Archive for September, 2008

Rodgers Out – Sign Tim Rattay

September 28, 2008

Let me take this opportunity to argue, once again, that the Packer should sign a veteran quarterback.  I’ll take anyone not named Daunte Culpepper, but the best option, it seems to me, is the one Aaron at has recommended ad nauseum: Tim Rattay.

Matt Flynn’s first series was a disaster.  Rodgers has made a couple throws on the sideline.  If he’s not playing — in a game that the Packers lead, improbably, 21-20, in the fourth quarter — it had better be because throwing with his shoulder or landing on it would cause permanent damage.


Halftime Thoughts

September 28, 2008

At least the Packers don’t look as bad as the Badgers did yesterday.  That’s the nicest thing I can come up with right now.

Aaron Rodgers may be the least of our concerns. Donald Lee had a bad drop. Brandon Jackson muffed a ball for a pick.  Greg Jennings dropped a ball that hit him in the hands, wide open.  Rodgers has looked uneven — at best — but he’s not playing as badly as those around him.

Speaking of those around him — the Packers offensive line looks awful.  Rodgers has no time to pass and I’m not sure there has been anything close to a hole for Ryan Grant.  The only time Grant has gained yards is when he runs wide.  In particular, Chad Clifton has looked very bad.  He’s a step slower than he was last year and his feet look like they’re in cement.  He gets beat by speed rushers and then reaches back to stop them — which is why he keeps getting called for holding.  Daryn Colledge, too, has looked back.  He gets pushed around routinely, sometimes by linebackers.

If we’re looking back for turning points, I’ll nominate three.

First, the questionable pass interference call on Charles Woodson.  As Daryl Johnston pointed out, the flag was thrown late, from across the field and Woodson was in the space before the receiver.  Bad call.  Tampa went onto score a touchdown.

Second, Nick Collins dropping the interception that hit him right in the chest.  Not only was it an easy pick, but he had a pretty clear run to the end zone (which is probably why he dropped it).

Third, on the very next play, two Packers missed tackles on a quick out to Michael Clayton on 3rd and 12.  (Woodson took a bad angle and Collins, as he seems to be doing more and more this year, simply let the receiver slip through his grasp).  The Bucs converted a 4th and 1 and went onto kick a field goal.

The Packers are lucky to be within a touchdown.  These are the kinds of game that matter most — good teams play ugly and win, mediocre teams don’t.  We’ll see.

NFL Sucks Sometimes

September 27, 2008

Matt Bryant, Tampa Bay’s kicker, lost his three-month old son this past week.  The funeral was today in Texas.  Bryant will be flying back to Tampa to kick in the game tomorrow.  The NFL would not grant Tampa a temporary roster exemption so that Tampa could pick up a kicker in case Bryant couldn’t make it.  Ridiculous.

I sure hope the Packers win tomorrow, but if they don’t I’ll take some comfort in knowing that a win might give Bryant even a temporary reprieve from his grief.

Good News on Al Harris

September 27, 2008

It looks like Al Harris could be back on the football field before November — the Journal Sentinel calls such a return “likely.”

Mike McCarthy: “I’d say it’s going to be at least three to four weeks.  I don’t have an exact time frame for you.”

McCarthy says the team was energized by the news.  “No doubt about it.  I think everybody was nervous Tuesday when it really came to light exactly what was wrong with Al. You’re just glad it’s not anything that could be life-threatening or as serious as it possibly could be.”

Mutiny on the USS St. Louis

September 26, 2008

What the hell is going on in St. Louis? They are incredibly bad (and a far, far cry from the 9-7 surprise team I picked them to be this year). But to make matters worse, it sounds like there is a full-fledged mutiny going on. Bulger apparently won’t talk to the press or Linehan and Steven Jackson indicated on his radio show last night, that Bulger might refuse to play if he’s asked to start again. And Jackson (and others) are apparently pissed re the benching themselves. Read below for more:

