What a win! Dramatic! A great way to start the season. Defense wins championships. Last Sunday, our defense was nearly Championship worthy.
To celebrate, I sip a Locavore Lightnin' Hopkiss. It's a smooth sailin' Double IPA. It tastes like a hopped-out resin ball. Yet, it's crispy. Thick hops. Small citrus hop finish to provide balance from the skunk front. I listen to the Postal Service "Give Up" album. Fun, happy beats. Head bouncing music. Makes me smile. Uplifts me. Keeps my energy up-to-speed.
Here are my quick vibes from the last week:
* Heavy credit to Mike McCarthy. The Jags had an aggressive game plan. They have a really good team. McCarthy went aggressive in the 2nd Quarter. He brilliantly mixed it up in the 3rd Quarter as well. Kept the Jags off-balance. Did a good job attacking. Wish the 3rd down confusion didn't happen from the 2-yard line. Rodgers audible'd beautifully. Felt like an early 4th Quarter dagger and a Week 1 style Championship Drive. The miscommunication really spoiled what was otherwise a mastermind of a play-calling drive by McCarthy. He rotated his troops. He got Montgomery involved. He inserted Abby. Leads me to believe we're going to see more of that combination this week.
* While I watched the game, I consistently thought: well, players like Aaron Rodgers don't need a preseason. Neither does Clay Matthews. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb don't need the preseason. But, the likes of Morgan Burnett and an aging Julius Peppers need preseason. Peppers to get his timing down. Burnett looked good in run support and on the blitz. But, he struggled in coverage. He did, however, play quicker than in past years.
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! He didn't show a quick burst, but when he got moving, he showed more speed than in past years. He also showed great physicality bouncing off of defenders. He made two game changing plays. One in the run game and the other on the screen. Good start for the Dreaded RB.
* JORDY! He's back! Great to see him in the end zone. Great to see him in lock-step with Rodgers on the back-shoulder pass. Jordy is going to have a monster year.
* Randall Cobb. He's a different player when Jordy is lined up next to him. Things open up underneath. Cobb showed his versatility. He showed endurance. He showed toughness. Wish he'd have caught the deep ball cleanly. Looked like it would've been a beautiful busted play TD. Cobb looks like he's going to have a great year.
* Davante Adams. He's 50/50. He loses his balance on a slant route which would've been a first down when the Packers were pinned deep near their goal line on 3rd down. He drops a deep ball that would've likely been a TD. But, then, he comes down with an epic TD on what'll likely be one of the more magical TD's of the season.
* Thought Jared Cook would be more involved. Was riveting to see him draw the PI call that set up the TD before the half.
* Richard Rodgers displayed fantastic hands. Still struggled in the run blocking category, but I've resigned to the thought that he'll never improve as a blocker.
* Really like the addition of Ripkowski as a blocker. He crushes people.
* Congrats to Bakhtiari! He's a MAN! Happy that he'll be protecting Rodgers' backside for the next 3 years. And, since the Packers still have more than $12 million in cap space for 2016. I hope Tretter is next. Home town discount. Loving the way Tretter is playing. He's moving people. He's showing first-class athleticism. He's getting to the 2nd level.
* Good start, Lane Taylor. Keep it going. Looked like a pro.
* TJ Lang needs to stay a Green Bay Packer.
* I was surprised that Jhurell Pressley didn't last on the roster. But, just as I'd hoped, here the Packers sit with only 3 RB's on the roster. 1 of which is a FB. Gotta wonder if Pressley was brought in merely to get an inside scoop on how the 'queens were talking about Green Bay.
* The #1 thing that the 2016 Green Bay Packers need on their roster is for Kenny Clark to nut up. Dude got pushed backwards nearly every play. He was consistently blown off of the line of scrimmage.
* Thought that Dean Lowry darted through the line of scrimmage nicely on a couple of plays.
* Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion. WOW! Moving people backwards. Need that trend to continue. Especially this week. They were physically dynamite! Intimidators!
* Felt like Christian Ringo offered some decent snaps. Fought hard. At this stage, he appears to be worlds beyond Kenny Clark. That's scary.
* CMIII. The Claymaker. Magnificent burst off of the line of scrimmage. He can't be judged by the box score. You need to watch the intimidating impact that he makes. He's all over the field. He's around the ball. He's busting up plays. Love his game.
* Nick Perry played really, really well. Tremendous run stopping OLB.
* Have a sense that Datone Jones is going to have a really solid year. Wouldn't surprise me if he grabs 6 sacks. Love how he rotated both inside and out. He looks lightning-like quick off the ball. He's been able to get small and slice his way through the OL.
* Who made the first tackle of the year? Kyler Fackrell. Wrapped up nicely on the opening kickoff.
* Blake Martinez showed good organizational skills, high intelligence and a conservative approach towards stopping the run. He didn't take any chances. He didn't do anything extraordinary. He didn't do anything that was overly flawed.
* Liked the way Jake Ryan hit people.
