Archive for August, 2008

Position Review – Secondary

August 26, 2008

Overall – I expect a decent season from our secondary. However, much of their performance will be influenced by the play of the D-Line. If Pickett comes back and Jolly plays like we think he can and the line falls in place, that will help the LBs and the secondary look good. If not, the secondary may end up looking more responsible for big plays than they truly are. I do expect more turnover plays from both the LBs and the secondary. I’m looking for big years from Woodson and Bigby in particular and a make or break year from Collins. TT has done a nice job of stocking the secondary with some good back-up CBs and safeties.

Al Harris – I like Al Harris. He is a true professional. He works hard and takes a lot of pride in what he does. He quietly had 2 or so years in there a couple years ago where he may have been the best CB in the game (tons of interceptions are not as important as shutting down #1 receivers, something Harris did week in and week out). However, last year, he started to lose it somewhat. Many point to the Giants game and that surely was a glaring example (though Plax also just played incredibly well). But there were signs of a decrease in reaction time and quickness from earlier in the season. He still can be effective bumping WRs off the line and making solid plays, but I’m not so sure he’ll be able to get back to that dominating level again. This year, I can see Harris playing well, nothing special, but still above average. Maybe a few more picks than he would normally have.

Charles Woodson – Woodson is an interesting guy. I enjoy watching him because he does have a knack for making plays. Anytime he is on the field, he can make something happen – an interception, an alert fumble recovery runback, etc. He is talented and he has been a valuable addition to the team and to the locker room. He, like Harris, may be slowing down a bit though. I still think he will be effective and we may see more big plays from him this year if the D-line can figure things out. It’s interesting, with Woodson, he often goes down hurt but rarely remains injured. Injuries for Woodson and Harris remain a concern for me as they age too. Still, I think Woodson also has an above-average season and maybe even a great one if the D-Line can adequately pressure the QB.

Atari Bigby – Bigby has improved quite a bit over the last year. I remember being quite frustrated with his stupid penalties early last year and wondering if he could hack it back there at safety. Well, he proved for the most part that he’s up to the task. It is just plain exciting and effective to have a guy who’s not afraid to blow up a pass by popping someone. It is scary for opposing receivers to go into our secondary and that is a nice psychological advantage for the Packers defense. However, Bigby still has not ironed out his coverage issues. My guess is that he will be better in this department this year, but it’s still something to watch. If Bigby plays reasonably well and has a few highlight hits, he might have an outside chance at the Pro Bowl – maybe not because he totally deserves it but because he’s exciting. Here’s a Bigby nugget: Bigby is on record stating that playing soccer for most of his life is the main reason his footwork is so sound as a football player (Wes Welker makes the same claim).

Nick Collins – I was one of those who liked Collins from the start and I’m glad that the team is trying to give him every chance to succeed. However, I have also become one of those who has liked Rouse from the start and am growing a bit antsy re this whole thing. If Collins can’t perform early on, I would not have a problem moving Rouse to starter. Collins is very fast and there is a measure of comfort having a speed guy hovering back there just in case. But just when I think he’s becoming a good tackler/hitter, he’ll miss 2 easy tackles like in the last preseason game. Collins is in the Poppinga category: he has this season to shine or be replaced as the starter.

Aaron Rouse – he’s sort of like Ruvell Martin in that he has pretty much done whatever has been asked of him and picked up a few valuable turnovers in the process. Turnovers aren’t everything, but throw in the fact that he’s massive too and can put the hurt on someone like Bigby can, and that makes for a compelling case. If we had Rouse and Bigby as our safeties, I think opposing WRs, RBs and maybe even TEs would think twice before running any routes over the middle of the field. That psychological factor can be huge, especially if Rouse and Bigby would be able to excel in other facets of their jobs. We’ll see how Collins performs. I’d give him 4-6 games and if he’s not doing it, put Rouse in there.

Tramon Williams – Williams is a great story and a player lots of fans can get behind. He is valuable on special teams, he is valuable in the secondary and he may be one of the starting CBs of the future. Even when Tramon gets beaten on a pass play, he is right on the guy and makes the catch a difficult one. He is quick, ath-a-let-ic, as Rich Gannon would say, and he’s seems to get the scheme etc.

Will Blackmon – Blackmon is a player who has tested the patience of the staff as well as fans. His injuries have been annoying mostly because we’ve all seen flashes of his potential. At one point, he said he can return punts “in my sleep” – I like a guy who is so confident about punt returns, but perhaps more than anything, I like a guy who is pumped about being able to return punts. He will be a very valuable special teams contributor this year. But I also like him as a corner because he gives us one dimension we lack with a Jarrett Bush or Tramon Williams – he’s long and he plays tall. Blackmon isn’t a giant (and is actually the same height as Bush) but he’s longer and rangier than the others and may give the team a nice back-up option for defending some of the taller receivers.

