Ok, Ok, Ok. Fret not. Yes, Monday was a frustrating game. The Saints did everything they needed to do and exposed our greatest weakness - our inability to get the QB. In part, give Bob Sanders credit. He tried to blitz Charles Woodson. The Saints beat us for a 70 yard TD. Brees went directly to the spot that Woodson came from. One missed tackle and see ya later. We tried blitzing 2 LB's. We could not get to the QB and Brees threw the ball to the flat where Pierre Thomas was wide open. We tried to blitz the safety and Brees found the TE for short gains. We tried to rush 4. And Brees had ALL DAY to throw.
The Michael Montgomery experiment should be done. He cannot play in this league. Jason Hunter is not good enough either. Justin Harrell continues to get stood up at the line of scrimmage. Colin Cole is no threat on pass downs. Yet these are the men we put next to AK-74 on passing downs. New Orleans strength was much better than our weakness and in turn, the Packers were involved in an Arena Football Game.
No worries. We're in striking distance of 1st place and frankly, our schedule lightens. Now, we must RUN THE TABLE! No exceptions. A h0me game vs. Carolina is followed by another against the Texans. Lambeau -> bring us to 7-6 and I'll get us to 8-6 as the following week *, Brennan, Romie and I are headed to J'ville. Then comes the MNF Primetime match-up with the hated Bears. We close with a home game against the mighty Lions. 10-6 is mandatory. It's also very attainable.
It should be noted that all games are outdoors. All games are not about how fast and pretty you are rather it is about how much punch do you have in your fists. Yes, we've struggled in this facet on the DL. Carolina can run the ball. I have concerns about our ability to stop the run in this match-up. But, ulitmately, I don't feel Carolina can play with us for 60 minutes.
I expect the difference in this game to be Ryan Grant. In November, at Lambeau, affectionately, this could be known as "Grant Time." In 3 November games at Lambeau, all against defenses that are known for punishment (Carolina, Minnesota, and Chicago), Grant has averaged over 117 yards. He's also averaged over 5 yards per carry. This is the reason we gave Ryan Grant his $$$ in the offseason. We'll see more of it on Sunday as we host the Panthers.
The Panthers defense has talent. Julius Peppers might be the most feared Defensive player in the NFL. Jon Beason & Thomas Davis are hunters. Chris Gamble is rich after he signed his 6 year deal. He's also ball-hawking and has the long arms to jam receivers to alter routes. But, he's not fast enough to keep up with Jennings on the deep ball. Charles Godfrey, a guy I was pulling for the Packers to draft, starts at S. Chris Harris is one of the fastest rising S's in the NFL. A punishing, hard hitting S, Harris has a knack for making the big play. I've always thought Ken Lucas was overrated and that he could be taken advantage of. Damoine Lewis never matured into the player that the Rams/Panthers hoped he would and Maake Kemoeatu is a run stopper at DT with no ability to get to the QB. Na'il Diggs can no longer play in this league. Diggs should get exposed. So should Tyler Brayton who never developed into the 1st round talent he was projected as. I'd run right at the Brayton/Lewis combination. Between the Tackles, yards can be had.
The Packers should also have success with the TE. Lee, Humphrey, and J-Mike should all get their chances if the Packers game plan effectively. It'll be a game of ball protection and this is where the Packers have a HUGE advantage.
Jake Delhomme turns the ball over. He takes chances and the Packers secondary is opportunistic. Yes, Steve Smith is still a stallion. Mushin Muhammad is still a decent possession receiver, but I think we match up well with both of them. Dwayne Jarrett's size and athleticism presents mismatches, but he'll freeze in the cold and should be no threat. While Dante Rosario has had some productive games, I don't envision him making game changing plays this weekend. We'll slow their passing attack.
The overwhelming question is: Can we stop the Panthers run game? We won't shut it down, but I believe we will slow it down. Jolly & Pickett need this game. Cole has been average against the run. AJ needs this game. If Poppinga is not going to be used as a pass rusher and he cannot stop straight ahead runners like Williams and Stewart, than what is his purpose? Williams and Stewart will pound away. Hell, they could run it 40 times. And don't forget about the Packer-killer, Brad Hoover. This guy always makes plays against us. In 2008, Hoover has 57 yards. I fear that he may get that this week alone.
For the Packers in 2008, it's time to GROW. It's time to BE. And if the Packers cannot do either, the season is over. The time is NOW. No more excuses. For McCarthy & UNO-DOS!, the training wheels are off. Our difficult tasks are behind us. We don't have time for inefficiencies. We do not have time for youthful mistakes. Or else the 2008 season will have been a waste.
It's Grant right. It's Grant left. It's Grant behind center. It's Kuhn plunging for a first down. It's Lee on a 7 yard curl. Jennings on a slant. Driver on a crossing route. It's simple play calling. The run sets up the pass. It's Ryan Grant's game. And if we play this way - if we think this way, the Packers will not lose. In fact, we'll win by double digits. In November, the starting RB that played the Panthers has averaged 106 yards per game and over 4.5 yards per carry. Those back were Justin Fargas, Kevin Smith and Michael Turner.
It's November. Bring out the boxing gloves. It's a fist fight. Either we are men who expect to battle our way into the playoffs. Or we are bears and we're ready to hibernate. This is Ryan Grant's game and it's "Grant Time."
High Life anyone? Yes, the Champagne of Beers. We're Green Bowl Packin'. And the Packers are in the end zone on the legs of Ryan Grant.
Run the Table,