Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Take -> Week 12

Greetings, G-Force.

4-6. The 2016 season slowly slipping from our grasps. Super Bowl or bust appears to be a wasted thought. Instead, it's broken further than it's been since 2005. Still, the smallest bit of hope remains. We cling to the thought of a potential pending Detroit late season collapse and we couple it with the mere hope that the possibility of this team getting hot does exist. Gripe as it may seem. We get 16 games a year to hold onto. Therefore, I'll cling to any bit of hope that might remain alive. But, sooner or later, this team has to get a win or else we will be forced to focus on the 2017 NFL Draft. I'm not mentally ready to shift my attention.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for all who read this blog. As I write today, I sip a Galaxy Double Dry Hopped Hop Wizard from Odd 13. It's lighter than most beers I sip at 5.75% ABV. Heavy hop bomb that flows well. It's an easy drinking beer. I relax as I listen to Greg Brown's Dream Cafe album. Totally mellow, chill music.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Welcome to the 2016 NFL Season, Jared Cook. Cool showed up in a monstrous way. He was a weapon on the perimeter and out of the slot. Great to see him stretching the defense. Equally as awesome to see him as a Red Zone threat.

* Mike McCarthy. Open your eyes. Your offense went three and out on their first 3 possessions. On the 4th drive, Ty Montgomery caught two passes. Both went for 1st downs. He's a difference maker. Use him. He's a match-up nightmare. Put him in position to be successful and you'll be successful. It's that simple. What point are you trying to prove by having James Starks touching the ball twice as much as Montgomery? On the season, Starks is averaging 2.5 yards per carry. Still, on 2 of our first 6 plays, the ball went into Starks' hands. It's really disturbing. And, really, Mike, when you open up the offense, you have weapons and you move the football. But, the rotations should mostly be between Jordy, Cobb, Ty, Adams, Cook, Allison, Rip and Michael.

* Give credit to Aaron Rodgers. He's doing everything in his power to will this team to victory. Have to applaud his decision to stand up in front of the media and to say that he feels like this team can run the table. He doesn't want 2016 to be a wasted year. He senses that it's slipping away.

* Not to beat up the point, but I don't understand why the Packers don't use a combination that includes Jordy, Cobb, Ty, Adams and Cook on more than 50% of the snaps. I feel that'd it be our best time of possession team as well as our best big play threat unit. And, when you're giving up 30+ points a game, you have to look for ways to eat up clock. Without a running game, the best way to chew clock is via a short passing game. When we go to the short passing game, we look like a solid football team. When we get away from it, we look like a clueless, desperate group.

* Dom Capers will go to his football grave running a zone defense with DBs that don't understand their responsibilities and ILBs that are matched up with much faster slot WRs. Those are losing recipes.

* Say what you want about Julius Peppers, but he's one of the few players on the defense that continues to make plays.

* Mike Daniels was pushed backwards in a big way.

* No place in football for Datone Jones' actions.

* Thought CM3 made an impact early. He provided a spark. I'm still pining for him to be moved to ILB. If Capers thinks he can win with Ryan, Thomas and Bradford at ILB, he's horribly mistaken.

* Speaking of Bradford, boy, did he look inflexible on his attempt to bend down and intercept the batted pass. Could've been a game changing play. Instead, he wasn't athletic enough to seal the deal. Consistently, on defense, we've failed to come up with the "oh, so close" big play.

* Felt like Kenny Clark showed a solid push early on, once again.

* Quinten Rollins is not playing like a 2nd round pick.

* Ty Montgomery needs to see the football. Early and often. Amazes me at how much he's underutilized week after week. Why not put him in space against a LB or a S? Baffling.

* Gunter makes some nice plays on defense. He shows glimpses. And then, he gets totally smoked for a big play.

* Is it just me or does Capers seem to call the same blitz packages every week?

* Anxious to see Christine Michael this week. Hope he takes snaps from Starks and not from Montgomery.

* Suddenly, Jeff Janis has become a below average special teams player. For a while, I thought he was flashing Pro Bowl special teams potential.

* Two penalties in the Red Zone. Both by a guard. One on Barclay. The other on Spriggs. Fully unacceptable. Both penalties set us back in big fashion. After them, the Packers combined to settle for 3 points on the 2 drives.

* It amazes me that the Packers never get in WR's faces. We never jam. We always give a cushion. We leave the underneath route open yet we still get beat over the top. What gives?

* The Packers special teams continue to fail each and every week.

* Nick Perry needs to get paid.

