Archive for October, 2008

Game recap – Indy

October 19, 2008
  • Great hustle play by Korey Hall in the first quarter on Ryan Grant’s fumble – a quietly important play because had Indy picked up that ball, that could have been a big problem momentum-wise.
  • When Indy decided not to go for it early in the game on 4th and 2 or whatever it was, that was a key play in the game. Tony Dungy stopped an Indy offense that was moving the ball well. Bad coaching decision.
  • Nice execution on a variety of offensive plays – Rodgers looked very sharp. Nice FB, TE, RB, WR completions.
  • Peyton Manning whined and whined and whined today. Wow, it’s just not fun watching someone like that. Sure, people will say he’s a “competitor” and “just wants to win” and other garbage expressions used to distract us from the only real explanation – but the fact is the guy is a whiner.
  • After the first drive the Packers’ defense became monstrous. I know Manning wanted pass interference on most of the plays in the game, but the fact was, the Pack had super tight coverage and just brought it today. (And it seemed to me that most of the plays when Manning whined for interference, our guy made contact within the first five yards).
  • Collins, Rouse – both huge plays. I love seeing our defense take the pressure off the offense.
  • Now, let me preface this comment by saying that Grant, overall, was good today. I’ll take a 100 yard game with a TD from our RB almost any day. However, I am seeing a problem that I really don’t like developing – and I’ve alluded to it before. When Rodgers hands the ball off, there is absolutely no question it will be a hand-off and no question which direction Grant will be running. I watched this carefully throughout the game. So, especially in the second half when Grant slowed down, time after time, Indy seemed to know exactly what was coming. Now, that may have been due in part to the fact that we were already in the lead (in part because of good running by Grant very early on before Indy caught on) and Indy knew we’d lean on the run. And I would not even write about this if I hadn’t noticed it previously this season. But he keeps happening whenever Rodgers sticks the ball out like he does and Grant and everyone else move in one direction – it’s so obvious what’s happening and this obviousness allows the LBs (especially Sessions today) to be all over the play. I hate to dwell on this so I won’t – I need to have a celebratory beer.
  • I was also pleased that Indy tried to mix in the pass more after the first drive, because running was working. Bad decision by them.
  • Just a very satisfying victory. Great defense, solid offense, decent special teams (nice kick block).
  • One person I really want to single out is Bob Sanders – not the missing safety from Indy, but our own D Coordinator. Great game plan. Well executed for sure, but it really was a welcome contrast to the game plan of D Coordinator Bob Slowik when we last played Indy in Indy a few years ago and he blitzed on most plays leaving us vulnerable and we lost big-time. I don’t point this out much, but feel I have to today: great game plan Bob Sanders, great job today.

Did Favre Help the Lions Gameplan Against the Packers?

October 19, 2008

Thanks to VACheezhead and Dave K for flagging these reports about Brett Favre helping the Detroit Lions gameplan against the Packers earlier this year.  The original report came from Jay Glazer at Fox Sports and has enough detail that it strikes me as more than plausible.  It says a lot about Favre that such reports aren’t dismissed out of hand.  Here‘s Greg Bedard.

Bigby Doubtful

October 17, 2008

See here from Greg Bedard. Does not sound like he’ll go. Probably wise — keep give him the extra week of rest and then the bye so he’s full strength for the second half of the season.

Offensive play option – you can use it McCarthy, if you want to

October 17, 2008

I’ll let you decide if you think this idea is offensive or…offensive. But I was just thinking about this for no reason whatsoever. What if the Packers started out the game by passing the ball 3 straight times to FB Korey Hall? 1) He’s probably THE last guy on the field Indy is thinking about; 2) he’s a decent receiver it seems and he’s be pumped for it; 3) the players may all collectively rally around an unheralded hard-worker type getting extra attention; 4) it might have the immediate effect of Indy defensive personnel wondering re their defensive game plan; 5) after the 2nd completion to I’m sure a wide-open Hall, Indy would start to wonder what’s going on and maybe keep an eye on him a little more but still dismiss him mostly because there are too many other weapons out there; 6) finally, after the 3rd pass his way (hopefully he’ll have picked up a first down in there), Indy will HAVE to shade coverage over to him – then Rodgers goes deep to Jennings for a TD.

