Archive for the ‘Packer Opponents’ Category

Favre deal already done?

June 9, 2009

Two interesting developments in the Favre situation:

  1. Two months ago, his family apparently reserved a bunch of hotel rooms in Green Bay around the time that the Pack would be playing the Vikings (Nov 1).
  2. A trusted Packergeeks source shared with me this morning some¬† info from a source within the Vikings organization. Apparently,¬† as of early this morning, the only delay in the Favre signing is due to a few minor contract details. So, it’s just understood now by the team that Favre will be a Viking soon – an announcement is expected Weds or Thurs once the deal is finalized. (This same source also reported that rumors about Favre’s arm not being OK are false – and that Favre is reporting that his arm hasn’t felt this good in years).

I’ll say it again. Favre going to the Vikings pisses me off. The fact that he’s putting his own need for revenge against Ted Thompson above years of support from Packer fans makes me sick.

The other concern I have about this, as I’ve said before, is that if he’s healthy, I think Favre will make the Vikings very, very good. I know many Packer fans are acting like they wouldn’t be worried because they think Favre is now over the hill/no good anymore etc. But it’s just a whole different situation when you have the best RB in the NFL on your team as well as a solid, solid defense. Even with Childress being Childress, I’ll say it now, if Favre really does play for the Vikes, I bet they go 12-4.

More interesting Viking/Favre behavior

May 4, 2009

Read here from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. I’m not sure what is meant exactly by this statement, but I find it very curious:

If Favre is to become the Vikings’ quarterback for 2009, and it still appears he will, a deal is expected to be done within the next three weeks. The Vikings’ mandatory minicamp for players is May 29-31.

By adding “and it still appears he will”, I wonder what info this author has that leads him to being somewhat certain Favre signing with the Vikes is likely.

Vandermause right – Rosenfels?

March 2, 2009

I must say, I had the same reaction as Vandermause to the news that the Vikes had acquired QB Sage Rosenfels from Houston. While I still don’t think Tarvaris is terrible (maintaining my view that with a decent coach, he could be very good), I don’t think picking up Rosenfels makes much sense. It’s almost like management wanted someone just as mediocre as the departed Gus Frerotte. Don’t get me wrong, I like that MN has wasted money and a roster spot here. But I just don’t follow the reasoning when QBs like Jeff Garcia and Byron Leftwich are available.

Gregg Williams signs with New Orleans

January 15, 2009

Read here from jsonline – Gregg Williams no longer an option. I was intrigued by the jsonline article this morning that talked about Tim Lewis. I don’t know much about him except that I felt really bad years ago when it looked like he might be paralyzed after making a tackle. His experience is interesting though and I like the fact that he’s worked with both the 4-3 and 3-4. I’m on record preferring a change to a 3-4, but I think it would be nice to have someone who has experience with both. I also am drawn immediately to the fact that he’s worked with Dick LeBeau. His 4 year D Coordinator success in Pittsburgh was also impressive. Sean McDermott is also a guy to keep in mind as anyone who has been working with Jim Johnson for more than a few years has to have picked up some good ideas. While Gregg Williams may have been decent, I do wonder if his personal style would have fit under TT/MM (I get the sense he’s fairly strong-willed). He apparently has had some issues in the past getting along with head coaches, including last year with Jack Del Rio. Right now in fact, I’m getting the sense that it may be a good thing that we didn’t land any of the initial, hot candidates because some of these other guys may be just as good. It’s not like we missed out on a Monte Kiffin, Dick LeBeau or Jim Johnson.

That said, I do have some concern, as some of you have mentioned, about whether Green Bay is still a place players/coaches even want to come. I wonder if some coaches have concerns about TT and/or MM. Reggie White made Green Bay a place lots of players and coaches wanted to come. And I believe Favre helped maintain that for years. But now, I have to admit, I’m not so sure it’s as attractive a place to work.

Vikings forfeit playoff spot due to having crappy fans

December 30, 2008

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided it would be “in the best interests of the NFL” to have the Packers host Philadelphia instead of Minnesota. As word spreads about the chance that the scheduled playoff game this weekend pitting Minnesota against Philadelphia may not sell out, because 45% of Vikings season ticket holders have not purchased their tickets yet, Goodell determined action needed to be taken.

