Two wins. 5 days. Both against our most heated NFC NORTH rivals. That's cause for two different beer treats. Russian River's Temptation and the Crooked Stave Mama Bear's Sour Cherry Pie will treat me swell.
Here are my quick hits from the last week:
* Single back. The XLV MVP under center. Eddie Lacy as the back. A Packers fans delight. Stick with it, Mike McCarthy.
* Tim Masthay! The Packers were playing a beat-up, defeated Viqueens team. Early in the game, field position was crucial. Masthay was rock solid. Constantly dropping kicks inside the 20. This allowed the Packers defense to play with speed, intensity and confidence. Christian Ponder wasn't going to engineer 85 yard TD drives.
* That's the Letroy Guion that I thought the Packers had signed.
* Mike Daniels was dominant. A bull. Completely overpowering.
* That might have been the best game of Morgan Burnett's career. Statistically, he may have had better games, but he was a commander. He saw the field well. He wax a firm tackler. Loved the 3rd down play in the 1st Quarter when he read the crossing route, took the proper angle and made the tackle short of the first down. You set the bar, Morgan. Live up to it.
* JULIUS PEPPERS! AMAZING! Loved his post game interview on the NFL Network. Great work by the fans as they yelled, "THE BEARS STILL SUCK!" Peppers didn't acknowledge it. But, he embraced it. Guaranteed!
* Jamari Lattimore! Playing with brilliance. He'll have a Pick-6 this year. Maybe this week.
* I enjoy an active Clay Matthews. Hope that groin is fully rested.
* Hope Datone Jones is healing. Don't want the injury to be a season long thing.
* Luther Robinson with the crucial play on the Peppers Pick-6!
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! I heard the chants. That means the weather is turning.
* Great game, Josh Sitton.
* Don't be shocked if Jeff Janis blocks a punt this year. With Kevin Dorsey's promotion from the Practice Squad, he, too, will be a threat to block a punt.
* Sean Richardson is playing well on special teams.
* I'd like to see Jeff Janis on the reverse.
* Congratulations, Davante Adams! Nice slant route. Epic 1st career TD.
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! The Green & Yellow Bumblebee! He was stinging defenders. Running with confidence! Looking for contact.
* Liked seeing James Starks get the corner.
* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. The 66-yard TD pass to Rodgers was design. It was creativity from the play-calling shed. I also loved the play-action pass on 1st and 10, up 14-0 in the 1st Quarter. McCarthy went for the dagger. Rodgers barely under threw Nelson or else it'd have been a 51-yard TD.
* Aaron Rodgers. Yes, Aaron, I can R-E-L-A-X! He's an MVP candidate.
* Randall Cobb has become a lethal Red Zone target. I'm still not sold on him as an elite slot receiver, but he's among the best in the Red Zone.
* I'm still looking for a time when the Packers go no-huddle with DuJuan Harris. Would love to see him on the screen. Might happen this week.
* The short down-and-out to AQ81 is a first down every time, it seems.
* While I'm not a huge Brandon Bostick fan, I'm confident that the Packers are saving him for something. There'll be a game soon that he gets at least 3 targets. Much like Finley in '09 at Minnesota and AQ81 vs Minnesota at Lambeau in '10. It'll happen soon. My guess is that we will see Bostick running down the seam against the Bears after the bye. But, it might happen in New Orleans as it'd give the Bears something else to plan for. Bostick is soft. But, he is a downfield threat, when healthy.
* David Bakhtiari has been elite two weeks in a row.
* Jordy Nelson. FOREVER!
* TJ Lang is fun to have in Green & Gold.
* I wouldn't have guessed it, but Corey Linsley might be the best Packers draft pick from this years class.
* Bryan Bulaga looks like a man who wants to get paid.
* Richard Rodgers confuses me. He's so big, but he has absolutely no idea how to win the leverage battle. Mike Daniels should talk to him about it. If Rodgers can master this art, he might become an average blocker. He genuinely looks like he wants to block. He simply plays too tall instead of maximizing both his length and his frame.
* J-Bush is very quietly having a really nice year on special teams.
* It's not saying much, but it was the best we've seen Casey Hayward play since 2012. Good to see him smiling.
