Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Take -> Week 4

Greetings, G-Force.

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

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

Here's some quick takes from the last week:

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

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

* Julius Peppers! That strip sack was legit!

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

* Nice pick, HaHa.

* Good fight, Mike Neal.

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

* Great catch, AQ81!

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

* Aaron Rodgers isn't seeing the field well.

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

* So, does Jarrett Boykin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Packers 27
Bears 23

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


Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Take -> Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

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

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

Here are some quick hits from the last week:

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

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

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

* Jordy Nelson. Forever a Packer. Total stallion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Mike Daniels is a star.

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

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

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

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

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

* In person, Ha Ha Clinton Dix looks slow.

* Wrap him up, Datone Jones!

* Great effort, Josh Boyd.

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

* Good fight, Mike Neal.

* TJ Lang and Josh Sitton are fun teammates.

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

* Nick Perry is off to a really slow start.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Packers 30
Lions 27

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Take -> Week 2

Greetings, G-Force.

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

My quick hits over the last week:

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

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

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

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

* We missed Donny Barclay.

* Sherrod isn't ready for prime time.

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

* Letroy Guion was an absolute disappointment.

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

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

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

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

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

* Corey Linsley can flat out play!

* Sammy Swagga is a star.

* Well done, T-Mon.

* James Starks ran hard.

* Take a knee, DuJuan Harris.

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

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

* Wish HaHa had picked off that pass.

* Mike Daniels will have better days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rodgers throws for 300.

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

Packers 30.
Jets 13.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Take -> Week 1

Greetings, G-Force.

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

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

Here are some short takes from the last week:

* DuJuan Harris will make a significant impact in 2014.

* Jeff Janis will also make plays this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Packers 20
Seahawks 16

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Take -> Preseason Week 4

Greetings, G-Force.

The injuries this week forced me to go Barrel Aged. In whiskey barrels. Crooked Stave's Nightmare on Brett. 9.66%. Loaded with the feel of Denver's own Leopold Bros whiskey. Much like the Packers, it has Super smooth feel.

This week's short takes:

* BJ Raji. Ouch. He was playing in FREEZER like form. But, it was nice to see pictures of Guion in pads at practice. Guion can play. He's an under-discussed signing. He can absolutely impact our defense, if healthy. A week ago, I didn't think this was a possibility. I'm fired up that he's back.

* Brad Jones will miss more than the opener. I'm confident in that. It'll give us a chance to see what Barrington & Lattimore can bring to the table. It could be a blessing for the long term.

* Bummed about Tretter. Our OL depth is frighteningly thin right now. I have confidence in Linsley, but I'm worried that he won't have time to get up-to-speed. I'd suit Linsley up this week. I don't think I'd play him. I'd also sit Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Lang and Sitton. I'd also sit T-Mon, Sammy Swagga, Peppers, Mike Neal, Nick Perry, Lacy, Nelson, Cobb and Rodgers. There's nothing to gain from them playing. And, there's a lot to evaluate among the players behind them.

* Eddie Lacy. Bruising forward. Good vision. Pimping his sailor hat. Dreads flopping. The Green & Yellow Bumblebee.

* Aaron Rodgers. In rhythm. MVP form. Brilliance abound. A spiritual gangsta.

* The offense is playing with confidence. They believe in themselves. It's brilliant for my eye.

* The next time we see Clay Matthews. He'll be playing at ILB. A spy on Russell Wilson. Mike Neal & Nick Perry will be rotating with Julius Peppers at the OLB positions. Watch it. Clay will be a Predator. Wilson will be the Prey.

* Julius Peppers. Yellow shoes. Shining under the lights. Playing with grand intent. Stoked!

* 3rd down. From left to right: Julius Peppers Mike Daniels, Mike Neal, Nick Perry. Behind them, it's Clay. Make it happen, Dom!

* Hyde on the blitz is a powerful attacker. A total weapon.

* In past year's, there was great dependence on Clay getting to the QB. This year, it's much less. Pass rushers are all over the defense.

* Nick Perry with the strip-sack! When he's coming from the right side, he shows his talents.

* Julius Peppers could not be blocked. He was a man on a mission.

* Datone Jones has improved each week in the preseason. Need to see continued progression.

* Richard Rodgers. Solid receiver. Awful blocker.

* Said it last week. I'll say it again. Fade to AQ81? Never again please.

* Ryan Taylor & Jake Stoneburner stating their case for a roster spot. Especially if Bostick has to start on the PUP.

* DUJUAN HARRIS! This offense has 3 LEGIT RB's. Harris is our 2nd best.

* When Starks runs hard, the dude is fun to watch.

