Monday, August 24, 2009

My Take -> Preseason Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

Since 1996, have you ever been this excited after 2 preseason games? If so, I can't remember the time. In less than 2.5 quarters of play, the Packers 1st unit has outscored the opposition 35-0. That is not an exaggeration. 35-0.

In 6 offensive possessions, our offense has scored 5 TD's. In 7 defensive possessions, our first unit has forced 3 turnovers. We been dominant. Granted, it's been the Bills and the Browns, but man, we've been convincing. And through it all, there have been smiles all around. UNO-DOS!, Jennings, Driver, Grant, J-Mike, Barnett, and Cullen Jenkins are consistently seen having a good time on the sidelines. Congratulating teammates for a job well done. Internally, this team has unity. It's a joy to watch.

Props to UNO-DOS! When we drafted him, I never imagined that he could be this good. Yes, I'm on my high horse, but UNO-DOS! looks primed for what could be an MVP season. He has a plethora of weapons. Grant, Jennings, Driver, J-Mike, and Lee look to be in mid-season form. James Jones looks to be lighter, more agile. Jordy Nelson looks steady. UNO-DOS! for MVP!

I credit UNO-DOS! for his approach to the offseason. All the things I suggested he should be doing last year, he seems to be excelling at this year. He's taken on a leadership role. He's checking down to the TE. He also checked down to Grant for a first down. And most importantly, yes most importantly, he's added the slant to his arsenal. And boy, it was a thing of beauty.

I could argue that Greg Jennings runs the best slant in football. (Quick sidenote: anyone else notice how stallion Greg Jennings' solid yellow wrist bands were? PatRad, dude, you may need to hook those up for you & Baemmert for the season. BOTH WRISTS. We need a little '07 lovin'. Rockin'! I might join you.) Anyway, Jennings runs the slant. Last year, UNO-DOS! could not throw the slant nor the skinny post. Over the offseason he committed himself to it. The slant/skinny post routes will add at least 200 yards and 3 TD's to UNO-DOS!'s totals. Guaranteed. Think Jennings in '07 against the Chargers.

It appears as though J-Mike has become our 3rd receiving option. UNO-DOS! looks to have tremendous confidence in J-Mike. At times, it seems as though he's the #1 option on the play. He's running the crossing routes that James Jones ran in '07. He's a mismatch and displayed more speed against the Bills than I have seen him play with in the past.

The first cut is a week away. I don't remember a time in which the Packers appeared this deep. We have tough decisions at DB, at LB, and at RB/FB. Rouse's injury might have prevented the same scenario at S. Harrell's injury might have done the same on the DL.

On the DL, I imagine we keep Raji, Pickett, Jenkins, Jolly, Montgomery and Wynn. Yes, unfortunately, we will suffer through another year of Montgomery. Hopefully, it's in a limited capacity. Wynn was not as impressive against Buffalo as he was against Cleveland, but he still overpowered his opposition for a 2nd down sack. I was stoked to see that on 3rd downs the Packers moved AK-74 to a down lineman alongside Raji and Jenkins. Add a healthy & productive CM3 and that's fierce!

It seems like this year is much like '07 where everyone is making plays. No one is playing above their ability - each play it's someone new. This formula has worked for us in the past. Statistically, this defense may end up similar to '96. Remember that in '96, Reggie led the Packers will only 8.5 sacks. The '96 defense also had LeRoy Butler, Santana Dotson and Sean Jones all finish with 5-plus sacks. In '96, the Packers defense had 37 sacks. In '07, we had 36 sacks. Last year, we only had 27 sacks. I expect to be in the 36-40 sacks range this year.

Anthony Smith has been all or nothing. He's either been strong on the ball or absolutely boneheaded. I would not like it if he were forced into duty. Ras-A-tari must elevate. Mr. Charles Woodson, Ras-Al, Ras-A-tari, Smith, Nintendo Nick, T-Mon, and Willie B are locks for the team. I like the U-HAUL. He's shown promise. Much more promise than I've seen out of P-Lee in his brief appearances. Where does J-Bush fit in? We just handed him $1 million during the offseason. Could we get a 6th rounder for him? Rouse's injury is a concern.

