Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Take -> Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

'Tis the Holiday season. A grand December game at Lambeau awaits. This one will be special.

I was born and raised Catholic. In an Irish family. For me, Christmas means great laughs with family, gift giving in the spirit of Santa, more Christ, and intense Green Bay Packers football. But, I'm fully cognitive that religion divides people in the world. So, as I write, I take a break from Christmas music and I listen to Sly and the Family Stone's "Stand" vinyl. Everyday People. All for one. One for all. Music is the weapon of the future.

I sip an Avery "Tweak" as I damn near tweaked out with concern a couple of times last Sunday. At 17.81% ABV, it comes with a punch. An imperial stout. With coffee. And aged in bourbon barrels. Yes, it helps me to R-E-L-A-X.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* The team looks to be in a small funk right now. And, it's starting with McCarthy. I'll never understand the 3rd and goal handoff to Kuhn. On a counter nonetheless. Hey Coach, hand it to EDDIE! I was surprised to see 5 WR on the field on the 4th down. Why not kick a FG and take a two-score lead? Why not give it to EDDIE? McCarthy is searching for answers. I don't blame McCarthy for being stalwart to Rodgers' arm, but right now, Eddie is running with a purpose.

* EDDIE! Tackling him is a business decision. He's in playoff mode.

* Rodgers showing the toughness of a Champion. Confident in the pocket. A calming figure in the huddle. An MVP.

* While Rodgers is in peak form, the Packers have to go on another Super run. He's too good not to win another title.

* Jordy Nelson. FOREVER!

* Randall Cobb. Lock him up!

* This isn't the time for Davante Adams to lose both focus and confidence. Loved how Rodgers came back to him on an easy out pass to try and get him going again. I'm wondering if Adams has hit the rookie wall.

* Jarrett Boykin doesn't look like the same player that he was last year. Really frustrating. No rhythm to his game right now.

* AQ81! The big guy with another big reception!

* Kuhn as a lead run blocker was a solid addition to the offense early in the game. Opened a couple of really huge holes. Following Kuhn's lead, EDDIE grabbed chunks of yardage.

* EDDIE locking down nearly 6 yards per carry.

* Nice hands, Richard Rodgers. Keep working hard, young man. You've earned the MVP's confidence.

* I loved how McCarthy named the captains for huge playoffs already. Amp it up! Again, McCarthy shows a masterful pulse on this team.

* After a slow start, I thought Bakhtiari performed really well for the final 3 Quarters.

* TJ Lang. Josh Sitton. Best Guard duo in the National Football League.

* The Corey Lindsley holding call wasn't fair. He looked like a masterful technician on the play.

* Like that Tretter continues to see snaps.

* Bulaga toughed it out and played strong.

* James Starks needs an education on down and distance game situations. Too often he's trying to make something happen when it'd be wise to simply lower your shoulder and push for a couple of yards.

* Congrats to EDDIE for topping 1,000 yards for the second year in a row.

* Jordy is a security blanket.

* Randall Cobb is aging to perfection. So crafty.

* Once again, Clay Matthews comes thru with a monstrous performance. The Claymaker was fast, active and powerful. Since the bye, he's been an absolute Superstar.

* Mike Daniels with a dominant showing. Especially early in the game. He meant business.

* Need Letroy Guion winning the mini battles. He's been pushed backwards a lot over the last 6 Quarters. That was fine vs Tampa. But, it won't be OK vs future opponents.

* As Julius Peppers strives to etch his name alongside Sir Charles and REGGIE as veteran FA's who propelled the Packers to Super status, he has to continue to pursue QB's with the same intensity he brought vs Tampa. Two great sacks!

* Mike Neal with the burst for a sack.

* Really vibin' the Jayrone Elliot effort. Wish he had an extra gear and a quicker 1st step, but the dude could make an impact in the playoffs.

* Nick Perry will not be on the Packers next year.

* Datone with the pick! Great pressure by Elliot on the play.

* Barrington came with aggression on the blitz. He was an integral part of the commanding display of defense. While he lacks speed, he brings strength and desire.

* MORGAN BURNETT! Wow - what a day. He's made great strides this year. Attacking at the line of scrimmage. Terrific in run defense. Making plays on the blitz.

* Ha Ha can tackle really well, but he still isn't a playmaker when the ball is in the air. Gets beat often.

* Sammy Swagga has to get his swagger back.

* Hayward & T-Mon were rock steady.

* More positive effort for Josh Boyd. He's an important part of the defensive rotation.

* Need better from Tim Masthay.

* We are in the playoffs. That's the first step. Now, we need to handle the Lions and catch a week of rest.

This week - it's the Lions. For all the marbles. A win means a first round bye. A #2 seed. A chance to refresh, recharge and take aim at a 14th World Championship. A loss means a 6th seed and a date at Dallas next weekend. We need this one.

We know the Lions. They're littered with weapons. Stafford can whip it. Bush can run it. Calvin & Tate can catch it. We might not have an answer for Riddick. Bell will bury his head into our DL and push for yards. Pettigrew is gifted athletically, but makes mental challenges. If healthy, Ebron is a talented TE. But, their OL is soft. And, they can be bullied. Especially without Raiola. The Packers must attack the right side of the Lions OL. Riley Rieff can be had at LT.

Defensively, the Lions are as good as it gets at DL. DeAndre Levy makes plays. Darius Slay and Glover Quin have been great. Rashean Mathis has tested time and exceeded in the battle. James Ihedigbo has consistently made game changing plays. And, while their depth is limited in the secondary, they have performed at a high level.

Jeremy Ross. I had so much hope for him as a Packer. Prior to the draft, I had targeted him as a potential Packer. When he was claimed post the draft, I had high expectations. He showed glimpses of goodness. And, then the fateful fumble vs SF happened. I lost all faith. In Detroit, he's been dangerous. Though he can't be trusted, he'll be a factor.

Turnovers will play a story. I expect Peppers to make a play. T-Mon as well.

Randall Cobb is the key to the game. Yes, it's all about a Cobb. They can't cover him. He needs to be a priority. Early. And often.

The crowd will be raging. The excitement will be animated. The intensity will be high. The Packers will return to glory in the NFC North. The Lions haven't won in WI since 1991. The streak remains alive.

Rodgers throws for 260 and two. Eddie pounds away for 100 and two.

Packers 34
Lions 30

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Take -> Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

On Thursday, August 21, 2014, I wrote:

In a year of dangled possibilities and Super aspirations, our dreams won't be roasted. Trinity Brewing confirmed such beliefs. If you're a beer connoisseur and you aren't familiar with Trinity, you're missing out. I've thoroughly watched the Packers v Rams preseason game. As I've indulged in the game, I've enjoyed a fine selection of Trinity's flavors. Old Growth is beyond spectacular. Red Swingline is a life changer for beer lovers. The Trinity Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta is tremendous. Combining Trinity Brewing with Green Bay Packers football leads to elite smiles. Vibe On.

Today, once again, I turn to Trinity Brewing to remind me of our Super destination. I open a Passion Swing American Fruited IPA. It hits you with a fun sweetness upfront. It carries a bulky sunshine fruit style scent. And, it's finish is a grapefruit hop bitterness. Gourmet!

As I try to stay in the R-E-L-A-X mode post the Buffalo defeat, I pop in the Jimmy Cliff "Give the People What They Want" vinyl. It mellows my mood. After all, "Reggae music is sweeter everywhere."

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* It's possible that Mike McCarthy was too aggressive. Yes, I wrote that. He needed to run the ball 35 times. Instead, he trusted his MVP QB on a day when the best player in the NFL showed he was human. Can you blame McCarthy? I'm not sure that I can. Yes, I wanted him to run the ball. I was begging for it. I was literally yelling at the TV. But, had Rodgers connected on the two deep balls to Nelson, we'd be singing a different tune. Once, Rodgers didn't see him. The other time, Nelson dropped it. Can't blame McCarthy for that.

* Aaron Rodgers, I love you, man.

* Jordy Nelson. Move on, young man.

* Eddie! A total stud. He tried to put us on his back.

* James Starks. Not every run has to be a 10-yard gain. Sometimes, it's ok to get 2-3 yards. Especially on 1st down. There's no need to try to spring every play.

* It was comical to watch Brandon Bostick on the punt return for a TD. What a wimp.

* Wish AQ81! would have caught the third down pass on the 1st drive of the game. We seemed to press a bit after the drop. Might have lost a little confidence as a team.

* Loved the animation that McCarthy showed on the sidelines.

* How does Slocum keep his job after this year? Another blocked kick? Are you kidding me?

* Great game, Clay!

* Nice pick T-Mon.

* Play Jayrone Elliot as a pass rusher.


* Good game, OL. Need Bulaga healthy.

* In an effort to stay positive, I move on. Yes, I'm bummed that home field will likely not go thru 1265 Lombardi Ave. But, we just received a wake-up call. And, I'd we win out we get the #2 seed and a 1st round bye. I'll take it.

This week - it's the Bucs. It's Lovie. It's Josh McCown. Ironically, we faced them in Week 16 post the Week 15 collapse in KC in 2011. This should be a home game for the Packers. If you're in attendance, be loud!

The Bucs have weapons at WR. Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are tall, fast, athletic, and both are great at winning the jump ball. They're match-up nightmares. The Bucs have great depth at RB with Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James. But, the Bucs OL cannot give protection or open holes. They lack muscle. EDS has started 14 of 15 games for the Bucs at Center. Logan Mankins is a star at LG. But, outside of that, the Bucs have a patchwork OL.

Defensively, Lovie will go to his famed Tampa 2. But, the Bucs defense is banged up. Especially upfront as they'll be missing two starters. Once again, the Packers OL should dominate. Michael Johnson has great length and has given the Packers problems previously. I don't think it happens on Sunday. With Mason Foster and Lavonte David, the Bucs have a pair of undersized, but speedy LB's. Impact defenders who play much bigger than their size. Danny Lansanah also starts at LB for the Bucs. Long time readers know that I felt he had a future in the NFL. Happy to see he has another shot. Alter rain Verner is a playmaker at CB. Dashon Goldson is a heavy hitter at Safety. But, the Tampa secondary lacks depth. I expect Rodgers to have a Super day.

Early in the game, expect Tampa to try to establish the run game. They'll run it right at our belly. Attacking the middle of the field. But, Mike Daniels mans up. So, does Letroy Guion. Tampa slows down the game. But, then the Packers take over. It's play-action. Rodgers to Nelson on 15 yard post routes. The Bucs have no answer for this Packers offense. Lacy pounds away. Moving the pile. Then, it's Rodgers to Cobb for a TD.

Packers 38
Bucs 20

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Take -> Week 15

Greetings, G-Force.

10-3. First place in the NFC North. Tied for first in the NFC. Staring home field in the face. But, the win over the Falcons serves as a reminder that an NFL game is a marathon. Thus, I listen to Bob Sinclar's Western Dream album. My aim is to ensure that I'm mentally fit for a full 60 minutes. Against Atlanta, at halftime, it seemed as though the R-E-L-A-X message was taking too literally. The Packers relaxed too much and the game quickly tightened.

I sip a Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett. It's a robustly sour beer that has a heavy consistency carrying throughout. As I taste, I'm reminded that this beer was crafted for consistency from start to finish.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Thankfully, McCarthy stayed aggressive throughout. The shot to Nelson was a thing of beauty. It was vintage McCarthy who seems to masterfully have his finger on the pulse of the team and the games in which they play.