* Jordy Nelson. Forever!

* Catch the ball, Randall Cobb. Also, take a discounted contract extension.

* As stated early, the Raji injury hurts. Time for Guion to make an impact.

* Love how Boyd gets his hands up.

* Thought Pennel rebounded really well after a slow start.

* Boyd + Thornton = Hustle.

* Jayrone Elliot makes this team.

* Davon House was sensational! He's soon to be nicknamed Mr. August. If he could translate that energy to the Regular Season on a consistent basis, the make-up of the Packers defense would be even grander. He's play with fierce intent, complete determination and sheer focus.

* Really excited to see Sean Richardson jarring the ball loose.

* Really like Adrian Hubbard's length. Found himself around the ball. Also got swallowed, at times. Great developmental prospect. Hard to imagine him not getting picked up if he was on the Practice Squad.

* Carl Bradford. Another reason that I'm in the staffing business and not in the scouting business. I was confident he'd be able to play in the NFL. Now? I'm not so sure.

* Extremely happy for Sherrod. Stood up like a MAN on Friday Night!

* I want Joe Thomas to get some action! Wanted him to be healthy. Extremely excited for him to be back next year. Early prediction: he'll be on the 2015 Packers roster.

* Jumal Rolle is impressive. Active. Takes risks. Plays with confidence. Want to see more of him as a gunner.

* Demetri Goodson is headed to the Practice Squad.

* Really wished Myles White would have caught that quick out. Liked him over the middle. Kid can play.

* Alex Gillett with the acrobats! Showing fancy flair in the corner of the end zone. He, too, made his case for the practice squad.

* Andrew Tiller is a fighter. Would like to see more of him. Clearly, he was ahead of Fullington on the depth chart. Thought they were just tucking Fullington away, but Tiller continued to push forward and slug away. Until he met the IR, which was probably TT's way of making sure that he didn't end up elsewhere. Fullington will get his chance this week. He'll end up on the Practice Squad. He has upside.

* Bummed that Lyerla isn't sticking around. Wish him the best!

* Looking forward to seeing more of Rajion Neal in the preseason next year. Figured he'd be stashed on the IR.

* Anxious to see Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers connecting. It'll be lethal.

* The speed on the defensive side of the ball gave cause for excitement. We were flying around the field. Attacking the ball. Need to finish plays when the regular season comes around. Would love to see this defense regain it's turnover excellence.

This week - it's the Chiefs in what will likely be a battle between players who are fighting to make the roster. In my mind, the Packers are deeper than any team in the league right now. Flynn & Tolzien may not be elite back-ups, but they're sufficient and they're littered with weapons around them. The depth of the 2014 Packers athleticism shines. The Packers win.

Packers 23. Chiefs 20.

Have a Safe and Happy Labor Day.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Take -> Preseason Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

In a year of dangled possibilities and Super aspirations, our dreams won't be roasted. Trinity Brewing confirmed such beliefs. If you're a beer connoisseur and you aren't familiar with Trinity, you're missing out. I've thoroughly watched the Packers v Rams preseason game. As I've indulged in the game, I've enjoyed a fine selection of Trinity's flavors. Old Growth is beyond spectacular. Red Swingline is a life changer for beer lovers. The Trinity Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta is tremendous. Combining Trinity Brewing with Green Bay Packers football leads to elite smiles. Vibe On.

Here are my small takes for the week:

* I'm on record. The Packers are winning the Super Bowl this year. The no-huddle brilliance was on display. When in rhythm, it's unstoppable. The OL is mature with the exception of Tretter. Tretter is an Ivy League mind. He's grasped the offense. When Lacy & Rodgers are in lock-step, this offense is scintillating. I'm yearning for a healthy 2014 Season.

* 3rd & 5. Rodgers to Boykin for 8 on a quick out. That's trust.

* Eddie Lacy. The Green & Yellow Bumblebee. The key to the NFC.

* Casey Hayward playing as an aggressive tackler.

* With Ha Ha & Micah on the field, the Packers will get off the field on the 3rd down more often than not. Think back to all of the missed tackles on 3rd down that led to 1st downs. Ha Ha & Micah won't miss those tackles.

* Mike Pennel is a LOCK to make the 53-man roster. Great find, TT. Interesting tidbit, I met one of his acquaintances at the grocery store on Tuesday. His acquaintance was my cashier at the grocery store. His name was Javon. He is going to Colorado State-Pueblo this year to play basketball. Met Pennel on a recruiting visit. Javon's best buddy is named AJ. AJ is a freshman QB for Colorado State-Pueblo this year. They visited the school together, which is what led to his introduction. Javon said that Pennel was a "solid brother. Really welcoming." Javon was soft spoken. Couldn't get much else out of him. But, the thought of Pennel's name elicited positive energy out of Javon. He was stoked when I told him that I thought Pennel was a lock to make the team.

