Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Take -> Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

It was rich in Holiday Cheer. 14-1. The most victories in franchise Regular Season History. Defeating the Bears for the 4th time in the 2011 calendar year. Proving, in fact, that the Bears do still suck! In convincing fashion. Whether it was Nutler, Hanie or McCown as the QB for Chicago, the Packers owned the Bears in 2011. It was a magical year. Purely dominating our old rivals. Bears fans will claim injury. But, last I checked, the Bears had Urlacher, Tillman, Briggs, and Peppers all playing on the defensive side of the ball. All were neutralized. In return, the NFL’s MVP connected on 5 TD’s without his best weapon, Greg Jennings. Ultimately, as the most cherished theater in American sports echoed with “Bears Still Suck” chants, the play on the field showed that the Lambeau Faithful was quite accurate in our assessments.

Quick hits from the thrashing of the Bears:

· Aaron Rodgers is the NFL’s MVP. He beat Brees head to head. He didn’t have a 2-interception game all year. Brees has had multiple 2-interception games. He has thrown for more TD’s than Brees. He’s averaged more than an extra yard per attempt than Brees. Rodgers is your MVP. No doubt in my mind.

· Mike McCarthy, you own Lovie Smith. And we love you for it. When Lovie Smith was hired in 2004, he said his top priority was to beat the Packers. Well, Lovie, you went 0-4 in 2011. Cheers to you, Lovie!

· Jordy Nelson running the deep route to perfection.

· Clay Matthews making big plays! In the 1st half, it was almost as if he was the only one on defense who showed up. He baited McCown with a magic touch. And the interception was a game changer.

· Desmond Bishop, welcome back. You were missed.

· I’m not in panic mode, but I’m starting to wonder whether DJ Smith should be starting over AJ Hawk.

· We’re going to need improved Safety play in the playoffs. Both Burnett and Peprah appear to be a step late in pass defense.

· J-Mike, stay confident, young man. You’re a threat. Defenses key on you. You’re a match-up nightmare. In order for the Repeat to come to fruition, we’ll need you in a BIG WAY!

· Good to see James Jones step up and get the offense in rhythm with the crossing route in front of his nemesis, Peanut Tillman.

· I enjoy watching Brandon Saine run.

· Hope Starks can stay healthy for the stretch run.


· Thought TJ Lang did a remarkable job as well.

· Big ups to Evan Diedrich-Smith!

· The Packers OL > The Bears DL. Music to my ears.

· BJ Raji is struggling. Even when he gets a push, he’s not finishing plays.

· I’m beginning to wonder about Mike Neal. CJ Wilson is getting more push than him and that scares me.

· T-Mon has to get his MOJO back. Giving too much separation. Doesn’t seem overly inspired. When he’s “on” – he’s as good as it gets in this league. His body language hasn’t seemed like himself.

· J-Bush & P-Lee are absolute difference makers on special teams. Brad Jones played well on special teams as well. Fun to watch.

· Tim Masthay is LEGIT!

· Randall Cobb brings a dimension to Packers football that hasn’t been seen since Desmond Howard left. Rossum did some good things, but not to this level. Packer historians are reminded of Travis Williams! Cobb makes a 10-yard return look so exciting. Hope his injury isn’t serious.

· Let me repeat, Aaron Rodgers is the NFL’s MVP. G-Force, don’t take this for granted.

· Speaking of the G-Force. Even when the game is in doubt, the crowd needs to stay elevated. This defense needs our help. We have to make it tough on the opposition. Play our role.

This week – it’s Detroit. And frankly, I’d rest our stars. No Aaron Rodgers. And if he plays, make it one series at the most. But, seriously, save the roster spot. Make him inactive. Jennings and Starks are already ruled out. I’d do the same with Bulaga as there is no need to push him. I would also sit Woodson and Matthews. Pickett would not play. Neither would Raji. I’d work Green, Wilson, Neal, and Wynn on the DL. Run them hard. I’d play a lot of 2 down lineman. Give some of the LB’s a shot. I’d like to see Davon House. T-Mon would see limited action. So would Bishop. We’d see more of DJ Smith and Robert Francois. We’d see more of So’oto and Lattimore. I’d like to see MD Jennings at Safety. Jennings was a ball hawk in the preseason. I’d like to see him in the rotation.

Offensively, I’d give the game to Brandon Saine. I’d like to see him touch the ball 20-25 times. I’d like to see him catching passes. With the Packers likely to only have 3 WR’s in the lineup, we’ll see a lot of double TE’s. With J-Mike likely to get limited reps, I’d like to see Ryan Taylor getting his shot. The same with DJ Williams running down the seam. Give the kids the reps that they didn’t get during mini-camps. I’d also test Clifton to see if he’s good to go for the Run to the Repeat.

Frankly, it could be argued that it’d be in the Packers best interest to lose this game. Assuming the 49ers beat the Rams, the #6 seed would travel to New Orleans. If the Lions win, the Falcons would get their third crack at the Saints. Traditionally, the Falcons have battled the Saints well. It’d be a rivalry game. Remember that the Falcons beat the Saints in New Orleans in 2010. In ’09, they battled the Saints and eventually fell by 8 points. In ’08, they fought hard against the Saints, only to lose by 4 points. If you can’t tell, I’d prefer to not play the Saints in the playoffs. I’m not scared of New Orleans. In fact, I think we’d beat them. But, I’d like to make the Saints road to the NFC Championship as difficult as possible.

With that said, the Packers are playing for 15-1 with their back-ups. I’d like to see Flynn in control of the offense. A good performance by Flynn could potentially affect his status with the Packers next year. It’d also affect the compensatory pick we’d get for him. It’d be fun to see him play well.

Look for the Lions to try and attack us with Kevin Smith. The formula is to run the ball against the Packers. Smith will pound it at us. Then, they’ll send Calvin Johnson on deep routes and dump the ball to Smith underneath. The Lions will pester us. Eat the clock. Almost stunningly, the Packers are OK with the Lions strategy. The Packers would like to keep the clock moving as well as the #1 motivation for this week is to stay healthy. And, when the Packers get the ball, we see a lot of short passes. We set a lot of Saine pounding the ball. Saine pushing the pile forward. Then McCarthy calls play action and he hits Jones on a deep ball.

As the Lions spread the ball to Burleson, Pettigrew, Johnson, Smith and Titus Young, they find some efficiency. They move the ball, but break down near the Red Zone on a couple of occasions. Additionally, the Packers force 2 big turnovers. Flynn throws for 200 yards and a TD. Saine rushes for 80 yards and a TD.

The Lions haven’t won against the Packers on the road since 1991. It’s not happening this year. Even with our back-ups.

Packers 23. Lions 20.

Before I sign off, I had to give a huge shout-out to my good mate, Pat Hoeft. He's started a clothing line named "GEEBZ" - get after his line. It's fun stuff. Check out his website at You'll like what you see. Well done, Pat!

Go Pack Go!

Happy New Year,

Talkin’ S-Mac.!/buzzboy3

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Take -> Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

For the first time in nearly a full calendar year, we've tasted defeat. We were beat up. We were humbled. We lost discipline. We lost focus. And, for the first time in over a calendar year, we were out-coached. But, no need to panic, we're still the Champs. We still have the MVP throwing the damn ball. We still have a first round bye. We're still a victory away from having home field throughout. We're still the class of the NFL. And, really, what better way to clinch than to beat the Bears on Christmas Day in a Lambeau celebration? The Bears Still Suck!

Quick hits from the Chiefs game.

* We struggled to find rhythm. As a team, we were frustrated. Annoyed. Pestered. McCarthy didn't stick with what was working. We had success running the football. Randall Cobb is a weapon and should be used. We didn't stick with what was working.

* Defensively, we lost containment. Zombo and Walden were not discipline. They were exposed.

* The DL was abused. Beat up. Donde esta, Mike Neal? Neal must arrive soon. At some point, Neal has to make a play.

* Where was Clay?

* Rodgers is the MVP. Enough with this Brees noise. Head to head, Rodgers beat him. With that, as defenses continue to press us at the of scrimmage and drop two safeties, Rodgers must remember to dump it off to the underneath route when it's not there over the top or down the field.

* Jordy Nelson couldn't get open. It was almost as if the Chiefs new the route before the play. They were cutting beneath crossing routes as the WR's were coming out of their breaks.

* Prior to going for it on 4th & 8, on 3rd down, Rodgers had Cobb wide open. He overlooked him. I wish he wouldn't have.

* Ryan Grant had his stride.

* Stating the obvious, the OL must get healthy...meaning Bulaga & Clifton. Clearly, its present state is a huge concern.

* J-Mike. WTF.

* Bummed me out when Kuhn failed to get 3rd & 1.

* AJ Hawk must nowhere to be found.

* DJ Smith played decent, but I wish he would have dropped deeper on the seam route to the TE.

* Sir Charles was our best defender.

* James Jones couldn't get off the line of scrimmage. He was a huge disappointment.

* No forced turnovers. With this defense, we won't win much without them. With that, I'd expect our offense to score 20 points every game. So, in part, the defense put us in position to win. And the offense lacked tempo. The combination equaled defeat.

This week, it's the Bears. The hated Bears. On Christmas Day. It doesn't get better. Win and we clinch home field throughout. Win and the Bears are officially eliminated. It'd cap a perfect 4-0 over the Bears in 2011. It'd include a January 2nd bash that got the Packers into the playoffs. It included the Halas Trophy at Soldier Field inside the visitors locker room. Trump card forever. Pop Tarts! Now, we can put the dagger in their 2011 Season while clinching home field throughout. That's fairly epic and sheer domination. Word.

We know them. They know us. We're both banged up. They're coming after the MVP. We have a banged up OL. It's their strength against our weakness. We'll have to establish Grant, much like we did against Chicago in the earlier match-up at Soldier. With that, the play action will open up. Finley is a tough match-up for the Bears. He must be focused. He seems like he's lost confidence. Get J-Mike the ball early in the game. Make him feel involved.

The Bears will try to run the football in bunches. They'll want to model the Chiefs game plan. They'll coach McCown to play it safe. Expect to see less of Marion Barber and more of Khalil Bell. He is a decent back. He can catch. Runs hard. Not a HR threat but he'll move the pile.

But, in the end, the injured Packers have far more talent than the injured Bears. The Packers defense makes a big play. Hester is limited. Rodgers throws 2 TD's. It's a Lambeau celebration as the chorus of "THE BEARS STILL SUCK" echoes loudly throughout the greatest sports palace in America.

Packers 23. Bears 16.

Go Pack Go. The Bears Still Suck. Have a Merry Christmas.

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Take -> Week 15

Greetings, G-Force.

