Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Take - Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

I hope that your Christmas Holiday was as vibrant as mine. My apologies for the delay in the take. I've been indulging in vacation. A couple of solid hikes through Baird's Creek. A plethora of sublime family time. And an evening in "Ecstasy" with Rusted Root.

Any way, G-Force, it is not time to push the panic button. I hear people talking about our need for gaining offensive momentum and the need for getting a win as we move into the playoffs. For me, while these things are great, I think the Packers simply need to go out and play a strong 1st Quarter. We are a young team who is still forming an identity. Hence, as fans, we worry that negativity will carry over from week-to-week. However, our youth and carefree mentality is one of our greatest assets...especially after a disastrous showing against our arch rival.

In 7 of the last 8 games, the Packers have scored at least 27 points. You don't lose your offensive rhythm in one week! In my mind, we froze in the cold after the Bears first possession. Prior to kickoff, the Packers looked ready. Favre looked excited. He was pumping his fists with enjoyment and anticipation. However, this was followed with a Bears possession that lasted in excess of 10 minutes. At this point, I feel that the Packers offense became more concerned with staying warm than scoring points. I would argue that had the Packers stopped the Bears on 3rd down early in the game - the Packers offense would have been more fluid.

We took one on the chin in Chicago. It took a couple of days to swallow the loss, but I've got G-Force clarity and last week is behind me. Bring on the Lions.

This week is about staying healthy and moving into the bye with a confident Defensive Line. If the Packers are to make a Super Bowl push, the Defensive Line must be the catalyst. We must return to our early season roots on defense. In 5 of the last 6 games, the opposition has had a rusher eclipse 100 yards. Frankly, this concerns me. We need an immediate solution.

Pickett must be at 100%. I would not even consider playing him tomorrow. Tomorrow, I'd force him to ride the bike for an hour and then I would have him run the treadmill. Stay in shape, big boy! Corey Williams, in a contract year, continues to be pushed backwards on run downs. I'd replace Williams on run downs with Harrell. While Harrell has been hit or miss thus far, he's showed the occasional ability to hold the point of attack. Last week, he had 5 tackles (4 of them were solo).

Additionally, we have struggled to get pressure from the D-Line. I would rest KGB tomorrow as well. He has not been himself since his ankle injury against Detroit on Turkey Day. Replacing Williams with Harrell on run downs would allow for Williams to be well rested and physically prepared to rush the passer on 3rd down.

Mother Nature is calling for the mid-to-high 20's. Low winds. Slight flurries. Ahhh, Lambeau in December. How beautiful!

The Lions are banged up as they walk into Lambeau. Kevin Jones and Roy Williams will not play. Therefore, I expect the Lions to use a mixed bag of players to attack our defense. The Lions will try Calvin Johnson deep and over the middle on 15-20 yard crossing routes. They will put Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey in the slot and try to let them make plays after the catch. Sean McHugh will be involved with short down and outs and roll outs. TJ Duckett will pound away at the interior of our Defense. Aveion Cason will be utilized via the screen and dump offs. And it sounds as though Tatum Bell might be activated this week. He's been out since Week 5. I'm not sure how effective Bell will be, but nonetheless, at times, Bell has been a productive NFL runner.

Duckett will be getting his first start of the year. He's averaging 5.9 yards per carry this year. Against us on T-Day, he ran for 29 yards on 7 carries. If Duckett rushes for over 4 yards per carry tomorrow, we will be in trouble.

Early in the game, the Packers play to stop the run. Chuckie and Al are left on islands. Bigby inches closer to the line of scrimmage. The Packers set the tone. They show attitude. They show athleticism. They play with passion and a defensive conviction. Lambeau elevates. Personally, I will lead the charge in my first visit to Lambeau in '07.

The Packers stuff the run. Martz gives up on the run and attacks the secondary, notably Willie B. Willie B. responds and gets the Packers off the field on 3rd down with a pass defensed.

On offense, the Packers come out with 4 wide (I'd be surprised if Jennings plays). Grant as the single back. I expect immediate traction from the offense. Favre to Driver on the first play of the game. Offensive rhythm. Grant on the draw. Favre to Jones. Favre to Lee. Favre to Martin. Favre to Franks. Favre to K-Rob for 6 points.

The critics are quieted. Our offense does not have static. Our offense has electricity.

The Packers jump out to an early 17-3 lead. And then we rest. I'm excited to see performances from Daniel Muir, Michael Montgomery, Willie B., Tramon, Desmond Bishop, and Brandon Jackson. In the preseason, I thought that Muir showed tremendous potential. I'm curious to see him get real life game experience.

Late in the game, the defense rises to the occasion. Craig Nall leads two drives for FG's.

Green Bay 23. Detroit 20.

The Packers finish 13-3. 7-1 at Lambeau. The victory is sweet. The rest is sweeter. For the most part, the Packers are healthy for a playoff push.

I'm excited to be in the stands. Tomorrow is a celebration.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Take - Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

Merry Christmas to you! I always cherish the Christmas game. I'm thankful that it will be played outdoors. I hope that their are light snow flurries. Mother Nature is calling for partly cloudy. Highs of 22 degrees. Urlacher's breath flowing in the wind as he calls signals. Followed by Favre's breath smoking through the air as he calls an audible. Yes, this is football. This is Packers-Bears. This is defining of the greatest sport in America.

Soldier Field. A tremendous football venue. A 2nd home to Brett Favre. In Chicago, Favre remains Public Enemy #1. Long after he retires, he'll remain the same.

The Bears are the defending NFC Champion. They started last year with a 26-0 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field. This year they are 5-9 and searching for a pulse. Their season is dead. Their offense is inept. In one year, the physical nature of their offense disappeared.

Last year, the Packers entered December at 4-8. 4 wins later, the Packers finished 8-8. Last year was capped with a nearly identical score, 26-7. Only this time, it was the Packers who were victorious.

The 12-2 Packers enter Soldier Field banged up on the defensive line - especially at DT. Jolly and Cole are out. Pickett is banged up and questionable for Sunday. No question, this will affect the interior of the Packers defense. I'm sure the Bears will bang away at the middle of the Packers defense. Justin Harrell, Daniel Muir, and Corey Williams will be put to the test. I expect Cullen Jenkins to play a heavier role at DT as well this week. It'll be the young Packers defensive line against the aged offensive line of the Bears.

For the Bears, Adrian Peterson is running hard. He gives it everything he's got. He's got the ability to break tackles and occasionally, he's slippery. However, he's not a game breaker. I'd be surprised if he eclipsed 80 yards. Nick Barnett and AJ Hawk will be MEN this weekend.

The Packers will feast on Kyle Orton. Expect the Packers to be able to pressure with only 4. KGB has not performed well since his injury. But, this week, if given the opportunity, Kampman
and KGB will dominate. They will force Orton into bad decisions. They will meet take Orton to the ground via sacks and knockdowns.

The Bears will attempt to counter by keeping Peterson in the backfield to block. They'll try to find Peterson on the screen. They'll look to Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark on short routes. They'll try to expose Brady Poppinga's covering abilities. They'll also attempt to get the ball to Hester on short routes in hopes that he can make magic happen. And they'll occasionally take the deep shot to Berrian. We'll be prepared.

On offense, the key word is protection. Protect Favre. Protect the football. If we don't turn over the football, we'll win in a blowout.

No surprise - the Packers will spread out the Bears. 4 wide. Single back. The Bears cannot cover the Packers. And other than our ability to block Tommie Harris, our offensive line matches up well with their defensive line. So, we come with the quick hitters. K-Rob gets involved early. Ruvell Martin on the crossing route. Driver is involved. Jones catches and hangs onto the football. Jennings takes a 15 yard slant for a big one.

Ryan Grant gets back on track as the Packers show the diversification of our offense. We pound away at the once mighty Panda defense. The offensive line gets to the second line of the Bears defense. Urlacher and Briggs show their frustrations.

On Special Teams, Hester does not touch the ball with significance. And our special teams has the potential to turn the field in our favor.

It's an early Christmas present from Brett. We're moving to 13-2. This week is about dominance. It's about stomping on Soldier Field and playing as NFC North Champions.

Packers 30. Bears 16.

In other games:

The Cowboys travel to Carolina. The upset bird is swirling in Charlotte. The Cowboys are crumbling. Suddenly, their offense lacks rhythm. Jessica Simpson is a topic of conversation in their locker room. Tony Romo is nicked up. Andre Gurode will be missing on their O-Line. Roy Williams is suspended. Emotionally, drama has entered the lives of the Cowboys.

Chris Gamble locks up TO. Julius Peppers, if healthy, is in the face of Romo. Matt Moore, the rookie QB, is playing with confidence. Looking for Steve Smith. Coach John Fox puts Moore in position to win by controlling the clock. Banging away with Foster and De'Angelo.

The Carolina crowd feeling the Christmas spirit is loaded with excitement for the national audience. Early in the game, the Cowboys look rattled. Look for this one to come down to the 4th Quarter. In the end, the Cowboys bite their finger nails to a 23-16 victory.

The Redskins travel to Minnesota. The 'Skins football life on the line. Washington's aggressive defense slows down Adrian Peterson. They force turnovers. Tavaris Jackson making mistakes. The Redskins pound away. Possessing the football. Chris Cooley moving the sticks.

In a slow moving game, it's the Redskins winning 20-19. The Redskins playoff hopes are alive! And Dallas visits in Week 17.

Merry Christmas to everyone. I'm headed to Green Bay. To God's Country. To the North Pole. Where Santa resides. And this year, in his bag, Santa is presenting an NFC North Trophy to Green Bay. We've taken the NFC North crown from Chicago. We're going after their NFC Champion trophy.

Somewhere, John Lennon is singing, "And, so this is Christmas..."

Go Pack Go,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Running Over the Rams...

Greetings, G-Force.

In the wink of an eye, my Winter Wonderland vacation to Green Bay, WI bettered itself. The Seahawks loss coupled with the Packers win gave us a 1st round bye. Reason for celebration. Philly defensive dominance over the Cowboys brought meaning to the rest of the Regular Season.

Now, there is no such thing as resting players. The Regular Season is about continuing to find traction. It's about keeping the momentum rolling. It's about peaking at the right time.

The victory at St. Louis was great. However, in my mind, it was not Super. I'm not being a bad buzz. I'm being who I am, which is an optimistic realist.

First off, props to the fans that made the trip to St. Louis to support the Pack. PatRad, Mark, Jason, you made a difference. The "Go Pack Go" chants were heard through the TV. Pat yourselves on the back.

Twice, I thought the Packers had a chance to put the dagger in the Rams by showcasing the Championship Drive. When the Packers got the football in the 4th Quarter after Jeff Wilkins missed the FG, I thought that a TD would have secured the victory. We moved the ball down to the 7 yard line and stalled. The FG was nice, but the Rams kept the lead at 2 scores.

