers. Thanksgiving Day. Spectacular!


Go Pack Go!

Talkin’ S-Mac.

Friday, November 20, 2015

My Take -> Week 11

Greetings, G-Force.

I write from the perspective of an optimistic realist. I will always stand by the side of the Green Bay Packers. Regardless of whether we're World Champions or whether we're slumping deep into the doldrums. I'm a fan of the Green Bay Packers. In my youth, I was raised by positive parents. As a man, I'm a product of my roots. And, thus, I relish the gift that awaits this Sunday. A heavy weight clash. With first place lingering in the balance. I'm ready for Sunday afternoon.

To keep my vibe positive, I choose Lucky Dube's Live in Uganda. It's a fantastic album. Uplifting. Joyful. It provides glorious happiness to my soul. True excitement for my mind. Stay blissful, Packers fans.

By my side sits an Evil Twin Lil' B. 11.5% ABV. Complex in flavor. Dynamic at the first sip. Thick. Sweet. A fluffy syrup like head pours from the bottle. A burnt dark chocolate taste at the finish is preceded by a dark fruit and coffee concoction. There's a ton of action in each sip. This beer lives in my fridge during the winter months.

Here are my quick vibes from the past week:

* First and foremost, I couldn't stomach watching the Lions game a second time. It was that pitiful. I couldn't stomach it. So, my analysis is lighter than I'd like.

* Mike McCarthy is a mastermind of an offensive play caller. He's the ultimate at rallying the troops. But, in 2015, he isn't calling the plays. And, his locker room seems to be falling apart at the seams. Makes me wonder what his role is with the current team. And, I'd argue that I'm a bigger fan of McCarthy than anyone I know.

* Is Aaron Rodgers willing to be coached? Valid question, I think. He seems disinterested during meetings with his coaches. There's little-to-no eye contact. Appears as though he's lost respect for the coaching staff.

* For those of you that say that this is the lowest point of McCarthy's coaching tenure in Green Bay, I remind you that the Packers were shut out 26-0 by the Bears in his first game as a Head Coach in 2006. His team rallied around him and finished 8-8 with 4 straight wins. I remind you that in 2009 the Packers fell to the winless Bucs in Tampa (I was there) to fall to 4-4. His team rallied around him and finished 11-5. In 2010, the Packers had an ugly loss to the Dolphins at Lambeau. The loss brought the Packers to 3-3. McCarthy's team rallied. They finished 10-6 and went on to be XLV Champions. In 2012, the Packers blew at big lead at Indy to fall to 2-3. McCarthy's group rallied and won the Division with an 11-5 record. In 2013, the packers were 5-6-1 and without Aaron Rodgers. The team rallied and won the NFC North crown. In 2014, the Packers started off 1-2. The season was on the brink of becoming a waste. The Packers rallied and finished 12-4. So, here we sit in 2015. 6-3. One game behind the 'queens in the NFC North. With two dates against the 'queens waiting in the balance. I haven't thrown in the towel. The 2015 season isn't tarnished. But, our best football better be in front of us.

* Catch the ball, Randall Cobb. If he hangs on, it might've been 10-0 Green Bay. And, in that case, it might've been a different game.

* As ugly as the game was, if Mason Crosby makes the kick, we'd be sitting at 7-2. Yo Mason. We need better than that. I'd give him a pass, but we saw him do the exact same thing against Indy in 2012. That was brutal. To me, it looked like he choked.

* The Lambeau Gods were shining from the heavens. Continuously granting the Packers an opportunity to continue the Lions winless streak in WI, but Mason Crosby couldn't deliver. Bums me out.

* The Packers may not be in first place in the NFC North right now, but we do hold a 2-game lead in the Wild Card race. With tie breakers over the Rams and Seahawks. Additionally, it's noteworthy that the Rams play SEA and AZ again. And, SEA plays AZ and MN in the near future. And, MN plays ATL. There's a lot of football ahead of us. Stay the course. Be patient. Let's see how this plays out.

* Davante Adams had 21 targets. He finished with 79 yards. That's not a joke. Disgustingly pathetic. He was spending more time begging for penalties. He lost his composure. He dropped a deep ball. It was really hard to watch. And, when he was open, Rodgers missed him twice.

* Abby finally got his chance. He looked good. And, then he got hurt. Again.


* The Packers started the game with slants and screens. The offense looked great. And, then they went away from it. For no apparent reason. Terrible offensive design. I have no idea why McCarthy isn't calling the plays.

* I've been begging for Rodgers to look at the middle of the field. Thankfully, he did. And, Justin Perillo finished with 5 catches for 58 yards and a TD because of it. Rodgers has to use the middle of the field from here on out. We're too predictable. Look at the crossing route underneath. It's open.

* Great game, Perillo! A true bright spot. A security blanket.

* Nice to see Richard Rodgers in the end zone again. He's a lethal red zone target. He's up to 5 TD's on the year.

* Really like what Starks is doing in the screen game.


* YELLOW JAKE has to make the tackle on that Kickoff Return to start the 2nd half.

* Speaking of YELLOW JAKE, I'm baffled as to why he didn't play on the defensive side of the ball. Pains me. Nate Palmer can't play. He has no instincts. He'll never make a game changing play. The 3-4 defense requires big time play at the LB position. If Nate Palmer were to get cut, I'm not sure that he'd be on an NFL team. Just as Brad Jones is currently sitting on the sidelines. Palmer might be on the couch next to him.

* I love TJ Lang's game.

* I'm surprised at how bad Corey Linsley is playing. Looks like a shadow of himself.

* I'm a huge Josh Sitton fan. But, we need more.

* Gotta wonder if Bulaga is banged up. Not playing like himself. He's the best RT in the game. Need him to return to his normal self.

* I've heard many people say that the Packers limitations are showing because of a lack of FA signings. I couldn't disagree more. The Packers signed Cobb and Bulaga in FA. Two huge signings. We kept our own. They were two of the most crucial signings in all of FA. Remember that. Also, TT went for the fix at WR with James Jones.

* Speaking of James Jones, over the last 3 weeks, he's played like the player I'd thought he'd be when the Packers signed him earlier this year. He's lost a step. He's struggling to separate. He can't get open. We need more.

* The Packers were playing Datone Jones at OLB. I'm a big fan of Datone Jones, but he's not an OLB. Why don't we just run a 4-3? Neal, Perry, and Jones aren't 3-4 OLB. 3-4 OLB's weight between 245 & 260. And, they can flat out run! They can drop in coverage. They have a speed rush and a leverage winning bull rush. They win with speed. Neal, Perry, and Jones are so limited at 3-4 OLB. And, because of it, Capers has limited options. Wish we could see more of Jayrone Elliott.

* Liked Ha Ha's play. Played with fire. Thought his interception was going to be a monstrous game changing play. A season changing play, much like Doug Evans in 1996. Remember 1996? The Packers were 8-3. Coming off of 2 horrible losses. They were playing terrible at St Louis. And, then Doug Evans had a pick-6 that brought the good vibes back to 1265 Lombardi Ave. Someone has to make that play for the Packers this year.

* Ron Wolf was honored at half time of the Lions game. Ted Thompson has done everything that Ron Wolf did for the Green Bay Packers. Someday - his name will also need to be unveiled in the Ring at Lambeau Field.

* Sammy Swagga wanted nothing to do with Golden Tate on the big 3rd down late in the game.

* Why do the Packers insist on blitzing Casey Hayward? Has he ever made a play? The Packers trailed 12-10. There was 5:07 to play. It was 3rd & 9. Detroit had the ball at their own 21. Lambeau seemed to be rocking. I was convinced that the Packers would win. They had all momentum. Capers called a blitz. Stafford prepared to be hit. Hayward had a free shot. And then I'm not sure what happened. It looked like he swiped at the football instead of bringing Stafford to the ground. Instead, Stafford rolled left. Escaped pressure and hit Johnson for a 13-yard gain. Pissed me off.

* The Packers had 7 possessions that ended in a punt and had 6 plays or less. Yes, that's an Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay Packers. What world am I living in?

* The Lions were rolling CB's I'd never heard of onto the field. And, they were shutting down the Packers WR's. That's the current 2015 Green Bay Packers.

* Damarious Randall is showing a knack for making the big play. The ball finds him.

* Micah Hyde is a great tackler.

* Where is Julius Peppers?

* Make a play, Mike Daniels.

* Liked the push by Letroy Guion.

* Aaron Ripkowski is the real deal on special teams.

* Packers fans have to enjoy seeing Clay Matthews on the field. He's an absolute superstar. We're blessed that he's in Green & Gold.

This week - it's the 'queens from Minnesota. They're threatening to steal the NFC North crown from the 4-time defending Champions. In 2013, the Packers defeated the Bears in Week 17 in a winner take all game to capture the NFC North crown. In 2014, the Packers defeated the Lions in Week 17 in a winner take all game to capture the NFC North crown. It's noteworthy that the Packers play the 'queens in Week 17 in 2015.

The 'queens have won 5 straight. They have a terrific coach in Mike Zimmer. They have a fantastic defense. They have the best RB in football. They have a QB with a uniting personality. The Minnesota crowd will be loud. They're ready for this game. In many ways, it's their Super Bowl. The Minnesota 'queens are envious of the Green Bay Packers. They are the younger brother that desperately wants to be the older brother. The 'queens are without a title. The Packers have 13 of them. The Packers are the pretty team wearing Green. The 'queens are the brother that Mom & Dad didn't have time to shop for, so they were thrown in a Purple shirt off the Wal-Mart racks. The Packers have a legendary stadium. While the game this Sunday will be outdoors, the 'queens played indoors for 32 straight years. As I say to my son all of the time, "Memories are made outdoors. Go play outside." The 'queens have followed that mantra. They have minimal positive memories in their history.