Credit Dom Capers. We look overly deep at LB. Who do we cut? I read that traditionally in a 3-4, you keep 8 LB's. You'd expect Hawk, Barnett, Thompson, CM3, AK-74, Bishop, and Chillar to be locks. Poppinga is having his best camp. I hope he is trade bait, but at this point, it'd be hard to argue if he were the starting ROLB. I hope this does not end up to be the case, but thus far, man, he's been good in the preseason. Brad Jones made a big sack, forced fumble to set up 3 points. Cyril Obiozor and Danny Lansanah have been impressive projects. They, too, might be trade bait. Or do we only keep 2 TE's in order to keep an extra LB?

Why don't we play Bishop with our first unit? It almost seems like we are trying to put him in position to be a stallion in order to garner interest from other teams scouts. He's been our best 2nd team player.

At FB, Kuhn looks to be the best blocker. He provided a HUGE block on Grant's TD run. Hall was overpowered when we got stopped on 4th & 1. We just spent a high draft pick on Quinn Johnson. You'd expect Quinn to make the roster. Is Hall trade bait?

At RB, who do we keep to back up Grant? All indications are that B-Jack is our go-to guy. But, how could we cut Sutton? If I were coach, I'd give him a look with the #1 unit this week to see if he can perform against the 1st teamers. Lumpkin's fumble cost him a job. The Packers love Wynn. If it were me, I'd keep Sutton & Wynn.

I've seen enough of Breno. He's not a starting RT. He almost killed Flynn, which might have been a blessing because then we would have gone after a back-up QB. Can we please sign a veteran? What are we waiting for? Here's my point: Flynn becomes the sacrificial lamb. True that he's better than Brohm right now, but really, Flynn has not been that impressive. You've invested in Brohm. He's been miserable, but give him another year. Tuck him away. Sign a veteran. See if Flynn can be traded for a 7th rounder. OK, I've beaten this topic up. I'm done with it for a while.

If Wells does not start, does he make the team? He's been far better than Preston, but does Wells have trade value? You know that TT is looking to stock up on picks over the next 10 days. Wells might be a casualty. I hope not. I like his game. And I'm not convinced that Sitton can be an everyday RG.

In the third preseason game, which is usually the best indicator as to how the Regular Season will start out, the Packers go to the desert to play the defending NFC Champs. It'll be great competition and I think the Packers will be more than up for the challenge. I expect us to impress. We are in rhythm. I predict that the Pack jumps out to an early lead. And then we get another solid performance by Sutton and barely enough back-up QB play to hold on.

Packers 27. Cards 23.



Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Drama ViQueen

Greetings, G-Force.

I was going to avoid posting a take on the Favre Fiasco. But, due to enhanced questioning, I agree that it is nearly impossible to avoid the topic. I figured that I'd wait to write until I actually saw Judas in the Putrid Purple. To me, he looks more like he's attending Mardi Gras than a football game.

For years, I have referred to Brett Favre as the "Spirit Sniper", the "Legend", the "3-time MVP", and the "Football Jesus." Today, he's Judas. A Drama ViQueen.

So, we look towards the future. With heightened anticipation. Judas will be running out of the visitors locker room at Lambeau. Favre at GB. As the enemy. My life is trying to comprehend.

My childhood idol. A living Jesus to me. He's arrived. Back from the dead. But, as the devil. Full of anger. Full of hate. Opposite polarities. It is real, yet unbelievable. Why, I ask.

I live in wondering, seeking answers to mass confusion. Resolutions are far from sane yet fully immersed in the hearts of the masses. Sadness, disgust is all around. Until it concludes on 11/01/09 as the Packers faithful shows that we are far stronger than just one man.

Favre was a legend in Green Bay. He'll continue to be when the dust settles. I don't doubt that. But, while he's in Purple, he'll be the biggest Drama ViQueen of them all.

For years, Favre had the support of the Packer football community. Throughout his drug addiction. Throughout his marriage problems. Through the breast cancer battle. Hurricane Katrina terrorizing his families homes. His Father's death. His charity. The consistent indecision as to whether he was coming back. He had our support.

This year, he betrayed us. I was fine with him as a Jet. In some way, I enjoyed it. But, as a Viqueen? This is gross. It's lame. It's filthy. He's turned his back on everyone that held him dear.