* Aaron Rodgers. Ring the chorus: MVP! MVP! MVP!

* Jordy Nelson. FOREVER! One of my favorite Packers. Ever.

* Randall Cobb is a go-to receiver on 3rd down. He's so tough minded. Fearless. Powerful for his size. Stick around, Randall.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! With the spin! With the shoulder boom! With animation in his step!

* James Starks goes Green & Yellow Hornet as he seals the deal! Slashing thru the ATL defense.

* AQ81! with another big catch on 3rd down. Statistically, he hasn't been a star this year, but man, he's made some monstrous plays.

* An awkwardly lazy special teams performance until Crosby's late kick.

* Good hands on the onside kick, Jordy Nelson & Jarrett Boykin.

* There was a Brandon Bostick sighting! Boy, did he look clumsy.

* Clay Matthews gave a monstrous effort. He wanted this win. Loved his energy and activity. I really hope this role becomes a permanent move for him.

* Sam Baarington brings muscle. A shoulder laden tackling intensity. He'll plug holes. But, he can't run.

* I appreciate AJ Hawk's approach to the demotion. He doesn't want to be a distraction. Wish the media wouldn't attempt to create division. I know it's their job to report on the topic. But, really, it's a performance based demotion. Carry on.

* Aaron Rodgers. Cerebral. Artistic. Surgical. Carving up the ATL defense. With his mind, his arm and his legs. A true athlete. A Titletown, U.S.A. legend.

* Another absolutely dominant performance from the OL. Each of them playing hard. Lang's hustle downfield doesn't get enough attention. Loved seeing Bakhtiari clearing the hole on the early 2nd Quarter rushing TD by Lacy.

* Fun to see Kuhn with the ball early in the game. He's a Shepherd for the Packers Kinfolk.

* Ummmm, time to make a play, Julius Peppers. Saw him in the action on two downs. Once, he couldn't wrap Ryan to the ground and the other, he was dominant at the line on the 2nd & 2 on the Falcons second drive of the game.

* Letroy Guion! With the tip. And the athleticism. Wish he'd have held on. Thought he had a great first half.

* Catch the ball, T-Mon.

* When it was clear the Falcons were going to be passing the ball, I was begging to see Jayrone Elliot. Stunned to not see him get one snap on the defensive side of the ball. Too conservative, Dom.

* I've said it before. I'll say it again. If our starting OL is healthy, I think the Green Bay Packers will be Super Bowl Champions.

* I like how McCarthy continues to introduce new formations. He's creative. Interested to see what Lacy does as they continue to utilize him as a receiver.

* Another shout out to AQ81! as he continues to stock pile big plays! He's turning into a weapon for the MVP.

* Morgan Burnett with a huge pick! And, he was plugging holes. But, he looked awfully slow on the big play to Julio Jones start the second half.

* The 10-yard TD pass to Nelson at the end of the 1st half was complete brilliance from Rodgers. We are blessed to watch him as the QB of the Green Bay Packers.

* Time to move Sean Richardson to ILB in the dime. Brad Jones isn't the answer. Neither is AJ Hawk. Sam Barrington can't play the role either. I'd also prefer Lattimore over all of them when Clay is rushing and we have only 1 LB on the field.

* Good work on the blocked FG, Brad Jones.

* Liked seeing Lane Taylor and JC Tretter on the field at the goal line.

* Demetri Goodson was a decent special teams performance.

* Good to see Brandon Bostick make a special teams tackle. Thought he was broken into two after the play. He's so soft.

* It was great to see Clay bouncing off blockers and hitting a ball carrier.

* Ras-Davon with the best performance of any CB.

* I will choose to not be too critical of the 2nd half. We relaxed. We got too conservative. It gives McCarthy a speaking point. A reminder that the journey needs to be enjoyed. And, that as a team, we must power through and not lose focus. 10-3. In control. Carpe diem!

For the fun of it, I made drastic changes to my mock draft. And, yes, I believe that the best talent in college football is found in the PAC-12, the SEC and the ACC. Take a look:

Round 1.) Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah.
Round 2.) Trey Flowers, DE/OLB, Arkansas.
Round 3.) Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA.
Round 4.) Tyeler Davison, DT, Fresno State.
Round 5.) Tony Washington, OLB, Oregon.
Round 5.) Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State.
Round 5.) Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville.
Round 6.) Kasen Williams, WR, Washington.
Round 7.) Quayshawn Nealy, ILB, Georgia Tech.

This week - it's the Bills. In Buffalo. A hostile environment. With a lot on the line for both teams as the Packers fight for home field throughout and the Bills battle for a potential playoff berth.

Kyle Orton scares me. He beats the Packers. Often. In 2011, I was in KC in December in Week 15. The Packers were 13-0. It felt so right. I hope Week 15 in 2014 has a different ending. I wish I was headed to Buffalo to support the Packers.

I'm hoping Orton plays as he did in Lambeau Field in 2008.

The Packers must dare Orton to hit receivers outside the hash marks. Test his arm strength. Take away the middle of the field. He can't hit a corner route. He'll look for Scott Chandler on short routes and on quick releases down the seam. Chandler is a solid TE with great hands and an ability to make a catch it traffic. Hyde should be able the match-up with him. Orton will also target Sammy Watkins & Robert Woods on slants, WR screens and short crossing routes. Watkins is lethal after the catch. Buffalo will pound the ball at our nose. Between the tackles with Fred Jackson & Bryce Brown. Jackson is a grinder. Brown is elusive and can find space, but he has a pension for putting the ball on the ground. Buffalo has a big, physically intimidating OL.

The Bills have the best front 4 in football. Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, and Jerry Hughes. It'll be the stiffest test our OL has seen all year. Corey Graham and Stephon Gilmore are worthwhile CB's. Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers are journeyman at LB. Nigel Bradham is inexperienced, but talented. Aaron Williams & Bacarri Rambo are a below average safety combination. Buffalo does not have depth in the secondary. The Packers catch a break with Da'Norris Searcy missing the game.If we can protect Rodgers, the MVP will have another MVP performance. But, protection is a huge concern.

Spread them out. Attack with short routes and double moves. I expect Jordy to have a big game. I also think Adams' shifty route running will give him opportunities to get open. We can test them on the outside. Short 7 yard stop and curl routes will work. Bulaga will be tested as he doesn't handle speed well.

Hopefully, we see a lot of base defense from the Packers. 4-2-5 alignment. Hyde over the TE. Clay & Barrington plugging the middle. An 8th man in the box. Creating havoc over the middle of the field. All within 15 yards. No zone. All man-to-man. Providing clutter for Orton to try and force the ball into traffic. Get your hands up, DL! Play Elliot as a pass rusher. He will run around Seantreal Henderson and Cordy Glenn. Orton cannot move. He's looking for the short route.

I expect Clay to get an interception this week.

It'll be a dog fight. But, the Packers capitalize on a late TD to widen the margin.

Packers 27
Bills 16

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Take -> Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

To celebrate, I pour an Avery Grand Cru Beast. More than 18% ABV. I pour because it's robust. It's strong. It's bold. You know, all of the feelings that were on display post the epic victory over the Patriots. But, I'm reminded to R-E-L-A-X. So, I put on Culture's "World Peace" album.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Thought the Lambeau crowd showed up in electric fashion. Playoff atmosphere. The weather may be cooling off, but the intensity is heating up. Past teams didn't seem to care about the road going thru Lambeau. This team is hungry for Titletown U.S.A. to host the playoffs.

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Against New England, McCarthy was the dictator. He offered a variety of looks that the Patriots hadn't prepared for. He had 5 receivers on the field. Often. He had Cobb in the backfield. Often. He kept the Patriots guessing for the entire game. He kept adjusting before NE could catch up.

* Aaron Rodgers. MVP. And, it's not even close. Only JJ Watt has an argument.

* Super Bowl teams are often tested throughout the season. They learn the art of perseverance. They win in a variety of ways. Recently, we've seen the Packers win on a legendary 2-minute drill in Miami. We saw the Packers absolutely dominate the Viqueens, Bears and Eagles at home. We saw a victory on the road in which the ball wasn't bouncing our way and the Packers pounded away on the ground. Then, against NE, the Packers had a CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE only thwarted by an Adams drop as he was walking into the end zone. The drive was an 11-play, 65-yard drive that ate up 5:10. But, the drop forced the Packers defense to rise to the occasion. The defense elevated and to force NE into a 47-yard FG that was pushed wide right. This team is winning in a wide variety of ways. That feels Super.

* Early in the game, Rodgers reminded me of Favre a bit. Uber focused. Pressing a bit. High on a lot of throws. Animated!

* The Packers may have only sacked Brady once, but they were in his face often.

* Clay looks so passionate coming around the edge.

* Awesome to hear the Lambeau faithful forcing a timeout less than a minute into the 3rd Quarter. Great volume, G-Force!

* When AQ81! is the lead blocker, EDDIE should follow his lead more often than not.

* DAVANTE ADAMS! Wish he would've caught the final pass, but man, what a breakout game. An elegant route runner. He catches the ball with his hands. He still needs to work on his footwork down the sidelines, but his route running is already significantly above average. He has a grand future. He also showed toughness as he went up in traffic and came down with the ball.

* Way to Lively Up, Richard Rodgers! Still not a great blockers as he often chooses the wrong guy, but he has displayed tremendous hands. Great over the shoulder grab.

* 4 weeks in a row in which AQ81! has made a big play! His third down reception was enormous. It's fun to watch Aaron Rodgers' relationship with AQ81! as the MVP gives the TE enough attention to keep him happy and always gives him a congratulatory finger point after a big reception.


* Each week, Randall Cobb shows that he deserves more $$$. He'll be a Packer for the foreseeable future and it has to excite the MVP that he'll have Nelson, Cobb, and Adams at WR for the next couple of years.

* Corey Linsley is human. Was surprised that he was late on the inside blitz on 3rd down inside the Red Zone.

* Another stellar game out of the OL. Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Linsley, Lang and Sitton. Wow. We are blessed. Hope Bulaga takes a hometown discount and sticks around for a while.

* On the biggest defensive 3rd down play of the game, it wasn't Clay, Pep, T-Mon or Sammy Swagga that made the play. Instead, it was a combination of Mike Neal & Mike Daniels. Monstrous!

* On the first drive of the game, Linsley was a true stud. Getting to the second level. Putting his hat on a LB. Creating yards.

* Sam Barrington setting the tone early with back-to-back tackles on the opening drive to get the defense off the field. Barrington and Clay compliment each other well. I didn't like seeing Barrington lined up outside covering a RB. That'll eventually be exposed.

* Another strong game from Clay. He looks like a natural at ILB.

* Crosby has to make that kick.

* The aura around this team is magical. The vibe is healthy. The teamship is grand. Mike McCarthy is tremendous at building a Locker Room.

* The first 4 offensive plays went to EDDIE. He was dominant as he grabbed 51 yards on those 4 plays.

* Early in the game, Belichick was planned to keep a 3rd CB on Adams. McCarthy & Rodgers sensed this and attacked this match-up. Knowing they'd have success and that NE would adjust, he had a back-up plan. As Belichick changed that strategy, McCarthy brilliantly moved Cobb to the backfield and used Cobb, largely, as a receiver.

* Randall Cobb looking like Dave Meggett. How great was that HB Circle wheel route?!?!?!

* I liked seeing Jarrett Boykin getting involved. Nice little 6-yard pick up out of the backfield.

* JP with the tipped pass!

* Really nice tackling, T-Mon.