But, suddenly, in 2015, the 'queens look like they're better than the Packers. They're more disciplined. They win the line of scrimmage. They force turnovers. They're better coached. They don't seem to turn the ball over. They force turnovers. They dominate special teams. They win third down. They come from behind. And, when they have the lead, they lean on AP in a big way. This version of the Minnesota 'queens is tough to beat. They're for real. The testosterone levels of the 2015 Green Bay Packers will be tested in a big way. There's a seismic shift in the NFC North that's threatening to occur. But, in order for that shift to happen, the 'queens have to get thru the Packers. And, at present, the Packers control their own destiny. Good luck, 'queens. It's not happening.

I first saw Teddy Bridgewater when he was a Senior in High School. He was athletic. He was mobile. He was a leader. It was easy to like his game. He's still that way. AP is back to his old self. The child-beating Peterson has been dominating defenses. Frankly, it disgusts me to even write AP's name. And, that's painful because AP is as good of a RB that I've ever watched play. He's right there with Barry Sanders and Walter Payton. Stefon Diggs has emerged as a favorite target of Bridgewater. Diggs gets deep on play action. He's a tough cover. Mike Wallace has shown signs of life. He's running lethal crossing routes and is a threat to beat you deep on every play. Jarius Wright is a solid slot receiver and Charles Johnson is a big target. Johnson, the former Packer, has all of the talent required to be a star WR. At times, he's put it all together and been a tough cover. But, consistency has been his issue. The 'queens are loaded at TE. Kyle Rudolph is a star. Rhett Ellison is underrated. And, MyCole Pruitt is a solid blocker who finds space and can move chains. I'm shocked as to how well the 'queens OL has played. They aren't littered with big names, but they've played really well. They've protected Teddy and created holes for AP to run through. It's worth mentioning that Minnesota is so committed to the run game that it wouldn't surprise to see Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata combine for 10 touches.

Minnesota's defense is terrific. Brian Robison and Everson Griffen have made up a 1-2 punch of edge rushers. Both win with a gifted speed/power combo. They're energizers. No one has beats them in the effort battle. Linval Joseph is an intimidating presence in the middle of the field. Joseph is a superstar. He's dominant. He's forceful. He's among the best DL in football. Sharrif Floyd is a physical figure who wins 1 v 1 battles on the regular. The Packers OL has their work cut out for them. The 'queens have an awesome LB core. It makes me jealous. Admittedly. Anthony Barr is a total stud. Eric Kendricks has been great. Chad Greenway is a veteran leader who can still ball. Harrison Smith is among the best safties in football. He can do it all. He rushes the QB as well as any Safety in football. He can cover the slot. He can play CF. Harrison Smith has mad game. Andrew Sendejo is the weak spot on the defense. He often takes bad angles to the ball in the run game and in coverage. He can be exposed. Xavier Rhodes is a shut down CB in the making. He's given the Packers problems in the past. Trae Waynes is the Nickel CB. I like Waynes game. A lot. Terence Newman is a player that Mike Zimmer trusts. He can't run like he used to, but he knows Zimmer's system and he's dependable. I hope the Packers test Newman deep on multiple occasions. Let's see if Newman can run with Janis. There could be a big play waiting if we test Newman deep.

The 'queens special teams cannot be overlooked. Marcus Sherels is sneaky quick as a PR. Cordarrelle Patterson has given the Packers problems as a KR previously. I don't want to see the ball in his hands.

The Packers backs are against the wall. In the regular season, when the McCarthy/Rodgers tandem has faced this circumstance, it's generally worked out in the Packers favor. This is a tough test. Minnesota is stout. They're more physical than Green Bay. They've played more possessed than Green Bay. They've played with more of a fighter's mentality than Green Bay. But, sooner or later, it gets real. And, this Sunday is one of those days.

Minnesota comes out running the football. It's AP at the heart of the Packers front. Raji wins with quickness. Daniels wins with leverage. Guion wins with power. AP is neutralized, but on 3rd down, Bridgewater gets to the edge and hits an open Diggs on a comeback route. Then, AP gets loose into the Packers secondary. Stay calm, Packers fans. The defense holds to 3.

Lacy gets carries. McCarthy wants to show that the Packers can win with physicality. Lacy gets some tough yards to the left side of the OL. It's Rodgers connecting with Cobb on a crucial 3rd down. Richard Rodgers gives the Packers the lead with his 6th TD of the year.

The 'queens continue to move the ball at a slow but steady pace. Sammy Swagga runs with Wallace. Randall fights with Diggs on the outside. But, Randolph gives us problems over the middle of the field as the Packers stack the box to stop the run. We're vulnerable in play action to the TE. And, Norv Turner is out thinking Dom Capers.

McCarthy often saves things for big games. This week - it has to be Janis. IT HAS TO BE. They can't run with him. On a double move, Janis gets deep for a big one.

The Packers lead 14-9. Mid 4th Quarter. AP grabs 15. Softens the defense. The 'queens go play-action to Diggs. It's Bridgewater to Rudolph. The 'queens take a 16-14 lead late.

It's a dog fight. In a rowdy environment. The Packers will is tested. This team has been to battle previously. In the regular season, they've left victorious. Almost always, it seems. Rodgers walks with a nervous confidence. He comes on the screen to Starks. He hits Cobb on a short ball over the middle. He finds Perillo for a first down. It's Adams on a comeback. And, this time, thankfully, Crosby connects late.

Packers 17
'queens 16

Stake claim to the NFC North, boys. We need this one. It's ours until we're knocked out. Have fun. Play free. Be hungry.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Take -> Week 10

Greetings, G-Force.

The sky isn't falling. The season isn't collapsing. The Packers are 6-2. And, if we're honest with ourselves, based on the quality of the Packers play through 8 games, we should be stoked that the Packers are currently 6-2. Even at 6-0, it wasn't as if the Packers were playing brilliant football. We're at the halfway point of the season. Last year, through 8 games, the Packers were 5-3. They got hot and finished 12-4. The same could happen this year.

Prior to the season I wrote:

"Last year, I went on record before the season and said that the Packers would win the Super Bowl. This year, I'm feeling a 10-6 to 11-5 season. The schedule is really tough. The Packers could play really good football and finish 10-6."

I still feel that way. But, I'm not concerned. While I don't think we're built to go on a road playoff run, I do think that our best football is ahead of us. I'm banking on McCarthy. First things first, this team needs to get healthy.

Beer is a mental remedy. Especially during STOUT SEASON. If you aren't drinking stouts right now, you're missing out. Evil Twin's "I love you with my stout" is absolutely fantastic. It's an Imperial Stout at 12%. Pours with a beautiful foam at the top. It sweet. It's bold. It's robustly black, in color. It tastes a bit like smoked chocolate. It's a perfect after dinner drink. It's also really good at 8:30 am on game day. And, at 12%, it's absolutely buzzworthy.

Music is the weapon of the future. As people, we have to remember this message. Music cures all. Dance. Daily. Feel the flow. Life will have harmony. I promise. Today's beat is offered by Michael Jackson. His Dangerous album is a fitting choice. It was released in November of 1991. The Lions haven't won in Green Bay since December of 1991, which provides a true reminder of how long the Packers dominance has been over the Lions in the great state of WI. But, the Dangerous album offers the beauty of "Heal the World" and clearly on a day like today, we need healing. It also offers "Keep the Faith" and those words should ring loudly for Packers fans.

Here are some quick vibes from the last week:

* Mike McCarthy needs control of this offense. In full effect. I didn't agree with him giving up the offensive play calling before the year. I don't agree with it this year. We lack creativity on offense. We lack design. We lack strategy. We lack efficiency.

* Hey Aaron, R-E-L-A-X.

* YO EDDIE! CHILL, DUDE. JUST PLAY BALL. You're a pimp. Just play. With confidence. We need you. You need us. Let's be mates.

* James Starks! The Green & Yellow Hornet! Slashing. Fighting. Playing with conviction.

* TJ Lang is a stud. Pro Bowl material.

* Corey Linsley is playing terrible football right now. I'm surprised.

* Josh Sitton is going through the worst stretch of his career right now.

* Bryan Bulaga cannot be healthy. He's being abused with both speed and strength. That doesn't happen to a healthy Bulaga.

* Richard Rodgers can't block. Never has been able to. And, I'm starting to get convinced that he never will be able to. But, Rodgers has a lot of strengths. He can sit down well on routes. He has solid hands. So, why are the Packers spreading him out wide and sending him on 15-20 yard routes? That's not his game. Keep him on short routes where he can use his large frame to shield defenders. He isn't the type of TE who will stretch defenses.

* The Packers need AQ81 back. He'll help the running game as a blocker.

* Great to see Ripkowski running in the open field! Coming at defenders with bruising intent!

* Randall Cobb was targeted 12 times. He had 4 catches. That's strange. He & Rodgers aren't in sync. And, it shows in the body language. Cobb has been open. Rodgers hasn't been able to hit him.

* Solid day for Davante Adams. Wish he'd have pulled in the ball on the final drive, but I couldn't tell if it got tipped. Nonetheless, good footwork from him down the sideline. And, he showed that he could be a prime target for Rodgers, when called upon.

* Great grab on the 4th down play, JJ! Jones is struggling to get consistent separation though.

* Loved the wheel route to Cobb.

* Let's be real. 1st and goal - Rodgers' ball to Cobb was awful. Didn't give him a chance. On 2nd down, he had Jones open. He didn't see him. On third down, after rolling out to buy time, it'd have been best to hold onto the football to see if anything opened up. Instead, he ran the football which killed clock and took it down to the 2-minute warning. There was little to no chance for Rodgers to run it into the end zone on the play. Would've been better off getting the clock stopped with 2:20 to play. And, on 4th down, the play call was perfect. Cobb was wide open. So was Adams on the opposite side. But, the MVP choked. That was devastating. For a while it felt like the Dallas game in 2013. But, on that day, Flynn wasn't afraid of making the tough throw into tight coverage. Last week, Rodgers was scared.

