Archive for September, 2009

AJ Hawk’s 40-time may be over 5.0

September 27, 2009

I don’t know about the rest of you, but that’s the second time Steven Jackson has come around the edge against Hawk and Hawk should have had an angle to make the play pretty much a non-play but instead gave up 5-8 yards simply because he’s not fast enough. He hasn’t played horribly overall today, but I’m wondering if lack of speed may help explain why he’s just not been worthy of the #5 overall pick.

First half recap

September 27, 2009

Thoughts so far:

  • The O-Line is very bad despite the halftime lead here. We’ve scored TDs because of 1 deceptive play call (handoff to Kuhn) and because of great catches by Driver, Jennings and then Driver again – on quick passes that the O-Line didn’t have to block much for.
  • So far, the defense doesn’t look terrible, but Brandon Chillar got used on both of those TD passes. I’m OK with him allowing the first one, but the a pro LB known for coverage skills should never have allowed that second one.
  • I get the feeling that Rodgers said to himself before the game today that he is going to end up having to make plays in order for the Pack to win because the O-LIne and running game will continue to be simply non-existent.
  • Even though we are not running well right now, I like that we continue to hand the ball off. It helps with the overall play mixture and I think it keeps the Ram’s D on its toes.
  • I’m pleased that Crosby has made his FGs today – two of which weren’t easy. Good for his confidence.
  • I love Donald Driver. I just love the effort he puts into every single play. He had a great first half, but the play that stuck out was a play that ended up not working at all. Fox showed the replay of a 3rd and something down in Rams territory (we ended up with a field goal) and on the replay, you could see that driver was still running around trying to get open when the other 2 WRs had kind of slowed down.

Awful

September 27, 2009

The Packer offensive line is horrendous.  Really, really bad.  The Packers have been inside the red zone three times and have been unable to score a touchdown.  Ryan Grant cannot get more than three yards — there simply are no holes.  Although our receivers have had trouble getting open on at least two plays, the offensive line is once again leaky, giving Aaron Rodgers very little time to throw.  Allen Barbre has been beaten badly three or four times.  All that said, Rodgers is holding the ball too long.  Way too long.