* Get healthy, Sammy Swagga. You, too, Jamari Lattimore.

* When AJ Hawk was on the field, he was victimized. On crossing routes and in the run game.

* Quite possibly the best game of Datone Jones' career. Good pressure. Attacking. Doesn't have the stats. Had the energy.

* Mike Daniels was a MAN!

* I want to see more of Jayrone Elliot. Speed rush. From the outside. Up the field. Especially against stationary QB's like Matt Ryan and Kyle Orton in the coming weeks. As he comes up the field, I'd have a LB coming to the inside on a blitz. Elliot could be the next addition in the continued evolution of this defense. Sure, he struggles against the run. But, that's not what he is at thus point. He's a one-trick pony, but it's a talent that we lack without Clay at OLB.

* HaHa with another big game. Physical. Aggressive. Intense. Fearless.

* Great grab, James Starks!

* Liked Jayrone Elliot and Sean Richardson on special teams coverage.

* Though Burnett missed a couple of tackles and got beat a couple of times, I thought he was steady.

* EDDIE meaning business on 3rd & 1 is an exciting buzz.

* Really, really impressive tackling by T-Mon. Worth mentioning again.

* Sam Barrington plugging holes!

* Rodgers throwing on the run and making it look easy.

* Guion & Boyd continue to work hard.

* As the remains an issue and kickoffs continue to fall short of the goal line, I get the feeling that DuJuan might break one. However, I'm more concerned about our kickoff coverage unit making the tackle than I am the prospects of Harris getting loose.

* Brandon Bostick. I've never liked him because he can't stay healthy. But, still, his athleticism cannot be denied. I'm still waiting to see him used as a mismatch down the field.

* It's noteworthy that James Jones has 60 catches on the season. EDS has started 11 of 12 games for Tampa and is healthy, once again. I'm hoping he starts 15 games. I want two compensatory picks.

* The MVP continues to use his legs to grab chunks of yardage.

Saw a bunch of college football this past weekend. Made great progress on desired NFL Draft prospects. Most of it confirmed what I've already been writing. Added a new target for late in the Draft. As always, it's rare for me to list an OL, I only list if I've watched the player and I have the Packers picking #32. I'm still seeking additional DL to add beef to the line. Also, thank you to CBS DRAFT SCOUT for your guidance. Here goes:

1.) Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington. With Danny Shelton, DT, Washington likely off the board, I go with Kikaha who is the best pass rusher in CFB.
2.) Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas. Long. Elephant style player. His length changes games. He's athletic. Both quick and powerful off the snap.
3.) Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State. Ballhawk. Smooth tackler.
4.) Jake Ryan, ILB, Michigan. Instinctive player. Natural defender. Looking for more game speed at the position than he brings, but I haven't found it yet.
5.) Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville. Big, athletic target who can get down the seam.
5.) Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska. Big target. Elusive. With return skills.
5.) Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State
6.) Cameron Botticelli, DL, Minnesota. The WI native reminds me of Don Davey. Surprisingly athletic. Deceptively strong. Really smart. Good nose for the ball.
7.) Sam Eguavoen, ILB, Texas Tech. Heavy hitter. Plays with passion. Inflicts pain.

This week - it's the Falcons. Whenever I think about the Falcons v Packers, I think of the 2nd Quarter of the Packers January of 2011 NFC Divisional win over Atlanta. To date, in my opinion, it was the best Quarter played by the Packers in my lifetime. 28 points. The 5th play of the Quarter capped off a 13 play, 81 yard TD drive that ate up 7:56. BJ RAJI as the FREEZER capped off a 10 play, 92 yard TD drive that chewed up 5:44. After a Sir Charles sack & a T-Mon pick, it was Rodgers to James Jones for a TD that completed a 7 play, 80 yard drive as the Packers were in a 2-minute offense. Then, we saw Clay with a big sack to knock the Falcons to the brink of FG range and on the last play of the Quarter is was T-Mon with the pick and a 70 yard return for a TD. GREATEST QUARTER EVER!

This years Falcons team finds themselves tied for 1st place in the NFC South. Somehow. They've won 3 of 4 and sit at 5-7 on the year. It's a must win game for the Dirty Birds. It's also a must win for the Packers as they aim to secure home field throughout the playoffs.

With Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, the Falcons are a threat to put points on the board. Both Roddy White & Harry Douglas did not practice this week. While the injury report isn't out yet, if they cannot play, Atlanta will have Devin Hester and Eric Weems running routes. Previously, both White and Douglas have given the Packers problems. At TE, Levine Toilolo is a big target. Bear Pascoe is a decent possession receiver. With Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and Devonta Freeman, Atlanta has a wide variety of running styles at RB. The ATL OL is bad. Really bad. Except Jake Matthews, Clay's cousin. I fully believe that the Packers will have at least 3 sacks this week. They might get 5.

Look for Jones to get 10 targets. Mostly, on WR screens and deep balls. ATL will force the Packers secondary to make tackles. Additionally, they'll run Jackson up the gut as a bully to the Packers defense. Ryan will eat up click between plays. And, he'll mix in a blend of screens to Rodgers and Freeman who'll annoyingly pick up first downs.

Defensively, Atlanta leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, Osi can still rush the passer and has been a nightmare for the Packers, but he's what they have as a pursuer of the QB. Biermann can play the run. Paul Soliai is a tremendous run stopper. Tyson Jackson hasn't developed as a pro prospect. Jonathan Babineaux is just a guy. Prince Shembo is still learning the LB position in the NFL. Robert Alford will have a cast, if he plays. William Moore & Dez Southward will hit you, but both can be beat deep. Desmond Trufant was drafted too early and is overrated. Robert McClain can be beaten.

Other than Jones, the biggest concern is Hester returning kicks. On occasion, the Packers have struggled to cover kickoffs. We have to tackle Hester.

With ATL expected to run the football in an attempt to eat clock, I expect to see Capers mix it up again. He's offered a wide mix of looks. Look for some early down action with Guion & Pennel on the interior. Era specially if Boyd and Daniels are limited due to injury. Both are big, beefy defenders who should be intent on plugging holes. ATL wants to see 3rd & 4 or less. Often. If so, they'll feel comfortable. If it's 3rd and long, Ryan will be under duress all day.

Give help on Osi. Just a chip. Spread them out. Give the game to Aaron Rodgers. On MNF. Playing in his 100th game. On National TV. For the world to see. Rodgers goes for 350 and 3. The defense is in Ryan's face early and often. It's a Lambeau celebration and the mystique of the 2014 season continues to build.

Packers 38
Falcons 20

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Take -> Week 13

Greetings, G-Force.

I pour a New Glarus Belgian Red because this one tasted sweet. I listen to Michael Franti's "Sound of Sunshine" album because the win over the Viqueens left me smiling and with a skip to my step.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* If you've followed this blog long enough, you know that I believe in the CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE! 14:52 to play. On the road. Hotly contested. Against a Division rival. On a day in which the ball isn't bouncing your way. Leading 17-13. 87 yards from pay dirt. GAME ON!

* The CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE ended with 8:34 seconds left in the 4th Quarter. 6 minutes. 18 seconds. Rodgers to Lacy on the shovel pass. A Green Bay Packers TD! Emphatic!

* The CHAMPIONSHIP drive included two big third down conversions.

* Eddie Lacy was an absolute BOSS on the CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE.

* But, the defense couldn't seal the deal. And, once again, the offense delivered the knockout punch. EDDIE for 3 yards. EDDIE for 5 yards. EDDIE for 4 yards and a Packers 1st down. EDDIE for 5 yards. EDDIE for 10 yards, another Packers 1st down and an absolute dagger into the hearts of the Viqueens. BALLGAME! Not just one offensive drive, but two true CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVES. A SUPER feeling!

* This win was special. Rodgers wasn't at his best, but still, we found a way to pull out a tough win. On a day when things didn't feel right. Impressive!

* The character of the team was tested in Minnesota. Super Bowl teams need those types of games. They build confidence. They bring about mental mettle. We left shining brightly.

* The most nerve releasing plays of the year: 1.) Rodgers to Nelson on 4th down in Miami. 2.) Rodgers to Adams on the fake spike in Miami. 3.) Rodgers to AQ81! for the TD in Miami. 4.) The pass from Rodgers to EDDIE in Minnesota for the TD.

* Here's yet another reason that I love Mike McCarthy. I've often said that I believe he's a player's coach. Clearly, for most of the year, Brad Jones has been in the dog house. But, with injuries to Nick Perry and Jayrone Elliot and with Sam Barrington and Jamari Lattimore not performing up to expectations, McCarthy knows that he needs Brad Jones in some form. So, what does he do? He makes him a Captain against the Viqueens. McCarthy is a Leader. He has his finger on the pulse of this team. He's a mastermind of creating a culture founded on camaraderie and good vibes. He keeps the locker room unified. He makes the best of what's around.

* Great play design on the inside screen to Kuhn on the first play from scrimmage. Fun to see Linsley & Bakhtiari hustling 8-9 yards downfield to lay blocks.

* Strong performance from Jayrone Elliot. Showed speed off the edge. Also had a nice special teams tackle.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Ring the chants! He was a possessed bruiser.

* Josh Boyd, once again, showed both burst & strength off the snap. Consistently.

* When AJ Hawk runs, it looks like he's stuck in quick sand.

* Mike Neal was awful. Undisciplined. Unaccountable. Unacceptable.

* Eddie Lacy is an underrated pass blocker. He sees the blitz well. He wins the point.

* TJ Lang is a crucial component to this teams success. A true anchor.

* Just another day at the office for Corey Linsley. Solid as a rock. Quarantined from the Earth.

* I wrote this last week and it got love, so I'll offer it again: Rodgers be nimble. Rodgers be quick. Rodgers jump over that 1st down stick!

* Thought the officiating was awful. Especially in the 1st half. Inconsistent. Missed a clear cut pass interference when Jordy was roughed up on a 3rd down, but called a minimal grab on Hyde on an important 2nd Quarter 4th down. By the way, the McCarthy reaction after the no-call on Jordy was mint with animation.

* Josh Boyd swallowing running backs. Cool to see.

* Congrats, on your first TD, Richard Rodgers! And, man, what a pass by Aaron Rodgers on the play. Great field recognition. Brilliant!

* Josh Sitton is such a stud. An absolute wall. Surprisingly athletic. Moves well.


* Why did the Packers start kicking it short? Know Cordarrelle is dangerous, but go make the tackle!

* Rodgers grabbing first downs with his legs. Skipping over 1st down sticks. Great fun!

* Morgan Burnett meant business. Played decent. Grabbed the pick I thought he might get. Was disappointed when the penalty negated the play.

* Fashion win: Micah Hyde in yellow gloves. SHOWCASE, Casey Hayward, doing the same. Also, T-Mon with the yellow wrist bands. Pimpin'!

* The 3rd & 10 pass from Rodgers to Cobb with just over 3 minutes to play in the 1st Quarter was absolute perfection.

* ¿Donde esta Julius Peppers? Quiet game from the big fella. Outside of one nice play in the run game.

* Tim Masthay was punting with near perfection.

* Another active day for Clay at ILB. No real flash plays, but liked his hustle and persistence.

* For the third week in a row, Micah Hyde made a huge play. This week, both his interception and sack were crucial. That said, Hyde didn't perform exceptionally well as a tackler in the open field.

* On the 4th & 1 run play in the 1st half, I was really hoping HaHa was going to plug that hole. He was a second late, but he read the right gap and came with purpose.