* It was good to see Jeff Janis getting playing time. It was odd to see him used as a blocker. I'm confused.

* Abby got playing time. He was open. He wasn't targeted.

* Hey Aaron, R-E-L-A-X.

* Not included the final drive, the Packers had 9 possessions that were 5 plays or less and ended in a punt or a turnover. WOW.

* YELLOW JAKE! YELLOW JAKE! YELLOW JAKE! Kid played one half of football. He brought a presence. He was physical. He played with passion. He had 10 tackles. 1 tackle for loss. And, 1 open field tackle tackle on Cam on 3rd down that NO ONE else on the team would've made. He needs to start. And, play throughout. If he doesn't that's a significant coaching issue.

* Clay Matthews is a stallion.

* Demetri Goodson can't play in this league. Neither can Nate Palmer.

* Good pressure, Mike Daniels.

* Liked Nick Perry in the run game. Hope he's OK.

* HaHa & Morgan were both confused in coverage. That was ugly.

* Great pick, Damarious Randall! But, dude, on the deep ball, play the ball. Not the man. Should've had another pick. Instead you gave up a 52 yard pass.

* The Packers need a healthy Sammy Swagga. And, a healthy Quinten Rollins.

* Stupid penalty, Ladarius Gunter.

* Get healthy soon, Ty Montgomery.


This week - it's the Lions. In Green Bay. Where the Lions haven't won since 1991. The Lions are pathetic. A loss would be a potentially devastating moment for the Packers season. Be ready, Lambeau. Be loud. This team needs you. In grand fashion.

The Lions have strengths. Golden Tate, Calvin Johnson and Eric Ebron are legit targets. Joyce Bell always gives the Packers fits. Theo Riddick is a solid receiving option out of the backfield. Ameer Abdullah has great potential. Matthew Stafford has showed good things when he's been given time. But, the Lions OL has struggled. Riley Reiff hasn't been worthy of a 1st round pick. Laken Tomlinson is still developing. Larry Warford and LaAdrian Waddle can be dominated on the right side of the OL. The Lions are prone to multiple penalties a game on the offensive side of the ball. GET LOUD, LAMBEAU!

Defensively, the Lions will put pressure on the QB. Jason Jones and Ziggy Ansah get after the QB with vicious pursuit. Haloti Ngata remains a presence in the run game. Caraun Reid is a developing talent. The Lions defensive weakness is at LB. Tahir Whitehead, Josh Bynes and Stephen Tulloch have all struggled and can be exposed. At CB, Darius Slay continues to play good football. Rashean Mathis continues to battle his age. Somehow, Mathis can still run with WR's. James Ihedigbo is a baller at S. I wish he played in GB. Glover Quin will take risks. He'll make big plays on occasion, but he can also be beaten over the top. The Lions lack depth in the secondary.

Early in the game, look for the Packers to come out in attack mode. Rodgers trying to get over the top. An early play action. After the early shot, the Packers go to the middle range game. 8-12 yard passes. Adams as a big time target. Richard Rodgers sitting down on short crossing routes. The Packers establish a semblance of an offensive rhythm for the first time in 5 weeks. Starks pounds at the heart of the Lions defense and grabs big yards. The Packers grab an early 7-3 lead.

Detroit hangs close. Their strength is the Packers weakness. Tate and Calvin make plays. Enron gets loose down the middle of the field.

It's 14-10. Late 2nd Quarter. Knowing the Lions lack a running game, the Packers sell out on the blitz. Stafford gives one away. Rodgers capitalizes.

This Lions team has no fight. But, you have to stick it to them when you have a chance.

Packers 31
Lions 20

Oh, and the Raiders beat the 'queens. 1st place. All alone. Once again.

Pump up the volume, Lambeau!

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Take -> Week 9

Greetings, G-Force.

Well, that was sobering. Entering into an electric environment on a Sunday, the vibe was healthy. By mid 1st Quarter, there was an eery tension. An unsettling buzz that was tough to shake. But, the likelihood of 16-0 was minimal and all things considered, a loss to an AFC team is the best way to lose. And, frankly, it should serve as a wake-up call. It was on Sunday Night. In front of a National audience. Under the lights. And, the loss came in an embarrassing way. It was humbling. It was humiliating. But, in the locker room, it should be an easy loss to move on from.

As I write, I sip a Sierra Nevada Narwhal. It's Stout season. This one is 10.2%. A great Russian Imperial Stout. One of my favorites. A raisin taste at the front and a little bit of a burnt chocolate taste at the finish that lingers gloriously. And, it goes straight to the head in smiling fashion.

Musically, I turn myself back to the mid-90's when the Packers dominated the Carolina Panthers to win the NFC Championship. I listen to the Blues Traveler "Four" vinyl. This 1994 record spins with an elegant tie-dye touch. I felt like there were also some uplifting lyrical reminders. For the Packers: "For every challenge could have paradise behind it. And if you accept what you have lost and you stand tall. You might just get it back and you can get it all. So now you know why it's a long way to fall. Yeah 'cause it's a long way to fall, it's a long way to fall. So stand! Stand and walk!" And, for me, as I look out the window in my living room, I'm reminded that "the mountains win again" and that "a pocket is no place for a smile." By Tuesday, I was easily over this loss. Admittedly, Monday was tough. Got home late on Sunday night. Up early on Monday. Tons of damn Donkey fans wearing jerseys on Monday. Awful reminders. But, in the end, as mentioned earlier, all things considered, this was as good of a loss as could be encountered.

Here are some takeaways from the last week:

* Mike McCarthy's team was poorly planned. The Broncos came out in single high safety. The middle of the field was wide open. Yet, we consistently tried to win in a crowded area: outside the hash marks. In the early years of Mike McCarthy's offense, we ran a bunch of slants and crossing routes. Where'd these plays go? It felt that everything was slow developing. Really disappointing offensive design.

* For all those that say the WR's weren't open, they didn't have the view that I had. Cobb was open multiple times over the middle of the field. Twice - the MVP was high on throws to Cobb in which he'd have had huge gains. There were multiple times that Cobb was wide open over the middle but the ball never showed. Adams was wide open on a deep crossing route. Rodgers never saw him. Jones had Roby beat to the inside on a deep ball. Rodgers missed him as he threw wide and to the outside. Big plays were left on the table.

* That was the poorest game of Aaron Rodgers' career. I wish he'd have owned up to it and taken the blame.

* I thought the OL did a decent job in pass protection. Rodgers had time. But, it felt as though the MVP was looking at the pass rush and not what was happening down the field.

* What happened to the back shoulder pass? Rodgers is the master of that throw. It's intended to be thrown to the WR who is covered.

* Hate to be critical of the 2-time MVP, the XLV MVP and one of the greatest statistical regular season QB's in NFL History, but this team is built around him. And, when he plays poorly, it'll be tough for this team to win. The Packers needed Rodgers. He didn't show up. And, his body language looked awful. I couldn't believe it. His posture was off. It was really disturbing. Hope that everything is OK with him.

* While Adams and Jones were occasionally open, I didn't like the way they were consistently driving on their routes. Almost felt that they were taking plays off.

* Cobb is frustrated. Watching him on the field, it was absolutely apparent. He's being under utilized in an offense that is desperate for a play maker. The Packers have to find a way to get him 7-10 touches a game.

* The Packers need Ty Montgomery at 100%.

* Where was Jeff Janis? He was on the sidelines. More excited than anyone on the roster. He was waving his arms trying to get the Packers fans into it. Trying to animate his teammates. I'm not calling for 7-8 throws to Janis, but he has speed that we don't have elsewhere. The Packers need to stretch defenses. Janis is our best option. He should run 3-4 deep routes a game. It'd keep defenses honest.

* I've been saying it for two years: Richard Rodgers is a liability as a blocker. Awful.

* John Kuhn should be getting a touch a game. At least. He moves sticks. He's reliable. And, he understands the offense as a blocker.

* Was great to see Eddie in glimpses. Ran hard. Came out on fire. Then, he was put on the sidelines. I didn't get it.

* On the other hand, that might have been the worst that I've ever seen Eddie Lacy as a blocker. Rodgers was pointing out the blitz. Lacy missed the signal.

* 77 freakin' yards.

* Not counting the final knee downs, the Packers had 3 possessions that were three plays or less. We need more chunk plays. More offensive strategy with designs on 5-8 yards rather than 15+ yards.

* Justin Perillo's 6-yard catch was a highlight for me. That's depressing.

* The Packers miss AQ81 as an in-line blocker. If Kennard Backman can't block, it might be wise to activate Mitchell Henry.

* I love Clay Matthews. I'm not sure that the Packers have ever had someone like him at ILB. He steps up to hear audibles. He mans the middle of the field. He wins with speed. He wins with quickness. He wins with power. And, he's so smart. And intimidating.

* Nate Palmer might be the worst staring ILB in the NFL. He's gullible in the run game. Often baited to overcommit, which leads to a huge hole on the cut-back. Crossing routes are easily run right in front of him. He's late to recognize and he doesn't have the speed to catch up when he's trailing an oft-injured, slow 32 year old TE.

* BJ Raji played hard. Liked his activity.

* Mike Daniels gave effort, but he was pushed around too easily.

* Mike Pennel was a fighter on the inside. Liked his game.

* Thought Datone Jones was great in limited reps. Really active. Quick to shed blocks. Great arm extension. Played fast.

* One bright spot: Down 17-10. 3rd Quarter. 3rd & 8. Was good to see Clay and Peppers having some fun. Leading the troops. Obviously, the play didn't turn out well as Manning hit Thomas for 20 yards, but it was good to see some fire being started by two of our veterans. They were having fun. And trying to rally the troops.

* Want to see more of YELLOW JAKE. Badly.

* Joe Thomas made a good play, but was quieter than we need him.

* Casey Hayward can't play on the perimeter. He's a slot CB. That's it. No more. No less. I still think he has a big play waiting for him.

