Friday, October 30, 2015

My Take -> Week 8

Greetings, G-Force.

6-0! I'm amped! The Packers are COming to enjoy Western Skies. To the city that I've adopted as my own. They're COming to visit my crib in undefeated fashion. 6 and 0. That's a glorious feeling!

I'm in a celebratory mood. I'm sipping a Crooked Stave Progenitor Noir. It was bottled in March of this year. It carries a strong nose. It's a 6.2% ABV dry-hopped dark sour ale. It's full of goodness. Rich with citrus, but carrying a heavy wine feel. It's WILD! Much like the finish to the Packers victory over the Chargers!

Due to a sleeping baby, fittingly, I listen to Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" album. It's gentle. It's relaxing. It's calming. It also helps to temper my enthusiasm. At this stage, I'm so excited that I feel like I could take down Demaryius Thomas in the open field.

Here are some quick takes since I last wrote:

* The Packers gave up 503 yards passing and it was the defense that won the game. Amazing. But, right now, the 2015 version of the Green Bay Packers relies on its defense to win games. Not its offense. Who would've thought that? I certainly did not.

* Twice in the 4th Quarter, the Packers had the ball with a chance to grab a 2-score lead. I was looking for that CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE. Twice, the offense failed to deliver the 7 points that were necessary to seal the deal. Meanwhile, the Chargers had the ball 3 times in the 4th Quarter. They mustered up 3 points in those 3 drives. Defense, man. Defense. The Green Bay Packers are winning with defense.

* 11:10 to play in the 4th Quarter. Packers 24. Chargers 20. The Packers take over at their own 29. I text out to a couple of folks: "Now, we see what we're made of." 1st down: Lacy fumbles. Lang out hustles all. Somehow, he recovers the ball in a similar game saving effort as he had in Miami last year. Gotta love TJ Lang! Still, it's 2nd and 14. Rodgers gets sacked. 5 yard loss. 3rd & 19. Screen to Lacy for 12 yards. Punt. That was not Championship football.

* The MVP looks frustrated. It appears as though he needed a break. The bye came at a good time. Seems to me like he's pressing a bit. Maybe, it's the MVP that needs to R-E-L-A-X right now. It appears as though he went to Mexico to chill over the bye week. Good man. COme to the Rocky mountain state in a refreshed fashion, mate. It's GO time.

* Eddie Lacy. Man. Eddie. My boy. We need you. I write to you in what little patois that I know: Wah gwaan, Eddie? Galang mi bredren! Ju be Bumblebee. Dem yards are rice & peas. No need passa passa. Ease up. All be cook & curry. Natty, Mek We Dweet!

* It's clear that Rodgers doesn't trust Janis. But, was there a telling moment when Janis caught the 33 yard pass on 2 & 8 on a busted play late in the 3rd Quarter? Maybe. It was interesting to note that Rodgers was sprinting behind Janis and Janis ran down the field. And, Rodgers was the first to greet Janis after he got up. Three plays later - on 3rd & 5 - Rodgers went back to Janis. Janis drew a crucial penalty. I wonder if the busted play might turn out to be a turning point in their relationship. Janis isn't a WR that needs to be targeted 8 times a game. But, if he gets 3-5 targets, a big play could be waiting. As evidenced by the game against the Chargers. 2 receptions for 79 yards.

* I'm calling it: In the coming weeks, we'll see Aaron Rodgers on the read-option and he'll keep it. He's faked it a couple of times recently and it's been WIDE OPEN. Soon, it's coming and it'll be a 10-12 yard TD run.

* First run play of the game: Total treat to see TJ Lang get to the second level.

* James Starks running in XLV form is a thing of beauty. 10 carries, 112 yards. Displaying first-class vision. Running skinny and fitting thru tight holes. Great to see. The Green & Yellow Hornet stepped up in big fashion.

* Get well, Ty Montgomery. We need you! Plus, Ty, I want to continue to watch you shine. I want to continue to watch you grow into a wholly-rounded WR.

* 17-17. 3rd & 3. 3:08 to play in the 3rd. The Packers had lost all momentum. They go big with Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo, Kuhn, Starks, and James Jones as the potential targets. The ball goes to Kuhn in the flat. The drive resulted in a TD. I've said it before and I'll say it again. No reason he doesn't catch 2 balls a game. He'll move the sticks. The offense has relied too much on the big play. We've needed runs longer than 10 yards and passes longer than 15 yards. We need more plays that are netting 5-8 yards. We're not used to seeing a Packers offense that has 4 drives that end in a 3 and out.

* Randall Cobb has not been himself over the last couple of weeks. Hoping the bye week brought him health and rejuvenation.

* Once again, it was James Jones as the savior. This time on the back shoulder!

* Really wish the Packers could've applied the dagger on the final drive. Disappointing to see the last drive stall in the Red Zone. Richard Rodgers was open. The MVP just missed him.

* Hoping Davante Adams is at full strength this week.

* Good to see Jared Abbrederis with the ball in his hands on the Kickoff. He's worked hard to get to this point. Ran fearlessly. Kudos.

* Justin Perillo with the BIG 21 yard reception. Loved to see him go and get it!

* The offense needed that bye. Get rejuvenated. Refresh. Reset the mojo. Get back into the groove. Return to the juggernaut that has dominated the NFL for the majority of the last 8 years under Mike McCarthy. I almost wonder if McCarthy needs to be more involved in the offense.

* DATONE JONES! Getting his hands up and batting down a 3rd down pass. AND: 3rd & 7 from the Packers 40. 7:01 to play. Packers leading 24-20. Was there any doubt that Rivers would connect on a first down pass? And, if it were not a first down, he'd surely get the Chargers in FG position, right? WRONG! Datone! With a monster sack!

* Julius Peppers with another crucial sack. This time it was to stall a 3rd Quarter drive when it appeared that all momentum had slipped away and when it appeared as though the Chargers were going to take the lead.

* We need Raji's presence back in the rotation. He keeps legs fresh. Adds great depth to the DL.

* Good to see Guion active.

* Fun seeing Mike Pennel and Mike Neal in the mix to force a fumble.

* Great to see Mike Daniels and Mike Neal merge on a big sack!

* Throw the stats out the window! This defense ROSE TO THE OCCASION when they needed to.

* Joe Thomas has to wrap up on the sack. His inability to take down Rivers cost the Packers 3 points.

* CLAY! What a presence. Loved how Capers moved him around to try and confuse the SD attack.

* Nate Palmer loaded up the box score. But, he lacked impact plays. I think he needs to trust his instincts. He's in position. He just second guesses himself.

* Micah Hyde. Do we have a more sure tackler? He continues to play with a genius wisdom. He's so steady. Razor sharp in the mind.

* HaHa with the BOOM! The forearm shiver! Wicked! Pure bliss! Jarring the ball loose! Greatness! But, dude, can't get turned around on the deep ball. That was total amateurism.

* Sammy Swagga was in position. He just has to hold onto the ball. Can't waste those plays. Cost the Packers 3 points.

* Damarious Randall. From here on out, he's going to be targeted. He's going to be picked on. Thought he had solid coverage. He just didn't finish the play...until the final play! Kid made a LARGE play on the biggest play of the game. Baited Rivers. Got the jump. Made the game sealing play.

* Hayward has a big play pick coming. I can feel it. It's happening. And, I'm thinking it's a pick-6.