* Kentrell Brice often covered slot WR's in college. I'd like to see him give it a shot in the NFL. If he's not ready yet, I question why? And, it should be a priority for him to learn the role during the off season.

* Someday - the Packers defense will force multiple turnovers in a game. Really, it'll happen someday. Hopefully, it'll happen soon.

* Help me to understand: What does Winston Moss do? He's the "Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers coach." What does that mean? I don't get it. Consider this - the defense has given us 42, 47, 31, 33, 10 and 30 points over the last 6 games. If Capers' defense isn't working, shouldn't the "Assistant Head Coach" who is a defensive mind be vetoing Capers' calls? Or at least advising? Or maybe even taking control?

* Here are the hypotheticals as to why you should keep the faith: for the sake of argument, let's assume the Packers win the last three against the NFC NORTH. Let's also assume that the Packers beat HOU at Lambeau. That'd mean the Packers would have 8 wins. A win over Philly or Seattle would get the Packers to 9 wins. All far fetched - I know - but the possibility remains. Additionally, here are the Lions and the 'queens opponents: In addition to the Packers, the Lions still have games at NO, at NYG and at Dallas. They also host GB. Even though the Lions are 7-4 as I write, I can envision a scenario in which they only win 8-9 games - assuming GB beats them in Week 17. The 'queens are 6-5. In addition to GB, they still play Dallas, at Jacksonville, Indy, and Chicago. If MN loses to GB & Dallas, they finish 9-7. If GB, MN and Detroit all finish 9-7, the tiebreaker would go to the Packers based on their record inside of the Division. Presently, Detroit is 2-2 in the Division, MN is 1-3 in the Division and GB is 2-1 in the Division. Yes, this is a long shot, but there's a chance.

This week - it's the Eagles. On Monday Night Football. I really hope that the Packers don't get embarrassed on Prime Time TV for the 2nd week in a row.

The Eagles have athletes on offense. Athletes at the skill positions who will give the Packers trouble. Doral Green-Beckham is a talented, long WR who has inconsistent hands. I'd think that Gunter could match up well with Green-Beckham. I'd have Gunter line up and get in Green-Beckham's grill at the line of scrimmage. Have Gunter jam him off his route. Nelson Agholor can run. He is shifty after the catch. I'd have Rollins follow him around the field. Jordan Matthews is a lethal slot receiver. He runs a dynamite crossing route. He's a fantastic 3rd down WR. Zach Ertz continues to impress at TE. He'll be a full-on mismatch for the Packers. Ideally, Morgan Burnett would guard him. He won't be able to though. Trey Burton is the Eagles 3rd TE. He's be really good in Green & Gold. In fact, every time I watch him, I wonder how the Eagles can find him in UDFA out of Florida and yet, we're stick with Richard Rodgers in the 3rd round. Both came out of the 2014 Draft. Brent Celek is a veteran that still gets the job done. Darren Sporles remains one of the most dangerous players in the game. Wendell Smallwood finds yards. It appears as though Ryan Mathews won't play. I really like Carson Wentz's future. He moves well. He can make all of the throws. He can throw on the run. And, when he's on the move, he's looking down field to find the big play. The Eagles weakness is their OL. There's no reason for Dom Capers to blitz. If the Packers front 4 cannot beat the Eagles OL, the Packers don't deserve to win. The Packers have to win the Line of Scrimmage. They should be able to.

The Eagles defensive front scares me. Brandon Graham is a terrific pass rusher. Fletcher Cox could abuse the interior of the Packers OL. Vinny Curry can do it all on the edge. Connor Barwin is a physical specimen that can drop in coverage, defend the run and rush the passer. He'll make his presence felt. With Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks; the Eagles LB's play with speed and a physical edge that punishes. The Eagles secondary is good, but it lacks depth and it struggles when they have to get out of their base defense. Nolan Carroll is a decent CB, but he can be picked on and will get multiple penalties for using his hands. Leeds McKelvin can play, but he too, uses his hands too much. When you watch Malcolm Jenkins at S, you'll be jealous that he isn't playing for the Packers. He's one of the best Safeties in football.

If special teams are a factor in this game, it's a big advantage for the Eagles. In all facets of the special teams game.

If the Packers are going to win they'll need to use the short passing game. I'd like to see Rodgers connect with 7 or 8 receivers. He needs to spread the wealth. That is usually a sign that Rodgers is seeing the field well. The Eagles defense has taken on the personality of their defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz. Schwartz will be in attack mode. He'll blitz Rodgers. Rodgers better see it coming or it could get ugly. Especially if the Packers offensive line continues to be banged up. Either way - Rodgers needs to get rid of the ball. Quickly.

