Archive for September, 2010

Trevor Pryce available

September 29, 2010

Whenever a team is forced to play an O-Lineman on a goal-line play primarily because they are short healthy D-Linemen, it makes me think that team may need some more depth along the D-Line. Trevor Pryce, who not long ago a key cog in the Raven’s always- strong D-Line, was just cut as the Ravens needed safety help (signed Ken Hamlin). I wonder if an old vet like this might be worth looking at to help us with our depth. He’s played in the 3-4 for a while now, started 7 games for Balt last year and may still have a bit left in the tank.

I realize TT won’t sign this guy, but it just seems like we’re a bit thin along the D-Line.

McCarthy pleased with running game production

September 29, 2010

Thanks Schaef for pointing this article out.

McCarthy said yesterday that he thought our RBs did well Monday night and were productive. Here is the direct quote:

“You have to look at what’s the definition of the run game. I looked at this particular game, and I felt that our running backs were productive,” McCarthy said. “I thought Brandon and John played well with the opportunities that they were given with the ball in their hands and what was put in front of them. I thought the running back production was a positive in the game.”

I know what he’s saying – that considering the opponent, limited opportunities and the environment etc, they did as well as they could. That’s kind of like saying about your defense “well, we were up against Peyton Manning and while he had 5TDs and 425 yards passing, he’s really good and our guys did what they could with the opportunities they were given.” THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH MM. I realize that MM’s hands may be tied here somewhat w/re to getting a new RB and of course we don’t know if he’s beating down TT’s door telling him to pick someone else up. But my concern is that TT, MM and even Capers (whom I’m guessing weighs in on such matters) are content holding out for the return of James Starks after Week 6 – a guy who hasn’t played football in 2 years because of injuries. I hope Starks can be the guy and that he’s awesome…of course. But I’ll say it again – it’s time for TT to make a splash and pick up someone who can not only carry us this year, but then run with Grant next year.

(Note:  a stat I just noticed an interesting stat looking through the stats from Monday night: John Kuhn had 6 rushes for 31 yards. That’s over 5 yards a carry. Though at first blush this stat may appear to sort of undo my argument above/my lobbying for a new RB, he had 18 of those yards on one incredibly well-designed run play – that one where we spread 3 TEs out to the right and all 3 blocked downfield for him. And, we all know Kuhn is not the answer at RB. If TT doesn’t call Steve Slaton or Lynch or someone, I’m going to start making calls saying I’m with the Packers. I’ll let you know how that goes.)

Add LeRoy Butler to list of those disputing Morgan Burnett’s penalty

September 28, 2010

Check this out from an angry Bears’ fan

September 28, 2010

Thomas Paine Says:
September 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Reply edit

Silly, silly Packer fans. So much stupidity posted here…where to begin.

Yes, Forte did fumble. But it was recovered by the Bears. Moot point other than maybe a couple of yards one way or the other.

The Burnett play was absolutely pass interference. Bennett was trying to make a play on the ball – Burnett was not. Watch the replay – Bennett stopped at about the 12 to position himself to try to catch the ball. Burnett made contact with him and drove him back to the 8. Moving the receiver 4 yards is not having “position”. It is illegal contact, which if the ball is in the air, is called pass interference. There is no debating that. Not to mention Burnett grabbed Bennett’s arms (note the plural, as in BOTH arms). There is no question it was pass interference, and to argue otherwise either proves your complete lack of objectivity, or your ignorance about the game. Or both.

And the idiot who is suggesting the game was fixed because of the disparity in penalties is just foolish. The Packers played horribly. The majority of the penalties came from the offensive line which was clearly out-matched by the faster Bear defenders. Not a conspiracy, just proof that the might Pack isn’t what you thought they were. Sure there were some bad calls. But there are in every game. Bad calls against the Bears too – that roughing the passer call on Melton was very weak and changed the entire drive. And that non-tackle of Kuhns – while corrected by replay — that was about the worst call I’ve ever seen.

But the real point I want to make is this. The Packers are grossly over-rated, and to think that the Bears robbed them is missing what really happened. The Packers have a great passing offense, which looks nice on SportsCenter, but that alone doesn’t make them a great team. Their offensive line is terrible. Secondary, terrible (but with potential). Running game, terrible. Special teams, terrible. Team discipline, terrible. Head coaching, terrible. Even the ‘great’ defense isn’t physically dominant and relies heavily on confusion to succeed, and that can be contained by a well coached team. The majority of the penalties from last night were because the Packers couldn’t match up on a talent basis, and the only chance they had was to ‘cheat’. Yes, the Bears did get a bit lucky but that is the case in every close game — the bounce of a ball, call of an official, slip of a defender, etc. Very good chance the Packers win in Lambeau in January, but that doesn’t mean they were the better team last night. They played foolishly and exposed several weaknesses, and got beat. Not by the refs, but by the Bears. So stop the whining.