13-0. 19 straight. In dominating fashion. It took 23 minutes for the Packers to completely dismantle an Oakland Raiders team that is battling for an AFC playoff berth. For 23 minutes, the Packers were hitting on all cylinders. The offense poured on 31 points in the first 23 minutes. The defense forced 2 turnovers in the first 23 minutes, which led to 14 points. The special teams was on point for the first 23 minutes as Crosby drilled a FG into windy conditions, Cobb had an impressive 10 yard return and on each Oakland Kickoff Return our pursuit was top-notch. The last 37 minutes were slightly more than a walk-through.

Quick hits from the victory over the Raiders:

* Another brilliant coaching display by Mike McCarthy. As an offensive play caller, he's in rhythm. He understands this team. He's found the tempo of this team. He sees the mismatch. Early in the game, the Packers were quick to the line of scrimmage and the Raiders defense was on its heels the entire game.

* Congratulations to Aaron Rodgers for throwing #39. Looking forward to seeing the record breaking #40 at Arrowhead!

* It took me four years to feel this way, but my apologies to Ted Thompson. I wanted DeSean Jackson. You took Jordy Nelson. You were right. I was wrong. As DeSean Jackson pouts. Jordy Nelson produces.

* Get healthy, Greg Jennings.

* James Jones, it's all in the shoes.

* Double-D running crossing routes like it's 2004! 18.8 yards per catch.

* Randall Cobb with the ball in his hands is pure excitement.

* Rodgers' cadence at the line of scrimmage was a thing of beauty. The Raiders came out antsy to pressure the NFL's MVP. Rodgers slowed down their pace with heavy voice fluctuation.

* Good to see Ryan Grant finding open space.

* Ryan Taylor finds the end zone!

* TJ Lang played extremely well.

* Admirable performance by Evan Diedrich-Smith.

* Mason Crosby is having a Pro Bowl year.

* Huge shout out to DJ Smith. The guy was absolutely disruptive early in the game. In addition to the interception, he was all over the field. Reading screens. Taking down Bush when it looked like he had yards in bunches. He played with personality. He closes quickly on the ball. He's fun to watch. He struggled getting to the QB on the blitz, but he comes with a vengeance.

* If you've been following this blog for long enough, you know that in 2009, I wanted the Packers to use a late round pick on Robert Francois. I've been a fan of his for a while. Happy to see he's making plays. Again, he displayed solid cover skills. He's making it seem as though he should be our 3rd down ILB when the opposition is in an obvious passing down. He drops well. He moves laterally well. In 3 weeks of action at ILB, he has 2 interceptions and another near interception. He also forced a fumble that was returned for a TD. Solid game by Francois.

* Rodgers. MVP

* After watching Smith and Francois, the Packers don't need to draft an ILB.

* Sir Charles with another pick!

* Sammy Swagga with a pick!

* Is it just me or has Ryan Grant regressed with regards to pass protection? Seems uncertain. Slow to react.

* No reason to get Sherrod snaps with Rodgers at QB. Sure, Newhouse has struggled on occasion, but he hasn't been so bad that we'd need to risk Rodgers back-side.

* Rodgers. MVP.

* Last year, at this time, T-Mon was playing as one of the best cover CB's in the league. He was at the line of scrimmage. Jamming WR's in the chest. Playing physical. Against the Raiders, you could find T-Mon 8-12 yards off the line of scrimmage. It's possible that he was simply respected the speed of the Raiders WR's, but I like to see T-Mon challenging receivers.

* After Woodson's pick, I loved seeing the Claymaker beg for the ball. He wanted the pitch from Sir Charles so badly!

* The Packers special teams cover units are playing at a level that we haven't seen since the days of Lamont Hollinquest, Keith McKenzie, Mike Prior, Bernardo Harris, Travis Jervey, and Terry Mickens. Love to see the hard work of J-Bush, P-Lee, MD Jennings, Crabtree, Saine and Ryan Taylor.

* Find the end zone Erik Walden! Touch pay dirt, young man!

* The Raiders had some success pressuring the Packers up the middle of the gut. Wonder if others will come aggressively with inside blitzes in the coming weeks.

* Morgan "the Predator" Burnett making tackles in the open field is a fun sight.

* Charlie Peprah is a solid safety when he's kept in the box as an 8th man.

* Nice to see Frank Zombo grab his 1st sack of the season. It'd be fun to see Mike Neal do the same.

* After 13 games, the Packers have forced 32 turnovers and generated 27 sacks.

* In the compensatory pick column for next years NFL Draft, it's worth noting that Anthony Smith was placed on IR this week. I still think Cullen Jenkins is probably worth a 5th round pick. So is Daryn Colledge. And the combination of Ras-A-tari, Spitz, Anthony Smith, Korey Hall, and B-Jack are probably worth two 7th round picks as well.

This week - the Packers are off to Arrowhead. My wife and I are heading to Kansas City as well. Going with a crowd of friends. Bringing the G-Force. With a vengeance. We'll be witness to the 20th straight win, a Packers QB record for TD passes as Rodgers strikes for #40 and as Bob McGinn reported this week; Mike McCarthy will accomplish something Vince Lombardi never did by going unbeaten on the road. To top it off, a win gives the Packers home field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl. I'm stoked!

The Chiefs are 5-8. But, they can't be overlooked. Arrowhead is a hostile environment. And - although I expect the stadium to be 1/3 Packers fans - the Chiefs aren't going down easily. Romeo Crennel will have his time ready to play. The defense will be fired up. And - a small piece of history reminds me of a 13-0 Denver Broncos team facing a 5-8 New York Giants team in New York, only to lose to New York 20-16. In this league, if you want to win, you must be ready. Every game of the year.

Once again, the Packers will face an under-appreciated defense. Tamba Hali can flat-out rush the passer. Last year, Hali had 15 sacks and this year he has 9 sacks. Justin Houston has 4 sacks in the last 2 weeks. Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson are stout at the point of attack against the run. Derrick Johnson is a total stud at ILB. Johnson is a tremendous pass rusher when he comes on the blitz. Brandon Flowers has been a solid NFL CB. He's able to man-up with most WR's in the league. Brandon Carr can be beat, but he'll also man-up against a WR and try to run with you. Kendrick Lewis is a young and improving Safety. The Chiefs defense will fight us. They'll compete. They'll mix it up and bring a variety of blitzes. If the Packers, can protect Rodgers, the Chiefs defense can be beat on double-moves over the top.

Offensively, the Chiefs are beat up. It appears as though Kyle Orton will make his first start as a Chief. As I mentioned earlier in the year when Orton started for the Broncos, Orton has fared well against the Packers throughout his career. He's 3-2 in his career as a starter against the Packers. He possesses the ball control skills to pull of the upset. Expect the Chiefs to throw a bundle of bubble screens to Steve Breaston, Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin. The Chiefs will also try and control the line of scrimmage by pounding the ball with Thomas Jones and Jackie Battle. Then - the Chiefs will spread the Packers out and jam the ball at you with the elusive Dexter McCluster.

With Mother Nature looking to keep the rain away until Monday, the weather looks like it'll be in the high 40's to low 50's at Kickoff. Sunny skies. Football weather for the Green Bay Packers. A classic AFC v NFC battle. A rematch of the 1st Super Bowl.

Protect Rodgers. Don't turn the ball over. Don't let the dangerous Javier Arenas get loose on a Punt Return. And the Packers will win by a large margin.

I can't be convinced that Orton has a full grasp of this offense and even if he does have an understanding, just a couple of days ago he wasn't even throwing the ball in practice. Orton might know our nuances, but the Packers defense has too many playmakers. Turnovers will be had. At least two of them.

Earlier in the year, when Orton was a Bronco, he had success against the Packers throwing it deep. Look for Orton to use the height advantage that Baldwin presents on a couple of fly patterns. As the Packers keep 8 in the box to protect against the bubble screen and the Chiefs ground game, it'll be up to Burnett to provide help over the top. Burnett grabs a jump ball interception this week.

Look for the Claymaker to have a big game with 2 sacks.

Rodgers throws for 250 more yards and 2 more TDs, eclipsing the Packers single season TD record. Jordy finds the end zone. So does Finley.

Playing loose, the Chiefs keep the game close for a half. But, they can't run with the Champs.

Packers 34. Chiefs 20.

Celebrate Home Field advantage.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.!/buzzboy3

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Take -> Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

12-0. 18 straight. In thrilling fashion! We were battle tested. On the road. In December. Against a desperate team with a Super Bowl MVP QB, a Super Bowl winning coach, and a formidable front 4 on the DL. We were victorious. This cannot be overstated. This was a Championship type win. And it was only fitting that on the day of this victory, the Packers clinched the NFC North Crown for the 1st time with #12 as the starting QB. Pardon me, while I sip a Zyr Gibson as celebration.

Quick hits from the victory over the New York Giants:

* Sure, once again, there were faults. Again, we struggled to stop the run. We struggled to run the ball. We couldn't pressure the QB. Our pass protection was sub-par. Our secondary was soft. Still, the Packers found victory. Welcome to the 2011 Green Bay Packers. It's apparent that these "flaws" are a part of this "unflawed" Packers team. And - in some ways - the beauty of this Packers team is our ability to overcome these deficiencies. Clearly, improving the DL is the #1 priority of the off-season. Until then, we have to hope Raji impresses. We have to hope Mike Neal rids himself of rust and becomes the guy we all hoped he'd become.

* The defense gave up 35 points - including a late drive to tie the game. The final drive didn't bother me. I expected Eli to perform in the end. He's done that throughout his career. Sure, I was disappointed we couldn't get pressure up the middle to force him to throw off his back foot, however in the end it didn't shock me that we didn't get the late stop. But, what bothered me about the defense was their play during the 3rd Quarter. Up 28-17. We let the Giants move down the field with little to no hassle. Normally, that's when the Packers have been flexing their might. They've been able to get off the field defensively and then McCarthy has called the deep ball to find a 3-score lead. Our defense failed us. Then, on the following Giants possession, Masthay had pinned the G-Men deep and we not only let them out of their own territory, but the Giants also moved the ball down the field for a FG. Defensively, we didn't seize the game when we had a chance to deliver an early knock-out punch.

* Mike McCarthy has been an aggressive play caller. With supreme confidence, an elite QB and a drive to keep Defensive Coordinators confused. We saw the Cobb pass against the G-Men. Soon, we'll see the reverse to Cobb. And, we'll see the swing pass to Cobb.

* Aaron Rodgers. MVP. The two words are synonymous. 369 yards. 4 TD's. BRILLIANT!

* Double-D! Old man showing he's still got game. That smile is priceless. And the wink was sensational. Stoked that was caught on camera!

* Jordy Nelson's route running has improved tremendously in 2011. He's in tune with Rodgers. And the footwork down the sideline was beyond spectacular.

* The greeting between Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers after the final pass was FANTASTIC! Teammates. In unison. Greatness!