It'll be important for McCarthy to stack formations to try and get his WR's a free release off of the line of scrimmage. If not, the Eagles defense might be too physical for the Packers WR's and it could be a long day.

Defensively, it comes down to the front 4. We have to get into Wentz's face. If so, he'll make mistakes. A lot of them. If he's given time, it could be a long day as he picks apart the Packers defense.

I really believe that the Packers will limit Sproles. He doesn't get loose for a back breaking play. Green-Beckham gets frustrated on the outside. The defense rebounds.

Rodgers stays poised. He stays calm. He wills the team to victory. In a big way.

Packers 30.
Eagles 20.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Take -> Week 11

Greetings, G-Force.

I went to Nashville in search of my favorite source of entertainment. Family, music and Green Bay Packers football. I saw my family. My parents, my siblings, 6 nephews and 4 nieces. I saw music at the Ryman Auditorium. If you've never been, put it on your bucket list. Then, I hit up the Country Music Hall of Fame. Followed by 3 breweries. It was a vintage BuzzBoy style weekend. We rented a party bus. It was fantastic. Then - we saw the Green Bay Packers play. What a buzzkill.

4-5. Still, a glimmer of hope remains! Only one game out in the Division race. The only team in the Division with only one loss inside the Division. Bleak as it may be, a thread of optimism exists. Ever so slightly.

I sip a 2015 Sierra Nevada Narwhal. I've had it open for an hour and 15 minutes. As it warms to room temperature and the beer breathes, it really flows smoothly. It's rich chocolate goodness. Sticky. Sweet. I listen to the Katastro Strange Nights album. When you live less than 5 miles from Red Rocks Amphitheater, you get introduced to fun live music. Especially if you aren't afraid of some mid-week live shows. Katastro won me over this summer. Katastro opened for the Dirty Heads this summer. They were a winner. An up-and-coming band. Fun musical buzz.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* I've been saying that it's Super Bowl or Bust. Clearly, Ted Thompson feels the same way. He doesn't sign Christine Michael any other year. But, this year is different. He knows that his team was built to win this year. Michael will certainly help after he learns the offense. Still, I'd like to see Ty Montgomery playing more than half of the snaps. Look around the NFL. The NFL has become a match-up league. More so than ever. Teams are using RB's as receivers more than ever, it seems. They're spreading RB's outside against LB's and running go-routes. They're hitting big plays. Why can't the Packers do that with Montgomery? It seems to make too much sense. Instead, the Packers are ignoring the mismatch.

* Mike McCarthy had no game plan entering the Titans game. Zero strategy. With the stadium seemingly 60% Packers fans - no joke - it appeared as though it'd be a game in which we'd be celebrating all afternoon. Instead, it was quite the contrary. The Titans were desperate. Hell, they tried a freakin' onside kick to start the game. AT HOME! They were absolutely intimidated by a 4-4 Packers team. How does McCarthy respond? Starks for 3 yards. Starks for 3 yards. Incomplete pass. Way to attack, Mike! Making matters worse, Starks hadn't played since Week 5. In the 4 games that he'd played prior to the Titans game, Starks had carried the ball 24 times for 42 yards. Starks had been averaging a WHOPPING 1.75 yards per carry on the year. He'd also dropped passes and fumbled the football the last time we saw him on the field. So, what's McCarthy's game plan? Let's hand it to Starks twice in a row. Brainless. Thoughtless. Utterly disappointing.

* The Titans couldn't cover the Packers. They didn't have the secondary to defend the Packers. The Packers should've come out with Montgomery in the backfield. Nelson and Cobb in the slot. Adams on the perimeter on one side and either Janis or Allison on the other perimeter. Should've spread the Titans out. Rodgers would've had a field day. Instead, McCarthy was beyond foolish and tried to establish some sort of non-existent run game. Baffling. Seriously, it dumbfounded me.

* Demetri Goodson should get cut. How do you not down the football at the one-yard line? Pathetic.

* God bless Aaron Rodgers. The TV does not do him justification. They show the negative. Rodgers was a fighter. A competitor. From the opening snap, he wanted the game. He was trying to will victory. Unfortunately, he can't play defense.

* When the Packers offense has looked championship-worthy, we've seen quick passes. With Ty or Adams in the backfield. Where'd that go? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND! Why not stick with what has worked?

* Here's the harshest stat I've seen in a long time: In what was considered by most as a must-win game, McCarthy rolled out Richard Rodgers for 83% of the snaps and James Starks for 71% of the snaps. Meanwhile, Randall Cobb only played 69% of the snaps and Montgomery played 28% of the snaps. What in the world are we thinking? I mean, Justin Perillo played 18% of the snaps. Why not play our weapons? It's painful.