Brett, for years, you were my idol. You showed America how to prosper in tough times. In many ways, you were a role model both off and on the field. I live in a one bedroom condo. 900 square feet. With a wife and two dogs. I still found space for an autographed Favre football, an autographed helmet, an autographed jersey and an autographed picture. I won't claim to have been your biggest fan Brett, but no one cheered harder for you than I. And know, I watch in hopes of someone driving your shoulder into that nasty Metrodome turf. Brett, karma is a bitch.

In closing, Brett you traded in a legacy of playing on the most brilliant of stadiums for a sidekick role of playing in a Dome. For years, you defined what it took to play in all of football elements. Now, you'll be playing on the turf, which in many ways resembles what you've become: absolutely artificial.

But, Brett, don't worry I'll love you again. I will. Team heals. I believe that. But, until then, have I told you that you look old, gray and frail? And at some point, the old gray man just ain't what he used to be. I hope your time has passed.

Talkin' S-Mac.

My Take -> Preseason Game #2

Greetings, G-Force.

A morning sunrise. Witnessing prostitutes strolling Washington Ave at 6:40am. A cup of Daz Bog Organic KG Blend coffee. 5 hours of sleep on a Friday night. And, yes, it's intentional. Well, to me, that's football season. Cherish your day, while living emphatically for the pigskin.

I got in an elevator yesterday. Met a 60 year old Cuban lady. We bantered briefly. I asked her plans for the weekend. She asked mine. I told her that I was going to the Dolphins game with my wife on Saturday night. Her response, "I looked across the street the other day and I saw the Palm trees moving with the wind. And I thought, boy, this is fall and this is football season." Epic.

It's early in the season. Really early. Too soon to make judgments. But, I offer you this: after one full week in the preseason, has anyone looked better than the Green Bay Packers? We shut out the opposition. Our 1st unit scored TD's on our only two possessions. Sublimely performed.

Was it just me or were Desmond Bishop and Jarius Wynn the two best players on the field after the 1st Quarter? Bishop was a man amongst men. Wynn overpowered the 2nd unit of the Browns OL. I will have my eyes on Wynn when I watch the replay of tonight's match-up tomorrow.

Tonight will pose a higher level of competition for the Packers. The Bills are an aggressive defense, which will test the strength of our OL, especially at the RT position. I still have heavy concerns about our ability to protect UNO-DOS!'s right side. Tonight is a game in which I can gain confidence. The Bills pride themselves on physicality. The Packers claim to be more physical in '09 than we were in '08. We'll get a glimpse of that tonight.

I also found the depth upgrades I was seeking in Sutton, Lumpkin, Obiozor, Lansanah, the U-HAUL, Lang, and Hartline.

If J-Mike learns to step out of tackles, he'll have Pro Bowl potential. Literally. However, thus far, he's had Darrell Thompson syndrome while running in the open field. I'm not positive that he'd be able to walk through the woods without tripping.

Tonight - I look for the Packers to come out aggressive. Using the running game to attack the Bill defense. Ryan Grant was extremely impressive against the Browns. I expect to see more of the same against Buffalo. And then, it's play action to Greg Jennings for a HR ball.

If healthy, our 1st team offense is unstoppable.

Defensively, I'm curious to see where Raji fits in with the 1st unit and how much he plays. One down is an upgrade over what I was anticipating a week ago. I'd rest Mr. Charles Woodson and Ras-Al again this week. I want them both to be 100% come week 1.

Man, I dislike our back-up QB spot. Can we please bring in Brian Griese? I'd trade Brohm for a 6th round pick. Flynn can be the 3rd stringer. He's not ready to come into a game in relief and pull out a victory. Not close. Something must be done.

I'm worried about CM3 & Jeremy Thompson. The heart of our defense will be our LB play. If neither of them are able to play within a week, we could be in jeopardy of losing significant production from them this year. Tonight, Obiozor continues to play with confidence and use the enhanced playing time to his advantage. He pursues with passion. He drops with decency. And tonight, he's involved in a big turnover.

Surprising to me, it's Sutton - not Lumpkin - who steals the show once again in the 4th Quarter. This time, he finds the end zone. And the Packers are once again victorious.