* Be great, Greg Jennings!

* With Starks hurt, Brandon Saine is our best RB. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kuhn get enhanced touches as well. Clearly, Grant is not the same player that he was prior to the injury.

* This was Marshall Newhouse's worst game of the year.

* Bulaga is our best OL in 2011.

* Diedrich-Smith struggled. Badly. But, he was a starter in a win. And we didn't have to fully change the offensive structure in the process. Be thankful.

* Catch the ball, J-Mike. Catch the ball!

* Sad to see AQ81 is done for the year.

* CM3 making plays! Loved the pick-6. Long hair - Don't care!

* Charlie Peprah covering anyone in the slot is a scary proposition.

* Liked the effort of DJ Smith & Robert Francois. But, the results left a lot to be desired. Both get a pass as it was their first start and the victory was sweet. Francois has the potential to be our best pass covering ILB.

* Erik Walden is one step away from being a really good OLB. He has 30 QB hits. Yet, he only has 3 sacks.

* In 12 games, this defense has forced 27 turnovers and has generated 26 sacks.


* J-Bush playing legitimately as a gunner.

* Tim Masthay dropping bombs!

* Don't be surprised to see Ryan Taylor earning playing Time from the line of scrimmage over the last 4 weeks.

* If you didn't buy a share in the '90's, by one now. Be an owner of the world's greatest sports franchise!

* A quick look at the potential compensatory picks heading into the 2012 NFL Draft. Cullen Jenkins has started 12 games and he's produced with 5.5 sacks. Daryn Colledge has started 12 games at Guard for the Cardinals. Ras-A-tari Bigby has played in 11 games for the Seahawks, starting 1 game. In those 11 games, he has 11 tackles, 1 sack and 1 pass defensed. Anthony Smith has played in all 12 games. He's yet to make a start, but he has produced 2 passes defensed and 10 tackles. Korey Hall has appeared in 9 games. He's without a carry or a catch. Jason Spitz has made 5 appearances in 2011. As a reminder, B-Jack has been out all year due to injury. With the way the season has progressed, though the formula is unknown as to how compensatory picks are distributed, I'd project that the Packers will get 2 5th round picks and 2 7th round picks. Had B-Jack played this year, these picks would have likely been better.

This week - it's the Raiders. Watch yourself, G-Force. Don't sleep on the Raiders! Much like Tampa Bay, almost awkwardly, the Raiders are better suited for a cold, sloppy weathered game than the Packers are. The Lambeau Faithful must be ROWDY!

While conventional wisdom would suggest that this game could be similar to the '93 game vs. the Raiders in which LeRoy Butler invented the Lambeau Leap, this game has the potential to be dangerous. The Raiders run the football. They rush the passer. They're tough minded. They're physical. They punish you at the line of scrimmage. They have speed at WR. Much like Brandon Jacobs and LeGarrette Blount, Michael Bush is tough to bring down. And, if Darren McFadden plays, he's an absolute weapon.

This vintage AFC-NFC game - the rematch of Super Bowl II - shouldn't be a trap game. There's no reason to look past Oakland, but I just hope the Packers are focused from the start. There cannot be a lull to start this game. We can't offer the Raiders hope early in this game. The Packers must grab an early lead. With temperatures expected to be in the low-to-mid 30's, this is December football in Green Bay, WI. If behind early, the Raiders will want to get on the bus. Fresh off the dramatic victory in New York, the Packers should be relaxed.

Carson Palmer has been Jeckyll & Hyde. He's had moments of fine play. He's had moments in which he's been disastrous. He'll give us chances to make plays. We must get snatch the football. Big plays are in front of us on the defensive side of the ball.

It doesn't take a genius to figure it out but there are two keys to this game: Our ability to force turnovers and our ability to protect Aaron Rodgers.

Defensively, the Raiders are talented. They pressure the QB with a highly underrated DL. Lamarr Houston is better than he gets credit for. Richard Seymour is a Pro Bowler. Desmond Bryant never gives up on a play. Tommy Kelly will beat you up.

The LB core of the Raiders is also underrated. Aaron Curry has been much better as a Raider than he was as a Seahawk. Rolando McClain - if he plays - is absolutely legit. And Kamerion Wimbley is a very good 3rd down speed rusher who will absolutely challenge Newhouse. Wimbley has 6 sacks in the last 4 games.

While I'm not impressed with the Raiders secondary, they benefit from the successes of the front 7. The pressure of Oakland's front 7 is relentless and thus the weaknesses of Stanford Routt, Lito Sheppard, and Chris Johnson are often disguised. There is not one CB on the Raiders who can cover any of our top 5 WR's. But, we'll have our work cut out for us as we attempt to protect the NFL's MVP.

The Raiders are loaded with speed at WR. Early in the game, after a couple of run plays, expect the Raiders to call play-action and to test us deep. Carson Palmer hasn't played in weather like this in a long time. The ball will be under-thrown. It'll end up in the lap of T-Mon. TRAMONDOUS!

If the Raiders come out with the 2-deep Safety look. The Packers will spread out the defense with 3 WR's, J-Mike and a single back. Through a variety of quick hits, Rodgers moves the ball with ease. The play-calling and route design by McCarthy is at a PhD. Level. His play-calling doesn't allow the physically dominant Raiders to get pressure.

The Packers get an early lead as the Raiders play ball-control. They don't abandon the run. We see a lot of Bush. A lot of Kevin Boss testing our LB's. Keeping the sticks moving. And the Raiders will annoy. But, the Faithful stays strong.

Ryan Grant has been a mudder in his career. It'll be interesting to see if he can get loose this week.

Rodgers throws for 250 yards and 3 TD's as he keeps his 2-TD streak alive and extends it to an NFL Record tying 13 games. James Jones gets into the end zone. So does Jennings. So does Nelson.

Packers 30. Raiders 20.

Bring the noise, G-Force. Bring the noise! A win gives the Packers an all-important 1st round bye.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac!/buzzboy3

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Take -> Week 13

Greetings, G-Force.

11-0. A win this week and the thought of 19-0 can begin. The Run for the Repeat is about to take the first crucial step as the Packers are not only on the cusp of clinching a playoff berth, but we're also on the brink of earning a 1st round bye and capturing the 1st NFC North title in the career of Aaron Rodgers as a starting QB. It's so close I can taste. After all that Rodgers has accomplished in his short career, it'd mark the 1st time Rodgers entered the post-season as a Regular Season Champion. It'd further the legacy he's already created in 4 short years as a starter. And he's performing in what is among the toughest divisions in the NFL.

A couple of quick hits from the Thanksgiving Feast in Detroit:

* It's worth leading off with this: BJ Raji dominated. He was moving the pile. He was getting a push. He collapsed the pocket. He recorded a sack. Hopefully, this was the game Raji needed to jump start this DL into another dominating playoff run.

* Once again, the Packers had a two score lead in the 2nd half and the Packers got the ball back. What did McCarthy call? The dagger! Of course. This time - it went to James Jones. Right when it looked as if Jones might disappear for the rest of the Run for the Repeat, Jones comes out and grabs three balls for a team-high 94 yards. We're deep and we're unpredictable because you never know whose number McCarthy is calling next. But, whether it's been Jennings, Nelson, J-Mike, Jones, Cobb, or Driver - more often than not - the Packers have walked away from the play as a winner.

* And, suddenly, our playmakers are making plays on defense. Look out. The Claymaker with a pick and although he didn't record a sack, his pressure was solid. Sir Charles with a pick. T-Mon got his hands on a couple of balls. The cast looks like it's getting smaller on Morgan Burnett's hand. Big plays are coming.

* Sometimes even a hot fire needs to be stoked. Such was the case with Aaron Rodgers on Turkey Day. While Aaron Rodgers presently has a warning label that reads: "CAUTION: FLAMMABLE" - his red hot right arm caught potency after the thuggish defensive line from the Detroit Lions went cheap on him in the 2nd Quarter. Granted, two of the hits weren't called for penalties, but clearly, they were late hits that were meant to inflict harm. After the game, ESPN Analyst said it best, and I paraphrase, "As a coach you either teach that style of play or you discipline that style of play. And in the case of Schwartz, it appears as though he teaches that style of play." They went after Rodgers in a dirty fashion. Rodgers responded with another near flawless performance. Aaron Rodgers, ladies & gentleman, is the unquestioned MVP of the NFL thus far. Consider this - and I thank my cousin Ryan for pointing this out to me - but, presently, Rodgers is 17th in the NFL in passing attempts. He's 4th in completions. He's 1st in TD's. He's 1st in yards per attempt. He's 3rd in yards. Of the starting QB's in the league, he's thrown the least amount of interceptions. He's 1st in completion percentage. He's yet to lose a fumble. His team is undefeated after 11 games. It's almost unbelievable to consider the level of QB play that were witnessing out of the XLV MVP.

* Of course Charles Woodson was picking off a pass in Detroit. He went straight gangsta on Matthew Stafford. That play was inhumane. One of my favorite defensive plays of the year. Straight gangsta, man. Straight gangsta! Giving him 53 interceptions in his Hall of Fame career.

* Marshall Newhouse, dude. His best game of the year. Might he be the Left Tackle of the future? At times, he's showed it's legitimately possible. Should the Run for the Repeat end in the XLVI crown, I'll couple him with Bruce Wilkerson as saviors. For the most part, Wilkerson shut down Vanden Bosch.

* Champions have depth. And, on Turkey Day, the depth came through. Struggling though the most physically taxing portion of the schedule, the Packers endured the injuries that you had to assume were on the horizon. Bishop, Hawk, and Clifton all went out. In came DJ Smith, Robert Francois, and Evan Diedrich-Smith. DJ was abusive. 5 solo tackles. 1 assist. He was a menace to the Lions OL on the pass rush. He gets low. He hits with might. He was fresh. He wanted success. He found success. He has a future in this league. Francois came up HUGE with the interception that preceded the deep ball to James Jones. Francois also pitched in with 3 solo tackles. And all Evan Diedrich-Smith did was pin Suh to the turf with an epic pancake. He frustrated Suh so vigorously that Suh's retaliation led to his ejection. Pure domination.

* Another solid game for Sam Shields.

* Mason Crosby drilling a couple of big kicks.

* Say what you want about Dom Capers' defense, but man, 2 of the 3 three games, this defense has looked pretty dominant. And on the season the team has 25 sacks, picked off 22 passes, recovered 3 fumbles, has 27 tackles for loss and has scored 3 touchdowns. They give up a boatload of yards, but they have a pension for making the big play.

* Another 4 catch day for Jordy Nelson.

* Rodgers connected with 9 different receivers. How great was it to see Saine catching the swing pass and falling forward after contact and grabbing extra yards!?!? He's not a life saver as a back, but he provides a decent option. I like his moxie. I like his approach. He is a competitor. I've thought this since the first time I watched him play. And there he was - grabbing big yards after contact. These plays were supposed to go to Alex Green. Saine is making the most of his chances.