* Really like when Capers calls the CB blitz out of the slot. Don't love it being Hayward. Would like to see Rollins on a blitz out of the slot. Rollins is hungry to make a play.

* I'd prefer to not see Chris Banjo in coverage. Get healthy, Morgan Burnett.

* From a hands perspective: JC Tretter > Brandon Bostick.

* Mason Crosby. $$$.

* 6-0! Yes, 6-0! Two game lead in the Division with 10 to play! Like our position. McCarthy teams always look better in December than in September. We haven't always played perfect football, but in the end, the scoreboard has stared at the G-Force with beauty. Carry on, Titletown, U.S.A.

* Sir Charles shout-out! AFC Defensive Player of the Month. What a stallion. My favorite football player. Ever!

This week - it's the Donkeys! On Sunday Night Football! 6-0 v 6-0! And, the Donkeys are breaking out the 1997 jerseys. They'll be honoring the 1997 team. They'll also be placing Pat Bowlen into the Ring of Fame. Tickets are going for as much as $3,000. I couldn't be more stoked to be in attendance with my brother, Chad. Yes, the Packers are COming to Mile High in undefeated fashion. I can't get over that. On the radio today, the local hosts were bantering over how many Packers fans would be in attendance. Some were estimating that there could be as many as 30,000 Packers fans in attendance. They set the over/under at 20,000 fans. Mile High will be bleeding Green & Gold. Epic!

Sometimes you have to give props where props are due and thus I ask this question: Is Pat Bowlen the most under appreciated owner in NFL History? He was the Broncos majority owner for 30 years. In those 30 years, the Broncos went to 6 Super Bowls and only had 5 losing seasons. Fancy that.

This game is being billed as Rodgers vs Manning. They've met once before. It was 2008. At Lambeau. Manning took the Colts to Green Bay on a gorgeous October day. It was a celebration. Packers 34. Colts 14. Manning threw two interceptions that were returned for TD's.

Mile High is going to be electric. For any fans that will be in attendance, be sure that you get into the stadium at least 45 minutes early......

*** As most of my readers know, My Father has been producing games at Lambeau Field for the last 26 years. Yes, 26 years. Mac! He's my Dad! And, that dude belongs in the Packers Hall of Fame someday. I'm biased, sure. But, think of how prominent "BANG ON THE DRUM" is in Packers culture. That's Mac. Think of how prominent the baseline into the "GO PACK GO" chant is at Lambeau. I mean -- from a GameDay experience perspective -- they're synonymous. Aren't they? When you wake up on Sunday morning, what's the first base line that runs thru your head? Thought so. Mac. Packers Hall of Fame. Book it! Cool story: for Christmas one year, Todd Rundgren sent Mac a signed drum. That's legendary. Sorry for the rant. But, I love my Dad. He's a good man. He's a Father. A Brother. A Grandpa. And someday, he should be a Packers Hall of Famer. Also, if you go on a tour at Lambeau Field this year, be sure to ask for Mac to be your tour guide. And, when you get him, give him a fist bump and tell him that the BuzzBoy sent you.***, with that said, I know GameDay experiences. I was taught it by the best in the business. The Broncos do it right. I'm not going to spoil it for those that will be in attendance. But, trust that it's really freakin' cool and you do NOT want to miss it.

The Broncos play defense. They're littered with ballers. Von Miller and Demarcus Ware get the props. But, man, off the bench Shaquil Barrett gets to the QB. Derek Wolfe is a tough block on the DL. Sylvester Williams and Malik Jackson have been dominant. Antonio Smith and Vance Walker have been tremendous role players in the rotation. Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan are the best ILB combo in football. They're so versatile. They can get to the QB on the blitz. They're terrific in coverage. They're dominant in the run game. They play with speed. They play with power. Darian Stewart and TJ Ward are incredible run stoppers. Stewart attacks the run game from 10-12 yards deep as well as any safety in football. Alibi Talib has been a superstar all year. Chris Harris is as underrated as it gets at CB. He has shutdown CB skills. Bradley Roby has surprised me with how well he's developed as a slot CB. And, David Bruton is what the Packers had hoped Sean Richardson would become. Bruton has made a number of big plays this year. He almost looks like an undersized LB at Safety. This Broncos defense attacks the football. They break on the ball. They're susceptible to being beat on double moves and play-action. The Packers have to be creative, while looking to move the ball against this aggressive defense. Right now, Wade Phillips has this defense hitting on all cylinders. They've had a pension for making the big play and they're turning those big plays into points on what seems to be a weekly basis.

The Broncos offense is misunderstood. No, they haven't been dynamite like in years past. But, when they've needed to get points, they've gotten them. Late in the Ravens game, they engineered a drive that got them a FG. The same thing happened against MN. Against KC, they scored a TD to tie the game in the waning seconds. Down 20-16 in the middle of the 4th Quarter against the Browns, Manning hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 75 yard-TD over T-Mon. When this Broncos offense has been desperate to score, they've done it.

It's interesting. Thus far, Kubiak has often used Manning under center in an effort to establish the run game. But, the Broncos offensive line hasn't been able to open up holes for CJ Anderson or Ronnie Hillman. And, as Manning has been in his drop, he's had his back to the field, so he hasn't been able to survey the field like he's done throughout his career. In turn, he hasn't been as cerebral as years past. He hasn't been able to study the defense. Additionally, the Broncos OL has not been as talented as in years past. They have three journeymen in Evan Mathis, Louis Vasquez and Ryan Harris. Matt Paradis is a decent 2nd year Center and Ty Sambrailo is a developing rookie LT. Sambrailo hasn't played in this type of stage before.

The Broncos use a fair amount of TE sets with Owen Daniels and Virgil Green. Green is an athletic TE who can present mismatches. He's often used at FB and get himself into the flat. Owen Daniels is a well-oiled veteran who hasn't seemed to be in rhythm with Manning for most of the year. At WR, Demaryius Thomas is a superstar, but he's struggled this year. He's dropped more passes than normal. He hasn't been able to separate on the deep ball. And, he appears to be frustrated. On the other side, Emmanuel Sanders has blossomed into a Pro Bowl caliber WR. Sanders is Manning's go-to guy. On a big play, it's Sanders - not Thomas - who Manning will be looking to. Especially on third down. Sanders runs multiple go-routes. He'll test Damarious Randall's speed. Sanders is savvy. He's smart and he's been able to come up with another gear on the deep ball. Jordan Norwood is an undersized slot receiver who doesn't offer much. Bennie Fowler has good length and has been a decent receiver when called upon. Look for Cody Latimer to get his shot. Latimer has great length. He's big. He's fast. But, he hasn't gotten his shot. He's essentially the Broncos version of Jeff Janis. If Latimer gets a look, it'll move Sanders to the slot, which would give Denver three legitimate WR options.

I expect the Packers DL to dominate the Broncos OL. Especially on the interior. I'm hoping to see Clay coming with pressure between the Guard and Center throughout the game. These days - Manning can't get off his spot. And, the Broncos OL has had a tough time anchoring. With Daniels, Raji, Matthews and Jones applying pressure up the gut, I can envision Manning throwing a couple to us. He have to seize the day and finish the play.