* Micah Hyde would like to forget last Sunday Night. I'll join him in that thought.

* HaHa is our 2nd best defender.

* When CJ Anderson was spinning, Morgan Burnett was whiffing.

* Great pick, Damarious!

* I'd like to see Gunter active on GameDay. He showed great promise in the preseason. We lack depth on the perimeter at CB. When Sammy went out, we had limited options.

This week - it's Carolina. 7-0 hosting 6-1. A season defining game. A win and home-field throughout is our target. We'd control our own destiny. A loss and all of a sudden, not only are we in a dog fight for a first-round bye, but we'll be in hotly contested battle for the Division. It's as close to a must win game as a Week 9 game could be. The 2015 Packers team isn't built to win 2 games on the road in the playoffs prior to the Super Bowl. We are built for home field advantage. While I wouldn't be afraid to head to Carolina in the NFC Championship, I don't want to see this team playing on Wild Card weekend. This weekend could potentially be a season defining game.

Carolina plays defense. Star Lotulelei is a MAN in the middle. Kaman Short is having an All-Pro season. Kony Ealy has great length and consistently disturbs. Jared Allen still has gas in the tank. Their LB's are elite. Luke Kuechly is as good as the NFL offers. Thomas Davis keeps motoring on. He's fast, he powerful and he's all over the field. Shaq Thompson brings great speed and is fitting in nicely. Charles Tillman keeps on truckin'. Josh Norman has been a superstar in 2015. He's developed more than anyone in the NFL from 2014 to 2015. Roman Harper is a wily veteran, but he lacks speed and can be exposed. Kurt Coleman has played well. He's been tough in the middle of the field. And, he plays with good quickness. Bene Benwikere is a solid slot CB. He'll be matched up vs Cobb. I like Benwikere, but Cobb can handle him.

Offensively, the Panthers revolve around Cam Newton. Newton is an MVP candidate this year. He's been a fantastic leader. He's stood tall in the pocket. He's had a rifle of an arm. He's been composed. He's won with his arm, his legs and his mind. He's been more composed in 2015 than he's previously been. Much to Packers fans joy, the Panthers lack weapons on the outside. Kelvin Benjamin is done for the year and thus, they role out Ted Ginn, Corey Brown, and Jerricho Cotchery at WR. That's arguably the worst WR core in the NFL. But, Cam uses Greg Olsen in dynamite fashion. And, Ed Dickson is a solid #2 TE. Devin Funchess is still finding his way. He was a solid target at Michigan, but hasn't fully settled in as either a WR or a TE at the NFL level. Still, he presents an imposing figure who could offer struggles for the Packers defense. Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert seek contact. Every play. They don't win with speed. They win with power. And heart. The Packers better match their intensity. Fuzzy Whittaker will make a couple of plays to annoy on Sunday. Book it. And, after the play, it'll have you wondering how in the world that it happened. The Panthers bring a physical, yet largely unknown OL. Led by Michael Oher and Ryan Kalil, they stand tall. And they bring intensity, much like their head coach.

The Panthers are well coached. Ron Rivera brings physicality. They'll come with mental toughness. If the Packers aren't prepared for battle on every play, they'll be out matched. I believe that the Packers will be ready.

I have a ton of respect for Charles Tillman. But, he needs to be targeted. Early and often. Especially on the deep ball. He can't run like he used to. I would like to see the Packers put Janis on Tillman's side of the field. Let's see the youngster try to run by the old veteran. Tillman can be beat deep. The Packers better try to take advantage.

Look for Lacy to try to pound at the heart of the Panthers defense early in the game. The Packers have to stay disciplined. They have to keep the Carolina defensive front honest. It'll open up the play action and allow the Packers to move the pocket. The Packers have to look at designing plays that get the MVP out of the pocket. It'll offer an opportunity for Rodgers to see the field from a different perspective.

Defensively, the Packers come out with a beefy front. They win the physical battle. They slow down the run game. They collapse the pocket with Peppers at DT.

The Packers aim to shut down Olsen. He sees a lot of double coverage. While Hyde has struggled recently, he remains our best match-up against a big TE. He's physical and has the speed to mirror a TE.

The Panthers try Ginn deep. But, can't connect. If Sammy Swagga can play, I'd expect him to be 1 v 1 on Ginn all day. With limited WR options, the Panthers can't take advantage of the Packers limitations on the perimeter of the defense.

Rodgers stays patient. A couple of underneath quick hitters to Cobb. It's Adams on a 15 yard deep slant. The Packers offense finally finds its rhythm.


Lacy grabs 70 yards on 20 carries. Datone Jones slips thru for a sack. The MVP tosses two TD's. HaHa grabs a pick. The Packers defense forces two turnovers.

Packers 27. Panthers 16.

We own the NFC.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Take -> Week 8

Greetings, G-Force.

6-0! I'm amped! The Packers are COming to enjoy Western Skies. To the city that I've adopted as my own. They're COming to visit my crib in undefeated fashion. 6 and 0. That's a glorious feeling!

I'm in a celebratory mood. I'm sipping a Crooked Stave Progenitor Noir. It was bottled in March of this year. It carries a strong nose. It's a 6.2% ABV dry-hopped dark sour ale. It's full of goodness. Rich with citrus, but carrying a heavy wine feel. It's WILD! Much like the finish to the Packers victory over the Chargers!

Due to a sleeping baby, fittingly, I listen to Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" album. It's gentle. It's relaxing. It's calming. It also helps to temper my enthusiasm. At this stage, I'm so excited that I feel like I could take down Demaryius Thomas in the open field.

Here are some quick takes since I last wrote:

* The Packers gave up 503 yards passing and it was the defense that won the game. Amazing. But, right now, the 2015 version of the Green Bay Packers relies on its defense to win games. Not its offense. Who would've thought that? I certainly did not.

* Twice in the 4th Quarter, the Packers had the ball with a chance to grab a 2-score lead. I was looking for that CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE. Twice, the offense failed to deliver the 7 points that were necessary to seal the deal. Meanwhile, the Chargers had the ball 3 times in the 4th Quarter. They mustered up 3 points in those 3 drives. Defense, man. Defense. The Green Bay Packers are winning with defense.

* 11:10 to play in the 4th Quarter. Packers 24. Chargers 20. The Packers take over at their own 29. I text out to a couple of folks: "Now, we see what we're made of." 1st down: Lacy fumbles. Lang out hustles all. Somehow, he recovers the ball in a similar game saving effort as he had in Miami last year. Gotta love TJ Lang! Still, it's 2nd and 14. Rodgers gets sacked. 5 yard loss. 3rd & 19. Screen to Lacy for 12 yards. Punt. That was not Championship football.

* The MVP looks frustrated. It appears as though he needed a break. The bye came at a good time. Seems to me like he's pressing a bit. Maybe, it's the MVP that needs to R-E-L-A-X right now. It appears as though he went to Mexico to chill over the bye week. Good man. COme to the Rocky mountain state in a refreshed fashion, mate. It's GO time.

* Eddie Lacy. Man. Eddie. My boy. We need you. I write to you in what little patois that I know: Wah gwaan, Eddie? Galang mi bredren! Ju be Bumblebee. Dem yards are rice & peas. No need passa passa. Ease up. All be cook & curry. Natty, Mek We Dweet!

* It's clear that Rodgers doesn't trust Janis. But, was there a telling moment when Janis caught the 33 yard pass on 2 & 8 on a busted play late in the 3rd Quarter? Maybe. It was interesting to note that Rodgers was sprinting behind Janis and Janis ran down the field. And, Rodgers was the first to greet Janis after he got up. Three plays later - on 3rd & 5 - Rodgers went back to Janis. Janis drew a crucial penalty. I wonder if the busted play might turn out to be a turning point in their relationship. Janis isn't a WR that needs to be targeted 8 times a game. But, if he gets 3-5 targets, a big play could be waiting. As evidenced by the game against the Chargers. 2 receptions for 79 yards.

* I'm calling it: In the coming weeks, we'll see Aaron Rodgers on the read-option and he'll keep it. He's faked it a couple of times recently and it's been WIDE OPEN. Soon, it's coming and it'll be a 10-12 yard TD run.

* First run play of the game: Total treat to see TJ Lang get to the second level.

* James Starks running in XLV form is a thing of beauty. 10 carries, 112 yards. Displaying first-class vision. Running skinny and fitting thru tight holes. Great to see. The Green & Yellow Hornet stepped up in big fashion.

* Get well, Ty Montgomery. We need you! Plus, Ty, I want to continue to watch you shine. I want to continue to watch you grow into a wholly-rounded WR.

* 17-17. 3rd & 3. 3:08 to play in the 3rd. The Packers had lost all momentum. They go big with Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo, Kuhn, Starks, and James Jones as the potential targets. The ball goes to Kuhn in the flat. The drive resulted in a TD. I've said it before and I'll say it again. No reason he doesn't catch 2 balls a game. He'll move the sticks. The offense has relied too much on the big play. We've needed runs longer than 10 yards and passes longer than 15 yards. We need more plays that are netting 5-8 yards. We're not used to seeing a Packers offense that has 4 drives that end in a 3 and out.

* Randall Cobb has not been himself over the last couple of weeks. Hoping the bye week brought him health and rejuvenation.

* Once again, it was James Jones as the savior. This time on the back shoulder!

* Really wish the Packers could've applied the dagger on the final drive. Disappointing to see the last drive stall in the Red Zone. Richard Rodgers was open. The MVP just missed him.

* Hoping Davante Adams is at full strength this week.

* Good to see Jared Abbrederis with the ball in his hands on the Kickoff. He's worked hard to get to this point. Ran fearlessly. Kudos.

* Justin Perillo with the BIG 21 yard reception. Loved to see him go and get it!