* Greg Jennings. Man. A 5 catch, 74 yard, 1 TD game is so ho-hum. What a superstar!

* J-Mike - mate, I got your back. Through thick and through thin. But, mate, you gotta hold onto the ball.

* Glad Walden kept himself out of jail. He's playing his best ball of the year.

* I'm curious to see what happens to Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders GM job. It'd be a bummer if we lost him. He's a key to continuing to build on this franchise during the offseason. He's been a staple. If Oakland grabs him, they're getting a real talent.

* Didn't agree with P-Lee's ejection. Once again, I want to reiterate that J-Bush and P-Lee have had very good seasons and have been weapons as gunners on special teams.

* Have to love Matt Flynn's beard. After watching a number of back-up QB's over the past couple of weeks - especially last weekend - it wouldn't surprise me if Ted Thompson gives Matt Flynn the money he wants during the offseason to keep him around.

This week - it's the Giants. The Packers and the Giants have developed a mini-rivalry over the last couple of years. In '07, we know what happened in the NFC Championship Game. Then - last year - the Giants were the team that allowed the Packers to get into the playoffs after DeSean Jackson danced all over the New Meadowlands and then the Giants came to Lambeau and Aaron Rodgers went bananas on the Giants secondary. Rodgers threw for over 400 yards and 4 TD's as the Packers routed the Giants 45-17.

Don't be fooled by the Giants performance last Monday Night in New Orleans. They're a physical team. They can win games with their front 4. They can pressure the QB. They can make life miserable for the oppositions offensive play caller. With that said, the G-Men are beat up on the DL. Tuck is playing at less than 100%. Osi got banged up against the Saints. Still, JPP is an absolute beast. When Kiwi puts his hand in the ground and rushes the passer, he's also a legitimate threat. Tollefson can also put pressure on the QB. Canty gets a push. They have depth on the DL. They'll try to expose Diedrich-Smith as a weakness as Sitton will be out. They'll try to attack Newhouse to see if he's sturdy enough on the outside. They'll run stunts to try and confuse our inexperienced guards. If we're not prepared, it could be a long day for Aaron Rodgers. The G-Men made a mess out of Tom Brady - in New England. This will be a tough task for our OL. Expect our TE's to chip the Giants ends. Expect Kuhn or Starks to be kept in the pocket to help block and then they'll jump out as safety valves for the NFL's MVP.

If Rodgers has time, he'll torch the Giants defense. The New York LB core is beat up. They can't cover. They don't play well in space. The Packers will own the middle of the field if Aaron Rodgers has time in the pocket.

The Giants secondary has gained depth with the return of Prince Amukamara. Amukamara is a talented CB. Ross can play. So can Webster. But, oddly, the safeties, Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips have not lived up to expectations. They can be beat down the middle of the field. In the past, Jordy Nelson has given Rolle nightmares. It'll happen again on Sunday. Look for Nelson to grab a deep ball.

Last year, the Packers attacked Corey Webster down the outside of the field with Greg Jennings. Webster couldn't run with Jennings. I expect the Packers to target this same match-up on Sunday.

Offensively, Eli Manning has some talented options, if they're healthy. Victor Cruz has emerged as a legitimate threat. Hakeem Nicks is an absolute weapon. When healthy, Mario Manningham has been tough to defend. Ramses Barden has disappointed, but physically, he has all of the tools to be a big time target and a match-up nightmare. Jake Ballard has been a great resource for Manning. With these receivers, Manning has had the best year of his career.

The Giants running game has been in flux. Brandon Jacobs is still a staple in the ground game. Ahmad Bradshaw has been out for nearly a month with a foot injury. DJ Ware has some wiggle to him, but his skills are limited. And while Da'Rel Scott is a Giants-fan favorite, he's yet to have the game in which he bursts onto the scene. And frankly, in the little I've seen of Scott, I'm not concerned that he's going to be someone that beats up. I'm hoping Bishop and/or Hawk can play this week. While Smith & Francois both played well last week, it'd be asking a lot of them to perform at that level for a 2nd week in a row.

Look for the Packers to force turnovers once again. They'll pick Manning off twice and force a fumble. Manning will float the ball down the middle. Burnett better be ready. He'll have an opportunity to swing momentum.

Rodgers gets just enough time. His receivers make plays after the catch. J-Mike has a big game as he scores twice.

Packers 34. Giants 23.

The playoff berth is clinched. Essentially, so is the Division Crown. And, so is the 1st round bye. It's a celebration. 3 of the last 4 are at Lambeau. The other is at Arrowhead. I'm making the trip to KC. 16-0 is within reach. So, is 19-0. Let's get it!

Go Pack Go!
Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Take -> Week 12

10-0. 16 in a row. Protecting the home turf as the opposition throws their best punch. Almost oddly, Tampa is built for the cold weather, while Green Bay is best constructed to play in weather controlled environments. Regardless, the Yucs came with everything they had. They tried to steal possessions. They played well on the outside. Their DL played as well as it could play. And – we still walked away with victory. Remaining unbeaten. Clearly, through 10 games, the Packers are the class of the NFL. Prime for a repeat. Remember, Mike McCarthy teams will continue to improve. We’ve yet to hit our stride. I’m confident it’ll happen in the coming weeks.

Quick hits from the victory on Sunday:

· Mike McCarthy is a player’s coach. Let’s face it: BJ Raji is struggling. If the Packers are going to Repeat, we need more out of Raji. Raji has Hawaii bound skills. He has not played to his potential. So, what does McCarthy do? He unleashes the Freezer! Epic. Great form, Mike McCarthy! It was great to see Raji smile. His confidence needed that. He needed a little swagger to his step. McCarthy tried to provide him with that.

· Aaron Rodgers continues to be the NFL’s MVP. A “down game” for Rodgers is 299 yards with 3 TD’s and 1 interception.

· Thankful the injuries to Starks and Jennings don’t appear to be serious.

· Jordy Nelson – once again, I’ll say – the best #2 WR in the NFL. Sure, Rodgers makes everyone better. But, Nelson can flat out play. He’s a gamer.

· Double-D showing up as the weather turns bad. Then calls the Packers “the Greatest Show on Grass!” Lovely.

· Time for Ryan Grant to step up. Grant is playing for his career right now. He’ll get a chance to show his worth this week. Time to perform, Ryan. He looks slow to hit the hole and when he hits the hole, he’s lacking acceleration. Thought he’d be further along at this point of the season.

· Tom Crabtree! Get in the stands, young man!

· J-Mike may have dropped the ball, but he’s still the focus of Defensive Coordinators. On nearly every play.

· The interior of the OL is struggling. Josh Sitton, come on, man. Wells & Lang didn’t seem to be on the same page on a couple of plays.

* Is this the real James Jones? Or is he in a funk? Can’t figure it out. Looks like he doesn’t care. And the penalty on the special teams play was unnecessary. And the non-attempt to tackle after the interception is absolutely unacceptable. That's how you play yourself off the team.

* Randall Cobb in Green Bay is totally spectacular. Guy has superstar skills. A game changer. And the ability to win us a playoff game. A true difference maker. Can’t wait to see him throw a TD pass. He’s getting more involved in the offense. Soon – expect trickery. Possibly this week.

* Congrats to Sir Charles! While I haven't seen this documented anywhere, I believe he became the first player to notch more than 50 interceptions and 15 sacks for a career. I'd love it if he could get 2 more sacks this year. Would be sweet to see him finish his career with over 20 sacks!

* While the Claymaker did not get home for a sack, his pressure has been more vibrant since the bye. Good things are coming to him. It was interesting to see the Packers trying to rush Clay from the inside, while either Hawk or Bishop pursued from the outside on the blitz. Capers is desperately looking to find ways to get CM3 to the QB.

* T-Mon playing as though he's among the best cover CB's in the NFL. Clearly, once again, T-Mon is healthy. Tramondous!

* Really wish Morgan "the Predator" Burnett could rid himself of the cast.

* Walden getting to the QB!! Need more of this.

* I thought that AJ Hawk - at times - was playing his best football of the year. Really pursued with intensity. Until the big run by Blount, I thought Hawk was having his best game of the year.

* Surprised to see Mike Neal standing up on a couple of occasions. Wish they'd plant his hand and let him attack.

* Ryan Taylor continues to impress on special teams.

* Love to see Kuhn punching the ball into the end zone!

* AQ81 continues to improve as a blocker. He's a fighter.

This week - it's the game that we've all been waiting for. Thanksgiving. In Detroit. This place will be mayhem. The Lions have waited more than 15 years for a game to matter this late in the season. They feel relevant. They played well against the defending Champs last year. They have reason to believe.

The Lions will look to win by the line of scrimmage. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. While much is said about Vanden Bosch, Fairley, Corey Williams (who is injured and in question), and Suh; one guy that can flat out get to the QB is Cliff Avril. Avril is intense. He's tough. He swipes at the football. He gets the edge. He'll be a tough match for Bulaga. Vanden Bosch's grit and experience will be a tough draw for Newhouse. And - as has been well documented - the interior of the Packers OL vs the interior of the DL for the Lions will be a crucial component in determining the outcome.

Look for the Packers to send TE's in motion. Then, I'd expect them to keep them in the backfield to help block. They'll release late and be dump off options. Rodgers' patience will be tested. But, if we can avoid penalties, we'll be able to move the football.

We'll also see J-Mike chip either Vanden Bosch or Avril (likely Vanden Bosch) prior to going out for a route. Much like the Packers did with Allen & Robison against Minnesota.

It's a big game for Ryan Grant. Grant needs to perform. A QB's best friend is the run game, especially if the Lions are coming with heavy pursuit. Grant can also quiet down the intensity of the crowd.

Don't be surprised to see Brandon Saine get his chance. I envision Saine getting the ball on a swing pass or two. He'll fight through arm tackles and pick up first downs if he's put in a 1 v 1 scenario in the open field.

Big plays can be had down the field against the improved, yet still average, Detroit secondary. Chris Harris was a nice recent addition for the Lions. He brings knowledge of the NFC North. He knows what we do. Chris Houston has made some big plays this year. He can't cover Jordy Nelson. He can't cover Greg Jennings. Eric Wright was a nice offseason addition. He's a fighter. But, I'll take Nelson & Jennings. Louis Delmas is a heavy hitter. If history is any indication, you know that J-Mike will be looking to make a play on him. YOTTO!

I really believe that this is the day Randall Cobb comes up BIG on the offensive side of the ball. Be it a reverse. He could throw a pass in some form of trickery. Or it could simply be Cobb operating out of the slot. He's a weapon. Depending on how much McCarthy respects the Lions, it wouldn't shock me if he has something up his sleeve. And, it's likely Cobb will be involved.