STEVE ADDS: Or they could run the A-11, where all 11 offensive players are potentially eligible receivers.  I bring this up with great reluctance because I suspect it’ll lead to dozens of posts from Andy advocating this formation.  (It’s unclear that it would be legal in the NFL.)

Game Keys – Colts

October 17, 2008
  • Take away Dallas Clark as an option as well as possible. Like Romo/Witten, Clark is Manning’s outlet guy and the guy is just very good. It sounds like Chillar is going to get extra time Sunday to help cover him.
  • Woodson vs Wayne. Not sure how MM will line up our CBs but it would make sense for Woodson to cover Wayne and Williams to cover Harrison. Manning has been uncharacteristically shaky this year (last week excepted), and if Woodson can jump an early route for a pick, that could be a big psychological boost for the Pack.
  • Grant Grant Grant. I have been waiting with Packer Nation for weeks for Grant to break a run. It seems like last year, even in games where he was having a bunch of 1-2 yard gains, he at least always had a long run for a TD. Not happening this year. Even if the line is bad and even if defenses are plugging holes because they know what’s coming, Grant needs to step up here and make something happen. He really needs a statement game and it would be really nice if it happened this week.
  • Our TEs have not been as involved this year as I want them to be. Indy does have a fast LB corps/defense overall which might lead one to think our TEs would have trouble being a factor. But I think Indy will focus lots of attention on stopping the run and stopping Jennings/Driver leaving other receiving options open (especially our TEs, even our FBs).
  • Bigby needs to light somebody up early. If he gets in there and makes a play, I think it will get the crowd into it and give us serious momentum.
  • We need to remember psychologically that while the Indy D has caused 8 turnovers in the last 5 quarters of play (3 by a horrific Sage Rosenfels and 5 by a listless Balt offense), that the Indy defense is not very good. We should be able to run all over them and pass right through them.
  • Fluster Manning early with a pick or lots of pressure (or ideally, somehow forcing a WR to run the wrong route) so that Manning starts whining so much that Harrison and Wayne both gang up on him, break his nose. While I like Sorgi, I’d rather have him in there than Manning.

Bigby may be back for Colts game

October 16, 2008

Silverstein from jsonline had this to say today re the possibility that Bigby could be back and playing this Sunday…finally.

Bigby took his run test Wednesday and apparently passed with no problem. He ran around with no hesitation and at one point gave injured receiver James Jones the thumbs up when Jones walked by the defensive drills. Coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that if Bigby practiced Thursday there was a good chance he would play on Sunday. It’s unclear whether he’ll start, but if he’s physically OK, he’ll definitely play.

Let’s hope this happens. I think he’ll be a valuable guy back there against a team like Indy. Against us, I imagine Dallas Clark will be used a lot and it would be nice to have Bigby back there to assist with coverage. Perhaps more importantly though, it will be nice to have another competent player in the secondary for depth-sake as playing against Indy, any secondary can get winded fast.

2008 Week 7 Picks

October 16, 2008

(By the way, picks listed in order of confidence – from highest to lowest).