I'd also like to see Jake Ryan applying pressure this week. In college, Ryan was a talented pass rusher. He came from the outside. He came from the inside. I'd like to show Manning a disguise that he hasn't seen with both Matthews and Ryan coming up the middle. It'd force the quick throw. Hopefully the DB's are ready to jump routes. If so, we could see a pick-6.

With Randall's injury, we might see Ladarius Gunter. If so, Manning will unquestionably test Gunter's speed with Sanders and/or Thomas. I wouldn't be excited about that match-up. Gunter might have the length, but he doesn't have the speed to run with either of them.

The game starts at a frantic pace. Both teams flying around the field. Led by the defenses. Both teams attempt to generate a run game early on. Neither team is successful. Clay is dominant as Hillman tries to get the corner. As CJ Anderson pounds between the tackles; Guion, Daniels, Pennel and Raji hold the point. Peppers bulls Sambrailo backwards to collapse the pocket. Jones flashes his quicknesses. To fight the altitude and to keep the troops fresh, the Packers consistently rotate the DL.

The Packers offense meets Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan. Trevathan and Marshall patrol the middle of the field. They limit Lacy's ground efforts. They d-up against Richard Rodgers. The Broncos crowd makes an impact.

From a points perspective, early on it's Mason Crosby vs Brandon McManus as the teams exchange FG's. Then, Cobb gets loose on a crossing route for 20 yards. And the Packers are in business. They find rhythm. Streaking multiple first downs. Lacy continues to try to pound against the heart of the Broncos defense. Slowly, but surely making his mark. And, then, once again, it's James Jones on the back shoulder. Aqib Talib cries for the push off, but it's not coming.

The Broncos put together a drive. Largely behind a big ball to Sanders. Manning finds Daniels for a short pick-up. He hits Green in the flat. It's Thomas on a crossing route. Hillman grabs 12 yards. Anderson punches for three. And then, it's Manning to Sanders to equalize.

This Packers team is built on defense. We win with defense. And, once again, our defense flexes their muscles. It's Hayward with a pick-6.

The Packers sack Manning 3 times. The Packers force two turnovers. Lacy carries it 20 times. Davante Adams catches 4 balls. Importantly, the Packers don't turn the ball over.

Packers fans gonna be crunk'd up. In Super fashion.

Packers 20. Broncos 16.

Lively Up Yourself. It's real.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

My Take -> Week 6

Greetings, G-Force.

5-0! Winning with defense! An tireless pursuit of the QB. Great defensive design. Attacking from all angles. Beating the Rams at their own brand of football. Great fun!

As I write, I marinate with a Crooked Stave Colorado Wild Sage Brett Saison. Brewed with White Sage and Lemongrass. 7.2% ABV. All ingredients are locally sourced. After pouring, it'll blaze a path across the whole palate. A funky lemon feel. It's wonderful.

It's late. So, the music is at a lower decibel than I normally play it. Michael Franti's "Song From the Front Porch" album is my selection. It's soothes with lyrical richness. And a joyful beat. "When you're lost and alone, it's when the rainbow comes for you." Perfectly stated. Over the last 6-plus weeks, as I've lived the emotional roller coaster of raising a preemie who is still on oxygen, there's been multiple moments in which I've felt both lost and alone. Yet life has continuously offered those blissful moments that present the proverbial Rainbow coming for me. And, "Sometimes, I feel like I could do anything." For me, Michael Franti is to music in the same light as Aaron Rodgers is to football.

Here are some quick vibes over the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. I have to remind myself of that. Frequently. Especially when I'm yearning for a bit of a conservative approach in hopes of playing the field position game. The defense is playing better football than the offense right now. The defense is our strength. I'd play more field position. But, I have to trust McCarthy. He normally has a strong pulse on his football team. And, I can't ever accuse him of being too aggressive. Because, historically, when he's been aggressive, good things have come to the Green Bay Packers.

* Michael Franti just sang: "The streets are alive." "All the Freaky People Make the Beauty of the World." "Stay Human." He must be talking about the vibe at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Through 3 home games, the crowd has been special. The stadium has been loud. The fans are making a clear difference. We're seeing false starts, Timeouts by the oppositions offense as the play clock winds down and we're seeing 5 yard delay of game penalties. Keep up the vibes, Lambeau!

* Aaron be nimble. Aaron be quick. Aaron jump over that first down stick. Rodgers decisively used his feet. He was active with his feet. He rightfully lost patience with his WR's and he looked for positive yards. His sigh of relief after the James Jones TD was telling.

* It was 14-0. Tim Masthay had a beauty of a punt that was going to sit pretty at the 2-yard line. Then, Jeff Janis went brainless. What was he thinking? Absolutely silly play by Janis. The type of play that shows why Aaron Rodgers doesn't trust Janis. And, frankly, it felt like it was a momentum changing play. The Rams immediately drove 80 yards for a TD.

* The Packers offense was pressing for most of the game. Felt like it'd have been wise to design a play to Kuhn in the flat. Give Rodgers something easy. In space. Try to get him into a rhythm. The WR's weren't getting separation. Richard Rodgers wasn't free.

* Clay Matthews. Becoming an artisan on the inside blitz. A master of the craft. Consistently providing a punishing pain to the oppositions QB. He's been as individually dominant as any defensive player that I've seen this year. He had 1.5 sacks and he was close to have 3.5 sacks. Clay is on the prowl. He's hungry for the football. Capers is moving him towards the line in stealth like fashion.

* Eddie Lacy. A lot of people that I talk to are disappointed in Lacy this year. I'm not going to extensively defend him, but I will say that he's had very little room to run. To me, he looks like he's still a little banged up. But, fret not, Lacy's play will improve as the weather turns. He's a mudder. He's going to have a big year. The bye week will treat him well. It's worth noting that after 5 weeks in 2013, Lacy had 270 yards (he missed one game during this stretch and missed most of another game with a concussion). After 5 weeks in 2014, Lacy had 267 yards. After 5 weeks in 2015, Lacy has 257 yards. He's going to eclipse 1,000 yards again this year. And, he'll likely top 1,100 yards.

* James Starks flashed as a receiver, but he, too, was nonexistent as a runner.

* It's been often said that one of Aaron Rodgers' keys to success is that he doesn't throw the ball down the middle of the field late in the play. But, man, at some point, you have to use the middle of the field. In fact, the two touchdowns were over the middle of the field on crossing routes. And, had Richard Rodgers held onto the ball on the crossing route, he, too, might have scored. Really think the Packers have to look at more crossing routes. Especially underneath the safeties. St. Louis seemed to be playing with a single high safety. The middle of the field was open.

* The Packers have to continue to find new ways to get Randall Cobb the ball.

* Ty Montgomery continues to grow in this offense. Rodgers depends on him. He trusts him. Loved the short slant diving catch on third down. He's a fighter. He plays with great desire.

* JAMES JONES! 5 weeks in a row! The guy keeps making plays. Rockin' hair. Bringing flavor to the Titletown, U.S.A. sideline. Dude looks so smooth.

* Richard Rodgers would like to forget last Sunday. Dropped pass. Multiple penalties. Dude still caught 6 balls, but it should've been 7 and a TD.

* Like the Justin Perillo promotion. He should help as a blocker in the run game. He is instantly our best blocking TE. He is also a reliable receiver.