The Lions have weapons on offense. Calvin Johnson is a superstar. But, call me crazy, I believe T-Mon will match up with Johnson and T-Mon will have a good game. Sure, Johnson is going to put up numbers. It wouldn't surprise me if he scores 2 TD's, but T-Mon will make a play as well. Titus Young is a good young talent. Sammy Swagga should shadow him all day. Burleson is a good slot option. Sir Charles will eat him up. What scares me most about the Lions is their TE play. We've struggled against TE's this year. Scheffler & Pettigrew are match-up problems for the Packers. Both can run across the middle. Both can get down the seam. Both can make the big play. Both are tough to bring to the turf.

This much is true: Sir Charles will make a play. He loves going back to the state of Michigan. He loves to play the Lions. Since joining the Packers in 2006, in 10 games against the Lions, Sir Charles has recorded 7 interceptions, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 3 TD's. Sir Charles will make a play on National TV. He always does.

It should also be noted that while Stafford has had a very good year, he will occasionally trust his arm too much and throw into traffic. He's thrown 10 interceptions in 10 games. Opportunities will be present.

Kevin Smith had a HUGE game last week. He must be contained. He's a straight ahead runner for the most part. Close the gaps and he's not going to do much. But, if he has a hole, he's a threat to take it to the house.

Throughout the 2011 Season, the Lions have mostly been a slow starting team. They've had a pension for making comebacks. If they fall behind on Thanksgiving, they aren't coming back.

It'll be a dog fight. In the end, there's too much of the NFL's MVP and a big defensive play changes the game.

Packers 37. Lions 31.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Take -> Week 11

Greetings, G-Force.

9-0. It's on. We're for real. Ready to make a "Run at the Repeat." The domination of the 'queens was sublime. Tremendous. Full excitement. On overdrive. Sure, there were still flaws. It was not perfection. But, it was the most complete game of the year. It was convincing. For the first time all year, we looked like were were primed for a repeat. We played defense. We had a strong display on special teams, minus Cobb's dropped punt. And, while the offense wasn't as polished as it has been in previous games, we still threw up 45 points via 4 more Aaron Rodgers TD passes.

Before I dig into the Packers too much, I have to give a massive SHOUT OUT to my Dad! For those that don't know, I proudly say that my Dad is the Producer of the games at Lambeau Field. I often refer to him as the DJ at Lambeau Field. After all, he is the man who both chooses and pipes in the music at the stadium. This Sunday morning on ESPN NFL Countdown, they're doing a special on the "Bang On The Drum" song that he plays after the Packers score a TD. Look for it. It'll be spectacular!

Onto the Packers demolition of the Viqueens:

* Mike McCarthy got what he wanted. He destroyed the 'queens. In every facet. He continues to call the play-action roll-out pass to Jordy. It's a beauty. It has been almost unstoppable.

* Aaron Rodgers continues to be the NFL's MVP. Sure, he hung onto the ball too long - at times. Still, he was absolutely dominant. His mobility. His poise. His confidence. He's playing at a level I've never seen before. Pure brilliance in every facet of his game. He's beating teams with his arm. He's beating teams with his legs. He's beating teams with his mind. He's been athletic. He's been totally cerebral.

* Last week - I wrote that Jordy Nelson is the elite #2 WR in the NFL. Those thoughts were furthered on MNF.

* I normally don't write anything with a negative thought early in the previous week's review, but man, Josh Sitton is not the same player that we've seen. Haven't lost confidence in him. I still consider him a robust bodyguard for Rodgers. But, he's struggled. It seems he's been beat each week. He must buckle down.

* On the other hand, while TJ Lang has had faulty plays, he's been a huge physical upgrade over Daryn Colledge.

* Bryan Bulaga is our best OL right now.

* I give Marshall Newhouse credit. He's in a tough spot. While he practiced at LT, he played RT in the preseason. He's come in and he's learning on the fly. He's been playing with fight. Mostly, he's done well. Jared Allen is a tough match. He stood up to Allen and although, Allen won some battles, for the most part, Newhouse played admirably.

* James Starks falls forward. Every time. Like no other Packers back in my lifetime.

* Another precise route by Greg Jennings leads to another Jennings TD.

* Great grab by Double-D! Turn back the clock!

* J-Mike going up and grabbing the ball in traffic on 4th down.

* Randall Cobb at Lambeau Field. Under the lights. Expect greatness. It's coming. For now, I'll overlook the dropped punt. But, remember to focus, young man.

* Note to NFL Offensive Coordinator: T-Mon is back. He's healthy. And, once again, he's in the top tier of the NFL's CB's. He's a key to the "Run at the Repeat."

* Sir Charles calling out the defense. And then playing as the Leader he is. Coming on the blitz. Covering ground across the middle. Man, I wanted that pick-6. Would've tied the record!

* Des Bishop coming on the blitz!

* Sometimes, in basketball, a shooting guard in a slump needs a lay-up to get him going. Well, the same applies to a pass-rusher. In the case of the Claymaker, look out. 2 big sacks. More to come!

* CJ Wilson with his best game of the year.

* Soon, Raji has to find himself in the backfield. A top-shelf Raji is a necessary ingredient for this team to Repeat.

* Mason Crosby!

* I gotta say that P-Lee and J-Bush have been solid special teams players this year. I've been critical of them in the past. So, I have to give them props when they are due.

* DJ Williams with the big block to spring Randall Cobb free.

* Ryan Grant is not running like I thought he might at this stage of the season. Makes me think Saine is going to get his chance soon.

* Though extremely limited, disappointed in So'oto's performance. Didn't get a long look but I was hoping he'd explode. He didn't burst off the ball. I know that I was expecting unrealistic results and I'm not giving up on him - by any stretch of the imagination - but, I really wanted him to make an immediate impact. Hopefully, that was the first of many opportunities for him. He has the tools to make an extreme difference for the Pack!

* Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Yes, soon, Mike Neal will get his first chance to make a play in the 2011 NFL Season.

This week - it's the Yucs from Tampa. And for Mike McCarthy, this game is personal. He still thinks about November 8, 2009. I was at the game. It was a disaster. The Packers were 4-3. Playing a decent brand of football. The Yucs were 0-7. There were numerous Packers fans in the stadium. Leading 28-17 in the 4th Quarter. Chants of "Go Pack Go" echoed throughout the stadium. And, then, 21 straight Tampa points. 38-28 Tampa. Ugly. Ouch. Painful. It was the worst moment of my Packers-fan life that I've ever experienced in person. For McCarthy, it was his ALL-TIME LOW as a Head Coach in the NFL. After the Super Bowl, as he celebrated with Jennings, he mentioned it. This day is etched in his coaching mind. Forever. He wants to beat Tampa. Badly. Revenge will be sweet. Normally, this would be a trap game. Sandwiched between division rivals. 3 games in 12 days. You'd think that something would have to give. The team will be reminded of the pain experienced on November 8, 2009. The team will taste the sweetness of success. 10-0 is within sight!

After a 3-1 start, Tampa has lost 4 of 5. They're banged up. And with temperatures expected to be in the mid-30's at kickoff, with a chance of flurries, the Yucs won't want to get off the plane. An early lead and this one could be a blowout as the Yucs will simply look for ways to stay warm.

Prior to the season, this was a game that scared me. I thought the Yucs matched up with the Packers really well. They play a slow-paced ball-control offense. Kellen Winslow is a possession receiving TE who has a knack for getting open on 3rd down. Blount is a punishing back. Josh Freeman is a talented QB with a pension for leading late-game heroics.

The upset is not happening.

Jordy Nelson. In college, he ate up Aqib Talib. Talib was at Kansas. Nelson at Kansas State. Talib could not cover Nelson. The same will apply on Sunday.

Like most teams, Tampa does not have the firepower to stay with the Packers lethal offense. Spread 'em out. As long as the winds are light, Rodgers should have another MVP performance. The Yucs are not applying an abundance of pressure on the QB. Our OL should win the battle at the line of scrimmage. When Rodgers has time, look out. He's putting points on the board.

The Yucs will probably try to use zone coverage and jump the short routes. Look for Rodgers to use the pump and go. Probably to Nelson. It'll net a big play.

The middle of the Tampa defense can be exposed. Expect big statistics for J-Mike.

The Packers jump out to an early lead. The Yucs are known for their comeback skills. It's not happening this week. They'll be more concerned about getting back to the Sunshine State of Florida.

Furthering his campaign for the MVP, Rodgers goes for 250 and 3 TD's.

Packers 38. Tampa 17.

It'll be one of those classic November days at Lambeau. Beautiful football weather. A rowdy Lambeau crowd. Chanting "Go Pack Go!" It's a crucial NFC Game. And victory is sweet.


Talkin' S-Mac.!/buzzboy3

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Take -> Week 10

Greetings, G-Force.

8-0. About to embark on the most physically tolling portion of the schedule. 3 games in 12 days. A Monday Night game against our hated rivals, Minnesota 'Queens. A Sunday game - at Lambeau - against a Tampa team that matches up really well against us. And a Turkey Day bonanza in Detroit. The intensity will be extreme.

Quick hits from the Victory over the Chargers:

* Gotta love when McCarthy goes for the early dagger. If you've watched this team long enough, you know when it's coming. Normally, it's the deep ball to Jordy. Yes, Jordy Nelson becomes McCarthy's go-to guy. Usually, it's in a run formation. Often, Nelson is essentially a one-route option. Most times, the Rodgers to Nelson combo has been sublime and it's provided the difference in the outcome. Up to scores. Early in the 4th. McCarthy calls Nelson's number. Of course, Nelson responds. Spectacular.

* Speaking of Nelson. Man, did we get a deal on his 3-year extension. I'm not crazy when I say this: At present, who is a better #2 WR in the NFL? Seriously. Name one. Pierre Garcon? I'd take Jordy. Julio Jones? Not yet. Jeremy Maclin? Possibly, I suppose, but I'll take Nelson. Dez Bryant? Sure, if he'd ever stay healthy. Mario Manningham? I'll take Nelson. Plaxico or Santonio in NY? Maybe. But, I'll take Jordy. His rise has been a crucial development.

* Aaron Rodgers. Statistically, we'll hear about his first 8 games for a LONG time. Possibly forever. And I'm not exaggerating. It's hard to imagine a QB playing any better than Rodgers has played thus far this year. MVP!

* Greg Jennings is the best route runner in the NFL.

* Good to see the YOTTO!

* Lambeau West! You deserve big ups! You brought it! Chico, well done, mate. Josh King, it looked like you were there...judging from FaceBook. Great work, men. Victory was yours! And - clearly - you played a difference.