* I want to see more of Jayrone Elliot this week.

* Ummmmm, Bryan Bulaga. That's not how you win a contract.

* AQ81! with a couple of big catches to get us inside the Red Zone!

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Get up. Get up. Get up and over that pile. For the touchdown! Hope you caught that Bob Uecker vibe!

* Ras House, Sammy Swagga and T-Mon were all beaten badly on a number of plays. Thankfully, Teddy was erratic.

* Datone Jones gives effort, but he's just a guy.

* Guion was brutal.

* Nice special teams tackle, Jamari Lattimore!

* Big 48-yard kick, Mason Crosby.

* Know he had the block in the back penalty, but still, Davante Adams is improving as a blocker every week. Also noteworthy, so is Richard Rodgers.

* Nice tackle, Sam Barrington! Wish it wasn't 5 yards down field.

* Another huge officiating mistake: Packers first drive of the 2nd half. Jordy with the sensational catch. He was never touched. He was called down. Should've been another 20 yards for the Packers.

* Wish Demetri Goodson didn't get the penalty. Felt he looked good as a gunner prior to that play.

* Mike Daniels with the sack! He was quick off the snap. And, winning the leverage battle.

* The screen to EDDIE is a thing.

Not much change to my 2015 Packers Mock Draft, but a name to consider is Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio). He’s raw, but instinctive. A natural athlete who was a 4-year letterman at PG. Here is a small list of players that I’m looking at in each round at this stage:

Round 1: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington; Devin Funchess, TE/WR, Michigan; Kevin White, WR, Dub-V; Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State; Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky; Marcus Peters, CB, Washington.
Round 2: Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington; Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford; Derron Smith, S, Fresno State; Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State; Denzel Perryman, ILB, []_[]; Rashad Greene, WR, FSU; Ben Koyack, TE, ND; Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss.
Round 3: Justin Hardy, WR, ECU; Trey Flowers, DE/OLB, Arkansas; Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State; Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA; Tyeler Davison, DT, Fresno State; Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State.
Round 4: Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan; Levi Norwood, WR, Baylor; Za’Darius Smith, OLB, Kentucky; Bernard Blake, CB, Colorado State; Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio); Preston Smith, DE/OLB, Mississippi State; David Cobb, RB, Minnesota.
Round 5: Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska; Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville; Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State; Junior Sylvestre, LB, Toledo; Tony Lippett, WR, Michigan State.
Round 6: Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State; Olsen Pierre, DT, []_[]; Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma.
Round 7: Nick Perry, S, Alabama; John Timu, ILB, Washington; Karl Mickelsen, ILB, Fresno State.

This week – it’s the Patriots. In what appears to be a match-up between two teams that believe they’re headed to the Super Bowl. With temperatures projected to be in the high teens to the low 20’s, it’ll be a grind it out kind of game. Especially as the sun sets and the temperatures dip further.

I expect a rowdy crowd. A loud crowd. A festive crowd. We haven’t had a home game like this in a long time. An AFC opponent. Thanksgiving weekend. Both teams in prime position to grab onto home field throughout the playoffs.

This Patriots team is different than the Patriots teams of years past. Sure, it’s still Bill Belichick and Tom Brady at the forefront. But, this team has an absolutely intimidating defense with dominant players. Vince Wilfork is an absolute MAN in the middle of the defense. Jamie Collins is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. Collins is a star on the NE defense. He plays with speed. He can come on the rush, he can drop in coverage and he’s a great tackler in space. I wish he played in GB. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that I was high on Akeem Ayers. Well, since being traded to NE, Ayers has been a star. Dont’a Hightower brings a physical presence. Jonathan Casillas adds good depth to the LB core. Rob Ninkovich can get to the QB. Dominique Easley and Chris Jones are both solid at holding their gaps and plugging the run. And, NE has the best secondary in football. Darrelle Revis can still ball. Brandon Browner is as solid as it gets. He’s physical. He has length. And, he can run. Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are ball hawks. Tavon Wilson, Alfonzo Dennard, and Kyle Arrington add good depth, but all have limitations. This defense is playing at a ridiculously high level and what’s amazing is that they’re doing this without Chandler Jones. It wouldn’t shock me if Jones returns this week. If so, he’ll give the Packers OT’s all kinds of fits as he’s an elite pass rusher.

Offensively, outside of Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots aren’t littered with big name skill making players, but they have solid system figures. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are quick, shifty slot WR’s that will give the Packers issues over the middle. Brandon LaFell is a solid target on the WR screen. Tim Wright is a great Red Zone target. He has solid hands and uses his body well. Shane Vereen is a weapon out of the backfield. LeGarrette Blount adds a physical dimension to the Patriots offensive backfield. Jonas Gray is a journeyman who was a stud against Indy. NE can attack from a variety of ways. Dan Connolly and Nate Solder are proven veterans on the left side of the OL. Sebastian Vollmer has been solid for years in NE.

Early in the game, I anticipate NE to run a number of WR screens. They’ll get the ball into the hands of Edelman, Amendola and LaFell on the outside. They’ll force our CB’s to make tackles. They’ll try to soften us up on the outside. I expect NE to be patient. A number of run plays early in the game. They’ll get both Gronk and Tim Wright involved at TE. Belichick attacks weaknesses. The Packers have been unable to cover TE’s this year. Belichick will also aim to get Vereen open on a HB circle. Hawk cannot cover Gronk or Vereen.

With that said, I believe NE comes out running. They’ll try to test our defensive front that has been unable to stop the run in ’14. A big difference between NE and other teams we’ve faced is patience. Where other teams have gone away from the run game early, Brady is tried and true. He’s patient. He’s diligent. He does what it takes to win the game. The Patriots will believe that they can win the game by running the football and grabbing 4-6 yards at a time. Mixing those run plays with a variety of WR screens and then opening things up for a big play over the middle to Gronk.

How do the Packers cover Gronk? The local media is suggesting Brad Jones. Yes, Brad Jones. Are you kidding me? If I’m Dom Capers, my solution is Sean Richardson. He has the toughness. He has the speed. He’s tough enough to ante up in the run game, if necessary. Brad Jones is not the answer. In fact, when the Patriots come with 2 TE sets, it’d be my strategy to cover Wright with Hyde and Gronk with Richardson. I’d play a 4 man front. 1 ILB (Clay). And a rotation of 6 DB’s for most of the game.

I’d like to see the Packers target the right interior of the Patriots OL with a variety of inside blitzes. While Brady is a legend, he isn’t mobile. He’s an old school pocket passer. Send Mike Neal on inside stunts. Bring Clay up the middle as he’ll win with quickness. We’ll need Guion, Boyd, Daniels and Datone Jones to be aggressive up the middle. The aim is to knock Brady off of his spot.

I’d also have Peppers collapse the right side of the line and send Clay on an inside-out blitz around Peppers. In this set, I’d have Jayrone Elliot coming on a speed rush from the outside against Solder at LT. We can create pressure on Brady. We can irritate him. We can frustrate him.

Offensively, the Packers have to spread the field. I’d attack whoever is playing the 3rd CB for the Patriots. I wouldn’t stay away from Browner or Revis. In fact, I’d attack Browner on double moves. Browner will use his hands and draw flags. But, the reality is that Rodgers has confidence in Nelson, Adams and Cobb. All 3 can beat the 3rd NE CB. That’s our mismatch. Further, I’d use some 4 WR sets and try to get Boykin involved. I wish that we could depend on Bostick because this would be a perfect game to get him involved, but I’m starting to lose hope that he’ll ever make a play for us in ’14. The guy just cannot stay healthy.

I’m expecting a trademark Aaron Rodgers day. Especially in the 1st half. Then, in the 2nd half, we see EDDIE! The Lambeau Faithful echoes chants of “EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!” The playoff spirit is alive. It’s well. ‘Tis the Holiday season.

The secondary gets a big turnover in the 3rd Quarter. Rodgers capitalizes on the Brady mistake. That’s the difference.

Packers 31
Patriots 27

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I’m both happy and thankful for those that read this blog. I also appreciate the likes, shares and RT on social media. It’s helped my readership and keeps me motivated to continue this blog. Bless up and vibe on.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin’ S-Mac.

Friday, November 21, 2014

My Take -> Week 12

Greetings, G-Force!

7-3! Tied for 1st place in the NFC NORTH! A 1st round bye directly in our sights! Feels glorious!

R-E-L-A-X. I'm trying, Aaron. But, dude, you have me beaming with excitement!

Before Kickoff against the Eagles, I opened a bottle of the 1st Anniversary Stout from River North. It had been marinating in my fridge for roughly 17 months. I poured 5 tasting glasses to share with friends. My intoxicated toast: The next 3 hours are going to be a top 10 moment in the 2014 calendar year for me. The Packers are that important to me and we are going to kick the Eagles ass. And, the Cardinals are going to beat the Lions, so the Packers will be in a tie for 1st place. I'm happy to be sharing and celebrating this moment with each of you.

Yes, those next three hours were pure brilliance. Sure, the top 10 moment comment was an exaggeration, but it was a day I will remember for a long, long time. Complete domination. A SUPER feeling!

As I write, I sip a 2013 Fall St Bretta from Crooked Stave. It comes with an elegant orange, citrus scent. The aroma reminds me of an Aaron Rodgers pass floating into the arms of a streaking Jordy Nelson down the sideline. It's a funky beer. Cloudy at the pour. It settles nicely. Both sour and sweet. I'm a fan.

My musical selection is West Nkosi. He was a South African musician that brings calmness to the soul. Much in the way the Aaron Rodgers feels as he stands behind the wall that is the Green Bay Packers Offensive Line.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. McCarthy went for the throat early in the game. He went full throttle throughout the game.

* Aaron Rodgers is your 2014 NFL MVP.


* Randall Cobb. Please stay. You have things good. We have things good. Let's live in harmony. Together.

* The Claymaker at ILB is Defensive MVP worthy. The move came too late in the 2104 season for him to win the award, but if he plays the role with conviction for 16 games, he'll be the most dominant player in the NFL on the Defensive side of the ball. Additionally, the move has the Packers defense playing at a SUPER level. Further, he's being moved around so much that it's hard to plan for him. Clay is the dictator. Offenses are being forced to adjust pre-snap. I'm confused while watching on TV. I cannot imagine what it'd be like to play QB in that situation.

* Here's a Lane Taylor shout out! Loved seeing him bully Connor Barwin on the Lacy TD run. He moved Batwin out of the way. Pushed him aside. Played until the whistle. Antagonized him. And, then he walked away as Barwin stomped and pouted his way in an attempt to stir things further. It was a perfectly executed move by Taylor. I was hoping Barwin was going to frustratingly grab a 15-yard penalty. I liked the play so much that I've watched the replay at least 10 times.

* The first 6 plays of the game were all passes. 4 of them to Nelson. 2 of them went to Cobb.

* We were two botched Extra Points from dropping DOUBLE NICKEL two weeks in a row. Wow!

* Davante Adams on the slant is a beautiful sight!

* Letroy Guion! Tremendous performance. The sack set the tone. Post that play, Sanchez was scared. On the Eagles second drive, Guion made a great play in the run game. And, on the Eagles third drive, his recognition prevented an Eagles TD on the screen to Sproles.

* For the 2nd week in a row, Mike Neal looked much more explosive than he has all year.

* 53 points. Yes, FIFTY-THREE! Unbelievable.

* Rodgers' footwork and ability to escape were at peak levels last week.

