Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Take -> Week 7

Greetings, G-Force.

3-2. A winning record for the first time in 2013. In riveting fashion. On the road. At the Defending Super Bowl Champions. Yes, we went into the Champs house and punched them in the mouth. With conviction. Truly sublime, yo.

Let your lips touch whiskey. Savor the sweetness. It must be onward and upward from here. With two winnable games, it should be.

Here's some vibes from the game:

* I love Mike McCarthy. Every team has injuries. I get it. But, man, the injuries suffered thus far have been unbelievably crazy. What other coach would consistently win that game? Bill Belichick? Sure. Mike Tomlin? I used to feel that way. Who else? Anyone? One thing we can say convincingly: Mike McCarthy rallies the troops. Time & time again. Regardless of who is injured, McCarthy wins. Consistently. What a leader!

* The Packers beat the Ravens without Clay, Brad Jones, Casey Hayward, Bryan Bulaga, James Starks and James Jones. Oh, and Randall Cobb, Nick Perry & Mike Neal all went down with injury. And, yes, McCarthy made the adjustments to pull off the victory on a day when Aaron Rodgers wasn't at his sharpest.

* David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay v Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs! Really? Suggs had zero sacks. Great job, Bakhtiari. Excellent play calling, Mike McCarthy.

* The running game was in rhythm. The play-action pass to Jordy for the 64-yard TD was absolute ballin'. Great design. Great timing. That's perfection, Mike McCarthy.

* Coming into the year, a lot of people were calling for Dom Capers' head. Where are those guys now? Capers has done an excellent job mixing blitzes. He's also changed the defensive fronts. He's playing with 3-down lineman more often. The results: The Packers are among the best in the league at stopping the run.

* The DL looks more physical than they've been since REGGIE left in 1998. God bless the soul of Reggie White! Man, he was a stud. And, you know he's shining from heaven as he stares down at this DL.

* AJ Hawk! Beastly, dude! His best game as a Packer. Undoubtedly.

* Please, Jordy. Please. Please sign an extension. Now! Stay in Green Bay forever.

* Eddie Lacy! Eddie Lacy! Eddie Lacy! I'd like to start a petition for Lambeau to rock an "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" Chant. Can we make this happen? It should!

* Rodgers is due for a BIG game. Like a 4-TD game. Regardless of the weapons. He's that good. It'll happen soon.

* I'm forever a T-Mon fan. I'm a loyal man. But, his tackling was pathetic. Didn't seem to be trying. Didn't have a problem with the defensive holding penalty because he thought he had 6 points the other way. But, bro, you have to give effort on the tackle. He could be benched soon.

* Blessings to Randall Cobb.

* A speedy recovery to Mike Neal, James Jones, and Nick Perry.

* Andy Mulumba & Nate Palmer played significant snaps. And, Dom had the troops coming after the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

* Micah Hyde's sack was vintage! Overload the right side of the right side. Hyde comes untouched. Great design, Dom Capers.

* "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" Make it happen, Lambeau!

* Morgan Burnett. It's great to have him back. A true difference maker. He was rock solid on the goal line stand. His presence is great to have on the field.

* Jerron McMillan should be our 4th Safety. Unacceptable, Jerron. You can't let the WR get behind you on 4th & 21. No way.

* Great play, J-Mike! You were the set-up man. Next time, be the closer and stay inbounds! Finley has had a solid year. Sign the extension, J-Mike. And be fair.

* Andy Mulumba is a fighter. He hasn't mastered leverage. But, he plays with tenacity on every play.

* "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" Make it happen, Lambeau!

* Josh Sitton is adjusting well to the left side of the line. When the Packers run left, good things are happening.

* Nick Perry! Huge play! We need him back.

* While Perry is away, look for Datone Jones to line up on the outside. He might not stand up, but he'll shift outside the tackle on occasion.

* On 3rd & 1, can we hand it off to Eddie Lacy?

* In the red zone, can we hand it off to Eddie Lacy?

* With Eddie Lacy, the Packers have a running game. Without him, we might still have a running game if Starks can stay healthy.

* Instead of watching MNF, I watched Eddie Lacy drive a dagger into the hearts of Ravens fans. And the Ravens defense. And John Harbaugh.

* "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" Make it happen, Lambeau!

* AQ81, I enjoy your blocking skills. Great toughness.

* Welcome to the field, Myles White. You, too, Jake Stoneburner.

* What were you thinking, John Kuhn? On the punt and when you tried to hurdle Webb to get the 1st down. Run him over!

* I wonder if Kuhn was trying too hard. He didn't play for two weeks. He wanted to make an impact. I get it. But, stick to the basics, John.

* The complexity of Lacy's last run is grand. We haven't seen a successful conversion on a similar occasion in a long time. Let me paint the picture: Suggs gets leverage on Bakhtiari and pushes him backwards. Seemingly gaining containment to the outside. It's a run between the guard and the tackle. The LB plugs the hole. Sitton gets no push. Arguably, Sitton was guilty of holding. It's not called. Lacy quickly notices that there's nothing there. He bounces it outside. He grabs a 1st down as he has the speed to get around Suggs and get to the edge. He slides to kill the click. He grabs the win. On the road. Against the champs. He sets up victory formation.

* "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" Make it happen, Lambeau!

* The play-action pass is back in Mike McCarthy's arsenal. Thank you, Eddie Lacy.

* What a win! We were more physical than Baltimore. In Baltimore. That's not supposed to happen. It happened.

* AJ Hawks deserves a second mention.

* I was pleased with Jamari Lattimore's game. But, I wished he'd finish with more might when he rushes the QB.