No worries. The Packers get a stop. Followed by great field position, but Favre threw the pick which prevented the Packers from generating a 3-score lead.

So, enough with me nitpicking. This was a great win for the Packers. It was arguably our best Special Teams since the '96 Super Bowl. Think about that. As I jogged through my memory bank, the only game that I could think of was the 2001 Buccaneer game at Lambeau when Allen Rossum returned a late punt return for a TD and a Packer victory.

K-Rob, T-Man Williams, and Willie B. have changed the face of our team. They're clicking late in the season. They're making us more dangerous. It's an added element to an already thriving team.

They said that we could not run. And then 6 of the last 8 games, Ryan Grant ran for at least 88 yards. Additionally, he's scored 6 TD's in the last 6 games. The skeptics were quieted. There were questions about our return game. Then Willie B. goes wild against the Raiders. Then against the Rams, K-Rob and Willie B. both provided great field position for the Packers offense.
'Tis the season to be Jolly! Johnny, that is. Boy, do we miss Johnny Jolly. Jolly and Pickett were a tremendous run stuffing tandem. Corey Williams has not been a stalwart run stuffer. Williams became the everyday player when Colin Cole went out against Detroit. In Williams' three games as a starter, he has 5 tackles and no sacks. For informational purposes only, Justin Harrell has 6 tackles in the last two games combined. Corey Williams is playing for a contract. I'm on record as saying that I hope the Packers show him the money, but Corey Williams must earn that money RIGHT NOW.

Admittedly, our defensive line is starting to concern me. At times, in consecutive games, the Panthers, Lions, Cowboys, Raiders, and Rams offensive lines pushed us around. The Raiders did it with the least success, but Fargas did run for 3.8 yards per carry. To me, much like early in the season, we're slowly becoming a bend but don't break defense. I thought that we were becoming a dominant defense during the stretch against Washington, Denver, KC, Minnesota and the first half of the Carolina game.

I am encouraged because the defense has made game changing plays. Props to Ras-A-tari who has temporarily quieted the critics with 3 picks in 2 games. Yesterday, the Packers had 4 sacks and 2 interceptions. Against the Rams, Nick Barnett played the best game of his NFL career. 13 tackles, all of them solo. 2 sacks. Barnett played like a fierce mad man. He played with a vengeance. He was the leader of the defense. He showed why he deserves a Pro Bowl berth. AJ Hawk played with aggression. He had 7 tackles, all of them solo. He also had a sack. We knew that we could get to the QB if we blitzed. Barnett and Hawk proved us right.

However, if teams are going to try to run right at us, Brady Poppinga must elevate. If Poppinga cannot be a force against the run, he does not have a spot in our starting line-up. Brady, do not over pursue! Keep your gap! Play your lane! Attack!

In closing, cheers to Brett Favre! Another record. Favre to Driver was fitting. Another victory. 2 more TD's, which leaves him 4 short of 30. He's passed for 30 TD's eight times in his career.

12- 2. The Bears on tap. Dallas at Carolina on Saturday night. Washington at Minnesota on Sunday night. The Packers need a Washington victory so that the Week 17 match-up between the Redskins and Cowboys has playoff implications for the 'Skins. Does it get any better than


It's Bear week,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Take - Week 15

Greetings, G-Force.

The Packers roll into St. Louis surfing a high wave of confidence. All of a sudden - the Offense, Defense, and Special Teams are all showing signs of clicking. Moreover, the magic number for a first round bye is down to 2.

If my memory serves me correctly - Favre is 1-2 at the Edward Jones Dome. However, this Dome is host to one of Favre's most dismal performances ever. No worries! Favre and the Packers will be ready to battle the Rams this weekend.

I must admit - I have not seen a lot of the Rams this year. I watched the last 3 minutes of their home loss against the Seahawks and in order to scout St. Louis, I watched the replay of their game last week against Cincinnati. You gotta love the privileges of DirecTV.

Though the Rams are 3-10, they are still playing with fight. They are still playing with fight and they are competing until the last snap. The Rams will not lay down this weekend. They remain the type of team that could sneak up on the Packers, if we are not prepared.

It appears as though Marc Bulger will be the starter. He took all of the snaps from center during Wednesday's practice. Bulger has a unique relationship with his receivers, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Clearly, more often than not, they are all on the same page. Bruce and Holt present a tremendous challenge for our secondary. Moreover, Drew Bennett scares me. Bennett has had a less than average season. In fact, I imagine that he is mightily disappointed with his performance thus far this season. But, against our 3rd CB (whomever that may be), he does hold an advantage. Bennett is a veteran, seasoned receiver who is known for crisp route running and an ability to make plays in traffic. Randy McMichael is not going to fly by anyone, but he is fast and strong enough to make a difference and create an obstacle for the Packers defense. We must pay attention to McMichael.

It took Steven Jackson 10 weeks, but he's running in the right direction these days. He's run for at least 90 yards in each of the last 4 weeks. He, too, offers a clear and present danger. He's a threat via the air and on the ground. He's averaged 4 catches a game over the last 5 weeks and he must be contained. If Jackson gets rolling, this game could throw a curve ball.

While scouting the Rams, I viewed a defense that needed to be attacked. Expect Ryan Grant to run right at the Rams defense. La'Roi Glover is still impressive, but he is only an image of the way he used to perform. At times, Adam Carriker showed potential, but for the most part, I thought that he was slow off the ball and that you could run right at him. Carriker can be pushed backwards. James Hall has always been a speed rusher, but he, too, is the kind of guy that you can run towards. Victor Adeyanju does not appear to be a play-maker.

At the LB position, the Rams also looked weak on defense. Will Witherspoon is solid in pass defense, but he is not a solid run stuffer. He has active hands as he tackles...loves to go after the football and will blitz the QB. He has 7 sacks this year and the Rams love to have him blitz on early downs. Against the Bengals, he seemed to be attacking the line of scrimmage on nearly every down. To my eye, Brandon Chillar and Chris Draft are liabilities. The Packers will take advantage of their presence.

Surprisingly, after watching the Rams-Bengals game, I was very impressed with the Rams secondary. In fact, immediately after watching the game, I logged onto the internet to learn more about #21 Oshiomogho Atogwe. Atogwe is a play-making safety. I found out that he has 5 interceptions. He did not intercept any passes last week, but he made certain that Chad Johnson was quiet over the top and every time Carson Palmer looked Chad Johnson's way, Atogwe was in the vicinity. Johnson did make one play, but he was held to 2 catches for 60 yards. It should be noted that last week ended a 4 game streak in which Atogwe had an interception. Atogwe's partner at safety is Corey Chavous. Chavous knows the Packers well as he is a former Viking. At one time, Chavous was on the brink of becoming a premier safety in football.

In my opinion, the Rams have two overly aggressive CB's in Fakhir Brown and Ron Bartell. Bartell also gets his hands on balls and he has a nose for finding the football. He'll put his shoulder in a receiver's chest. He picked off one pass last weekend and should have had two more, but he did not hang onto the football. Bartell seems to put himself in position to make plays. He'll attempt to jump routes. Fakhir Brown has 4 interceptions including one that he returned for a TD last week. He, too, looked like a guy that wanted to jump routes and make the big play. But, both players looked like guys that should be attacked.

This game will be won at the line of scrimmage. Thankfully, will should not have to watch Coston attempt to throw a block in the open field. The Packers should simply line up and pound away. Look for Grant to have a field day - especially right up the gut. You can pound away against the Rams front 4. Ball control. Ball control. Ball control. Early in the game - we pound away. Grant for 6. Grant for 7. Grant for 4. Grant for 3. Grant for 13. We can pound away at the interior of the Rams defense.

Slowly - we can open up the Rams defense. They have no depth at CB. Either late in the first half or late in the 2nd half, we hand the ball to the "Sportsman of the Year." Favre. 5 wide. Magic to a football fan's eyes. Dissecting the defense. Threading the needle. Finally, once again, Driver finds the end zone.

Defensively, we must contain Jackson. We should apply pressure nearly every down via the tackles. To me, Alex Barron and Brandon Gorin looked like they could be beaten almost every down. Look for the Packers to blitz a safety this week. I would like to see the Packers rush Kampman against Gorin. Kampman comes on the bull rush. The safety comes to the outside of Gorin. The Rams will not have a response.

On the other side of the line, I'd like to see KGB come with the outside pass rush against Barron. He can beat Barron to the corner. I'd send either Hawk or Barnett between the guard and the tackle. Their will be a large gap and the Rams will not be able to double team. However, we must watch the screen. So, for example, if Barnett is blitzing, it is Hawk's responsibility to watch Jackson. And vice versa if Hawk is rushing Bulger. We cannot let Bulger find his rhythm. Pressure on the QB will disrupt his form. Plus, he's coming back from a concussion and you have to consider the fear factor.

On Special Teams, Willie B. is once again unleashed! Crosby's kicking woes won't continue as he'll be in the dome.

In football, good teams have the ability to consistently come up with what I call the "Championship Drive." The "Championship Drive" normally occurs in the middle of the 3rd Quarter. In most instances, it's a two score game. The "Championship Drive" makes it a three score game essentially puts the game out of reach. The "Championship Drive" can also occur in the middle of the 4th Quarter when it's a one score game and you finish off the opposition with a punch-you-in-the-mouth-TD. Wayne Larivee calls it "The Dagger." At this point, mentally, the dagger has been inserted into the heart of the opposition. A prime example of the "Championship Drive" came last week. The Packers were up 17-7. Just over 9 minutes left in the game. The Raiders were hanging around. One play later, it was Favre to Jennings for 80 yards and the Raiders had lost hope.

Earlier in the year, we saw this drive against the Vikings - the second time we played them. We opened up the 2nd half with a 13-0 lead. We came out with a 5:30 drive and pounded it down their throats. Championship Style. The next thing you knew - it was 20-0 Green Bay and Minnesota was defeated.

In my mind, we are learning what it takes to become a Champion. We are building towards something special...and possibly even Super.

This week - the Rams hang tight for a half. The Packers hold the lead at halftime, but mid way through the 3rd Quarter...the Packers come out with 4-wide. Spread 'em out. Let Brett go to work. Favre to Driver gets us started. Grant on the draw. Favre to K-Rob for a first down. Jennings gets involved. The Packers find the end zone. The Packers take that commanding three score lead. Once again, it's evidence! Evidence that we have the killer instinct. Evidence of the "Championship Drive."

Green Bay 37. St. Louis 23.

The Edward Jones Dome becomes Lambeau Field this weekend. I'd be surprised if at least 25% of the stadium is not Packer fans. PatRad, Mark, Jason, enjoy the game! Bring the G-Force! Bring us a victory! Make a difference. Leave hoarse! Let the good times roll...