* SHOWCASE! Casey Hayward with TD's in back-to-back games. I'm not sure if he finds the ball or if the ball finds him, but it's been that way since he was in college. Good karma, I guess.

* I'm amazed at Jordy Nelson's footwork.

* Randall Cobb is unbelievable when Aaron Rodgers is on the move.

* Eddie Lacy bruising forward! Carrying defenders. Stinging the opposition.

* Another stellar performance from David Bakhtiari. He's moving his feet and extending his arms like a true veteran.

* JP with the TD! He's making an impact play every week, it seems. Sure, he's only played 10 games for the Packers, but it doesn't matter, I'm going to say this: if the Packers win the Super Bowl this year, Julius Peppers will live in Packers lore in the same breath as REGGIE & Sir Charles. Tall, yes. But, in no way an exaggeration. His veteran leadership is that great.

* TJ Lang & Josh Sitton is the greatest guard combination that the Packers have had in my lifetime. Old school ballers. Leaders. Punishers. Fire starters. And, true camaraderie.

* Bulaga with another SHOW ME THE COIN game.

* 53!

* Way to finish the play, AQ81!

* Rodgers be nimble. Rodgers be quick. Rodgers jump over that 1st down stick.

* Dance, Micah. Dance! Loved the blocks by J-Bush, Sean Rchardson and Boykin on the return. Richardson's block was pure abuse!

* Quietly, another solid game for Ha Ha. He attacks with a vicious intent.

* Corey Linsley is a keeper. Love his relationship with Rodgers. So much admiration.

* Shocked that the Packers had 8 tackles for loss against a speedy Eagles offense.

* Great diving pass defensed play by Micah Hyde! Showed tremendous athleticism and recognition.

* Really liked Julius Peppers' energy early in the game. He was working to get to the QB.

* More solid hustle from Josh Boyd! He has a really impressive work rate. Valuable!

* Richard Rodgers showing some push in the run game. He drove Kendricks 7 yards back and eventually pancaked him on Lacy's 10-yard carry in the 1st Quarter.

* Datone Jones making an appearance in the oppositions backfield.

* Really wish AJ Hawk would get home on a sack soon.

* T-Mon with another pick! It seems as though he gets his hands on a ball almost every week.

* Back-to-back weeks in which CM3 has grabbed a sack. Great disguise!

* The screen game is BACK! In full effect!

* Morgan Burnett filling up the box score, once again. But, still, he left a couple of plays on the field.

* Randall Cobb has been spectacular. I'm amazed at how low he gets when he runs with the ball.

* How about Aaron Rodgers targeting AQ81! and Richard Rodgers on big 3rd down plays? Beyond sublime buzzes!

* Need more out of Mike Daniels. He's showing the strength and quickness were accustomed to seeing, but he's not getting home. He's close though. He has a big game waiting in the ways. I'm positive of that. And, it's super encouraging.

* With the injury to Nick Perry and Jayrone Elliot's improved health, I anticipate that Elliot will see snaps this week.

* It was great fun to see the white shoes that Sammy Swagga & Ras House were rockin'.

* Eddie Lacy gon' Green & Yellow Bumblebee on dem defenders!

* Catch the ball, Jarrett Boykin! Clearly, he's lost confidence. I hope McCarthy gave a speech in front of them team praising his blocking on the Hyde return. Sometimes, it's the little things that end a slump. Akin to a lay-up in basketball getting a jump shooter in rhythm.

* I love hearing speculation of how this team has peaked. The Packers haven't peaked. There's still so much room for growth and a variety of wrinkles that haven't been introduced. Mike Daniels will make big plays in the near future. Further, as Bostick gets healthy, he will get an opportunity to run down the seam. I've never been a fan of Bostick, but his athleticism cannot be denied. At some point this year, he will make a play down the field.

* Happy that Tretter is getting reps. He needs them.

* Congrats to Sir Charles! Woodson became the first player in NFL HISTORY to reach 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. It should be noted that he's two interceptions from 60 interceptions. He's currently tied for 11th in career interceptions. And, to my eye, he should be able to play at least one more year.

* Last year, the Packers got a 3rd round compensatory pick for Greg Jennings. Jennings finished the year with 68 catches, 804 yards and 4 TD's. Through 11 games, James Jones has 54 catches, 545 yards and 4 TD's. Could we get a 4th round pick for Jones? Also, EDS has started all 10 games for Tampa Bay this year. Marshall Newhouse has played in 9 games and started 3 for Cincy. CJ Wilson has played in 11 games, started 3 and has grabbed 2 sacks.

Here's a quick updatedPackers Mock. CBS DRAFT SCOUT changed their rankings recently. Here goes:

Round 1: Danny Shelton, DL, Washington.
Round 2: Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington
Round 3: Justin Hardy, WR, ECU (slightly edging Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State, Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State.)
Round 4: Preston Smith, DE/OLB, Mississippi State. (Za'Darius Smith, OLB/DE, Kentucky)
Round 5: Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State.
Round 5: Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville. Slightly above Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska.
Round 5: Junior Sylvestre, LB, Toledo.
Round 6: Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State.
Round 7: Nick Perry, S, Alabama

This week - it's the Viqueens. In Minnesota. Outdoors. Temperatures expected to be in the mid-to-high 40's. A chance of precipitation. Riveting November football in the Midwest!

Some may call this a trap game. Coming off to big home wins. A date with the AFC leading Patriots lingering next week. And, in the middle, it's a road Divisional road game. On the road. Against an inferior opponent.

Don't worry. The Packers aren't losing this game.

I anticipate that 1/3 of the Stadium will be Packers fans. The Stadium will be rowdy. Early in the 4th Quarter, it'll feel like a home game.

Turnovers will play a key role in this game. I'll be surprised if Teddy Bridgewater doesn't turn the ball over. I first saw Teddy play when he was in High School. He didn't respond well to pressure up the middle then. He doesn't respond well to pressure up the middle now. Even though he's mobile, he panics when pressure comes up the gut. He does a decent job using his feet when the pressure comes from the outside. I imagine Dom will come with a variety of blitzes and with the knee injury to Matt Kalil, I imagine Peppers, Neal and Matthews will all have opportunities to get home. If Perry doesn't play, we have any see Elliot get a shot. Or even Brad Jones. I wouldn't be stoked about Jones getting a shot, but it is worth mentioning that he showed OLB promise in his rookie season.

With Matt Asiata injured, I imagine that we will see Ben Tate carry the ball. Tate is explosive. He's not elite, but he's good enough. And, I'd imagine he's motivated. Jerick McKinnon will get the snaps early on, but don't be surprised if Tate gets 10 carries.

Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright are both banged up. Initially, I didn't think they'd play. Now, I feel that they will. Cordarralle Patterson hasn't been given enough opportunities this year. Let's hope that lasts one more week. He's lethal. Former Packer, Charles Johnson, is finally healthy. He looked good last week. Kyle Rudolph has been banged up most of the year, but he's finally healthy. He's a dangerous target. Especially if he's guarded by AJ Hawk. Both Burnett and Hyde should match up well against Rudolph.

Look for Minnesota to try to control the clock by running the football. They'll also call play action and try to roll Teddy outside the pocket. They'll largely be 2-3 man routes with Rudolph as the main target. The Packers will have to stay disciplined.

Defensively, the Viqueens have talent. If Sharrif Floyd is unable to go, that'd be a huge blow for the Viqueens. He can play. The Viqueens did get Chad Greenway back. He's rock solid. Harrison Smith is a great player. Xavier Rhodes is a physical CB. Linval Joseph is stout against the run. Brian Robison & Everson Griffen can get after the QB, but aren't great run defenders. Anthony Barr is a fast rising LB. Robert Blanton is absolutely awful and should be attacked. Captain Munnerlyn is aggressive. He's physical and man's up well. Josh Robinson tries hard. He gives it all he's got. Every down. He's just not good enough. He's a lot like J-Bush.

The Packers will attack Robinson early. He can't cover any of our WR's. Rodgers will also have his eyes on Blanton in a similar fashion that he targets Chris Conte when he plays the Bears.

Eddie Lacy will run left. Between Bakhtiari & Sitton. He'll get chunks of yards.

But, the Viqueens keep it close. And, then, in the 3rd Quarter, we see the turnover. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that Morgan Burnett grabs a pick this week. And it springs the game open.

Rodgers continues his push towards another MVP with 3 TD's.

Packers 31
Viqueens 16

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Take -> Week 11

Greetings, G-Force.


Yes, the Packers just went DOUBLE NICKEL on the Bears ass! At Lambeau. Under the lights. And, after the defeat, the Bears season is, once again, in pure disarray. THE BEARS STILL SUCK!


To celebrate, I'm drinking a Pipeworks Smoked Porter. I figured it was fitting to drink a "smoked" beer from Chicago's best brewery. After all, the Packers just smoked the Bears. Maybe it's that correlation that's making this beer taste so smooth.

As I write, Railroad Earth offers my listening pleasure. I jam to their show from the Fillmore in Denver on 1/17/14. I've attended some first class concerts over the last year, but none top this show. This night slightly edges a rocker at Red Rocks that included Michael Franti & Spearhead (my favorite band), SOJA, Brett Dennen & Trevor Hall.

Here are my kind vibes from the last week:

* Double Nickel.

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Last Sunday, Mike McCarthy went for the heart. Early. Often. He inserted that dagger into the heart of the Bears 2014 NFL Season. He twisted that dagger until the Season went lifeless.

* I love you, Ray Nutler.

* Thus far, Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's MVP.

* Jordy Nelson. Forever! He might be the best WR in the NFL.

* TJ Lang and Josh Sitton are true professionals. They'd fit into any era of the NFL. Tough. Gritty. Full o' desire. Winners. I'll never know for sure, but it feels like they're the type of guys that made up the 60's Packers teams. I'd love to see those guys with another Super Bowl ring on their fingers.

* CLAY MATTHEWS! Unbelievable. If that's the new Packers look and if Clay plays with that type of energy, the Packers defense has Super potential. That was the best game a LB has played since Desmond Bishop blew out his knee.

* David Bakhtiari continues to prove himself as an elite pass protector.

* Really solid game from Bryan Bulaga. I really hope he re-signs with the Pack.

* COREY LINSLEY! How epic was it when Aaron Rodgers called for him to be a Pro Bowler? Great camaraderie between a QB & his Center.

* Tretter looked rusty. Sure, he showed versatility, but man, he got bullied on a few occasions.

* Randall Cobb is going to get paid. In a big way. He's been unbelievable. I really hope the Packers can afford him. He's been phenomenal this year. Far exceeded my expectations.

* Welcome to the season, Bostick. Let's hope that jump starts his year. If he can stay healthy, he could offer the Packers a weapon that's yet to be unleashed on the year.

* Eddie Lacy on the screen!

* Clay Matthews as an ILB. WOW!

* The Rodgers to Cobb TD was beyond sublime. Glorious!

* J-Pepp with the pep in his step as he gets after Nutler. Loved how he stared down the Bears sideline after the play. Intimidation at its best!

* Great work by Dom to move Clay to ILB. And, to allow Clay to get after the QB as an OLB on 3rd downs. The Claymaker was absolutely spectacular.

* AJ Hawk is slow. Really slow.

* Need more from Mike Daniels.

* Good to see Datone Jones in uniform, but dude didn't look healthy.

* SHOWCASE! Loved Hayward dancing down the sidelines post the interception.

* 55!

* Great to see Sammy Swagga back in action. Wish he'd have picked off that pass and ran it back 98 yards for a TD.