* I really like watching Jordy Nelson operate out of the slot. It'll add longevity to his career. And, makes the Packers really dangerous when Jared Cook comes back. Cook can play on the outside. Line Jordy up to the inside next to him. Like the way Jordy works the middle of the field. Can't cover him with a LB.

* Speaking of Jared Cook. Please. PLEASE. PLEASE hurry back. I don't ever want to see Richard Rodgers on the field again. What does he bring?

* Mike Daniels needs to stop talking and start playing.

* Get well soon, TJ Lang. Worried about his injury.

* You, too, David Bakhtiari. We need you if we're going to salvage the season.

* Lane Taylor has been struggling mightily over the last couple of weeks.

* I keep envisioning a Packers team that gets a healthy EDDIE for the playoffs. Without the nicks, bumps and bruises. Ready to dominate. Then, I pinch myself and I wonder where the wins are going to come from on the schedule.

* For all of the Clay Matthews haters: have you seen this defense without him?

* Sorry to see Jake Ryan get hurt, but I wonder if it isn't a blessing in disguise. Might force Clay to play ILB when he returns. Said it before, I'll say it again, I seriously believe that his body cannot handle the physicality at the line of scrimmage.

* For the Damarious Randall haters: sure, he gets burnt, but the dude also makes plays. Right now, we're watching a defense that cannot force turnovers. We used to own the turnover battle. Not anymore.

* If Sammy Swagga retires and the Packers cut both Morgan Burnett and James Starks after year, the Packers will save roughly $22 million against the cap. As of now, I believe that they're roughly $36 million under the cap for next year, if they're to carry over the $10 million that they have left to spend in 2016.

* Prior to the 2013 NFL Draft I wrote this about Christine Michael: Christine Michael (3) - If I had the time and the access, I'd watch every carry of his college career. He has a nose for the end zone. Good vision. He will put the ball on the ground in careless fashion, but he'll also burst through defenders and pick up additional yardage. He has a stellar attitude. A consummate pro. Would be great in Green & Gold.

* Joe Thomas is not an every down ILB. I had high hopes for him. He is a 3rd down ILB. That's it. He lacks recognition in the run game. If it's not Clay playing ILB, I'd rather see Morgan Burnett at ILB, so Brice could play more safety. Brice was the only defender to make a play in TN.

This week - it's the Redskins. In Washington. On Sunday Night. In Prime Time. Oh boy. I'm scared. But, Mike McCarthy teams have played well with their backs against the wall in the past.

The Redskins are also in a must-win situation. Kirk Cousins has - at times - looked like a QB who could carry the Redskins back to the NFL Promised Land. He sees the field well. He finds the mismatch. He doesn't go away from it. He's deceptively quick. He uses his feet well. I'm a Kirk Cousins fan. Rob Kelley doesn't scare me out of the backfield. Chris Thompson is a solid pass-catching RB. He's shifty and has good vision. DeSean Jackson is questionable, but Pierre Garcon has been playing really well lately. Jamison Crowder has quietly become one of the best slot WR's in the NFL. Crowder is a first-down machine. He's also a lethal Punt Returner. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis could have field days. Reed destroyed the Packers in the playoffs last year. Davis has found youthful energy in Washington. The Redskins weakness is their OL. The Packers front 4 has to dominate the line of scrimmage. Especially on the edges. Ty Nsekhe and Morgan Moses can be beaten at the Tackle position.

Washington has a try hard defense. Chris Baker is a solid interior pass rusher who will give the Packers Guards all kinds of problems. Ryan Kerrigan is a beast on the edge. Preston Smith also is trouble off the edge. Smith and Kerrigan can dominate games. Mason Foster is an off-and-on ILB. When he's on, look out. But, when he's off, he's really bad. Will Compton will give effort, but he's limited athletically. With Josh Norman on one side, look for Aaron Rodgers to attack Bashed Breeland. If Breeland is left alone, he can be beaten off the line of scrimmage for big plays. The Redskins safety play is not up to snuff.

There's no reason for the Packers to blitz this weekend. All too often Dom Capers has come with predictable blitz packages. QB's are recognizing them and tearing the depleted Packers secondary apart. Let's limit Clay's snaps. Let's limit Peppers' snaps. But, on passing downs, let's have Clay and Peppers attacking. To me, that seems like the best strategic approach towards getting the defense off the field.