  • Balt @ Mia (-2.5) – Balt’s D got exposed last week, not as good as people think it is. Like I said in the preseason, Chad Pennington still has something left. I don’t like Parcells but the guy does know football. In fact, Miami reportedly has drawn up a play this week for Parcells (after activating him) to come down, wear a QB-type number, line up as WR and when the ball is snapped, he will just roll around on the ground basking in his unpleasantness and then do a few jumping jacks. This will distract the Ravens as RQB Ronnie Brown throws it 40 yards to a wide open Chad Pennington.
  • Min @ Chi (-2.5) – Last time these two teams played in Chicago, I think AP had 700 yards or so. This time, I don’t think it will happen. While the Vikes have won a couple games with Frerotte (as I indicated they would), they are ready to start their massive slide now. My guess is that they’ll go 1-4 in their next 5 games and I don’t even know who they’ll be playing. Childress is one more questionable decision away from losing his job. Normally reticent Vikes’ fans have apparently been really ticked at some of his poor decisions lately – even after winning.
  • Tenn @ KC (+7.5) – KC will respond to all the turmoil the team has been going through by surprising Tenn – maybe even beating them. Carl Peterson may also go public about his crush on Gonzalez.
  • Det @ Hou (-8.5) – Let’s see if Orvl;kjasdoqwetbbasd runs out of the end zone again – AND DOESN’T NOTICE! The incredible thing about that play last week wasn’t that they gave up a safety, it was that the QB didn’t even seem to notice that he was 2 plus feet out of bounds. Watch for the re-emergence of Mike Furrey. He was a tremendous pass catcher a couple years back.
  • Dal @ St. L (+6.5) – I think Dallas is still very good (and not enough is being made re the absence of Terrance Newman, which really hurts them). And, I think they could almost be as good with Brad Johnson back there because it will encourage them to stick to the running game they mysteriously abandon at times. They may eke out a win here, but they won’t cover. St. Louis’ victory last week has left them feeling like you do at 5:16pm on a Sat night when friends are coming over for a BBQ and you’ve just cracked open your first Pabst from the cooler – where it’s been sitting on ice for 2 hours.
  • Pitt @ Cincy (+9.5) – I’ve gone back and forth here. Cincy can’t continue to be that bad right? And Pitt has been known to go into Cincy (last 6 times I believe) and handle the Bengals. I can see Cincy putting forth a decent effort here because it’s a division rival, falling just short and Marvin Lewis being gone within the next 2 games. Soon, Mike Tomlin better start getting credit for being a good coach.
  • Cleve @ Wash (-6.5) – I am a believer in the Cleve and the Wash. I picked both to make the playoffs. The Cleve will be riding serious momentum, but Wash is very good. Anyone notice that after each game Clinton Portis seems to make questionable public statements (like after last week, that Zorn was too easy on them in practice). Wash will be very angry after letting last week’s game slip away.
  • Indy @ GB (+1.5) – Not sure why I’ll take GB here…oh, I take them every week. Indy must have been sharp last week, but they were playing a team with an overrated defense and a weak offense. Indy’s defense is poor (despite getting 5 lucky turnovers last week). As long as the Pack stops Freeney, our offense should have its way – and Grant will go nuts. Trick plays please MM – we’re waiting.
  • Sea @ TB (-10.5) – Huge spread here. I heard today from Brandon Lang (brandonlange.com – guest on 540 ESPN radio), that against a double digit spread, the dog is 9-0 this year. Seattle is terrible and should get rolled, but they’ll keep it a game and probably lose by 10.
  • NO @ Car (-2.5) – tough one. Which Car team shows up? I can see Steve Smith getting really pissed off if they start losing like last week and Ken Lucas inching over to the 50 yard line seats where his mom sits.
  • SF @ NYG (-10.5) – Eli finally puked one. I’ve been waiting for that to happen for a while now. He also apparently has bruised ribs. Speaking of which – what happens if you order braised ribs at a restaurant and the waiter drops the ribs on the floor – would you then have bruaised ribs? That was really dumb.
  • SD @ Buff (+.5) – SD is a good home team but Buff may be a better all-around team. I like the Buff in a close one here. By the way, not sure this is fair, but there is something relatively goat-like about Nate Kaeding. Maybe it was his hard luck from a few years ago, but I don’t have faith in that guy to win games – and he may lead the NFL in hitting the uprights.
  • NYJ @ Oak (+2.5) – Favre in Oak. Should be a no-brainer pick, but we all have experienced the Favre-play-down-to-a-bad-team Sunday. This may be one – the only difference may be that Favre’s defense and the rest of his guys will step up. The NY Jets are a good team.
  • Den @ NE (-3.5) – who knows? I read last week that nobody is even throwing in Champ Bailey’s direction anymore – at all. Probably smart. But if he’s guarding Moss, that may not be smart for NE. Moss looked like he was entering into a pouting phase during that SD game last week and if he continues to be an offensive afterthought – I foresee a tantrum. Would be fascinating to see how Belichick would handle that. NE also better come up with a remedy for Cassel’s weak play – and that may mean working in a more prominent run game, which I think they’ll do. They may also have a couple trick plays Monday night to ease the pressure on Cassel.