* Micah Hyde with his first career interception! J-Pepp with the tip on the play.

* Aaron Rodgers threw 6 TD's in the first half of the game. Yes, SIX! That's been done once before in the HISTORY of the NFL. Amazing!

* J-Bush & Sean Richardson make up a fun special teams tandem.

* It's fantastic to watch Nelson & Cobb sprinting downfield to lay blocks to spring long touchdowns.

* Really wish Ras House could catch. If so, he'd have 6-7 interceptions this year.

* Fun to watch DuJuan Harris roll forward. Bowling his way thru the Bears defense at 6.5 yards per clip.


* The Jarrett Boykin punt block was hilarious. Like, literally, laugh out loud funny. I've watched a lot of football thru the years. I've never seen anything like that before. By that time, I was fully outstretched on the chair. Sipping a Cranberry Vielle that had been aging for over a year. It felt like Railroad Earth should be singing "Everything Comes Together."

* When it's all said & done, Corey Linsley might end up being one of the true gems from the 2014 NFL Draft.

* The J-Pepp visor would scare me if he was lining up across from me.


* AQ81! Absorbing the hit. Grabbing 6 points.

* Mason Crosby. $$$.

* Fifty-Five!

* Mike Neal looked quicker than he has all year.


* Thought Josh Boyd gave great effort.

* Nice hit, Mike Pennel. Wish you'd have been a step faster.

* Was really surprised to see Lattimore as a healthy inactive. Would prefer to see him on special teams units over Davante Adams. Hoping he was a scratch due to the uncertainty at OL and that it's not a permanent thing.

* Nice to see Sam Barrington get home on the blitz.

* Really wanted HaHa to grab the pick early in the game.

* It feels like Randall Cobb is going to break loose on a punt return soon.

* Really solid game from Morgan Burnett. Liked his post sack excitement.

* Well done, Tim Masthay.

* THE BEARS STILL SUCK! What's wild is that the Bears could offer the Packers big help between now and the end of the year as they still have dates with Dallas, NO & two games against the Lions. Dare I say, Go Bears?

* Jayrone Elliot isn't ready for the big time, but he was active. If Clay at ILB is a thing, it could present an opportunity for Elliot to elevate and see playing time. Rise up, Jayrone!

* 55.

Im getting closer, but I'm still short on being able to give a thoroughly thought out Mock Draft. While I haven't watched enough College Football, I have watched the Washington Huskies play defense. If you haven't seen them, you're missing out. I will try to watch every Washington game between now and the end of the year. As always, I only comment if I've watched the player in action. I gave the Packers two additional 5th round picks as compensation for the losses of James Jones & EDS. It is possible we will receive better. Also, I have the Packers listed with the 32nd selection and I'm clueless about prospects along the OL. Nonetheless, I offer you this Packers mock draft:

1.) Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington. Kikaha is arguably my favorite player entering the draft. I'd select him in the 1st round. I'm surprised he's listed as a 2nd round prospect. He's a classic 3-4 OLB. High motor. Drops in coverage with a natural backpedal. Elite pass rush moves. Throw him & Clay on the same defense and that's high energy. Other: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington, Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan.
2.) Denzel Perryman, ILB, []_[]. I've been watching him since he was in High School. He's hungry. Knows the game. A hunter.
3.) Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State. I'm enamored with his game. He can do it all. He can cover the slot. He can play the run. He can play FS. Others: Justin Hardy, WR, ECU; Rashad Greene, WR, FSU; Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan.
4.) Levi Norwood, WR, Baylor
5.) Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State
5.) Junior Sylvestre, LB, Toledo. Initially, I thought he was too small for the NFL as he was listed as an OLB. But, then, I studied further. His game translates as an ILB in the 3-4. Ideally, for him, it's possible that he's best at OLB in the 4-3. Hopefully, I'll know more on him in the coming weeks. I'm itching to draft ILB's.
5.) Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville
6.) Olsen Pierre, DT, []_[]
7.) John Timu, ILB, Washington

This week - it's the Eagles. At Lambeau. A mid-November afternoon gem at the most hallowed Stadium in all of American sports. If the Packers want any crack at a 1st round bye, this must be a win. We cannot afford a 4th NFC loss. Prior to November, I felt that the Packers must go at least 3-1 in November to have a shot at a 1st round bye, but after reviewing the schedules, it really feels like this one is a must, if we want a week to rest in January.

Philly comes to Green Bay loaded with weapons. Surprisingly, Matt Sanchez has been solid in his 2 games at QB for Philly. It doesn't hurt to have McCoy, Sproles, Jordan Matthews, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Ertz and Celek as targets. McCoy & Sproles scare me. A lot. Sproles on the HB circle and/or wheel route is absolutely dangerous. I'm seriously afraid of it. I feel like Ras Davon matches up well with Cooper, T-Mon matches up well with Matthews, and Sammy Swagga can run with Maclin. Sammy Swagga can also man-up vs Maclin on the WR bubble screen. Ertz & Celek can play, but they shouldn't destroy us. Both are targets on the jump ball, but HaHa, Burnett and Hyde should be able to limit their successes.

Because of Sproles & McCoy, I'm not sure AJ Hawk should see the field much. It'd be better to put an extra DB on the field. Hawk can't run with them. I'd play a 4-1-6 defense with Clay in the middle.

Philly's OL is finally healthy and should be in tact. I'm looking for Peppers to beat up Lane Johnson and for Mike Daniels to have a big day against Dennis Kelly. Jason Peters can ball at LT. The Packers will have to collapse the right side of Philly's OL.

The Eagles defensive front strikes fear. They'll pressure Rodgers with a variety of blitzes and will offer the stiffest test of the year for our OL. Connor Barwin, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, and Trent Cole can all get to the QB. Mychal Kendricks can come on the blitz. He's become a much better football player than I thought he'd become.

If you've followed this blog for a while, you know I like Bradley Fletcher, Nate Allen, Brandon Boykin and Malcolm Jenkins. Prior to being drafted, I spoke highly of all of them. Fletcher is an immensely underrated talent. Cary Williams is also an extremely talented player. Philly's defense is built to win. Their weak spot: Casey Matthews, Clay's brother. I also have confidence that Lang, Linsley and Sitton can dominate Cedric Thornton & Bennie Logan.

Philly's secondary will give the Packers WR's trouble. Fletcher and Williams will battle Jordy & Davante. Boykin matches up well with Cobb. It'll be a fight for receptions on the outside.

For the Packers to win, we'll have to slow down the pass rush. It'll be crucial for McCarthy to use Lacy to attack the inside of the Eagles defense. If we try to spring Lacy to the outside, we won't find success. Instead, let's punch them in the nose. Then, come back to the screen. And, then the play-action. But, on the opening play of the game, run the football right at the heart of the Eagles defense. Show them that we came to beat them up. Show them that we are more physical.

While Sanchez has been fairly mobile the last two weeks, don't bite on the QB draw. He's handing it off. Keep your lanes. Don't let the big play occur via the legs of McCoy & Sproles. Come with pressure. Our secondary will force turnovers.

This one has a playoff feel. Let's make it a playoff environment. Force an early false start or timeout. Rattle Sanchez early. He'll give us an early turnover. Just as Nutler did. This is our time to show that we are a legitimate contender in the NFC.

With T-Mon covering Jordan Matthews on a crossing route, he jumps in front of it for a game changing play.

With Brandon Bostick out, Richard Rodgers gets loose down the seam for a big play.

It's a Lambeau celebration. A day to remember.

Packers 34
Eagles 30

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Take -> Week 10

Greetings, G-Force.

The bye week has passed. R-E-L-A-X, I do. Peacefully. 5-3. One game back in the Division race. Props to the Lions who have taken advantage of fortunate opportunities. I'm ready to buckle up and enjoy the intensity that shines during the 2nd half of the year.

As I write, I relish the flowery scent that follows a La Cumbre Elevated IPA. I believe that La Cumbre plays with hops as well as anyone in America. On the headphones, I bounce to the Dirty Heads. If you don't know the song "Believe", I encourage you to give it a listen. Believe. Yes, I Believe in the 2014 Green Bay Packers.

Here are some quick vibes from the last week:

* In order for the Packers to be Super, the OL has to remain healthy. Lane Taylor was exposed. Especially on 4th & 1.

* The Rodgers injury doesn't concerns me. Even though Hamstrings linger. Rodgers wants to sweep it under the rug.

* Throw the Box Score away. The Packers were unlucky. Peppers dropped a TD. I guarantee he's been catching that pass in practice. The first Rodgers interception was a really unlucky bounce. It was 16-16. The Packers looked to be ready to reclaim the lead. Then, the momentum changed. Still, on the next offensive possession, Adams catches the pass for an apparent first down. Lewis fakes an injury for the Saints. The Saints get extra time to review. They challenge it. The call is overturned. Taylor gets blown up. The game was over.

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. McCarthy showed bravado, confidence and aggression against the Saints. His players let him down. I loved the call to Peppers. McCarthy, once again, showed that he's a players coach. He wanted to showcase Peppers' talents. Peppers is capable. He just didn't finish the play when it mattered. I expected him to catch it. I didn't mind the onside kick. I wish Hyde or J-Bush would have made the play. I liked the call to go for it on 4th & 1. Taylor couldn't hold the point. Coaches coach. Players play.

* My one McCarthy complaint: Where was Cobb in the Red Zone?

* I'm a huge fan of Davante Adams.

* Randall Cobb is going to get paid.

* Loved the screens to Lacy!

* TJ Lang, please be OK for the Bears game. Same with Josh Sitton.

* Ras Davon & T-Mon will have better days.

* Guion with another big stop on 4th & short!

* Barrington isn't the answer at ILB.

* Aaron Rodgers is committed to stretching Davante Adams to be the best he can be.

* Corey Linsley was terrific on the long TD pass to Cobb.

* The loss doesn't eliminate the possibility of a 1st round bye as I still think that 12-4 is a possibility. If the Packers stay healthy & finish worse than 11-5, I'll be extremely disappointed.

* The lyrics to the Dirty Heads song "On My Way" are appropriate right now:

* The Saints are behind us. Now, it's time to go back to doing Super things. The Bears are a perfect remedy. THE BEARS STILL SUCK!

The bye week came at a perfect time. Sitton, Lang, Rodgers, Sammy Swagga and Burnett were all able to rest up. And, that was necessary. It's Bears at Packers. Lambeau Field. Prime time Football. Under the lights. It's time to sparkle!

A Packers win and it's tough for Chicago. They aren't eliminated, but they'd have to go on a marvelous run over the last 7 weeks to stay alive. A Bears win and Chicago is right back in the thick of a ridiculously tight NFC.

We know the stories of Ray Nutler vs the Green Bay Packers. Dom Capers has dominated Nutler. In glorious fashion. Nutler is loaded with weapons around him. There's no excuses, Ray. Absolutely none. With Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, Forte and a dramatically improved OL, Nutler has the talents around him. It's up to him to be good enough. I'm not convinced that he will ever be good enough over a 16-game season. I'm convinced that a large part of an athletes success is in the mind. For Ray, I'm not sure how well he's stocked between the ears.

Defensively, The Bears have an improved front 4. At least from an individual name perspective. Allen, Paea, Young and Ratliff have talent. Ferguson & Sutton offer depth.

The weakness on the Bears is defense is their safety play. I wouldn't be shocked to see either Richard Rodgers or more likely Brandon Bostick streaking down the middle of the field. McCarthy often saves players for the weak after the bye. McCarthy will absolutely have a new wrinkle this weekend. My guess is that Bostick is in the game plan.

