Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Take -> Week 7

Greetings, G-Force.

I'm no journalist. I'm a fan. A die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. A loyalist, to the bone. The intent of this blog is to take an optimistic yet realistic point of view on the state of the Green Bay Packers. Today, the outlook is tough. As my brother Chad says, "it's tough to be positive and genuine." Normally, I look for a spin. As I write, the future looks bleak. If this isn't rock bottom for the Green Bay Packers, what does that look like? In fact, I haven't feel this uncomfortable about the future of the Green Bay Packers since 2005. This year is Super Bowl or Bust for me. Presently, the Packers are leaving me with an aching heart.

I write with a Funkwerks Tropic King. An Imperial Saison Ale that "pairs well with hula hooping." Think bananas and hops. And perfect carbonation. So smooth. 7.5%. This past weekend, I took my son, Dylan, to the record store. I asked what he wanted me to buy. He said, "Bob Dylan." So, I bought the Essential Bob Dylan vinyl. A number of the songs seem to mimic the state of 1265 Lombardi Ave. "Blowin' in the Wind" seems to be where the Packers are grasping for answers on offense. Yet, they answer is always, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" as they go back to what has been broken for the last year. As they go to bed, the staff has to fear that "The Times They Are A-Changin'" as the offense continues to falter downhill "Like A Rolling Stone." All in all, it leaves me with "Subterranean Homesick Blues."

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* What was Mike McCarthy thinking on 3rd and 1 on the opening series of the game? Trailing 7-0. The OL was in control. With relative ease, the offense moves into the Red Zone. The offense was far from predictable. Then McCarthy goes heavy on a formation that was clearly going to Ripkowski as the ball carrier with Barclay and Spriggs added to the offense. What a joke. If you want to give the ball to Ripkowski in that scenario, have him lined up as a FB. Or spread the Cowboys out with 3 WR or 4 WR on the field. The OL was winning the 1 on 1 battles. And, then trailing 20-6 in the 3rd Quarter, the Packers offense establishes themselves as they move the ball to the 1 yard line. 74 yards on 11 plays. Ball on the 1. McCarthy goes empty backfield. And a QB draw from shotgun? BAFFLING! FREAKIN' PATHETIC! I get the QB sneak call, but a draw? From SHOTGUN? Who are we fooling? That was a joke! Both plays were catastrophic to the Packers. Both plays defined the state of the Packers performance in a crucial home contest at Lambeau Field. And, with the loss, any shot at home field advantage throughout the playoffs went directly out the window.

* As a fan, it genuinely makes me sad to see this version of Aaron Rodgers. For so long, he was so graceful. He was authentic. He was carefree yet fully passionate. He was loose. He was easily loved. It brought joy to watch him perform. He bled excellence. Everything about him. Today, I don't recognize him.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! He brought conviction to the offense. And, now, there's rumors that the IR is in his future? If so, this season could run away from us.

* Starks is out for multiple weeks? Why not cut him?

* As I write, Don Jackson is not active. So, as of now, the Packers are going into the game against the hated Bears with Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery and Knile Davis as their RB's? How is that even possible? Don't get me wrong, I like Davis. In fact, when he was entering the Draft, I wrote: "Knile Davis - Terrific size and speed combo. Always hurt. Occasionally, a fumbler. But, dude is a freakish athlete. The type of back that the Packers might take a shot on. The sky is the limit for Davis although I wonder if he'll ever be healthy enough to maximize his potential." He's wearing Ahman Green's #30. He has many of the same traits of a young Ahman. Ahman came for Fred Vinson. Davis comes for a conditional 7th rounder. I'm not saying. Not by any stretch. But, I'm cautiously optimistic about what Davis could bring.

* Jared Cook, hurry back.

* The last 2:00 of the first half were enough to make a man vomit. Trailing 10-6. Feeling momentum. The Packers offense melts down. The Packers punt. The ball is downed at the 2. McCarthy goes aggressive and calls timeouts - which I agreed with. But, on third and 1, Julius Peppers lined up on the outside. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Julius Peppers can longer play on the outside. And, when he is playing on the outside, the offense should always run the ball to his side of the field. He can no longer contain the run. 26 yards later, the Cowboys were in business. Then, Gunter gets burnt on two plays and the end result was 98 yards in 33 seconds.

* Aaron Rodgers' interception on the opening drive of the third quarter. In 9 years, I bet you can count on one hand the number of times we've seen him get picked off in a situation like that. He didn't see Barry Church. It was gross. He led the WR right into Church.

* Crucial point of the game: 2:19 left in the 2nd Quarter. 4th & 5. Trailing 10-6. Rodgers has Cobb open. Could've been a TD. Rodgers misses him. Tough pass, but we've come to expect Rodgers to make that throw.

* When the Packers play without Shields, Rollins and Randall; it'll be tough for the Packers to beat anyone in the NFL.

* Good to see Morgan Burnett make a play.

* I felt as though JP had a strip sack coming. Was good to see it happen. Also, nice to see Joe Thomas around the football again.

* Amazing that Edgar Bennett protected the football so well. He almost never fumbled. But, his team can't hang onto the football with him as the Offensive Coordinator.

* Jordy. Man. Two weeks in a row in which Jordy has not been the guy that we know and love.

* I want to see Don Jackson.

This week - it's the hated Bears. At 1-5, the Bears record is abysmal. Don't let the record fool you. They could easily be 3-3 if not for losing to late games. They'll give the Packers all we can handle this weekend. The Bears will play two deep safeties. They'll test McCarthy and Rodgers' patience. They'll let Montgomery catch 10 balls. All underneath. They won't give up the big play. They'll get in our outside WR's face. They'll get physical with Cobb. They'll plug the middle of the field. Drop 7 on nearly every play. Rodgers will have time. He won't have many open receivers. And, since the Packers don't have a RB, we won't be in a position to pound the football at the heart of the Bears defense.

Offensively, the Bears will be conservative. They won't turn the football over. They'll run it with Howard on 1st and 2nd down. They'll try to get it to 3rd and manageable. And, then, they'll try to hit Jeffery or Meredith on 3rd down. Both will be tough for the injury riddled Packers secondary to cover. Brian Hoyer isn't going to amaze with his arm, but he's going to take care of the football. Sure, he's had poor performances in his career, but for the most part, Hoyer has been a steady NFL QB. He's won games. His teams have mostly been competitive. He's a savvy player who knows how to move the sticks. The Packers front 7 should dominate the Bears OL. That'll be key in order for the Packers to win.

I expect an extremely frustrating night of football at Lambeau Field. Ultimately, the Packers prevail in a nail biter.


Packers 17.
Bears 16.

Talkin' S-Mac.

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