Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Take -> Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

2-0 & feeling fine. Walking with a cautious optimism.

Once again, it's Lambeau Field under the lights! Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys are coming to town. Does it get any better?

It's the "*" on the helmet against the "G". Great tradition. Stories franchises. Intense conference rivals. It's the small town, family owned franchise against the wealthy pig, Jerry Jones. Both 2-0 and in the mix for NFC supremacy. Both led by young QB's who play with a similar laid back, elusive style.

The 1st half of the Cowboys-Eagles game on MNF and last years NFC Divisional playoff game between the Giants-Cowboys are blueprints of how to beat Dallas. The Cowboys quick strike capability is unmatched. As a general rule, if the Cowboys score 30 points, they are going to win. They will outgun you.

While playing the Cowboys, offensively, you have to take what they offer you underneath. Find the quick hits and don't let the pressure get to you. If you hold onto the football, Greg Ellis & DeMarcus Ware will get to you and you will not escape. Additionally, I don't view the Cowboys as one of the better tackling secondaries in the league - especially without Roy Williams. Also, we must utilize the TE.

On defense, you have to pressure Romo. You have to force him to be patient. He will panic. He will make mistakes. You've got to get in his face even if it means bringing extra defenders. If you sit back and try to defend the Cowboys, they'll beat you. Their offensive line is too big. Witten and TO are too good. Crayton is able. And Marion Barber III is a talent out of the backfield. Bottom line - if you sit back and try to rush with 4, the Cowboys are too skilled and they will beat you. You cannot fear Dallas. You must come after them.

The Lions game portrayed many positive aspects of our football team.

- Props to Ted Thompson & Mike McCarthy. Aaron Rodgers is ready to lead this football team. He was sublime in a tough divisional game on the road. In fact, his playing style reminded me of Tony Romo. Escaping pressure. Tight roping the sideline. Throwing the deep ball. Escaping pressure and throwing on the run. Youthful. Carefree.

- We are loaded at WR. Jennings is fast becoming one of the elite WR's in the NFL. Driver is Mr. Reliable. Jordy getting deep!

- Cullen Jenkins is off to his best start. So is AJ Hawk.

- Nintendo Nick! Making plays. Providing visions of what we've all believed he could become. Play with confidence Mr. Collins!

- Chuckie! The only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy meant business. No smile. Just shaking hands after his 2nd interception was returned for a TD. Focused on the task at hand. Charles Woodson offered the Week 2 result "change we can believe in." And he did so with a serious nature.

- AK-74 & KGB are attacking the QB with the intention of inflicting pain.

- Michael Montgomery has impressed on special teams coverage.

While the majority of the Lions game was an impressive performance, it did present some obstacles that we must overcome:

- Al Harris is vulnerable on deep balls. Twice he was beaten deep. Both times - the Lions failed to connect. It is guaranteed that the Cowboys attack Harris with TO. TO abused the Packers last year. They'll try and expose Harris' speed again this year.

- Aaron Rouse is not ready to be an every down player in the NFL. Post Ras-A-tari's injury, Rouse was a liability playing safety. He's not fast enough in space. He also seems to lack athleticism and the understanding of football angles. If Ras-A-tari is unable to play this weekend, it would be a potentially devastating injury.

- The interior of our offensive line continues to struggle with run blocking. B-Jack is trying to make a fool out of me. Still - he's had two decent NFL performances and both have come against the Lions. Lumpkin is far more impressive. If Grant has limitations, it must be Lumpkin carrying the ball in a game in which ball control is imperative.

- While Rodgers has been spectacular thus far, he's got to look for Donald Lee more often. The TE is the ultimately escape for a pressured QB. Lee has been open and is often overlooked. In his defense, Rodgers has essentially utilized Driver's as possession receiver as a replacement for the TE outlet.

- James Jones continues to have problems catching the ball. He dropped passes in the preseason and I thought he dropped three passes that he should have caught last week.

- The inactives for the Lions game included Brian Brohm (2nd round pick), Patrick Lee (2nd round pick), J-Mike (3rd round pick), Sittion (4th round pick), and Jeremy Thompson (4th round pick). Meanwhile, on Monday Night, we saw the Cowboys flash their rookies. Felix Jones returned a kickoff for a TD and looked dangerous almost every time that he touched the ball. Mike Jenkins broke up a deep ball. Marcellus Bennett was catching a screen a nearly taking it to the house. This begs me to once again ask the question - did we draft for next year? And if we did not draft for next year, when does Jeremy Thompson get his swing as a pass rushing DT on 3rd down. Both Hunter & Montgomery have failed to produce thus far operating out of the same position.