Week 3 picks

September 25, 2009
    • Cleve @ Balt (-13.5) Blowout. I don’t know why I continue to believe that when we all see Eric Mangini, we’re not seeing the real Eric Mangini – we’re seeing an act, we’re seeing a carefully crafted Bill Behlichick impersonation. Something tells me that this guy isn’t as much of a hard-ass as he acts like he is. Just be yourself Mangini – maybe your team won’t then totally, totally suck.
    • Pitt @ Cincy (4.5) Here it is, the pick many will ridicule: Cincy by 10. Pitt’s reign as a high level team may be about to take a break for a while. The Polamalu loss is big and while they’ll still have their moments, this team will fall shy of the playoffs. Cincy, on the other hand, may finally be ready to not suck. Their attack against the Pack was balanced and they have the talent to take down mighty Pitt this week.
    • Wash @ Det (6.5) Can’t pick this game. Either Wash will run away with this one or lose. Ok, wait, I’m seeing it more clearly now. Det will hang in there long enough to keep it a game and then snatch this one at the end pleasing the 14 fans in the stadium. This may be our first glimpse of Matthew Stafford, Legit QB.
    • Jax @ Hou (-3.5) Houston by 50. Ok, probably not due to their shoddy defense (actually due to their not-so-bad-defense that is playing shiddy, if you will). Hou will overpower and Steve Slaton may end up with over 200 yards total and yes, 4 TDs.
    • SF @ MN (-6.5) SF is for real and they will have spent all week figuring out how to slow AP down. Favre may end up having to pass in this one. His performance at Detroit was simply odd (23-27 for 155 yards and 2 TDs). All seemingly unFavre-like #s. Though it’s still early in the season and MN hasn’t played anyone yet, I must say, I’m growing more and more worried that my initial worry about Favre going to the Vikings may come true. Initially, I said that Favre wouldn’t have to do too much because of AP and that he may in fact end up having higher percentage passes when he does throw because defenses are so constantly worried re AP. By the way, one annoying thing I’ve noticed more and more is that Chilly is starting to get confident. He’s one of those guys I look at and think “that guy doesn’t deserve to be confident”.
    • Atl @ NE (-4.5) Tough one to predict. This is a rather bold statement, but I really believe it’s possible Bill Behlichick will be meeting his equal on the other sideline of this game. Mike Smith is a smart, smart coach. In fact Atlanta’s transformation in the last 1.5 years is really something. Great GMing, as it were, and great coaching.
    • KC @ Phil (-9.5) Anyone else ever wonder if a coach’s credibility is reduced when he is enormously fat. It’s mean to say, especially when I think Andy Reid has been dealing with some seriously difficult family stuff, but the guy just gets fatter and fatter. As a player sweating, running sprint # 15, I’d be a be resentful if I were being egged on by a coach with a BMI of 45.
    • GB @ StL (6.5)  Ok, it’s possible my cockiness last week actually cost the Pack the game. But I’m stubborn and I’m calling for a blowout again. Our defense may not play that well again, but I really think the offense will in part because Rodgers will simply will this one to victory.
    • NYG @ TB (6.5)  Eli is the strangest QB in the NFL. He doesn’t project outside confidence and looks almost like one of those guys who is just constantly worried about what others might think of his every move. Yet, in the face of huge pressure to screw up in Dallas, he drove them down and got the job done. It may be time for me to just eat some crow and say straight out here, Eli Manning is good.
    • NO @ Buff (5.5)  NO is averaging 46.5 points a game. That’s hilarious. Who does that? One thing I really don’t understand is why there is any discussion whatsoever about who is the best QB in the NFL. The answer has to be Drew Brees. The guy is amazing – especially a month removed from his mother’s sad death at just 59 years old. One more tidbit, the NO has 6 interceptions already this year, in good part because of forgotten Darren Sharper. He did always have a nose for the football.
    • Chic @ Sea (2.5)  Jay Cutler is one of those guys who acts just like he looks. He looks arrogant, entitled, spoiled and like the kind of guy who never accommodates anyone else – he’s always been accommodated his whole life. Still, he led Chic back to victory last week and the Bears may ride the momentum of that big V. One thing to watch for in this one is Seneca Wallace going nuts in the passing game – because Julius Jones is going nowhere on the ground.
    • Tenn @ NYJ (-2.5)  I’m taking Tenn in this one just because suddenly I don’t like the Jets and I want them to lose. Rex Ryan rubs me the wrong way – wait a second, who came up with that expression? There would be no possible way Rex Ryan could rub me the right way. May place a ban on that one. Rex Ryan, by the way, is another in the coaching fat camp. I’d like to see stats on how overweight coaches have done over the years vs generally in-shape coaches.
    • Den @ Oak (-1.5)  Oak’s questionable jettisoning of a #1 draft pick for Richard Seymour is starting to look a bit less foolish. That guy can flat out play. What an incredible story it would be if he really helps turn that D around as it’s looking like he’s doing. I had Oak written off this year due to having a QB who completes 25% of his passes (not really, but close).
    • Mia @ SD (-6.5)   Miami shredded Indy’s defense but couldn’t punch it in. While I’m starting to change course on my opinion of SD’s defense, I somehow think they will be up to the challenge this week. And, I think for the last 1.5 years, Philip Rivers has quietly (actually not so quietly, he’s kind of obnoxious too), put together some amazing passing stats.
    • Indy @ AZ (-2.5)   AZ, comfortably. Indy is a confident team after driving down in the waning minutes and getting a TD to win at Miami. But this will be one of those games where they will simply be overwhelmed by an AZ defense that is a bit better balanced this year than it was last year (Tim Hightower is turning into the back they thought he was).
    • Car @ Dal (-9.5)   It’s hard for me to pick Dallas here. That Tony Romo “crap we just lost again and it may have been largely my fault” look is indelibly etched in my brain. It’s funny, because I either picture that when I think of him or I picture that cocky “I’m smiling a lot looking around at people because I helped us win” look. I guess in the end, I can better envision that latter look. Though Dal will pull it out, I do think Car will have some fight in them though so they will cover.

      Could Cincy loss be functional?