* Was also interested to see Mitchell Henry added to the practice squad. Had he not been injured, he might've made a run at the 53 man roster. Also, if nothing else, hopefully, he can provide some inside insight as to how the Broncos will prepare for the Packers in a couple of weeks. He might able to offer opportunistic ideas as well.

* David Bakhtiari had his best game of the season.

* Well played, Josh Walker. As I've wrote previously, I think that this will be Donny Barclay's last year in Green Bay. He'll sign a contract elsewhere and the Packers will receive a compensatory pick. If Walker plays like that and if he can slide to Tackle in a time of need - both big if's - the Packers won't be overly pained with losing Barclay.

* Josh Sitton & Corey Linsley anchored well.

* Ty Montgomery tossing defenders to the turf with the stiff arm is a beautiful thing!

* TJ Lang is ridiculously tough. A gamer. A throwback.

* Davante Adams needs to get healthy.

* The fake punt was so predictable. The Packers had it covered. Demetri Goodson slipped. What a mess. Goodson seems dispensable at this point.

* The DL rotation is thick. Great depth. And, Capers is doing a great job rotating the line and keeping the troops fresh. All made impact plays last week. They consistently knocked Foles off his spot and kept him uncomfortable.

* Mike Daniels showed tremendous burst. He was active. 8 tackles. 7 of them were solo. 1 tackle for loss. And, multiple pressures on Foles.

* Julius Peppers on the bull rush was a beautiful thing. He looks really quick. Quicker than last year on the pass rush. Soon - we could see him drop into coverage and - if the timing is right - a big play could follow. 4.5 sacks so far for Peppers!

* When BJ Raji gives the punch jab, you're going backwards by at least a yard. Nearly every time. Another dominant performance at the line of scrimmage by Raji. Get healthy, man.

* Bummed that Nick Perry got hurt. Not surprised, but he was playing the best football of his career. Heavy in pursuit.

* BJ Guion continues to bring both force and attitude. Dude is strong.

* Mike Pennel is no fluke. He's holding the point of attack almost every play that he's on the field. And, he's finishing plays.

* Datone Jones applying pressure! Slippery in the pass rush! Getting in Foles' face and forcing the turnover. And, a huge blocked FG! Jones is coming of age.

* Mike Neal played really well. He held the point. He won his battle. He found himself in the backfield. He knifed his way through a couple of times with great form.

* Jayrone Elliott! No flash plays, but I thought he played really well. Looked great chasing down runs from the backside. Loved the speed rush that forced Foles to step up in the pocket. He did all of the little things right. He has more big plays coming.

* Nate Palmer continues to struggle. He's a big body. But, he doesn't react well. He looks lost. He's out of position. He gets eaten up. He's giving great effort, but he's not strong enough. When YELLOW JAKE is healthy, which it appears he is, I'd like to see him in the middle of the field lined up next to the Claymaker. YELLOW JAKE has a history of rushing the passer at the college level. I'd like to see YELLOW JAKE and Clay lined up next to each other with both of them coming on the blitz via a stunt. Good things would happen. I also think that YELLOW JAKE is more instinctive than Palmer. He's more of a natural on the inside. As the season grows, I expect to see less of Palmer and more of YELLOW JAKE.

* Joe Thomas is playing really good football. He's aware. Really wished he'd have picked off the pass at the goal line, but happy that Ha Ha was on the spot to clean up his mess. From what I see, it appears as though Thomas is consistently assignment-sure.

* It won't show up in the box score, but in limited action, Andy Mulumba played really well in the run game. Won his battle, held the point and extended the play towards the sideline.

* Happy for Ha Ha. He had a good game as a tackler. Thought he had a bogus PI call on him. But, the interception in the end zone was golden.

* Micah Hyde was a dynamite tackler.

* Both Ha Ha and Hyde seem to be playing faster than they have in the past. They've both played really well in Morgan Burnett's absence.

* Another game in which Damarious Randall had his hands on a ball. He's looking the part.

* Quinten Rollins. Q! Monster pick-6. Welcome to the Lambeau Leap club! And, a second pick to go along with it! Really like the way Rollins plays the run. Could develop into an ideal slot CB. Sure, he got torched by Stedman Bailey for a big play, but those things will happen during the course of a year.

* Sammy Swagga! Big pimpin' the yellow shoes. It's fashion. It's flair. It's confidence. And, Sammy has his Swagga back. Playing sensational!

* Really liked Casey Hayward's intensity and aggressiveness. Said it last week: he has a big playing coming soon.

* Through 5 weeks, this defense looks worthy of being a champion. Let's hope it continues.

* Side note: Nico Marley, LB, Tulane. Undersized. 5-10. 210. Only a Junior. But, if somehow, someway, he ends up in Green Bay, I'll have his jersey. He's the Grandson of Bob Marley. And the guy balls with quickness.

This week - it is the Chargers. At Lambeau Field. I always love the October afternoon games at Lambeau. The temperatures will cool in the 2nd half as the sun sets and it gives a great feel of Football Season. Those games were always a highlight for me when I lived in Wisconsin. Sunday afternoon will be one of those days in which I'll miss the Dairyland State. There's no place I'd rather be than at Lambeau Field this Sunday afternoon. It'll be a grandiose celebration.

The Chargers are typically a team that play to the level of their competition. They're well coached. Mike McCoy is an up and coming, bright football mind. He'll have his team ready. Philip Rivers is a fiery competitor who'll try to attack the Packers on essentially 5 different routes: The deep crossing route to Floyd, the 10 yard come-back to Allen on the the perimeter, a short curl to Gates over the middle of the field, a post-corner to Gates and the swing pass to Danny Woodhead. They're a fairly predictable offense. But, they have talented players. Gates is one of the best TE's to ever play the game. And, he's still a difficult cover. Keenan Allen is a physical presence on the outside. He runs a lot of underneath crossing routes, but largely, he's going to be running comeback routes. He's strong and tough to bring down. Malcom Floyd is a long strider. He'll try to get over the top of the defense and he'll run a number of deep crossing routes. Stevie Johnson is doubtful and unlikely to play. Jacoby Jones isn't the receiver that he once was, but he's still a dependable return man. Danny Woodhead is dangerous. He finds his way into space. He can still slash. It's always uncomfortable when he has the ball. I'm shocked that Melvin Gordon hasn't unleashed himself. He looks like he's running without confidence. I was positive that Gordon would have a stellar rookie year. Let's hope that he holds off for another week.

The Chargers OL is beat up. Starting LT, King Dunlap, is out. His back-up, Chris Hairston, is questionable. Starting LG, Orlando Franklin, is questionable. Starting C, Chris Watt, is out. Starting RG, DJ Fluker, is questionable. Starting RT, Joe Barksdale, is a journey man who can be beaten with both speed and a powerful bull rush. I fully expect the Packers DL to terrorize the Chargers OL.

Defensively, the Chargers will bring pressure. Melvin Ingram is on the brink of becoming an elite pass rusher. His speed will present problems. Kyle Emanuel has been a pleasant surprise as a pass rusher. Jeremiah Attaochu can disrupt as well. On the DL, Corey Liuget is legit. Kendall Reyes is inconsistent, but he flashes. Manti Te'o has had a good year, but he, too, is hurt and might not play. If he doesn't, Denzel Perryman will get the start. Some may recall that Perryman was pegged as a potential target for the Packers in last years draft. He's undersized and not overly fleet of foot, but he brings the boom when he hits you. I've always thought highly of Brandon Flowers, but he got torched on MNF against the Steelers. Jaleel Addae is undersized, but plays bigger than he looks. Eric Weddle is as good as it gets at Free Safety. I'm really surprised at how well Jason Verrett has played. He'll likely blanket Randall Cobb for most of the game. Patrick Robinson cannot cover James Jones.