I fully expect to see Mike McCarthy's Packers in attack mode. Playing with Cook, Nelson, Cobb and Adams as the most often used receiving options. Allison sees snaps as well. Montgomery used as a RB. Montgomery seeing pass catching opportunities. The Packers playing a fast paced brand of offensive football.

And, FINALLY, the Packers get a game changing turnover that gives momentum in the third Quarter on a HaHa interception.

Rodgers has a brilliant game attacking the middle of the field and targeting Breeland. Rodgers throws for 300 yards and 3 TD's.

If Clay, Rollins, Bakhtiari and Cook play, there are no excuses. This one is mandatory. I'm not surrendering. I'm doing all that I can to remain a believer. I hope the locker room at 1265 Lombardi Ave feels the same.

Packers 30.
Redskins 27.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Take -> Week 10

Greetings, G-Force.

4-4. It’s ugly. But, we can’t panic. We have to keep the faith. There are 16 teams in the NFC. 11 have either 3, 4, or 5 wins. There’s no time for hating. Instead, this team needs support right now. It needs positive kinetic energy. With Minnesota traveling to Washington this week, there’s a strong possibility that the Packers will be in a 3-way tie for first place in the NFC North with 7 games to play. More often than not, McCarthy and Rodgers teams have improved as the season has gone along. And, with the team getting healthier over the next couple of weeks, there’s a possibility that this team can put it together. Further, there’s a chance that after this weekend, the Packers will be right in the mix to achieve a 1st round bye. Sounds crazy, but while the outlook is bleak right now, most teams in the NFC likely feel just like Packers fans felt on Sunday afternoon. It’s not the time to give up. And, if the Packers fail to find victories over the last 8 weeks and they miss out on the playoffs, then it might be time for the Packers to evaluate whether they’ve met the end of the Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson road. But, for now and for the rest of the year, I’m going to focus on the 2016 regular season.

The Avery Kaiser welcomes me with a smile. Rich in ABV. Smells like fall. A toffee, caramel feel. It’s sweet. Big bodied and ready to tackle your buzz. Sly & The Family Stone’s Greatest Hits keeps my happy and rhythmically bouncing. After all, we have to “Stand!” for what we believe in. I believe in Dancing to the Music of the Green Bay Packers. I also listen to the Avett Brothers because "There's a darkness upon me that's flooded in light. In the fine print they tell me what's wrong and what's right. And it comes in black and it comes in white. And I'm frightened by those that don't see it. When nothing is owed or deserved or expected. And your life doesn't change by the man that's elected. If you're loved by someone, you're never rejected. Decide what to be and go be it."

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* Mike McCarthy went bland for three quarters. And, while we had opportunities for big play, we were extremely predictable. Sure, the offense moved the ball and was often in Indianapolis territory, but the Packers couldn’t finish the drive, with the exception of a free play that resulted in the Rodgers to Nelson TD. Also, McCarthy’s use of Cobb and Montgomery was baffling. It didn’t seem like he kept his players in the loop. Poor leadership move by McCarthy.

* Aaron Rodgers wanted that game. He was wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Trying to will the team to victory. He wasn’t always on target and he wasn’t seeing the field at an elite level, but he played with the type of command that will bring the Packers victories in the near future.

* Jeff Janis had me punching the floor with vulgarities like a 2-year old throwing a terrible tantrum. I can’t do that in front of the kids again.

* Huge props to Corey Linsley. He saw the DL jump. He snapped the ball. He created the free play that led to the Nelson TD pass.

* Ty Montgomery needs to touch the ball a minimum of 15 times every game.

* Don Jackson, once again, showed burst. He has quickness. Now, he needs patience.

* Good game, Davante Adams. Liked the way he used his body on the TD catch.

* This team needs Clay Matthews healthy. Like immediately. Even if it’s as a situational pass rusher. I seriously wonder if Clay's size is his hindrance. I wonder if the 50 pound weight difference against OT's put pressure on his back and if it then has an effect on his hamstrings. I really hope he gets put back to ILB. I know I write it weekly. But, I think it could be a solution.

* Back-to-back weeks, the defense had a chance to put us in position to win the game by getting a stop on the last drive. Two weeks ago, the ball bounced off of HaHa’s hands. Last week, HaHa missed the sack. Not on knock on HaHa, I’d just like to see him seal the deal. With that said, without HaHa’s performance, the Packers might’ve been blown out early in the game.

* Love the way Kentrell Brice wraps up. Feel like he has a forced fumble on the horizon.

* The Packers need Micah Hyde to be healthy.