“The Vikings have earned their playoff berth technically by winning the most games in the NFC North. But I’d be lying if I said the NFL was excited to see the Vikings make it instead of the Packers. The Packers have much better fans. In fact, the Packers sell out pre-season games, not to mention regular season games and of course, they’d sell out a playoff game before the tickets even went on sale. In any event, the NFL has decided that it would be in the best interests of the NFL to have the Packers host Philadelphia instead this weekend. We believe it would be a better game and bring more money to our pockets ultimately, which is really all we’re after”.

(Goodell also reportedly muttered under his breath after making this decision that not allowing Minnesota to play would spare viewers from having to see Jared Allen’s unbelievably bad mullet).

No way Packers lose

December 26, 2008

I have heard radio callers and others express concern about the Packers dropping this one to the Lions. I realize that the set-up is perfect: fading team that keeps finding new ways to lose meets the 0-15 team that nearly took it to Indy on the road a couple weeks ago (before getting smoked by the Saints). I know Rod Marinelli will give as passionate a speech as he can to get his players fired up because it will likely be his last pre-game speech not just as the Lion’s head coach, but as a head coach anywhere. I know that the NFL and many fans would love to see the Packers puke it so that it could become this big story and some Fox reporter could do a ridiculous post-game piece about triumph in the face of adversity trying to make us cry for some reason – of course it would be called “The Heart of a Lion”.

Fact is folks, the Packers, who are favored by 10.5, will likely win by 28 points, maybe 31. This is going to be an unfortunate game for Detroit and anyone pulling for the upset. Yes, Kevin Smith will have some scary runs early on and Calvin Johnson will have a few “how did he do that” moments. But outside of those fleeting displays of talent, Woodson will take at least one to the house, Grant will have 4 TDs, Jennings will have a couple TDs, Jeremy Kapinos will have a 74 yard punt, Rodgers will have 320 yards passing by early 3rd quarter when he’s pulled out and Matt Flynn will throw his first NFL TD. It will end the season for the Pack in a positive way and it will leave us appropriately remembering that while there are definitely some issues that need to be addressed in the off-season, this team hung in there against some really good teams and is not far away from being a winning team.

Now, you may want to take what I say with a pound of salt because it was 6 short weeks ago that I wrote this fateful post…a post that may have in fact ruined the season for the Packers. In it, I essentially contended that the final 6 games weren’t too bad and I expected them to win most of them. I also intentionally stated that I was getting ahead of myself by intentionally NOT taking it one game at a time because I can’t stand that cliche. For those still searching for people to blame this season on, feel free to point at me for very clearly jinxing the team.