MY RESPONSE:

Paine – such arrogance.

1)  I’m not sure the Bears recovered the Forte fumble. But even if this is the one thing you’re right about, whether or not they recovered it is a “moot” point” itself  because the whistle blew the play dead while the play was still going on. It’s possible the Packers could have recovered it if the play hadn’t been blown dead – that’s why they don’t allow challenges of such plays. Of course, on the first Nick Collins pick on the last drive, the whistle wasn’t blown until the officials saw that the Packers recovered Collins’ fumble.
2)  I’ve watched the Burnett replay several times. Burnett went up with Bennett, Burnett was facing the QB more than Bennett, they bumped into each other both going for the ball (incidental contact) and then Collins picked off the pass that Bennett couldn’t have caught anyway. I’m willing to listen to other opinions on the play certainly and can admit it was at least close, but your assertion that we all must not know anything about football if we don’t see it your totally biased way is absurd. Charles Woodson, a credible elder statesman in the NFL made it a specific point in an interview last night to criticize that particular call. And he knows football…

3)  The Packers are a good team – not ‘terrible’ in every facet except pass offense as you indicate. That’s just plain inaccurate. We didn’t play well last night, committed some dumb penalties, made boneheaded errors – yes. And we barely lost to a team that was overjoyed to beat a team they knew was better.

4)  That Melton play was no different than the play our Frank Zombo made a few series later – that also helped sustain a drive for the Bears. I happen to think both were poor calls – either way, you try to point out how the officiating was just bad all around, but then give an example of a play that was immediately offset by the same bad call against the Packers.

5)  Your assertion that the Packers had to “cheat” because they couldn’t match-up on a talent-basis is ridiculous. The Bears are not a more talented team. Period. They were lucky to win the game last night and lucky to beat Detroit in Week 1.

READERS – YOUR RESPONSE?

Mike Florio reading Packergeeks?

September 28, 2010

Florio makes the same point I made last night in this post here. Most concerning piece of Florio’s post though is McCarthy’s quote saying he didn’t even consider letting the Bears score because he thought Gould would miss the chip shot field goal. What?

Appreciate all of the comments – agree with many of them

September 28, 2010

I’m still extra worked up about this loss but reading through all of the comments has helped me realize I’m not the only one who feels so crappy about this loss (and who was so pissed about the officiating). I generally don’t like to carry on about the officials. Usually I allow that in each game, they will make several mistakes and a team has to just learn how to play with them. But when the ratio is 18 penalties to 5, you HAVE to wonder.

But after watching the 2 Collins’ picks again on that last drive, I’ve realized that there are a couple more comments I need to make. On the first one when he picked it and then fumbled – the referees let the play carry on all the way until a Packer recovered the ball. Only then did the official with no vantage point come charging in and rule it an incomplete pass. None of the players stopped scrambling for the ball, which indicates pretty clearly to me that no whistle was blown. More than odd. Then, on the Burnett play, a play that at the very very least was a close play and very much NOT an obvious pass interference (because it wasn’t pass interference at all), 3 different officials threw flags against us. Three. If nothing else, it seemed the officials were simply watching extra carefully for possible penalties on us while turning a blind eye to the Bears.

I promise I’m moving on from this loss, but another quick point. Another reason I’m still so worked up about all of this is that I finally have the ability to DVR games. So on the interceptions and the Forte fumble, I went back and had another look myself multiple times. After doing that I still came away with the opinion that we had 3 turnovers taken away from us. Just granting us one of those may have been the difference in the game.

Lastly, I will add that while I’m frustrated, I’m not totally dejected. I have a feeling this loss will inspire the team a bit…I feel badly for Detroit because they will be facing a pissed off team that of course, won’t have nearly as many penalties because they’ll be the home team. (I’m doing some research on this home team penalty advantage – will post soon.) I think we’ll recover and win more games, but I really think we need a decent RB if we want to get to the highest level of the NFL this year. As for the Bears, I continue to think they’ll eke into the playoffs, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the foundation they are building this season on might crumble at some point. They have some talent, but they seemed too lucky/opportunistic last night to be really good over time.