* Jeff Janis is also a lock to make the 53-man roster. You can't teach speed. Sure, Janis might still struggle with route running. And, I love reading about Rodgers' demands to push Janis to master his routes. You can teach route running. Janis is raw. And, his upside is high. V-12, he is.

* The Claymaker with a spin and a burst! Also, enjoyed seeing him use his smarts and show great recognition on the screen.

* I really want to like Bostick. But, man, he's soft. You can't trust him. He's too fragile.

* Don't dance, James Starks. Bruise your way forward. Lower the shoulder. Get after it. Oh, and catch the ball.

* Rodgers' pump fake is a thing of beauty.

* Ryan Taylor, Chris Banjo, Nate Palmer and Kevin Dorsey might be seen on the 1st team special teams units, but none of them are elite enough on special teams to warrant a roster spot because of it.

* Mike Daniels has Pro Bowl potential.

* BJ Raji looks like THE FREEZER. He's off to an active start.

* Nice to see Peppers get the edge!

* Well played, Brad Jones. You, too, AJ Hawk.

* I like DuJuan Harris as the kickoff returner. Want to see more of Janis as the punt returner.

* Not what I wanted to see out of Sherrod.

* Terrific work, Lane Taylor.

* Didn't like Ha Ha overrunning the crossing route, but I was happy that he was trusting his instincts. Showed poor depth perception though. Looked like he thought the ball would be overthrown.

* Davante Adams is going to be a stallion. Makes catches in traffic. Off the back hip? It's no problem. Back shoulder? It's all good. He has mad game.

* Randall Cobb should take a 2-year contract. At a discount. If not, it might be wise to consider keeping Myles White on the 53-man roster. White has solid potential and runs nice routes out of the slot.

* Love Datone Jones' effort. We need to see enhanced production. If he can become a consistent difference maker, this defense will be dominant.

* Mike Neal looks like he's ready to have a big year.

* Good hustle, Josh Boyd.

* Richard Rodgers clearly is a quick study. But, man, his effort as a blocker v Chris Long was dismal.

* Mulumba showed that he belongs in the NFL. But, his upside is lighter than Elliot and Hubbard.

* Barrington on an inside blitz!

* Wrap up, Lattimore. Like the aggression, but finish the play.

* The Barrington and Lattimore combination brings great intensity. An attitude that isn't seen with Hawk & Jones at ILB.

* Wish we'd see Fullington at Tackle. Looks like they're saving him for the Practice Squad.

* Kevin Dorsey reminds me of Tori Gurley. Has the physique. He can run. But, he's inconsistent and seems to have mental blocks, at times. Had he hauled in the over-the-shoulder fly route, it'd have been a TD.

* Myles White might not make the Packers roster, but he'll be catching passes in the NFL this year. If I were an NFL GM who was in need of WR depth, I'd trade a 7th round pick for him. If the Packers try to keep on the Practice Squad, he'll be grabbed by another team.

* Don't ever need to see the corner fade to AQ81 again.

* Jayrone Elliot! Before camp, I mentioned that he'd be a tough cut. Especially if he figured out his alligator arms when making a tackle. Now? How do you keep him off the roster?

* Good to see Carl Bradford with a pressure on the QB.

* Adrian Hubbard showing burst off the snap! Love his length. He looks like a top-53 player.

* Jumal Rolle v Demetri Goodson. At best, there's one spot. Rolle looks more naturally gifted at CB. Goodson has showed promise as a gunner. Goodson is a TT draft pick. Still, at this point, I give the edge to Rolle.

* Seems to me like Rajion Neal is destined for the IR.

* LaDarius Perkins is worthy of the Practice Squad.

* Happy that Colt Lyerla will get another crack next year.

* I really thought Letroy Guion would make an impact this year, but if he doesn't play, how can you keep him?

* I'm SO ANXIOUS to see more of Joe Thomas.

* Janis, the V-12! Lacy, the Green & Yellow Bumblebee! Adams, the Stallion! I'm stoked!

