Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Take -> Week 8

Greetings, G-Force.

It was a great day at Lambeau Field. One for the ages. The crowd brought it in vintage form. My cousin Ryan returned the "mooning" favor to Randy Moss. He said his mission was to show both "Favre & Moss his game face." Thanks for bringing it, Ryan. We had home field advantage and the fans played a HUGE role in the victory.

Man, it was great to see the Football Jesus leading the Packers to victory once again. Truly epic to see him throw a TD to the Green & Gold at Lambeau Field once again. He hit Bishop right in stride. A thing of beauty. Couple the Packers victory with another dynamite performance by Ray Nutler and suddenly, the Packers have life again!

My good mate, Patrick, often sports a shirt that reads: "12 > 4." As a die-hard fan of the Green Bay Packers, it was sensational to see the sigh of relief come out of Rodgers after the final Favre pass fell incomplete. Sheepishly, he even elevated a #1 signal. Hopefully, the victory formation will be the turning point in Rodgers' season. Typically, when a team goes through a sluggish point in a season and elevates it into a phenomenal finish, there's a singular turning point that comes to mind. Think Doug Evans at St. Louis in 1996. Think Favre v Reggie White in 1992. Think Najeh Davenport & Ahman Green bullying through the defending champion, Tampa Bay defense in 2003 in a game in which we redefined ourselves. Think about Rodgers' performance during the 2nd half of the Cowboys game last year. Don't be surprised if the victory formation last Sunday night has the same effect on the 2010 season. Clearly, that was the best moment of Aaron Rodgers' young career. Rightfully so. Our young Pro Bowler beat the Legend. And at Lambeau Field, the Final Score read "12 > 4."

One thing you have to like about McCarthy is that when his team encounters controversy, generally, they've become stronger. Unlike our enemies from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, to my eye, McCarthy seems to have the respect of his team. Additionally, I feel McCarthy called his best game of the year when he needed it most.

Personally, I enjoyed the offensive sets with tight formation. Out of the I-formation. Double TE. Single WR to Rodgers' left. Kuhn at FB. Nance/Jackson about 5 yards deep in the backfield. Quick hand-off to the FB. We lined up in this set at least 3 times in which Kuhn got the ball. Twice on 4th & 1. Granted, the play have great success, but I'm more than confident that we'll find a big play out of this formation in the next 2-3 games. I envision a fake handoff to Kuhn & a pitch to Nance in the open field. Similar to the old Charlie Garner play that Jon Gruden made famous in the home opener when the Packers hosted the Raiders in 1999. Additionally, play action out of this formation could find AQ81 wide open in the flat.

McCarthy also showed great design with the TE screen. I really liked when he came back to it a 2nd time. Great imagination.

I liked the game plan. Attack Cook. Mix in the run. Use the play-action. And when Cook was replaced, go after Frank Walker. He was the weak leak.

Small Observations:

T-Mon taking ownership over Randy Moss' domain. It's a wonderful thing. Once again, Ted, the time is now. Put it on this years books.

Desmond Bishop bringing the riddim to the Packers defense. Each week he seems to make an impressive play.

Charlie Peprah earning his stripes. Playing ferocious. Earning respect. Giving heart.

Nintendo Nick! Play On, Player. When he's on point, he bounces with a magic flava.

Clay Matthews = The Intimidator.

Props to AQ81 for his first NFL TD. Also enjoyed seeing him as the 1st to congratulate B-Jack after Jackson's 1st Quarter TD. While at the time, I was furious - in hindsight - it is comical to see the replay of AQ81 doing his best impersonation of LeShon Johnson. Tripping over an apparent piece of tall grass. By the way, another great decision by McCarthy.

Good to see AJ Hawk in on the action once again. Hawk continues to battle & even though the majority of his tackles are 3-8 yards down field, he's fighting and around the football.

With the loss of Brad Jones & Brady Poppinga for the rest of the year, we'll find out what we have in Frank Zombo in a hurry. Might Shawne Merriman be in our future?

Great to witness pure domination by our OL. Clifton. Colledge. Wells. Sitton. Bulaga. Rubbing the once-fierce DL of the 'queens into the dirt in sublime fashion. Freakin' epic. We were the physical beasts. As we head into November, they must be the foundation of our roster.

Jairus Wynn with a HUGE sack which forced a MN timeout.

CJ Wilson giving us solid production. A battler. Getting dirty. Forcing the pick-6 with his pressure. Playing disciplined.

Donald Lee be nimble. Donald Lee be quick. Donald Lee jump over that 1st down stick!

Greg Jennings shaking the hips!

James Jones pulling out the yellow tape around the wrists was a thing of beauty.

Back to Rodgers - loved to see him take the corner & stretch for the 1st down. Though he was inches short, had to appreciate & acknowledge the effort. With that said, what was going on with the chemistry between Rodgers and the WR's? Not on the same page. Surprising. But, should be easily worked out.

Mostly, our special teams remain miserable. Need to get this fixed ASAP. Again, no reason to keep T-Mon back on punt return duties.