      September 24, 2009

      Maybe, just maybe, the loss to Cincy on Sunday could help propel this Packers’ team toward the kind of great season some of us have been guessing they will have. Maybe. Just judging from the reaction to the loss over the course of this past week, I’d be surprised if this team came out flat Sunday.

      Part of the reason I’m pulling this annoying optimistic stuff is because of the reaction from the coaches/team to this loss. Everyone is mad. I’m not quite sure it made much sense but McCarthy’s defensive rant at his press conference yesterday indicated to me that he is definitely ticked – and a few players have indicated MM has not been happy all week. That’s as it should be. He wants to win and these guys want to win.

      Now, I’m not going to go overboard here into the denial zone, this team does have problems – namely: our franchise QB being vulnerable to injury because of horrendous tackle play in particular, the safety situation, the D-line taking the week off last week, obviously the O-Line, linebackers not doing much and the playcalling – Joshy is absolutely right, when you abandon the run (70% passes last week), it’s very easy for a defense to anticipate what’s coming. But following is some positive spin I’m working hard on believing until it’s proven otherwise:

      • Last week, while it was a bad loss because of poor execution, we lost to a team that will likely surprise people this year – a team with some high level talent. Part of our poor play was due to Cincy executing at a high level. Yes, I thought we’d win in a blowout, but I too learned that Cincy isn’t terrible.
      • While I have lots of concerns about Darren Colledge as a LG much less the LT (and, by the way, I believe the back-up LT should be playing LT this week, not the starting LG), the fact is Chad Clifton gave up 2 of those sacks last week and has been in serious decline for 3 years now. I’m not sure he should be starting anyway.
      • While I’m concerned re dropping Rouse now just because he knew the system and was frankly, another body at safety – I agree with Ace and others that he wasn’t that great and we probably won’t miss his contributions much. (Ron L reporting he’s been picked up already by the Giants).
      • On a related note, Matt Giordano and Derek Martin may very well fit the system much better than Rouse and hopefully, one of them will fit it better than Bigby – who hasn’t been good since 2007.
      • The Cincy loss will teach these guys that they can’t take games off and that if a perceived weaker opponent is on the schedule, then they need to destroy them, and not take anyone lightly. I think we’ll see that this week.
      • There is talk of accountability in the locker room right now. I like that. While I’ll certainly wait to see if the talk is backed up by better play, I think it’s important that players and coaches own up to their errors.
      • If the WR dropping stops which I fully anticipate it will, we might pick up several more first downs which would in turn open the playbook back up for MM.

      Packers 37, Rams 20.

      Sorry McCarthy – we need a better answer here

      September 23, 2009

      Well, I’ve been waiting for the explanation as to why the team cut Aaron Rouse. Here is what Greg Bedard has for us so far:

      • On Rouse: His ability to be consistent and his development were the factors, but there were a lot of them;
      • On choosing Rouse over Anthony Smith: There’s a number of different factors go into it. Timing was an issue. It’s not accurate (that they chose Rouse over Smith);
      • “It’s a real challenge for our assistant coaches, no doubt,” McCarthy said of the situation at safety;
      • On Rouse: “These decisions are made with a lot of information.”

      I’m not opposed to signing Matt Giordano and yes, I understand they’re saying Collins should be fine for this weekend. I also can’t pretend to know exactly what “information” McCarthy is referring to here. Still, I find the timing of this strange and foolish. It makes me wonder a bit if Darren Perry (DB coach) is hot-headed and decided he just didn’t like Rouse on the team anymore (maybe he did the same thing with Anthony Smith?).

      Packers cut Aaron Rouse – what?

      September 23, 2009

      Packers cut Rouse – read here. What is going on up there in Green Bay? Now, as is often the case, I can’t pretend to know the full story here – maybe Rouse was seriously injured and accepted an injury settlement with his release or something. But unless the Collins and Bigby injury situations have suddenly improved, I cannot imagine why the team would cut a back-up who knows the system. While the whole defense was questionable Sunday, I’m not sure Rouse was exceptionally bad.

