Archive for November, 2011

Delmas injury could really help the Pack

November 24, 2011

Delmas just came off limping. Could be huge.

If Bishop is hurt, we’re in trouble

November 24, 2011

Just saw him limping off the field. Not good.

Matthews looks alive today

November 24, 2011

He has been disruptive so far.

Detroit having free run over the middle

November 24, 2011

Not a surprise, but the Lions are doing whatever they want over the middle of the field. Our D is just not very good.

Big stop

November 24, 2011

That was a good 3rd down stop. So much for Burleson’s rousing pregame speech. He’s looked bad so far.

Here come the Packers.

Detroit is ready today – clearly

November 24, 2011

They look decent so far. But we’re playing a bit more inspired D right now too. Both teams could really struggle against the run here today. Big time.

Stafford looks awful. Wow.

Starks is active

November 24, 2011

This is big. Not sure how limited he’ll be but he could make a big difference today against Detroit’s shoddy run D.

Packers/Lions Preview

November 24, 2011
  • This is a big game. I’ve heard many Packer fans try to preemptively soften the blow from a possible loss today by saying we could essentially use a loss to take the pressure off the perfect season. I disagree. Detroit is good and they could beat us if they play their best and we don’t. No question this is a possibility. And no, a loss shouldn’t derail our team (depending on how it happens and depending on if there are any injuries). But I think winning this one is important. We have played a relatively soft schedule this year so when we play quality teams like Detroit, it is our best opportunity to measure just how good we are. I hope we keep the pedal down the whole time today and take it to this rising team.
  • Aaron Rodgers will be one guy who will be fired up to play today. He got hurt last year in Detroit and it cost the team a victory as well as Rodgers being able to play in prime time at New England the next week. While I don’t think the hit on Rodgers was bad (Rodgers’ fault for not sliding), I think he has a bad taste in his mouth re Detroit and I imagine he wants go in there and score some serious points. I would guess he also felt somewhat embarrassed that the offense was sputtering before his injury – giving the brash Detroit D some bragging rights for this rematch in Detroit.
  • I’m not sure at this moment if James Starks is playing. I think part of the reason both he and (I’m sure not so quietly) the coaches are really hoping he can play is that Detroit’s vaunted D-Line is just not that great against the run. How bad are they? 27th in the NFL. This D-Line was built to rush the QB and they have lived up to that hype at least with the #5 pass D ranking. But I’ve watched several Lions games this year and have noticed that they are simply not a good run defense. (Remember that embarrassing game in Minnesota when The Vikes had the Lions beaten badly in the first half? They ran Peterson a lot and the Lions simply couldn’t stop him. Then in the second half the Vikes mysteriously abandoned the run and Detroit fought back to win.) The LBs are average in both coverage and stopping the run and their secondary is just not that good. Still, their whole defense it seems is predicated on pressuring the QB on pass plays. So when a team runs they aren’t good and when the D-Line can’t pressure the QB they aren’t good. While I’m not suggesting we run the whole game, I do think a good balance of run/pass will be a key to victory today – and a key to keeping Rodgers upright.
  • If Rodgers has enough time, which is a big if, Detroit’s D will struggle to stop our passing attack. Rodgers owns turf fields, especially in climate controlled domes. He is a California boy after all. Last week again, it seemed to me that Rodgers and the rest of the guys were really having trouble adapting to the colder weather as it was really the first cold weather game. Back in a dome this week, I see Rodgers getting back on track, spreading the ball around and having a success.
  • One massive factor for Rodgers today is that he needs to be extra careful re deciding when to run. Detroit has been unofficially tabbed a “dirty” defense. Whether deserved or not, this concerns me because at the least they have factually demonstrated that they are willing to hit late or make questionable hits. I don’t want Rodgers getting injured in this one because he chooses to run and gets nailed by someone. If he runs, they will nail.
  • Field position is always important, but it will be extra important in this game. While both offenses are electric and both defenses are suspect, forcing an offense to work a longer field could be a difference maker. And for a change, I can say confidently, we have the better punter for this and the better punt returner, so we should have a significant advantage.
  • This game strikes me as a game for a forgotten guy like Donald Driver or James Jones. Jennings and Finley always get attention and Jordy has been stealing the headlines recently. So in keeping with our offensive philosophy of having a different offensive star each week, I see the star this week being a different guy than we’ve seen this year. Detroit’s secondary has poor depth so Driver/Jones will be going against scrubs.
  • Today I think a lot of people will see just how good Matthew Stafford is. He can throw all the passes. It was interesting, the other day I was listening to Phil Simms talk about Andrew Luck and how it didn’t seem that Luck could throw all the passes. (Or at least he hadn’t seen him throw them.) Stafford can. He has touch passes, dump passes, deep passes and especially the feared fade pass to Calvin Johnson. He is a very good young QB – and to make matters worse he’s not a jerk or anything. Pretty nice dude. While I hope our D can force some mistakes, don’t be surprised if you start having an infusion of pessimism feeling every time he drops back.
  • We can’t defend Calvin Johnson too well – nobody can. My guess is that Woodson lines up on him a fair amount. Problem with that matchup is that Johnson is faster and can beat Woodson deep. But problem with Tramon taking Johnson is that Johnson can easily outjump Tramon for just about any pass.
  • Guys I’m particularly worried about are Kevin Smith (on screens in particular), Brandon Pettigrew/Scheffler and Titus Young. I don’t see Burleson being the guy to be worried about as I think Titus Young could be more of a problem.
  • Tough game to predict. I go back and forth between thinking this will game surprise and be a super low-scoring defensive affair (because there is a lot of pressure on both offenses heading into this one) – and thinking this game will be the high scoring kind of game most people expect. In the end, I go with something sort of in between – in part because I think there will be some defensive TDs.  Packers 41, Detroit 31.

