Archive for November, 2010

Tramon signs big, fat deal

November 30, 2010

Wow. TT and co aren’t messing around. Read here. Tramon Williams signed a new 4 year extension worth a reported $33 million (though PFT contends it’s worth $41 – I think they’re wrong). He receives a $6 million signing bonus and $11 million is apparently guaranteed. His average of $8.25 million per year will make him the 4th highest paid player on the team.

Sometimes contract issues can cause a divide in the locker room – I don’t think that will happen here. Tramon has had a fantastic year, seemingly getting better with each game. While Jenkins and a few others may feel somewhat unloved, it’s tough to overlook the job Tramon has done at cornerback. Not only has he shut down other top flight WRs, but he’s been a solid return guy, he’s stayed healthy, and I’d even argue that his ability to cover great WRs has opened things up for Woodson to roam and wreak general havoc. Good signing – he’s a good cb. Now, let’s just hope he doesn’t suffer from the contract-just-signed=performance-decline syndrome that affects so many players.

On another note – Chillar and Havner have both been placed on IR. That does hurt our LB depth but I don’t think Chillar was ever fully back anyway, frankly. In fact, Zombo kept his starting job despite Chillar being back – which is an indication to me that the coaches knew Chillar wasn’t 100%. (If he were, he’d have been starting).

Think about it – what’s our best short yardage play?

November 30, 2010

In consecutive weeks now, Rodgers has thrown a deep..ish ball in a 3rd down and 1-2 yard situation. Both times it’s worked (and both times I suspected he’d audible to this play). The reason this play works is that usually on short yardage plays like these, 9.5-10 defenders play the run leaving our WR with mostly single coverage. (Sometimes the safety rolls over a bit, but he often only half-commits in case of a run play.) Rodgers knows any of our WRs can pretty much take any DB in one-on-one coverage so in each instance he’s elected to go with the far higher percentage short yardage play. It may seems odd that the percentage would be higher doing this, but it actually makes sense if you think about it. Aaron Rodgers’ completion percentage this year is 65% – but his completion percentage specifically to WRs in single coverage has to be even higher. Meanwhile, our percentage of 1st down conversions by running in short yardage situations, has to be below 50%. (Actually, just verified that our 3rd and 1 combined with our 4th and 1 conversion percentage this year is 48% – and I’ll bet if you take out the successful pass play conversions, that percentage drops quite a bit more.)

In fact, thinking further on this, because McCarthy essentially admitted in a recent press conference that he struggles from time to time with short yardage playcalling, I’d like to offer a recommendation for the next short yardage play:

  • Go with 2 WRS split very wide – both of whom have the assignment of running a deep sideline route. Then, bring in one TE on the line, five O-Linemen, Rodgers, and then the RB and the FB in the “I” formation. There could be an audible option for Rodgers to have the TE go out for a short route (or better yet, go on a deeper seam route depending on coverage). The beauty of a play like this is that the safeties in particular would have serious decisions to make. Usually on short yardage plays, they like to cheat up and play the run. But if there are two guys split wide and Rodgers has been known to throw in short yardage situations, suddenly, they wouldn’t know where they should focus their attention. All of this would also serve to unclog the running lanes should Rodgers opt to call a run play or even a sneak. Rodgers could assess all of this once at the line. If the safeties fall back into coverage, handing it off, a sneak or dumping it to the TE (or even the FB) on a short out route might work best. If the safeties don’t respect the pass option enough, Rodgers could throw either of the sideline route or a seam route to the TE.

Try it Mike. Seriously.

My son’s Navin R Johnson…ness

November 30, 2010

I’ve noticed that whenever my 3 year old leaves the house, he quickly begins collecting items that he’ll “need” for wherever we’re going. This morning, before heading to grammie’s house, he needed his fire helmet, a police badge, a purple marker, a cowboy hat, a small brown piece of paper, a paperclip, a pirate hat and his blanket.

Reminds me of Navin R Johnson in the Jerk when he is being forced out of his house (from IMDB.com):

Navin R. Johnson: Well I’m gonna to go then! And I don’t need any of this. I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need *you*. I don’t need anything. Except this.
[picks up an ashtray]
Navin R. Johnson: And that’s the only thing I need is *this*. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray… And this paddle game. – The ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need… And this remote control. – The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need… And these matches. – The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball… And this lamp. – The ashtray, this paddle game, and the remote control, and the lamp, and that’s all *I* need. And that’s *all* I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one… I need this. – The paddle game and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches for sure. Well what are you looking at? What do you think I’m some kind of a jerk or something! – And this. That’s all I need.
[walking outside]

Why do I get the feeling the Bears will lose to the Lions?

November 29, 2010

Sounds ridiculous after NE destroyed Detroit on Thanksgiving and Chicago ripped apart a quality Eagles’ squad. But there is something, frankly, about Jay Cutler’s mental make-up that makes me feel like a repeat quality performance from Cutler is very unlikely. For my Week 12 weekly picks, I noted that Cutler would have a huge game against the Eagles and finally be the primary reason the Bears would win – and that’s just what happened. It seemed to be a good time for them to play a good team that came to Chicago with tons of hype (almost distraction?) because of Vick. The Bears had just shut out the Dolphins (though a high school team probably could have done that – Tyler Thigpen played one of the worst games I’ve seen a QB play in a long time.) And last week, the Eagle offense was compromised by a tough Giants D and the Bears had the benefit of seeing what the Giants did on film – to slow Vick and co down.

