2-0 & feeling fine. Walking with a cautious optimism.
Once again, it's Lambeau Field under the lights! Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys are coming to town. Does it get any better?
It's the "*" on the helmet against the "G". Great tradition. Stories franchises. Intense conference rivals. It's the small town, family owned franchise against the wealthy pig, Jerry Jones. Both 2-0 and in the mix for NFC supremacy. Both led by young QB's who play with a similar laid back, elusive style.
The 1st half of the Cowboys-Eagles game on MNF and last years NFC Divisional playoff game between the Giants-Cowboys are blueprints of how to beat Dallas. The Cowboys quick strike capability is unmatched. As a general rule, if the Cowboys score 30 points, they are going to win. They will outgun you.
While playing the Cowboys, offensively, you have to take what they offer you underneath. Find the quick hits and don't let the pressure get to you. If you hold onto the football, Greg Ellis & DeMarcus Ware will get to you and you will not escape. Additionally, I don't view the Cowboys as one of the better tackling secondaries in the league - especially without Roy Williams. Also, we must utilize the TE.
On defense, you have to pressure Romo. You have to force him to be patient. He will panic. He will make mistakes. You've got to get in his face even if it means bringing extra defenders. If you sit back and try to defend the Cowboys, they'll beat you. Their offensive line is too big. Witten and TO are too good. Crayton is able. And Marion Barber III is a talent out of the backfield. Bottom line - if you sit back and try to rush with 4, the Cowboys are too skilled and they will beat you. You cannot fear Dallas. You must come after them.
The Lions game portrayed many positive aspects of our football team.
- Props to Ted Thompson & Mike McCarthy. Aaron Rodgers is ready to lead this football team. He was sublime in a tough divisional game on the road. In fact, his playing style reminded me of Tony Romo. Escaping pressure. Tight roping the sideline. Throwing the deep ball. Escaping pressure and throwing on the run. Youthful. Carefree.
- We are loaded at WR. Jennings is fast becoming one of the elite WR's in the NFL. Driver is Mr. Reliable. Jordy getting deep!
- Cullen Jenkins is off to his best start. So is AJ Hawk.
- Nintendo Nick! Making plays. Providing visions of what we've all believed he could become. Play with confidence Mr. Collins!
- Chuckie! The only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy meant business. No smile. Just shaking hands after his 2nd interception was returned for a TD. Focused on the task at hand. Charles Woodson offered the Week 2 result "change we can believe in." And he did so with a serious nature.
- AK-74 & KGB are attacking the QB with the intention of inflicting pain.
- Michael Montgomery has impressed on special teams coverage.
While the majority of the Lions game was an impressive performance, it did present some obstacles that we must overcome:
- Al Harris is vulnerable on deep balls. Twice he was beaten deep. Both times - the Lions failed to connect. It is guaranteed that the Cowboys attack Harris with TO. TO abused the Packers last year. They'll try and expose Harris' speed again this year.
- Aaron Rouse is not ready to be an every down player in the NFL. Post Ras-A-tari's injury, Rouse was a liability playing safety. He's not fast enough in space. He also seems to lack athleticism and the understanding of football angles. If Ras-A-tari is unable to play this weekend, it would be a potentially devastating injury.
- The interior of our offensive line continues to struggle with run blocking. B-Jack is trying to make a fool out of me. Still - he's had two decent NFL performances and both have come against the Lions. Lumpkin is far more impressive. If Grant has limitations, it must be Lumpkin carrying the ball in a game in which ball control is imperative.
- While Rodgers has been spectacular thus far, he's got to look for Donald Lee more often. The TE is the ultimately escape for a pressured QB. Lee has been open and is often overlooked. In his defense, Rodgers has essentially utilized Driver's as possession receiver as a replacement for the TE outlet.
- James Jones continues to have problems catching the ball. He dropped passes in the preseason and I thought he dropped three passes that he should have caught last week.
- The inactives for the Lions game included Brian Brohm (2nd round pick), Patrick Lee (2nd round pick), J-Mike (3rd round pick), Sittion (4th round pick), and Jeremy Thompson (4th round pick). Meanwhile, on Monday Night, we saw the Cowboys flash their rookies. Felix Jones returned a kickoff for a TD and looked dangerous almost every time that he touched the ball. Mike Jenkins broke up a deep ball. Marcellus Bennett was catching a screen a nearly taking it to the house. This begs me to once again ask the question - did we draft for next year? And if we did not draft for next year, when does Jeremy Thompson get his swing as a pass rushing DT on 3rd down. Both Hunter & Montgomery have failed to produce thus far operating out of the same position.
The Packers open the game in the I-formation. Grant behind Kuhn. Two TE. It's Grant on a cutback for 4 yards. Zach Thomas on the tackle. A similar set produces 3 more yards. It's Rodgers to Jones for a first down.
The Packers continue to move the football as they are seemingly beating up the Cowboys defense and winning the line of scrimmage. Lee scores his 1st TD of the season.
Will the Milwaukee crowd BRING IT to Lambeau Field? I imagine so. You've gotta be fired up for this one. Off yur Ass! On yur Feet, Milwaukee crowd! No telling the G-Force to sit down. This is Lambeau!!!
As soon as the Cowboys cross midfield, they are thinking TD. Normally, it's with TO. And they'll certainly test Harris with TO. Early and often.
But, they'll also try the deep ball down the seam with Witten, which forces me to ask the question - is this why we signed Chillar? Sure, AJ is off to his best start as he's been a beast against the run and he was credited with 2 sacks including his Superman-style sack of Kitna last week. But, last year he struggled while covering the TE. Witten murdered us last year. Poppinga continues to look lost in coverage. Do we see Chillar in an expanded role this week? I have to believe that this is a reason that he was brought in. Pass coverage. We'll see.
The Cowboys respond by moving the ball. Crayton on a curl. Witten over the middle.
But, the drive stalls as the Packers do not allow Barber to run North and South. Pickett & Jolly get a push and Hawk doesn't allow him to turn his shoulders. Barber becomes an East-West runner. On third and long, the Packers come with a blitz and force an incompletion.
Throughout the game, the Packers defense gets off the field with a myriad of blitzes. Romo feels pressure and tries to make things happen. It's Chuckie blindsiding him with a blitz!
In time, a busted coverage leads to a long TO touchdown.
The Packers continue to fight. Grant, B-Jack & Lumpkin taking turns pounding it at the heart of the Cowboys interior. Jennings - that greedy run after the catch bastard - produces big yardage on a crossing pattern. The Packers roll Rodgers away from Ware and find Lee for a 14 yard pick-up. It's play action to Driver for a TD.
Let's face it - the Cowboys will score. They could possibly score as much as six times. If we hold to FG's, we win. If they score TD's, we won't.
It's a thriller.
Green Bay 27. Dallas 26.
The Faithful elevates in ecstasy. We're 3-0 and I'm headed to Tampa with *, Vargas, and Lisette. It'll take belief. It'll take conviction. It'll take the protection and preservation of the Lambeau mystique.
***On Monday Night Football. It's Brett. Once again. How beautiful! Unfortunately, Brett's on a leash. And so are the Jets. Therefore, NY is struck with a lightning bolt from San Diego. The Jets fall to 1-2. Does Brett start to regret coming back or does he remember 2003 & 2004? Soon - we'll find out. Enjoy.