For this in attendance, now is a time for the G-Force to unite with strength! After all, positive and communal social living is the best. Go Pack Go!

Vibe On.

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Take -> Preseason Game #1

Greetings, G-Force.

It feels good to have football on the television once again. I'm stoked to get my first glimpse of the Green & Gold this weekend as the Cleveland Browns come to the most storied stadium in sports.

I expect McCarthy to allow UNO-DOS! and crew to play 2 series. I would think that we'd score on both possessions. UNO-DOS! using all of his toys. Finding Jennings on the comeback. Driver on the short hitch. Lee on a small curl. Jones between the hash marks on a crossing route. Jordy lingering along the sideline. Look out! J-Mike is coming down the seam!!!

The Browns play a 3-4 defense, so the Packers should be well prepared to attack. Additionally, the Browns front 7 is far from dangerous. Even though with a questionable situation at RT, I would like to think we could contain Kenyon Colemna & David Bowens coming off the edge.

The Packers jump out to an early 10-3 lead. Then we begin the misery of watching our second string QB's. Hopefully, there is tremendous improvement. But, I highly doubt it. Frankly, at this stage, I'm more curious to see what TJ Lang, Jamon Meredith, and Andrew Hartline bring to the table than the combination of Flynn/Brohm. I hope that I'm wrong, but I have no confidence in either of them right now.

On the other hand, it'll be entertaining to watch how the 2nd team defense rivals Cleveland's 2nd team offense. Two years ago, Derek Anderson appeared to be the next big thing in the NFL. Now, he's a back-up QB and a good test for a defense adapting to a new scheme.

I'm excited to see a number of youngsters for the first time: the U-HAUL, Jarius Wynn, Ronald Talley, Anthony Toribio, Dean Muhtadi, and Cyril Obiozor. I also want another look at Danny Lansanah who impressed me during the preseason last year.

Due to the Packers inability to move the football and the Browns field position advantage, Cleveland takes a 17-13 lead.

Then, the Packers go to work. Willie B. start dancing on the kickoff return. Running behind Shawn Slocum's new special teams scheme, there is enhanced effort placed on kickoff returns during practice. The fruits of our labor is realized in the first preseason game as Willie B. switches the field position battle.

Then it is Lumpkin to the left. Lumpkin to the right. Lumpkin up the middle. Lumpkin carries 12 times for 62 yards. Over 5 yards per carry. And a TD. Flipping the switch on this game.

The U-HAUL gets a pick to seal the victory.

Green Bay 23. Cleveland 20.

A couple of sidenotes:

1.) This game will feature two QB's from Chico, CA. UNO-DOS! and Brett Ratliff.
2.) All Hail BJ RAJI! He's signed, sealed, delivered. I'm ready for him to be an impact player for the next decade in Green & Gold.
3.) The Packers also signed Stryker Sulak today. Sulak is from the University of Missouri. I have a good friend who is a die-hard Missouri fan. I immediately called him when I heard about the addition to find out more about Sulak. Here's what he said:

"You know, McKenna, Sulak was the guy that my Dad & I would cuss out when we talked Tigers football. And, as you know, we talk Tigers football often. Ziggy (Hood) was getting doubled right next to him and there were many plays that he'd get in the backfield and just not finish the play. He just wasn't fast enough. Not quick enough. He had the heart. Just couldn't finish plays. Honestly, I didn't like the guy. Seemed like he was always the guy in position to make a play on the QB but didn't have the speed to close the deal. He's an overrated kid with more heart than skill."

I trust Mike's opinion. He'll be a fighter in camp, but he won't be long for us. As I write this, Mike just sent me a text that said the following: Two words: Beer. Utopia.

I'm sure that you trust him now as well.

4.) I always find it comical when other organizations fans compare themselves to the Packers fans. I'm watching the Steelers game and in the 1st Quarter, I'm seeing empty rows in the lower section of the stadium. That'd never happen at Lambeau.

Let the '09 Season commence...

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vick & Packers

Greetings, G-Force.

I commend Ted Thompson. The Green Bay Packers are in the news again. Over the last 3 years, the Green Bay Packers have been potentially paired with the likes of Randy Moss, Jason Taylor, Tony Gonzalez, and Chris Canty. Obviously, we ended up with none of them. Nevertheless, the discussions were fun.

