First and foremost, thank you for the vibes last week. Last week, I received more Facebook and Twitter shares than I've ever received. With each week that passes, it gets more difficult to find time to get in front of the computer for an hour or two. Without distraction. Readership inspires me to carry on. Thank you.
3-1. In fairly blissful fashion. As fans, we demand excellence out of our beloved Green Bay Packers. We expect flawless precision. Even though, we should recognize that it's nearly impossible to achieve such greatness. In the regular season - for the most part - we've been spoiled over the last 24 years. But, we need to remind ourselves that it is tough to win in the NFL. And, as much as the losses pain us; we have to enjoy the wins.
In the past, it was viewed as though the Green Bay season ticket holders were the ones who were the difference makers. The Milwaukee season ticket makers were the ones who were reactionary. After thoroughly criticism the fans in Week 1, which were the Green Bay season ticket holders, I have to thank the Milwaukee season ticket holders. It was significantly louder vs the Giants than it was vs the Lions. It looked festive. It looked fun. TJ Lang even went to Twitter and posted this: "Fans were awesome last night at Lambeau!! What a great crowd. Let's be even louder this weekend!! #GoPackGo" Yes, fans make a difference. Players notice it. I'll be interested to see if the Green Bay season ticket holders are interested in getting off their ass and on their feet this weekend. Thanks for making a difference, Packers faithful.
As I write I have two albums lined up. I have the Bob Weir "Blue Mountain" vinyl lined up and I have the Phish "Big Boat" album lined up on my iTunes. I'm still waiting for the "Big Boat" album to be delivered since I pre-ordered it. I'm getting anxious. Nonetheless, the song "More" is a beautifully moving musical piece. Makes me joyful. Also, "Things People Do" seems to ring well in my ear. I sip a New Glarus Scream IIPA. Daniel Carey writes on the bottle: "Some people paint, some sing, others write...I brew." Yes, you do, Daniel. And, we're all better for it. Keep after it. You've master the art. Oh, and be sure that it remains ONLY IN WISCONSIN.
Here are my quick vibes from the last week:
* Good day, Packers fans. Your team wins with defense. Recognize! Props to Dom Capers.
* In the 1st Quarter, Mike McCarthy was in control. Consistently shifting formations. Changing personnel. In control of the line of scrimmage. He used a variety of looks. The Giants defense was on their heels. They had no answers for what was coming next. On the opening drive, the Packers ran 16 plays. Gaining 75 yards. Chewing up 8:42 of the 1st Quarter. It was text book. A statement drive. On the 2nd drive, again, McCarthy was a mastermind. 10 plays. 71 yards. 4:21 off the clock. The drive ended in an unfortunate interception, but we'll get to that later. Regardless, McCarthy was a strategist. He was an offensive maestro. Then, in a flash of light, he went predictable. No more 6th OL. No more lead FB. It was 3 wide with Adams, Cobb and Nelson along with Richard Rodgers and a RB. The RB was usually James Starks. Suddenly, the offense was predictable. And, our offense stalled. Often. In fact, there was a stretch where over 5 consecutive possessions the Packers accumulated a total of 32 yards. That's unacceptable.
* Aaron Rodgers. There was a glimpse of the MVP. Then, he went away from the crossing routes. He became indecisive. He held onto the ball. And, when he was quick to release, he was off-target. It's interesting. He moves like the #12 that we know and love. He looks like the #12 that we know and love. He was playful like the #12 that we know and love. But, he's missing his spot with his throws. He's almost out of rhythm. Looking for his groove. Hope he finds his touch soon. I still believe he has a big season in store.
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Love the motivation that he's running with. Up 7-3. Eddie put the Packers on his back. He tossed would-be Giants tacklers out of the way. 2 carries. 37 yards. Both looked like they'd be minimal gains. Eddie picked up chunks with pure effort. Fantastic to see.
* RIP! Falling for him. Can't say enough about him as a lead blocker. I've said it before and I'll say it again; at times, Lacy struggles to see the hole, but Rip really helps him find the hole as his lead blocker. And, as a ball carrier, Rip reminds of William Henderson. Pushing the pile. Forcefully moving sticks. I'm anxious for a pass in the flat to RIP. We've seen goodness from it before. I anticipate good things happening again.