* I'm not stressed about Q-Rollins. But, he should almost strictly be used in the slot. He's not ready to be a perimeter CB. He's a natural, quick-twitch slot CB. I'm not bothered about how he was exposed on the outside. I was bothered by the missed tackle on the TE screen. He has to make that play.
* Damarious Randall is flashing signs of being a star CB in this league. Huge play on 4th down.
* Can't say enough about Joe Thomas. Great hustle throughout. Loved his energy on the interception, the Matthews sack and on the final 4th down. He was flying to the football. Great job, JT.
* Get healthy, Sammy. Quickly. I'm concerned.
* HaHa Clinton-Dix looks ready to take the next step. He has the potential to be a superstar in this league.
* 2nd Jags drive of the game. 3rd & 12. What was Burnett thinking of that PI? Even if Robinson catches the ball, he's still 8 yards short of the first down. Just wrap him up Burnett! Think!!!
* Unlucky start to the game. Smelt like a game that in which the Packers could blow out the Jags early. But, the sun didn't allow Hyde to catch two punts. Dramatically effected field position and the flow of the game.
* Jake Schum. Decent game until the last punt. Need much better than that. He looks like a steady punter. Good hang time. Kicks ranging from 42-46 yards. Not much return opportunity. Not much of a friendly bounce.
* Need better from Abby as a gunner.
This week - it's the 'queens. In Minnesota. As the 'queens open the doors to US Bank Stadium. The 'queens wanted the Packers as the opponent to open their new home. Well, they got us. Be careful of what you wish for. This Packers team means business. And, after the 'queens won the NFC North last year, the Packers are hungry to take the title back.
Offensively, the 'queens will run the ball, take an occasional shot deep, they'll utilize the middle of the field with Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen, and then they'll run the ball some more. I anticipate that Sam Bradford will be the starting QB this week. You don't give up a 1st round pick for a QB and then not give the guy the ball when you're playing the biggest game of the year. The 'queens traded for Bradford because they believed he gave them the best chance to win. Expect AP to carry the ball at least 25 times this week. The 'queens spent coin on their OL this offseason. They added Andre Smith and Alex Boone in an attempt to get tougher. With Joe Berger and Brandon Fusco, the 'queens think they're mean in the middle. Matt Kalil might not play due to injury, so TJ Clemmings would get the start. The 'queens need Kalil on Sunday Night. Clemmings can't handle the Packers DL/OLB front. Kyle Rudolph always gives the Packers fits. Stefon Diggs is becoming a legitimate starting WR threat. He's dangerous. He runs solid routes and he's elusive after the catch. Adam Thielen is a fast-rising slot WR. He's dependable. He's fearless. He runs crisp routes. He gets open. He's an underrated player who will move the sticks multiple times this weekend. Cordarrelle Patterson remains one of the best Kickoff Return specialists in the game. He's dangerous. Jerick McKinnon is a shifty back who is tough to bring down in the open field.
Defensively, the 'queens are very well coached and extremely opportunistic. Brian Robison, Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, and Sharrif Floyd are hungry defenders. Floyd has been battling injuries and might be limited this weekend. Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Chad Greenway make up a terrific LB core. Harrison Smith is among the best safeties in the game. Andrew Sendejo is a talented wingman to Smith, but Sendejo occasionally struggles in coverage. Xavier Rhodes is likely to miss the game this week. He'll be replaced by Trae Waynes. I loved Waynes coming out of college. He's yet to show that his game translates to the NFL. Waynes will be tested. Terence Newman can no longer run. The Packers will test him on double moves. Newman will either grab or he'll get burnt. Either way - advantage Packers.
The 'queens don't want this game to be put in Blair Walsh's hands.
A simple breakdown: I'd be really disappointed if the Packers don't score a minimum of 23 points and I'd be really surprised if the 'queens score more than 23. I can see a scenario in which the Packers struggle to stop Minnesota in the red zone. In which case, I suppose the 'queens could score 3 TD's and a FG to get to 24. But, that would be really frustrating. I consider it unlikely.
Look for the Packers to pound Lacy early in the game. They want to get Harrison Smith up in the box, which will open up the play action roll-out and the deep shot to Nelson.
The 'queens pound AP. Thielen and Rudolph grab passes for first downs. The 'queens unsuccessfully try a deep ball to Diggs against the depleted Packers secondary.
The 'queens crowd is ready to rock. They make noise. The PA also pumps in noise for added effect. But, Aaron Rodgers is on a mission. He's not to be denied. He extends plays. He finds Cobb. He draws Griffen offside and takes a shot deep down the sideline. He beats Terence Newman. He hits Nelson on the back-shoulder against Waynes.
Rudolph continues to annoy. So, does AP. But, the 'queens stall and have to settle for FG's.
Montgomery grabs 3 balls. Cook grabs 3 passes. Datone notches a big sack. Jordy grabs a deep ball TD.
The Packers win a nail biter.
Go Pack Go!