Archive for August, 2009

A subtle factor in the Favre divorce?

August 31, 2009

Here is a question: what role did Aaron Rodgers’ high football IQ play in the Brett Favre divorce process? At one point I believe in 2007, McCarthy said that the offense under Favre had only learned 1/4 of his total playbook. McCarthy didn’t say this as a crack on Favre – more as a matter of fact. Was Favre reluctant to learn the other 3/4 of the playbook? It’s well documented that Favre has a narrowed preference for all things West Coast and that learning new plays especially later in his career was not something he was much interested in. Did MM ever feel like the true potential of his offensive ideas could only be realized with a potentially more cerebral (or at least more willing-to-learn) QB like Rodgers? Again, I’m not saying Favre is dumb, I don’t think he is, and I know there were lots of other factors in the divorce – but I wonder if this was even a small part of the discussion.

This year, my guess is that we’ll see Rodgers run a huge variety of plays – leaving defenses often guessing and fans once again praising McCarthy’s creativity. While there were times last year when the playcalling was poor/predictable, that seemed to me to be toward the beginning of the year when I think MM was trying to make it easy for Rodgers. But starting with the last 4-5 games of last year through this preseason especially, it seems Rodgers has grown more comfortable calling a greater variety of plays. Perhaps he’s now tapped into the other 3/4 of MM’s ideas.

Your thoughts?

Backpack injuries? Really?

August 31, 2009

Fox 6 News in Milwaukee just had a story, yet another back to school story, on the hazards of wearing the wrong backpack. Seriously. Fox interviewed some orthopaedic (why is this word spelled like this, why) surgeon who talked about the injuries that can occur. In the end, thankfully, we were told about what to look for when shopping for a backpack to buy our kids and how to wear one – key information that could very well help our kids avoid such devastating injuries as “occasional lower back discomfort”.

Did actress Lara Flynn Boyle simply wither away?

August 30, 2009

Jay Cutler looking very solid

August 30, 2009

I said a few months ago that I was nervous about the 2009 Bears after they acquired Jay Cutler. After watching tonight’s game, I have to say, I’m a bit more nervous. Cutler is really good. On the last drive of the first half, Cutler threw some bullets, some touch passes and ended the drive with a perfectly thrown low ball pass to Forte for a TD. He’s good, they have a very good RB, their receivers (including TE Greg Olsen) will prove more than adequate and their defense will be strong again. Chicago may be a force in the NFC North this year. (One worthwhile note: Cutler can be rattled, so it will be critical for our 3-4 D to get to him early.)

As a prelude to my annual NFL predictions, I will offer this: in 2009, the NFC North will be the 2008 NFC East. Our division could end up being one of the better divisions in football.

38-10, quality, quality effort

August 29, 2009

While I couldn’t watch the game (I’m in Minnesota), I was following game blogs/box score and watched the highlights this morning. Wow. Aaron Rodgers looks so good it’s unreal. His passes seem so remarkably catchable. That’s a quality something that even some other good QBs don’t have to this extent. He can put air under them, he can throw a sweet touch pass, he can follow that up by throwing a bullet between defenders. He looked really, really good last night. And, our receiving group looks really good as well. Rodgers has a bunch of dangerous targets every time he drops back – defenses may key on Jennings, but Driver, Nelson, Jones, Finley, Sutton, Lee – any of these guys can catch the ball. (That said, I would like to see the team run more screens to Grant – then defenses would have to account for yet another potential pass catcher (for now, when Grant’s in and it’s not a running play, defenses can safely assume he won’t catch the ball).

I hope Sutton makes the team. Rodgers likes Finley. FInley does look good, but more importantly, Rodgers likes him so look for Finley to replace Lee this year as the primary pass-catching TE. I love our defense too – these turnovers are a big reason why I’ve wanted to move to a 3-4 now for a while. It just seems to be a better defense for disrupting opposing offenses.

One thing I want to note, and I will have to post something separately on this later, is that if this team continues to play like this and these young guys continue to develop, we all better start singing the praises of Mike McCarthy and his staff. Seeing Rodgers playing like this, Finley, Grant, the O-Line, all the young guys especially – it really seems like there is some coaching going on.

Packers looking at Tampa QBs?

August 27, 2009

Read here – sounds like the Pack may be quite concerned both about Flynn’s shoulder injury and Brohm’s apparent talent injury.

McCarthy’s Poppinga justification still going on…

August 26, 2009

Read here for more McCarthy praise of Poppinga. It’s just very interesting the way McCarthy is going about this – as he talks to the reporter, it’s almost as though he’s trying to justify having such an affinity for Poppinga because he is anticipating criticism for this. As well he should be.