* The offense needed that bye. Get rejuvenated. Refresh. Reset the mojo. Get back into the groove. Return to the juggernaut that has dominated the NFL for the majority of the last 8 years under Mike McCarthy. I almost wonder if McCarthy needs to be more involved in the offense.

* DATONE JONES! Getting his hands up and batting down a 3rd down pass. AND: 3rd & 7 from the Packers 40. 7:01 to play. Packers leading 24-20. Was there any doubt that Rivers would connect on a first down pass? And, if it were not a first down, he'd surely get the Chargers in FG position, right? WRONG! Datone! With a monster sack!

* Julius Peppers with another crucial sack. This time it was to stall a 3rd Quarter drive when it appeared that all momentum had slipped away and when it appeared as though the Chargers were going to take the lead.

* We need Raji's presence back in the rotation. He keeps legs fresh. Adds great depth to the DL.

* Good to see Guion active.

* Fun seeing Mike Pennel and Mike Neal in the mix to force a fumble.

* Great to see Mike Daniels and Mike Neal merge on a big sack!

* Throw the stats out the window! This defense ROSE TO THE OCCASION when they needed to.

* Joe Thomas has to wrap up on the sack. His inability to take down Rivers cost the Packers 3 points.

* CLAY! What a presence. Loved how Capers moved him around to try and confuse the SD attack.

* Nate Palmer loaded up the box score. But, he lacked impact plays. I think he needs to trust his instincts. He's in position. He just second guesses himself.

* Micah Hyde. Do we have a more sure tackler? He continues to play with a genius wisdom. He's so steady. Razor sharp in the mind.

* HaHa with the BOOM! The forearm shiver! Wicked! Pure bliss! Jarring the ball loose! Greatness! But, dude, can't get turned around on the deep ball. That was total amateurism.

* Sammy Swagga was in position. He just has to hold onto the ball. Can't waste those plays. Cost the Packers 3 points.

* Damarious Randall. From here on out, he's going to be targeted. He's going to be picked on. Thought he had solid coverage. He just didn't finish the play...until the final play! Kid made a LARGE play on the biggest play of the game. Baited Rivers. Got the jump. Made the game sealing play.

* Hayward has a big play pick coming. I can feel it. It's happening. And, I'm thinking it's a pick-6.

* Really like when Capers calls the CB blitz out of the slot. Don't love it being Hayward. Would like to see Rollins on a blitz out of the slot. Rollins is hungry to make a play.

* I'd prefer to not see Chris Banjo in coverage. Get healthy, Morgan Burnett.

* From a hands perspective: JC Tretter > Brandon Bostick.

* Mason Crosby. $$$.

* 6-0! Yes, 6-0! Two game lead in the Division with 10 to play! Like our position. McCarthy teams always look better in December than in September. We haven't always played perfect football, but in the end, the scoreboard has stared at the G-Force with beauty. Carry on, Titletown, U.S.A.

* Sir Charles shout-out! AFC Defensive Player of the Month. What a stallion. My favorite football player. Ever!

This week - it's the Donkeys! On Sunday Night Football! 6-0 v 6-0! And, the Donkeys are breaking out the 1997 jerseys. They'll be honoring the 1997 team. They'll also be placing Pat Bowlen into the Ring of Fame. Tickets are going for as much as $3,000. I couldn't be more stoked to be in attendance with my brother, Chad. Yes, the Packers are COming to Mile High in undefeated fashion. I can't get over that. On the radio today, the local hosts were bantering over how many Packers fans would be in attendance. Some were estimating that there could be as many as 30,000 Packers fans in attendance. They set the over/under at 20,000 fans. Mile High will be bleeding Green & Gold. Epic!

Sometimes you have to give props where props are due and thus I ask this question: Is Pat Bowlen the most under appreciated owner in NFL History? He was the Broncos majority owner for 30 years. In those 30 years, the Broncos went to 6 Super Bowls and only had 5 losing seasons. Fancy that.

This game is being billed as Rodgers vs Manning. They've met once before. It was 2008. At Lambeau. Manning took the Colts to Green Bay on a gorgeous October day. It was a celebration. Packers 34. Colts 14. Manning threw two interceptions that were returned for TD's.

Mile High is going to be electric. For any fans that will be in attendance, be sure that you get into the stadium at least 45 minutes early......

*** As most of my readers know, My Father has been producing games at Lambeau Field for the last 26 years. Yes, 26 years. Mac! He's my Dad! And, that dude belongs in the Packers Hall of Fame someday. I'm biased, sure. But, think of how prominent "BANG ON THE DRUM" is in Packers culture. That's Mac. Think of how prominent the baseline into the "GO PACK GO" chant is at Lambeau. I mean -- from a GameDay experience perspective -- they're synonymous. Aren't they? When you wake up on Sunday morning, what's the first base line that runs thru your head? Thought so. Mac. Packers Hall of Fame. Book it! Cool story: for Christmas one year, Todd Rundgren sent Mac a signed drum. That's legendary. Sorry for the rant. But, I love my Dad. He's a good man. He's a Father. A Brother. A Grandpa. And someday, he should be a Packers Hall of Famer. Also, if you go on a tour at Lambeau Field this year, be sure to ask for Mac to be your tour guide. And, when you get him, give him a fist bump and tell him that the BuzzBoy sent you.***

......so, with that said, I know GameDay experiences. I was taught it by the best in the business. The Broncos do it right. I'm not going to spoil it for those that will be in attendance. But, trust that it's really freakin' cool and you do NOT want to miss it.

The Broncos play defense. They're littered with ballers. Von Miller and Demarcus Ware get the props. But, man, off the bench Shaquil Barrett gets to the QB. Derek Wolfe is a tough block on the DL. Sylvester Williams and Malik Jackson have been dominant. Antonio Smith and Vance Walker have been tremendous role players in the rotation. Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan are the best ILB combo in football. They're so versatile. They can get to the QB on the blitz. They're terrific in coverage. They're dominant in the run game. They play with speed. They play with power. Darian Stewart and TJ Ward are incredible run stoppers. Stewart attacks the run game from 10-12 yards deep as well as any safety in football. Alibi Talib has been a superstar all year. Chris Harris is as underrated as it gets at CB. He has shutdown CB skills. Bradley Roby has surprised me with how well he's developed as a slot CB. And, David Bruton is what the Packers had hoped Sean Richardson would become. Bruton has made a number of big plays this year. He almost looks like an undersized LB at Safety. This Broncos defense attacks the football. They break on the ball. They're susceptible to being beat on double moves and play-action. The Packers have to be creative, while looking to move the ball against this aggressive defense. Right now, Wade Phillips has this defense hitting on all cylinders. They've had a pension for making the big play and they're turning those big plays into points on what seems to be a weekly basis.

The Broncos offense is misunderstood. No, they haven't been dynamite like in years past. But, when they've needed to get points, they've gotten them. Late in the Ravens game, they engineered a drive that got them a FG. The same thing happened against MN. Against KC, they scored a TD to tie the game in the waning seconds. Down 20-16 in the middle of the 4th Quarter against the Browns, Manning hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 75 yard-TD over T-Mon. When this Broncos offense has been desperate to score, they've done it.

It's interesting. Thus far, Kubiak has often used Manning under center in an effort to establish the run game. But, the Broncos offensive line hasn't been able to open up holes for CJ Anderson or Ronnie Hillman. And, as Manning has been in his drop, he's had his back to the field, so he hasn't been able to survey the field like he's done throughout his career. In turn, he hasn't been as cerebral as years past. He hasn't been able to study the defense. Additionally, the Broncos OL has not been as talented as in years past. They have three journeymen in Evan Mathis, Louis Vasquez and Ryan Harris. Matt Paradis is a decent 2nd year Center and Ty Sambrailo is a developing rookie LT. Sambrailo hasn't played in this type of stage before.

The Broncos use a fair amount of TE sets with Owen Daniels and Virgil Green. Green is an athletic TE who can present mismatches. He's often used at FB and get himself into the flat. Owen Daniels is a well-oiled veteran who hasn't seemed to be in rhythm with Manning for most of the year. At WR, Demaryius Thomas is a superstar, but he's struggled this year. He's dropped more passes than normal. He hasn't been able to separate on the deep ball. And, he appears to be frustrated. On the other side, Emmanuel Sanders has blossomed into a Pro Bowl caliber WR. Sanders is Manning's go-to guy. On a big play, it's Sanders - not Thomas - who Manning will be looking to. Especially on third down. Sanders runs multiple go-routes. He'll test Damarious Randall's speed. Sanders is savvy. He's smart and he's been able to come up with another gear on the deep ball. Jordan Norwood is an undersized slot receiver who doesn't offer much. Bennie Fowler has good length and has been a decent receiver when called upon. Look for Cody Latimer to get his shot. Latimer has great length. He's big. He's fast. But, he hasn't gotten his shot. He's essentially the Broncos version of Jeff Janis. If Latimer gets a look, it'll move Sanders to the slot, which would give Denver three legitimate WR options.

I expect the Packers DL to dominate the Broncos OL. Especially on the interior. I'm hoping to see Clay coming with pressure between the Guard and Center throughout the game. These days - Manning can't get off his spot. And, the Broncos OL has had a tough time anchoring. With Daniels, Raji, Matthews and Jones applying pressure up the gut, I can envision Manning throwing a couple to us. He have to seize the day and finish the play.

I'd also like to see Jake Ryan applying pressure this week. In college, Ryan was a talented pass rusher. He came from the outside. He came from the inside. I'd like to show Manning a disguise that he hasn't seen with both Matthews and Ryan coming up the middle. It'd force the quick throw. Hopefully the DB's are ready to jump routes. If so, we could see a pick-6.

With Randall's injury, we might see Ladarius Gunter. If so, Manning will unquestionably test Gunter's speed with Sanders and/or Thomas. I wouldn't be excited about that match-up. Gunter might have the length, but he doesn't have the speed to run with either of them.

