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.