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! It worked last week, so I'll offer my pep talk, once again. In my best form of patois, here you are, Eddie: Galang Sponji, Eddie! Ju be Bumblebee on dem would-be tacklers. If so, everything will be cook & curry. Mek We Dweet!
* Jeff Janis is in the box score!
* Mike Pennel was giving effort.
* AJ Hawk was hitting like he meant.
* Liked HaHa on the blitz.
* There was a Nick Perry sighting. In a big way.
* Still love the way Dom Capers is rotating defenders. Keeping legs fresh. Utilizing depth. He'll need to do the same in the sweltering Miami heat.
* Mike Neal might only have 1 sack this year, but he'll have a 2-sack game soon. He's active. He's pursuant. He'll find fortune.
* 6 sacks. 16 QB Hits. 3 turnovers. 1 TD. WOW!
* I really feel like the internal competition at ILB & S are pushing Lattimore and Burnett to stretch their talent lengths. It'll be interesting to see how they perform as the season continues to evolve.
* On the year, the defense has 12 sacks and 10 turnovers. I'm hoping for a 40/40 season.
* If you haven't watched the Alshon Jeffrey SoundFX clip from the Packers v Bears game, get after it. He refers to Rodgers as "Houdini" and it's beyond sublime.
* Kurtis Drummond, FS, Michigan State is a name to watch in college football. Cody Prewitt, FS, Ole Miss also intrigues, but he's a 3rd round prospect. I was bummed when I saw analysts had Kevin White, WR, WVU as a 2nd round prospect. When they had the Dub-V WR as a 7th round prospect before the year, I knew they were crazy. I'd be stoked if he was in Green Bay.
I lived in Miami for 8 years. I haven't been back in nearly 4 years. I've been saving it for this weekend. Brotherman Vargas & I are heading to SoBe to Rebel Rock at Joe Robbie...I mean Landshark...I mean Dolphin... I mean Sun Life Stadium. A visit to Sun Life reminds me just how precious it is that I'm a Packers fan. I love how the Packers have consistently renovated Lambeau Field. We've preserved our History. The blood of Starr, Hornung, Nitschke, Dickey, Lofton, Sharpe, Majik, Favre, Butler, Rodgers, Woodson and Matthews is all in the same land. So is the snot of Lombardi, Holmgen, and McCarthy. The same should have held true at the Orange Bowl. The OB was legendary. Fully historic. Ghosts of Football Stallions echoed thru the Stadium. The Palm Trees waved harmoniously in favor of both the Dolphins and da _. I loved the Orange Bowl. I miss the Orange Bowl. For me, a large piece of Miami died when the Orange Bowl was knocked down.
Miami has a special place for me. My cell phone will always be my 305 are code. My first dog was named Clayton. After Mark Clayton, who is one of three players to catch a TD pass from both Marino & Favre. The others? Mark Ingram & Keith Jackson.
But, this week, I have no love. The Packers are going to show the Dolphins what real Swagga looks like. It's a statement game. Win this week and 5 of the next 7 are at Lambeau. In order for the Packers to get a first round bye, we have to go 8-0 at home and 4-4 on the road. 12-4 should do the trick. Well, this HAS to be 1 of the 4. It won't be easy.
The Packers face Joe Philbin. He knows us. We know him. It'll be unbelievably hot. With 30% chance of rain, it'll be ridiculously humid.
I wasn't high on Ryan Tannehill coming out of college. I still don't think highly of him. If you attack him with upfield rushes and keep him in the pocket, he panics. Look for Peppers, Matthews, Elliot, Neal and Perry to not let Tannehill outside. With Daniels pushing forward, look out!
The 'Phins miss Mike Pouncey. They better hope plays this week or else trouble will ensue. I anticipate that Pouncey will play.Especially if Samson Satele cannot play. They're vulnerable up the middle. Daryn Colledge and Shelley Smith will try to block Mike Daniels. If Daniels is hydrated, that'll be comical. I hear Smith might start over has Dallas Thomas, who has been awful. If either Samson Satele or Pouncey plays, they'll need to double on Daniels. All day. I'd like to see Datone Jones against this interior, but my guess is that Jones will be sidelined. I imagine that Josh Boyd's feisty pizzazz will be problematic for the Dolphins interior as well. Guion is in line for an opportunity to have another big game. Luther Robinson will be active, at home in Miami, and hungry to make an impact.
