Archive for September, 2009

Offensive line in shambles

September 21, 2009

I might as well have titled this ‘winters can be cold in Wisconsin’. It’s obvious. This line is weak. But I am beginning to be worried that our drafting and coaching of O-Linemen is a real problem. The players we’ve drafted aren’t good enough and the coaching and perhaps the scheme on offense is simply poor. Last year the O-line didn’t get much attention for being average (if that) because there were other areas we were focused on.

Among other things, I continue to be bothered by the shuffling of positions when there are injuries. We should have back-up players who are back-ups for certain positions and when there are injuries, they should come in. Even if that means bringing in a rookie with limited experience, I would think he’d be better off because he would have been practicing at that position and he would know the plays for that position. For example, when Darren Colledge was moved to left tackle, he doesn’t practice that position much and doesn’t know the plays from that position – and he’s not that good to begin with. Now, perhaps in defense of McCarthy, I”m not sure exactly who was active and who else could have come in. But something just doesn’t feel right re the O-Line. Perhaps O-Line coach James Campen ought to be let go – the line under him hasn’t been good for a while (2007 sort of excepted).

But one other thing I’ve been wondering about is the scheme. Are we still doing zone blocking or has it evolved into a hybrid scheme? Either way, it hasn’t been working well for a while now. I’m not sure what happened between preseason and the real season, but the line needs a lot of work. While it may not help overall, I almost wonder if we should be thinking about trading someone for a decent lineman we can count on. And, I am on board with all those wanting us to sign Tauscher again. A hobbled and barely mobile Tauscher is better than what we have now.


