Couple the Thursday Night game with a mid-week flight to Colorado & the take comes a bit earlier than normal this week.
The 1st win of the season tastes great. Good to see the defense force a couple of turnovers in the 4th Quarter. Good to see the offense grab a game winning TD drive. Good to see the Packers able to pick up a game clinching 1st down to run out the clock. Victory is nice.
The overall versatility of our Offensive Line was the best highlight for me. I believe that the Packers should only keep 9 OL. Bulaga is a stud. He was in control. Regardless of whether he was at LG or LT, Bulaga showed good footwork & he uses his hands extremely well. Great addition. Clifton, Bulaga, Wells, Sitton, Tauscher. That'd be my starting OL. Throw in Colledge, Spitz, Lang, and Newhouse and you've got your 9 OL. If Spitz can be traded, then you keep Diedrich-Smith. But, Colledge is the back-up LG, Bulaga at LT, Spitz is the back-up C/G, Lang is the back-up RG/RT & Newhouse is the developmental prospect.
Speaking of Newhouse, did anyone else notice where the Packers ran the ball on the drive in which we grabbed the lead? The sequence was: Left for 5 yards. Left for 5 yards. Pass to Chastin West for 23 yards. Left for 6 yards. Left for 3 yards. Left for 26 yards. And then the 12-yard TD run to the right. The drive was 80 yards. 45 of them on 5 plays in which we ran to the left. Right behind Newhouse. On 3rd and 1, he sealed the corner with exceptional skill. B-Jack noticed it. Grabbed the corner. The rest is history. I'm excited to watch Newhouse this Thursday night to see how he performs against the speed rushers of the Colts. It'd be interesting to watch Newhouse line up against Jerry Hughes. I'm not sure whether the Colts have been lining Hughes up on the right or left side of the line. But, as a reminder, many thought Hughes would be both a solid fit & 1st round draft pick for the Packers this year. It's also noteworthy that Hughes & Newhouse were college teammates at TCU.
Maybe I've gone crazy, but hear me out on this one. And let me preface, I don't go to the practices. I've seen the Family Night, nearly 3 quarters of the Browns game and the Seahawks game in its entirety. But, from what I've watched, I am wondering if the Packers 5 RB's should be Ryan Grant, B-Jack, Kuhn, Hall, and Quinn Johnson. First, props to B-Jack. I've been critical in the past. He was impressive against the Seahawks. Loved the cutback on the 26 yard run. I want to like Lumpkin, but we can't trust him. He has DeShawn Wynn syndrome. I want to like Quinn Porter, but he hasn't shown me enough to warrant a spot & I bet we can get him to the practice squad - if we want him. Also, didn't John Kuhn show enough with his 4th Quarter carries that he could be an emergency back? Don't get me wrong, I'm not begging for Kuhn to get carries. In fact, far from it, but from what I've seen, it might be a spot to save a roster spot and utilize player versatility. Further, the coaches have raved about Korey Hall's special teams play in the past. If he's a top 5 special teams player on the roster, he'll be kept.
Since 2003, 3rd & 1 has seemed to be a struggle for the Packers. Remember the days of Ahman Green pounding behind William Henderson, Nick Luchey, Kevin Barry and Bubba Franks in our U-71 package? Those days are the distant past. Now 3rd & 1 is a challenge. Kuhn is not a great blocker. He's more of a threat to run it from short distance. However, Quinn Johnson will pound you. You can run behind him. If Quinn Johnson can assure us a 1st down on 3rd & 1, I want him. Lord knows, he can't catch the ball. And, since he has limitations, as each of our FB's do, I'm keeping the ONE guy that will knock the LB backwards nearly every time. Hence, I'm keeping Quinn Johnson. And I'm playing him in short yardage situations.
I'm also keeping 4 TE's, unless Donald Lee can be traded. J-Mike is Hawaii bound. As my brother Chad says, Havner has good karma. How classic was his pick! If Lee, can't be traded, keep him. Finally, Quarless is an investment. He won't make it to the practice squad. You gotta keep him. I will say that I was disappointed that he neither celebrated nor congratulated Kuhn after his TD. They were both in the same area. A-Rodge chose Kuhn. Quarless seemed to pout. Note to Andrew: it's a team game. We relish TD's. Join the club. Also, I've read great things about Tom Crabtree. I just haven't seen it.
Allow me to fantasy for a bit: The Buffalo Bills are loaded with RB talent with CJ Spiller, Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, and Joique Bell. They also have Andre Anderson - who many thought fit into the Matt Forte mold before the 2010 NFL Draft. In FA, they also signed Chad Simpson who had some decent snaps for the Colts last year. In the past, there have been rumors of the Packers being interested in the oft-injured Lynch. While the Bills are stacked at RB, they are left with next to nothing at TE & OL. Consider this: Jamon Meredith is fighting for a starting job. We have Donald Lee, Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge, and J-Bush as trade bait for the sometimes complicated & problematic Lynch. I believe that a change of scenery would be good for Lynch & it wouldn't shock me if the Bills looked to unload him. I was hoping Breno Giacomini would be included in our list of trade bait prospects, but he is beyond awful.