The Packers open the game in the I-formation. Grant behind Kuhn. Two TE. It's Grant on a cutback for 4 yards. Zach Thomas on the tackle. A similar set produces 3 more yards. It's Rodgers to Jones for a first down.

The Packers continue to move the football as they are seemingly beating up the Cowboys defense and winning the line of scrimmage. Lee scores his 1st TD of the season.

Will the Milwaukee crowd BRING IT to Lambeau Field? I imagine so. You've gotta be fired up for this one. Off yur Ass! On yur Feet, Milwaukee crowd! No telling the G-Force to sit down. This is Lambeau!!!

As soon as the Cowboys cross midfield, they are thinking TD. Normally, it's with TO. And they'll certainly test Harris with TO. Early and often.

But, they'll also try the deep ball down the seam with Witten, which forces me to ask the question - is this why we signed Chillar? Sure, AJ is off to his best start as he's been a beast against the run and he was credited with 2 sacks including his Superman-style sack of Kitna last week. But, last year he struggled while covering the TE. Witten murdered us last year. Poppinga continues to look lost in coverage. Do we see Chillar in an expanded role this week? I have to believe that this is a reason that he was brought in. Pass coverage. We'll see.

The Cowboys respond by moving the ball. Crayton on a curl. Witten over the middle.

But, the drive stalls as the Packers do not allow Barber to run North and South. Pickett & Jolly get a push and Hawk doesn't allow him to turn his shoulders. Barber becomes an East-West runner. On third and long, the Packers come with a blitz and force an incompletion.

Throughout the game, the Packers defense gets off the field with a myriad of blitzes. Romo feels pressure and tries to make things happen. It's Chuckie blindsiding him with a blitz!

In time, a busted coverage leads to a long TO touchdown.

The Packers continue to fight. Grant, B-Jack & Lumpkin taking turns pounding it at the heart of the Cowboys interior. Jennings - that greedy run after the catch bastard - produces big yardage on a crossing pattern. The Packers roll Rodgers away from Ware and find Lee for a 14 yard pick-up. It's play action to Driver for a TD.

Let's face it - the Cowboys will score. They could possibly score as much as six times. If we hold to FG's, we win. If they score TD's, we won't.

It's a thriller.

Green Bay 27. Dallas 26.

The Faithful elevates in ecstasy. We're 3-0 and I'm headed to Tampa with *, Vargas, and Lisette. It'll take belief. It'll take conviction. It'll take the protection and preservation of the Lambeau mystique.


Talkin' S-Mac.

***On Monday Night Football. It's Brett. Once again. How beautiful! Unfortunately, Brett's on a leash. And so are the Jets. Therefore, NY is struck with a lightning bolt from San Diego. The Jets fall to 1-2. Does Brett start to regret coming back or does he remember 2003 & 2004? Soon - we'll find out. Enjoy.


Stack said...

I watched the Monday Night game and, of course, I was rooting for the Eagles. Deeply disappointed to see Gaither on the weak side. Good spot for him, but he was making plays and making the calls on that defense from the MLB spot as a rookie last year. I was looking forward to seeing him, but it seemed like maybe he had taken the step back in the relocation process.

I've gone through my own relocating process over the past several weeks. From an island in the plains to The City of Four Lakes. I've had some other obligations which chewed up what little free time I've had. Jim Hron (a.k.a. Pigbucket, James Batch, Jimmy Size, Jimmy Fatone, Sizemore, Big 'n' Tasty, et al) got married and I was standing up in the wedding and picking up the best man's slack, cause that's just how I roll. So congrats to that fatass. Anyway, my point is that I am largely settling in to my new digs and getting back to the things that I'm compelled to love.

And just as I'm getting fully dialed back into the blog, Dallas in coming to town. Truly a challenge that makes you reaquaint yourself with your football team. At every level, Dallas will test you. Nothing is taken for granted in this game, if there is a chink in the armor, it will be exposed.