The game starts at a frantic pace. Both teams flying around the field. Led by the defenses. Both teams attempt to generate a run game early on. Neither team is successful. Clay is dominant as Hillman tries to get the corner. As CJ Anderson pounds between the tackles; Guion, Daniels, Pennel and Raji hold the point. Peppers bulls Sambrailo backwards to collapse the pocket. Jones flashes his quicknesses. To fight the altitude and to keep the troops fresh, the Packers consistently rotate the DL.

The Packers offense meets Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan. Trevathan and Marshall patrol the middle of the field. They limit Lacy's ground efforts. They d-up against Richard Rodgers. The Broncos crowd makes an impact.

From a points perspective, early on it's Mason Crosby vs Brandon McManus as the teams exchange FG's. Then, Cobb gets loose on a crossing route for 20 yards. And the Packers are in business. They find rhythm. Streaking multiple first downs. Lacy continues to try to pound against the heart of the Broncos defense. Slowly, but surely making his mark. And, then, once again, it's James Jones on the back shoulder. Aqib Talib cries for the push off, but it's not coming.

The Broncos put together a drive. Largely behind a big ball to Sanders. Manning finds Daniels for a short pick-up. He hits Green in the flat. It's Thomas on a crossing route. Hillman grabs 12 yards. Anderson punches for three. And then, it's Manning to Sanders to equalize.

This Packers team is built on defense. We win with defense. And, once again, our defense flexes their muscles. It's Hayward with a pick-6.

The Packers sack Manning 3 times. The Packers force two turnovers. Lacy carries it 20 times. Davante Adams catches 4 balls. Importantly, the Packers don't turn the ball over.

Packers fans gonna be crunk'd up. In Super fashion.

Packers 20. Broncos 16.

Lively Up Yourself. It's real.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

My Take -> Week 6

Greetings, G-Force.

5-0! Winning with defense! An tireless pursuit of the QB. Great defensive design. Attacking from all angles. Beating the Rams at their own brand of football. Great fun!

As I write, I marinate with a Crooked Stave Colorado Wild Sage Brett Saison. Brewed with White Sage and Lemongrass. 7.2% ABV. All ingredients are locally sourced. After pouring, it'll blaze a path across the whole palate. A funky lemon feel. It's wonderful.

It's late. So, the music is at a lower decibel than I normally play it. Michael Franti's "Song From the Front Porch" album is my selection. It's soothes with lyrical richness. And a joyful beat. "When you're lost and alone, it's when the rainbow comes for you." Perfectly stated. Over the last 6-plus weeks, as I've lived the emotional roller coaster of raising a preemie who is still on oxygen, there's been multiple moments in which I've felt both lost and alone. Yet life has continuously offered those blissful moments that present the proverbial Rainbow coming for me. And, "Sometimes, I feel like I could do anything." For me, Michael Franti is to music in the same light as Aaron Rodgers is to football.

Here are some quick vibes over the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. I have to remind myself of that. Frequently. Especially when I'm yearning for a bit of a conservative approach in hopes of playing the field position game. The defense is playing better football than the offense right now. The defense is our strength. I'd play more field position. But, I have to trust McCarthy. He normally has a strong pulse on his football team. And, I can't ever accuse him of being too aggressive. Because, historically, when he's been aggressive, good things have come to the Green Bay Packers.

* Michael Franti just sang: "The streets are alive." "All the Freaky People Make the Beauty of the World." "Stay Human." He must be talking about the vibe at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Through 3 home games, the crowd has been special. The stadium has been loud. The fans are making a clear difference. We're seeing false starts, Timeouts by the oppositions offense as the play clock winds down and we're seeing 5 yard delay of game penalties. Keep up the vibes, Lambeau!

* Aaron be nimble. Aaron be quick. Aaron jump over that first down stick. Rodgers decisively used his feet. He was active with his feet. He rightfully lost patience with his WR's and he looked for positive yards. His sigh of relief after the James Jones TD was telling.

* It was 14-0. Tim Masthay had a beauty of a punt that was going to sit pretty at the 2-yard line. Then, Jeff Janis went brainless. What was he thinking? Absolutely silly play by Janis. The type of play that shows why Aaron Rodgers doesn't trust Janis. And, frankly, it felt like it was a momentum changing play. The Rams immediately drove 80 yards for a TD.

* The Packers offense was pressing for most of the game. Felt like it'd have been wise to design a play to Kuhn in the flat. Give Rodgers something easy. In space. Try to get him into a rhythm. The WR's weren't getting separation. Richard Rodgers wasn't free.

* Clay Matthews. Becoming an artisan on the inside blitz. A master of the craft. Consistently providing a punishing pain to the oppositions QB. He's been as individually dominant as any defensive player that I've seen this year. He had 1.5 sacks and he was close to have 3.5 sacks. Clay is on the prowl. He's hungry for the football. Capers is moving him towards the line in stealth like fashion.

* Eddie Lacy. A lot of people that I talk to are disappointed in Lacy this year. I'm not going to extensively defend him, but I will say that he's had very little room to run. To me, he looks like he's still a little banged up. But, fret not, Lacy's play will improve as the weather turns. He's a mudder. He's going to have a big year. The bye week will treat him well. It's worth noting that after 5 weeks in 2013, Lacy had 270 yards (he missed one game during this stretch and missed most of another game with a concussion). After 5 weeks in 2014, Lacy had 267 yards. After 5 weeks in 2015, Lacy has 257 yards. He's going to eclipse 1,000 yards again this year. And, he'll likely top 1,100 yards.

* James Starks flashed as a receiver, but he, too, was nonexistent as a runner.

* It's been often said that one of Aaron Rodgers' keys to success is that he doesn't throw the ball down the middle of the field late in the play. But, man, at some point, you have to use the middle of the field. In fact, the two touchdowns were over the middle of the field on crossing routes. And, had Richard Rodgers held onto the ball on the crossing route, he, too, might have scored. Really think the Packers have to look at more crossing routes. Especially underneath the safeties. St. Louis seemed to be playing with a single high safety. The middle of the field was open.

* The Packers have to continue to find new ways to get Randall Cobb the ball.

* Ty Montgomery continues to grow in this offense. Rodgers depends on him. He trusts him. Loved the short slant diving catch on third down. He's a fighter. He plays with great desire.

* JAMES JONES! 5 weeks in a row! The guy keeps making plays. Rockin' hair. Bringing flavor to the Titletown, U.S.A. sideline. Dude looks so smooth.

* Richard Rodgers would like to forget last Sunday. Dropped pass. Multiple penalties. Dude still caught 6 balls, but it should've been 7 and a TD.

* Like the Justin Perillo promotion. He should help as a blocker in the run game. He is instantly our best blocking TE. He is also a reliable receiver.

* Was also interested to see Mitchell Henry added to the practice squad. Had he not been injured, he might've made a run at the 53 man roster. Also, if nothing else, hopefully, he can provide some inside insight as to how the Broncos will prepare for the Packers in a couple of weeks. He might able to offer opportunistic ideas as well.

* David Bakhtiari had his best game of the season.

* Well played, Josh Walker. As I've wrote previously, I think that this will be Donny Barclay's last year in Green Bay. He'll sign a contract elsewhere and the Packers will receive a compensatory pick. If Walker plays like that and if he can slide to Tackle in a time of need - both big if's - the Packers won't be overly pained with losing Barclay.

* Josh Sitton & Corey Linsley anchored well.

* Ty Montgomery tossing defenders to the turf with the stiff arm is a beautiful thing!

* TJ Lang is ridiculously tough. A gamer. A throwback.

* Davante Adams needs to get healthy.

* The fake punt was so predictable. The Packers had it covered. Demetri Goodson slipped. What a mess. Goodson seems dispensable at this point.

* The DL rotation is thick. Great depth. And, Capers is doing a great job rotating the line and keeping the troops fresh. All made impact plays last week. They consistently knocked Foles off his spot and kept him uncomfortable.

* Mike Daniels showed tremendous burst. He was active. 8 tackles. 7 of them were solo. 1 tackle for loss. And, multiple pressures on Foles.

* Julius Peppers on the bull rush was a beautiful thing. He looks really quick. Quicker than last year on the pass rush. Soon - we could see him drop into coverage and - if the timing is right - a big play could follow. 4.5 sacks so far for Peppers!

* When BJ Raji gives the punch jab, you're going backwards by at least a yard. Nearly every time. Another dominant performance at the line of scrimmage by Raji. Get healthy, man.

* Bummed that Nick Perry got hurt. Not surprised, but he was playing the best football of his career. Heavy in pursuit.

* BJ Guion continues to bring both force and attitude. Dude is strong.

* Mike Pennel is no fluke. He's holding the point of attack almost every play that he's on the field. And, he's finishing plays.

* Datone Jones applying pressure! Slippery in the pass rush! Getting in Foles' face and forcing the turnover. And, a huge blocked FG! Jones is coming of age.

* Mike Neal played really well. He held the point. He won his battle. He found himself in the backfield. He knifed his way through a couple of times with great form.

* Jayrone Elliott! No flash plays, but I thought he played really well. Looked great chasing down runs from the backside. Loved the speed rush that forced Foles to step up in the pocket. He did all of the little things right. He has more big plays coming.

* Nate Palmer continues to struggle. He's a big body. But, he doesn't react well. He looks lost. He's out of position. He gets eaten up. He's giving great effort, but he's not strong enough. When YELLOW JAKE is healthy, which it appears he is, I'd like to see him in the middle of the field lined up next to the Claymaker. YELLOW JAKE has a history of rushing the passer at the college level. I'd like to see YELLOW JAKE and Clay lined up next to each other with both of them coming on the blitz via a stunt. Good things would happen. I also think that YELLOW JAKE is more instinctive than Palmer. He's more of a natural on the inside. As the season grows, I expect to see less of Palmer and more of YELLOW JAKE.