The Bears aren’t bad – I’m not letting my anti-Bears feelings cloud my objectivity here. (In fact, you can go back and read a post from before the season started about why I thought the Bears would be good this year.) And specifically, the Bears’ D and special teams should scare every team they face – hard to argue otherwise. But I’m just not convinced re the Bear offense. And I’m just not sure that this coming week will go the way the extra-confident Bears think it will. The Lions aren’t bad and they’ve proven that over and over this year – despite a crappy record. They have some talented players and their D-Line can be a force. I can see them getting to Cutler and being disruptive, leading Cutler to mental distraction and eventually turnovers. (Detroit is #9 in sacks.) Unless Forte goes nuts, I think the Bears go to Detroit and lose a close one while San Fran comes to Lambeau and gets hammered by an angry Packer team – making it all square atop the NFC North once again.

UPDATE: There is at least a chance that Shaun Hill won’t be playing QB for the Lions this weekend. I think this hurts the Lions’ chances. Drew Stanton isn’t terrible and he’s had some real game experience, but there is a greater chance Shaun Hill can figure out the Bears’ D. If Hill doesn’t play, I’m not sure I’d stick to my prediction that the Bears go down this weekend.

 

Huge loss for comedy

November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen died today. Read here. Brutal day for me as a Packer fan and a fan of comedy. Great actor – his role in Airplane is one of the most enduring comedy roles in movie history. Really sad.

Game Thoughts Pack/Falcons

November 28, 2010
  • Howie Long is exactly right – the Packers’ are one-dimensional and it cost us big time today. Jackson was weak, our running game overall was weak – and good teams continue to not see our running game as a threat. That Rodgers and co still move the ball downfield against defenses anticipating it is a credit to just how good our passing game is (and by the way, McCarthy does deserve lots of credit for developing the passing game like he has).
  • Big difference today was coaching – as I suspected it would be. Mike Smith took calculated risks by going for it on multiple 4 down situations in this game and they paid off. The tempo and flow of the game orchestrated by the Atlanta coaches and Matt Ryan was really quality – they looked very polished eating up clock and doing what they had to in order to win.
  • McCarthy on the other hand, blew at least 2 challenge opportunities that could have dramatically changed the game. Whether it’s his coaches in the booth who blew it or not, the bottom line is that good teams don’t make errors like that. And, at the very least, McCarthy should have taken note of the fact that Altanta was rushing to the line of scrimmage after that Gonzalez “completion” in the first half. Bad coaching.
  • The play calling at the end was bad. Rodgers got a TD there in spite of McCarthy, not because of him (unless Rodgers called those 3rd/4th and short plays – which I doubt).
  • Our defense put in a big effort today, but fundamentally, we were weak. Our tackling was really questionable – some of it is understandable considering the guys we were trying to bring down (Turner, Snelling), but some of it was just poor fundamentals.
  • Brandon Jackson was very bad today. He wasn’t committed to his lanes and his hesitation cost him several times. I had low expectations for our running game anyway today – Atlanta’s D is quality against the run – but our output in the run game ended up being positively embarrassing.
  • I think Rodgers ended up calling those goal-line sneak plays in the first half – the second of which he fumbled. Can’t really blame him for the calls – he’s done well with that before, but the fumble obviously really hurt.
  • Bishop, Peprah and Zombo were very good today.
  • Interesting that Matthews was dropped back into coverage again this week – more than I would have expected. Last week it caught MN off guard, but this week, it just seemed to have the effect of slowing our pass rush (and Atlanta probably wasn’t caught as off  guard because they saw it from last week’s film).
  • Not sure how much people should be ripping into Matt Wilhelm for that facemask penalty. Weems already had a great return going and likely would have had those yards anyway if Wilhelm hadn’t done that.
  • A coach with real stones (like Brother Steve, who was lobbying for it), would have gone for 2 after our TD.
  • Man would this have been a different game is Michael Turner were OUR running back. Very different game.
  • As angry as I am that we lost – I’m not terribly surprised. Atlanta is very good and Matt Ryan is the real deal.
  • I’m not too worried by the loss here. It does affect NFC tiebreakers etc, but it also does won’t kill us. We’re playing well and we played a tough team in a tough place and lost.

Onside kick?

November 28, 2010

sort of kidding.

Fantastic!

November 28, 2010

Holy crap! what an incredible play! A bullet from Rodgers and a careful reception by Nelson – way to keep his feet in. Wow – heart is beating like mad. Awesome.

Great first down play there

November 28, 2010

we need a back in the backfield. Atlanta is dropping 8 guys clogging our passing lanes. We should still pass, no doubt, but right now Atlanta is defending this just as they should.

terrible playcalling

November 28, 2010

As brother Dan just pointed out – on 2 straight plays needing just one yard, we clear the backfield making it totally obvious we won’t be running it. While our running game is zero threat anyway, to remove it as an option makes defending the play so much easier. Just don’t like how that all went at all. terrible.


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