If the Packers can take care of the football, I cannot imagine a scenario in which the Chargers win this football game. A turnover free game will net a victory. Without question.

The Packers start out fast. Lambeau is electric. The crowd is rocking. The Packers pound the football at the teeth of the Chargers defense. It's Lacy grabbing yards in bunches. It's Rodgers to Rodgers on the crossing route for a big play. It's Rodgers to Jones on a back-shoulder pass for a TD.

The Packers DL dominates the line of scrimmage. Clay breaks through on a blitz up the middle and tosses Rivers to the turf. Rivers gets rattled. He's frustrated. He's annoyed. It's clear. It's present. The Packers DL talks loudly. Lambeau gets even more rowdy.

Rodgers comes play action. He rolls right. It's James Jones on a deep ball.

Casey Hayward grabs a pick-6.

San Diego rallies late. It's harmless everywhere except in the box score.

Lacy tops 100 yards. Jones grabs two more TD's. The Packers lock down 5 more sacks and force 2 more turnovers.

Green Bay 30. San Diego 20.

The Packers at 6-0. It's fall. It's Football Season. It's Titletown, U.S.A. Make it festive. Vibe On.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My Take -> Week 5

Greetings, G-Force.

4-0! A 2 game lead over the rest of the field in the NFC North! With the next 2 games at Lambeau! Carpe diem, Titletown, U.S.A.

As I write, I sip a Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale. What a perfectly concocted beer! Sweet like a piece of caramel candy. It's 9.5%, but the booze is well disguised. It's a mouthful. Almost to the point that it feels like you can chew it. If this beer can still be found on shelves in America's Dairyland, be sure to grab it! I give it a 10 out of 10.

Musically, Toots & The Maytals' "Never Grow Old" vinyl spins. Partially selected due to the brilliance of Sir Charles Woodson. It is his Birthday week. 62 interceptions. Again, he rips off Ray Nutler! It was magical. Nearly brought a tear to my eye. That man never gets old. And, for old times sake I remind you of his greatness: Heisman Trophy. National Champion. Defensive Rookie of the Year. Defensive Player of the Year. Super Bowl Champion. The ONE speech. The first player to notch 60 interceptions and 20 sacks in a career.

I can't help but - once again - post that words to that epic speech:

"Think about one thing. One. For two weeks, two weeks, think about one. One mind. Let's be one heartbeat. One purpose. One goal. One more game. One. Let's get it! And check this. President [Barack Obama] don't want to come watch us play in the Super Bowl? Guess what? Guess what? We'll go see him. White House on three. One, two, three. White House!"

May the Good Lord always shine his light on Sir Charles Woodson.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* I have to remind myself that an aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Twice on the last drive of the 2nd Quarter, the Packers went for it on 4th & 1. Both times, I wished they hadn't. I guess that I was practicing amateurism. McCarthy had his finger on the pulse of the game better than I did. On the first 4th & 1, I'd have played field position. Clinging to a 7-3 lead, I feared that the 49ers would get the stop and have an opportunity to get the ball near midfield with a shot to take the lead before the half. And, on the second 4th & 1, I didn't think McCarthy should risk leaving points on the field. As it turned out, he settled for a FG any ways and Crosby missed it, so it didn't matter what McCarthy chose to do.

* Even when Aaron Rodgers isn't robotic, he's still Superhuman. Have to wonder how his game would've changed if Ty Montgomery had held onto the ball on the opening pass down the sidelines. Rodgers' play fake on the play was fantastic. Fooled everyone.

* Total treat to see McCarthy and Clements put Montgomery and Cobb in the backfield early in the game. The Packers wanted this game. Badly. They weren't going to leave anything off the table. It was important to show disguise early.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Toughing it out. 90 bruising yards on 18 carries. 5 yards per attempt. All physical. A grind-it-out performance from EDDIE!

* Starks was steady. Thought he missed the hole on the 8 yard screen to the outside. Seemed as though Sitton held his block to the outside. It also appeared as though Jones had the DB pushed to allow an alley for Starks to run through. Might have been a missed opportunity for a big play.

* Was good to see KUUUUHHHNNNN involved in the passing game. I thought we might see more of that early on. With all of the options that the Packers possess, it's easy for a defense to overlook Kuhn. Don't be surprised if we start to see more underneath passes to Kuhn on the roll-out.

* The FB Dive was back. And, this time it netted 6 points!

* Knew the 49ers Defense would come out possessed. Didn't think they'd out physical the interior of the OL as much as they did. Sutton, Linsley and Lang were moved backwards more than they've been all year. Limited Rodgers' passing lanes. Forced him to escape earlier than he'd like to.

* Donny Barclay was solid for 3 Quarters. Then, he got absolutely worked in the 4th Quarter. Still, the Packers are 3-0 with Barclay as the starting RT. And, considering Barclay has received little-to-no help, he's played admirably. For the most part.

* Bakhtiari is rock solid.

* Richard Rodgers is quietly becoming one of the most consistent players on the team. Wish his routes were three yards deeper than they're currently being run, but he's the check-down receiver on most plays. And, clearly, the MVP has full-trust in him. But, as a blocker, he's consistently exposed.

* The Rodgers to Rodgers TD. OH MY! First of all, pure brilliance by the MVP to escape. And then to roll to his left to create time. Then, Richard Rodgers' presence of mind to find the hole in the defense. Great camaraderie. He's turning into a legitimate Red Zone target. As I've said all along, he's catching a minimum of 6 TD's this year and don't be surprised if he grabs 10 TD's.

* Do a little dance, James Jones. Marvelous footwork along the sidelines. The vet continues to shine. Even in the pink wrists. Personally, I prefer the yellow wrists.

* Randall Cobb leaving it all out on the field. Brute toughness. First-class hustle. Overly determined. Blessed to have him in Green & Gold.

* Ty Montgomery continues to warrant targets. When he touches the ball, good things happen.

* Good to see Kennard Backman scuffling it up.

* Banjo, Janis, Palmer and Ripkowski each made their presence felt on special teams. Janis, once again, was very impressive as a gunner.

* It was reported that Jayrone's Elliott's nickname is "Shakespeare" because all he does is make plays. Great sack by the rising youngster. Can't wait for him to be allowed to fully act on instinct, so that we can see him try to win with a speed rush around the edge. It seemed as though he was being used in contain mode yet his burst was enough to get him to the QB. His role has to continue to increase.

* Julius Peppers is a monstrous presence at DT in the middle of the field.

* BJ RAJI! Remains in XLV form. Loved his hustle. His pursuit was exceptional. He was a force in the middle of the defense.

* Letroy Guion going spiritual gangsta after the play. Bringing attitude.

* Datone Jones continues to eat up blockers and finish plays. He's undoubtedly playing the best football of his short career.

* Mike Neal with the CRUCIAL sack!

* Mike Daniels grinds. He's tireless. He's passionate. He won't be denied.