In Championship Form,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Tribute to Brett...


Good Day to You.

The below article was written in the LA Times. It's a couple of weeks old. Craig Papka sent it to me. Somehow - it ended up in my junk mail...I found it and it needed to be published...

Carry On,

Talkin' S-Mac.

On bended, creaky knee, in homage to Favre

Brett Favre
Paul Sancya / AP
Packers quarterback Brett Favre set a Green Bay record with 20 consecutive completions and finished with a season-high 381 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers' 37-26 victory over the Detroit Lions last week.
Packers quarterback is having his greatest season yet, playing like a legend, and a scrub who just appreciates the chance to suit up. He's an everyman whose work ethic is a marvel.
By Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 29, 2007
NBC has "Bionic Woman." The NFL has Brett Favre, the bionic man. Guess which one is having the better season? I don't know what you're eating, Mr. Favre, but pass the candy dish.

You're maybe the last American hero. A postmodern DiMaggio. A Wyatt Earp. You're about 140 years old, with the smile of an 8-year-old and a gun like Zeus.

You do all the things the other superstars don't. You play in that city by the bay, an obscure little place with more chipmunks than people, more deer rifles than cellphones. Up there in northern Wisconsin, you don't ride in limos; they just send over Santa's sleigh.

You're us, which isn't so bad -- at least if you ask us. You're not some natty dude, a blingy gold-toothed Liberace. No three-pointed kerchief in your suit pocket, like the male mannequins back in the Fox studio. No sir. You wear your hair like the 18th green, short and fast. You could comb it with a golf towel.

Yep, we appreciate your sense of style -- the plain gray T-shirts and the faded jeans. You've got that same lovely wife you started with. Your beard's getting a little frosty, the jowls a little puffy, but she's stuck by you, that woman. Through your tough times. And you through hers.

Love your loyalty, love your work. The cynics claimed you were done. "Retire, fool," they said last season. "Put a fork in Favre. His popper has popped."

Turns out they were the fools. They forgot you were part Choctaw, part '56 Chevy. You're having your greatest season yet, playing like a legend. And like a scrub who just appreciates the chance to suit up.

Sure, your wheels don't work like they used to. People forget that you have the same degenerative hip disease that permanently sidelined Bo Jackson. At 38, you can sprint with the kids for about three half-steps, then . . . look out . . . cruuuuuuunch. Those first steps on a Monday morning must really snap-crackle-pop. Talk about a working stiff. Welcome to the club.

When you're not at work, you're at home, just like the rest of us middle-aged saps. I'll bet she's already nagging you about all the Christmas junk, huh? Brett, can you bring those boxes up from the basement? Brett, how about hanging the outdoor lights on the birch tree? That sort of stuff. Like the rest of us, you don't need a holiday to remind you of your blessings.

Yep, you're us all right, and we couldn't be more thrilled. You don't like to miss work under any condition. It's just the way you were raised. A guy thing. You don't miss work. In almost 300 games, including two Super Bowls, you haven't missed a start. It is the sports stat of our time.

And we certainly don't mind your sense of craft, your safecracker's cool. One moment, you're zinging thunderbolts across the middle. The next you're looping nine-iron shots in the end zone. The laser bomb that beat the Broncos? Boom! Brilliant.

You're what we all hoped to become in the backyards of our youth. You play as if you're hanging with your pals, and the sun is setting and the moms are calling everyone home for supper. Come on, Brett, your buddies say. One more. One more series. . . .

Blanda. Nicklaus. Aaron. They all played their respective games a long time, gave us old-timers hope. Now you're our time machine, our fountain of goof.

Tonight you'll play the Dallas Cowboys, that little franchise down in Texas that has always given the Packers fits. How great is that, a Cowboys-Packers game that really matters? Lombardi will be watching from his skybox, barking out commands, wondering where the hell Hornung is.

Also cheering will be millions of gimpy guys a little past their prime for whom you've become this year's most compelling sports story. An inspiration. A Perseus in cleats.

So, come on, Brett. One more. One more series. . . .

Monday, December 10, 2007

Willie B!

Greetings, G-Force.

The day was November 13, 2004. I had wanted to go to the beach. My wife, Alana, rejected the notion - instead insisting that we went to the Ale House (a local pub) as she wanted to go watch her beloved Mountaineers from West Virginia host the Boston College Eagles. It was mid-4th Quarter, the Mountaineers were scratching and clawing to stay alive. And then Willie B. entered my life. I had seen him prior to this game. I had enjoyed his abilities as a playmaker. But, 71 yards later, he had put the dagger in the hearts of the Mountaineers and forever, I would remember Willie B. as having the potential to be something SPECIAL. In fact, on November 13, 2004, Willie B. had me elevate out of my chair and spill my beer with a dramatic "OH" as he danced down the sideline in Morgantown.

On draft day, April 30, 2006, in the 4th round, the Packers drafted Willie B. Immediately, I called My Father. I called my cousin, Ryan. I called Stack. I called Wos. I called Vargas. In my eyes, the Packers had drafted GOLD in the 4th round. An absolute steal. I truly felt this way.

On October 20, 2006, I was sitting on Lincoln Rd on South Beach, two days before the Packers were to host the Miami Dolphins. I was talking to Richard Evans, Neil Buethe, Josh King, Matt Roffers, and Russ Thompson (Richard, Neil, Josh, Matt, Russ - PLEASE SPEAK UP!). One name was continuously mentioned - Willie B. This was supposed to be the first game that Willie B. showed himself. Yes, he played in the game, albeit sparingly. Once again, Willie B. got nicked up. Essentially, his season was over...before it began...

On Family Night, August 4, 2007, Willie B. performs in front of the Lambeau audience. Essentially for the first time. In the scrimmage, Willie B. picks off two passes.

In the preseason opener, at Pittsburgh, on August 11, 2007, Willie B. shows flashes as a punt returner. Once breaking loose - only to have it called back by a penalty on the other side of the field.

On August 18, 2007, Willie B. showed he was dangerous in his first preseason game at Lambeau. He ran 83 yards to set up the Packers first TD.

On August 23, 2007, at Lambeau, against Jacksonville, once again, Willie B. displayed his knack for finding the seam in the oppositions special team.

Then, came, the injury. Again, this year. Willie B. goes down in the preseason. Once again, injury seemed to have doomed this bright talent. I even wondered if he had "Tyrone Wheatley syndrome." You know - that guy who has all the talent in the world. The ultimate athlete. A physical specimen. But, the guy just cannot stay healthy. The guy that cannot keep himself on the field. Yeah, I call that the "Tyrone Wheatley syndrome."

Then came December 9, 2007. Willie B. in his second punt return as a Packer. 57 yards. A Packer TD. In fact, before the kick, I turned to Alana and Vargas who were sitting on the couch and said, "He could take this one for a Touchdown!" He must have heard me. I had waited 3 years for the moment. I was jumping up and down - literally - in my family room...Vargas wondered if I was going to hit my head on the ceiling.

Willie B. - sometimes you just have to wait for the good times to come to you...

This is not the story of "I told you so." Rather, this is a story of rejoicing. It's the Holiday Season. It's December in Green Bay. Where Legends are told at Lambeau. It's always fun when YOUR team gets YOUR the Packers getting Charles Woodson, my favorite college player ever...or when the Packers draft Derrick Mayes - the only Notre Dame football player that I ever liked...or when Willie B. FINALLY makes his appearance. Yes, I'm a kid at heart, mind, soul and spirit.

Willie B., thank you. It's the Holiday Season - which is the season for giving. Thanks for my early Christmas gift. It was truly special. It's a treat to see you with your ghetto limp...with your shoulder tilt...with your swagger as you "Jump In The Stands." You do it was such honor...such grace...such style...such swagger.

Willie B., you've helped define the 2007 Packers as team. And you've added another element for teams to think about as they prepare for defeat.

G-Force, be stoked...cuz #27 is returning kicks!

Running like a butterfly - stinging like Willie B.,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Take - Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

The Packers trip to Dallas did not turn out the way that we had planned, but I'm not overly disappointed. Sure, at times, the Packers were extremely out-classed. But, for the most part, I feel as though the Packers coaching staff out thought themselves. Offensively, early in the game, we left our brand name in Green Bay. We returned to the Packers of '05. Deep passes into coverage. Once the game got to 27-10, we settled down and played Packer football. Dink and dunk you to sleep. Let our receivers make plays. From then on, we were successful.

Clearly, the Cowboys took advantage of our depleted defense. And, it's also noteworthy that on the 2 biggest plays of the game, the Cowboys were the dominant team. On 3rd and 19, the Packers defense could not rise to the occasion. And on 3rd and 6, Clifton was beaten badly by Ware. To me, those two plays describe the game. We can complain about the officiating, which was awful, but the bottom line is that twice we were down 27-24...with momentum on our side...and a big 3rd down in front of us...and both times the Cowboys swung the momentum in their favor.

Regardless, we must win 3 of our last 4 to guarantee a first round bye. And frankly, it does not scare me to play at Dallas in January with a fully loaded squad.

It starts against the Raiders this weekend at Lambeau Field. We will learn a lot about the '07 Packers this weekend. Mother Nature is calling for snow showers with temperatures in the low-to-mid 30's. Combine this with the Raiders '07 football philosophy and this Sunday has become interesting. However, no worries, Packer fans...

The Raiders attack with Justin Fargas. Fargas has been running well over the last 5 weeks. In fact, 3 times he has exceeded 100 yards. He's also a decent threat out of the backfield catching the ball. He runs hard. He runs fast. He plays bigger than he looks. He's developed into a decent back. The Packers ability to control Fargas will be defining this week. Hold Fargas under 100 yards and the Packers will win this one easily.

Josh McCown will lead the Raiders into Lambeau. McCown is surprisingly mobile. He's agile enough to escape pressure. He'll avoid the rush and get to the perimeter of the defense. He can make plays on the run with either his hands or his feet. Good news is that he will throw the ball into the laps of the defense as he occasionally makes brainless decisions.

Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter are decent threats. Both are physical and normally display good hands. Zach Miller has improved throughout his rookie campaign and has turned into a go-to guy. He's had at least three catches in the last 4 games and last week he had two big third down catches to keep the chains moving as the Raiders fended off the Broncos.

Defensively, at times, the Raiders have played solid football. You know that Warren Sapp is excited to see Brett Favre once again. Derrick Burgess can flat out rush the passer, but I imagine he'll have trouble this weekend as he is a speed rusher and thrives on playing on a clean surface. I imagine Lambeau will be too choppy for him.

The Raiders have two terrific LB's. Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are young guys who consistently make plays. They fly towards the football and are strong against the run and the pass. Both have a nose for the ball. They will make us work for yards on the ground and will have their eyes set on jumping slant passes.