Bears Game – Thoughts

December 23, 2008
  • Just once, I would like to see MM gather his special teamers or his defense before a critical play in the game and give them a talk or at the very least, remind them of the importance of what’s going on. Maybe he did that – I don’t know I wasn’t at the game – but I doubt it because I haven’t seen him address the defense as a whole or the offense as a whole or ST as a whole. He’s the coach – he needs to step in sometimes and help re-focus his players – especially the special teamers who by the end of the game, had clearly lost focus. Other coaches would have done that. Some might say that’s not MM’s style, but you know what…then he needs to adopt that style. As a coach you need to be very involved IN THE MOMENT. I have a post coming on this very topic. I don’t question MM’s dedication to the team etc or his will to win. He is a likable guy whom I know doesn’t sleep after losses like this. He cares, I know he does. But what I do question this year is his ability to be IN THE MOMENT with the team. His critical decision-making and sense for the game is not like it was last year – when I thought it was quite good. By the way, I have always questioned Lovie Smith’s ability to be IN THE MOMENT. That guy seems to have no clue and he never says anything to anyone on his headset. Sorry, but sometimes he looks high or something.
  • This is the 3rd or 4th game I remember seeing Mason Crosby kick that go nowhere kick. You know what I mean. The 38 yarder to win the game was low and plenty bad, yes. But his first miss was even worse – and we’ve seen him do that several times now in bad weather. Kicking a field goal in weather like that does take extra concentration and kicking field goals is not an easy thing to do in the first place. But for professional kickers who do it every day – kicking a 38 yarder when there is no precipitation or major wind, shouldn’t be that difficult even if it’s 0 degrees. Mason Crosby owns a lot of this loss because the team actually put him in a great position to win the game. I suppose the ST’s O-Line also owns some of it for allowing Alex Brown penetration – though the kick still should have been higher than it was at that point in trajectory.
  • When the Packers had the ball at the Bears’ 3 yard-line and we called 3 pass plays, I really wondered. Grant had begun to create some running room for himself just prior to that and the Bears D seemed to be a bit tired. Now, I can’t fault MM necessarily for calling 2 of the pass plays because we’d lost 5 yards on the first pass play. But my point is that down by the goal line, he seems to get it in his head that we either need to pass all 3 downs or run all 3 downs. Of course, neither answer is correct – a good play mix is what is needed.
  • I disagreed with the announcers when they kept saying “Rodgers and the offense are fine”, it’s just defense and special teams. While I agreed that over the season we’ve had an unreliable D and ST, I don’t think our offense is fine. I would love to see a stat on how many run plays we ran that gained us 2 yards or less. I would bet nearly 75% of our plays had that result. What I really don’t like is that we have “obvious run plays”. Sort of like Sherman’s U-71 package with Kevin Barry – everyone knew it was coming…of course the difference is that back then we had such a good o-line we’d still get yards on it. We start with the obvious run offensive set: there is always a FB, maybe a TE shifting around seemingly cluelessly in the backfield (last night anyway), 1 or 2 WRs and Grant. I think MM might say when he calls in the play. “Ok Aaron, we’re going to run an “obvious run play” to Clifton’s side”. I think what happens is that the defense simply sees the grouping on the field for the Pack, stacks the box, sees the line go one way, sees Rodgers hand-off obviously in one direction – all leading to another no-gainer. I can hear those who don’t like people criticizing play-calling saying: what would you propose? How about giving the ball to Grant on less obvious run plays – LIKE THE FREAKIN’ SCREEN PLAY FOR THE TD!!! I just don’t understand why they didn’t try a few more screens last night. Or calling running plays with a 3-4 WR set. The one screen they did run worked beautifully in part because they had either a 3 or 4 WR set (not sure), and it looked very much like the Pack was calling their “obvious pass play”. We fooled them badly – that was a great play call by MM. Or how about misdirection plays where everyone goes one way and Rodgers runs a naked bootleg keeper himself the other – or throws a screen to Grant running the opposite way of the blocking or just having Grant run opposite the blocking direction. Last year I thought MM was really good at that – at crossing defenses and making them have to guess re what’s coming next. This year, it seems so predictable. So in long, the offense too owns some of the responsibility for all of this.
  • When I really got to thinking about the above point, it made me realize one thing: Aaron Rodgers has had a hell of season. Not just a good season/good for him kind of thing. He’s had a hell of a season. To operate as he has in what has been a fairly predictable offense with a weakish run game and a shoddy O-Line, is a credit to his accuracy and his quick thinking that leads him to take whatever he’s given by the defense. The only thing I’d have him work on is the hand-off. Just making a bit more subtle and less obvious – again, of all people to consider for an example, Seneca Wallace is quite good at disguising the direction of the play because of his hand-off style.
  • Did anyone hear Poppinga’s name all night? Why is he on the field? I’ll tell you why. He is very popular in the locker room and in Green Bay. He’s funny, very bright and people really like the guy. I even like the guy. But that won’t interfere with my ability to see that he does nothing. It’s really weird that nobody in the organization has the sense to fairly rate him on his play and not on whether they like him or not. He is so absent on the field it is absolutely unreal. Bishop was on the field for some ST plays and in his 45 seconds of total play, he managed to make a phenomenal tackle on Hester – preventing a big gainer (while being held by someone no less). There is a stubbornness among coaches/staff that is really starting to concern me and remind me of Mike Sherman.
  • Hawk is really…slow.
  • Chillar may not be too bad. He made a few mistakes last night, but I am getting more of the sense that if he were playing next to competent LBs, he might be pretty good.
  • Our defense last night did play with some abandon. The D-Line woke up (and again switching Kampman around made a big difference). Montgomery, Pickett, Jolly, Kampman – all of those guys played quite well. Our secondary was mostly solid (though we probably could have had 3-4 more picks) and the LB play while weak, wasn’t killing us.
  • One interesting thing about Aaron Rouse is that coming into the NFL, the knock on him was that he tended to be inconsistent w/re to being the physical presence many think he should be (at 6’4″ and a good number of pounds). Last night, he looked physical and played pretty well – but he’s had other games this year where he’s been tentative and and not as involved as I think he should have been. Maybe with time, he can perform more like he did last night (outside of the boneheaded ST play he made that essentially gift-wrapped the game for the Bears).
  • We should have won that game. We totally outplayed the Bears and it didn’t help that they were gifted that TD by being arbitrarily given that first down (and we didn’t challenge it of course either). The Bears last night proved to me to be a really bad team. How the Bears are 9-6 I’ll never understand – they looked more like a 4-11 team than a 9-6 team.