* James Starks. Dude. We've been loyal. We're forever grateful for the XLV run. Hell, you can have a space in the Packers HOF because of your playoff game against Philly. The Packers weren't winning that game without you. But, man, your time has come. You struggle to see the hole. You struggle to catch the ball. And, the fumble was absolutely intolerable. Thanks for the memories. All love.
* Randall Cobb. "Vibrating with love and light. Pulsating with love and light. In a world gone mad. A world gone mad. There must be something more than this."
* Rodgers is anxious to get his chemistry with Jordy back on track. Forcing it. All in time, 12. It'll come.
* Prime example that this team is going to continue to grow in 2016. Packers were in the midst of a CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE. Up 20-9. Seeking a dagger. Forcefully beating the Giants into the ground. 2nd and goal. Under 7:00 to play. Ball on the 7. Aaron Rodgers hits the normally sure-handed Richard Rodgers in the hands. Richard drops it. Then, on 3rd down. It's back shoulder to Jordy. The play was open. The pass was thrown up the field. Had it been 1 foot behind the defender, it'd have been a touchdown. Still, Nelson had the ball in his hand. He couldn't corral it in. And, thus, the Giants were kept alive. I fancy the Packers will close that drive with a TD in the near future. I really do.
* A glimpse of the 2014 version of Davante Adams. Word, yo.
* Someday, we'll see Abby lined up in the slot. I'm excited for that moment.
* Someday, we'll see Ty Montgomery involved in the offense. We'll see him and Cobb lined up in the backfield together. Defense will be confused. We'll see a lot of motion. We won't have any idea as to the play design based on the formation. I'm excited for that moment.
* Generally, Mike McCarthy's teams have improved as their has progressed. I have an inkling that this year will be much of the same. We'll see more variety in personnel and in formation as the season progresses. I keep thinking back to that NE game in 2014. McCarthy has the creativity in him. We'll see it again this year. I'm excited for that moment.
* TJ Lang. ALL PRO.
* David Bakhtiari. Forever Aaron Rodgers LT. That epic.
* Bryan Bulaga. Rock solid.
* JC Tretter. His athleticism amazes me. So quick. Strong. Gets side-to-side. Gets forward. All with elegance. Gotta lock him up.
* Lane Taylor. Doing his thing. Playing very well. Holding the point. Often, moving his man.
* There was a Jason Spriggs sighting. And, I liked it. That surprised me.
* Was sad to see Callahan leaving the system. Good for New Orleans. They picked up a QB project who has been well groomed. It created a roster spot. I'm hoping it's for Don Jackson. Jackson has wiggle. He has shake. With Starks' injury, it's possible that he doesn't play. I'd like to see Jackson getting a couple of opportunities on the draw and on a screen. I'd like to see him in the open field. If given the opportunity, carpe diem, Jackson.
* Starks' poor play has me wondering. What happened to Jhurrel Pressley? Why was he added and then cut so quickly? Why was nothing reported about it? I'm confused.
* Richard Rodgers continues to be an incapable blocker.
* Kenny Clark, Letroy Guion and Mike Daniels continue to win their battles. It's great fun to watch!
* Kyler Fackrell! With the game changing play. Great presence of mind to go for the strip as well as the sack. Brilliant play!
* Claymaker! FLEX ON! Long hair - don't care.
* Jayrone getting home. Negated by a penalty. Still, good for the morale. Confidence booster. He has a play coming.
* JP. Guy can no longer contain the run from an end/OLB position. Needs to play on the interior. I think he has a forced fumble coming soon. A strip sack. Game changing play.
* Nick Perry. Don't pinch yourself. He's in contention for the defensive player of the year. Yes, I wrote that. Keep on, keeping' on, Nick.
* Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas. I thought this was going to be the weakest part of our roster. It's been a strength. Blake has been plugging holes. Thomas has shown around the ball every week. And, Jake has been a steady tackler. Don't fool yourself though, there's room for improvement. This group needs to continue to improve in coverage. We're going to give up a big play to a TE or a RB in the pass game on a play in which the ILB core will be fully responsible.