If the weather holds, the Packers will have a ton of success against the Raiders secondary. Fabian Washington is a young corner who is still growing and can be taken advantage of. Nnamdi Asomugha is a bright young NFL CB, but he has struggled with injuries and has not been the same player that he was last year. Chris Carr is a dangerous kick returner, but a below average nickel CB. Michael Huff has an exciting NFL career ahead of him, but he, too, is not their yet. Stuart Shweigert will be in position and he will hit you, but he's not a playmaker.

Assuming the weather turns for the worst, this will be a test for this young Packers team. They are not battle tested when it comes to playing big time football games in cold weather. But, I feel really good about it. Our defense has had 10 days to rest. They know that they MUST win the line of scrimmage. I expect Kampman to have a monstrous game. I expect Jenkins to get a push. It seems as though I've been calling for Jenkins to make a big play for weeks, but in the past, he has been a guy that has played very well late in the year. Cullen Jenkins, it's YOUR time to shine. This team is about TEAM and though there is no "I" in team, there is an "M" and an "E" and Cullen, this week - you provide your "me" and you do your part. I expect to see a lot of 3rd and long this weekend. At some point, the ball will land in the lap of our defense for a big turnover.

Just a thought - don't be surprised if Bigby is benched in favor of Rouse. While, Rouse and Collins play the same position, McCarthy is the type who likes to have his best players on the field. McCarthy has shown his frustrations with Bigby's play.

The Packers say they are going to be cautious with Chuckie. We need Woodson on the field, not in exchange for the rest of the season, but we cannot chance anything. Defensively, we are starting with ZERO this weekend. We have the ability to shut them down.

I see the offensive line playing with a fire in their belly. They got beat up against Dallas. The Packers coaching staff will demand performance. Our O'Line will respond. Early on, it's a day on the ground for the Packers. Grant runs right behind Lee and Tauscher for 7 yards. Grant pounds the middle for four and a Packer first down.

I've been calling for this play for weeks as well and I'm hoping for it this the Oakland LB's creep forward, the Packers set up the screen and the Raiders think it is sniffed out, but Favre throws the ball to the weak side. It's WIDE OPEN. It's either Lee standing their arms wide open or it's Jennings running the drag route. Either way - one of them is streaking down the side line. If it's Jennings, it could be 6 points.

Any way, this is a pound it out, beat you up style of football game. The Packers will be prepared for this one. We will be well rested. Mentally fit. Physically ready. We will pound Grant. Morency will get his chances. B-Jack will see opportunities. In all, we RUSH for 150 yards.

Favre is efficient. Calm in the pocket, Favre picks his spots and manages the game. In the cold weather, each yard counts and Favre knows this almighty important notion. Favre, the Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year," goes to work. He throws for 200 yards and three short TD's.

Green Bay 31. Oakland 13.

And the Packers regain their winning ways. The Raiders enter the cold and cannot wait to get back on the bus. The Packers enter the cold and cannot wait to celebrate. And the magic number for a first round bye drops from 3 to 2. From a theatrical sense, there is something magical about Lambeau in December.

Let It Snow,

Talkin' S-Mac.

P.S. - > To Al Davis, I hope you don't mind, but this year we are borrowing your "Just Win, Baby" slogan. The NFL does not respect us. The media does not respect us. Clearly, the officials do not respect us as well. So, Al, with or without your permission, we'll continue to "Just Win, Baby" and ultimately, someone will take notice...who knows, maybe, just maybe, that respect will come after we meet the Brady Bunch in AZ in early '08. Until then, Al, thanks for the trademark. One last thing Al - On Sunday, we're winning, baby.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chicago Tribune writer Rick Morrissey

I read this article and thought that it was worthy of a post. Yes, it's the Packers vs the Cowboys this week. But, ultimately, it's always good to keep an eye on the Bears. Below is an article by Rick Morrissey from the Chicago Tribune. Until the last line, this is an epic article! Carry on...

Live well,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Backing Packers: Root of all evil?

November 24, 2007

Is it morally wrong to want to adopt the Green Bay Packers until Chicago gets its very own NFL franchise?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "What's next, Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump shacking up?" But as anathema as the thought might be, aren't the Packers what every Bears fan would want in a franchise?

Right now, many of you would adopt just about any team with a 10-1 record, even if the next Joseph Stalin coached it. (Talk about your excellent forced-labor training camp!) But back the Packers? Never, you say.

This Green Bay team is very, very likable. An iconic quarterback. A more-than-solid defense. A well-coached, disciplined young group. Besides the green-and-yellow color scheme, what's there not to like? OK, I get the archenemy thing. I get that many of you would prefer rooting for an elective root canal to rooting for the Packers. I get that given the choice between death and the Packers, many of you would ask for more time to decide.

But the Bears are a 4-6 franchise that looks absolutely lost from top to bottom. How much fun is it to be hitched to that wagon?

I'm suggesting the unthinkable: For the rest of this season, you men hand in your official Dick Butkus foaming-at-the-mouth spit cups. You women too.

I'm not suggesting you show up in a Brett Favre jersey Sunday, when the Bears play the Broncos at Soldier Field. I'm suggesting the Packers are what the Bears were supposed to be. So why not take it to the logical next step and appreciate what Favre and the Packers are doing this season?

The truth is that, despite the Bayou drawl and the unfortunate location of his place of employment, Favre is what many Chicagoans appreciate in a football player. He's talented, unbreakable, impulsive, personable and looks like something out of Tough Guys Illustrated.

For the Bears, the remote possibility of making the playoffs is barely visible in the distance. Coach Lovie Smith said his players need to win the rest of their games to play in the postseason, and it's one of the only things he has been right about this year.

The Packers took care of business on Thanksgiving, beating Detroit 37-26. You might have pushed your plate away in disgust Thursday when Favre completed 20 straight passes against the Lions. It made the Great Rex Grossman-Brian Griese Debate of 2007 seem silly, like discussing the merits of riding sidesaddle in front of John Wayne.

There always has been a huge amount of respect for the 38-year-old Favre in Chicago, mostly because he has owned the Bears, if you consider a 22-9 record sufficient proof of ownership.

But it's not just Favre this year. The Packers' defense is sixth in scoring average. The Bears, who were talking last year about wanting to be the best defense in league history, are 17th. Green Bay's offensive line has allowed only 14 sacks in 11 games. And Favre's joy pervades the team. It's a wondrous, childlike joy that reminds us that football is fun when you're winning. It's not much more than misery the way the Bears are approaching it.

It wasn't so long ago that we were discussing how strong the Bears were in an iron-deficient NFC. Now we're trying to sift through the rubble that used to be the Bears. It's 2007, and it's the Stone Age here.

You have every right to expect more from a team that was in the Super Bowl last season. That Super Bowl seems like eons ago. In fact, it almost feels like it never happened, such is the chaos and disarray of this season.

It has been such a disappointment that you wonder how things might have been different if the Bears had not gotten to the championship game. Would Smith be on the hot seat right now? General manager Jerry Angelo?

But that's playing a silly what-if game. The Bears did get to the Super Bowl. But now they have a wobbly offensive line, no running game and a below-average defense. The quarterback position remains consistently unsettled.

The free fall has knocked the wind out of many a Bears fan.

Look, Chicagoans own half the property in Wisconsin anyway. Why not a good football team too? Your Chicago Packers play in Dallas on Thursday in a matchup of 10-1 teams. Will you be there in spirit? I didn't think so.

You're Chicago Cowboys fans this week.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Take - Week 13

Greetings, G-Force.

I hope your Turkey tasted as good as mine. Watching Favre seems to have the ability to make all else seem so much better. On Thanksgiving Day, Brett, I was Thankful to watch you.

Once again, the Packers showed their dominance. Favre showed that he is as good as any player in the NFL. And Mike McCarthy displayed that he has grown immensely in his short tenure as a Head Coach. As the Packers were clinging to a nail biting 17-9 lead at the Half, I turned to my Father-In-Law, in Wheeling, WV, and said, "On the 1st drive of the 2nd half, the Packers should go to shotgun and not run the ball until the Lions show that they can stop the best player in the NFL." McCarthy felt the same way. 7 passes. 4 different receivers. 1 TD.

I truly felt that Driver was going to win us a game - either against the Lions or the Cowboys. Driver was special. And his relationship with Favre is one for the ages. 10 catches. 147 yards. The most amazing thing about Driver - he has not scored a TD since Week 3 vs. the Chargers and he's never echoed a hint of disappointment. He defines what the Packers '07 team is all about. It's not about individuality. It's about the team.

This team lives off of guys like T-mon Williams. Williams made two plays that define the '07 Packers. 1.) On third down, he knocked the ball out of Calvin Johnson's hands to get the Packers off the field. 2.) He ran down Cason on the kickoff to save 4 points. The '07 Packers are about effort, unity, togetherness and a flat out will to win. Williams defines this notion.

The NFL has waited for this week. Green Bay at Dallas. Home field advantage at stake. Is this the mid-90's?

Call me foolish, but I feel that the significance of this game from a home field perspective is not as dramatic as most. Yes, I agree, that mentally, for Favre, this game might mean a bunch as he probably would not want to go to Dallas in the NFC Championship. But, consider this: Mike McCarthy is 10-3 on the road as a Head Coach. Additionally, one of my greatest fears with the '07 Packers is that we might not be able to win a game in conditions such as the '96 playoff game against the 49ers. If Mother Nature were to turn on a Sunday and passing the ball were to become beyond difficult, could the Packers win against an elite NFC team? Yes, we won in a mud game against the Redskins this year in a game in which we had almost no offense. And yes, Ryan Grant has improved our running game tremendously, but this remains the style of game that I don't want the Packers to have to play in the playoffs. Don't get me wrong, I would certainly prefer to play the NFC Championship at Lambeau, but a loss would not be overly devastating as long as the Packers could get over the mental hurdle of having to play in Dallas, once again.

Turning back the clock, the Packers have struggled mightily in Dallas. The two places that have beat up the Favre-led Packers the most are Dallas and Philadelphia. Nothing seems to go right. Even when we are better than them. It has seemed as though we are doomed when we enter the building.

Once again, the Favre is the general as the Packers head into Texas Stadium. In '94, on paper, the Packers were a better team than the Jason Garrett led Cowboys. In '96, the Packers were better than Dallas. In '99, the Packers were better than Dallas. Each time, the Packers left defeated. In '07, once again, Favre leads a Packers team that is better than the Cowboys.

Clearly, the Cowboys possess threats. TO is as dangerous as it gets in the NFL at the WR position. Patrick Crayton has emerged into a solid #2 receiver and he has deemed himself ready to play this Thursday. Jason Witten is one of the elite TE in the league. Tony Romo is elusive and has the ability to escape. Julius Jones and Marion Barber III make up a great speed/power combination. Additionally, the Dallas O'Line is mammoth.