Game Keys – Chicago

December 22, 2008
  • Big game for Tony Moll (assuming he’ll take over for Tauscher at right tackle). He needs to do a bang-up job in these last two games if he wants a shot at playing much next year.
  • Our O-Line as a whole must open up more holes than they have all year to win tonight and that could be a tall order. I expect Grant to be fired up and running hard. As always he owns some of the responsibility for hitting the holes when they’re there. But I’ll say it again – I keep watching other teams and their O-Lines and am struck by how many chances other RBs have to run through big holes. Grant rarely has the chance though it does seem whenever he has even a tiny hole, he doesn’t do his part to hit it. Even if the line can open up 2-3 lines in the whole game, that just might spring the big gainer that has been sorely missing from Grant all year.
  • Grant Grant Grant. Throw him screens, let him throw the ball, let him run – whatever it takes, involve him and make sure the Bears can’t just drop back into easy pass coverage.
  • Turnovers. Has anyone else noticed the sharp decline in forced turnovers during this losing streak? At one point, between picks and fumbles etc, we were one of the better teams in the league. Now we totally suck at it. Orton is the kind of guy who struggles once he makes a mistake. Make him fumble, pick it off. Also, punch at the ball when Forte is carrying it. It will be freezing cold and he’ll be thinking just a bit about his toe – just punch at it. I don’t care if our defense gives up an extra 10 yards on a run as long as we’re punching at the ball. If we don’t force a turnover tonight, I don’t see how we can win unless Rodgers throws for 400 or Grant runs for 200.
  • Do something in the first 5 minutes to shut up annoying Bears’ fans. They are going to be pumped because they have an outside shot at the playoffs (though I don’t see MN losing to the NYG’s 3rd stringers next week). But these are annoying fans as we all know, so it’s best to just silence them with greatness immediately.
  • Block a punt. Not sure when the last time the Packers blocked a punt was but I’m guessing it was probably leRoy Butler or someone like that. We never put pressure on the punter so punters probably love punting against us.
  • Let Jennings or someone else pass the ball. If we were all back in grade school, we’d say “Aaron, you’re hogging it – let someone else throw it for once”. Run the Wildcat maybe – anything to just mix it up. (As ridiculous as this may sound, I have a feeling McCarthy has a trick play up his sleeve tonight – and for some reason, I can see Jennings throwing a pass on a reverse of some kind. If this happens, it will be similar to my friend predicting a triple play once at a Brewer game – it happened on the very next play and goes down for me as one of the greatest sports predictions ever.
  • McCarthy needs to quickly re-examine his own approach to these final 2 games. He said something the other day like “this won’t be a tryout for anyone – we’re playing to win these games”. This strongly implies that he plans to stick with the starting units that have been playing like crap for weeks now. He needs to think about getting other players in there because there is no substitute for live game action – it is the best time to evaluate what a player may be able to bring. You’re out of playoff contention and we have some players who need serious observation before the off-season so we can evaluate what our needs are. Don’t try to lose obviously and fine, stick with a general game plan. But mix in some guys who otherwise wouldn’t get a chance like Josh Sitton, Bishop and Lansanah, Wynn – throw it to Humphrey more, try Will Blackmon at safety? let Kampman or Jeremy Thompson play off the line/in space like Wash did so effectively yesterday with Jason Taylor…anything…

Tarvaris Jackson…ummm…dominating

December 15, 2008

How do you like Tarvaris now? Yes, it’s only been a couple games, yes the Detroit and AZ pass defenses are mediocre to weak, and yes playing QB ought to be easy for anyone lucky enough to have that running game (though it never did look easy for Frerotte). Still, Tarvaris has had 2 very impressive outings in a row (QB ratings of 143.8 and 135.5 respectively) and was in good part responsible for winning that Detroit game. He got more help from AP yesterday in their victory over AZ – though his 4 TDs passes weren’t disregardable, as it were. And his overall 2008 QB rating of 96.1 puts him at #4 in the NFL for starting QBs, right behind Kurt Warner. While AZ and Detroit have weak pass defenses, both of these games were very important in the Vike’s race to make the playoffs – especially the Detroit game.

