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!
* MVP! MVP! MVP! AARON RODGERS! MVP! MVP! MVP!
* 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.
* BJ RAJI! THE FREEZER! In XLV form!
* 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!