- As I posted last week time of possession is huge tonight. Keep Brees off the field and our defense as fresh as it can be. Even if we fall behind, don’t give up the run. Yes, definitely, mix in a bunch of quality pass plays (including the fail-proof play I suggested last night), but keep in mind the importance of owning time of possession. Get the run going to open up the pass – just like last week’s game. Again, I want Grant to have 30 carries tonight.
- Hurry Brees. I haven’t put much in previous “Game Keys” posts this year asking for our D-Line to do much (mostly because I haven’t felt confident they could). But tonight, I want Brees to be hurried and pressured and sacked. I want him to fumble and I want us to pick up the ball for a TD. I want Brees to get out of rhythm. I want Kampman to lead the charge and to play like the dominating DE I think he can still be (he’s been only OK this year, despite decent sack numbers). The secondary does its job week after week and Brees is already fully aware of our DBs – but if the D-Line steps it up a notch, the New Orleans pass offense, #1 in the NFL, could be in for a long night.
- Watch the short-medium passes to Jeremy Shockey, Billy Miller, Deuce McAllister and Pierre Thomas. Against our aggressive style of cornerback coverage, many offenses prefer to throw short check-down passes to players who aren’t WRs. QBs already know that the timing of many WR patterns will be disrupted by the aggressive Packer DBs right at the line of scrimmage. So, I think that may explain in good part, why tight ends, FBs, RBs in the flat etc, seem to be very popular targets for teams opposing us. Chillar, Hawk, Bigby, Collins – that’s you.
- On offense, I want to see Lee and Humphrey (maybe Finley) get some passes. Humphrey has this big-guy-falling-forward-hard-to-get-down type running style that could some day, health permitting, make him one of those throw-to-him-you-get-an-automatic-first-down type guys.
- If New Orleans is overcompensating for Jennings, throw it to him a few times anyway because he’ll probably still make a few good plays – but tonight, I would recommend leaning heavily on Driver. Driver will be emotionally pumped up considering his personal situation and the fact that he’s always that way. But he’s still a very good receiver and his veteran instincts against a suspect secondary could lead to a huge night. Depending on weather Jones plays or not, going to a few 4-5 WR sets might work particularly well tonight considering the opposing defense.
Archive for November, 2008
I’ve decided that the next time I’m extra pumped about something (perhaps tonight in anticipation of the Packer game), I’m going to borrow a page from my son’s playbook: make a very intense face and run very hard in place.
Two articles over the last few days over at jsonline: one re Grant working hard on not fumbling and now another today about Rodgers trying not to throw picks. Wonder what jsonline writers are worried about tonight.
I have the first play – a play that cannot possibly fail. Set up with 1 WR and present as though it’s a fairly obvious running play. Then, have Rodgers go back to very obviously hand it off to Grant as he often does, but he doesn’t hand off this time. A money fake hand-off. Then he rolls to the side with the WR and fakes a pass there and by then, Grant has gone deep down the opposite side for a cross-field 74 yard touchdown pass.
I apologize for my word choice here but I can’t think of a better way to describe the guy. Yelling and whining and being just generally, unpleasant. As my wife said: how does the guy get endorsement deals?
STEVE ADDS: I was going to post almost exactly the same thing. Did you see him screaming at the new center who replaced Jeff Saturday — a rookie seventh rounder from Buffalo? The guy apparently did not understand that Manning’s flailing meant that he should snap the ball. Yeah, it’s professional football and these guys are paid to be competent. But Manning is a whiny bitch. Twice he threw behind Joseph Addai and each time he looked at Addai as if it were the running back’s fault. Whiner.
Read this story by Vic Carucci at nfl.com about Je’Rod Cherry. Great story. Cherry was a relatively anonymous player for the Patriots earlier this decade and helped them win 3 Super Bowls. The short of it is that he has decided to donate what to him may be his most valuable material possession: his first Super Bowl ring. It is for a raffle prize. The raffle will benefit several charities that are important to him. It is already estimated that his doing this has helped raise more than $100,000. All you need to put in is $10 for a chance to win a Super Bowl ring. He chose not to go the auction route even though he knows he could have generated huge money for the charities, because by going with the raffle, anyone (not only the super rich) who can put in $10 can have a crack at winning the ring.
This guy may be the opposite of the recently reinstated Pacman Jones.
I have been researching a bit on projected fantasy rankings for Week 12 and I have noticed that Ryan Grant isn’t being given a whole lot of love. In fact, his name doesn’t appear anywhere near the top of these lists it seems.
A few weeks ago, Atlanta played New Orleans in Atlanta. Because Mike Smith of Atlanta is one of the brightest new coaches around, they put into place a very sensible game plan: own the clock. They ran the ball, threw when necessary and kept Brees off the field when the game mattered. The final time of possession stats were only Atlanta 31 minutes and change and New Orleans 28 and change. But much of that difference was made up by New Orleans in garbage time as Brees caught fire and took the team down the field for some late, but irrelevant scores because the game had already been decided.
While we will have opportunities to exploit the Saints’ weak secondary, I would recommend to McCarthy, whom I know sits down to read this blog every Friday morning for tips, that the Packers really get the ground game going and get the Saints D tired. Yes, we can still take some shots down field and let Jennings, Driver and co dismantle their secondary. But keeping the number “30″ in mind for carries for Grant would be sensible going into this game. (I’m not just saying this because Grant is my fantasy back, but I’m saying this because it worked many times last year and of course, it worked like mad last week).