Of course, the best part of this is that apparently Childress is undecided on the starter this coming week. Read here for more. Seems incredible to me that this is even a decision. Tarvaris at a 96.1 rating playing really well and Frerotte at a 73.7 rating and owning the highest percentage chance of throwing an interception in the NFL. It also seems by how he is talking and acting, that Frerotte would just rather watch from the sidelines. I’ll bet he’s told his wife “I signed on to be a back-up, not the starter – no way I’m going back in there”.

(Though, whoever starts this week for the Vikes will likely lose anyway as the Falcons are going to take advantage of Pat Williams injury and run all over them – and just play better because they’re better).

(The sensible part of me wanted to wait to write this post until after these last 2 games – the impulsive, trash-talking part of me wants to remind all you doubters out there that this Packergeek has believed all along that Tarvaris is good and has the potential to be very, very good.)

Again – bench Poppinga

December 11, 2008

Tom Silverstein had an interesting article at jsonline this morning re the play of AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop. He argues that in one game at the weak-side LB spot, statistically Bishop pretty much played as well as Hawk ever has in his whole time here (at least that’s what I believe Silverstein was driving toward). It is a good article as it tackles head-on Hawk’s poor play this year.

After watching Bishop Sunday, though, my first thought wasn’t about him outplaying Hawk at Hawk’s natural position, it was this: how the *&^@%$) can Brady Poppinga still be starting? Both Chillar and Bishop are so clearly better than Poppinga. It just doesn’t make sense. Mason Crosby should be playing in front of him! I still can’t believe TT gave Poppinga a fat contract extension earlier in the year. We have 3 games left this year and Poppinga has started and played a lot in all 13 games. Give Lansanah a chance, give Chillar a chance, give Bishop a chance, maybe try Hawk at strong-side. Anything. But don’t keep putting Poppinga at strong-side game after game – there is no upside to doing this. And don’t give me this “we like him rushing the QB crap”. He has 3 freakin’ sacks in his…CAREER! Cut your losses TT – admit you made a mistake. The guy can’t play. And now is the time to learn about who can play. Hell, if Chillar is healthy this week, start Chillar at weak-side, Hawk at strong-side and Bishop in the middle – sure couldn’t be worse than any other combination used this year. Or, if Chillar is not healthy, try Lansanah at strong-side. Anyone other than Poppinga. Should the Poppinga and Harrell sagas continue to drag on (especially now that Harrell is hurt…again…with something different…again), I’ll really worry that TT possibly has Mike Sherman-like over-loyalty problems.

Also adding to the confusion:

  • why did we cut Abdul Hodge who looked SO good in pre-season.
  • why didn’t Chillar beat out Poppinga in the first place – Chillar is much better than Poppinga and this seems obvious.
  • why wouldn’t Bishop have been inserted as starting middle LB when Barnett got hurt. After all, HE was the back-up MLB, not Hawk – and while Hawk looked OK in his first game at MLB, he hasn’t looked good there since.

UPDATE: Thanks Aaron over at cheeseheadtv.com – the article mentioned above was written by Greg Bedard, not Tom Silverstein. Also, check out this recent update from the jsonline blog re possibility that Chillar may start this week – AT WEAK-SIDE LB! I just don’t understand this. Poppinga’s job security just baffles me, especially a week after Bishop made big plays. Chillar was brought in as strong-side competition – so why not bench Poppinga, put Chillar on the strong-side, Hawk on the weak-side and Bishop in the middle. Or, Hawk in the middle and Bishop on the weak-side. Any way they do it – GET POPPINGA OUT OF THERE! Though Bishop did make a few mistakes Sunday for sure, Poppinga makes many mistakes every Sunday but makes matters worse by having zero big-play potential. Sorry to get so worked up about this. I’m usually more measured. But I have tried for nearly 3 years (since Brady has started) to see what they see in this guy. Can’t see it. And I also do recognize that the porous D-Line makes linebacking signficantly harder. Still, now is the time to experiment so that we don’t waste time doing it early next year – and benching Poppinga is a great place to start.


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