* The CLAYMAKER! What a fantastic performance! Consistently disruptive. Showing elite speed and power up the gut. He got in Kaepernick's head early. He stayed in Kaepernick's head often. Great game by Clay.

* Joe Thomas continues to impress. Knocked the ball loose inside the Red Zone. Would have been great to see the Packers recover it, but nonetheless, good to see the ball on the ground.

* Like Datone Jones, Nick Perry is playing the best football of his career. Two sacks. Consistent pressure. Working until the whistle. Finishing plays with intensity.

* Nate Palmer with his best game of the year. He was around the football. Even with his size he lacks strength, but his heart can't be questioned.

* SAMMY SWAGGA! FLASH THAT SMILE! BRING SWAGGA TO THAT SECONDARY! He gambled on his interception. He guess right. And, he showed the athleticism required to go up and get it! Big play from Sammy Swagga!

* Quinten Rollins is an aggressive tackler. He hits with conviction. Fearless.

* My guess is that SHOWCASE, Casey Hayward, has a big play coming. Likely in the next two weeks.

* Damarious Randall was tested. He was up for the challenge. Even when he was beat, he had good coverage. Loved his patience and composure on the pass defensed in the end zone. Didn't look like a veteran on the play. He'll continue to see increased opportunities to make big plays.

* Micah Hyde. Trustworthy. In the right place. Tremendous role player.

* HaHa with his best game of the year. Remarkable job of defending the read-option. He was all over Kaepernick on the outside. As Clay pursued Kaepernick up the middle, Kaepernick was flushed to the outside. HaHa was waiting. And, he was a sure tackler. Liked seeing HaHa on the outside run blitz as well.

* Dom Capers, yo! DOM CAPERS. Great design. Kept Kaepernick uneasy. Monstrous mental win for Dom and the Packers locker room.

* Sad to see that Sean Richardson's career might have come to a close with another neck injury. Seems like a great teammate. Wish him great health.

* It has been magical to watch the Packers offense consistently take advantage of penalties by the defense. Whether it be via a free play or a defensive holding penalty, if you give the Packers offense an extra set of downs, this team is going to capitalize. We might need a couple of freebies this weekend against the Rams.

* This team is playing with great confidence. An aggressive gait permeates around this team. Exuding goodness. A healthy aura. If the team stays healthy, it feels like something special is brewing. But, health is key.

* Mike McCarthy teams always improve as the year goes along. We've yet to see this teams best football.

This week - it's the St Louis Rams. At Lambeau. The first noon kickoff of the year at Lambeau. The game will provide a major test for the Packers. And, frankly, I'm nervous. Just like in past years, the best way to defend the 2015 Green Bay Packers is to rush 4. Hope you get pressure. Jam the WR's at the line. Slow down the timing. Keep everything in front of you. And, then, offensively, keep Rodgers off of the field. Run the football. Don't turn the ball over. Play possession football. And, if you have to punt, do it. I could argue that no one applies this strategy better than the Jeff Fisher led St Louis Rams.

Offensively, the Rams will look to play possession football. They'll pound Todd Gurley. Early and often. They'll try to out-muscle the Packers DL. The Rams will also look to play action. Expect to see Nick Foles rolling to his right. Jared Cook is an under appreciated TE. He's a weapon. Lance Kendricks creates mismatches with his size/speed combination. Kendricks can stretch the field. Tavon Austin is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He's elusive and he's only satisfied with game-altering plays. He's a dangerous kick returner. Stedman Bailey is steady. A sure route runner. Solid hands. A tough cover. Kenny Britt presents a physical presence who can get over the top. The St Louis OL will try to bully the Packers with attitude. They'll be physical, but can be beaten with speed around the edges.

Defensively, the Rams Front 4 is absolutely terrific. Chris Long, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn. That's fearsome. 'Nuff said. James Laurinaitis is an intelligent, tough-minded ILB that perfectly fits the persona of the Rams defense. Akeem Ayers has been inconsistent as a pro, but I've always been a fan of his game. He's often around the football. They'll miss Alec Ogletree who went out with an injury. The secondary is underrated. Janoris Jenkins and Lamarcus Joyner are undersized, but they're physical. And, they're confident. Trumaine Johnson is rough at the line of scrimmage. He gets his hands on WR's and alters routes with physicality. TJ McDonald and Rodney McLeod aren't fleet of foot but their well positioned and will often play deep in order to prevent anything over the top.

It'll be interesting to see how rowdy the Lambeau Faithful elevates this Sunday. In the two previous games, the crowd has been fantastic. But, they were both prime time games. This game is a Sunday afternoon game. There's no national audience. It's not under the lights. It'll be up to the crowd to try and make things difficult for the St Louis offense. Get up, Lambeau. Be proud. Be loud!

Early on, St Louis slows the game down. Grabs yardage on the ground. Gurley pulls Palmer for extra yards. Jared Cook gets loose in secondary. But, the Packers hold to 3. The Packers respond. It's EDDIE and Richard Rodgers making up the majority of the yardage. And, then, it's the MVP to James Jones on a back-shoulder pass for a TD.

The Rams front 4 gives the Packers trouble. But, Eddie Lacy continues to grab yards. The Packers patience is tested on offense. The Rams move the football as Gurley eats yards. The Packers neutralize Austin, but Kendricks and Cook make plays. Randall quiets Britt. Hayward makes a play on Bailey.

Cobb catches 5 balls. Lacy runs for 85. Richard Rodgers catches 6 balls. James Jones catches 4 balls. The MVP adds two TD's.

The Packers win a frustrating, nail biter.

Odd gut feeling: The Packers bust up a fake punt attempt by the Rams.

Packers 20. Rams 19.

I didn't get as far as I'd to have gotten on my 2016 Packers Mock Draft, but here's where I'm at so far. And, as always, I only comment if I've given a thorough study of the player. There are a number of Juniors that I have my eye on that I'm less convinced will declare as anyone that I've listed below. In those cases, I've excluded them from my mock. I'm struggling to find CB's that I'm infatuated with. Like usual, I haven't given attention to OL draft picks. I've given the Packers an extra 4th and a 5th as compensatory picks.

Round 1: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State. I see him translating to an ILB role in a 3-4. Great speed. Pension for making the big play. Others: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (even with the injury); Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama; Su'a Cravens, LB, USC; Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU (if he's on the board, he's the pick, but I believe he'll be off the board before the Packers select at #32.

Round 2: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama. Would be a great compliment to Eddie. Has the mudders stride. A gamer. Shows up when the lights are on. Others: Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU; Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee; Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia; Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida.

Round 3: Deon Bush, S, []_[]. Tough minded athlete who plays the ball. Physical tackler. Other: Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Mizzou.

Round 4: Wayne Lyons, CB, Michigan. Have the size that the Packers target at CB. Can turn and run. Not afraid to get his hands on the WR. Sure tackler. Physical player. Others: Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma; Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple; William Jackson III, CB, Houston.

Round 4: Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado. Outside of Jordon Nelson, the Packers lack a deep threat. Spruce can stretch the field. Great hands. Extremely productive throughout his career. Would fit into the culture of the Green Bay locker room. Other: D'haquille Williams, WR, Auburn (1st round talent, but off field issues; Chris Brown, WR, ND.

Round 5: Bronson Kaufusi, OLB/DE, BYU. Great athlete. Tireless in pursuit of QB. Needs work dropping in coverage, but carries his weight well and is nimble for his size.