Speaking of J-Bush, it looks as though we've FINALLY reached the end of his tenure as a Green Bay Packer. Forever to be remembered as the guy who did not pick up the R.W. McQuarters fumble in the '07 NFC Championship, Bush appears to have fallen off the depth chart. If there was any doubt about it, hopefully his fate was sealed when - on two occasions - Sam Shields made great plays as a gunner. The first time he made the tackle & the second time he forced a fair catch. Clearly, we should NEVER see Shields as a KR/PR again, but he's done enough to guarantee himself a roster spot.
Thanks to Cullen Jenkins. Great effort, mate. I'm not sure that anyone else on the #1 defense showed up to play football. Tough to judge the 1st unit defense as we were missing 5-6 starters. We applied no pressure. We didn't blitz. But, there were some concerning facets. For the 2nd week in a row, Nintendo Nick looked lazy on an out-route & got beat for a TD. Morgan Burnett was a step slow against the run & didn't take a great angle to the ball on a play to his left. After the first drive, when the U-HAUL made a great play against the run & then P-Lee got us off the field on a 3rd down pass play; both Underwood & Lee struggled. Picked apart. Again, can't fully judge them as we had ZERO pressure. But, an occasional incompletion or pass defensed would have been nice to see.
Mason Crosby! Showing confidence.
The offense is in rhythm. Rodgers is in sync with Jennings & J-Mike. It's a thing of beauty. Hoping this is just the beginning of a special offensive season.
In 2008, the Packers drafted Brian Brohm & Breno Giacomini. Both from Louisville. The Packers were psyched about both of them. In 2010, neither of them will be on the roster. Giacomini is bad. Awful. Pathetic. He can't cut it. Get rid of him.
Our kickoff units remain suspect, at best.
Desmond Bishop looks like Bernardo Harris in zone coverage. Lost.
I'd love to shake Chillar's hand for his mentality towards learning the OLB spot. He's handling it the right way. Thus far, it hasn't worked. I'm not saying that it won't work, but so far, it hasn't. The games start for real in 3 weeks. We need to be ready. I'll be surprised if Chillar is able to be productive in Week 1.
Frank Zombo > or = Brady Poppinga. Both are a step slow off the ball. Both are aggressive with never say die attitudes. Both play until the whistle. Frank Zombo has 1 sack in 2 preseason games. Brady Poppinga has 1 sack in the last 3 years & 4 sacks in his 5 year career.
This week the Colts come to Lambeau. National TV. ESPN. The annual Bishop's Charities game. You gotta love it.
The Colts are 0-2 in the preseason. The 3rd preseason game is the ultimate warm-up for the regular season. Both teams are going to want this one.
The Colts WR weapons will provide a stiff test for the Packers DB's. Wayne, Gonzalez, Garcon, and Collie. Throw in Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, and Donald Brown...and man, Peyton Manning has some weapons.
The Packers get the ball to start. Finally, our offense establishes the run game. Running it behind Sitton & Tauscher, the Packers attack former Packer Daniel Muir. It's Grant pounding away at the Colts. Banging out 7 yards. 5 yards. 6 yards at a pop. The Packers offense finds a new rhythm. Moving into the Colts territory, it's Rodgers to J-Mike. As his twitter account proclaims, TGIF! 1st down, Packers.
It's Rodgers to Driver who makes his way into the South End Zone via a Lambeau Leap.
Manning moves the ball into Packers territory, but the drive stalls as Nick Barnett comes thru on a center blitz.
Rodgers grabs the ball. Extending plays with his legs. Rolling to his right. Connecting with Jennings. Fantasy junkies leap with excitement. Jennings becomes a 2nd-3rd round prospect with his epic preseason!
It's Grant up the middle. Into the Red Zone. Inside the 5, it's A-Rodge rolling out on play-action and finding Andrew Quarless for a TD.
Throw in a Crosby FG and it's a 17-10 Packers lead at the half.
Almost amazingly, the Colts have worse back-up QB play then the Packers. Thankfully.
Frank Zombo comes at Curtis Painter. Grabs a sack. Oh,oh! Ted Thompson & Mike McCarthy have a decision to make.
Quinn Porter looks to make me eat my words. He wants to get noticed. Grabbing chunks. Running left behind Newhouse. Newhouse shows us he's a lock for this roster.
The Packers seem to want either Charles Dillon to make a run at this roster. I want Chastin West to get his shot. It'll be interesting to see who gets the ball in the 4th Quarter. Whoever gets the chance, must prove he's worthy. It might be his last crack. Once again, I'm predicting West is a success.
Packers 27. Colts 20.
Go Pack Go!