BJ "Jazz Hands" Raji is among the smartest football players on our team. He reads plays with terrific intelligence. A true talent. Wish we could limit his snaps. Need to keep him healthy. This would require Pickett & Jenkins to return immediately.

With all of the injuries on defense, Brandon Chillar must become a playmaker. Now.

Want to welcome the Rastas back to our defensive backfield. Bring heightened attitude. Ras-Al & Ras-A-tari, any day now. 'Nuff Respect.

I like the signing of Matt Wilhelm. He'll improve our special teams units immediately. I don't know anything about either Diyral Briggs or Howard Green.

Sam Shields doing an admirable job of getting his nose dirty & showing he belongs.

Anyone else scared that P-Lee puts one on the turf in a big spot this year while running back a kickoff?

After 7 games, we have 22 sacks & 12 turnovers.

This week - we travel to NYC to play the team many project to play in the Super Bowl. Coming off a bye, the Jets are 5-1 and playing as well as anybody thus far. Blessed with one of the best OL's in the league, the Jets have been able to play nearly mistake-free football and they're enjoying a rejuvenation in the career of LT. Shonne Green is a solid second option. The Jets also have two big play WR's in Santonio Holmes & Braylon Edwards. Brad Smith is one of the most versatile players in the league. Throw in Dustin Keller, who is one of the best young TE's in football, and Jericho Cotchery, who is a solid possession receiver, and Mark Sanchez has plenty of toys to play with. Further, it's the Jets defense that make them one of the most feared teams in the NFL. Jason Taylor & Shaun Ellis have combined for 7 sacks. David Harris & Bart Scott are the epitome of a 3-4 ILB. Calvin Pace is healthy. Darrell Revis has proclaimed himself 100% healthy. Antonio Cromartie has found himself in NYC. Jim Leonhard has developed into a very good safety. Brodney Pool is still a work-in-progress. He can be beat, but he'll also make an occasional play. From what I've seen of the Jets & I've watched them play three games this year - once in person - Pool can be looked off. I really like Dwight Lowery as a 3rd corner. Kyle Wilson has a bright future, but he's not there yet. The Jets will try to hide him in the slot. If healthy, Donald Driver, must be licking his chops.

Brad Smith will undoubtedly have a big kickoff return in this game. Jim Leonhard will probably do the same on a punt return.

We can pressure the Jets by blitzing through the middle and attacking Nick Mangold's left. The weakness on the OL is Matt Slauson. Though it's doubtful, it'd be great if we could get 15 run-down plays out of Pickett & 15 pass-down plays out of Jenkins. If Jenkins, is unable to go, Capers is going to have to get extremely creative with his blitzes. Occasionally, I'd drop all 11 in coverage to confuse Sanchez - much like Belichek used to do to Peyton Manning. Line up as though you're bringing 6-7. Instead, come with none. On the field, you'd have Raji, 5 LB's, and 5 DB's.

We will have opportunities to force turnovers. Carpe diem, men. I envision Sir Charles getting home on a blitz. He's due to make a play. It'll happen this week. Blindside hit on Sanchez. Ball comes loose.

I also see Bishop getting home on a blitz.

If the Jets simply pound away with the run, it'll be tough to stop them. If I were Brian Schottenheimer - the Jets Offensive Coordinator - I'd probably run the ball 40 times this weekend, if the game allowed me to. Based on injuries, I find it difficult to believe we'll be able to stop their running game. But, I also feel that Schottenheimer is occasionally too arrogant & gets away from what's working. He out-thinks himself & mismanages games.

The Jets will test us deep. They'll take at least 2 chances deep down the field. Possibly many more than that. They'll use Keller & Cotchery to keep us honest.

But, if we're patiently aggressive & the timing of our blitzes are proper, we'll make a game changing play on defense.

Offensively, Rodgers parlays the victory into a productive offensive performance. All week, the Packers will be bracing for the blitz. Stay calm, Aaron. And don't be afraid to take your shots deep. While both Cromartie & Revis are studs, I'll take my chances in 1 vs 1 coverage. Look to Driver in the slot. Take what the defense is giving you and expect the Jets to come with the kitchen sink whenever possible.

B-Jack slowly nickles & dimes the defense. The screen stays in the offense. Great to see it once again!

And on a crucial 3rd & 1 play, it's a flip to Nance who finds himself in the open field..........and I have a feeling we're going to like the outcome.

It's James Jones on a short crossing route. It's AQ81 finding the seam over the middle. It's Jennings beating Cromartie on a deep ball.

It's a nail biter & again Rodgers wins a game by 4 points or less.

Packers 23. Jets 20.

This game is about playing as a team. We are not one man. We are a unit. No man on this team is an island. We aren't leaving anyone behind. We are all for one. One for all. We're going into this game together. We might be physically bruised, but we're emotionally high & mentally prepared. We're a team. A brotherhood. No one stands alone. We're dreaming of a Halloween Smash in which victory goes to the original "Green" Costume of the NFL. We reign supreme. But, it'll require a complete game with unparalleled effort. Trust in each other. This is a business trip to the World's Financial Capital. Prevent special teams miscues and this is ours to steal.

Getter done!

Talkin' S-Mac.

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