Amazing how much can change in less than a week. As a writer, I view myself as an optimistic realist. One who looks at the bright side & enjoys imagining ways in which the Packers are going to be victorious. Frankly, this week has taken some wind out of my sails. Some of it we can control, others we cannot.
I'll start with Marshawn Lynch. I like Marshawn Lynch. I don't love him. While our running game infuriates me, the fact that we didn't trade for Lynch doesn't overwhelm me. What bothers me is that we are standing firm with who we've already got. I believe that we're a capable RB away from being the elite offense in the NFL. We don't need a superstar. We need a threat. Sure, Lynch would have been that guy, but I'm sure there are also small school street FA's that can handle the duty as well. We need someone that defenses have to be aware of. And really, running in our system is a fairly easy task. Use your vision. Plant the foot. Cut back. Hold onto the ball. And GO! Full speed ahead. San Diego found a replacement in Tolbert. NE has a couple of guys that no one has ever heard of. This week, we'll see Ryan Torain - he fits in that mold. He was in for a tryout last year. We didn't keep him around. He would have fit our present needs. WE NEED A BACK! NOW!
Bless John Kuhn's heart. He has guts. He has courage. I like having him on our team. But, man, we need a compliment. On the first play of our last drive, a number of players in this league would have taken that play to the house. Kuhn can't get a 1st down on the play. The 3rd & 2 in the 1st Quarter was blocked perfectly. Kuhn couldn't get to the outside. Note to McCarthy - use Kuhn straight ahead or not at all.
I've been direct with my thoughts over the last couple of years with regards to B-Jack. I've received criticism for my thoughts in the past. To me, he is what he is. An excellent blocker on 3rd down. Decent hands. But, he's below average while running with the ball.
Where's Dmitry Nance? Is he that bad that he can't get on the field for anything other than special teams play. I'm baffled. I was convinced that he'd get a try. I trust Ted Thompson & I hope he is right with Nance. If not, we wait for James Starks. Starks was last seen running with the football in 2008 while he played for the University at Buffalo. Starks, I'm pulling for you, but kid, it's a long way from the University at Buffalo to the NFL. Especially after not taking contact in nearly 2 years. I'm not positive that we recognize this.
So, in short, I'm not mad that we didn't go after Lynch. I'm frustrated that we are doing NOTHING to jump start this running game. One last thing on Lynch - conventional wisdom would think that a 4th in the next two drafts would have landed us Lynch. Most analysts are projecting that we'll get a 4th as a compensatory pick for the loss of AK-74. So, we'll be armed with two 4th rounders. It wouldn't have been unreasonable to part with one of them.
As Judas was leaving the Packers organization, he discussed whether he thought the leadership in the Packers front office was serious enough to make the required moves that would propel the Green & Gold to the Super Bowl. I don't want this notion to begin to echo throughout our locker room. As my good mate, Stack, puts it: "Charles Woodson has one thing missing from his trophy mantel. He has the Heisman, a National Championship, a Defensive MVP." It's time to get Sir Charles the necessary tools to win a title. After all, it's the "logical" thing to do.
As the 'queens are playing for the title by bringing Randy Moss into the Twin Cities, we are holding onto our draft picks as if they're gold. There are various types of currency in the NFL. There's the draft, free agency & signing your own stallions. For Thompson, clearly, his draft picks are his ultimate treasure. Yet, we failed to acquire a pick during the final days of the preseason even though we had the most players claimed after the final cuts. Again, I like Thompson, I am just confused.
With success comes heightened expectations. And it starts at the top in what has become a win-now league. It's time for the Packers to look at the mountain & to determine what it'll take to summit it.
Injuries are at ridiculous levels. Burnett is done for the year. The severity of Barnett & Chillar's injuries are unknown. Nintendo Nick is questionable for this weekend. Tauscher & Clifton are banged up. Sam Shields is unable to practice. Thus, we see more of J-Bush.
Offensively, the 2010 Packers have been unable to delivery a knock-out punch. No resemblance of the Championship Drive I've discussed in the past. In the Philly, Chicago, & Detroit games, I felt we had the ball and a chance to essentially secure victory. In each case, we couldn't seal the fate until the very end. Time to find our inner "dagger."
- Cullen Jenkins continues to gut it out with one hand. 4 sacks. 4 games. Can we please sign this guy? What are we waiting for?
- Really impressed with the work of the OL last week. Thought both Sitton & Colledge did a nice job on Suh. Sure, Suh had a sack, but for the most part he was quiet. Wells did a nice job chiming in on him as well.
- J-Mike = YOTTO! Can we please use him & that 4 yard slant as our passing game? Spread out the offense. Get the ball to J-Mike. He's quickly becoming one of the most lethal weapons in football. Gotta use him more. He should be getting a similar amount of receptions as Wes Welker does each week.
- Surprised that Rodgers has not been on the same page with receivers a couple of times this year. Last week alone, he wasn't on the same page as AQ81, Nelson, and Greg Jennings on 3 separate plays.
- AQ81 gets the start. Packers come out in double TE formation. AQ81 split out right. Only to have him run a 5 yard down & in. Things that make you go hmmmm.
- Any time we want to get Jordy Nelson off Kickoff Returns, it'll be fine with me. He's becoming a liability.
- At this stage, we also need someone other than T-Mon returning Punts. Can't risk injury.
- Once again, Aaron Rodgers takes a cheap shot on the sack by Delmas. No call. Rubbish.
- Love when BJ Raji shows us the "Jazz Hands!" So much comedy.
- Props to Mike Neal for forcing the fumble!
