A bottle of Crooked Stave's Sentience has been aging in my fridge for years. Three years ago, I bought three bottles of it. I drank one right away. I drank another after we saw Rodgers to Cobb at Soldier to seal the NFC North crown last year. My last bottle will be consumed as a post Packers victory celebration over the defending Super Bowl Champions.
As I type, I'm listening to the Hard Working Americans "Stomp & Holler." It's a Super song. Big props to Green Bay's own, Chad Staehly. Rock on.
Here are some short takes from the last week:
* DuJuan Harris will make a significant impact in 2014.
* Jeff Janis will also make plays this year.
* I'm really excited about Davante Adams' future.
* Jayrone Elliot continues to make plays. He played with more length than he did at the college level. I was surprised that it was Adrian Hubbard short arming tackles and not Elliot. Really liked both of their games heading into training camp. Elliot utilized his length. Hubbard didn't. Still really excited that Hubbard is on the practice squad. Like Hubbard's potential. He needs to learn how to extend himself.
* Great game, Jumal Rolle. You deserve to be on the team. Truly, you do.
* J-Bush EARNS a spot! Great preseason for Bush. The best of his career.
* Chris Banjo was a tough cut. He fought to the finish. Worked hard on special teams. Wouldn't be surprised to see him on the 53-man roster at some point this year.
* Randall Cobb absolutely needs to be returning punts for the Packers. He's our best weapon in the return game. Utilize him.
* Ha Ha continues to impress in run support. He's aggressive. He commits. He looks for contact.
* Carl Bradford showed more promise at ILB than he did at OLB. I'm still surprised that his motor didn't run more aggressively on the outside.
* Nice to see Barrington making a solid play on special teams.
* Man. Significant injuries on the both the offensive and defensive lines have depleted our depth.
* Happy that Myles White remains in the mix on the Practice Squad.
* Surprised that John Fullington didn't make the Practice Squad. Saw he ended up in SF. The 49ers got themselves an intriguing prospect.
* The Packers had to keep all 3 QB's. Flynn is battle tested. Tolzien showed too much promise and wouldn't have made it to the Practice Squad.
To Kickoff the 2014 NFL Season, the Packers travel to the home of the 12th man. I've always believed in the power of numbers. And, thus, I'm in favor of the Packers 13 World Champions over the Seahawks 12th man.
Heavy ups to the Seahawks. They're the Champs. The questioned victors. But, 2014 is a new year. As I said last year, I wanted this match-up. I don't like the way the Packers match-up against SF. I love the way the Packers match up with Seattle. I firmly believe that the Packers will out-muscle Seattle at the line of scrimmage. I also believe that Eddie Lacy is a better back than Marshawn Lynch. I'm ready for this game. I've waited 2 years for it.
The Packers and the Seahawks have had a fun little rivalry. Starting with Seattle stealing Holmgren. Then, we saw Ras Al Harris pick off former Packer, Matt Hasselbach, to dash the Seahawks hopes in '03. The Packers stole Ted Thompson. The 2007 Divisional Playoff game was Favre's last win as a Packer. It was a legendary game in the snow. Then the Fail Mary happened. Blood boils when these two teams meet.
Admittedly, outside of the Packers, I watched little-to-no preseason football. I did watch the 1st half of the Seahawks vs the Bears. Russell Wilson looked amazing. He uses his feet with brilliance. Rolling to his right, he has an absolute cannon. Especially on comeback routes. Most analysts will expect Marshawn Lynch to be a key to the game. I'm equally as worried about the handful of carries that I expect Robert Turbin to get. Turbin has a true speed/power combination. He's the type of back that has traditionally given the Packers trouble. Christine Michael offers those same traits. Doug Baldwin is a solid receiver who reminds me of a young Antonio Freeman. Jermaine Kearse is an underrated deep threat. Zach Miller and Luke Willson are steady TE targets who are also talented blockers. But, without question, if the Packers plan to walk into Seattle and leave victorious, they'll need to contain two players: Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin. Harvin has always given the Packers headaches. He'll have to be kept in check as he comes in motion. Harvin is the ultimate decoy. He can also take a reverse to the house at any time.
The left side of the Seahawks Offensive Line has two former 1st round picks in Russell Okung and James Carpenter. I expect Mike Daniels to punch Carpenter backwards. Max Unger is a terrific Center. Look for the Packers to attack the right side of the Seahawks Offensive Line. JR Sweezy developed into a decent RG, but he can be pushed backwards. At RT, Justin Britt is a rookie. I anticipate that Julius Peppers will welcome him to the NFL in grand fashion.
Defensively, the Seahawks have a magnificent rotation on the Defensive Line. Michael Bennett, Bruce Irvin, Cliff Avril, Kevin Williams, Jordan Hill, Brandon Mebane, O'Brien Schofield, and Tony McDaniel will be playing with fresh legs. They'll rotate often. They'll play with energy. At LB, the Seahawks are undersized, but extremely fast. And tough. KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner and Malcolm Smith can flat-out play. And, of course, the "Legion of Boom" is absolutely legit. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell make up the best starting secondary in the NFL.
Aaron Rodgers will attack the slot. Jeremy Lane get ready to be tested. Often. Look for Jordy to play some snaps in the slot to create the mismatch.
Early in the game though, look for a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy. The Green and Yellow Bumblebee will attack the interior of the Seahawks Defensive Line. Lang, Linsley and Sitton will outfight the combination of Mebane, Williams and McDaniel. Lacy will pound into the undersized LB's of the Seahawks and he'll fall forward. He'll grab chunks of yards.
Unlike the preseason, I don't anticipate the Packers to play much no-huddle. Instead, look for Rodgers to use clock. To stretch the throats of the 12th man. To slow down the Seahawks pass rush.
Look for play action roll-outs with Rodgers. If it's not open deep, the XLV MVP will have 2-3 underneath options. Including John Kuhn. The aim is to make each play a positive play. No 3rd & long situations.
Defensively, Dom Capers should use the Claymaker as a spy on Russell Wilson on both 3rd down and on obvious passing downs. Yes, I'm suggesting Clay as an ILB in those situations. I'd have Perry on the right side. Peppers on the left. Mike Neal on the inside and either Datone Jones or Mike Daniels lined up next to Neal. Send Peppers and Perry on rushes up the field in order to contain Wilson. We can't let Wilson out of the pocket. As he feels pressure and steps between the Guard and the Tackle. Matthews pursues. With a vengeance. It'll be fully disappointing if Russell Wilson beats us with his legs. There's no excuse for it. I'll take our 4-man rush against their 5-man pass rush. All day.
Contain Wilson. Keep a watchful eye on Harvin. Expect victory.
The first team to 20 wins. I believe this is the Packers year. A Super season starts with a win over the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Go Pack Go!