Archive for November, 2007

Thompson on KGB, Woodson

November 29, 2007

Gred Bedard has this from Ted Thompson on the decision to sit KGB and Woodson. He says the decision was made my team doctor Pat McKenzie, but that both (and Aaron Rouse) would have played if it was a playoff game.

I would have leaned in the other direction. If the players wanted to play, and they did, I would have deferred to them, given the stakes of the game. If the Packers lose, it’s like a double loss in terms of homefield advantage for playoffs because they would lose a game to the Cowboys and also lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Cowboys.

That said, it’s a defensible decision. And no one should blame Thompson (or McCarthy or McKenzie) if the Packers lose. There’s no telling how well these guys would have played at, say, 70 percent.


Woodson, KGB Are Out

November 29, 2007

according to a report on NFL Network. Grim.

Packers – Cowboys, keys to the game

November 29, 2007

1) Stopping Marion Barber. This guy is good – really good. It’s a big game and though it may not be possible, he may run even harder. This is the #1 key to the game.
2) Getting Romo to try to do too much (flushing him out of the pocket, excessive scrambling, trying to make something out of nothing).
3) On the Packer’s side, we need to make sure that while Tramon Williams plays to his mad skill level, he doesn’t do the same thing Romo will do – try to do too much.
4) Favre having no more than 1 pick. Newman and Henry both are good at picking passes off, but are very beatable corners we should be able to feast on.
5) McCarthy being and staying aggressive – Dallas is too good to slide back into conservative play-calling etc once we get the lead.

Random, rather negative prediction: the players will be too juiced for this one and someone important to one of the teams is going to get hit really hard tonight and be injured.

Last Minute Updates

November 29, 2007

More from Gred Bedard in Dallas here. He reports that the feel in Dallas has gone from a “big game” atmosphere to a “playoff game” atmosphere. I must say, even here in downtown Washington, DC, there seems to be a little buzz. I overheard a guy on the street asking his buddy what he was doing for “the game” tonight. And on Sirius NFL radio just now, a guy called into the “Afternoon Blitz” and apologized for taking the show off-topic to discuss the Chiefs.

From Greg’s report, it sounds like KGB is a more likely play tonight than Chuck Wood.

I’m told that Charles Woodson is very much a game-time decision. He hasn’t run much (if at all) since the Lions game, so when he hits the turf at Texas Stadium, a lot of eyes will be on him.

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila said “he’s ready to go.” But I wouldn’t put him in the “will play” category just yet. As with Woodson, I think coach Mike McCarthy will have final say. Obviously the players want to play, but McCarthy has to look at the respective situations long-term.

Ryan Grant’s Story

November 29, 2007

Is told capably here. Tiki Barber, who served for a short time as Grant’s mentor, says he knew early that Grant would be a good running back. And Grant says he learned a lot from Barber. “Tiki taught me how to be a professional. He taught me the importance of a game plan and how studying film could make it a lot easier for you. He taught me the importance of taking care of your body and he showed me a lot of little things. ”

Grant missed all of last year after cutting his arm during an accident at a party.

Overcoming obstacles has been a staple of Grant’s career. Grant needed forearm surgery after he slipped on a wet floor and his left arm went though a glass table at a party in early 2006. Grant almost bled to death. According to his agent, Alan Herman, Grant made it to the hospital just in the nick of time. Herman says that first there was some doubt about whether Grant would live, then came the worry that he would never play football again because he would lose feeling in his hand.
“I was bleeding profusely,” Grant said. “I severed my artery, nerve and tendon. For a while after my injury, I could not move my hand. The bleeding was so bad that stitches were not enough. I needed surgery.”

Read the whole thing.

Live Blog?

November 29, 2007

Not sure it’ll be an actual “live blog,” but check back here tonight for updates and commentary, especially those of you who won’t be able to see it on NFLN.

Week 13 Spread Picks

November 29, 2007

Preface to this week’s picks: I think this is one of the more difficult weeks for picks that I can remember. Lots of evenly matched teams and strong cases could be made for going either way in a lot of these games. That’s really a disclaimer for possibly getting lots of these games wrong.

GB @ Dallas (-6.5) – I think this spread should be motivation for the Packers. Not sure what Dallas has done this year to deserve this spread (beating up on poor teams). I know Dallas isn’t Favre’s favorite place, but then again, not sure anyone likes it. It’s a ridiculous stadium housing fans who have ridiculous accents. The Pack should come focused and prepared and unless Marion Barber goes nuts, should come away with a win here. Also, look for Romo to try to emulate his hero Favre by trying to make something happen, but not realizing he isn’t as talented resulting in a few costly turnovers (especially when scrambling).

SD @ KC (+4.5) I’ll take San Diego again simply because they just can’t continue to lose games they should win with some of the talent they have. Despite Norv, they should be able to win this game. Norv belongs with Romeo in the questionable name category.

DET @ MN (-3.5) Tarvaris Jackson’s greatness in this game will be noted, but pale in comparison to a monster game from Kitna. But brother Steve and the rest of the NFL will realize after this game why Jackson is the right man in MN.

ATL @ STL (-4.5) Now, I am assuming Bulger is playing. Talking about a loser face – Frerotte defines loser. I remember when he was mysteriously starting for the Redskins a few years ago and banged his head against the wall after a game and got a concussion. Anything more need to be written?