KC apparently backed out of Gonzalez deal

October 15, 2008

Read here from Jason Wilde at madison.com. (Thanks to reader Manolito for pointing this out to us). Apparently the Pack even sent papers to complete the deal and it was just minutes before the deadline that they learned the Chiefs wouldn’t take the deal. So I’m gathering that TT may have actually had very little opportunity to counteroffer once the Chiefs surprisingly backed out. So, with this info, I think it’s important for the sake of our accountability to not blame TT for this. He made a good faith offer that seemed like it would go through and looked good only to have a flaky GM in KC renege. I would have liked to have Gonzalez, but I’m ready to move on.

Report: Addai Will Not Play

October 15, 2008

This report, from Adam Schefter, is obviously good news.  Joseph Addai is a very strong runner, an elusive guy who can also power the ball forward in a scrum.  He has quick-shift ability that rivals almost anyone in the NFL.

And he is incredibly soft.  They guy is hurt all of the time, and misses time regularly.  How annoying.  (Yes, I own him in fantasy football.)

Dominic Rhodes is a very average back.  Fortunately for him, he’s facing a very below-average Packers run defense.  Should be an average match-up.  Or below-average.

Good for Ted

October 15, 2008

A second round choice for Tony Gonzalez is too much. He’s very good, but he’s no longer a difference-maker. He’s 32 and has, what, maybe two or three good years left. (Please, no Favre comparisons — different positions, different world.) And with the way the offensive line is playing, we’d probably have to use him quite a bit as a blocker.

Mostly I think a second-round pick is too much. Our team is very young and I like the way Thompson hordes his draft picks and then trades down to get more. Look at the number of first-round busts over the past couple of years — and what those busts have gotten in guaranteed money — to remind yourself that this is a wise strategy.

It’s just my opinion. Others disagree. But I think it’s a bit silly to suggest that this is some huge mistake and that with Gonzalez we would be Super Bowl bound.

UPDATE: And Packerbelle sends in this link to a report that suggests this deal might not have been as close as some reports seemed to suggest. “We didn’t get anything close to what was appropriate,” said Carl Peterson.

ANDY RESPONDS: I did read something later this afternoon that said in the end, Carl Peterson just didn’t want to give up Gonzalez because he thinks so much of him – the article indicated that essentially, nothing may have been enough (can’t find the article link now). Anyway, I’m not sure who suggested that the Pack would win the Super Bowl with Gonzalez. I certainly didn’t. And I don’t follow your argument too well when you mention the problem with first round busts. Are you saying that dropping down and drafting later is better because you end up having to dole out less cash for players who can sometimes still end up being good? Or are you saying that drafting anyone, even in the first round, is a risky proposition so it actually is smarter to strongly consider taking a high quality free agent you know won’t be a bust? And by the way, 2 or 3 years in the NFL is actually just shy of the average NFL players’ time spent in the league – so I’d gladly take him over a question mark 2nd round pick (especially when we’ll have plenty of other picks). And he is a difference maker still – put him in our offense where the defense is already busy accounting for folks, and he would do serious damage. Yes, the O-Line would have to take care of biz a bit better, but he would have been an impactful player (used impactful there because Steve hates that word). Ok, the horse is dead.


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