But, football is about match-ups. And, if healthy, the Packers match up well. Terrell Owens meet the Rasta Man Al Harris. Harris should be able to match Owens from a physical standpoint. Crayton loves to play in the slot. Chuckie loves to cover out of the slot. If Chuckie is healthy, advantage Green Bay. So, in my mind, the objective is to slow down Terrell Owens. Give Al help over the top with Aaron Rouse. By the way, Rouse has shown a Sharper-esque nose for the football. Chuckie can take care of Crayton man-to-man.

Jason Witten has to be slowed down. We won't shut him down. But, we have to slow him down. More often than not, the Cowboys will be set up in formations that will force Brady Poppinga to be on the field. I'm sure the Cowboys are going to try and match-up Witten with Poppinga. This MUST be avoided. I would double team Witten with Hawk and Ras-A-tari. Anthony Fasano might also become an option with Poppinga in man coverage, but we'd have to take our chances with this scenario. Bottom line - Jason Witten has to be held to under 65 yards.

The Packers D-Line has been beaten up over the past two weeks. KGB, Johnny Jolly, Colin Cole, Cullen Jenkins have all missed significant time. The loss of Jolly and Cole will hurt this Thursday. Jolly has become a solid run stuffer. Dallas loves to run right at the mouth of the defense. Pickett will continue to plug holes. Corey Williams must continue to play for a contract. Harrell/Muir must step up and play with tenacity. Nick Barnett has disappeared over the last couple of weeks. He must be the filling the running lanes. On occasion this year, the Cowboys have become one dimensional. As good as Barber/Jones are, they can become frustrated. Wrap them up. Go for the strip. Get the ball!

KGB must be healthy and fit to go. If so, I expect the Packers to be able to apply pressure to the Cowboys while only rushing 4 defenders. A-to-the-K is the best DL in the NFL. His heart and passion is unmatched in the NFL. To a degree, Kampman and KGB will keep Romo in the pocket. Romo is good enough that he will make plays and the Cowboys will move the ball, but if we can contain him and keep him in the pocket, Jenkins and Corey Williams will have the opportunity to get an inside push. Don't be surprised if Cullen Jenkins makes a BIG play this weekend.

Defensively, the Cowboys will bring pressure. DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis, Chris Canty and Anthony Spencer can flat out bring the pressure. No worries, G-Force. The Packers will be prepared. Yes, the Cowboys will get in Favre's face on occasion, but the Cowboys are going to have to make some crucial decisions. Do you come with the blitz and play man coverage? Or do you rush 4 and take your chances in coverage? I think that the Cowboys are going to attack.

The Packers respond by going to 4-wide. Grant lined next to Favre. Out of shotgun. I expect Greg Jennings to have a monstrous game. Favre to Jones for 4 catches. Driver has 5. K-Rob has 4. But, Jennings exposes the Cowboys defense. Terrence Newman is a solid corner. But, he can't cover them all. So, the Packers send Jennings and Driver down the middle of the field. Roy Williams is lost in space. And Jennings is running by him deep down the field. Ken Hamlin has also struggled in coverage.

The O'Line provides the protection. Wade Phillips is confused. Favre is on fire. Favre throws for 350 yards and 3 more TD's. Oh, and Ryan Grant runs for 80 more yards.

G-Force, are you ready for a shoot-out? Buckle-up. We're going for a ride. This one is going to be exciting. Defensively, let's hope we are healthy. And it's another monkey off Brett's back.

Green Bay 37. Dallas 27.

G-Force, the Road to the Super Bowl comes through Lambeau! The Cowboys may wear stars on their helmets, but the Packers have the biggest Star on the field.

It's Favre Time,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Take - Week 12

Greetings, G-Force.

Amazingly, in life, there are parallels that define the sublimeness of capturing a story's definition. If you look deep enough, you uncover the ultimate reality. To me, sports & music carry a common ground. Last Wednesday, my wife & I went to see Keller Williams perform in a small venue. The room was at half capacity, which provided ample room to Jump Around. Mentally, I took note. Half way through the 2nd set, Keller gave us a classic musical moment, "Breathe->Celebrate Your Youth->Breathe." Captured in the moment, I felt free. And I was bouncing around the room.

On Saturday Night, I saw Bob Weir perform. Much like Favre, a "dinosaur" in his profession. Yet, he was a mastermind on stage as he belted out "Wake Up to Find Out that You are the Eyes of the World."

Come Sunday, 12:40 EST. My good mate, Vargas buzzes me. "McKenna, your Dad is on fire! He just played 'Jump Around' into 'Soulja Boy.' Where else will you hear that?"

During the game, it was Favre. Inspirational as ever. Portraying his youth. Breathing his will upon the youthful Packers team and proving his exuberance is greatest of all. Brett Favre is celebrating his youth. And I like the view through Brett Favre's eyes of the world.

Last Sunday was the 4th of 6 straight STATEMENT games. We came out of the bye week and beat the Broncos on MNF in Mile High. 6 days later, we went to Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs. AP, arguably the hottest name in football, came to town and was held to 45 yards. Then, in a trap game...a sandwich game...the Panthers came to town and we showed that we are bigger the national media thinks. That's OK. We are fine with that. There's a lot of work that needs to be done. But, we're positioned tremendously.

We head to Detroit. Full of hope. Full of promise. A win and the Packers hold a 4 game lead in the NFC North with 5 to go. In the Favre era, the Packers have struggled at Detroit. This year will be different.

I expect the Packers to play a lot of 5 WR. Favre will be the mechanic operating out of the shotgun. While Fernando Bryant is a solid corner, he has been nicked up over the last couple of weeks. His health has to be a concern for the Lions. Other than Bryant, the Lions have a bunch of journey men in their defensive backfield. Stanley Wilson has never picked off a pass in his NFL career. Travis Fisher is a cast off from the St. Louis Rams. Keith Smith is an undersized at corner and can be beaten. Their safeties, Kenoy Kennedy and Idrees Bashir, are journey men who have struggled in coverage.

Koren Robinson will have a big game this weekend. I foresee K-Rob continuing to progress and fit into what we are building. As the #4 WR, he will always create mismatch problems. Favre is well aware of this. It would not surprise me if K-Rob gets a big one in the next two weeks.

Favre should throw the ball another 40-45 times this week. Spread them out. 10 different receivers. The pass will set up the run. Also, at some point, once again, there will be a game in which Favre relies heavily on Driver. Where Driver is the go-to guy in the form of 7-10 catches and moving the sticks on 3rd down. It could be in the next two weeks.

From a running standpoint, I expect the Packers to try to establish the run right up the middle. I do not expect the Packers to attack the perimeter as Ernie Sims and Boss Bailey are fast and can cover an abundance of territory. While Shaun Rogers is a stout run-stopping DT, arguably as good as anyone in the game, and Langston Moore is an aggressive Nose Tackle, Cory Redding has had a down year and Shaun Cody has been a big time disappointment - thus far. Kalimba Edwards is a decent speed pass rusher who could present problems, but he can be slowed by an effective pass rush. Dewayne White is an above average pass rusher who plays with an intense motor. He has a variety of pass rushing moves and will try to beat you with both speed and power. Overall, the depth of the Lions DL is a big question mark and they can be worn down and Ryan Grant will scrap out at least 80 more yards.

At LB, Ernie Sims and Boss Bailey can flat out play. Both will attack the QB with blitzes. Both are solid in pass coverage. However, if you are physical with them, you can push them around. Paris Lenon is a journey man MLB who is better suited on the outside. He'll probably have a chip on his shoulder as the Packers did not offer him an extension. I'd run right at him and punch him in the mouth. He'll fall backwards.

The Detroit Lions should not be able to stop the Green Bay Packers.

The Lions are going to outscore the Packers. They'll attack with the deep ball. Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, Shaun McDonald, and Mike Furrey provide a wide array of speed, size and power. In fact, the Lions WR depth provides a potential match-up problem. Really, for the first time, we will see a lot of Frank Walker and/or Tramon Williams playing DB. We will see the dime defense. When the Lions come with 4 WR, if we try to stop them with a nickel defense, we will struggle with the speed of McDonald and Furrey in the slot.

It would not surprise me to see the Packers play a 3-2-6 defense on occasion. It would not surprise me to see a mixed concoction of blitzes from the Packers. Barnett and Hawk coming by disguise. A bag of tricks.

Don't get me wrong - the base defense - will be the nickel. But a variety of looks - more than we are accustomed to - will be witnessed this Thursday. We will be creative. We will be descriptive in our desire to secure the NFC North Championship in front of a national audience.

Kevin Jones seems to always be a thorn in the Packers side. He comes on the screen. He comes on the delay. He comes on the sweep. He comes on the draw. Kevin Jones is a dangerous player. He will pick up first downs and provide Turkey Day frustrations.

But, in the end, just as Ice Cube rapped back in the day, the Packers have A to the K. A to the mother f@ck!n' K. Aaron Kampman is 3rd in the NFL with 9 sacks. KGB is 6th in the NFL with 8.5 sacks. This Thursday, they meet at the QB. Corey Williams (CAN WE PLEASE RE-SIGN THIS GUY!!!???!!!) trails them with 6 sacks. Jon Kitna has been drilled all season long. This trend will continue. One of our greatest assets is our ability to sack the QB. One of the Lions greatest weaknesses is their inability to protect the QB. Advantage - Green Bay.

The Lions will attack the Packers deep. J-Bush and "Ras-Atar-I" (thanks, Stack) will be challenged. I expect one of them to make a significant play. After all, as T-Man Williams showed last Sunday - everyone is making game changing plays this year. And each week - it is someone new. J-Bush made a game changer in Game 1. Ras-Atar-I did it in both Vikings games. This week - they will both have opportunities to do it again. So, will Rasta Al. Harris has yet to make the game changing play. He, too, will have his chances this week.

Yes, the Lions will move the ball. Yes, the Lions will score points. G-Force, do not panic. Do not get overly frustrated. Keep the faith. Keep the belief. Give thanks! We are going 10-1.

Green Bay 34. Detroit 23.

Thanks to Mike McCarthy for rejuvenating Brett. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Enjoy your Turkey. Favre's eating Lion. The Packers are now the King of the Jungle.

Gobble, Gobble.

Giving Thanks,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Who Are You Watching Now?

A definite addition to the Who Are You Watching Now list would have to be Chris Long. Chris, the son of Howie, is largely responsible for the devastation felt by the Hurricanes on the closing night of the Orange Bowl.