* Good special teams pay, Chris Banjo.

* Way to finish the half, Nick Perry.

* Good playing, Davon House.

* Good to have you back, Mason Crosby.

* Run straight ahead Micah Hyde. Grab yardage. Be more lie Mike Pryor. Less like Devon Hester. Yes, I wrote that. But, Micah, be who you are. Wherever you are.

* Well done, BJ Raji. He's playing the run well. Now, go get the QB, BJ!

* Mike Daniels makes a play ever week.

* The blocked punt by Ryan Taylor was awesome!

* "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" Make it happen, Lambeau!

* Tough day for Jarrett Boykin. Better days are ahead. I promise. He will be in rhythm. He won't drop the all.

* The Ryan Pickett/Johnny Jolly/CJ Wilson rotation looked good.

* Sammy Swagga is an elite CB.

* This Packers team needs to be more concerned about the yardage marker and less concerned about grabbing the big play. Get the first down and push reset on the down marker. Too many times we are being stopped on third and short when a first down could have been picked up earlier. Find he check down, Aaron. Or pick it up with your feet. But, either way, move the chains. I don't want to take away the innovation, but this version of the Packers is different than others and it should force everyone to adjust. Including Rodgers.

* On 1st down inside the red zone, I'm giving the ball to Eddie Lacy. 100% of the time.

* Packers fans should be excited for Chris Harper. Before the NFL Draft, I listed him as 1 of 11 WR's that would fit with the Packers. He was projected as a 4th Round pick. Seattle grabbed him in the 4th Round. In April, I wrote, "Great size. Football player. Put him on the field and you'll get consistent production. Don't love his speed. But, he's a feisty competitor who'll play solid ball for the next 7-10 years." Today, I stand by that thought. And, I'm happy he's in Green Bay.

* "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" "EDDIE!" Make it happen, Lambeau!

This week - it's the Cleveland Browns. With Brandon Weeden as their starting QB. At Lambeau Field. Show no mercy, Dom Capers and Mike McCarthy.

The Browns have limited weapons. I like Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. In fact, Cameron will pose problems for the Packers. Travis Benjamin has speed, but little of anything else. Greg Little has promise, but he's raw. Davone Bess is a possession receiver with limitations. Willis McGahee & Chris Ogbonnaya don't scare me.

The Browns do have some positives on the OL. Joe Thomas is as good as it gets at LT. Alex Mack is a first-class Center.

Defensively, Cleveland has some definite strengths. Jabaal Sheard can get to the QB. Barkevious Mingo can play. Phil Taylor can be tough to move. Paul Krueger was a key cog in the Baltimore title run last year. D'Qwell Jackson tackles everything he hits. Joe Haden is a top 10 CB in the NFL, possibly a top 5 CB. TJ Ward would start on nearly every team in the NFL at Safety. Yes, the Browns defense has some solid pieces in place. But, they also have deficiencies.

Buster Skrine meet Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers will be coming after Skrine early. And often.

Cleveland will likely match Joe Haden on Jordy Nelson. Everywhere Nelson goes, Haden will probably follow. Look for Jarrett Boykin to get his chance to shine. I think he will. Going after Skrine, it wouldn't surprise me if Rodgers targets Boykin at least 8 times on Sunday.

With J-Mike moving to the slot, Rodgers will look at him on short down and outs underneath the Nelson go-route. Nelson then becomes a blocker and J-Mike is expected to continue to punch out yards after the catch.

Early in the game, I hope the Packers open it up. With the recent run success, it's reasonable for the Cleveland defense to prepare for a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy. If I'm McCarthy, I come with a variety of play action passes. It's possible that Rodgers could be facing 8-men in the box. If so, the Packers must try to take advantage of 1 on 1 coverage on the outside.

Look for Cleveland to try and eat clock. They'll run a fairly basic offense. They'll try to attack the right side of our defense. Running behind Joe Thomas and going after Mulumba, the Browns look to punch out yardage. It's not happening.

Early on, Cleveland converts a couple of 3rd downs as Capers rushes only 3. With the Packers playing zone defense, Josh Gordon finds a gap on a crossing route and picks up good yardage. Jordan Cameron frustrates the Packers offense. Cleveland notches and early 3 points.

While Cleveland's defense is fairly stout against the run, Eddie Lacy finds some daylight behind Josh Sitton and David Bakhtiari. The Packers efficiently move the ball as Rodgers hits AQ81 in the flat. It's Rodgers to Boykin for a TD and a Lambeau Leap into the South End Zone!

Late in the 2nd Quarter, Weeden makes his mistake. He puts too much air under his deep ball to Josh Gordon and Morgan Burnett makes the play. The tide rolls fully into the Packers favor.

It's Eddie Lacy pounding away. And then, there's more Eddie Lacy. Followed by a play-action pass to J-Mike over the middle.

If fully healthy, the Packers would win this one 41-13. But, we aren't. So, it'll be closer than we'd like.

Packers 23
Browns 16

Rise and shine, G-Force. Let's do this convincingly. The team needs the fans. Elevate. Be loud. Be proud. Spark goodness. If the team comes out flat, don't get down. Be the spark plug. Change the energy. But, stay positive as we battle thru obstacles with new faces in the lineup. At times, the timing may be off. But, stay in lock-step. Let's survive until Cobb, Matthews, and Perry come back. But, the team needs the fans to be difference makers. Get after it, G-Force. With a vengeance. And leave hoarse. As fans, you can make it difficult for Weeden. And, when things become challenging for Weeden, he fails. Make it tough for him.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

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