Pat Lee – he looks really good to me for a rookie. I’ve heard some say he may be a practice squad guy or may not even make the team. I don’t get that. He has had some monster hits, some great passes defensed, and some overall savvy play for a rookie. He has made a few coverage mistakes, but I think he’s done well. I expect him to come along fast this year.

Joe Porter – he’s a guy who seems to be all over the place when he plays. He has quietly impressed me when he’s been in, though I have seen him give up a few completions. Jason Wilde thinks he can play.

Charlie Peprah – he was injured recently but I don’t think it will hurt his chances of making the team. He actually had a really good game in his first preseason game. He looked to have bulked up over the offseason and they say he’s got a good understanding of the game. He’s the kind of player who may end up spending his career waiting for an injury or a break to get on the field and then being fairly good.

Tyrone Culver – he’s not bad and the word on him also is that he understands the game well and would be a great leader of a secondary…if he weren’t stuck behind some quality players. When he came out of college, I thought this guy was going to be really good. Not a bad back-up for now.

Scorpio Babers – haven’t noticed him much on the field yet, but I’ve noticed his name. Wow.

UPDATE: Thanks Schaef for catching the Bush oversight. Remember early last year when Bush was so…good? Remember that? He would blanket receivers and make plays. He was very solid. Then that quickly changed and he became the guy teams picked on. He weathered a lot of criticism last year to be invited back this year. Part of that may be due to some valuable contributions on special teams (with the exception of the big missed fumble recovery). Bush will likely make the team due to his special teams contributions, but also because he can fill in at CB too. We’ve seen flashes of the talent, but we’ve also seen massive inconsistency. If I were to rank the back-up CBs, I’d put Bush tied for 3rd with Pat Lee, behind Williams and Blackmon.

Interesting Chad Pennington stat

August 25, 2008

Read here from NFL.com in a bit article re Pennington being handed the starting QB job:

“Pennington ranks first in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 attempts with a 65.6 completion percentage.”

Brother Steve still makes fun of my huge admiration for Pennington and my thought that he’s not done in this league – but this was a stat I had never used before to bolster my argument. Not an insignificant stat. I actually think Pennington could be quite good in Miami this year and that Miami likely won’t be as bad as many are projecting. The AFC East in fact, will be tighter than most think (complete division predictions forthcoming).

Packer update – Wynn cut, Harrell being Harrell

August 25, 2008

Read the following from ESPN. DeShawn Wynn cut along with others. Also, Harrell placed on PUP list. Perhaps Harrell should have been placed on the NHBAPDBIPBD (Never Has Been Able to Perform Due to Being Injured Prior to Being Drafted) list.

RUNNING BACK CAN’T CUT IT IN GREEN BAY (1:28 p.m. ET)
Despite cracking the starting lineup for four games as a rookie last season, running back DeShawn Wynn was among four players who were cut by the Packers on Monday.

The moves allowed Green Bay to reach the 75-player limit a day before the deadline. The cut to 53 players has to be made by Saturday.

Defensive tackle Justin Harrell, the Packers’ first-round pick in 2007, was placed on the physically unable to perform list. Also, fullback Ryan Powdrell, wide receiver Chris Francies and offensive lineman Ryan Considine were cut by the team.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wynn missed a total of nine practices and two preseason games because of a concussion and ankle injuries. In his four starts last season, he led Green Bay with 50 carries for 203 yards and four touchdowns. He later was put on IR because of a shoulder injury.

Boss just told me to watch my pad level

August 25, 2008

Is it me or is everything under the McCarthy regime about pad level? Between “pad level” and “football” I’m not sure McCarthy says much else. I am imagining myself in the locker room after a typical practice:

“Team, when you play football, you must maintain a good pad level. Pad level is everything in the game of football. When I take the football and hand it off to the football player who plays the running back position, it is crucial that he maintain the proper pad level. Good pad level helps you maintain proper balance on the football field, during fall football season playing in the National Football League. I love football and pad level.”