Also, jumping up my list of college stallions is Chevis Jackson, #21, Sr, CB, LSU. If anyone gets the chance to check out LSU this year - watch Jackson. Think Craig Newsome. Long. Lanky. Great make up speed while the ball is in the air. Plays with his hands but does not draw penalties. Plays the ball well in the air. He'd look terrific in Green & Gold.

Mike Mickens from Cincy also jumps up my board. In fact, my new CB projections look like this.

1. ) Antoine Cason
2.) Chevis Jackson
3.) Malcolm Jenkins
4.) Terrell Thomas
5.) Aqib Talib - I love this guy. Wears #3. But he scares me sometimes as I watch him and he appears weak against the run.
6.) Mike Jenkins
7.) Mike Mickens
8.) Brandon Flowers
9.) Trae Williams

Dropping minutely is Jonathan Stewart. To me, he has slowed down as the year has gone on. Still a valuable commodity, but not someone that I would want the Packers to draft in the 1st round.

As a side note, I'm also adding Brandon Miller, LB, Georgia. He and Ellerbe make a fine tandem at LB. I'm also adding William Franklin, WR, Missouri, Eric Foster, DE, Rutgers and Ryan Mundy, S, WVU to my others to consider.

Buzzin' On,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Take - Week 11

Greetings, G-Force.

I hope you are enjoying 8-1 as much as I am. As each game passes by, we seem to be defining ourselves more emphatically. Offensively, I'm starting to think that we are a mesh between the Packers of the mid-90's and the Oilers of the early 90's. From a route running perspective, we remind me of the Packers of the mid 90's. We are the masters of the underneath routes. Precision timing. Run after the catch. Comfortable winging it 45 times a game. We are similar to the Oilers as often times we are from shotgun. And we use so many different quality receivers. In the early 90's, the Oilers had WR's such as Haywood Jeffries, Ernest Givens, Drew Hill, Curtis Duncan, and Webster Slaughter. All good players. All fit in the system. To me, it's very similar to what we have today.

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system.

Ah, it's the Packers vs the Panthers...once again. Since the Panthers entered the NFL, these two teams have been rich in tradition. In '96, the Packers beat the Panthers in the NFC Championship game. In '97, we dominated the Panthers in Carolina. In '98, it was Reggie White and Vonnie Holiday living in the Panthers backfield. However, the tides changed in '99. Steve Beuerlein scored on a QB sneak on the final play of the game. I argue that this play was a symbol of why Ray Rhodes lasted only one year. Who knows where history would have taken us if not for the Beuerlein sneak? In '00, Brad Hoover torched the Packers on MNF. In '01, the Packers went into Carolina to beat up on a Chris Weinke led Panthers team. In '02, the Packers won when Shayne Graham missed a 24-yard FG late in the game. In '04, the Packers started the season triumphantly on MNF in Carolina. In '05, Carolina outlasted the Packers on MNF. In this game, Favre led a hugely inspired comeback which ended when Chris Gamble knocked the ball out of Donald Driver's hands on a 4th down pass.

In '07, Carolina is bad. They are banged up. They look like they could give up at any point in the near future. By definition, to me, they look defeated. And this is exactly why this game scares me.

This Sunday is a trap game. It's a game against a porous opponent which is surrounded by two division rival games. Clearly, we were focused on the Vikings. We played with a vengeance. We played with attitude. We played like we meant business. It should be noted that the coaches have stated that they will be spending Friday and Saturday preparing for the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Once again, the Packers face a scheduling gaffe in the '07 season. Once again, the Packers will be victorious.

Carolina is blessed with a strong front 4. Julius Peppers, Kris Jenkins, Mike Rucker, and Damione Lewis. Our O-Line played tremendously last weekend. We need to make this a trend. The Panther front 4 must be kept off of Favre. I would also imagine that the Panthers are going to blitz. We saw what happened to the Vikings when they tried to play conservatively. With protection, we will see some big hitters!

Thomas Davis, Jon Beason, and Na'il Diggs make up a LB core that is slow to the football, but each of them are able to lower the boom. I feel as though the Packers should run towards Mike Rucker and Thomas Davis. Diggs has never been a solid tackler when he is not the point of attack. Let's put Diggs in space and make him run. He'll have no chance. Beason can also be run over. Korey Hall has progressed nicely since the bye. Hall should be able to win the battles against the Panthers LB's.

While Gamble and Ken Lucas are admirable CB's, it should be noted that Patrick Dendy is the 3rd CB for the Panthers. Chris Harris, the ex-Bear, is a player that I have thought highly of since the first time I watched him play. Harris has a nose for the football and a knack for stripping the ball as the runner is already wrapped up. Deke Cooper is a liability at the other safety and Marquand Manuel backs him up. My question is - how far can we spread the field?

If we are adequately prepared and Mother Nature holds steady...the forecast calls for Mostly Sunny and 44 degrees - this would call for another big time offensive performance for the Football Jesus.

It's not that I doubt McCarthy and his staff. In fact, I really feel as though we have matured nicely. I feel that McCarthy has been the Coach of the Year thus far. But, I also believe that we will learn a lot about our coaching staff this week. Trap games scare me. We must bring HIGH energy early. We must bring HIGH energy often. We must bring HIGH energy all game. After all, we are the G-Force and we should expect nothing less out of ourselves.

This is a game in which the Packers must win because of the Defense. A-to-the-K, Aaron Kampman, KGB, Nick Barnett, Charles Woodson, Al Harris must keep the youngsters focused on the task at hand. There is no time for looking ahead. Aaron Rouse played a great game last week, but we are going to need a repeat performance on Sunday. Ras Atari was terrific last week against AP. This week - the task is in the form of Steve Smith. Our veterans must carry the load and once again show that Lambeau is not a place that visitors want to play. Also, Johnny Jolly, Cullen Jenkins, Corey Williams, and Ryan Pickett need to continue to keep running gaps plugged. The Panthers love to pitch the ball out to Foster and then let him cut back...and if the cut back is not there, Foster will shoot for the corner. This should play into the strength of our LB's. The speed of our LB's should play a big factor in shutting down the run game of the Panthers.

Keep DeAngelo Williams in front of you and he is the least of your worries. It would not surprise me if he put the ball on the ground this weekend.

Regardless of who the Panthers play at QB, we ought to be able to alter throws. Sacks should also be at our disposal. Kampman gets 2 more this weekend. KGB gets 1. Cullen Jenkins gets his 2nd sack of the year.

Steve Smith is dangerous. He must be double teamed. We cannot let Steve Smith beat us! Drew Carter is an underrated WR. The Panthers will test J-Bush and Rastaman Al Harris on the deep ball. There will be chances for our Secondary to make plays on the ball.

On a side note, Ryne Robinson is the kick returner for the Panthers. He's a rookie from Miami of Ohio. A fun guy to watch. He's dangerous and must be contained. He can win the field position battle.

Offensively, the Packers start with 4 wide and a single back. Favre, the greatest player to ever play football, under center. Left to right on the television screen. Play action to Donald Lee in the flat. The Panthers LB's will struggle in coverage. It's Favre to K-Rob on the quick hitter. Favre to Jones on the drag route. It's Favre to Driver across the middle. It's Favre to Jennings on the deep slant for 6 points.

Grant stays involved to the tune of 120 total yards.

We also unleashed a new wrinkle last week. Three WR's. Two of them to the left side of the field. Donald Lee lined up immediately to Tauscher's right in a 3 point stance. Grant as the single back. The Packers set up the screen. Naturally, the defense flows to the RB. Thus far, the pass has also gone to the RB. In the next three weeks, we will see that pass go to Donald Lee. He will be wide open on the screen and the Packers will see at least 15 yards out of the play.

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. This game is not about the Panthers. This game is about the Packers. From the top down, we are for real. We will be ready to dominate. We will perform magically.

Green Bay 30. Carolina 10.

My good buddy, Vargas, will be in attendance. He will be making the trip from Sunny South Florida to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. Vargas will be bringing his G-Force to Lambeau Field for the first time in a long time. Zinadene Perkins, another fine mate of mine, will also be rocking the party! Vargas will make certain that he comes back to the Sunshine State at 9-1.

It's a Return to Lambeau Dominance. Do the Bull Dance. Feel the Flow. Work It. Sometimes - I feel like we can do anything.

Be Prepared,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Vintage Recap...


Good Day.

I hope your wave is splashing as high as mine is today...vibrant, in nature. 8-1 brings a sensational feeling.

When the Vikings come to town, it is supposed to be difficult. No matter the record, normally, it is a battle. But, once again, this year is different. In Week 10, the Packers took a giant step in the right direction. Pure domination - In every facet of the game.

First, big props must be acknowledged and given to Atari Bigby and Brady Poppinga. The 3rd and 1 play on the opening possession spelled victory. Atari "Oh, Rasta" Bigby speaking his voice. Terrorized and scrutinized by the media for his immaturity. Yesterday, Ras Atari found redemption. And he found it at the line of scrimmage. The media took note. The camera man took note. The game producers took note. So, did AP.

Atari, you are Natty. You are Nappy. In the name of Jah, the G-Force and all else Holy, you provided AP with the Lambeau experience. Atari, it's worth noting that when the game went to halftime, the camera was on you. Cheers, Atari!

351. 3. 0. Darren Sharper - keep talking. Brett Favre - keep performing.

10. Koren Robinson and Ryan Grant leading the team with 5 catches. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Donald Lee, and Ruvell Martin each with 4. James Jones and Vernand Morency both grab 3. Brandon Jackson with 2. Korey Hall steps in with one as well. Spread the defense. Find the open man. It's like playing in the backyard.

119. Ryan Grant. Maybe the Packers do have a running game. Mad ups to Korey Hall who is performing better and better each week. The block that he threw to open up the 30 yard TD was a tutorial on how to open up a hole.

0. The Packers defense records their first shutout since 2002. They hold AP to 45 yards. KGB has 2 sacks. Jolly has one. Chuckie picks off another pass. Bigby forces a fumble. AJ making plays in space. Aaron Rouse with 4 tackles.

34. Favre throws 3. Martin catches 2. Lee catches 1. Grant runs for 1. Crosby kicks 2.

34-0. Mike McCarthy continues to grow as a Coach. When he went for it on 4th and 3 in the 1st Quarter, that was a statement. He made that decision with conviction. He believes in this group. He devised a game plan to attack the Vikings defense via the run early in the game. The run set up the pass. He attacked the edges of the line of scrimmage and he was triumphant. Defensively, the Packers were determined and the Vikings never stood a chance.

Each week - it is someone new...yet, everyone is doing their part. This is the '07 Packers. A United Team + A Faithful Fan Base = A G-Force.

This one was convincing. This one was vintage. And Ray Nitschke and Reggie White are "Shining From Heaven."

Leaping 4 Lambeau,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Take - Week 10

Greetings, G-Force.