* Julius Peppers spent a lot of time on the ground. He was pushed around. But, he's playing too much. With Clay hurt, Fackrell not ready for full-time duty, Elliott not taking the next step and with the diminished production from Datone Jones; Peppers is forced to take on more snaps than what was planned. In return, we've seen decreased production. Still, Peppers remains one of the few Defenders that we have who you'd expect to make a game changing play. That can't be discounted. When Clay comes back, I'd expect Peppers' play to improve as well.

* I remain optimistic that the Packers could put together a late season run. The NFC looks bad. Outside of Dallas, who feels good about themselves? And, we have to remember that the Packers seem to be getting healthier. Soon, we'll see Jared Cook. We'll have Clay back. While I don't like Starks as a starting RB, at least he knows the position and the offense. Damarious Randall will be back soon. And, it's quite possible that EDDIE will be back with fresh legs for the playoff run. It's possible that the Packers will be healthy at the right time and if so, it's possible that we'll be ready to peak at the right time.

I’m not going to dwell on the negative. I’m moving onward. So, my attention will be directed toward the Titans. After all, I'm headed to Nashville. For a family reunion and a family date at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. And, I'm making sure that I'm leaving with victory in hand. We are bringing the G-Force. We are bringing excitement. We are bringing positivity. We are bringing the FUN back to the Packers. If you're going to Nashville this weekend, be ready to get a hearty high five, to be greeted with a grand smile and a full-on GO PACK GO. The 2nd half of the season is our time to shine.

The Titans have played decent football lately. They're going to be a physical test for the Packers. And, when they don't turn the football over, the Titans win games. But, Marcus Mariota has been mistake prone. The Packers are going to need to jump routes as Mariota lives for the underneath route. He can't throw the deep ball. If we're aggressive in the secondary, big plays will happen. Rishard Matthews and Kendall Wright are dangerous after the catch. Harry Douglas can play the slot WR role. Tajae Sharpe doesn't scare me. The Titans will have Delanie Walker in action. Walker is a really talented TE threat. He'll be a mismatch for the Packers. DeMarco Murray is a bruising back. But, he puts the ball on the turf, so it'll be important for the Packers to be slapping wrists as they look to make tackles. It doesn't appear that Derrick Henry will play. The Titans have a physical OL. They're gritty. They're under appreciated.

Defensively, the Titans are aggressive. They attack. They'll come with a wide variety of blitz packages. From all angles. DaQuan Jones is a force in the run game. Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are tireless around the edge. Both offer a talented speed/power pass rush. Orakpo scares me. Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard are talented ILB in a 3-4 defense. The secondary takes chances, but can be beaten. Perrish Cox has been a physical addition on the perimeter at CB. Jason McCourty is a battle tested perimeter CB. Antwon Blake can't cover anyone on the Packers. He'll get torched. The Titans lack secondary depth. Rashad Johnson and Da'Norris Searcy are confident, hard hitting safeties, but both can be had.

I expect a Music City Packers celebration. I look for Rodgers to be in command. To be in complete control of the game. From start to finish. The Packers are on a mission.

Tennessee will annoyingly move the ball. They'll bring the read-option. They'll hit underneath routes. They'll be methodical. But, they'll struggle to finish drives.

The Packers finally connect on multiple big plays down the field. Jordy has a monster day.

Packer fans will show up in Tennessee in abundance. It'll be a fun buzz.

Packers 31.
Titans 16

Go Pack Go!

You gotta believe!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Take -> Week 9

Greetings, G-Force.

4-3. I'm not one for finding enjoyment in losses because we look good. I'd rather have an ugly win. Nonetheless, it's hard to not be encouraged by the play of the Packers offense. McCarthy is showing imagination. Rodgers is showing precision. And, because of both, the Packers offense has had a passing rhythm over the last two weeks. More points are on the horizon. Wins should follow.

Just like the Packers offense, I've gone back to the roots. I sip the beer that really motivated to dig deeper into the sour beer craze. A Crooked Stave Surette. A classic in its genre. Perfectly tart. Super smooth. Balanced in glorious fashion. Musically, I am groovin' to Bob Marley & The Wailers. The African Herbsman album. After all, the Packers have to keep on "Riding High" on offense. And, this week, if you're at Lambeau Field, it's time to "Lively Up Yourself" and make some noise.

Here are my quick vibes on offense:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. He was in attack mode. He was fearless in his playcalling. He went after the Atlanta secondary with a confident approach. McCarthy did a great job alternating personnel throughout the game. He showed a wide variety of looks even though the offense was decimated with injury. When McCarthy mixes up his packages, he showcases his offensive wizardry and he becomes an elite NFL coach. When he's conservative, he's a below average coach. I like the groove that McCarthy is in. Feels like it's his offense, once again.