* Ladarius Gunter. Again. Looking like he belongs. Nice.
* Q-Rollins. Solid performance.
* Micah Hyde. Making a case for a solid contract. Mr. versatility. Wish he was returning punts as well. Know that the injuries in our secondary makes us vulnerable to exposing him, but still he is a weapon back there.
* Jacob Schum. Yawn. Time to find a replacement. He sucks. Period.
* Soon, I'll have a 2017 Packers mock draft again. Admittedly, I've been slacking on watching College Football. I'm far behind where I've been in years past. And, where I was originally paying heavy attention to ILB's and DL, I now need to shift to RB, CB and TE. Total shift in focus. I'm lost. I'll watch a lot of college football this weekend, and I hope to catch some over the next 2 weeks. Should bring some clarity.
This week - it's the Cowboys coming to Titletown, U.S.A. In this case, for most, the first memory is either the Ice Bowl or Dez Bryant's no-catch review. But, for me, it's November 23, 1997. A crisp late-fall afternoon. Bright blue skies. The Cowboys were the nemesis. Even though the Packers were the defending Super Bowl Champions. The Packers led 24-17 early in the 4th Quarter. We then witnessed the most parade-like celebratory final 10 minutes of a game in my Packers life. The Packers scored 21 points in the final 10 minutes. And, Mac, yes, my Dad pumps in "Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys" over the loud speaker at Lambeau. It was fan pandemonium. Crowd was singing in unison. Arms around one another. It was glorious. A memory I'll hold onto forever.
Offensively, this Cowboys have some similarities to the Cowboys teams of the '90's. They have a young QB, Dak Prescott, who doesn't make mistakes. They have a young running back, Ezekiel Elliott, who sees the hole and hits it hard. The Cowboys have young WRs in Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams who are fully dangerous. Cole Beasley will man the slot in a fashion that Packers fans wish the Packers would use Abby. Much like the 90's Cowboys, this version of the Cowboys has a dominant OL. They have no weak spot along the line. Jason Witten is a consistent threat. He's also a blocking dynamo. Alfred Morris is a great back-up RB to Elliott. He pounds away and pushes forward. The Cowboys have been banged up on offense this year, but they look to be getting healthy this week as both Tyvon Smith and Dez Bryant are expected to play.
The Cowboys defense has overachieved, thus far. They lack a presence on the DL. I expect the Packers OL to manhandle the Cowboys DL. The Cowboys DL will work hard, but they won't be able to out-work the Packers OL. Sean Lee is a gem at LB for the Cowboys. Andrew Gachkar and Anthony Hitchens give high energy and offer good speed, but they can be overpowered. Brandon Carr has been a solid player at CB. Morris Claiborne is finally living up to his 1st round draft status from 2012. Byron Jones offers speed and physical stature. Barry Church is a staple for the Cowboys. JJ Wilcox is an intimidating force at Safety. Jeff Heath doesn't belong in the NFL. The Cowboys lack depth in the secondary.
This one is widely billed as a marquee match-up of the Packers DL v the Cowboys OL. Rightfully so. Both are among the best in the business. I believe that both will score wins against each other.
Really though, this game will come down to the turnover battle. Dak Prescott has yet to turn the ball over in his young career. That changes this weekend. HaHa grabs a pick.
Expect the Cowboys to play a lot of 2-deep safeties. Especially with the injuries at RB for the Packers. Lacy plays. He pounds away. Ty Montgomery gets opportunities on swing passes. He nickels and dimes the Cowboys defense to move the sticks. The Cowboys defense dares the Packers to shoot defense. Rodgers stays poised. He stays calm. He stays patient. He sticks with the underneath routes. He moves the chains.
Rodgers throws for 250 and 3 TD's. The defense holds Elliott under 80 yards. The Packers flex their muscles to a 4-1 mark.
It's a highly intense game in Titletown, U.S.A. The Packers prove that they're championship worthy.
OFF YUR' ASS! ON YUR' FEET!! GET LOUD, LAMBEAU!!!
Go Pack Go!