Week 2 picks

September 18, 2009
  • Car @ Atl (-4.5). I just feel badly for Jake Delhomme. He’s a good guy, but he’s played so badly his last 2 games it’s unreal (and I’m not sure, but I believe he may have the NFL record for most turnovers in 2 consecutive games – not sure how he couldn’t with 11). Still, I think this will be a close game. Car is pissed and there are 44 other guys on the team who could play well Sunday.
  • MN @ Det (+9.5). My feeling on this game fluctuates – I go from thinking Detroit will surprise and make it a game (like they have the last few times these two teams have played), or they’ll get rolled so badly the NFL may consider simply canceling their games for the rest of the year. I’ll go ahead and say this will be a game – and Detroit may be in it right to the end.
  • Cincy @ GB (-9.5). Blowout. Palmer and co may offer a scare early on with a TD or two, but the Pack’s offense will get it into high gear Sunday and level Cincy.
  • AZ @ Jax (-3.5). Wouldn’t it be interesting if Matt Leinart, after all he’s been through/put himself through, ends up replacing Warner as the QB because of Warner’s…futility? Warner was terrific last year and fun to watch, but I wonder a bit if that magic may simply not be there anymore – he looked like an old man out there last Sunday.
  • Oak @ KC (-3.5). Larry Johnson will have a big game Sunday – huge game. Darren McFadden may too. This will be an offensive game in both of the ways something can be “offensive”. This is one game after which I could see the 2 head coaches squaring off in an all-0ut brawl after the game. Nice tempers…
  • NE @ NYJ (+5.5). Rex Ryan is obnoxious. Many New Yorkers pride themselves on their obnoxeity (prefer this made up word to obnoxiousness). Ryan and New York are a good match. I think they take down the once mighty Pats. The Pats’ loss of LB Jerod Mayo hurts a lot – their defense will just plain be weaker this year overall because of his absence. Now, despite picking the Jets to win outright, I must say, I can’t wait to see Rex Ryan have to verbally backpedal when his team gets crushed by some pedestrian team soon because they’ll be way too cocky.
  • NO @ Phil (-2.5). Interesting QB group in Philly right now. I read somewhere there are 12 pro-bowls among them, and the only non pro-bowler will likely start (Kevin Kolb). Should be a good game on Sunday. As much as I want NO to win and think that their offense may even overwhelm the Eagles, somehow, I think Andy Reid and co figure out a way to win. One way I can always comfort myself when the hated Eagles win though, is with the thought that some idiot Eagle fan will have to explain to his wife why he decided to punch an elderly grandma in the face at halftime. His only answer will be more cursing.
  • Hou @ TN (-6.5). Wow did Houston suck last week. I still can’t believe it. I know the Jets’ D is good, but that was some terrible execution. I really can’t believe that will happen 2 weeks in a row. They have way too much talent and now Andre Johnson’s side-kick Kevin Walter is back – which will help more than most think it would. I pick the upset here.
  • StL @Wash (-9.5). The only chance for StL here is that their coach puts together a game plan that handles the Skins like he did when he was Def Coord of the NYG. While I think Wash will win, I don’t think they’ll win by much. As strange as it sounds, the 28-0 StL loss last week to the Seahawks wasn’t as lopsided a game as the score indicates.
  • TB @ Buff (-4.5). Was T.O. brought to Buff to be an intentional distraction for…Lee Evans? I’ve seriously wondered this. Owens can still make plays for sure, but Evans is the guy with more of a career left. My guess is Evans goes nuts this week. I also think Leodis McElvin will have a heck of a game (not name) after being the goat last week.
  • Sea @ SF (-1.5). Brutally difficult for me to pick this one. I think it will be close and hard fought. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I think this will become a new hot rivalry in the NFL over the next 10 years or so as both franchises rebuild and become playoff contenders regularly. I’m starting to take Mike Singletary seriously after last week’s nice win at AZ.
  • Pitt @ Chic (+2.5). I don’t know why I am so fixed on this but I am taking Chicago. To commit 4 horrible turnovers and barely lose, the team had to be doing something right. And the defense didn’t completely breakdown when Urlacher left because he was out most of the second half. I pick Chicago here and to the likely surprise of many – in a lopsided game. Pitt simply CANNOT continue to win the way they win. It’s often so ugly – it just can’t keep happening (especially now without Palomalu).
  • Cleve @ Den (-3.5). This game would kind of be fun to watch. Both coaches spending the whole game trying to outsmart the other – and being very very coy in the process. Watch out for both Braylon Edwards and Brandon Marshall in this one. Marshall in particular. Orton will realize starting Sunday just how good this guy is. One note re Marshall: though I think HE is the idiot for the holdout and his behavior for the most part, his argument isn’t a terrible one. He will be making $2.2 million this year but his stats the last 2 years (2 consecutive years over 100 catches) are more in line with the top 3 or so WRs in the NFL. Again, he should simply play out his contract while making the effort to renegotiate, but in his mini-defense, he has significantly outplayed his present contract (and not for one, but for 2 years).
  • Balt @ SD (-3.5). I don’t know – SD didn’t show much winning last week, though it won and that counts. Balt let KC hang around for a while before cruising to a V. While I was set to take SD earlier this week, I think I’ve come around to thinking Balt may just be too talented here. Even with a pick or two from Flacco, I think Balt wins.
  • NYG @ Dal (-2.5). Blowout alert. People will accuse me of crack-use once again, but I see a blowout here: Dallas 38, NYG 16. One of these days, my lack of true faith in the NYG as a football team will be supported by what actually happens on the field. I think that will happen this Sunday. The Cowboys are for real this year.
  • Indy @ Mia (+3.5). Tough game to call. I don’t like how Indy won last week at home. I think Miami will be happy to be at home and will open things up on Indy’s defense. Also look for a Jason Taylor re-emergence party Monday night. I read an interesting mini-article the other day wondering if Ricky Williams has turned into a veteran leader/role model for the Dolphins. It’s a funny notion, Ricky Williams as a respected leader. What the article didn’t mention is that Williams has simply cast marijuana clouds over his teammates when they disagree with him – leading to passive acceptance of his leadership.