Jackson blasts Bulger’s benching

The vibe in the Rams locker room Wednesday and Thursday was that several Rams players weren’t happy about the benching of Marc Bulger. But no one would say so publicly. Well, outspoken running back Steven Jackson took care of that Thursday night on his “Rolling the Dice” radio show on KLOU (103.3 FM). Jackson said benching Bulger was the “wrong decision.” “He’s our general,” said Jackson, who then pointed out that you don’t pay someone “$60-something million” and then sit him on the bench. Although he harbors no ill will against Trent Green, who replaces Bulger in the starting lineup Sunday against Buffalo, Jackson wondered aloud about what will happen when it’s time for Bulger to return to the starting lineup? Jackson intimated strongly that Bulger would be unwilling to do so. Team sources did in fact tell the Post-Dispatch on Thursday that Bulger no longer wants to play for coach Scott Linehan. Bulger has declined comment for three consecutive days since his benching became public knowledge.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

When I read that Bulger was benched the other day, I was completely shocked. Bulger has not been great the last few years, but I highly doubt it is his fault. Sure, he owns some of it, but he’s had about the worst O-line in NFL history going on 3 years now. The moment I read about the move, I wondered if Linehan and Bulger may not be getting along. Benching your co-franchise guy after 3 games is a bold, bold move. I wouldn’t be surprised if the owners of the Rams make a move of their own – especially if they lose this weekend…I’ll give Linehan 3 weeks max.

STEVE ADDS: It might seem crazy, but I keep thinking that the Vikings could make a play for Bulger before the trade deadline.  I’m not sure how much cap room the Vikings have and I assume that Favre would have had to dramatically restructure his deal to fit under their cap.  But I have to believe if they thought they could get him, they would at least make a phone call.

Favre Watch…Who Cares?

September 26, 2008

The Journal-Sentinel this morning includes a “Favre Watch” item updating readers on the condition of Brett Favre’s badly sprained ankle. When I saw it, I thought: Who Cares?

Don’t get me wrong. I’d like Favre’s ankle to heal quickly and I hope he can play this weekend. But I was surprised by just how little I am invested in Favre and his ups and downs and how different that is from the past sixteen years.

I tuned into the Monday night game this week and had the same thought: Who cares? I found myself hoping the Jets would win, but only because I’d like the Packers to get a better draft pick out of the Favre trade. I had no emotional pull for Favre — though some of that might have been due to the rather snide comment he made to ESPN when asked whether Aaron Rodgers’ success here has made fans forget about him. This is a paraphrase, but Favre said something like: Tell them to call me in sixteen years.

Anyway, I’m not hostile toward Favre, though I think he behaved badly. I’m not nostalgic about his time here, either. I just don’t care much about him one way or the other. Which is weird.

UPDATE: I believe what Favre said was “When they have 16 good seasons, then give me a call.” While this is a snooty sort of comment (he should be above this), in his defense, it’s true. Rodgers has played 3 games. Still, I really hate to admit it, but I kind of feel the same way as Steve. I loved Favre when he was here and still don’t like how he left. But when he was here, there was a fair amount of drama with him on a weekly basis due in part to incessant media coverage – now, the coverage is a bit more focused on the team it seems (though Rodgers is getting plenty of attention). While I was rooting for the Jets and cringing still when he doesn’t play well, I’ve found that refocusing my attention on the Packers has not been as difficult as I thought it would be a month ago.