* Loved the BJ Raji comment before the game via NFL Films. "We came out here to take care of business. It's that simple. Go Pack Go!" Gotta love Raji. Even if he's not playing at the level that we're accustomed to seeing him play. To me, they need to move him back inside if Neal comes back healthy. He's a good player at the end, but he's a difference maker at the tackle spot. Sure, Pickett has been stellar, but Pickett was solid last year and he'd be a nice rotational player for Raji. And - who knows - it's possible that a fresher Raji would be a more productive Raji.

* Des Bishop punishing the QB!

* T-Mon taking it to the house! Great read!

* Charlie! Yes, I'll take some Peprah with my salt! Do a little dance, brother. OH BABY! Not only the Pick-6, but the game sealer! And here's the thing about Charlie Peprah: Sure, he makes mistakes. He's occasionally a liability on deep balls. But, he's also a guy that can play on my team any day. No one is working harder. He sticks his nose into every tackle.

* Sir Charles got his forced fumble last week. We didn't pounce on it, but more to come...and if we would have touched Rivers down on the forced fumble, it would have put Sir Charles as the first ever player to have more than 50 interceptions and 15 sacks. Bummed me out!

* Bulaga had a nice game. He's a solid RT. Hopefully, he'll be the RT for the next 10 years.

* Marshall Newhouse! Remember, he was a 5th Round pick! Gem, TT. Gem of a find. Sure this is a ton of room for improvement, but he's filled in beyond admirably. With Sherrod in the mix, TT has found himself a load of youthful Tackle talent.

* I enjoy watching Starks fight for extra yards.

* Kuhn on 3rd & 1 has been a first down.

* The catch Jennings made in the end zone was ridiculous.

* Keep on keepin' on, Mason Crosby.

* Saine with the tackle on special teams! I really like this kid. I did in the preseason. Was happy he stuck around.

* Really with the "Z-Man" could stay on the field.

* As for the communication issues in the secondary, it's scary. But, when you have ZERO pass rush, these things are going to happen. Need Mike Neal to get healthy. It baffles me that So'oto can't get on the field.

This week - it's the Minnesota Viqueens. The eye is on the Repeat. But, first things first, let's qualify for the playoffs. Wins in the Division. Wins in the Conference. These are necessities. Tie breakers at the end of the year. And, while it would take a huge collapse to prevent this team from heading to the playoffs, let's not take anything for granted. This is a MUST win. It absolutely appears to me that McCarthy's least favorite franchise is the Minnesota Viqueens. He'll look to vanquish the 'queens in convincing fashion.

This topic is so important to me that I'm going to start off my breakdown of the game with it: So'oto gets his chance this week. It's mandatory. What we're presently doing is not working. So, I'm expecting a mix. Not that So'oto is a savior, but he's an option and it's worth seeing what he can bring to the table. On 3rd downs, I'm expecting to see either So'oto coming after Ponder or we'll see Walden shadow him to limit his ability to make plays on the move.

This time against Minnesota, there will be no surprises. The big play to start the game won't happen. We'll be ready. We've seen Ponder's mobility. The game plan will be prepared to keep him in the pocket and force him to step up. Step up - right into the lap of BJ Raji.

Sure, AP will get his. And, if the 'queens are smart, they'll watch the San Diego replay and they'll see that the biggest mismatch on our roster is to put a solid route running TE on a LB. So, if they're smart, we'll see a lot of Shiancoe coming across the middle. They'll mix in some short routes to Harvin. They'll keep the clock running. Limit possessions. But, Ponder will not the success on 3rd down that he had last time we played. That will be the big difference.

*** Side note: Against the Pack, on offense, patience is the key to beating the Packers. It has to be ball control. Sure, the deep balls can lead to big plays, but every game, eventually our secondary is going to pick one of those off. And this defense lives for the big play in the secondary. Against the Pack, on defense, you have to pressure Aaron Rodgers. If he has time, you can't stop him. In fact, when I look at the Packers remaining schedule, 7 of the games are against teams that have what it takes to beat the Packers. The 8th - being the Chiefs - is at Arrowhead, which is never an easy place to play.***

Stating the obvious, the Packers must be able to slow down Jared Allen & Robison. Both are talented. Both pursue with a vengeance. Slow them down and this could be a blowout. Early. The 'queens cannot cover us. We have too many weapons.

If it's close in the 3rd Quarter, it wouldn't surprise me if McCarthy turned to a little trickery. Possibly a reverse to Randall Cobb. Look for Cobb to throw a TD at some point this year. Possibly this week. But, more likely against Detroit on Turkey Day.

We know the 'Queens. They know us. Let's play ball. Under the lights. On Monday Night Football. Shine those helmets. Give 'em some polish.

With weather expected to be in the mid-to-high 30's, this is Football weather in Green Bay, WI. Again, Rodgers goes for 300 and 3 TD's. James Jones has had a pension for making plays against the 'queens. He has another nice game against Minnesota this Monday Night.

Packers 34. Queens 20.

Bring it, G-Force. Elevate. Leave hoarse. Let's celebrate 9-0.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.!/buzzboy3

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Take -> Week 9

Greetings, G-Force.

Welcome to the 2nd Half of the NFL Season. Thus far, at 7-0, we've played to perfection. We're well conditioned. Poised to improve. Ripe to Repeat. Offensively, we're loaded with weapons. On defense, although we've struggled to apply pressure on the QB, each week, we've had a defender make a crucial game-changing play. On special teams, we're seeing results that we haven't seen before.

As Packers fans, we've been blessed to watch the NFL's MVP play QB for our team 3 times over the last 20 years. Yet, we've never seen a QB play as exceptional as Aaron Rodgers is playing right now. He's completing more than 71% of his passes. He's thrown 20 TD's compared to only 3 interceptions. He's averaging more than 320 yards per game.

After 7 games, 7 different players are on pace to surpass 20 receptions. 3 are on pace to exceed 50 receptions. 7 different players have caught TD's. Meanwhile, we're averaging nearly 100 yards rushing per game. This offense has diversity. It's unpredictable. It's playing SUPER!

Defensively, we've given up a lot of yards. But, we've also forced turnovers. After 8 weeks of the NFL Season, the 35 year old, Sir Charles Woodson is tied for the NFL's lead in interceptions. The greatest thing about Sir Charles is that he never gets a cheap one. They're all meaningful. It's never the Hail Mary interception at the end of the game. They've been momentum altering plays that have helped propel victory. Sir Charles Woodson in Green & Gold has had a Hall of Fame ring to it. In 5 1/2 seasons as a Packer, Sir Charles has picked off 35 passes. He's also had 9 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, and 10 TD's. Brilliance!

In all, the Packers have picked off 13 passes. What's wild is that T-Mon has yet to record an interception. The Packers have 17 sacks. What's wild is that Jarius Wynn has totaled as many sacks as the Claymaker. The Packers have forced 5 fumbles. What's wild is that Sir Charles has yet to force a fumble this year. The Packers are 7-0 and a couple of their most prime time players have yet to statistically dominate like we've become accustomed to seeing them play. The defense will continue to make game-changing plays and you'd have to figure that - as a whole - the team will statistically improve in the 2nd half of the year.

On special teams, we've seen some absolutely dynamic plays. We've seen Randall Cobb go 108 yards in his career debut. We've seen Mason Crosby go 14-14, including a Packers Record 58 yard FG. We've seen Tim Masthay average nearly 44 yards per punt with 7 downed inside the 20 compared to only 2 touch backs. Don't get me wrong, the special teams has not been flawless, but unlike recent memory, the special teams units have consistently made a positive impact on our team.

After 7 games, the Packers record is perfect. And, as has been documented, there's plenty of room for improvement. Enter Mike McCarthy. As I've said before, McCarthy's teams improve as the year goes on. Typically, his teams have peaked in December. I expect the same to happen in 2011. The Packers will improve.

This week - it's the San Diego Chargers. It'll be Lambeau West. I'd guess that there will be 30% Packers fans at the Stadium. Unfortunately, it appears, the Packers will be bringing the weather with them to San Diego. There's a 40% chance of precipitation with High's in the 50's. With this roster, poor weather isn't what I was hoping for. With the 2011 Packers, as long as the weather is positive, I have a hard time seeing anyone beating an Aaron Rodgers led offense. Poor weather can be an equalizer.

This Chargers team cannot be overlooked. Although Philip Rivers has had a poor season, he's capable of a breakout game. He's due. Like Rodgers, Rivers has plenty of weapons on offense. While the health of Floyd and Mathews is in question for this week, Rivers will still be equipped with Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, Mike Tolbert, and Curtis Brinkley, who impressed mightily on MNF.

If the Packers can't apply pressure and if Rivers is patient with the underneath routes, the Chargers will be able to move the football. I'd imagine that the Chargers will have some success running the football - especially with runs that are kicked to the outside against the right side of our defense. There could be times the Chargers will gain double digit yards on those carries. Additionally, say what you will about Norv Turner, but his teams always move the ball via the crossing route. Thus far, the underneath drag route and the dump off to the RB have been routes Capers has been willing to give up. If Rivers sticks with the game plan, the Chargers will cause a heavy scare. At some point, you know Rivers will test us deep on a long ball to Vincent Jackson. We have to be ready to make a play. The ball will float. The secondary must pounce.

The Packers should be able to protect Rodgers. The Chargers will be without Shaun Phillips and although, OLB's, Antwan Barnes and Travis LaBoy are high effort guys, they're generally not high production guys. In the secondary, Eric Weddle is among the best safeties in the league. He's tied with Sir Charles for the interception lead. He's always around the ball. Quentin Jammer is also a gifted player in the San Diego secondary. But, outside of Jammer and Weddle, this secondary can be had with average talent. Considering the precision that the Packers offense is playing with thus far and this game has the makings of a shoot-out. With Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler at ILB, you can throw the ball between the LB's and the S's. Spikes simply can't drop like he used to.

Expect the Chargers to attempt to slow the game down. Generally, they like to play high-powered offensively. But, that's not how you beat the 2011 Packers. Rivers and Turner will be smart enough to know this. The Chargers will move the ball effectively. They'll find a rhythm. They'll have success running the ball.

But, in times of trouble, the Packers turn to the League's MVP. The most high, he's Aaron Rodgers. He's our leader. When this team needs a play, Rodgers will make it. Looking toward Nelson on deep crossing routes, Rodgers connects on a big play. Then it's Finley down the seam. Finley and Nelson each grab 5 balls and a TD.

Sir Charles grabs his 1st strip of the season.

Randall Cobb finds a big return against the oft-sluggish San Diego special teams unit.

It'll be a tight one. But, Lambeau West prevails.

Packers 34. Chargers 30.

Buckle up. It's going to be a thriller of a 2nd half to the NFL Season.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.!/buzzboy3

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Take -> Bye Week

Greetings, G-Force.