Once again, the Packers are media worthy. Perhaps linked to Michael Vick. Vick is an unemployed NFL QB. He's a former Pro Bowl QB. He's the first QB that won a playoff game at Lambeau. He's the first 1,000 yard rusher as a QB. He's also a convicted felon. A dog murderer.

The Green Bay Packers are in desperate need of a back-up QB. We could use another flashy offensive dimension. We are potentially facing a tough economic year. We are also a family style, class drenched franchise located in a town with a population just above 100,000. We are finally free of outside distractions. The media circus is elsewhere. We can focus on football. But, the players have outwardly discussed an interest in Vick.

Over the last 10 years of my life, the most consistently constant component of my life has been my dog, Clayton. She turned me into a dog lover. With that being said, I firmly believe Michael Vick deserves another shot in the NFL. Another chance at life. He's been punished for his sins. I am in favor of giving someone a second chance at life.

Let's be clear: Michael Vick would not compete for the starting QB position. He'd be signed as a back-up QB. One that could also be used in unique specific scenarios. The Wildcat formation. In Miami, the home of the NFL version, we refer to it as the "GATO LOCO!" As a sublimely athletic individual, Vick could be the premier GATO LOCO orchestrator in the NFL. That's attractive.

Mike McCarthy's greatest strength as a coach is his offensive design. He carefully crafts unique offensive sets to keep the team unpredictable. On any given offensive drive, you could see the Packers run a wishbone formation, a pro set, an I-formation, a single back - 3 WR set, a single back - 2 TE set, a 3 TE set, a 4 WR set, or hell, he may just clean out the backfield and go with 5 WR. He's a dynamic play designer. He creates mismatches.

If Vick were to sign today, McCarthy would have up to 10 weeks to sketch up his next formation. His imagination would surely conclude with big play opportunities. Vick would be the centerpiece of his creativity.

The Green Bay Packers are a business. In business, you're always looking for returns on your investment. Additional sources of revenue. It's been well documented over the past couple of weeks that the Packers profit fell $1.3 million year-over-year. Like it or not, Michael Vick's #7 jersey will sell. Maybe not in Green Bay, but I guarantee you would see #7 Vick jerseys in more diverse areas around the country. Thus initiating another form of driving revenue and enhancing overall firm profitability. Can you imagine selling hundreds of thousands of jerseys of your back-up QB? That's attractive.

Additionally, Vick should come at an inexpensive price. I can't imagine he'd command a multi-million dollar contract. Not today. If so, I would not be interested. I'd rather spend the money on T-Mon and Nintendo Nick.

I'm really enjoying a season that is free of distractions. No drama. (Get your ass in camp, Raji!) The topic is football. All day. Everyday. There appears to be terrific team competition in training camp. Vick would certainly change this. I'm extremely concerned about how our team would be affected. It's a risk. Would you rather reach and maybe me? Many would consider that the beauty of living. The players certainly believe so.

I have waffled back and forth on this decision. Initially, I thought it was a no-brainer that we should bring in Vick. Then heightened PETA thoughts and ridiculous media nonsense polluted my head and I wavered back to the other side. I wondered if the Green Bay community could handle more controversy? Now, I'm back to wanting Vick. Badly. An added offensive dimension. A talented football weapon.

Ultimately, Michael Vick is a man looking for a 2nd chance on life. A new lease. I'm willing to give it to him especially since he'll be under the tutelage of Tony Dungy. He's paid his dues. He's appears to be genuinely sorry for his actions. I'd give him a chance to redeem himself on the football field. To assist the most legendary football team in their pursuit of the Super Bowl championship. But, if I'm signing Vick, it's for 2 years. Not 1.

Plus, Green Bay could use a productive #7 at QB and just maybe, a little more offensive "Majik."

The Bears still suck.


Talkin' S-Mac.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Family Night Hype!

Greetings, G-Force.

It's spectacular to be reminded that football is with us for the next 6 months. Much is being both written and said about the Packers flying under the radar as we enter the '09 Season. While this might be true in the eyes of the media, the fans expectations are enormous. For the better part of the past two decades, the Packers organization has been synonymous with regular season victories. As an owner of the team, I anticipate great things of this season. Not only do I envision a season with more wins than losses, but I foresee the Playoffs in our future. Anything less is a disappointment. Beyond wins and losses, I want to monitor the teams attitude and ability to start the season strong.

