2016 is a Super Bowl or Bust season. Anything shy of a Super Bowl victory is a pure disappointment for me. It's a defining year in the legacy for Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. If Aaron Rodgers plays as he did on Sunday, we might be witnessing the last of Mike McCarthy as Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers. Right or wrong. 2016 is this crucial. And, Ted Thompson has built a team that is constructed to win in 2016.
Sometimes in life, a man needs to chill. I'm doing so right now with a Trinity Menacing Apple. 6.5% ABV. Created with Palisade, CO apples. It has a light better hop finish and pours a slightly cloudy Apple Juice color. I'm pairing it with the Railroad Earth 1/17/14 show from the Fillmore in Denver, CO. A great show. I'm inspired by Railroad Earth. Caught them at Red Rocks last Friday night. It was an epic show. A true winner.
Here are my quick vibes from the last week:
* Mike McCarthy's decision to go for it on 4th down was complete amateurism. He let Mike Zimmer dictate the tempo of the game. He played as though Minnesota was the better team. As it turned out, they were. But, it was in large part due to a terrible 4th down coaching decision by McCarthy and poor play by his 2-time MVP QB.
* Aaron Rodgers. Hard to recognize him as a QB. He's holding the ball. He's not seeing the field. He's not recognizing the defense. He's stuck on Davante Adams. The 4th Quarter lost fumble was an absolute shame. It was 1st and 10 from the Minnesota 40. Trailing by 3. On the brink of FG range. McCarthy called a pass in the flat to Cobb. Cobb was wide open. Would've been a 3-5 yard gain at a minimum. Rodgers looked. He carelessly held onto the football. He fumbled. He lost possession. Still, the Packers defense held. The Packers moved the ball with good precision until Rodgers lofted one gently into the hands of Waynes. Makes me sick.
* Why doesn't Rodgers look to Jared Cook more often? He's a constant mismatch. He was targeted 6 times. He caught 4 balls. One of the incompletions was an absolutely awful pass on a play in which Cook would've easily picked up a first down.
* Davante Adams is not an NFL receiver at this stage. I'd rather see Abby running his routes. Or I'd like to see Montgomery on the field. In the slot next to Cobb. With Cook spread out wide on one side and Nelson on the other. Adams has become a liability.
* Liked when McCarthy went power football. Wish he'd learn that Richard Rodgers isn't a power football player. He went two TE. He pounded the football. He picked up 9 yards. Then, Richard Rodgers got beat on an easy first down run and was called for holding. The drive stalled. Instead, I wish McCarthy would play Ripkowski in the backfield more often. Ripkowski is a bruiser and a pass receiving option in the flat. Plus, he can help Lacy by directing him to the hole.
* McCarthy can call crossing routes all day. WR's will be open. But, if Rodgers misses the throws or doesn't see the open man, it won't make much of a difference. The 2-time MVP was an absolute let down.
* Lacy was running the ball well. Wish he'd had gotten more touches.
* Sam Bradford outplayed Aaron Rodgers in a crucial NFC North battle. Read that again. Make you want to vomit? It makes me.
* We might be seeing the last of James Starks. He's not seeing the field very well. The team needs a better speed option. CJ Spiller fits the mold. I was happy to see that he received a tryout. Hope he gets signed.
* I'm baffled the Abby and Ty aren't seeing snaps on offense.
* Donny Barclay. Rubbish.
* Epic to see Ty Montgomery's animation after the blocked kick!
* Jordy is looking good. Not 100%. But, he's looking good. And, big plays are nearing.
* I forgive Damarious Randall. He has better days ahead of him.
* The Packers Defense looked Super Bowl worthy. Perry, Peppers, Daniels, Guion, and Clay were dominators. Thought Blake Martinez played well. Jake Ryan was physical. Joe Thomas was aggressive and a sure tackler. Kenny Clark made a couple of nice plays. Loved when Clark got his hands up and knocked down the pass. Felt like Fackrell had some high energy snaps and might make a couple of meaningful plays this year.
* Need HaHa to make a game changing play. Feel like it's coming soon.
* Morgan Burnett. Unacceptable. Need to knock down the pass that was a TD for Rudolph. Burnett looked unathletic and unaware. Didn't know his surroundings. I was fist-pounding and overly pissed after that play. It should've been 4th down. Or a capable pass-defending safety would've intercepted that pass.
* Was nice to see Marwin Evans tackle Cordarrelle Patterson in the open field. I had wanted to see Brice make the tackle ten yards previously, but Patterson outran him. Good to see Evans cleaning up the mess.
* I've seen enough of Jacob Schum.
* The NFC North is wide open. But, the Packers should win the Division. Minnesota has lost Kalil and AP. Detroit is without Abdullah and - for the time being - Ansah. The Bears still suck. If Green Bay can't win this Division, we need to restructure our make-up.
I'm headed to Titletown, U.S.A. this weekend. Yes, it was Red Rocks Amphitheater last Friday and it's Lambeau Field this Sunday. I go from the best venue in music to the best venue in sports in a week. Grand livin'!
The Lions have looked good through 2 weeks. Granted, they choked away the Week 2 game in vintage Lions form, but nonetheless, they played with a physical nature that I didn't expect. Matthew Stafford looks like he might be ready to take the next step. Theo Riddick looks like he's ready to become an elite NFL back. Riddick is shifty, he can block, he's a lethal pass catcher and he has a nose for the first-down marker. He could have a massive game this weekend. With Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin; the Lions have 3 WR's that compliment each other really well. Boldin mans the slot with physicality. Jones and Tate are dynamic on the outside. Both create mismatches for the Packers banged up secondary. Eric Ebron has been finding the zone over the middle of the field. He's flashed play making skills that I believed would make him an NFL star coming out of college. I'd like to think that the Packers DL will beat up the Lions OL. Tomlinson, Swanson and Warford are young and talented on the interior. But, Mike Daniels is an animal and he should win his battle. I like the way the Packers stack up against Taylor Decker and Riley Reiff on the outside.
Defensively, the Lions have underrated talent. Even without Ziggy Ansah this weekend, the Lions defense will provide a stiff test. Devin Taylor extends well, has great length and creates mismatches. Haloti Ngata can still provide a push. DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead and Kyle Van Noy are athletic LB's who are hungry to find the football. All can play both the run and the pass. Darius Slay is an elite CB. Nevin Lawson has improved, but will be targeting throughout. Glover Quin has been around the ball. Tavon Wilson can be beat.
I expect a dog fight. I look for the Packers to try and target Nevin Lawson early and often. Lawson will use his hands, he'll get physical and won't be worried about penalties. He'll look to pester the Packers WR's. As a whole, the Lions defense will be aggressive. They'll look to be more physical than the Packers offense. They'll annoy. They'll pester. They'll be trash talking in-your-face fighters. They'll play the run well. They'll slow down Eddie Lacy.
Early in the game, I look for the Packers to try and establish the run. I see the Lions having success stopping the run. I see the Lions frustrating the Packers WR's on the outside. I see the Lions getting off the field.
I envision the Packers defensive front dominating the Lions OL. Stafford gives the secondary opportunities to make plays. Randall and HaHa both grab picks. Perry has two sacks.
The Lions hang tight throughout. They keep the sticks moving with Riddick catching check downs and making people miss. The Lions eat clock.
It's a frustrating game until the middle of the 3rd Quarter when Rodgers hits Nelson on a deep strike. It gives the Packers a two-score lead. The defense gets a big stop late.
GET LOUD LAMBEAU!
GO PACK GO!