* Kudos to Aaron Rodgers. He trusted his teammates. He put them in position to succeed. And, thus, once again, he looked like an MVP. He was hitting receivers in the buckle. He was confident. He was in command. He looked like a leader. He played with passion. He had a coolness to him that felt like California Swagger. He'd been missing that bounce to his step. But, his body language carried confidence. And, success followed suit. Really enjoyed watching him applaud the defense after Atlanta's opening drive when GB held ATL to 3 points. That's the Aaron Rodgers that I know and love. Confident leadership. Keep with it, MVP.

* Massive shout out to Davante Adams. I have been critical. Overly so. I've even wondered whether he should be on the team prior to the year. But, Adams is playing like a budding star right now. He's focused. He's reading the game well. He's playing with a sense of relief. He looks healthy. He looks quicker. He wants the ball in his hands. He has to hang onto the football.

* RIPKOWSKI! I dig him. Old school football player. Tough minded. Most physical blood on the field. Unintimidated. He wants contact.

* The Knile Davis experiment was a bust. Nicely tried, TT. Davis doesn't have it. I'm surprised. He looked slow. Never found his tempo.

* Don Jackson, on the other hand, looks like he can play in the league. He's still learning, but I'm really anxious to see him on a screen. Like his burst. Want to see his vision in the open field. Also, I'm interested to see if he has a little wiggle in him with room to run.

* 4 catches. 94 yards. 1 TD. That's the Jordy Nelson that I remember. Hope there's more of that to come.

* Thought a big play in the game came on the opening drive of the 3rd Quarter. While I was happy that the Packers were moving the ball so well offensively, I didn't feel as though we could win a game in the 30's. So, when the score was 24-19 at the half, I really believed that the Packers needed a TD to start the 2nd half. After back-to-back first downs, the Packers were at their own 49. Rodgers flushes left. He hits Geronimo Allison in the hands with a quick flip of the wrist. Allison drops it. He would've picked up a minimum of 12 yards. The Packers would've been on the brink of FG range. After the play, the momentum almost instantly changed. The Packers ended up punting. They did so again on the next possession. Allison had a chance to make a big play. He failed to do so. With that said, it's tough to be critical of Allison. He had a good game for only being on the active roster for a couple of days. I was happy to see him score a TD. And, I really enjoyed his footwork along the sideline on his 17-yard grab on the crucial 4th Quarter TD drive that gave the Packers a 32-26 lead.

* Congrats to Jeff Janis on his first Regular Season TD. Good to see him in mental unison with Rodgers after Rodgers rolled from the pocket. Also, nice to see him massage the hit and hang onto the football.

* Trevor Davis with a riveting punt return and beautiful footwork along the sideline for a TD. Well done, rook!

* Why is Richard Rodgers on the team? He offers absolutely nothing. The Packers are a better team without him on the field. With that said, he'll likely catch 2 Red Zone TD's this weekend.

* I felt bad for Dom Capers. He played the game exactly the way I'd have designed it. He limited Julio Jones' touches. Granted, Jones was banged up, but still, Jones was well covered for most of the day. But, when you're forced to play with Demetri Goodson on the outside, you're going to give up big plays. The 47 yard TD that Goodson gave up in the 1st Quarter showed an absolute lack of awareness. Additionally, I thought that Capers had a couple of well-timed run blitz calls. Martinez just missed the tackle. I must admit - I've been really surprised at how well Martinez has played this year, but he was disappointing against Atlanta.

* Mike Daniels. All Pro.

* Julius Peppers showed flashes. Really wanted him to get home on the last drive. The defense really needed someone to step up and make a play. I kept waiting for Peppers to burst through. He never did.

* On the final drive, both Gunter and HaHa had chances to make a game winning play. Neither seized the moment. Crushing.

* Jake Ryan in pass coverage. Intolerable.

* Prior to the year, I'd have bet a lot of money that the Packers secondary would intercept more than 20 passes this year. Through 7 games, they've intercepted 2. In fact, the Packers LB's have more interceptions than their secondary. I'd like to think that will change. Gunter has big plays in his future.

* Micah Hyde is quietly having a dynamite year. Feels like he'd be tough to replace if he's not back next year.