The additions of Kevin Greene & Mike Trgovac should bring force to the defensive mentality. The impact should be immediate and fully visible this Saturday Night during the Packers annual Family Night event. (For those of us not in WI, I believe it is televised on Monday August 10th on the NFL Network. Sweet.) Any way, I expect to see a physical defensive presence that attacks the offense and attempts to gain a significant push upfield.

While the Family Night is billed as a friendly contest, it should be mentioned that, in the past, young players have used that game as a springboard towards making the team. Youngsters have helped established themselves on Family Night. Truly, it's the first barometer as to how efficient we are as a team. In years past, we have caught our first glimpse of Greg Jennings, T-Mon, and James Jones during the PrimeTime Event. They were all able to carry that momentum into solid campaigns. On the contrary, last year showed that Brian Brohm, P-Lee, Jeremy Thompson, and Matt Flynn all needed to develop before they were ready to make an impact in an NFL game. Hopefully, all four of them perform at a higher level during this years game.

In preparation for this year's Scrimmage, I'm launching the Top 10 Roster items to keep an eye on during this year's Family Night Friendly:

10.) Are either Jeremy Kapanos or Durant Brooks legitimate NFL punters? I'm consistently baffled at our inability to bring in someone who can punt. Truly unacceptable that we are faced with this dilemma.

9.) If he's healthy, can Justin Harrell finally live up to his status as a 1st round pick. Apparently, he's off to a good start in training camp. He's shown strength and the power to push OL backwards.

8.) Is Quinn the Eskimo as punishing of a blocker as advertised? From what I've read, he's been a minor disappointment. He's been outplayed by Korey Hall. I'm anxious to see for myself.

7.) Who will elevate to earn the 4th CB spot? Willie B., P-Lee and the U-HAUL will all have opportunities to deem they are worthy. The U-HAUL is dealing with back issues and unless he improves swiftly, I could see him being limited this Saturday Night. Joe Porter should also see significant playing time. Normally, Mr. Charles Woodson and Ras Al rest during the scrimmage, which would have provided plenty of opportunities for all to shine.

6.) Who will win the back-up RB spot? B-Jack has held the role for the last 2 years. It's been well documented that I'm pulling for Wynn & Lumpkin to beat out B-Jack. Both Wynn and Lumpkin have shown great flashes but have durability concerns. Sutton has received heightened recognition for his performance during the OTA's and early in camp.

5.) Have Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm progressed enough to ignore the fact that Brian Griese, a proven veteran QB is available as a Free Agent? It should also be noted that he has experience playing in the NFC North. Additionally, he's college mates with Mr. Charles Woodson, which would continue to build locker room rapport.

4.) Can AJ Hawk get started off with some positive momentum as we transition into the 3-4 defense? Thus far, Hawk has been a disappointment. He's a key to our defensive success in '09.

3.) The battle for the starting ROLB spot between CM3 and Jeremy Thompson. I expect big things out of CM3 on Saturday. He's seen big stages before. Sure, Lambeau will be unique, but I expect CM3 to play with high intensity and to immediately establish himself as a leader on defense. I'm hoping that in 5 days, this is no longer a battle for the starting spot and that CM3 has simply taken command.

2.) AK-74 dropping into coverage. Yes, this is an enormous concern.

1.) Do we have a capable RT on our roster? If not, it's time to start praying for mobility to Tauscher's knee. If someone can elevate his game to take command of this position, we'll be fully loaded on offense with the capability to average 25 points a game. I truly believe we are well positioned at every other position. I'm still hoping that TJ Lang rises to the occasion.

Another roster item to consider: I'd give Bubba Franks a call. See if he'd be interested in taking the league minimum. I'd be curious as to whether he'd consider being our #3 TE and playing on blocking downs. I imagine that even at this point of his career he is a better blocking TE than Humphrey.

Thanks to Stack for posting a comment on the blog. Good to see the writing once again, mate!

Hey Raji, it's time to get your ass into camp.

Enjoy the Festivities.

Talkin' S-Mac.