- Cincy @ Pitt (-11.5) – Pitt by 35.They will finally get their offense on track.
- Buff @ KC (+5.5) – Taking KC to win here seems like the sexy pick, but KC has lost 9 games. Buff is on a slide lately, but I do believe that the loss of Josh Reed and his ability to distract defenses just a bit for Lee Evans is big. He’s back. Both LJ and Lynch to have huge games. Tough one, in the end, I’ll bet Buff wins, KC covers.
- Chic @ St. Louis (+7.5) – the temptation is huge to take the Rams. They did play well for a few games in the middle of the year. But I just can’t see Chicago blowing such a critical game, as much as I really really want them to. The Rams might tease their 8 fans by keeping it close, only to puke it at the end and then lose the franchise to LA.
- Hou @ Cleve (-3.5) – Cleveland in a blow-out. It may be time for…gulp…Craig Nall to takeover from Sage “guaranteed multiple turnover” Rosenfels.
- NE @ Mia (-1.5) – Pennington will continue to dominate because he’s great. But the reason Miami will win: 8 turnovers this year…8! That’s 2 games for Gus Frerotte alone.
- NYJ @ Tenn (-5.5) – Leon Washington said in a recent interview that just being in the huddle with Favre in critical moments of the game makes him feel confident they can win. Maybe because all Favre has to do is give it to Leon Washington who can score from anywhere.
- SF @ Dal (-10.5) – SF absolutely crushed St. Louis last week and Dallas lost to St. Louis. Doesn’t matter. Romo and company to go nuts this week. 42-13. (They’ll be playing Milwaukee Bucks 1980s scrub time music by mid 3rd quarter…you know, the Hungarian Waltz that would welcome Jerry “Ice” Reynolds to the floor.)
- TB @ Det (+8.5) – A couple lucky TDs to Calvin Johnson will help Det cover.
- Oak @ Den (-9.5) – shouldn’t even be a game. The only chance for Oak is if Asomoaishwqiue hgdhasdfuasdh picks off a few passes when Cutler mistakenly throws in his direction. The guy is very good (not Charles Woodson good, but very good). Denver by 30.
- Car @ Atl (-1.5) – Atlanta will try to run on Carolina, but the running game may not get going until Matt Ryan takes some chances down-field to Roddy White and Michael Jenkins. Delhomme may snap out of his slump with a few nice passes to Steve Smith but it won’t be enough. Atlanta will win and cover.
- NYG @ Ariz (+3.5) – despite vowing to never pick against the Giants again, I’m picking against he Giants again. This is a huge…huge…huge game for the Cardinals. This organization hasn’t won their division for 30 years, I believe I heard earlier today. 30 years! A win over the Giants and they not only almost clinch the division title already, but they finally make it over the “we’ve been a sucky franchise for years” hump (and both Brother Steve and I get to have an extra beer for picking them to win the division this year).
- Wash @ Sea (+3.5) – Even though I picked Seattle to suck this year and be last in this division, I keep wanting to take them especially when they are at home. But the fact is, this is one really bad team. This is a very important game for Wash and important to Zorn for many reasons – Wash win and cover.
- Indy @ SD (-2.5) – It makes more sense to pick Indy here considering they are somewhat hot lately and seem to be rounding back into form. But SD is very good at home and Indy may be just coming across this team at the wrong time.
- GB @ NO (-2.5) – Brees scared the ____ out of me. I don’t see McAllister doing much. Pierre Thomas is more of a concern. And of course, if Bush is in there, we have to pay special attention to him as a receiver. Still, I think a solid ground game to keep Brees off the field should help us dominate time of possession and therefore the game. Pack to win an exciting game outright.
Jerry Jones seems to think so. I’ll reserve comment until we hear it from the league, but I certainly hope this is wrong.
UPDATE: The answer is yes. How revealing that Jerry Jones knew before anyone else. This is what Roger Goodell meant when he promised to crackdown on NFL thugs? Remember this, from February 2007: “One incident is too many in my book.”
John Riggins reported this morning that Roger Goodell is looking for ways to justify the reinstatement of Pacman Jones after suspending him indefinitely in mid-October. If Riggins is right, this is a very, very bad sign.
Goodell took the job promising to crack down on the thugs in the NFL. Indeed, some believe this promise was a major reason that Goodell won the job over other highly-qualified applicants. It was to be a no-tolerance policy and Goodell was going to be the NFL’s chief enforcer.
But rather than kick Jones out of the league for his many previous violations of league policy, Goodell gave him what was described at the time as “one more chance.” Then Jones got into what Goodell himself described as an “alcohol-related” fight and, in a letter to Jones, decried his”disturbing pattern of behavior clearly inconsistent with the conditions set for your continued participation in the NFL.”
Last night, in an interview on NFL Network’s “Total Access,” Goodell complained that too much attention is paid to the small number of players with off-the-field problems and too little credit is given to NFL players who help in their communities. Is this the same Roger Goodell who promised to crackdown on the thugs?
And now Goodell is concerned about ticket scalping.