Dallas has a mammoth offensive line. We know Pickett will hold up. Much was made of his last match up with Leonard Davis, and I think it's fair to say that Davis probably won that match up. Hopefully Pickett hasn't forgotten that and hopefully he's out to put a notch in his column this time. I think that Kampman can get the better of Columbo, but the rest of our line must hold up. Jenks must play quick and Cole must play stout. Our defensive front must attack with speed and timing on the blitz.

I agree with the Buzzboy that Chillar was signed to upgrade the pass coverage aspect of the strong side LB position. My question is how will we balance Pop and Chillar? I think that Pop is very valuable against the Dallas run game. He's huge, attacks with force, and seems to be one of the most regular blitzers on the team. But can he get on the field without Dallas calling an audible to the pass?

Barnett must also play well, finding and filling to string Barber out. Can't get lost in the wash.

Chuckie should match up with TO. It's clear that Al just can't run with him. Wood is savvy and he's a better tackler than Harris, which is problem #2 when you're dealing with 81. Al and Crayton would be a good match up to watch.

As much as Dallas will test every area of the defense, as much as the DL needs to hold up for four quarters, as much as the LBs need to get Barber on the ground and cover Witten part of the time, the position with the most pressure on it is the Safety position.

I know that much has been made of Rouse's youthful shortcomings. There's no disputing some of it. I watched the Lions game. I saw the mistakes in real time. No question that Rouse has to be up for this game. One thing is for sure, he has the physical presence to play near the line, and he should be able to match up physically again Witten in coverage also, should he have to do so.

My concern with the safety position is about balance, who comes up and who stays home. Rouse has made plays when he plays centerfield. You know they'll switch off, but communication must be clear at all times or Dallas will hit the big play. Someone needs to stay over the top of TO. This relies on Rouse making the appropriate read, not getting baited by Romo, play action, or down and distance. I would like to see Collins come on the blitz.

Stack said...

As far as the offense goes, we need to do two things: pound the middle with the run and establish the pocket. Dallas has too much speed on the edge to deal with. We can cave Ratliff and Johnson at NT. We need Grant's downhill, hard running. I wouldn't be excited to see Brandon Jackson in this game. If Zach Thomas leads the Cowboys in takcles, I'm betting we'd be in a good place.

We need to establish the pocket for A Rod. And Buzzboy, you're 100% correct that the ball has to come out early. Establish rhythm. What did we see last year? Rodgers came in green and what did we do? We ran his best throw, the puma route. Stop route, comeback, whatever you want to call it. And we saw Jennings and Driver able to run their corners off and come back to the ball. And we saw Jennings getting loose off of that route. Rodgers can drive that throw into their chests. We can have success with this again. Additionally, the safeties will eventually creep up on this route, just like they would in the run game, and then we can hit them on the slant or the stop-go.

Get the ball out. Don't ask our OL to hold their blocks for too long. Get some rhythm of our own. It will go a long way to holding the shape of the pocket as the game wears on, and with the speed on the edges, there's a chance that deep into the game Rodgers will be able to escape up the middle, picking up a crucial 3rd down.

Our WR corps presents a threat to Dallas' backfield.

Looks like J Mike could see some time. Would be good for him to see where he needs to be.

Dallas comes to Lambeau. They haven't fared well in our house. Crisp evening air of early fall in Wisconsin. Our guys have been sitting around home all day waiting for this game to kick off.

We'll know early if our team is focused for this game. And if they're focused, we'll win.

McCarthy won't take his foot off the pedal in this one. Field goals aren't good enough.

Grant. Jennings. Someone off of goaline play action, maybe Lee, maybe Jones, maybe A Rod himself. Crosby chips in a pair, along with keeping Feliz deep in the end zone.

Pack 27
Boys 24

Enjoy the day's build-up, this is must see TV. Stack is back.

Go Pack Go

Benjamin Wehner said...

Don't worry BuzzBoy about the the Milwaukee crowd as Kate and I will be in attendence bringing the G-Force loud and strong.

I also must add, This is a huge game for our local and dearly loved M-cubed "MUSIC MAN MIKE"
We need to turn lambeau into a college type atmosphere this Sunday.
I know I will be on my feet the entire game, yelling as loud as I can to help keep the Cowgirl's high powered offense from hearing their audibles and play calls.

Let's bring the house down this weekend!