* Joe Thomas is playing really good football. He's aware. Really wished he'd have picked off the pass at the goal line, but happy that Ha Ha was on the spot to clean up his mess. From what I see, it appears as though Thomas is consistently assignment-sure.

* It won't show up in the box score, but in limited action, Andy Mulumba played really well in the run game. Won his battle, held the point and extended the play towards the sideline.

* Happy for Ha Ha. He had a good game as a tackler. Thought he had a bogus PI call on him. But, the interception in the end zone was golden.

* Micah Hyde was a dynamite tackler.

* Both Ha Ha and Hyde seem to be playing faster than they have in the past. They've both played really well in Morgan Burnett's absence.

* Another game in which Damarious Randall had his hands on a ball. He's looking the part.

* Quinten Rollins. Q! Monster pick-6. Welcome to the Lambeau Leap club! And, a second pick to go along with it! Really like the way Rollins plays the run. Could develop into an ideal slot CB. Sure, he got torched by Stedman Bailey for a big play, but those things will happen during the course of a year.

* Sammy Swagga! Big pimpin' the yellow shoes. It's fashion. It's flair. It's confidence. And, Sammy has his Swagga back. Playing sensational!

* Really liked Casey Hayward's intensity and aggressiveness. Said it last week: he has a big playing coming soon.

* Through 5 weeks, this defense looks worthy of being a champion. Let's hope it continues.

* Side note: Nico Marley, LB, Tulane. Undersized. 5-10. 210. Only a Junior. But, if somehow, someway, he ends up in Green Bay, I'll have his jersey. He's the Grandson of Bob Marley. And the guy balls with quickness.

This week - it is the Chargers. At Lambeau Field. I always love the October afternoon games at Lambeau. The temperatures will cool in the 2nd half as the sun sets and it gives a great feel of Football Season. Those games were always a highlight for me when I lived in Wisconsin. Sunday afternoon will be one of those days in which I'll miss the Dairyland State. There's no place I'd rather be than at Lambeau Field this Sunday afternoon. It'll be a grandiose celebration.

The Chargers are typically a team that play to the level of their competition. They're well coached. Mike McCoy is an up and coming, bright football mind. He'll have his team ready. Philip Rivers is a fiery competitor who'll try to attack the Packers on essentially 5 different routes: The deep crossing route to Floyd, the 10 yard come-back to Allen on the the perimeter, a short curl to Gates over the middle of the field, a post-corner to Gates and the swing pass to Danny Woodhead. They're a fairly predictable offense. But, they have talented players. Gates is one of the best TE's to ever play the game. And, he's still a difficult cover. Keenan Allen is a physical presence on the outside. He runs a lot of underneath crossing routes, but largely, he's going to be running comeback routes. He's strong and tough to bring down. Malcom Floyd is a long strider. He'll try to get over the top of the defense and he'll run a number of deep crossing routes. Stevie Johnson is doubtful and unlikely to play. Jacoby Jones isn't the receiver that he once was, but he's still a dependable return man. Danny Woodhead is dangerous. He finds his way into space. He can still slash. It's always uncomfortable when he has the ball. I'm shocked that Melvin Gordon hasn't unleashed himself. He looks like he's running without confidence. I was positive that Gordon would have a stellar rookie year. Let's hope that he holds off for another week.

The Chargers OL is beat up. Starting LT, King Dunlap, is out. His back-up, Chris Hairston, is questionable. Starting LG, Orlando Franklin, is questionable. Starting C, Chris Watt, is out. Starting RG, DJ Fluker, is questionable. Starting RT, Joe Barksdale, is a journey man who can be beaten with both speed and a powerful bull rush. I fully expect the Packers DL to terrorize the Chargers OL.

Defensively, the Chargers will bring pressure. Melvin Ingram is on the brink of becoming an elite pass rusher. His speed will present problems. Kyle Emanuel has been a pleasant surprise as a pass rusher. Jeremiah Attaochu can disrupt as well. On the DL, Corey Liuget is legit. Kendall Reyes is inconsistent, but he flashes. Manti Te'o has had a good year, but he, too, is hurt and might not play. If he doesn't, Denzel Perryman will get the start. Some may recall that Perryman was pegged as a potential target for the Packers in last years draft. He's undersized and not overly fleet of foot, but he brings the boom when he hits you. I've always thought highly of Brandon Flowers, but he got torched on MNF against the Steelers. Jaleel Addae is undersized, but plays bigger than he looks. Eric Weddle is as good as it gets at Free Safety. I'm really surprised at how well Jason Verrett has played. He'll likely blanket Randall Cobb for most of the game. Patrick Robinson cannot cover James Jones.

If the Packers can take care of the football, I cannot imagine a scenario in which the Chargers win this football game. A turnover free game will net a victory. Without question.

The Packers start out fast. Lambeau is electric. The crowd is rocking. The Packers pound the football at the teeth of the Chargers defense. It's Lacy grabbing yards in bunches. It's Rodgers to Rodgers on the crossing route for a big play. It's Rodgers to Jones on a back-shoulder pass for a TD.

The Packers DL dominates the line of scrimmage. Clay breaks through on a blitz up the middle and tosses Rivers to the turf. Rivers gets rattled. He's frustrated. He's annoyed. It's clear. It's present. The Packers DL talks loudly. Lambeau gets even more rowdy.

Rodgers comes play action. He rolls right. It's James Jones on a deep ball.

Casey Hayward grabs a pick-6.

San Diego rallies late. It's harmless everywhere except in the box score.

Lacy tops 100 yards. Jones grabs two more TD's. The Packers lock down 5 more sacks and force 2 more turnovers.

Green Bay 30. San Diego 20.

The Packers at 6-0. It's fall. It's Football Season. It's Titletown, U.S.A. Make it festive. Vibe On.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My Take -> Week 5

Greetings, G-Force.

4-0! A 2 game lead over the rest of the field in the NFC North! With the next 2 games at Lambeau! Carpe diem, Titletown, U.S.A.

As I write, I sip a Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale. What a perfectly concocted beer! Sweet like a piece of caramel candy. It's 9.5%, but the booze is well disguised. It's a mouthful. Almost to the point that it feels like you can chew it. If this beer can still be found on shelves in America's Dairyland, be sure to grab it! I give it a 10 out of 10.

Musically, Toots & The Maytals' "Never Grow Old" vinyl spins. Partially selected due to the brilliance of Sir Charles Woodson. It is his Birthday week. 62 interceptions. Again, he rips off Ray Nutler! It was magical. Nearly brought a tear to my eye. That man never gets old. And, for old times sake I remind you of his greatness: Heisman Trophy. National Champion. Defensive Rookie of the Year. Defensive Player of the Year. Super Bowl Champion. The ONE speech. The first player to notch 60 interceptions and 20 sacks in a career.

I can't help but - once again - post that words to that epic speech:

"Think about one thing. One. For two weeks, two weeks, think about one. One mind. Let's be one heartbeat. One purpose. One goal. One more game. One. Let's get it! And check this. President [Barack Obama] don't want to come watch us play in the Super Bowl? Guess what? Guess what? We'll go see him. White House on three. One, two, three. White House!"

May the Good Lord always shine his light on Sir Charles Woodson.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* I have to remind myself that an aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Twice on the last drive of the 2nd Quarter, the Packers went for it on 4th & 1. Both times, I wished they hadn't. I guess that I was practicing amateurism. McCarthy had his finger on the pulse of the game better than I did. On the first 4th & 1, I'd have played field position. Clinging to a 7-3 lead, I feared that the 49ers would get the stop and have an opportunity to get the ball near midfield with a shot to take the lead before the half. And, on the second 4th & 1, I didn't think McCarthy should risk leaving points on the field. As it turned out, he settled for a FG any ways and Crosby missed it, so it didn't matter what McCarthy chose to do.

* Even when Aaron Rodgers isn't robotic, he's still Superhuman. Have to wonder how his game would've changed if Ty Montgomery had held onto the ball on the opening pass down the sidelines. Rodgers' play fake on the play was fantastic. Fooled everyone.

* Total treat to see McCarthy and Clements put Montgomery and Cobb in the backfield early in the game. The Packers wanted this game. Badly. They weren't going to leave anything off the table. It was important to show disguise early.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Toughing it out. 90 bruising yards on 18 carries. 5 yards per attempt. All physical. A grind-it-out performance from EDDIE!

* Starks was steady. Thought he missed the hole on the 8 yard screen to the outside. Seemed as though Sitton held his block to the outside. It also appeared as though Jones had the DB pushed to allow an alley for Starks to run through. Might have been a missed opportunity for a big play.

* Was good to see KUUUUHHHNNNN involved in the passing game. I thought we might see more of that early on. With all of the options that the Packers possess, it's easy for a defense to overlook Kuhn. Don't be surprised if we start to see more underneath passes to Kuhn on the roll-out.

* The FB Dive was back. And, this time it netted 6 points!

* Knew the 49ers Defense would come out possessed. Didn't think they'd out physical the interior of the OL as much as they did. Sutton, Linsley and Lang were moved backwards more than they've been all year. Limited Rodgers' passing lanes. Forced him to escape earlier than he'd like to.

* Donny Barclay was solid for 3 Quarters. Then, he got absolutely worked in the 4th Quarter. Still, the Packers are 3-0 with Barclay as the starting RT. And, considering Barclay has received little-to-no help, he's played admirably. For the most part.

* Bakhtiari is rock solid.

* Richard Rodgers is quietly becoming one of the most consistent players on the team. Wish his routes were three yards deeper than they're currently being run, but he's the check-down receiver on most plays. And, clearly, the MVP has full-trust in him. But, as a blocker, he's consistently exposed.

* The Rodgers to Rodgers TD. OH MY! First of all, pure brilliance by the MVP to escape. And then to roll to his left to create time. Then, Richard Rodgers' presence of mind to find the hole in the defense. Great camaraderie. He's turning into a legitimate Red Zone target. As I've said all along, he's catching a minimum of 6 TD's this year and don't be surprised if he grabs 10 TD's.

