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 middle...you 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.

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