Round 5: Jake McGee, TE, Florida. Willing in-line blocker. Excellent receiver. Finds the holes in the defense and sits down. Can line out on the outside and run effectively. Dangerous red zone target. Huge upside. Other: Jake Duzey, TE, Iowa.

Round 6: Antonio Longino, ILB, ASU. Love the way he blitzes from the inside. Shows leadership qualities. Energizes the defense. Plays with excitement. Plays fast. Others: Pete Robertson, LB, Texas Tech; Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan; Anthony Sarao, ILB, USC.

Round 7: KJ Dillon, S, West Virginia. Confidently steps into the slot and will run with any WR. Can play FS or SS. Not afraid to step into the box and get physical. Like Dillon's return ability as well. Taking Dillon over Geno Matias-Smith, S, Alabama. Matias-Smith can cover in the slot. Former CB. Willing pursuer in the run game. Finds the football. Other: Raphael Kirby, LB, []_[]; Deion Jones, LB, LSU; Juston Burris, CB, NC State; Joshua Perkins, TE, Washington; Noah Spence, OLB,Eastern Kentucky.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Take -> Week 4

Greetings, G-Force.

I believe in the rising sun. I believe in the energy of the moon. I believe that love is the diamond that sparkles in the sky. I believe that music is hydration when the mouth is dry. I believe that the heartbeat is the rhythm which lights the night. I believe that a smile offers the joy that brings life its light. I believe that while the Ocean has a pulse which rushes a rapid flow; a Mountain is the King of all we wished we'd know. I also believe that a healthy Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay Packers team can beat anyone, anywhere. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is the unquestioned MVP of the NFL. Fittingly, he's the LEADER OF THE PACK. Aaron Rodgers. MVP.

I've spent the last month of my life in the NICU. Writing a blog wasn't my top priority. There were many occasions in which I almost skipped the Week. I've been emotionally and mentally beat-up. Life was taxing. I'm not a journalist. I'm a blogger. And, I thank you - my reader - for liking and sharing this blog on Facebook. I thank you for commenting beneath my Facebook posts. I thank you for Retweeting or Favoriting my tweets. There was a 50% increase in readership from Week 3 of this year compared to Week 3 of last year. If you weren't reading, I wouldn't be writing. And, candidly, there are many weeks in which I wonder if I should continue writing. But, I love the Green Bay Packers. And, I enjoy talking Packers with each of you. Also, I'm happy to report that my Son is healthy and home with my Family. Life feels whole. Oh, and the Packers are 3-0. The Packers have already laid down TRUMP CARD at Soldier Field. They've already rid themselves of evil Seahawk demons. And, they've showed complete dominance over a very talented Kansas City Chiefs football team. Life is full of good things.

Beer tastes good. Especially when you pour an Oculus. If you're into the beer trading/beer cellaring thing; it is a must to sip on a Crooked Stave Oculus. Since I don't want to go too bold, I'll say that it's among the top 10 beers that I've ever sipped. It's likely top 5. I drank one this week. Fall is approaching in Denver. We're expecting the first Saturday of October to have highs in the low-70's with low's in the mid-50's. A 60 degree day in October requires two beers: The Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin followed by the Avery Kaiser, which is an Imperial Octoberfest. If you can get your hands on this back-to-back combination, do so. In my opinion, they're both best of class.

As I spent the last month in the NICU, I listened to a lot of Soundcloud. Well, one morning at 2:00, I was itching to listen to the Bunny Wailer Liberation album. I searched "Liberation Bunny" in my Soundcloud app. The DJ Ray Ranking's Cool Reggae Vibes Vol 2 pulled up. If you like Reggae music, this compilation is a must listen. A bunch of old compilations like Alton Ellis' "Loving You", "I'm Just a Guy" and "Son of Man", John Holt's "Ali Baba" and "For the Love of You", Marley's "There She Goes", Errol Dunkley's "Love Me Forever" and Barrington Levy's "Bad Boys" to name a few.

I write with joy.

Here are a my quick vibes over the last week:

* Mike McCarthy. Like the aggressive approach. Great strategy. Attack, attack, attack. But, man, up 14-0. There's no reason to go for it on 4th and 5. Punt the ball. Force the Chiefs to go 90+ yards. At that stage of the game, there was no chance of the Chiefs sustaining a drive. McCarthy went arrogant. There's a difference between arrogance and aggressive. McCarthy went arrogant. And, he gave Kansas City hope. They translated the momentum into a TD scoring drive, which gave them life at 14-7.

* The Kansas City Chiefs have a very talented defense. They gave up 304 yards, 20 1st downs and 24 points IN THE FIRST HALF! Yes, in the first half, the Packers absolutely destroyed the KC defense. The Packers treated the Chiefs defense like they were ribs at Joe's Kansas City BBQ; they smoked them!


* If you overlooked the Packers huddle with 8:09 left in the first quarter, you have to go back and watch the game on your DVR. Up 7-0. The first Packers TD was a pass from Rodgers to Ty Montgomery. The Packers take over at their own 11. Rodgers is caught on video giving Ty Montgomery the love. Rodgers is keeping the young rookie loose. He's building camaraderie. Developing the rookie. Teaching the rookie the ways of Titletown, U.S.A. He's nudging him as he speaks to him. The serious Montgomery face quickly turns into a playful one. This is the type of camaraderie that will take a team to new heights. It's also a great display of Rodgers' Leadership qualities.

* Eddie Lacy. Just gutting it out. Playing thru pain. Performing at a high level.

* The screen play is on full-display. Back in the arsenal of the Green Bay Packers. Love seeing Starks and Lacy attacking the secondary with a full head of steam.

* Randall Cobb. Pure brilliance. Exceptional at making defenders miss in the open field. In complete mental unison with the MVP. Unstoppable.

* My favorite play of the game: Just under 10 minutes to play in the 3rd Quarter. Packers leading 24-7. Ball at their own 5. Rodgers drops back to pass. Out of shotgun. In the no huddle. KC gets a solid rush. But, cool as a cucumber marinating in hot sauce, Rodgers slides to his left and rifles a dart to Cobb who makes his man miss. 29 yards later, it was 1st and 10 from the 34. Brilliant!

* James Jones. YELLOW WRISTS! Playing the best football of his career. With just shy of 20 yards per catch. Winning the ball in the air. Finding the end zone. He's a confident fashion statement right now. And, I'm really liking it.

* Love the way Richard Rodgers casts his web. He boxes out. He presents a target. He's a weapon as a receiver. Still waiting for him to take the next step as a blocker.

* James Starks is running hard. Regardless of what the stats say.

* Alonzo Harris! I really like this kid. Hope he can master the blitz pick-up. If so, he has a future. He is a solid one-cut runner. He sees the hole and he hits it.

* After a lackluster 1st drive, I liked the creativity on the reverse to Cobb.

* Bakhtiari, Sitton, Linsley, Lang and Barclay. All played well. Barclay is earning himself a starting paycheck somewhere next year.