Weather will be an issue. It's crucial for the Packers to get an early lead and to test Trestman's patience. Forte murdered the Packers in Week 4. He could do the same this week. He's an unbelievably talented back and the Packers need improved ILB play. I'm hoping that with a change in weather and decreased speed on the field, the Packers ILB speed will become less exposed.

Marcellus Bennett is questionable. I hope he sits this one out. He's a match-up nightmare for the Packers. Unless the Packers have Sammy Swagga and Ras House on the outside and T-Mon over Bennett. Hyde cannot cover Bennett. My problem with this defensive lineup is that House has not performed well vs Chicago. Sammy Swagga & T-Mon have been pests for Ray Nutler's life. Hayward has also grabbed a pick from Ray. I'll be curios to see how we line up vs Bennett.

Look for it: Lacy has a big game. Rodgers connects with a TE over the middle. Matthews and Peppers apply pressure. Nutler throws two interceptions. If the Packers grab an early lead, the Bears stay in hibernation and continue to show internal frustrations. Now, it's on the sidelines.

Packers 30
Bears 20


Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Take -> Week 8

Greetings, G-Force.

'Tis the October season. A time when the Packers collect victories and I celebrate with a wide variety of pumpkin beers. Today, I enjoy the Almanac Dark Pumpkin Sour, the Almanac Pumpkin Heirloom and the Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin. A wide variety of pumpkin feel that is vastly different that your typical pumpkin beer. As I sip, I'm listening to the Michael Franti & Spearhead "Home" album. I figured the "Runfayalife" theme was appropriate after the beat down that the Packers put on the Panthers.

Here are some quick vibes from the last week:

* R-E-L-A-X. I get it, XLV MVP. I am cool as a cucumber in hot sauce, baby. I'm chill, bro.

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Loved the early strike to Jordy.

* Jordy Nelson. Forever!

* Randall Cobb in the Red Zone! Among the best in the league inside the 20. Amazing for a man his size.

* Bryan Bulaga's hustle on the Lacy fumble is the type of play that Champions make. Pure effort. True determination. Playing to the whistle.

* Another tremendous game for Bakhtiari.

* TJ Lang is a terrific football player.

* Josh Sitton is flat-out ballin'.

* Corey Linsley. I'd trust this guy as the starting Center for the Packers for the next 10 years. And I've only watched him play 7 games in the NFL. ROCK SOLID.

* Davante Adams has a really bright future in this league.

* Didn't think I'd say this earlier in the year, but Randall Cobb is looking like a MUST sign. I get excited at the prospect of having Rodgers teamed with Nelson, Cobb and Adams for the next 3 years.

* I keep reading that Richard Rodgers is an improved blocker. I disagree. Maybe he's more willing, but improved? Not from what I see. On the other hand, I really wanted him to get in the end zone last week. Wish the XLV MVP hadn't overshot him on his final pass.

* Aaron Rodgers is in position to be the NFL's MVP.

* We are seeing so much play action and I'm stoked about it. Rodgers under center. Good things will happen.

* Bulaga's run blocking was tremendous.

* Eddie Lacy pushing forward. Fighting for yards. Great vibes! It's that time of year for the Green & Yellow Bumblebee.

* James Starks has great zest in his step. Getting to the outside with pizzazz. Goal oriented. Hope the Green Hornet's ankle is ok.

* While Jarrett Boykin might be out of the rotation right now, we haven't seen the last of him. He's going to make a couple of big plays this year.

* Great play design on the swing pass to Dorsey. 4 WR's on the field. And a TE. Cobb and Dorsey in the backfield. Really fun to see. Would like to watch Janis in the role that Dorsey played.

* Dorsey and J-Bush make a really solid gunner tandem.

* Brandon Bostick had a nice stick on punt return coverage, but man, that dude gets blown up on kickoff coverage.

* Also, catch the ball, Brandon Bostick!

* Lacy as a blocker. Relish it. He's been top shelf.

* I'd been begging for DuJuan to get some action. In mop up time, he got it. He didn't make the most of it.

* The Cobb block on the Starks TD was scintillating!

* Davante Adams needs to master the art of holding onto his blocks. Gives up too quickly.

* Riveting to see the Claymaker with his presence felt. Quick off the ball. Impactful. Didn't finish on 2 sacks, but 1 led to a Peppers sack and the other totally busted up a 3rd down. We saw hustle. We saw excitement. We saw confidence. The 2nd defensive play of the game, he set the standard.

* Mike Daniels' physicality on the 1st defensive snap of the game was intimidating. Wish he'd have wrapped Cam up. Nonetheless, it set the tempo.

* Really liked the Nick Perry bull rush.

* When Richard Rodgers catches the ball, he should run upfield.

* The Jordy Nelson stiff arm is contagious.

* Another day at the office for T-Mon.

* The first time I remember seeing Perry and Mike Neal on the outside with Clay & Peppers on the inside, Perry grabbed a sack. Looking forward to seeing more of that.

* Josh Boyd works hard.

* Letroy Guion has played really well the last three weeks. He was stout on the 4th & 1 stop. On the 3rd down play before it as well. He's been really solid in short yardage situations.

* Finally, Brad a Jones is benched. Barrington got the start and didn't make the most of it. He was fine, but not above average. I like Lattimore, but he needs to be more consistent. My ILB solution? Sean Richardson. Have you watched Arizona play? They put Deone Bucannon at ILB. The college Safety brings more speed than a typical ILB would. He can cover better than an ILB normally does. He hits as hard as most ILB's. He can get sideline to sideline better than most ILB's. Head on, he might not excel as much as some ILB's in the run game, but he makes up for it with a savvy approach and enhanced quickness. I'd like to see a little bit of Sean Richardson in that role. He played really well last week. Left wondering how we could get him on the field more often.

* Jordy Nelson is a phenomenal blocker.

* HaHa has drastically improved the tackling in our secondary.

* I think Cobb just junked another Carolina defender.

* Rodgers has been terrific with his feet during this 4 game win streak.

* Hyde's tackle on Olsen on 3rd & 10 in the 2nd Quarter was textbook. We didn't see that type of stop in past years.

* Brilliant game by Ras Davon. He was dominant. He's going to make big money this offseason.

* Casey Hayward with the pick! And, more importantly, a desire to make a tackle.

* Clay Matthews was SO GOOD last week. If he plays like that, we'll be super.

* Another decent game for Morgan Burnett. I remain cautiously optimistic that he's turned the corner.

* The Packer darling of the week is Sean Richardson. No question. If Burnett can't go, Richardson will get his opportunity to shine. Carpe diem, #28!

* Aaron Rodgers is totally taking Davante Adams under his wing.

* The yellow gloves look superfly! Especially on Hayward & Cobb.

* Felt like Julius Peppers was fairly quiet. Yet, he still finished with 1.5 sacks.

* Mike Pennel wants to be good. He's working hard. Playing with a high motor.

* Congrats to Charles Woodson. Sir Charles grabbed his 58th career interception last weekend. He's still 1 sack away from becoming the first player in NFL history with 50 interceptions and 20 sacks.

* I'm really hoping for a NE win this weekend. THE BEARS STILL SUCK!

This week - it's the Saints. In the Superdome. Aptly named the Superdome. After all, the Packers left that Dome feeling Super on January 26, 1997. I was there with my Uncle Pat. I'll never forget it.

We find out a lot about the identity of the 2014 version of the Green Bay Packers this week. A win and we can start dreaming about potential home field throughout or 1st round bye scenarios. A loss and we stay largely focused on the Detroit Lions and our chances of winning the Division. Detroit beat the Saints. Now, the Packers must hold serve.

Frankly, in past years, this game might have ended in a 41-27 defeat. But, not this year. While I'm not convinced that that the Saints are as mediocre as their record suggests, I do feel that the Packers are on a Super path.

The Saints are battling a multitude of injuries and as I write there's significant uncertainty as to the availability of a number of quality players. Pierre Thomas is out. Khyri Robinson might not play. If not, they'll be left with Mark Ingram as essentially a lone back. Jimmy Graham may or may not be available. Jonathan Goodwin might not play. The same can be said for Brodrick Buntley and Keenan Lewis. If the Saints are without their weapons, thus could be a really exciting Sunday Night match-up for the Packers.

If Graham is healthy, it wouldn't shock me if he tops 100 yards and 2 TD's. Colton will be a tough stop. Kenny Stills can get deep. And, as long as Drew Brees is whipping the ball, the Saints will be tough.

Defensively, the Saints aren't lethal. I like Rob Ryan as a Coordinator, but he has limited talent. Cameron Jordan is a man in the middle, but Akiem Hicks can be pushed around. If Buntley is limited, New Orleans will be in trouble as their depth on the DL is light. At LB, they have 4 average players in Curtis Lofton, Parys Haralson, David Hawthorne and Junior Galette. Lofton hasn't aged well, but he can still make plays. Haralson was a solid rotational player for SF, but isn't an every down player. In the secondary, outside of Kenny Vaccaro, I'm not concerned. Especially if Keenan Lewis can't go. With all of this said, Rob Ryan is dangerous. He draws up aggressive schemes. He will attack. With conviction.

If Rodgers is given time, he could throw for 400 yards. That's a big 'if' as I fear McCarthy could go into an early shell as he tries to establish a run game in order to limit crowd noise. Don't do it, Coach. Be aggressive. From the coin toss. Give the game to the XLV MVP. Let him win it.

The Packers need Julius Peppers to make a play this week. We need him attacking Brees. This is the type of game had was signed for. Pin those ears back, JP. We need pressure.

If Khyri Robinson, doesn't play, don't buy into the play action. Be on the attack. Mike Daniels is in line for a big game. Go intimidate!

The Packers pressure Brees when it counts. They knock him off his spot. Victory ensues in a nail biter. It feels Super.

Packers 30
Saints 27

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Take -> Week 7

Greetings, G-Force.

3 in a row! Tied at the top of the NFC North! Time to dive into a beer that I've never sipped before. The NeoMexicanus Native Pale Ale is crafted by Crazy Mountain Brewery, a small brewery tucked away in the heart of Edwards, CO. It's a beer that "is an exploration of a largely undocumented hop, native to the South Western United States." At the first sip, it offers a skunky, fruity feel. Fruit smell akin to the citra hop. The pour is cloudy with a solid head. The texture is sticky. My mind is blissful.

My second beer will be the Perennial Aria. It's been aging for roughly 15 months. It's a Belgian Style Ale fermented with Brettanomyces. When I last tasted, it was sweet up front, with a funky butt to it's finish. At 7.2%, I'm stoked to see how's it's evolved with age.

The Packers are 4-2. With 5 of the next 7 at Lambeau!

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* R-E-L-A-X. Yes, XLV MVP, I have relaxed.

* In the 1996 Super Bowl, Andre Rison was caught on camera screaming, "We got the fuckin' MVP throwing us the damn ball!" It feels like, once again, the Packers have the MVP throwing the ball.

* The Packers have great camaraderie on this team. They enjoy one another. It appears as though the locker room is selfless. Loved Eddie Lacy's tweet after the game. As I've mentioned before, Lacy is nicknamed the Green & Yellow Bumblebee. After the game, Lacy posted a photo of himself standing next to James Starks. He stated that Starks was his "Big Brother" and was now nicknamed the "Green Hornet." I'm on board. Huge game by Starks! Especially on the final drive!!!