This week - the Raiders come to town. That means Sir Charles is coming to town! Sir Charles is my favorite football player. Ever. I'm super excited that he's coming back to Lambeau. It'll be great for him to get a warm welcome. Rise Up for Sir Charles, Lambeau! Sir Charles is one sack away from becoming the first player in the history of the NFL with 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. He's also 4 interceptions from 60 career interceptions. Further, I don't believe any other player has ever had 40 interceptions and 20 sacks. Please Sir Charles, grab 1 sack this year! Sir Charles' career stats with the Packers: 7 years. 11.5 sacks. 38 interceptions. 10 TD's. One Defensive MVP. One Super Bowl ring. Pure pimp, he is.

Also returning to Titletown, U.S.A. are two players whose stats that I'll be writing about all year: James Jones & CJ Wilson. Both players production could lead to compensatory picks for the Packers. Dear Jones & Wilson, thanks for the memories. XLV for Life!

The Raiders are improved, but they can't run with the Packers. Look for the defense to generate pressure, once again. Additionally, look for a few forced turnovers as well.

Packers 30. Raiders 16.

At this stage, if I were responsible for selecting the 53-man roster, here would be my Week 1 team:

QB: Rodgers, Tolzien, Flynn

RB: Lacy, Harris, Starks, Kuhn

WR: Nelson, Cobb, Boykin, Adams, Janis

TE: Rodgers, AQ81, Bostick

OL: Bakhtiari, Sitton, Tretter, Lang, Bulaga, Taylor, Sherrod, Linsley

DL: Raji, Daniels, Jones, Boyd, Pennel, Thornton

OLB: CM3, Peppers, Neal, Perry, Hubbard, Elliot, Bradford (17)

ILB: Jones, Hawk, Barrington, Lattimore (13)

CB: T-Mon, Sammy Swagga, J-Bush, Ras-House, Rolle, Hayward

S: Ha Ha, Micah, Burnett, Richardson

K: Crosby

P: Masthay

LS: Goode

Practice Squad: Stoneburner, Perkins, Goodson, Fullington, Mulumba, Palmer, Myles White, Harper, Banjo, Luther Robinson. Note: I don't fully understand the new Practice Squad rules. So, if someone on this list isn't eligible, I'd add either Luther Robinson or Kevin Dorsey (depending on who was not eligible for the Practice Squad).

IR: Barclay, Abbrederis, Neal, Lyerla

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Take -> Preseason Week 2

Greetings, G-Force.

I didn't get to MY TAKE last week. Over the last two weeks, I've been in 4 different Hotel rooms in Chicago's Loop, I've stayed 2 nights in a hotel in Steamboat and I spent two nights in Albuquerque celebrating my Brother's 40th Birthday. Time flies. Embrace today.

Dewar's. Ice. Makes me think of my Grandpa McKenna. Thanks for Shining From Heaven, Grandpa!

Here are some quick hits from the Packers v Titans game and other vibes that have occurred since I last wrote:

* Props to my Dad! He's celebrating 25 years as the DJ at Lambeau Field! #Mac #PackersHOF

* Stoked that TT is locked up!

* I need a signed Jordy photo for my Packers Wall of Fame! LOCKED HIM UP!

* Brett Favre. The Football Jesus. Green & Gold. #4 is back! Epic! For those, that are still full o' hate, I remind you that in Brett Favre's last season in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl. Bless up, Brett!

* Sad to lose Donny Barclay for the season. Jared Abbrederis as well. And, Colt Lyerla's injury smells like he's destined for IR.

* James Starks looked to be in mid season form. If he's healthy, he'll team with Eddie Lacy to be a lethal 1-2 Combo.

* Welcome back, DuJuan Harris! Another weapon in the arsenal. Hoping he wins the Kickoff Returner role. He's a big play waiting to happen.

* If Rajion Neal stays healthy, he emerge as a fan favorite.

* Hope the last three offensive plays are not a sign of play calling to come. 2nd & 1. Shotgun. Draw. No gain. 3rd & 1. Shotgun. Draw. No gain. 4th & 1. Deep ball. Incomplete.

* AQ81 has to catch the ball. Rain or not.

* Richard Rodgers looks good in #89. A willing downfield blocker. Wasn't punishing, but he was sufficient.

* Good run after the catch, Brandon Bostick. But, the holding penalty? There was no reason to hold.

* Knock off the rust, Bryan Bulaga. Good to see you again!

* Derek Sherrod looked better than he ever has in a Packers uniform. A definite bright spot!

* John Fullington looked good at RG. Better than Lane Taylor. Would be excited to see Fullington play Tackle this week.

* Sitton, Tretter, Lang doing a solid job of opening rush lanes.

* After the botched snap, I thought Corey Linsley looked really good.

* Don't reflect on Davante Adams as a Punt Returner. That's not his game. He's a crisp route runner. He's deceptively quick. Great hip movements. Gets in and out of his breaks. Next time, I hope he reaches for a first down.