* Really bummed about the injury to AQ81. He is by far our best in-line blocker as a TE. Not sure how that piece of the offense will be replaced. Richard Rodgers hasn't developed as a blocker. Backman wasn't a fierce blocker in the preseason. In short yardage situations, I expect Tretter to step into a TE role as an extra blocker, but we only saw moderate success in that formation last year. AQ81 is a trusted target for Rodgers. He'll be missed. The Packers needed to put him on the IR - Designated to Return list as they had to create room for Guion. But, I also wonder if they shouldn't promote Perillo from the Practice Squad. Perillo has been a steady blocker and he knows the offense. To create room, I wonder if they couldn't IR the oft-injured Demetri Goodson. The Packers have strength in numbers at CB right now. After all, Gunter and Rollins aren't even seeing the field on the defensive side of the ball. And, with Jeff Janis' improved special teams play, Goodson's value on special teams has diminished.

* Jeff Janis. Man. Seriously, dude. Janis. Come on, bro. Catch yourself. Thought he was loose on the deep ball. But, I felt as though he ran a poor route. Needed to take it up the field. Instead, he ran it towards the sideline and thus, he gave Rodgers no room to hit him. Also, the penalty was inexcusable.

* The MVP is an absolute scholar. A true football student. He has no tolerance for intellectual incompetency. We saw that first-hand with the frustration he showed with Janis. He doesn't trust Janis. I wonder if he trusts Backman? Does Backman have a football IQ? If so, we could see some double TE formations. With Richard Rodgers sitting down on a short route, while Backman stretches the middle of the field.

* Props to Janis though. Guy has balled out on special teams. Feels like he could block a punt sometime soon. And, as a gunner, he's been stellar. He's showing classic Ted Thompson "Football Player" characteristics.

* Get healthy, Davante Adams. It's not a sprint. It's a marathon. I'd rest him until after the bye. Appreciate his guts. But, now, it's time to be smart. Rest up.


* Mike Daniels! Working for a pay check. Balling in middle of the field.

* Mike Pennel locking down in the run game. Stout. Holding the point of attack.

* THE CLAYMAKER! WHAT A BALLER, DUDE! GREAT PERFORMANCE. Strong in the run game. Intense in the pass rush. Riveting energy throughout.

* Thought Chris Banjo had a pick 6. Broke on the ball. Didn't finish the job.

* Dance Micah, dance. He's breaking a punt return soon.

* The Packers had 7 sacks on the game. And 9 QB Hits. Peppers had 0. Good to see others applying pressure. I like how the Packers are using Peppers at DT on pass rushing downs. Stick with it. He has a big play coming soon.

* Datone Jones is getting a push nearly every play that he's on the field. He's playing his best football.

* Liked seeing Nate Palmer shed the block and take down Charles in the open field. Would have been a big play had he not finished it.

* JOE THOMAS! Not a perfect game. He missed some tackles. But, he gave great energy. And, he comes with force on the pass rush up the middle. Gets a much better push than Palmer who seems to get stood up.

* Jayrone Elliott! I want to see more. When he's on the field, go things seem to happen. Act on instincts, Jayrone. Don't think. Just go. You'll continue to get home.

* Sammy Swagga with the pick! Love his smile. He might have the best smile on the team.

* Casey Hayward with his best game of the year.

* Great drive blocking by Alonzo Harris and Joe Thomas on the opening kickoff. Added 5-7 yards to the return.

* Massive props to the Lambeau faithful. The crowd was rocking. Another great performance. It's great to see the crowd standing on a 2nd down in the 3rd Quarter. Leading 24-7. This was not happening in the recent past. It needs to continue. It's creating magic. It's truly giving a home field advantage. EXCITING!

* Mason Crosby. Beauty, dude.

* I'll be watching a fair amount of college football this weekend. I'll have a 2016 MOCK DRAFT next week.

3-0. A stronghold over the NFC North. With a chance to dethrone the final demon that exists inside the home team locker room at 1265 Lombardi Ave. His name is Colin Kaepernick. A victory would provide a huge mental boost.

This years version of the 49ers isn't the same team that we've seen from SF over the last 4 years. While they'll likely be a better home team than a road team, they've been pushed around over the last two weeks. We're used to the 49ers bullying opponents. That hasn't been the case since their MNF opener in Week 1. Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith have had trouble separating. Vernon Davis has been banged up. He's unlikely to play this week and will be replaced by Vance McDonald. McDonald is a decent blocking TE with above-average hands, but he's nowhere near Vernon Davis. The 49ers will get Reggie Bush back this week after he's missed the last two games. Carlos Hyde will carry the bulk of the load. Jarryd Hayne is a cute story, but the Aussie doesn't scare me as a punt returner nor as a RB out of the backfield. The 49ers still have a top-flight left side of the OL with Joe Staley and Alex Boone. Marcus Martin is a legit C. But, with Jordan Devey and Erik Pears on the right side, they can be beaten.

The SF defense will hit you. Sure, they've lost the Smith boys up front. But, they still attack with a ferocious intent. Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch can both win with either speed or strength. Glenn Dorsey is playing good football on the DL. Navarro Bowman is...Navarro Bowman. Michael Wilhoite is underrated. I wish Wilhoite was in Green Bay. He can play the run and the pass at high levels. Tramaine Brock, Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid all hit with a punch. They play fast and they look to deliver punishment. But, all three can be beaten over the top on the deep ball. Kenneth Acker is going to get torched if the Packers can provide the MVP with protection.

The Packers should come out in aggressive fashion. 3 WR. A TE. Single back. Hurry up. Rodgers from the shotgun. The 49ers won't be able to cover us. The MVP will have a field day. And, I expect the 49ers to utilize a variety of disguised blitzes in an attempt to confuse the MVP. But, Rodgers will look to short passes to Montgomery, Cobb, and Richard Rodgers. He'll look to get rid of the ball quickly. And, then, we'll see the screen to Lacy for big yardage. It'll slow down the pass rush and give Rodgers more time to look down field. I'm calling it: This week, we see Jeff Janis' first TD of his career. The Packers want this one. They'll look for a quick score. SF has no one in the secondary that can run with Janis. The Packers grab an early lead.

But, SF has Kaepernick. Kaepernick has dominated Green Bay with both his arm and his legs. And, Hyde will give us fits, at times. The strength of the Packers DL will be tested, once again. If Geep Chryst, the 49ers Offensive Coordinator, doesn't come out and attack via consistent read-option, he's gone crazy. The Packers have struggled to stop the read-option. And, no one runs it better than Kaepernick. He's an elite athlete. The Packers should turn Clay Matthews into a caged animal. Clay intimidated Kaepernick in the 2013 opener. I'd have Clay shadow Kapernick from his ILB position. Palmer and/or Thomas sticks with Hyde. Clay's role is to track down Kaepernick on the read-option. If not, don't be surprised if the SF QB gets loose. Kaepernick will get his, on occasion. But, it's up to the secondary to keep him in front of them.

After the Packers jump out to a 17-7 lead, Kaepernick becomes more determined to throw the football. Without Davis, he's looking for Boldin. But Casey Hayward steps in front. It's Rodgers to Rodgers. And, that my friends is a 3rd Quarter dagger.

The 49ers don't have the weapons to run with the Packers. And, they aren't able to bully the Packers as they have in years past. In fact, for the first time since the 2010 match-up, the Packers win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

The MVP throws 4 more TD's. One to Janis. One to Rodgers. One to Jones. And, one to Cobb. The OL gives Rodgers time. He picks the SF secondary apart and finally, Aaron Rodgers gets a homecoming victory.

Packers 34. 49ers 23

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.