7-1. As fans, we are flying to heights not traveled since the 90's. And I feel fuckin' epic, man!

Favre is stoked. Chuckie is making Heisman-esque plays. A-to-the-K is playing as though he is the elite DE in Football. Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones are reveling in the action of making plays for Favre. Donald Lee is playing his best football. Koren Robinson is showing an immediate impact. Ryan Grant is running for his football life. Oh, and AJ Hawk finally showed up for the '07 campaign.

It's taken 8 games, but I'm finally learning our identity. We are an excitable team that relishes the opportunity to play in an NFL game. But, we are young and make immature, inexcusable mistakes. Consistently, we find ways to let the opposition back into the game. Or we keep the opponents close through brainless penalties and blown assignments. In closing, we are athletic enough to win the close games in the closing moments.

These days, the NFL is becoming similar to the NBA. More often than not - contests are decided in the last 5 minutes. Thankfully, the Packers have GAMERS. Greg Jennings is a gamer. Charles Woodson is a gamer. Nick Barnett is a gamer. Aaron Kampman is a gamer. KGB is a gamer. Donald Driver is a gamer. And, in my mind, Favre is the greatest NFL gamer of my time.

This week - the Viqueens come to town. I have a philosophy. For those that joined the G-Force in the 80's, the Bears are the hated rival with the Viqueens as a close 2nd. For those that joined the G-Force in the 90's, the Viqueens carry the most hated title with the Bears as a close 2nd. Either way, the Viqueens are despised.

In some ways, Minnesota is limping into Lambeau. Sidney Rice has an aggravated hamstring. Bobby Wade has a hyperextended knee. Kelly Holcomb and Tavaris Jackson appear to be unable to play as well this weekend. However, in '07, for Minnesota, none of that matters. Adrian Peterson will be playing. A.P. is the real deal. To me, he is the best RB in the NFL. If he gets through the line of scrimmage, it's mighty difficult to tackle him. He is dynamic. He is electric. Even with immense disgust for the Viqueens, it's fun to watch A.P. The guy deserves respect. I'm going to give it to him. The Packers better do the same.

In Week 10, once again, the Packers jump out to the early lead. It's Favre. The surgeon. The general. Dissecting the defense. It's the start to another sublime performance for #4. Favre finds Jennings on the short post. Sharper is a step late. 7-0 Green Bay.

Minnesota will have some success moving the football. Brooks Bollinger is mobil enough to get outside the pocket and to make the play action rollout effective. Visanthe Shiancoe will move the chains on 2nd down receptions. A.P. will get his and I'm fine with that as long as he does not break the big one.

If I were the Packers Defensive Coordinator, I would start the game with only 7 in the box. I would play Bigby 8-10 yards deep and Rouse 10-15 yards deep. Losing Nick Collins is painful. While Collins has struggled to make the big play via the pass, he has been sufficient in run defense. His speed will be missed in our run defense. Therefore, I would take a more conservative approach. I would line up Poppinga right in the middle of Hutchinson and McKinnie and if Poppinga cannot perform in a game like this weekend, then he has no spot on the football team. He is supposed to be a natural born killer against the run. He is a maniac who runs with a vicious passion to find the football. Poppinga, this weekend, you better find A.P. at the line of scrimmage. You know that A.P. is running left. We have to know that he will eventually get loose, but let's keep those runs to 10-15 yards rather than the 40+ yard runs that we have seen this year. By keeping two safeties deep, I feel that the Packers will limit those runs. Plus, I feel that our front 7 matches up well with the Viqueens offensive front. It should also be noted that throughout his collegiate career, A.P. did put the ball on the turf on occasion. One guy stands him up...the other guy goes for the strip.

3rd and 7 for Minnesota. Here comes the turnover. In fact, throughout the game, the Packers force three turnovers.

In the end, it's too much Favre. It's too much Kampman pressuring Bollinger. KGB fights through McKinnie to pressure Bollinger. Barnett plays with passion. Jolly, Pickett, and Corey Williams keep holes plugged. We hold A.P. to 80 yards or less. Again, the Packers defense dominates and carries the Packers to victory.

This weekend, on Saturday Night, I am going to see Bob Sinclar at Mansion on Washington Ave. I will "Feel the Love Generation." I will "Give a Lil' Love" to the "Sound of Freedom." I will "Sing My Song" as I "Rock This Party." Gary Pine's Rasta Voice and Dub guitar will bring a beating heart to the lifeless Bigby. Pine will also bring a bubbly bounce to the nicked up Al Harris.

This will be the kind of victory that has Reggie White and Ray Nitchske "Shining From Heaven." "World Hold On." The Packers are 8-1.

Green Bay 23. Minnesota 13.

In unison, we all elevate...together...we are Family...we are Fans...we are Believers...we are G-Force!

Everybody's Movin'. Everybody's Groovin'. And in the words of Chris Berman, "with Brett Favre, everyday is Christmas."

Harness in the good energy,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Take - Week 9


Are you ready for some football? My good mate, Stack, is definitely awaiting Sunday with high anticipation. He'll be heading to KC this weekend. Therefore, the G-Force will be alive and well represented at Arrowhead. Quite frankly, we are going to need his passionate Packer energy this weekend.

While I think the Packers are the better team, we do not match up well. The Chiefs greatest strength is one of our biggest weaknesses. Tony Gonzalez vs. Brady Poppinga. Arguably the greatest TE in the history of the NFL against Brady Poppinga. Yikes. Arguably, the Packers greatest struggle is our inability to cover the TE. Yes, I believe that this is as much of a problem as our unstable running game.

The Chiefs have had 2 weeks to prepare. The Packers are working on a short week. The Packers are also coming off of an emotional high from last week's great road win. (Thanks, Brennan, for BRINGING IT against the Donkeys!) A fan never likes the 2nd game of back-to-back road games - especially when they are both against AFC teams. Also, Arrowhead is known to be a difficult place to play regardless of the team that the Chiefs are putting out on the field.

Our D-Line likes to wear down the oppositions O-Line. The Chiefs O-Line and Larry Johnson believe that they can do the same to the oppositions D-Lines. Bowe is a big, aggressive WR who makes plays down the field and he is also a load to bring down. The Chiefs defense, though vulnerable, has big play potential and a knack for making big plays down the stretch, especially Jarrad Page, a safety that most fans do not even know. Additionally, Favre has never beaten the Chiefs. Needless to say, there are a lot of things pointing in favor of the KC Chiefs.


'07 is a new year for the Packers. Not only are we wearing Green, but we seem to be surrounded by Shamrock Green. Belief can create luck. The G-Force has led a belief this year. Thus far, bounces have gone our way. They will continue to do so this weekend. Thanks, Stack. BRING IT, this weekend.

It was exciting to see the Packers get some traction in the running game last week. Potentially, it was a momentum gaining, confidence building running game. Grant ran hard. Grant ran with purpose. Grant ran with his NFL career on the line. Since he played at Notre Dame, he's accustomed to running hard as the weather turns frigid. Last week, he displayed the ability to find the first cut. This brought about 3-5 yards most carries. Hopefully, while watching film this week, he will see the 2nd cut where runs can turn into 10, 15, 20 yards...Defensively, the Chiefs weakness is their DT position. Alfonso Boone and Ron Edwards can be pushed around. The Packers must try to attack the center of the Cheifs defense early in the 1st Quarter. Grant will get his chance to perform once again this Sunday. I expect more success.

Tamba Hali and Jared Allen are more than adequate at rushing the passer. They give 100% each play. Truly dedicated and ambitious football players. However, I believe that Tauscher and Clifton will be able to limit their pressure and provide Favre with ample time to find the open receiver. Speaking of open receivers - Ty Law and Patrick Surtain have had great NFL careers. Both are seasoned. Both are aged. Unlike a fine wine or a sharp cheddar cheese, they are not improving with age. In fact, both can be beaten. I expect Driver, Jones and Jennings to each have solid games. We need to get Driver more involved in the game plan. Early. And often.

I imagine that Donnie Edwards, Derrick Johnson and Napoleon Harris will do a decent job of slowing down our TE's and the screen play/passes in the flat to our RB's. Therefore, the WR's will play an even more important role. Advantage: Green Bay.

Koren Robinson makes his impression felt in the return game. The Packers keep Eddie Drummond in check.

Much like against Denver, the Chiefs jump out to an early lead. But then, it's Favre moving the chains. Nickel and dime. Short change routes to the WR's. Grant pounds away at the center of the Chiefs defense. The Packers are playing ball control. Dominating the line of scrimmage. The Packers hold a 3 point lead at the half.

In the 2nd half, Damon Huard makes the crucial mistake. KGB comes from one side..."A-to-the-K," Aaron Kampman comes from the other side...gets the pressure and the strip. Packers ball. Packers victory. I also expect the Packers secondary to pick off a pass this weekend. Defensively, the big plays are coming. We quiet down Gonzalez in the second half. We limit LJ's carries in the 2nd half.

Green Bay 23. KC 16.

Stack, bring the G-Force. Stack, pump up the volume. This year - we are road warriors. And the crystal ball says that we are soon to be 7-1.

In other news, it feels good that Denver has a MUST win game at Detroit and Philly has the same as they host Dallas.

I'm ready for lift off. I'm ready for takeoff. I'm no longer grounded.


Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some say #4 was over hyped...

I had to take a moment to reflect on the number of times that I have heard/read people say that ESPN over hyped #4. It forces me to ask the question - is there another athlete in sports that tells the story that Favre does?

The man has lost a brother due to a car accident, overcame an alcohol/drug addiction, dealt with the loss of his Father at a young age, watched his wife defeat breast cancer, watched his Mother's house get destroyed by a Hurricane and then tragically loses his brother-in-law.

Meanwhile, Favre became the only player in the history of the NFL to become a 3-time MVP. He's been to two Super Bowls - won one of them. He's thrown more TD's than any other player. He's won more games than any other player. He's the NFL's Iron Man.

Disagree with the comparisons to MJ and Tiger if you wish...I'm not going to take part in that debate. All that I'm going to say is that MJ did things that no man in basketball ever did. Tiger is on his way towards doing the same in golf. Likewise, Favre has statistically accomplished numbers that no player in NFL history has done.

Favre has proven to be a survivor in life - both personally and professionally. He's overcome obstacles via internal strength, emotional belief and a family support system.

This is a story that is too cheesy? This story gets old? This story is over hyped?

On MNF, 331 yards later...I was still craving more...

You can hate. I will relate.

In Brett I Trust,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Take - Week 8

Greetings, Packer fans.

During football season, as a fan, a weekend without the Packers leads to a genuine internal emptiness. For the Packers as an organization, the bye could not have come at a better time. For the last 5.5 quarters, the Packers showed weaknesses. Kinks in the armor. We became an offense that showed an inability to move the football coupled with a propensity to turn the football over. I imagine that Mike McCarthy and Winston Moss were hypothesizing on how to get our team chemistry train back on the tracks.