2008 Week 4 Picks

September 25, 2008
  • Atl @ Car (-7.5) – Steve Smith was so excited to play his first home game that he “inadvertently” popped Jake Delhomme in the face. When Jon Fox tried to break it up, Smith kicked him in the shin until it bled. Smith said afterward, “I won’t do that again, I’ve done it a few times, but it won’t happen again” – Smith then spit on the reporter who took the quote.
  • AZ @ NYJ (-2.5) – Interesting how the national media seemed to poop on Favre this past week. If things don’t turn around, I honestly don’t know if he’ll be able to handle that pressure emotionally. That said, and I do think AZ is good this year – NYJ in a route.
  • Cleve @ Cincy (-3.5) – Interesting match-up. Both teams have some strong talent and good reason to think they could be good. However, both teams have coaches who may not be around for much longer. I’ll pick the Cleve here only because I think they have a better chance to not totally suck from here on out. Bengals suck.
  • Denver @ KC (+9.5) – Denver has been on fire…offensively. Their defense has struggled (granted, against some offensive machines in NO and SD). Tony Gonzalez has stated he’d consider a trade. Ted Thompson, are you listening?
  • GB @ TB (-.5) – This is as close as I’ve come in a while to picking against the Packers. While the offense may be better with Wells back and Grant not hamstrung, the possibility of having Bigby, Collins, and Rouse either out or limited is scary. That could mean Jarrett Bush at safety folks.
  • Hou @ Jax (-7.5) – generous spread. Perhaps odds makers just noticed that Houston was trounced in their first two games. But they have potential yet and Steve Slaton stands an outside shot at being Rookie of the Year if he can stay injury free.
  • MN @ Tenn (-2.5) – unless AP goes totally nuts (which is possible, the vaunted Tenn D gave up 116 yards last week to Slaton), Tenn should win this game. Look for at least 3 turnovers from Frerotte this week and despite having opportunities (ruined by bad coaching decisions), MN should go down here.
  • SF @ NO (-6.5) – SF is a quality team and not to be taken lightly. Their wild offense and the defense highlighted by Patrick Willis and Justin Smith make them legit. Just not this week. Blowout alert, 48-13.
  • Buff @ St L (+8.5) – unreal that Bulger was benched. We’ll see how long Trent Green can go before knocking his head again. Why would he come back? I wonder if his wife wanted an ocean-side home but it was just out of their price range, so she made him go back out there. If they lose, Linehan is gone. As much as I love the Buff and think they’re as good as their record, this will be a fight.
  • SD @ Oak (+7.5) – read here for more on the Kiffin/Davis feud. I’m not sure I remember seeing such a public GM/coach feud like this – that has gotten so personal. You know when Kiffin brings up the stress this has caused his pregnant wife that he only shared a tiny bit of her real concerns – 6 months pregnant and not sure where her family will be living? Even a pious, anti-swearing woman would be dropping f-bombs in Al’s direction. Al Davis needs to get out of football.
  • Wash @ Dal (-11.5) – this seems like a huge spread. Dallas is really good as we all saw last week. But I won’t relent in my belief that Wash ain’t bad either. A well-timed turnover might be the difference in this game. Maybe a TO error?
  • Phil @ Chi (+3.5) – With McNabb and Westbrook hurting, this could be an ugly game for Philly. Even if they play, Chi will be ready for this one. It’s funny, Chi is becoming like the Vikings of the last 10 years – their games are all based on adrenaline and being pumped up, not on actually being good. Chi is not that good, but they’ll win this game. Chicago, like San Diego has scored more points than they’ve given up and they’re still 1-2).
  • Balt @ Pitt (-7.5) – Even without Casey Hampton, the Pitt D will make life miserable for QB Jon Flacco. Balt’s hyped defense will be pumped and primed for Monday night and may even have a monster hit or a pick – but they will not continue their defensive dominance. Pitt to roll here

STEVE ADDS: When did Joe Flacco lose his starting job to his younger brother Jon?

Offensive Line Together at Last

September 25, 2008

Jason Wilde reports that the Packers’ offensive line will be together this Sunday in Tampa, Florida.  It’ll take some time for them to get coordinated, but it’s good news.  I think Scott Wells is a quiet, but very important part of the offense.  This news, if Ryan Grant can get himself right, bodes well for the running game.

Posted With Apologies

September 24, 2008

I know, I know — we are supposed to be more sophisticated and mature than this. But this is hilarious. If you are easily offended, please skip this post.

Okay, you were warned. Here is the news report:

Police stopped Jose Cruz on Route 60 in South Charleston Monday night for driving with his headlights off.

Then, he failed sobriety tests and was arrested.

When police were trying to get fingerprints, police say Cruz moved closer to the officer and passed gas on him. The investigating officer remarked in the criminal complaint that the odor was very strong.

Cruz is now charged with battery on a police officer, as well as DUI and obstruction

The criminal complaint verbatim:

During processing [Patrolman] Cook was taking the defendant’s fingerprints while Ptlm. Parsons was typing data into the intoximeters 5000 machine. Ptlm. Parsons was in a chair approx 4-5 feet away from the fingerprinting station. The defendant scooted the 4 feet to Ptlm Parsons, away from Ptlm. Cook, and lifted his leg and passed gas loudly on Ptlm. Parsons. The defendant then fanned the air with his hand in front of his rear onto Ptlm. Parsons. The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Ptlm. Parsons.

(H/T Drudge.)

Matt Millen done in Detroit

September 24, 2008

Good. This is better for the NFL. However, as a Packer fan, this isn’t good news. I’d grown rather fond of being assured the Lions would not improve via the draft or free agency from year to year.