Still bitter re Tyrell Sutton

September 18, 2009

Just reading today again that Brandon Jackson is expected to miss this week as well. Right now, we have 2 healthy halfbacks. Halfback is a position that sees plenty of injuries. I know the team thinks John Kuhn is able to switch in and play halfback because he did it in college – I don’t. That would be ugly. If Sutton were here now, he could be getting some playing time and doing some damage on the field because the guy can flat out play. Even though Jackson still has potential and I don’t think he’s bad, he has some trouble staying healthy. I know McCarthy/Thompson always have their reasons for cutting guys, but I still think cutting Sutton was a mistake. The fact that he was picked up instantly and put on a roster  of a team that already had 3 quality RBs (Carolina) and not put on a practice squad, offers support for the argument that this was a mistake.

Couple the Sutton situation with the Desmond Bishop situation (plus a few others over the years), and it leads me to a small worry that sometimes MM/TT overlook obvious, obvious talent. Generally, they evaluate talent reasonably well, but there are times when I can’t possibly imagine how they arrive at their decisions. Cutting Tyrell Sutton is one of those decisions.

Tooth helps restore eyesight? Authors ran out of time?

September 18, 2009

Read here. With this title: Tooth helps restore desperate woman’s sight , I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me as a reader to expect at least some kind of explanation here. Instead, we get this:

To start the procedure, surgeons remove a healthy tooth and part of the patient’s jawbone. Perez said Thornton was given a jawbone implant, but she developed a sinus infection, so they removed it. They will try again later. The tooth and bone were then shaved and sculpted, and a hole was drilled into them to hold the prosthetic lens. Then the whole unit was implanted into Thornton’s chest and left for several months, allowing the tooth and lens to bond. This was then implanted into her eye. Asked why doctors don’t use a piece of plastic instead of a tooth, Perez said that works well when the eye is “wet and healthy.” But Thornton’s eye was too dry. When he first saw her, he said, “her eyes were covered with skin.”

Maybe I’m just medically naive, but this article seems to create far more questions than it answers. I would be very interested to know who came up with this procedure and why in the world this person ever thought to put a tooth in a person’s eye to help that person see better. I have to admit, I do have medically-fleeting-thoughts not unlike this (i.e. “if I put toothpaste on my lower back will it instantly cure my severe lower back pain?…it doesn’t), but this just seems so disjointed. It leaves me asking at least the following questions:

  • Why a tooth? Who was the first MD (or non medical lunatic?) who said: it has to be a tooth – only a tooth will work in this procedure – and in fact, only an eye tooth (which, by the way, was just being cocky)? What the authors should have done here is lay the foundation for this whole thing answering the basic: why would anyone in their right mind have considered putting part of a person’s tooth in their eye to fix it. That’s missing.
  • Ok, the tooth is strange enough, but why part of the jawbone too? The authors gloss over this sort of like we ought to know that it couldn’t just be a tooth that would go in there – obviously part of the jawbone would need to be involved. Obviously.
  • This is the big one for me though: why did the authors give such a limited explanation for for why the tooth/bone/lens thing was then implanted into this woman’s chest and “left to heal for several months”. WHAT!!!??? Why? The answer, according to the authors, is that it would allow “the tooth and lens to bond”. Sorry, does the ‘bonding’ having to take place in this woman’s chest? Why can’t it take place elsewhere? I wonder if the MD who performed this particular procedure just had some strange kind of fetish. Why not in the leg? Better yet, how about letting the bonding happen somewhere outside the body – like in a lab. Already, this poor woman has to try to understand why doctors need to extract her tooth and disfigure her face to remove part of her jawbone – throwing in the “and then we need to implant all of this into your chest for a few months” HAD to make her wonder.

As much as I rip here – I must admit, it’s pretty cool that she can see again!

Rodney Harrison: Favre “craps on everybody”

September 17, 2009

Read here for a great Rodney Harrison quote. It’s funny, even though last Sunday’s NBC Broadcast team was a bit awkward (Dungy especially – surprisingly too), I wondered if Rodney Harrison may end proving to be entertaining with his unique brand of…honesty. This comment is entertaining.