7-0. Just enjoyed a bye week by drinking too much whiskey and recovering with a boatload of coffee. It's Halloween weekend. And, it's fun to bring a bit of craziness to life, while in costume. Though the Packers were on bye this weekend, I was wearing my Packer gear as I went to the Lions v Donkeys game in Denver. So, the take is a little late, but better late than never, I hope.

To spice things up a bit, I've asked my good mate, Stack, to break down some college football via his early Mock Draft. Further, I've provided mine. Call it the "Buzz & Stack Vibe." Be ready. Stack can write with the goodness!

Prior to the season, I wrote that I felt the ultimate goal of this organization should be the 3-peat. Not the Repeat, but the 3-peat. Though the Packers won it all from 65-67, it's does not receive the recognition it deserves as a 3-peat in the annals of most football fans minds. Sadly, most consider the birth of the sport to be Super Bowl I. Therefore, the mission of the Ted Thompson-Mike McCarthy-Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay Packers should be the 3-peat. And this happens one game at a time.

In order to achieve this 3-peat, not only will the Packers have to finish business this year, but once again, Thompson is going to have to engineer another brilliant offseason. So, during the bye week, the thought turns to the 2012 NFL Draft and thus, it's the annual "Who Are You Watching Now?" Mock Draft take.

At this stage, I'm projecting that the Packers will receive 4 compensatory picks due to the offseason losses of Cullen Jenkins, Daryn Colledge, Ras-A-tari Bigby, Anthony Smith, B-Jack, Jason Spitz, and Korey Hall. Presently, I'd think the Packers would get a 4th round pick for Jenkins. After 7 weeks, Jenkins is tied for 9th in the NFL with 5 sacks. I'd project the Packers would get a 5th round pick for Colledge who has started in every game thus far for the Cardinals. And I'd guess the Packers would get 2 7th round picks for the losses of Smith, Bigby, B-Jack, Spitz, and Hall. B-Jack has been hurt all year, so that would either limit or eliminate his compensatory value. Smith has appeared in every game except one. Bigby has played in every game so far. Hall has played in every game except one for the Saints. Spitz has made a couple of appearances for the Jaguars. In all, I expect the Packers to have 11 Draft Picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. In the mock, as always, I don't select OL. Though it's worth noting that I've seen David DeCastro, G, Stanford and he's an absolute superstar in the making.

Here you go. Brought to you by Stack.

"There’s an insane amount of bullshit in life. On a daily basis, I can’t imagine that there’s ever been a time so filled with bullshit as these days. Thus, I find that it is important to reward yourself in life, and sometimes that reward gets a little too frequent. Sometimes frequent is just about right, and other times, frequent isn’t nearly enough. Indeed, it’s been a season of indulgences here, and it’s been a beautiful fall. Football weather.

It’s good to be 7 – 0. But the bye week always sucks. So I’ll cram in some extra college football and focus on the future. Draft information is still so diffuse and varied that assembling opinions on value and positioning is impossible, yet further complicated still by the inability to exist between Ted’s ears. Nonetheless, some of the most important tasks in life are impossible in one sense or another. I find defeat to be best left unconsidered.

Round 1: Chase Minnifield. CB – Virginia.

Of course we’re picking 32. Someone will fall to us like Sherrod the year earlier. I’m taking Minnifield here because I’m old enough to remember his dad, plus he’s a confident young guy with the game, the frame, and the desire to be good. I like what I’ve seen out of him and we need a player to be Wood’s protégé. I think Minnifield could be that guy. Looks to have nice longs arms. Good tackler, patient, sits on routes. At 32, I doubt that Devon Still will be available. If he is, I would have to consider him here as at least an equal quality prospect.

Round 2: Kawann Short. DE – Purdue

For better or worse, the worse usually arriving during Bowl season, I always affiliate with the Big 10. I guess, for lack of a better description, the teams just feel closer to home. Short is a beast. He is stout at the point, and has a nice little burst that really closes that yard of space that gets him onto people as a tackler. Pretty well-spoken guy. He’s got a little extra around the waist, but he is visibly a thick body with good lower body strength and balance.

Round 3: Kevin Zeitler. OG – Wisconsin

Okay. I know, first of all, I’m breaking with tradition and drafting an offensive lineman. Secondly, Ted never drafts anyone from UW. And I’m sure it’s not that he wouldn’t but, it just always feels like a reach. Nonetheless, I’m taking Zeitler in the 3rd for excellent value. Zeitler is a stud who pulls and operates in space better than his Badger peers. The guy has played at a consistent level throughout his high school and college career and I think that he has the ability to fit into the zone scheme. Love to see O lineman with the wrestling background, they just understand leverage so well, and this Zeitler has.

Round 4a: Malik Jackson. DE – Tennessee

I watch Tennessee. I’m not sure why. But I do. They’ve always ‘got’ guys. When I watch Tennessee, I see Malik Jackson behind the line of scrimmage on passing downs. The guy could be caught with the ‘tweener tab, but I just see him getting off his blocks and getting after the QB. Listed at 6’5” 265, he’d have to play OLB. When I look at guys who are listed in 4th round, Jackson stands out as a guy who has impressed me.

Round 4b: Marvin McNutt. WR – Iowa

Guy produces. In the Maclin mold. 4th round is a projected spot for McNutt to go. I don’t know if it is reasonable to expect that we see him or not, but it might not take too much to move up a few spots. We do have three seventh rounders in all likelihood. McNutt is one of those guys who seems like he has been around forever, because he’s responsible for highlights everytime the Hawkeyes line it up. Kind of weird that his name is McNutt, but I guess I could get over it.

Round 5a: Davin Megget. RB – Maryland

Come on, how do you not draft Dave Megget’s kid? The guy can return kicks, so while Cobb is excellent at that (as is Nelson, Tramon, etc.), he’d be an option. Diminutive stature, a with a bit more power and a bit less elusiveness than one might expect when you look at him. He’s physical. I question some of his decisions as being a bit reckless, but he is fearless and aggressive. I can see him being a good 3rd down back, especially late in the season when the weather starts to deteriorate.

Round 5b: Kellen Moore. QB – Boise State

Guy puts up the numbers and plays well in big games. He’s a little smaller than you’d like, but seems to get the ball down the field pretty well. We’re going to lose Flynn and Harrell remains a dicey proposition at the moment, so I’m taking Moore here to develop into a QB that we trade in 3 to 5 for a 2nd and a 4th. It’s good value. When they draft a QB late this year and they’re doing all the introduction to the organization and teaching them about the history of the Packers, someone should tell them the story of Doug Pederson.

Round 6: B.J. Cunningham. WR – Michigan State

Drafting two WRs might not be in the cards, but between those cards and Ted’s vest there is only a thin layer of air, which, as a matter of physics, separates any two objects of solid matter. What can I say about Cunningham? First of all we’ve got enough AJ, CJ, TJ, names on our team. Cunningham has an abundance of talent, which he displays from time to time with spectacular catches. But he also has the ability to go passive in a game. He will let things happen to him from time to time. I think Cunningham’s flaws are correctable. His talent stands out to me as I look at where he’s being projected versus his peers. That being said, he’s a big receiver who runs well and plays strong.

Round 7a: Tydreke Powell. DT – North Carolina

Powell is a big body, good thickness and he can definitely still add some weight. Doesn’t offer much in the way of a pass rush, but he knows where the football is. I think he could play either DT or DE in a 3-4. He gets beat from time to time. When I ask myself if it is an upgrade from Wynn or Wilson, I’m hard pressed to find an answer. Coach ‘em up, Trgo!

Round 7b: Manny Abreu. OLB – Rutgers

Guy has played the strong side and the weak side. Plays with force, plays with violence, loves the collisions, has pop behind his pads. There’s a variety of reports on his speed, but I’ve thought that he’s been relevant when I’ve watched Rutgers. He’s a tough guy with a rags to riches type of story, so he’d definitely probably be in the good locker room guy category.

I think Georgia Tech is a team that Packer fans should be tuned into. They play a 3-4 on D. I watched them dismantle Clemson on ESPN3 through my xbox on my tv. I’m seeing Junior DTs Izaan Cross and T.J. Barnes trash the Clemson offensive line, and yet neither of their names appear anywhere in draft talk. What am I missing?

Who knows. This shit is impossible."

Cheers for the words, Stack.

With that the BuzzBoy brings you:

DVR is new to me. It's been great for following the collegiate game. Each week - I've been trying to tape 2 games and then scout a couple of guys. So, everyone that I select will be someone who I've watched play at least one full game.

Round 1: Billy Winn, DE, Boise. After investing mightily in offensive weapons in the 2011 NFL Draft, look for Thompson to stockpile defenders in 2012. Players I considered with this pick were Devon Still, DL, Penn State; Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC; Lamar Miller, RB, []_[]; Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama; and Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. I'd like to consider Brandon Jenkins, OLB, FSU, but it's too early for Jenkins. Winn is the choice. The Packers need to improve the pass rush. Clearly, we miss Jenkins. And Neal's injury trend is becoming a concern. Winn has the size, strength and athleticism to hold the point and pressure the QB from a DE spot in the 3-4.

Round 2: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. While conventional wisdom is to go after an OLB like Bruce Irvin, WVU, I simply can't do it. Wright has been my favorite collegiate player thus far in 2011. Though he's only 5-10, he's fearless over the middle. He'll go up and get the ball in traffic. He's tough to bring down. And the kid can absolutely fly. I see him as being able to play in the slot or on the outside. He'd fit in our spread offense. Seeing that this is likely Double-D's last year as a Packer, Thompson will probably look to add another WR. Wright would further the brilliance of the Packers offense. Don't get me wrong, I'd like Irvin who was a 1st class pass rusher last year, but he's struggled so far this year and with that, his value is diminishing. I'm also considering Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis; Brandon Lindsey, OLB, Pitt; Robert Barron, S, Arkansas; Cam Johnson, OLB, Virginia; and Vinny Curry, OLB, Marshall, with this pick.

Round 3: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington. Washington plays awful defense. But, Trufant can play. He's gritty. He's tough. He'll jam you at the line. He can turn and run with WR's. He'll come up and make plays against the run. I find him to be drastically underrated. Additionally, he plays with a physical attitude. Sir Charles and T-Mon would groom him to be a legitimate NFL starter at CB. I'm also looking at Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama; Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri; Robert Lester, S, Alabama; and Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M.

Round 4: Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State. Herron seeks contact. He's a tough runner with good speed. Solid hands. A fighter. He wins 1 on 1 battles in the open field. He makes people miss and has a nose for the end zone. As the Packers spread out defenses, Herron would be a terrific option out of the spread offense.

Round 4a: Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina. Occasionally, Allen struggles in space as a cover safety. He does struggle in space, at times. But, the guy finds the football. He's a great 8th man in the box. He's instinctive. He wraps up. Seeks contact. He plays a similar style as Charlie Peprah. He's athletic and plays with a fun swagga. Others I'm considering in the 4th Round are Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas; TY Hilton, WR, FIU; Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College; Keenan Robinson, OLB, Texas; and Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt.