* That was one of the most dramatic finishes I've ever been to (an asterisk is that I don't include non-Packers games such as the Tebow TD pass to Thomas to beat the Steelers in the playoffs). It was right there with Majik to Sharpe in the "After Further Review, the Bears Still Suck" game. It was there with the Favre to Freeman "He Did What?" game on MNF vs the Viqueens. It was right there with the Favre to Kitrick Taylor win over the Bengals. It was there with the Favre to Thomason victory over the Raiders to kick off the '99 season. It was there with the Favre to Bradford TD to beat the Viqueens in '99. It was there with Favre to Freeman over the Bucs in '99. This win is fresh, but as of now, if I had to rank them, I'd go: Majik to Sharpe, Favre to Taylor, Rodgers to AQ81!, Favre to Bradford, Favre to Thomason, Favre to Freeman over the 'queens, Favre to Freeman over the Bucs. This victory was action packed! It was special. I was back in Miami. For the first time in nearly for 4 years. It was sentimental. The victory was sweet. Without that buzz, it might rank 5th.

* 3rd & 9. The defense desperately needs a stop. Philbin calls a run play. Miller had the blocking in front of him. HaHa takes on the Left Tackle and the Left Guard. He knives through both of them. He makes the tackle. The Packers get the crucial stop. HaHa was sensational in Miami. If that's the HaHa of the future, we have reason to be excited!

* Jordy Nelson. Forever!

* Once again, Randall Cobb shines in the Red Zone. He's seriously become a lethal Red Zone weapon!

* Boogie On, Davante Adams. Dude has flair. He's funky. He has shake. A good mix of James Jones & Greg Jennings. He's becoming dangerous after the catch. He's learning the Jordy stiff arm. He's playing with confidence. Soon, we'll see Davante on a double move. And, it'll be epic!

* I want Jeff Janis to get the ball, but the guy does not get in-and-out of his breaks. His route running needs significant work.

* TJ LANG! Play of the game with the fumble recovery. Plain and simple, he wanted it more. Well done, TJ. You deserved a game ball.

* Thought Sitton and Linsley played really well.

* Another good game from Bakhtiari. Yes, he got beat for a sack, but man, if you were paying attention, it was clear that Vernon jumped offside on the play. Should have been a penalty. Bakhtiari didn't have a chance.

* Bulaga will have better days. He won't play that film when he's negotiating his next contract.

* AQ81! Point to the sky, young man! Point to the sky!

* The jumbo package with Sherrod? I don't get it.

* On both sides, it was a terribly coached game. In the first half, the Packers controlled the clock. And, they had nothing to show for it. McCarthy needed to get greedy. He never did. He had multiple occasions in which all he needed was a FG to grab a 2-score lead. He never capitalized. He was ridiculously conservative. And, then, when all he needed was a couple of yards to get into FG range, he called the play-action and put Rodgers right into the face of Wake. Generally speaking, I'm in favor of the call, but not in that situation. I thought he should have pounded the ball at the left side of the line of scrimmage. We were having success running behind Bakhtiari. Wished he would have called a run to manage the game.

* What was Joe Philbin doing when he called the timeout before the 4th & 10? The crowd was rockin'. The Packers were scrambling after the sack-fumble. We looked unprepared. Philbin bailed us out. I'll be surprised if he's the Fins coach next year.

* Julius Peppers is SO CLOSE to having a multiple sack game.

* So is Mike Neal. Thought it was going to happen last week, but Neal seems to lack the killer instinct when he gets within striking distance. He doesn't drive through the tackler. Especially the QB. He's a bit passive.

* Once again, I thought Letroy Guion played a really nice game. On the goal line stop in the 1st Quarter, I thought Guion was a stud.

* Speaking of the goal line stop, what a play by Morgan Burnett on 4th down!

* Mike Daniels was quiet until the last drive of the game. And, when we needed a stop the most, Daniels was crucial.

* Soon, Clay Matthews is going to make a big play. He has to stay patient. He looks like he's pressing. And, possibly frustrated.

* My, oh my, Brad Jones is awful.

* AJ Hawk isn't tackling anyone is space.

* The fake-spike to Adams was legendary.

* Hyde not only was solid on special teams, but he looked assignment-sure on defense.

* Mike Pennel has to finish the sack.

* Casey Hayward! That was a tremendous interception. He was also more assertive when going to make a tackle.

* Ras Davon with the great break on the ball. But, dude, catch the ball. Elevate. Take your game to the next level.

* Sammy Swagga was disciplined. The interception was pure brilliance. Man, I hope he's OK. Something doesn't feel right about it.

* T-Mon was having a great game prior to the injury. Sure, he gave up the TD, but he was in perfect position. It was a great throw and a nice catch. Give credit where credit is due.

* Eddie Lacy. Yo, man. Hit the hole and go. If your first read isn't there, plant. Look for the cutback. Lower your shoulder. Burst through.

* I'm starting to really like this draft class. It's possible that we've drafted 3 gems. I like HaHa. I love Adams. Linsley looks like he can ball. I'm hopeful Bradford can emerge as a decent ILB and a solid special teams player. I believe that Janis will develop into a noteworthy WR and/or special teams returner. But, at this stage, it's clear that Aaron Rodgers has zero confidence in Richard Rodgers. He doesn't even look towards him. Even when Richard Rodgers is open, he's far from the XLV MVP's mind. And, as a blocker, Richard Rodgers remains useless. He's not even remotely developing. He can't even get in the way. I really hope I'm wrong, but I'll be surprised if Richard Rodgers ever amounts to anything.

* I'd love to see a no-huddle drive with DuJuan Harris as the back. I'd run a screen early in the drive.

* Why can't we figure out our special teams units? Can't make a tackle on a kickoff. Get a punt blocked. Absolutely unacceptable.

* Brandon Bostick should never play on special teams again. He's putrid. With that said, I still believe that we're going to see Bostick used in the next couple of weeks as a receiver. He'll be the target. There'll be a play designed for Bostick as he's either streaking down the seam or running a 15-20 yard crossing route. Wait for it. It'll happen in the next 3 weeks. I am convinced.

* Kevin Dorsey got his shot on kickoff coverage. He looked like he was afraid of contact. Disappointing.

* I said it before, I'll say it again: I believe Jeff Janis will block a punt this year.

* It's worth mentioning: Percy Harvin is out of the NFC!! He's been kryptonite for the Packers. Much like Colin Kaepernick. That's big news!

* A couple of key elements with respect to the Packers getting compensatory picks in next years NFL Draft: Evan Dietrich-Smith has started all 6 games for the Buccaneers this year. In 5 games, CJ Wilson has 10 tackles and 2 sacks. In 5 games, James Jones has 26 catches for 328 yards and 3 TD's. He is on pace for 83 catches, 1050 yards and 10 TD's. Admittedly, while I understand that games started, statistics, post season recognition, and salary are all in the equation, I don't know the exact formula for the distribution of compensatory picks. But, it's worth mentioning that the Packers received a 3rd round pick for Greg Jennings after he had 68 catches, 804 yards and 4 TD's. Last year, Erik Walden finished with 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 45 tackles in 15 games. The Packers received a 5th round pick for Walden. If Dietrich-Smith starts 16 games, Wilson finishes with 5 sacks and Jones continues his pace and production reigns supreme in the compensatory equation; the Packers could finish with a 4th and a 5th as compensatory picks. That'd be exciting! Any way, as I slowly piece together my mock draft, I'm projecting two 5th round picks for the Packers.

This week - it's the Panthers. At Lambeau. In October. In the Throwback uniforms. That sounds festive! Party On, Packer People!

Cam Newton scares me. He could enter Colin Kaepernick territory this weekend. I was hoping for weather in the mid-40's. Instead, we're going to get nice fall weather. A picturesque day at Lambeau. Cloudy. Mid-50's. That calls for Fall football. A brisk air. A hoarse voice. The way Football was meant to be played.

If Kelvin Benjamin plays post his concussion and T-Mon doesn't play due to his injury, that's frightening. Benjamin is a big target that makes plays in traffic. With Sammy Swagga out for the game, it's likely House will have to shadow Benjamin. Casey Hayward will shadow Jerricho Cotchery. I'd expect Hayward to win that battle. J-Bush will muscle against Jason Avant. And, Micah Hyde will follow Greg Olsen. If the Packers try to guard Olsen with either AJ Hawk or Brad Jones, Olsen will explode. I wouldn't mind seeing Lattimore on Olsen, but I don't foresee Lattimore playing this week.

Jonathan Stewart will get the start. But, he's banged up. And, therefore, he doesn't scare me.

I watch a lot of football. I'm not overly familiar with anyone on the Panthers OL. Peppers, Matthews, Daniels, Neal and Perry better have big games.

Carolina's defense is overrated. It's a shell of what it was last year. Charles Johnson can get to the QB. He'll cause problems. Star Lotulelei is legit. Other than that, they have mediocre talent in Kawann Short, Dwan Edwards, Wes Horton and Kony Ealy. Don't get me wrong, I like Short and Ealy, but neither is ready to elevate to the next level. Maybe in time, but not at Lambeau this Sunday. Also, if Colin Cole sees significant playing time, the Packers better run right at him.

The middle of the Panthers defense is entertaining. Thomas Davis has stood the test of time. He's fought through injury. He still brings intensity. Luke Kuechly is arguably the best ILB in the league. He's dominant. He intimidates. He can do it all. AJ Klein intrigues. I was interested in him coming out of college last year. He's a try hard player who finds the football.

The Carolina secondary can be had. Antoine Cason, Josh Norman, Roman Harper, Thomas DeCoud, and Bene Benwikere are all interesting names. None are stars. I liked Benwikere coming out of college this year. He might be able to fight with Cobb for a bit, but he cannot battle him for 60 minutes. Neither Cason nor Norman has the size or muscle to fight Nelson. Both will also struggle with Adams as well. Roman Harper is old. Thomas DeCoud is just a guy.

I'd have Clay play ILB. I'd have him shadow Cam. I'd have Perry, Neal, Elliot and Peppers rotate on the outside to keep legs fresh. But, Clay would play every down. He'd shadow Cam. He wouldn't let Cam get loose. If Clay plays OLB, which I anticipate he will, it'll be crucial for Clay to stay patient. Especially on the read-option. We cannot let Cam get loose. The Panther will use a bunch of play-action. The Packers will have to stay disciplined. It won't be easy. But, if we're assignment sure, Cam will give the Packers opportunities to make plays.

Early in the game, the Packers establish the run. Lacy pounds away for chunks of yards. McCarthy lines the Packers up with 3-wide. He runs the ball with Lacy. Then, it's play action. And, a big ball. It goes to Nelson. It's a TD.

HaHa grabs a pick. The Lambeau Faithful elevates.

Lacy grabs more yardage. "EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE" echoes through the most hallowed of theaters in American sports.

The Packers grab an early lead. Cam loses patience. His body language looks defeated. He throws another pick. This time to Hayward.

Packers 27
Panthers 16

I'm way behind on my studying of Draft Prospects for next year. I've been working too many 12-15 hour days. With that said, here's a list of players that have jumped out at me so far: Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri; Kevin White, WR, WVU; Denzel Perryman, ILB, []_[]; Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky; Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State; Rashad Greene, WR, FSU; Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State; Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan; Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss; Justin Hardy, WR, ECU; Trey Flowers, OLB/DE, Arkansas; Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss.

I'll have a Mock Draft out in the next couple of weeks. I plan on spending time to get caught up.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.