Bigby out one month

September 16, 2009

Ugh – this is not good news mostly because it hurts our depth at an already thin position. I’m not necessarily sure at this point that Aaron Rouse is step down from Bigby, because I think he has some talent and a nose for the ball. What I’m not crazy about is Rouse’s inconsistent commitment to being aggressive. (Actually the knock on him coming out of college was that he wasn’t aggressive enough – something many scouts were disappointed by because he’s such a physical specimen.) Well, now it’s time for Rouse to shine and importantly, to show he can be consistent. If he plays well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him keep the starting job.

I suppose this now pushes Jarrett Bush to #4 option at safety. Not sure what he’d be like at safety and not sure what Derrick Martin has to offer as the #3 guy. We better hope Collins and Rouse can stay healthy over the next few games.

Ex-WR Freeman helping the enemy?

September 16, 2009

Ok, that was just an attention-grabbing headline – similar to the one used in the St. Paul Pioneer Press article here. The article talks about Antonio Freeman providing private tutoring for the Vikings’ Percy Harvin – before Harvin’s 2009 Pro Day (so before he was drafted by the Vikings). (Though I must say, author Sean Jensen seems to be trying to confuse the reader into thinking that Freeman more recently provided this assistance to Harvin – especially by using the present tense ‘helps’ in the article title. The facts, as far as I understand them, are the Freeman assisted Harvin well before Harvin was a Viking). It’s still interesting though  – as reading this article reminds me that Freeman indeed was a master at getting open, just a master, especially for someone who was never either the fastest or quickest WR on the Packers’ roster.

Freeman should open up his own training business focused on route running – he should just make sure no Viking WRs are allowed to attend.

Packers’ defense is so…active

September 15, 2009

I just wrote an extensive post re the Packers new-look defense and it was erased somehow. No idea what happened but I’m too ticked off right now to try to reconstruct the whole thing.

The gist of it was that this defense seems especially ACTIVE compared to other Packer defenses over the years. I’ve watched for years with envy as the Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Patriots have brought pressure from everywhere, been mostly unpredictable and have forced offenses to execute at the highest level in order to make progress against them. I have watched these defenses over the years with the kind of envy you may have had growing up when your friend comes over on Christmas having just received a “real” Packer helmet while you still have the one with virtually no padding inside (…the kind that, because of pride, you claim offers sufficient protection when you take a blow to the head – but in reality, it really hurts). Now, I feel like we finally have one of those defenses others can envy for a change. It’s exciting.

I think about all of the logistical/communication problems that Bob Sanders and his units seemed to have and it seems curious to me that with what appears to be an infinitely more complicated defense, there do not seem to be these issues. I know it’s early, but on Sunday, the substitutions, the specific packages etc, seemed to be pulled off without much of a problem – at least I don’t think there were any glaring penalties or assignment errors. I think that coaching has a lot to do with this. Sanders’ groups often had guys running on/off at the last second, opposing WRs somehow being alone along the sideline for easy TDs, and last-second timeouts when the D realized there were too many men on the field or something. While I know this happens from time to time with even the best defenses and sometimes those mistakes are on the players, for some reason, I feel considerably more comfortable with Capers directing this production than I did with Sanders.

Again, I know it’s early, but it has been a long time frankly, since we’ve been able to get excited about our defense, so allow me some gushing here. It’s just nice that the Packers’ defense is already becoming more a part of the discussion when talking about the Packers. This year, I’m guessing it will not only be a factor in helping us win some close games, but I’m guessing it will also contribute significantly in a few blow-outs.

Key Bishop mention by McCarthy today

September 14, 2009

Read below for a quick summary of McCarthy’s press conference today from the Insiders Blog at the GBPG:

On linebackers: Played Matthews more than expected. Thought Barnett was up around 40 plays, and that’s what they were looking for. Great asset to have so many playmakers. Have to find way to get Bishop involved, too. He got special-teams game ball.

Perhaps McCarthy saw Poppinga doing nothing…again. Just glad that there was specific mention of need to get Bishop involved. Please let this be an indication that he will be playing more – please.

Urlacher out for the season

September 14, 2009

While Urlacher is a player on one of our biggest rivals, I feel badly for the guy.  Read here. Good news for the Pack though.