Round 5: Chris Galippo, ILB, USC. Sure, he talks some trash. And probably too much rubbish is spewed from his mouth. But, the kid backs it up. I'm going to the USC at Colorado game next Friday so I can keep my eye on this kid. While not a powerful tackler, he'll take you to the ground. He's a very good cover LB. He'd flash on special teams. He's a risk taker, which sometimes makes him over pursue the play. I was shocked to see that Galippo was a projected 5-6 round pick at this time.

Round 5a: Jacquies Smith, OLB, Missouri. Smith played behind Aldon Smith over the last couple of years, so he's kind of a late bloomer. He has the size and speed to play OLB in the 3-4. He is a legitimate pass rusher who has shown an ability to drop in coverage. At some point, Thompson will have to address the OLB position opposite CM3. Others I'm considering in the 5th Round are Tim Fugger, OLB, Vanderbilt; Tank Carder, OLB, TCU; Brandon Bolden, RB, Mississippi; Case Keenum, QB, Houston; Kellen Moore, QB, Boise; and Nick Foles, QB, Arizona.

Round 6: Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT, Texas A&M. Jerod-Eddie is huge at 6-5, 302 lbs. He's not a dynamic pass rusher, but he'll get a push and disrupt plays similar to the way Johnny Jolly used to. He gets his hands in the air and alters passing lanes. Additionally, he's fairly stout against the run. I'm taking Jerod-Eddie by a hair over Frank Alexander, OLB, Oklahoma. Alexander might be this years version of Ricky Elmore. Not fast enough to get the corner. Not strong enough to stop the run. Doesn't have elite instincts. But, you can't argue with his production and having him available in the 6th round is a value pick. Others I'm looking at are Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas; and Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise.

Round 7: Dominique Davis, QB, East Carolina. McCarthy emphasizes good decision making from the QB position. Though I'd like it if the Packers would resign Matt Flynn, it's doubtful that he'll be back with the Packers. Graham Harrell has not shown that he is a legitimate NFL prospect yet. I like Davis. He composed in the pocket. He makes good decisions. He's accurate. He's mobile. He can throw on the run. And he's comfortable in the pocket. In the past, Thompson has shown that he is not afraid to go into the Season with an unproven QB. Unless Flynn is resigned, it's likely that this will be the case in 2012 once again.

Round 7a: Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, DT, Baylor. Thompson will draft DL in the 2012. It'll be a point of emphasis. Howard Green will be a FA. Although Pickett has played really well, he is aging. I'm excited about the potential development of Lawrence Guy, but he'll be a work in progress. CJ Wilson and Jarius Wynn have not taken the next step. And Mike Neal can't stay healthy. Jean-Baptiste is a big boy. A run stuffer who plugs the middle. He's quick for a 330 lb DT. Moves well side-to-side and hasn't received the recognition he deserves.

Round 7b: Brandon Taylor, S, LSU. Yes, at this stage, I'm drafting 2 safeties. But, Nintendo Nick's career is in jeopardy. And J-Bush is not a safety. MD Jennings has shown a lot of promise, but we need to ensure depth in the secondary. Taylor is assignment sure. He has displayed good hands. Because the secondary at LSU is so good, Taylor is often overlooked. While Allen would be a safety in the box Safety in the 4th Round, Taylor has the ability to play CF. Others I'm considering in the 7th round are Travis Benjamin, WR, []_[]; Jerrell Young, S, South Florida; Jordan Jefferson, QB, LSU; and Jarrett Lee, QB, LSU.

Enjoy the bye week. Happy Halloween.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Take -> Week 7

Greetings, G-Force.

6-0. Defending Super Bowl Champions. Relishing the notion of living as the elite. The Lions of the Football Kingdom. And the most encourage aspect is that Mike McCarthy's teams improve. They play their best football in December. It was true in '06. They played terrific in '07. They play very well in '09. In '10, they won two must-win games to propel them into the playoffs. Mike McCarthy teams improve. And there is no reason to think that they won't improve in 2011 as well. After all, there has been obvious areas to improve. But, I'm not going to focus on those aspects. I'm going to leave them to the National Media who seem to be more focused on the imperfections of this 6-0 team.

Sure the pass rush has us all yearning for Cullen Jenkins to return. But, I'm confident that if the "Z-Man" & Neal get healthy and when So'oto makes his presence felt...well, I'm confident that the pass rush will improve. So, will the motor of the defense. And, yes, I know Zombo was back last week, but he did leave the game with an injury and he's out against Minnesota. I also think that T-Mon's injury has hurt the pass rush. Sammy Swagga's early season coverage hurt the pass rush. Sir Charles' nagging injuries have hurt his blitzing abilities. So have the Claymaker's nagging injuries. But, the bye week is coming. It's a time to get healthy. A time to study. A time to refresh. A time to retool. And while the Packers have other deficiencies, I'm not going to focus on them. I'm going to treasure this 6-0 start. I'm going to cherish the highlights of the way the defending champions are playing.

Some takeaways from the Packers thrashing of the Rams:

* Had to love McCarthy going for a 2nd Quarter dagger. Leading 10-0. Ball at his own 7. I turned to my wife and said, "*, we're 93 yards from a 3-score lead. And there's no way the Rams come back from that deficit." The next play, McCarthy picks on Ras Al. Beautiful pump fake by Rodgers. Jordy is open. You know the rest. Props to McCarthy. Great play design. Great call. Ball game.

* It drives me crazy to hear that the Packers lost aggression or got lackadaisical during the 2nd half of the game. Sure, I would have liked Jordy to hold onto the 3rd down ball. It was unacceptable. It was also ridiculous that Jennings lost focus and dropped what was a potential TD and it turned into an interception. But, let's face it. It's a long season. The NFL Season is long. And there are times in which you can't show your hand. Clearly, McCarthy wanted to end the game as soon as possible. Rightfully, he took his foot off the gas pedal. And the team followed the leader. They were in cruise control. And the Packers left with a healthy 21-point victory.

* Cheers to CM3! The Claymaker played his best game of the year. Great motor. Great effort. Great to see him taking Bradford to the turf and giving us his signature pose.

* Sir Charles with a sack! I believe he's 1/2 sack from being the FIRST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF THE NFL to record 50 interceptions and 15 sacks. I haven't seen this published anywhere, but I gave a quick check at those with 50 career interceptions and I didn't see anyone that has such accolades. "HOF, dude." Had to love Sir Charles talking to Jim Rome and saying that he'd probably hang it up rather than playing for another team. Totally epic!

* After 6 weeks, Aaron Rodgers is the MVP of the NFL. And it's not even close.

* I'm stoked to see Vic So'oto this week!

* Morgan Burnett lowering the boom with one hand!

* Loved DJ Williams' effort on the Jordy 93-yard TD. Though Williams did not make a crucial block, he certainly put himself in position in case it was required. Good work, young man.

* Two years in a row the Packers have busted out the 1929 jerseys - which I like by the way - and two years in a row we've convincingly beat an NFC West opponent.

* Desmond Bishop playing with a righteous viciousness. Playing hard. Seeking contact.

* AJ Hawk flipping the "Hawk" to the sidelines. Comedy. Gotta admit - I missed it during the initial action. And while it was not a classy gesture - I can't say I have a problem with it. And I don't see it as a big deal.

* Sammy Swagga playing as he did during the stretch run last year! He is a key to a repeat. And I really like the way he's turning to see the football as of late.

* Saw what you want, T-Mon is not healthy. Still shying away from contact. The bye week will do him good.

* Josh Sitton has been the biggest disappointment of the year.

* Marshall Newhouse continues to make Bruce Wilkerson like strides.

* While Lang has not been as powerful as he was early in the year, he's still an upgrade to Colledge.

* Really liked the play of Howard Green. Going to need him to be plugging holes this week as well.

* Charlie Peprah is finding his groove and playing as well as he can play right now.

This week - the Packers travel to the Dome. You know - the one that's named after a shopping mall. And, there will probably be as many Packer fans as there will be Viqueens fans. And Mike McCarthy wants this one. After dealing with the Brett Favre in Purple drama for 2 years, Mike McCarthy is ready to take his team to 7-0 as he heads into the bye! Clearly, McCarthy hates the 'queens. More than any other team, McCarthy wants to beat the 'queens. And, he will.

Don't get me wrong. The 'queens have the tools to play with the Packers. Offensively, they have a ball control offense. Similar to the City Chickens from Atlanta. They can pound the ball at the heart of your defense. A.P. is legit. Shiancoe can give the Packers match-up problems. Percy Harvin is a nightmare. And - if the 'queens can stay patient - they should be able to move the sticks and eat clock...keeping NFL's MVP off the field. Even with a rookie QB, if Ponder stays calm and doesn't panic in the pocket, he should be able to dump off the ball for 1st downs. Further, Ponder is elusive in the pocket. He can avoid the rush. He can make plays in the pocket. Additionally, on the defensive side of the ball, the 'queens have a DL that is capable of giving the Packers headaches. It's also noteworthy that the 'queens have blown big leads three times this year. They could easily be 4-2 right now. But, they aren't. And they won't have 2 wins after this week.

The 'queens have significant offensive limitations. They never replaced Sidney Rice and thus, they have no deep threat. 8 in the box. Peprah takes A.P. head on. Holds him up. Help comes. And if A.P. gets through to the second level, which we know he will at some point, hopefully, "The Predator", Morgan Burnett takes the right angle to prevent the Home Run.

Expect Capers to unleash a couple of different looks. Obviously, with Ponder making his first start, he'll be easily confused. Throw the kitchen sink at him. 7-0 would be tasty. We'd also move to 6-0 in the Conference. 2-0 in the Division. Christian Ponder, meet the zone blitz. And, I'm certain you'll meet Desmond Bishop on that blitz.

The 'queens have some significant injuries on the OL. While it looks like Phil Loadholt will be able to play, he is not 100%. Additionally, John Sullivan, the starting C, looks to be out. Just the remedy a struggling pass rush needs. Further, Charlie Johnson is a liability at LT. It's a chance for So'oto to apply a rush!

On the defensive side of the ball, if we protect the MVP, the 'queens can't guard us. Winfield is banged up, but it looks like he'll play. We saw last year that Asher Allen and Chris Cook couldn't guard any of our WR's. Cedric Griffin is a nice player, but he's still not the same post his ACL injury. The 'queens are a disaster at Safety and it sounds like Jamarca Sanford might also miss this week's game. Trouble in the Minnesota secondary.

Spread 'em out. Protecting the XLV MVP. Light 'em up!

Packers 34 Queens 16

7-0 heading into the bye.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.