Look, I want to clarify that I don’t dislike Brady Poppinga personally. He is a lively interview and an interesting character. And, importantly, if McCarthy stands firm and keeps him as the starter, I really want him to do well because I just want our team to do well. I’d rather have him do well and make me look like a fool than have him continue to suck so I can be right about him.  But I also have seen him struggle on the field for 3+ years as a starter and it’s just time someone else gets a chance.

Is Poppinga Mike McCarthy’s son?

August 26, 2009

I’ve spent the last 3.5 years wondering who in a leadership position was forcing the issue by putting Brady Poppinga on the field. I thought it was Bob Sanders until I read something about Winston Moss liking Poppinga. Then Sanders left and Moss has been pushed somewhat into the background. I figured Dom Capers would notice Poppinga’s underwhelming performance right away and perhaps just cut him. Apparently not (or perhaps Capers doesn’t want to say anything?) That essentially leaves McCarthy and Ted Thompson. But after reading these comments by McCarthy today from Tom Silverstein’s article, I think we’ve found the culprit:

“Everybody was excited about where Clay was when the injury occurred,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He was lining up with the starters at that particular point, but Brady Poppinga has taken full advantage of his opportunities. I can’t say enough about him. From a preparation standpoint, he’s taken every snap in training camp, hasn’t missed a practice, and it shows up on the field.

“He’s very comfortable in the new scheme, he’s done an excellent job, particularly in the run defense of taking two defenders time and time again. He’s been around the ball a lot and part of the takeaway production that we’ve had on defense. I think Brady’s having a heck of a camp.”

Look, I understand how this evolved considering Poppinga was the left OLB back-up and the 2 guys slated to play right OLB have both been injured. It’s not totally illogical. But what bothers me here on a very basic level is that once again Brady Poppinga has been elevated to a starter role when he is actually one of the weaker LBs on the roster. People talk about our depth at LB and I agree, we have depth. But then why would someone who is a proven weak-link get the starting nod. Why Bishop wouldn’t get a chance to see if he can play OLB (Hawk got to move from OLB to MLB last year, Chillar from OLB to ILB this year), or why wouldn’t they experiment with a more capable Chillar at OLB – which was his original position. What I’m saying is that it’s time to move on. Poppinga may prove yet to be OK in the 3-4, maybe it will suit him, but he’s not capable of being a game-changer. And he’s been given so many opportunities and failed that it’s simply time to let some of these other talented guys get on the field.

The bottom line is that McCarthy, by anointing Poppinga starter, is not putting the best guys on the field who give us the best chance to win. That is his job and he’s not doing it. For him to have such effusive praise for a guy who has had one good game in 4 years, it’s simply unfair to the other players. For someone I believe has reasonably sound judgment on many other football decisions, I’m surprised to learn that McCarthy is likely the one behind this inane pro-Poppinga movement.

UPDATE: Yesterday on Homer’s show on ESPN radio Milwaukee, he was interviewing the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Wilde. Homer was campaigning for Bishop to get on the field more/possibly start and Wilde, shockingly, wasn’t biting. Wilde went on to say that Bishop didn’t stand out really this year and made one good play last year and 2 horrible plays. I respect Wilde most of the time, but I was shocked to hear someone who usually has a sound take be so far off. Wilde clearly is drinking the coaches’ water on this one – and he’s wrong. We’ll all have one of those “how could we let that guy go?” moments when Bishop is snatched up by some other smart NFL team and dominates.

Are you a “true Packer fan”?

August 19, 2009

Read this quote from Favre’s press conference yesterday:

“When people start talking about my legacy – it’s mine,” said Favre. “It’s what I think of it. I know the way I play the game. I know the way I’ve handled myself as a teammate, a leader, in the public. If you’re a true Packer fan, you understand. You say, ‘You know what? He chose to continue playing, they chose to go in a different direction, it’s part of the business.’ I don’t have to prove anything to anybody because what I’ve done – it’s down in the books. . . . I’m in it for the right reasons, and if people can’t understand that, I’m sorry.”

So, are you a “true Packer fan”?

What do you make of this Vike’s fan comment?

August 19, 2009

Came across this comment from a Vikings’ fan in response to a post I wrote last year disagreeing with Dr. Z who picked the Vikes to win the Super Bowl during the preseason:

LoL you greenbay fans. Man sure sucks when your team kicks their best player out and then gets beat down by them in ‘09. And yes they kicked him out. They could have said come back. Pride set in and now they’ll pay for that. Man I honestly think GB will lose both game by 2 tds or more. And yes Vikes have the best chance in the NFC to go to the SB.

Have at…