A few more points

September 28, 2010
  • The Packers essentially had 3 turnovers taken away from them last night. The first was the clear Matt Forte fumble (forced by Charles Woodson) in the first half. There was hardly anything said at the time by the announcers except for a quick admission that it was a blown call by the officials. Then there were the 2 interceptions by Nick Collins.
  • Charles Woodson, in an interview after the game, took particular exception to the call against Morgan Burnett – saying that it gets old when the default call is always the defensive guy. Burnett also was frustrated by the call. Me too.
  • Brian Urlacher had a big-time play knocking the ball out of James Jones’ hands at the end there. That was a great play at a big moment in a big game.

Game Thoughts – Bears/Packers

September 28, 2010

Some angry thoughts on tonight’s game. I’m more worked up than usual tonight – frustrating loss.

  • Nick Collins had 2 picks on that final drive. The call against Morgan Burnett on his second pick was really weak. Burnett had even turned around and Bennett didn’t even have a play on the ball anyway. But the first missed interception call was much worse. On the first one (that ESPN did a horrible job of reviewing), Collins caught the ball, took 3 full steps before tumbling to the ground and fumbling. We then recovered the ball. But the official with zero viewing angle (and a wallet full of mafia dollars) somehow ruled it incomplete. Go back and DVR it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
  • Say what you will about the penalties. I unofficially counted 6 highly questionable calls – calls that would rarely be called against a team when the refs aren’t on a mission of some kind. Mark Tauscher’s second holding call against Peppers on the TD pass that was called back was an extremely weak call.
  • What sucks about the announcing – and I don’t want to even get started – is that they focused in solely on the penalties while seemingly missing out on the controversy there should have been about 2 interceptions being called back.
  • McCarthy’s clock management toward the end was horrendous. Burning a timeout on the James Jones clear turnover was not worth it. But what I can’t figure out for the life of me, is that McCarthy thought there was a better chance of blocking a 19 yard chip shot by one of the NFL’s best kickers than of having our team march down the field with some time left (and a timeout too). We should have let them score when they were close in and we still had a minute 30 left. Just let them score. But to let them run out the clock like that was ridiculous. The is simple: there’s a 1% chance Robbie Gould misses that kick and a say, 10% chance we march down and score a TD with a minute 30 left.
  • I wrote early on tonight that I had the feeling this game would evolve into a Naked Gun, officiating for the home crowd scenario and I think that’s what happened. But I also think that our team looked a bit off. It is tough on our guys when you know you won’t get a call and when it’s OK for a 350 fat ass to fall 4 seconds after the play on Aaron Rodgers’ head without a flag. That’s frustrating. But it’s also no excuse for bonehead plays by the Packers that were fouls. Coaching is responsible for that to some extent, but so are the players – bonehead plays.
  • Our running game is horrendous. For those who were ripping on me and many others who were calling for a trade after the Grant injury – stop now and take stock. Jackson is an OK 3rd down back, but he’s not a starter. And as much as the whole world, for some reason, wants John Kuhn to be a success story – YOU CAN’T BE SUCCESSFUL WITH A 5.8 40! We need to go after a quality RB and we need to do it now. TT has to stand up for our team here and make an uncharacteristic splash move to help out asap.
  • Rough night for Tim Masthay. He had 1 great punt (his first punt) but then 1 very costly bad punt that led to the Bears’ TD at the end of the first half. And on his 3rd punt he had a great out-of-the-end-zone kick only to outkick the coverage unit leading to the Hester TD.
  • What happened to Greg Jennings? I like that Finley is so involved but I felt the offense slowed a bit when he was hurt. I liked the deep ball attempt to Jennings in the first half and I’m not sure why we didn’t try that in the second half. Throwing deep here and there has the effect of keeping the defense honest. While our offense wasn’t exactly stopped in the second half by the Bears tonight, working with a stretched field instead of allowing their safeties to cheat up might have helped open up the scoring.
  • It was interesting, I kept feeling throughout the game that we were trying to eat up the clock, having slow, methodical drives (because, well, that’s what we were doing). But I think against a team like Chicago, by doing that as much as we did (and especially by not finishing those drives), we let the weaker team stick around. A no-huddle might have been good rhythm disruption in that second half.
  • I didn’t think the Bears would be bad this year and caught some flack for thinking that. But after watching the game tonight, interestingly, I’m a bit less sold on their playoff-readiness.

This game is a disaster

September 27, 2010

We suck with penalties, the referees have been horrendous and we should have let them score 1 minute ago. This is absolutely ridiculous.

This is absolutely horrible – let them score

September 27, 2010

Can’t believe they are talking about it just now – just let them score.


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