* Chris Harper. He reminds me a lot of James Jones. Strong. Inconsistent hands. Not overly fast, but somehow, he gets open. Often. But, will he hang on?

* Couldn't be more excited to see Jeff Janis in action. I'm curious to see if he can be a gunner on special teams.

* BJ Raji. Quick off the snap. Rumbling forward. Boogie On, BJ!

* Mike Daniels. Brute. The master of leverage.

* I'm worried that Datone Jones will be a bust. While Daniels is small in height and plays big, Jones has great length but plays small. He tries to get underneath a blocker, but when he gets stood up at the line, he fails to get his arms up.

* Khyri Thornton giving effort!

* Josh Boyd will be instrumental this year.

* Mike Pennel will be in the mix for a roster spot. Really impressive preseason debut.

* Get healthy, Letroy Guion. I expect you to make your presence felt this year.

* New Year. Same Brad Jones. One play, he is laying a nice hit. Soon after, he shows that he still lacks instincts. He's chasing down ball carriers, while stumbling over his own feet. I really want to be a fan of Jones. At best, he's a mediocre ILB.

* #56. Intimidating. I'd like to see him with his hand in the turf.

* Nick Perry on the right side. Exclusively. I like it.

* Joe Thomas looked really quick. Instinctive. Attacks the football. I want to see more. Immediately.

* Sam Barrington was active. One big missed tackle, but other than that, he looked like he belonged.

* The penalty on Casey Hayward was absurd. No way that's defensive holding.

* Really pleased with my first glimpse of Ha Ha. He brings a presence. Was surprised to see Ha Ha attacking the box, while Hyde was roaming deep. Thought those roles would be reversed.

* Crosby swinging with confidence!

* J-Bush playing with a fierce intensity.

* Jumal Rolle makin' plays! Play On, Playa!

* Sean Richardson looks the part. He has the physique. He was assignment sure. If he can finish plays, he might push for playing time in the regular season.

* Carl Bradford was swallowed. Keep fighting, man. Your motor is your best attribute.

* Nate Palmer. I've seen enough.

* I knew Jake Doughty was small, but man, he looked tiny. And, he was slow to react. That surprised me.

* Andy Mulumba gave a ton of effort, but he's limited in potential.

* I'd like to see more of Jayrone Elliot & Adrian Hubbard. Both have a significantly higher upside than Mulumba & Palmer.

* Demetri Goodson might be having a rough camp, but I liked his desire as a gunner on special teams.

* Kevin Dorsey is being given every opportunity to make the roster. Seems like a coaches favorite.

* I write it every year: How is LeRoy Butler not in the NFL Hall of Fame? He was on the team of the decade in the 90's. He invented the Lambeau Leap. He was nearly the first player to 40 interceptions and 20 sacks. He won a Super Bowl. He was a great Leader in the locker room and in the community. I can't figure it out.

* The Jerel Worthy story is disappointing. I thought he had the potential to be an elite NFL player. Instead, he was a Wounded Warrior. Hurt more often than not. I'll remember him for his sack of Ray Nutler. I wish him well in NE. He wasn't a fit for the 3-4. I'm happy that TT got a pick for him because he was unlikely to make the team this year.

This week - it's the Rams. In StL. The Rams are legit. Defensively, they come with conviction. Littered with weapons who passionately pursue. On a fast surface. That's a tough combination to compete against. It's too bad that the Rams play in the NFC West. If they played in the NFC East or the NFC South, they'd compete for the Division title. It'll be a tough challenge for the Packers to protect the QB.

I'm excited to see Aaron Rodgers. The Packers Spiritual Gangster is sure to lead the Packers on a scoring drive. I fully anticipate Lacy to get a series or two. Nothing more. Look for Kuhn and Rodgers to be lined up in front of Lacy. Wishbone form. Watch for play-action. Nelson. 20 yards. Packers 1st down. Beautiful imagery!

Look for Peppers to be more aggressive. And comfortable. Watch Daniels & Raji punch OL in the mouth. The Packers defensive front has great rotational depth. I expect to see fresh legs and consistent push.

Flynn & Tolzien will also engineer scoring drives. The Packers depth is fully on display. Myles White is catching balls on short out routes from the slot. Flynn hits Adams for a first down. Justin Perillo catches a Tolzien pass for a TD.

Defensively, once again, it's Mike Pennel who impresses. He has size. He has surprising quickness of the ball. He gobbles ball carriers. Barrington & Lattimore each play sideline-to-sideline. They show burst as attacking ILB.

Packers 27. Rams 16.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.