      There sure better be some kind of sensible explanation for this – like that the neck stinger is really a problem and they offered an injury settlement etc. Outside of that, we’re just so thin at the position, I don’t think there could be a good explanation. We should have kept him AND signed this Matt Giordano guy. I’m really uncomfortable going into the Rams game with a present CB and a newcomer safety as the starters.

      One year anniversary of offensive line post

      September 23, 2009

      Almost exactly one year ago (Sept 24, 2008), I wrote this post. Interesting to me that it still seems to apply 1 year later. Again, even allowing for the complications injuries cause, our lines issues shouldn’t be this bad.

      I think TT needs to think seriously about finding some veterans (LeRoy Butler said the same thing a couple days ago in his 5 questions article with jsonline). Of course, not sure which veterans are even available. Here’s an idea: let’s put AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett and Brady Poppinga on the market. Maybe even Aaron Kampman or Donald Lee or John Kuhn (we may need to get creative here). Even if we can get a mediocre lineman or two at this point, that would be an upgrade.

      Calling all washed up safeties

      September 23, 2009

      I heard this morning on the radio that the Packers are desperately trying out retread safeties. In fact, of the 4 guys mentioned, I had heard of only one of them – and the only reason I remember his name was because I remember thinking it was an interesting football-player name (Nate Ness).  It’s easy for us all to sit here now after these injuries and take cracks at Mike McCarthy and staff for the decisions they made for the 53 man roster, yes. But the fact is, a good number of us had safety Anthony Smith on our final 53 and when he was cut, a good number of us were ticked about it. I had 5 safeties on my final 53 in good part because I wanted depth behind 2 very injury-prone starters (and, importantly, an injury-prone main back-up in Rouse). While I like the fact that TT and MM tried to consider the needs for our special teams unit, I think they went overboard keeping 3 FBs, and then a guy like Spencer Havner. By keeping these extra 2 players (1 extra FB and Havner), the Packers went into the season very thin at RB (because Brandon Jackson is hurt…and is often hurt) and at safety in particular.

      One other note, Aaron Rouse apparently suffered a stinger in the Cincy game. While it looks like he’ll be fine, that is always a concerning injury. Imagine if he went down too. Ugh.

      UPDATE: Read here also – Tom Silverstein has an article re the safety situation.

      Where were the linebackers?

      September 21, 2009

      I was reviewing some of the stats from the game yesterday and I noticed that of the LBs, only Aaron Kampman seemed to do much. He had 5 tackles (though I saw him miss a key tackle in the 4th quarter). Barnett had 3 and Hawk had 2. Poppinga, Matthews and Chillar had 1. No surprise that Poppinga barely contributed (and please, don’t point out that he did have 4 assisted tackles – we all know that just means he jumped on the pile well after someone else did the work and somehow got credit for it). My understanding of the 3-4 defense is that the LBs are key overall and should have tons of tackles (with DBs/safeties a close second w/re to tackles). I know Rouse and Woodson each had a bunch of tackles (7 and 9 respectively), but the LBs need to be more active in this defense.

      Though I’ve grown so tired of talking about him myself, I’m even more concerned about Poppinga now. This is why. I have noticed that when he’s on the field (and he was on the field a bunch yesterday), it seems defenses take advantage of it (running Benson to his left etc). I don’t know the breakdown of yards Benson had going either right or left when Poppinga was in, but I’d suspect he gained some quality yards going at Poppinga. This reminds me of the KGB situation from a couple of years ago. We all loved KGB and he was great for a couple years (of course, one difference is Poppinga has never even been OK), but then, 2-3 years before he was cut, he started to be a weak spot on the defense that offenses would exploit. (It’s possible this was always a liability of his, but his pass rushing talents may have clouded our collective ability to acknowledge this.) Time and again, rushers would head toward the right side of our d-line because KGB was such a liability against the run. In fact, I remember a scout for an NFC team stated something very direct about this, to the effect of “playing the Packers? Easy, run to the right of their d-line at KGB – guaranteed yardage”. (Of course, because this was a quote from a scout, it was probably profanity-laced as scouting for some strange reason, is a profession that encourages the frequent use of  expletives.)  Anyway, considering the 3-4 requires quality gap-filling by the LBs on run plays especially, watch for teams possibly running to their left as the season goes forward to take advantage of Poppinga being there.


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