* Two really horrible calls on the Packers offered heavy momentum to Atlanta in the first half. The pass interference call on Gunter was absolutely criminal. What a terrible call. It should've been offensive pass interference on Jones. Instead, it put the Falcons in Packers territory on a 24 yard penalty. And, the roughing the passer penalty on Datone Jones was beyond questionable. It, too, offered Atlanta 15 vital yards. Both drives ended up netting points for Atlanta.

* JC Tretter with his worst game of the year. And, then, he gets injured to boot. Unlucky. Packers are fortunate that Corey Linsley is healthy enough to return this week. Don Barclay continues to be a liability.

* TJ Lang. Dude is a baller.

* I said it last week, I'll say it again. I want to see Clay at ILB. And, at OLB on passing downs. Total shame that he wasn't available on the final drive last week. Packers lost a nail biter. A game that we had. Would've loved to have seen Clay pursuing Ryan with the game on the line. I don't think Clay's body can hold up at OLB.

* What pains me most about this loss is that Mike McCarthy teams always seem to lose a game that you absolutely expect them to win. Therefore, it wouldn't shock me if the Packers lost to Indy, Tenn, Houston or Chicago. With that said, it's noteworthy that Chicago already has home wins over both Detroit and Minnesota. In a tight division race, it's important to note the teams records inside the Division and inside the Conference.

This week - the Packers play an absolutely desperate Indianapolis Colts team. There's no reason the Packers don't bury the Colts. It's a must win for Green Bay. In fact, the next two weeks are mandatory victories or the Packers backs will be against the wall. The Colts are terrible. The Packers are at home. This has to be a win. In convincing fashion.

The Colts have struggled offensively. Andrew Luck is capable of a 400 yard game every week. He's also going to give you two chances to pick off a pass every game. What scares me most about Luck is that he's fearless. He's going to take chances. He's going to test the Packers depleted secondary deep down the field. And, he throws a gorgeous deep pass. He'll look to attack the Packers secondary early and often. If the Packers DL doesn't win in the trenches, Luck could have a monster game. If there's heavy pressure, I anticipate that Luck will throw 2 interceptions.

Luck will likely have TY Hilton and Dwayne Allen available this week. Both have been nicked up. Both will cause big time problems for the Packers. Allen is a speed-power mismatch for the Packers. Hilton gets in and out of his breaks as well as anyone in the game. Donte Moncrief is an under appreciated WR. Demetri Goodson can't cover Moncrief. Phillip Dorsett is a speedster who is still developing at WR. Frank Gore keeps on truckin'. He motors through the line of scrimmage. He isn't as quick as he once was, but he still gets the job done and causes damage upon contact. Robert Turbin is an OK change of pace back. Jack Doyle is a sure handed TE who sits down well in the zone of the defense. The Packers should overload the right side of the Colts line of scrimmage. Denzelle Good and Joe Haeg can't play.

Defensively, the Colts do not scare me. Kendall Langford and Arthur Jones are high work rate DL. They shouldn't be able to move the Packers OL. Erik Walden is Erik Walden. Walden offers high effort, however he has limited skills to offer. But, I'll forever be grateful for Walden's Week 17 performance against the Bears at Lambeau in the XLV run. 10 tackles. 2 sacks. D'Qwell Jackson is a tackling machine. He's mostly making plays 3-5 yards down the field. He is, however, a great pass defending ILB. Robert Mathis can still speed his way around the edge. You can attack the Colts secondary. Patrick Robinson can't cover the back shoulder. Vontae Davis will make plays, but he'll get burnt equally. Darius Butler never became the guy that people thought he'd be coming out of college. Mike Adams and Clayton Geathers can be beaten over the top.

Not surprisingly, the Packers will get totally outclassed in the kicking game. Pat McAfee is a great punter. Adam Vinatieri is one of the best kickers to ever play the game.

I really expect Aaron Rodgers to have a monster game. It might not show up statistically, but Rodgers will be in command of the attack. He will be the best player on the field. The Packers will control the clock. They'll look to keep Luck off of the field. Rodgers hits 8 different receivers. He uses his weapons. Spreading the wealth, he keeps the sticks moving. He annoys the Colts defense who can't get off the field.

Meanwhile, Luck takes shots deep. He has some success, but he also throws a big interception into Gunter's hands. Hyde also snatches one.

The Packers defensive line grabs 4 sacks.

It's a classic fall day at Lambeau. Sunny skies to start. Finishing with sparkling G's under the lights. Loved these games growing up. Crisp air. At kickoff, it'll likely be around 65. By the end of the game, it'll be a perfect Midwest day. Roughly 50 degrees. And, a Packers victory. This one isn't as close as the score indicates.

Packers 31.
Colts 23.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.