2nd half recap

August 23, 2008
  • I want our tight ends more involved during the regular season (though I know MM is withholding a good number of plays for now).
  • Rodgers played great today – just plain great.
  • Michael Montgomery seems to be everywhere, but not necessarily busy being effective.
  • Rouse and Bishop both look really good today.
  • Where’s Hodge – haven’t seen him play yet?
  • Brohm still not looking great though it’s hard to throw a pass with .0000001 of a second to get the ball out.
  • Jeremy Thompson continues to look sort of lost out there. As Gannon aptly pointed out, he just seems very rookie-like w/re to play recognition.
  • Lansanah redeemed himself after he should have been ejected for a vicious hit.
  • Jason Hunter, if he figures out what he’s doing and picks up a few new moves, could end up being the surprise fill-in for a DE position.
  • Kregg Lumpkin is really, really good. He doesn’t quit, he’s got nice moves and he appears to be very strong. His best quality may be his balance though. He looks really good again – GREAT TD RUN!!! I think he’s done enough so far to justify keeping him on the team – no practice squad, keep this guy on the team.
  • I haven’t been this pumped about our kick/punt return game since Desmond Howard.
  • Disagree with Rich Gannon on the long Denver pass break-up by Pat Lee. Lee was behind but he closed fast and got his hand in there to break up the pass. It also was a really good pass.
  • Hackney for Denver looks good. Who is this guy?
  • After watching Bishop play tonight and Hodge last week, I continue to wonder why neither of these guys got a the chance to unseat Poppinga in the off-season.
  • Nice game overall, I’m fairly pleased that the starters did not look like crap (a few of them didn’t play that well, but most of the players were solid).

halftime update

August 22, 2008
  • Nick Barnett suddenly looks really bad – like a rookie. I don’t think his mind is in this game.
  • Collins was also missing tackles before getting hurt.
  • Jackson is money with that duck move, unfortunately, unless he does that , he doesn’t seem to gain much yardage.
  • Horrible run game by the Packers¬† – poor blocking.
  • Bad play calls at the end of the first half.
  • I get the sense that as well as Rodgers has played, he seems extra focused on just getting rid of the ball, at times, when he might have had a few more seconds for another option. But again, Rodgers is playing well.
  • OUr defensive line looks horrendous – where is Aaron Kampman? He’s just absent.
  • Where are the blitz packages?
  • Defense looks a bit shaky overall – not worth freaking out about, but concerning.

First Quarter recap

August 22, 2008

So far, so good.

  • Goose Gossage, or I mean Rodgers, is playing calmly and appears significantly more comfortable than he did last week.
  • Jennings presence helps big-time.
  • Dumervil is really good but Tausch got used…just used there.
  • Al Harris is not looking too quick anymore.
  • Ruvell Martin surprising nobody by making big, yet quiet plays.
  • Once Jason Hunter figures out what he’s doing out there, he could dominate. It jus tseems like right now, he has a great motor and great energy and is all over the place, but just not making plays yet.
  • ¬†Chillar and Poppinga both had some fairly obvious missed tackles.
  • Morency up and down, Jackson not doing much.

 

  • Overall, looking quite good so far.

Packers to Win Super Bowl?

August 22, 2008

Just kidding, but great drive.

Game Keys for Denver game

August 22, 2008

The starters not playing like crap.

Favre affecting Jets’ mentality

August 22, 2008

Good read here from sportsline.com. Article discusses how Favre, along with the acquisition of a number of high quality free agents, has helped to shift the Jets back to a winning mentality. It does seem like a quality team with some exciting offensive players (Coles, Cotchery, Leon Washington, Thomas Jones, Chris Baker, Dustin Keller, Bubba Franks). Favre will have plenty of good receivers to throw to, decent protection with the bolstered O-Line and they may have a better defense. But the gist of the article is that the mentality really seemed to shift when Favre arrived.

To me, the most impressive of Favre’s records besides the streak, has been the fact that Favre has had 1 losing season in all of his NFL years. That is simply amazing to me. He is a winner – winning is something that just comes naturally to the guy. So, while it may seem a bit questionable that the Jets would ship out a potential starter (Pennington) to make room for a 38 year-old guy who may call it quits after a year, maybe it makes some sense. Even if the Jets don’t go far in the playoffs or don’t even get to the playoffs, they must have figured that the chance of at least having a winning season with Favre under center hovers around 94%, so why not get the franchise back on a winning path so that Clemens or whoever takes over can ride a positive wave forward?

It’s hard as a Packer fan to read things like this. I know there are still those of you who will disagree with me on this, but I am excited for Favre’s opportunity there and I am starting to believe he could be up to something special there. Favre has gone from the smallest market to the largest one and something is telling me that things are falling in place for a huge send-off for him. As a Packer fan first, huge Favre success would be a bit hard to take, but as a Favre fan too, I’m sure I’ll be able to muster whatever would need mustering, to root hard for the guy.


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