- Double-D getting in the end zone. Surprised that Rodgers missed him on the quick out pattern on 3rd down. He was open beyond the marker. Instead, Rodgers forced it to Jennings & it got picked.
- Why can't Jennings catch the deep ball anymore?
- If anyone sees Brad Jones, please send him to 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304. Thanks. Clearly, he's lost. Guy needs to make a play.
- The Claymaker is an absolute force. Wish they'd just leave the Z-Man across from him. And please don't show me Poppinga across from him again. We need to create ways to free up Clay. In order to do so, someone needs to elevate across from him.
- There was an AJ Hawk sighting at Lambeau Field last week. Without him, we don't win that game.
- Anyone else notice Sir Charles' reaction after the Calvin Johnson TD at the end of the 1st half? He turned to Derrick Martin with complete disgust. How can Martin not make a play on either the ball or Johnson?
-Massive props to both the OL & to Kuhn during the last drive. Also to Rodgers for his intelligence. His mind was in the right place on the scramble where he stayed inbounds. During the Redskins-Eagles game, McNabb ran out of bounds on a similar play & later on they had to punt. Gave the Eagles an additional 40 seconds. Granted, the Eagles didn't do much with it, but that's beside the point.
- Our special teams units have cost us one game already. It wouldn't surprise me if it costs us at least 2 more this season.
- Congrats to Sir Charles for being the NFC's Defensive Player of the Week. Carry us thru the month of October Chuckie, we need you! His TD was one for the ages. Seriously.
- With J-Bush on the field, the Packers were unable to blitz Sir Charles. Had to keep Chuckie on the outside. Couldn't trust J-Bush in coverage. Bush has to play in the slot or not at all. Otherwise, we'll be held hostage.
- Dear Desmond Bishop, you get your chance this week. You've been begging for it. Be a run-stopper. A force up the middle. Shadow McNabb. Play with instinct, but be cognitive of your desire to over pursue. Be ready to bang heads, mate. Get after it.
- Nick Barnett looks like he's lost a step. Yes, he was hurt. But, it was his wrist. Shouldn't affect his speed.
- Nintendo Nick should consider the same vision surgery that LeRoy Butler had prior to the 1993 season. By my unofficial count, he's had his hands on 4 balls that could have been intercepted this year.
- Is the Quinn Johnson injury for real? Or are they going to have some quiet IR injury for him when Starks comes back? Is P-Lee going to be gone when Ras Al comes back?
- After 3 sacks & 3 turnovers, after 4 games, the totals are 17 sacks & 7 turnovers.
Through it all, a win is a win in this league. And the Lions are scrappy. They're fighters. They're 0-4, but they are a few plays from being in position to be 4-0. Therefore, every win is a good win. No matter how ugly it may seem.
This week - we travel to the Nation's Capital to visit the Redskins in what I call a MUST WIN. We need to win our next two games before this schedule gets unbelievably tough. Since we won the Super Bowl in 1996, two of our three best teams were prevented another Title by Donovan McNabb & Mike Shanahan. Now, the nemeses have united. And they need this win just as badly as we do.
Armed with a 3-4 defenses that is still figuring out the kinks, the Redskins have played solid defense in 2 of their 4 games. Even though - after three games - they had given up the most yards in the NFL. Led by Jim Haslett, the defense is a work in progress. They have players built for the 4-3 playing in the 3-4. A total adjustment. Haynesworth, Andre Carter & Brian Orakpo are solid NFL starters, but they aren't 3-4 players. Vonnie Holiday & Philip Daniels are seasoned professionals, but they're at the end of their careers. Rocky McIntosh & London Fletcher are football players. Put pads on them & they'll find the football. DeAngelo Hall, Philip Buchanon, Carlos Rogers, and Kevin Barnes all have flava. But, all can be beat. I loved LaRon Landry coming out of college. He's great against the run. He's been a bit vulnerable in the air. A piercing hitter, Landry, will surely be present on all crossing routes. Kareem Moore can be had.
With Clinton Portis out, they turn to Torain. Torain is an underappreciated back. He runs with force. With pace. Occasionally, a little upright, but he'll fall forward. And, at times, he'll run through you. Everytime we play the 'Skins, it seems Chris Cooley gets the best of us. McNabb loves the TE - expect Cooley to get his chances. It's no surprise that Santana Moss is McNabb's go-to guy. Moss doesn't scare me. Occasionally, McNabb will look for Anthony Armstrong on 3rd down.
I agree with Aaron Rodgers. Lets spread 'em out. Get our best players on the field. Matt Schaub passed for 497 yards against the Redskins. Let me repeat, 497 yards.
Give the game to Rodgers. Finley gets 10 catches and 2 TD's. Jennings grabs 5 and a TD. Double-D notches 3 and a TD. Jones holds onto 3 as well. Kuhn, Hall, B-Jack, Jordy, & Lee also catch ball. Yes, 9 different receivers. And Rodgers is in control. It's his game. The pass rush of the Redskins does not strike fear in me. Let's attack.
Defensively, play a lot of base 3-4. Straight up. Man up against these guys. Get ready to be physical. Bishop -> you are the guy who is accountable for shadowing McNabb. Don't let him get loose. Ever. He's your responsibility. Run him down. Keep him contained.
AJ, let your nuts hang, mate. Go after Torain. Get him straight on. Set the standard early. We can get down and dirty against these guys.
Look for Pickett to have a big game against the run.
This week - our depth gets tested. I think we've got enough to get by. McNabb has been a thorn in our side. Not this Sunday.
Packers 31. Redskins 20.
Sorry for the rant.
Go Pack Go!