The solution is simple. Get back to what works. Run the West Coast offense. Short passes to our wide receivers which puts them in position to perform in situations where they will win more than they lose. Typically, Driver, Jennings, and Jones will make the first guy miss or at least fall forward for an extra yard. Favre needs to be put in position to succeed. Or else the devilish gunslinger speaks in his mind.

MNF. ESPN. At Mile High. The young Packers squad could not ask for a bigger stage to show that needed rest and additional preparation will bring back the Green & Gold's momentum.

The Donkeys from Denver are in a must win situation. The AFC West is tight. Denver sits at 3-3. All three wins have come on last second FG's. The once formidable Donkeys are suddenly beatable.

Plus, I will be blessing the West Coast this weekend for my good buddy, Bootsie's wedding. No, I will not be in CO, but I will be in Tucson and in this case, the same time zone will do just fine. I will bring my G-Force to the Mountain Time Zone. Not to brag, but I firmly believe that at times, my will can overpower Travis Henry as he tries to run through a hole. Additionally, my good mate, Brennan, will be bringing his elite G-Force prowess to Mile High.

In '07, the Donkeys have struggled to stop the run. They have good youth on the D-Line, but they have showed their inexperience at times. However, Jarvis Moss has great potential. Elvis Dumervil has 6 sacks in 6 games and has had a knack for the big play. Marcus Thomas had a strong college career at the U of Florida. He dropped to the 4th round only because of personal troubles. These kids have big time potential, but thus far, their performance has not matched their performance. In fact, many times, they have been run over. Literally.

The Donkeys also have a lot of potential on the offensive side of the ball. Jay Cutler is one of the brightest shining young QB's in the league. Travis Henry is a fierce runner. Brandon Marshall is an up and comer. Brandon Stokely is exceptionally reliable. Daniel Graham is a performing TE. Tony Scheffler presents match up problems. Glenn Martinez appears to be able to do just enough.

On Special Teams, Elam and Sauerbrun are among the best in the business. They can swing field position with one swing of the leg.

The Packers must win the battle along the line of scrimmage. We can beat up the Denver defensive line and if we can get to their LB's, we will win that match-up. Ian Gold can play, but he is undersized and can be run over or stiff armed to the floor. D.J. Williams is loaded with potential, but he's still learning to play the MLB position. And he's often times out of position. Moreover, the Packers can take advantage of Nate Webster. Get him in space and plays will be made.

Early in the game, the Packers attack Champ Bailey and Dre Bly with short hitters to the WR's. Jones, Driver, and Jennings all get involved. Franks and Lee expose Denver's weakness at the LB position. And then comes the true surprise. Our RB's are going to win this game for us. Favre - staying patient - holding his composure in the pocket...dumping off to Jackson. Each making plays and picking up crucial first downs. Keeping the chains moving and wearing down the Donkey defense.

Lynch slides to the line of scrimmage. The 8th man comes into the box. The pump. Bly bites. Jennings streaks. 6 points for Green Bay.

Defensively, we must keep Cutler in the pocket. He's dangerous when he's on the move. In the pocket, when he's hit, he also holds the ball loosely. We can take advantage of his carelessness and force the turnover. Kampman and KGB complimenting each other on the pass rush. Jenkins, Williams applying pressure up the front. 3rd down - we are coming after you.

On the corners, I like our match-ups. Marshall will try to get deep. Safety help will benefit both Chuckie and Ras Al. Bigby and Collins will both have chances to make big plays on Monday. Stokely is a deceivingly aggressive and physical receiver. And he's great at adjusting on the fly...

Once again, look for the oppositions TE's to create mismatches with our LB's in coverage especially because Poppinga will be on the field due to his run blitzing ability. You know the chop blocks are coming, which makes the LB play even more importantly. Hawk and Barnett must perform. Jolly and Pickett must protect their knees yet win the point of attack.

This game will come down to the 4th Quarter. Shanahan is a good enough coach to keep most games close and the Donkeys are athletic enough to compete against almost everyone in the NFL. Also, the AFC is a much better conference than the NFC. Hopefully, the elevation does not play too much of a factor. Regardless, I believe that the success light will once again shine on Green Bay. I believe that the Packers will be the team that forces the big turnover. I believe that our backs will be open in the flat to convert big first downs. I believe the Packers will outlast the Donkeys. Crosby is going back home to Colorado where he played his college ball and it's Crosby, not Elam, burying the winner.

This week, we are going to watch the Packers grow. This week, we are going to watch Brett Favre shine.

Green Bay 23. Denver 20.

See you at 6-1. I'm off to the Mountain time zone...

Enjoy. Buzz On.

All Good,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

At The Bye...


So we sit. Mentally reclined in first place. First in the NFC North. Tied for first in the NFC. Resting. And the bye could not have come at a better time. For the last 5.5 Quarters of Football, we have been as putrid as any team in the NFL on the offensive side of the ball. However, we stand proud at 5-1. Yet, the possibility exists that our best football is ahead of us. Koren Robinson should be able to help both our offense and our special teams. Field position should start to tilt further in our favor. Remember - pre Devin Hester, K-Rob was the NFC Special Teams Return Representative in the Pro Bowl. K-Rob will also be our best receiver down the field. He'll battle for jump balls. He'll find cracks in the defense. He'll come back to Favre when plays are breaking down. Favre will trust Koren Robinson.

The Packers are still defining their identity. We are not the Packers of the '90's. In fact, we are far from it. We don't know what we are going to bring to the table each week. In fact, each week it has seemed as though the opposition has dictated the tempo.

In Week 1, we beat the Eagles at their game. We were more physical than the Eagles. Additionally, we were the team that was opportunistic after a turnover.

In Week 2, we beat the Giants in a game that required both a finesse and a powerful game plan. We played football the way that the Giants wanted to play. Offensively, both teams kept the field spread out. Defensively, both teams tried to attack the QB with their front 4. Favre had his way. Wynn also got loose. Meanwhile, Manning and Ward also made big plays. The Packers found the end zone. The Giants did not.

In Week 3, we beat the Chargers style of football. We played a fast paced, high scoring game. Favre out-fought LT and Rivers. The Packers were victorious.

In Week 4, the Packers beat the Vikings in a game that was played at Minnesota's tempo. The Vikings make you look out of sync. They force turnovers. A-Peterson hits you with a big play. They bend on defense, but don't break. However, the Packers scored off their turnover. Bigby made the last big play of the game. The Packers left winners.

In Week 5, the Bears slowed the pace down to a Chicago speed. Clock grinding. Wear you out. The Packers beat themselves late.

In Week 6, against the Redskins, we played Washington style of football. An ugly game. They all count the same. And sometimes the ugliest wins are the best ones as they provide the confidence that you can win in the closing moments. Last week - each yard was precious. Each team forced turnovers. However, Chuckie makes the play that is the difference maker.

During the bye week, it's time to see what we can do to develop a running game. And if there is not going to be a running attack in '07, we have to get back to the quick hitters. The WR screen. James Jones over the middle - not on the slant - rather over the know...three wide...Driver in the slot...Jones to the left of Driver...Driver runs the go...Jones comes underneath him. We have to once again develop passing plays that equal a run. Our running game does not have to become an elite attack. Instead, all we have to do is become respectable. Especially as the weather continues to turn.

The Offensive Report Card at the bye:

QB: Favre: A-. In my mind, until the pick against the Bears, he was the NFL's MVP. 5 poor quarters later and he drops from an A+ to an A-.

RB: Jackson: D. The only thing preventing him from getting an F is that he has not turned the ball over. He was also able to get into the end zone to seal the Chargers game. Other than that, he's been an absolute disappointment.

Morency: D. What a shame. We waited for 8 weeks to see the guy in action. He looks good catching the screen. Provides excitement. The next time he touches the ball, he puts it on the ground. Ever since, he's been a total disappointment. He has not provided the cut back spark that I expected.

Wynn: C+. At times, he's been a pleasant surprise. He made two big plays against the Eagles. He was huge against the Giants. He had a tremendous start to the Bears game. He's been the closest thing to resembling a running game. But, he's been unable to stay healthy. And the dehydration act was beyond frustrating.

Grant: D. He made one great play against the Giants in Week 2 on the screen pass. The fumble against Minnesota was disastrous.

Hall: C-. He's done a decent job of catching screens. He has not done a tremendous job after the catch, but really, what can be expected of him? It's his first year as an offensive player and he's done an admirable job of catching on. I still think that in order for us to develop a running attack, he's going to have to do a better job of leading the way.

WR: Driver: B+. Opportunities limit him from receiving a better grade. He was terrific against the Giants and Chargers. But, where has he gone? Where was he to bail us out against Chicago and Washington while our offense was inept.

Jennings: B-. He was unable to stay healthy at the beginning of the year. His touchdown against the Chargers was the game winner. He got us off on the right foot against the Vikings. 420 & 421 will forever be attached to his name. But, his inability to stay on the field against the Bears was a killer. Moreover, he was unable to keep with Sean Taylor on the jump ball down the field late in the Redskins game. He's appearing to have two routes in his arsenal: The slant and the fly pattern.

Jones: B-. He was off to such a terrific start. And then Charles Tillman showed his youth. And then Sean Taylor made him look amateur twice down the field. Nonetheless, Jones was enormous against the Giants and his TD against the Vikings was the difference.

Martin: C. Ruvell has done everything that he has been asked to do thus far. He got down the field against the Giants and Vikings. Both games he made plays to dig the Packers out of a field position hole.

TE: Lee: B. He has been more than what anyone could have expected. He has caught nearly everything thrown his way. His fumble against the Vikings and his less than adequate blocking prevent him from rising on the report card.

Bubba: C. He is what he is. He's found the end zone a couple of times. He's moved the chains on occasion. But, he'll only be so good.

OL: Tauscher: C. He seems to have aged this year. Though he was remarkable against the Giants and Chargers, we can no longer run right. He's not getting his normal push. He had a big holding penalty against Washington. And he got destroyed in the 2nd half against Chicago.

Clifton: C. He, too, seems to have aged minutely. He, too, had a big penalty against Washington. He got beat badly against Philly late in the game. We've unsuccessfully tried to run behind him. He, too, got beat in the 2nd half against Chicago. However, he was great against the Giants, San Diego and Minnesota.

Wells: C. No glaring weaknesses nor strengths from Wells this year. But, the Packers O-Line took a turn for the worse when he went down against the Bears. We could no longer run the ball up the middle and I would not discount his injury.

Coston/Spitz: Incomplete. Due to rotation, at this stage, I will give them both an incomplete.

Enjoy 5-1.

All Good,

Talkin' S-Mac.