JAX @ INDY (-7.5) This spread is too high. I go back and forth though: will Jax running game help keep Manning off the field, or will Indy’s offense score too quickly and make Jax pass which they don’t do as well? You know, sometimes watching Manning at the line of scrimmage, reminds me of that person you know with major anxiety issues or that child who can’t sit still. It’s quite annoying.

SEA @ PHIL (-2.5) Philly may take this one on a last second field goal. To me, this might be one of the most boring games out there for some reason. Just tired of watching Seattle and Philly.

HOU @ TN (-3.5) This game will be 100% coaching. How can a team get smoked 35-6 and then come back and route a decent team in Houston? Coaching.

NYJ @ MIA (-1.5) The Jets have to feel horrible as the dogs to an atriumphant team, as it were (what is the opposite of undefeated anyway, like Miami’s 0-11 record? I was going to say “totally defeated”, but there should be a word for this. How about redefeated?). This will be the John Beck show as Clemons proves further he has zero future.

SF @ CAR (-2.5) Rich Campbell will be starting for Carolina this week. This is my least confident pick because I’d written SF off and was sure AZ would destroy them last week but SF won. I was sure CAR would get destroyed last week and they did. So why pick Carolina? Because it would be just mean to their fans to go redefeated at home.

BUFF @ WASH (-5.5) I really feel badly for Washington and Taylor’s family. I really do. He had 2 picks against Green Bay earlier this year (could have had 4) and I really think the NFL will miss one of the premier talents in the league. Sad, just sad.

DEN @ OAK (+3.5) Not sure a team can rebound from the worst special teams coaching/kicking/punting performance of all time (Den last week vs Chi). But considering how weak that division is, Shanahan should be able to motivate.

CLEVE @ AZ (-1.5) How does AZ lose to SF last week when Warner throws for 484 yards. Nice. Now AZ has to play without one of their best players in Adrian Wilson. Cleveland is riding the momentum of playoff talk. Everything points to the Cleve, but for some reason, I’ll go with a semi-meth pick here: AZ. (A reader recommended meth pick vs crack pick – makes sense and illustrates how out of touch I am with modern-day drug use).

TB @ NO (-2.5) Just think, back in the good ole days, the entire TB team would have gone out on Bourbon Street and gotten hammered the Saturday night before the game to “build team chemistry”. Now they’ll sit in swank a hotel room getting pedicures. Wusses.

NYG @ CHI (+1.5) Crack pick – Chicago in a blowout. The wheels will fall off in this one and we’ll all be rewarded by getting to see a Giants team in turmoil again. The lowly Bears will put together an uncharacteristic performance and handle the Giants. Other Giants will begin to show loser faces of their own following Eli’s lead.

CINCY @ PITT (-8.5) This game may end tied 0-0 if the field is still in such crappy condition. But my real reason for taking Cincy is that it’s apparently harder for D-backs to keep their footing on crappy fields that receivers – Cincy will throw all night.

NE @ BALT (+20.5) Another ridiculous spread, but not surprising considering Balt may have one of the league most pathetic offenses. However, it will likely be fairly cold and I don’t think NE’s passing machine will continue in cold weather – they are due for a loss or 2 in the next few weeks.

Announcement: “Keepin’ It Real Thursdays” Comes to Packergeeks

November 29, 2007

In honor of the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers, we have decided to rename this normally-lame fourth day of the work week, “Keepin’ It Real Thursday.” I try to keep it real seven days a week, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. On Monday, for instance, I was back in Wauwatosa was keepin’ it as real as I know how. But I stopped concentrating for a few minutes and before I knew what was happening it was unreal, or fake. That can be scary, especially when you’re used to keepin’ it real without much effort. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for me to bring it back to real, but those kind of lapses can be very worrisome.

We learn from that:

Every Thursday is confidential “Keep It Real Thursday” at Valley Ranch, where the receivers spend five or 10 minutes airing anything that’s on their minds. “You can’t forget we’re people, too,” rookie Isaiah Stanback said.

We won’t, Isaiah. We won’t.

So what’s on my mind? My morning commute. Today I left my house at 6:00 AM. As I drove into Washington, DC, I passed probably two dozen people talking on their cell phones. And I always wonder: Who in the hell are they talking to? Do they all have friends in Europe? (Doubtful) Are they talking about a Sausage McMuffin with Egg? (Judging from their size, more likely.) Or maybe they, too, knew it was Keepin’ it Real Thursday (KRT) and just had to spend five or ten minutes airing whatever was on their minds.

They’re people, too.

Fox Experts Unanimously Pick Dallas

November 28, 2007

See here.

More here.

And ESPN picks here.

Brett Favre: The Ultimate Iron Man

November 28, 2007

Great article sent in by frequent commenter, and close relative, Ace. The author, who has written biographies of Pete Maravich and Joe Namath, clearly knows what he writing about.

The article reminds me to offer my first “bleg,” which I understand to be a request for help that you post on your blog. I am working on an article for a major daily newspaper making the argument that Brett Favre is not only modern sports true Iron Man, but the greatest quarterback of all time. If you have points that should be included in such a piece, please post them in the comments or send them to Thanks.