Branden Albert is a star at LT. Ja'Wuan James is a rookie. He played in the SEC, so he's used to playing against elite talent. But, he's never seen Julius Peppers before. Go get him, JP!
The Dolphins weapons are simple. Stick Sammy Swagga on Wallace. Don't let him get deep. No biting on double moves. Single coverage. Brian Hartline is a possession receiver. Stick T-Mon on him. Tell him to be aggressive. Jump routes. Give him help over the top in case of a double move. Philbin WILL test both CB's with double moves. He knows them too well. So, tell Sammy to be disciplined is his homecoming. Tell T-Mon to make the big play. Give T-Mon help, in case it's necessary. Hartline is a solid, underrated receiver who runs great routes. Brandon Gibson is a decent slot WR, but I fancy Hayward can have his way with him. I believe in Jarvis Landry. He has a bright future, but Davon House matches up well with him on the outside and T-Mon matches up well with him on the inside. Richard Matthews is also a noteworthy WR who can be tricky to defend. Dom will undoubtedly be watching like a hawk as to who the Dolphins are putting on the field. He will play the match-up game.
On 3rd down, watch Charles Clay. It wouldn't surprise me if Clay catches 5-7 balls. Philbin will get Clay open in the flat. I'd have Lattimore or Burnett and not AJ Hawk on Clay. They match-up better. Dion Sims better not do damage.
Lamar Miller can be lethal. He has breakaway speed. He's dangerous. He must be contained. Know shown Moreno is expected to be back. He'll be a solid change of pace back, who offers great versatility.
Defensively, the Dolphins can get to the QB. Cameron Wake scares me. Olivier Vernon can flat out ball. Randy Starks is legit. Jared Odrick plays with conviction. Philip Wheeler can run. Jelani Jenkins has been a better player than his college teammate, Bears LB, Jon Bostic. Koa Misi hasn't become the player I thought he might become. I wanted Louis Delmas. He loves to play GB. He can hit. Cortland Finnegan is a pest. Although Brent Grimes is still licking the wounds James Jones gave him in January of 2011, he has a nose for the big play. Jimmy Wilson has tackled well, but he'll be exposed.
It's big that Dion Jordan and Derrick Shelby won't be playing. The Dolphins depth is thin. Look for McCarthy to incorporate the run game early to preserve the defense and to tire the Miami front. The Miami rotation is light upfront.
Single back. 3 wide. Lacy. BOOM!
Single back. 3 wide. Play action to Adams on the pump fake for a big one. McCarthy wants this game. He has elite respect for Philbin. Philbin wants go beat his former mates. Badly. McCarthy has been saving an Adams double move. It comes this week. Adams shows the slant. Hungry for the big play, Grimes bites. Adams carries on deep. Rodgers hits him in stride. Adams has a TD.
Multiple times over the last 4 weeks, we've seen Adams on the slant. This week, that slant is a double move and a big play. Watch it.
Annoyingly, the Dolphins keep this thing close. They chip away with multiple 3-4 yard plays that sustain drives. They milk clock. They test our endurance. Capers fights fatigue with multiple substitutions. Again, we see confusion and wasted timeouts as the Packers struggle to find the right personnel defensively.
Once again, the Packers struggle on 3rd down as Wake and Vernon collapse the pocket.
But, a big Tannehill mistake occurs. The Packers take advantage as Rodgers and Nelson strike.
The Dolphins score late to make the score close. The Packers recover the onside kick.
To the many Packers fans that'll be in attendance, be careful. Dol-fans can pester. Intentionally. Smile. Acknowledge. Carry On. No need to respond. From my experiences, they're seeking a fight. More so than they do in Chicago and New York where the fans are more or less being loud to intimidate. Dol-fans will swing. Aggressively. Be smart. Enjoy. Let's own Sun Life Stadium this Sunday!
Go Pack Go!