* Do a little dance, James Jones. Marvelous footwork along the sidelines. The vet continues to shine. Even in the pink wrists. Personally, I prefer the yellow wrists.

* Randall Cobb leaving it all out on the field. Brute toughness. First-class hustle. Overly determined. Blessed to have him in Green & Gold.

* Ty Montgomery continues to warrant targets. When he touches the ball, good things happen.

* Good to see Kennard Backman scuffling it up.

* Banjo, Janis, Palmer and Ripkowski each made their presence felt on special teams. Janis, once again, was very impressive as a gunner.

* It was reported that Jayrone's Elliott's nickname is "Shakespeare" because all he does is make plays. Great sack by the rising youngster. Can't wait for him to be allowed to fully act on instinct, so that we can see him try to win with a speed rush around the edge. It seemed as though he was being used in contain mode yet his burst was enough to get him to the QB. His role has to continue to increase.

* Julius Peppers is a monstrous presence at DT in the middle of the field.

* BJ RAJI! Remains in XLV form. Loved his hustle. His pursuit was exceptional. He was a force in the middle of the defense.

* Letroy Guion going spiritual gangsta after the play. Bringing attitude.

* Datone Jones continues to eat up blockers and finish plays. He's undoubtedly playing the best football of his short career.

* Mike Neal with the CRUCIAL sack!

* Mike Daniels grinds. He's tireless. He's passionate. He won't be denied.

* The CLAYMAKER! What a fantastic performance! Consistently disruptive. Showing elite speed and power up the gut. He got in Kaepernick's head early. He stayed in Kaepernick's head often. Great game by Clay.

* Joe Thomas continues to impress. Knocked the ball loose inside the Red Zone. Would have been great to see the Packers recover it, but nonetheless, good to see the ball on the ground.

* Like Datone Jones, Nick Perry is playing the best football of his career. Two sacks. Consistent pressure. Working until the whistle. Finishing plays with intensity.

* Nate Palmer with his best game of the year. He was around the football. Even with his size he lacks strength, but his heart can't be questioned.

* SAMMY SWAGGA! FLASH THAT SMILE! BRING SWAGGA TO THAT SECONDARY! He gambled on his interception. He guess right. And, he showed the athleticism required to go up and get it! Big play from Sammy Swagga!

* Quinten Rollins is an aggressive tackler. He hits with conviction. Fearless.

* My guess is that SHOWCASE, Casey Hayward, has a big play coming. Likely in the next two weeks.

* Damarious Randall was tested. He was up for the challenge. Even when he was beat, he had good coverage. Loved his patience and composure on the pass defensed in the end zone. Didn't look like a veteran on the play. He'll continue to see increased opportunities to make big plays.

* Micah Hyde. Trustworthy. In the right place. Tremendous role player.

* HaHa with his best game of the year. Remarkable job of defending the read-option. He was all over Kaepernick on the outside. As Clay pursued Kaepernick up the middle, Kaepernick was flushed to the outside. HaHa was waiting. And, he was a sure tackler. Liked seeing HaHa on the outside run blitz as well.

* Dom Capers, yo! DOM CAPERS. Great design. Kept Kaepernick uneasy. Monstrous mental win for Dom and the Packers locker room.

* Sad to see that Sean Richardson's career might have come to a close with another neck injury. Seems like a great teammate. Wish him great health.

* It has been magical to watch the Packers offense consistently take advantage of penalties by the defense. Whether it be via a free play or a defensive holding penalty, if you give the Packers offense an extra set of downs, this team is going to capitalize. We might need a couple of freebies this weekend against the Rams.

* This team is playing with great confidence. An aggressive gait permeates around this team. Exuding goodness. A healthy aura. If the team stays healthy, it feels like something special is brewing. But, health is key.

* Mike McCarthy teams always improve as the year goes along. We've yet to see this teams best football.

This week - it's the St Louis Rams. At Lambeau. The first noon kickoff of the year at Lambeau. The game will provide a major test for the Packers. And, frankly, I'm nervous. Just like in past years, the best way to defend the 2015 Green Bay Packers is to rush 4. Hope you get pressure. Jam the WR's at the line. Slow down the timing. Keep everything in front of you. And, then, offensively, keep Rodgers off of the field. Run the football. Don't turn the ball over. Play possession football. And, if you have to punt, do it. I could argue that no one applies this strategy better than the Jeff Fisher led St Louis Rams.

Offensively, the Rams will look to play possession football. They'll pound Todd Gurley. Early and often. They'll try to out-muscle the Packers DL. The Rams will also look to play action. Expect to see Nick Foles rolling to his right. Jared Cook is an under appreciated TE. He's a weapon. Lance Kendricks creates mismatches with his size/speed combination. Kendricks can stretch the field. Tavon Austin is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He's elusive and he's only satisfied with game-altering plays. He's a dangerous kick returner. Stedman Bailey is steady. A sure route runner. Solid hands. A tough cover. Kenny Britt presents a physical presence who can get over the top. The St Louis OL will try to bully the Packers with attitude. They'll be physical, but can be beaten with speed around the edges.

Defensively, the Rams Front 4 is absolutely terrific. Chris Long, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn. That's fearsome. 'Nuff said. James Laurinaitis is an intelligent, tough-minded ILB that perfectly fits the persona of the Rams defense. Akeem Ayers has been inconsistent as a pro, but I've always been a fan of his game. He's often around the football. They'll miss Alec Ogletree who went out with an injury. The secondary is underrated. Janoris Jenkins and Lamarcus Joyner are undersized, but they're physical. And, they're confident. Trumaine Johnson is rough at the line of scrimmage. He gets his hands on WR's and alters routes with physicality. TJ McDonald and Rodney McLeod aren't fleet of foot but their well positioned and will often play deep in order to prevent anything over the top.

It'll be interesting to see how rowdy the Lambeau Faithful elevates this Sunday. In the two previous games, the crowd has been fantastic. But, they were both prime time games. This game is a Sunday afternoon game. There's no national audience. It's not under the lights. It'll be up to the crowd to try and make things difficult for the St Louis offense. Get up, Lambeau. Be proud. Be loud!

Early on, St Louis slows the game down. Grabs yardage on the ground. Gurley pulls Palmer for extra yards. Jared Cook gets loose in secondary. But, the Packers hold to 3. The Packers respond. It's EDDIE and Richard Rodgers making up the majority of the yardage. And, then, it's the MVP to James Jones on a back-shoulder pass for a TD.

The Rams front 4 gives the Packers trouble. But, Eddie Lacy continues to grab yards. The Packers patience is tested on offense. The Rams move the football as Gurley eats yards. The Packers neutralize Austin, but Kendricks and Cook make plays. Randall quiets Britt. Hayward makes a play on Bailey.

Cobb catches 5 balls. Lacy runs for 85. Richard Rodgers catches 6 balls. James Jones catches 4 balls. The MVP adds two TD's.

The Packers win a frustrating, nail biter.

Odd gut feeling: The Packers bust up a fake punt attempt by the Rams.

Packers 20. Rams 19.

I didn't get as far as I'd to have gotten on my 2016 Packers Mock Draft, but here's where I'm at so far. And, as always, I only comment if I've given a thorough study of the player. There are a number of Juniors that I have my eye on that I'm less convinced will declare as anyone that I've listed below. In those cases, I've excluded them from my mock. I'm struggling to find CB's that I'm infatuated with. Like usual, I haven't given attention to OL draft picks. I've given the Packers an extra 4th and a 5th as compensatory picks.

Round 1: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State. I see him translating to an ILB role in a 3-4. Great speed. Pension for making the big play. Others: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (even with the injury); Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama; Su'a Cravens, LB, USC; Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU (if he's on the board, he's the pick, but I believe he'll be off the board before the Packers select at #32.

Round 2: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama. Would be a great compliment to Eddie. Has the mudders stride. A gamer. Shows up when the lights are on. Others: Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU; Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee; Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia; Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida.

Round 3: Deon Bush, S, []_[]. Tough minded athlete who plays the ball. Physical tackler. Other: Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Mizzou.

Round 4: Wayne Lyons, CB, Michigan. Have the size that the Packers target at CB. Can turn and run. Not afraid to get his hands on the WR. Sure tackler. Physical player. Others: Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma; Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple; William Jackson III, CB, Houston.

Round 4: Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado. Outside of Jordon Nelson, the Packers lack a deep threat. Spruce can stretch the field. Great hands. Extremely productive throughout his career. Would fit into the culture of the Green Bay locker room. Other: D'haquille Williams, WR, Auburn (1st round talent, but off field issues; Chris Brown, WR, ND.

Round 5: Bronson Kaufusi, OLB/DE, BYU. Great athlete. Tireless in pursuit of QB. Needs work dropping in coverage, but carries his weight well and is nimble for his size.

Round 5: Jake McGee, TE, Florida. Willing in-line blocker. Excellent receiver. Finds the holes in the defense and sits down. Can line out on the outside and run effectively. Dangerous red zone target. Huge upside. Other: Jake Duzey, TE, Iowa.

Round 6: Antonio Longino, ILB, ASU. Love the way he blitzes from the inside. Shows leadership qualities. Energizes the defense. Plays with excitement. Plays fast. Others: Pete Robertson, LB, Texas Tech; Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan; Anthony Sarao, ILB, USC.

Round 7: KJ Dillon, S, West Virginia. Confidently steps into the slot and will run with any WR. Can play FS or SS. Not afraid to step into the box and get physical. Like Dillon's return ability as well. Taking Dillon over Geno Matias-Smith, S, Alabama. Matias-Smith can cover in the slot. Former CB. Willing pursuer in the run game. Finds the football. Other: Raphael Kirby, LB, []_[]; Deion Jones, LB, LSU; Juston Burris, CB, NC State; Joshua Perkins, TE, Washington; Noah Spence, OLB,Eastern Kentucky.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.