'Tis the October season. A time when the Packers collect victories and I celebrate with a wide variety of pumpkin beers. Today, I enjoy the Almanac Dark Pumpkin Sour, the Almanac Pumpkin Heirloom and the Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin. A wide variety of pumpkin feel that is vastly different that your typical pumpkin beer. As I sip, I'm listening to the Michael Franti & Spearhead "Home" album. I figured the "Runfayalife" theme was appropriate after the beat down that the Packers put on the Panthers.
Here are some quick vibes from the last week:
* R-E-L-A-X. I get it, XLV MVP. I am cool as a cucumber in hot sauce, baby. I'm chill, bro.
* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Loved the early strike to Jordy.
* Jordy Nelson. Forever!
* Randall Cobb in the Red Zone! Among the best in the league inside the 20. Amazing for a man his size.
* Bryan Bulaga's hustle on the Lacy fumble is the type of play that Champions make. Pure effort. True determination. Playing to the whistle.
* Another tremendous game for Bakhtiari.
* TJ Lang is a terrific football player.
* Josh Sitton is flat-out ballin'.
* Corey Linsley. I'd trust this guy as the starting Center for the Packers for the next 10 years. And I've only watched him play 7 games in the NFL. ROCK SOLID.
* Davante Adams has a really bright future in this league.
* Didn't think I'd say this earlier in the year, but Randall Cobb is looking like a MUST sign. I get excited at the prospect of having Rodgers teamed with Nelson, Cobb and Adams for the next 3 years.
* I keep reading that Richard Rodgers is an improved blocker. I disagree. Maybe he's more willing, but improved? Not from what I see. On the other hand, I really wanted him to get in the end zone last week. Wish the XLV MVP hadn't overshot him on his final pass.
* Aaron Rodgers is in position to be the NFL's MVP.
* We are seeing so much play action and I'm stoked about it. Rodgers under center. Good things will happen.
* Bulaga's run blocking was tremendous.
* Eddie Lacy pushing forward. Fighting for yards. Great vibes! It's that time of year for the Green & Yellow Bumblebee.
* James Starks has great zest in his step. Getting to the outside with pizzazz. Goal oriented. Hope the Green Hornet's ankle is ok.
* While Jarrett Boykin might be out of the rotation right now, we haven't seen the last of him. He's going to make a couple of big plays this year.
* Great play design on the swing pass to Dorsey. 4 WR's on the field. And a TE. Cobb and Dorsey in the backfield. Really fun to see. Would like to watch Janis in the role that Dorsey played.
* Dorsey and J-Bush make a really solid gunner tandem.
* Brandon Bostick had a nice stick on punt return coverage, but man, that dude gets blown up on kickoff coverage.
* Also, catch the ball, Brandon Bostick!
* Lacy as a blocker. Relish it. He's been top shelf.
* I'd been begging for DuJuan to get some action. In mop up time, he got it. He didn't make the most of it.
* The Cobb block on the Starks TD was scintillating!
* Davante Adams needs to master the art of holding onto his blocks. Gives up too quickly.
* Riveting to see the Claymaker with his presence felt. Quick off the ball. Impactful. Didn't finish on 2 sacks, but 1 led to a Peppers sack and the other totally busted up a 3rd down. We saw hustle. We saw excitement. We saw confidence. The 2nd defensive play of the game, he set the standard.
* Mike Daniels' physicality on the 1st defensive snap of the game was intimidating. Wish he'd have wrapped Cam up. Nonetheless, it set the tempo.
* Really liked the Nick Perry bull rush.
* When Richard Rodgers catches the ball, he should run upfield.
* The Jordy Nelson stiff arm is contagious.
* Another day at the office for T-Mon.
* The first time I remember seeing Perry and Mike Neal on the outside with Clay & Peppers on the inside, Perry grabbed a sack. Looking forward to seeing more of that.
* Josh Boyd works hard.
* Letroy Guion has played really well the last three weeks. He was stout on the 4th & 1 stop. On the 3rd down play before it as well. He's been really solid in short yardage situations.
* Finally, Brad a Jones is benched. Barrington got the start and didn't make the most of it. He was fine, but not above average. I like Lattimore, but he needs to be more consistent. My ILB solution? Sean Richardson. Have you watched Arizona play? They put Deone Bucannon at ILB. The college Safety brings more speed than a typical ILB would. He can cover better than an ILB normally does. He hits as hard as most ILB's. He can get sideline to sideline better than most ILB's. Head on, he might not excel as much as some ILB's in the run game, but he makes up for it with a savvy approach and enhanced quickness. I'd like to see a little bit of Sean Richardson in that role. He played really well last week. Left wondering how we could get him on the field more often.