Quick thought on Mike Neal

November 22, 2011

When Neal came into the game on Sunday, I tried to focus on him to see what he brings. While the stats might indicate that he had a relatively quiet afternoon, I thought he was fairly disruptive in one of his first NFL games. There were definitely a few plays where he pushed his O-Line guy way back alarmingly fast. There was one play in particular when I got a glimpse of some of his massive strength as he pushed his guy right back toward Freeman who was throwing and it ended up forcing a bad incompletion. I think Matthews may have disrupted on that play too but it was pretty amazing just how much of a push Neal got and how quickly he got the push.

My verdict? I think Mike Neal could be a guy who improves our defense relatively quickly. Just like Starks gave us a boost at the end of last year, I think Neal might be just what this D needs to at least increase pressure on the QB and collapse the pocket. Perhaps Neal’s presence combined with So’oto’s increased opportunities might result in better pressure on the QB which would make things a bit easier for us in coverage.

Game Thoughts Packers/Bucs

November 20, 2011

No in-game blog today as I was at the game.

  • I want to make this point first because this was the most important thing I noticed today watching the game: Mike McCarthy’s offensive plays are incredibly well-conceived. Just watch over the next few games for how incredibly well-conceived these plays are. The TD to Crabtree. The Kuhn decoy for the Raji TD. The one sideline route he often calls to Jordy right over the CB – timing it to arrive right before the safety gets there (and then Jordy always cuts in between the CB and the safety…usually for a long TD). The back shoulder passes (though much of that is in the execution by Rodgers). The series of damaging dump off passes to Starks. The screens. The way he uses Finley. The way he spreads the ball around. (I’m not necessarily talking about play-calling here by the way – more just the plays themselves.) But more impressive to me than anything is again, just how well-conceived these plays are. I know that there are still some McCarthy doubters out there – but seeing the game today and thinking about all the different plays we’ve seen over the course of the last year, I’m in the camp that believes McCarthy is at the least an offensive genius.
  • It’s nice that the Packers can play poorly and still come away with 35 points and a 9 point victory.
  • Rodgers was not quite himself today – despite having nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs to 1 INT. He threw a number of passes behind WRs.
  • Being at the game, I had the distinct feeling that many of the players on the Packers were adjusting to the colder temps. It’s harder to execute sometimes in colder weather and I think we saw that today.
  • The Bucs had far more fight in them than I thought they would. If Blount wouldn’t have rumbled off for that long TD, I think they may have folded right there already down 14-0. But that was a big-time run by a back with the ability to pull something like that off. It was also atrocious tackling. (Not this is no excuse, but the Packers aren’t the only D to get run over literally by Blount. The guy is a good back I think will continue to run over defenses – because he’s super tough to bring down.)
  • There was lots of atrocious tackling today on the part of our D. Once again we gave up tons of yardage to an offense that coming into the week, has struggled. Concerning.
  • We continue to be vulnerable over the middle. Kellen Winslow had the run of the entire middle of the field for much of the game. A team like New Orleans, with stud Jimmie Graham would really make us pay for such lax coverage.
  • I really liked a series of play calls in the 3rd quarter (I believe) when Rodgers kept dinking the ball off to James Starks. I know the crowd was wanting deep passes at that point and I realize several of those passes were more dump off situations, but the fact was TB was simply not accounting well enough for Starks and he was getting first downs. He finished with 6 catches for 53 yards – and did some real damage as a receiver. I hope his injury isn’t too bad.
  • Jordy is very good. He’s sneaky. He gets behind CBs so effectively. And he again showed today why he is so good on broken plays. He and Rodgers have a pretty cool understanding of what the other is going to do and this came in handy at least a couple times today.
  • I like seeing So’oto in there a bit more. Walden had a couple nice plays today but I’m thinking we still need a super aggressive pass rusher who in time could intimidate offenses to some extent. I think So’oto has that kind of talent. It’s interesting because I’m writing this as I watch the Eagles/Giants and keep thinking about Cullen Jenkins and how much we miss him.
  • The more I think about it and watch Finley, the more I think TT has accumulated a number of TEs because he has no plans on bringing Finley back. Finley is a freak physically and a game-changer, but I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to believe that TT may just not like the guy.
  • Odd that Crosby’s only miss comes on a chip shot like that. Just odd.
  • The Packers’ D has to get this figured out. I thought their performance last week was a sign of things to come and instead it was more a reflection of just how bad the Vikings are. 342 yards to a struggling Josh Freeman? 121 yards rushing? Not good. Capers has to sit and think a bit more about how we’re covering teams and just what we might be able to do about the middle of the field in particular. Our pass pressure has also been inconsistent making the coverage job tougher for both DBs and LBs.
  • Big game coming up for Thanksgiving. I thought that if Detroit blew it today against Carolina, we might have an easier time of it come Thurs. But considering how Detroit’s offense finished off Carolina and then also the shoddy play of our defense – we could be in for a tough game. Could also be the rare game when both teams score 50+ points!

 


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