* Jordy Nelson is a phenomenal blocker.
* HaHa has drastically improved the tackling in our secondary.
* I think Cobb just junked another Carolina defender.
* Rodgers has been terrific with his feet during this 4 game win streak.
* Hyde's tackle on Olsen on 3rd & 10 in the 2nd Quarter was textbook. We didn't see that type of stop in past years.
* Brilliant game by Ras Davon. He was dominant. He's going to make big money this offseason.
* Casey Hayward with the pick! And, more importantly, a desire to make a tackle.
* Clay Matthews was SO GOOD last week. If he plays like that, we'll be super.
* Another decent game for Morgan Burnett. I remain cautiously optimistic that he's turned the corner.
* The Packer darling of the week is Sean Richardson. No question. If Burnett can't go, Richardson will get his opportunity to shine. Carpe diem, #28!
* Aaron Rodgers is totally taking Davante Adams under his wing.
* The yellow gloves look superfly! Especially on Hayward & Cobb.
* Felt like Julius Peppers was fairly quiet. Yet, he still finished with 1.5 sacks.
* Mike Pennel wants to be good. He's working hard. Playing with a high motor.
* Congrats to Charles Woodson. Sir Charles grabbed his 58th career interception last weekend. He's still 1 sack away from becoming the first player in NFL history with 50 interceptions and 20 sacks.
* I'm really hoping for a NE win this weekend. THE BEARS STILL SUCK!
This week - it's the Saints. In the Superdome. Aptly named the Superdome. After all, the Packers left that Dome feeling Super on January 26, 1997. I was there with my Uncle Pat. I'll never forget it.
We find out a lot about the identity of the 2014 version of the Green Bay Packers this week. A win and we can start dreaming about potential home field throughout or 1st round bye scenarios. A loss and we stay largely focused on the Detroit Lions and our chances of winning the Division. Detroit beat the Saints. Now, the Packers must hold serve.
Frankly, in past years, this game might have ended in a 41-27 defeat. But, not this year. While I'm not convinced that that the Saints are as mediocre as their record suggests, I do feel that the Packers are on a Super path.
The Saints are battling a multitude of injuries and as I write there's significant uncertainty as to the availability of a number of quality players. Pierre Thomas is out. Khyri Robinson might not play. If not, they'll be left with Mark Ingram as essentially a lone back. Jimmy Graham may or may not be available. Jonathan Goodwin might not play. The same can be said for Brodrick Buntley and Keenan Lewis. If the Saints are without their weapons, thus could be a really exciting Sunday Night match-up for the Packers.
If Graham is healthy, it wouldn't shock me if he tops 100 yards and 2 TD's. Colton will be a tough stop. Kenny Stills can get deep. And, as long as Drew Brees is whipping the ball, the Saints will be tough.
Defensively, the Saints aren't lethal. I like Rob Ryan as a Coordinator, but he has limited talent. Cameron Jordan is a man in the middle, but Akiem Hicks can be pushed around. If Buntley is limited, New Orleans will be in trouble as their depth on the DL is light. At LB, they have 4 average players in Curtis Lofton, Parys Haralson, David Hawthorne and Junior Galette. Lofton hasn't aged well, but he can still make plays. Haralson was a solid rotational player for SF, but isn't an every down player. In the secondary, outside of Kenny Vaccaro, I'm not concerned. Especially if Keenan Lewis can't go. With all of this said, Rob Ryan is dangerous. He draws up aggressive schemes. He will attack. With conviction.
If Rodgers is given time, he could throw for 400 yards. That's a big 'if' as I fear McCarthy could go into an early shell as he tries to establish a run game in order to limit crowd noise. Don't do it, Coach. Be aggressive. From the coin toss. Give the game to the XLV MVP. Let him win it.
The Packers need Julius Peppers to make a play this week. We need him attacking Brees. This is the type of game had was signed for. Pin those ears back, JP. We need pressure.
If Khyri Robinson, doesn't play, don't buy into the play action. Be on the attack. Mike Daniels is in line for a big game. Go intimidate!
The Packers pressure Brees when it counts. They knock him off his spot. Victory ensues in a nail biter. It feels Super.
Go Pack Go!