Archive for November, 2009


November 15, 2009

The Packers should throw on him all game.  He’s awful.  Rodgers should just see who’s lined up opposite #32 and throw to him every play.


Jeff Triplette

November 15, 2009

He sucks.  Really.  He’s absolutely awful.  His crew has missed several obvious calls on the Cowboys — a hold on Brad Jones blitz and a non-call on Mike Jenkins grabbing Greg Jennings — and called a couple ticky-tack penalties on both teams.

Packers vs Cowboys pre-game thoughts

November 14, 2009


  • Romo has been playing well and the Dallas offense has a good number of guys to turn to.
  • 2 more WRs have emerged for Dallas in Miles Austin and now even Ogletree. Roy Williams is still decent, but not the threat he used to be with Detroit.
  • the 3-headed rushing attack. Barber packs a punch, Felix Jones is just difficult to track down to bring down and T Choice may in fact be the best all-around back of the 3. When they split the carries in a manner that fits with the game flow, these 3 are scary.
  • The Dallas O-line is huge and it’s possible they could end up dominating line play and pushing our D around at will. In light of this possibility, I will be starting Marion Barber for fantasy.
  • Jason Witten. He’s really, really good. I did read something about Romo converting 3rd downs 100% of the time he threw the ball Witten’s way this year. Scary. Clearly, we need to be all over him on 3rd downs. (It will be interesting to see if they bring Woodson over to keep tabs on Witten – he lined up opposite Kellen Winslow last week a few times and it seemed to work.)
  • DeMarcus Ware. I saw him switching from the right to the left in the Philly game and that could spell trouble – especially if TJ Lang gets the start at RT without having played there much before. I expect Ware to have 2-3 sacks.
  • Confidence. Dallas has it, the Packers don’t.
  • Special teams. Dallas ST has been on fire this year. The Pack’s ST is a joke. This could be a problem.

Potential Positives:

  • Romo, while playing well, is a somewhat fragile player mentally. He got a huge win for him last week – huge. And he needed mental strength to pull it off. But I think the reason many people feel the Cowboys aren’t a top tier division leader right now is because of Romo’s apparent inability to string together difficult victories. I expect to see him make some mistakes and my hope is that some of those mistakes are encouraged by some aggressive blitzes.
  • The Cowboys’ 3-headed rushing attack. When Jason Garrett (Dal O-Coordinator) gets into the game flow moving these 3 guys in and out at the right times, this is usually a very effective run game plan. However, I’ve seen a couple Cowboy games where the balance with the run and the timing of substitutions hasn’t worked well. If we can disrupt their running rhythm early, that could lead Romo to eventually force some passes.
  • Outside of Jason Witten and screen passes to the RBs, I’m not too afraid of the Cowboys’ passing attack. Yes, they’ve had some success this year, but mostly against crappier teams. If our secondary can get up for this one, I won’t be too worried about the passing game. One warning: watch the bubble pass – that immediate pass to the WR at the line of scrimmage followed by lots of WR blocking in front of the guy. Ogletree, Crayton, Williams all had great plays on that last week.
  • Aaron Rodgers has, for the most part, managed to stay above the criticism of the rest of the team mostly due to his consistently high QB rating and good play in general. But last week, Rodgers wasn’t good and his puke effort in the waning minutes didn’t help silence those who believe he struggles in the clutch. I think this game is critical to Rodgers’ QB development. We often talk about him as though he’s a veteran because he’s stepped in quite naturally and he carries himself confidently, but the fact is, he’s only started for 1.5 years. Like any young QB, he still needs big victories to help grow his confidence in both himself and his team.
  • The Packers run game. As poor as Mike McCarthy’s sense of game flow has been this year (abandoning the run at odd times in particular), our O-Line has done a progressively better job of run blocking. Hidden behind the torrent of negative press for their shoddy pass blocking, the O-Line has managed to finally open up quality holes for our RBs. (And, I should add, our RBs would have had some huge days if they could have made people miss.) If McCarthy lets Grant and Ahman Green run, the Packers might get back to setting up the pass with quality runs and in the process, control the clock. If our RBs can get past the Dal D-Line, their 2nd and 3rd level tacklers don’t scare me much.
  • By the way, look for Ahman Green to take on a bigger role this week both running the ball and a lot of 2nd and 3rd down help with pass protection.

Week 10 picks

November 14, 2009
  • Chic @ SF (-3.5). SF by 4. Cutler will have a putrid game, 4-5 picks. Bears D won’t be bad, but Gore will get his.
  • NO @ StL (+13.5). Shouldn’t be close. StL may play with heart and get hyper people worked up re a possible upset after they go down and score early. But then NO will flatten StL, flatten them. 45-17.
  • Buff @ Tenn (-6.5). Interesting that a 2-6 team has a 6.5 spread advantage. Shows how much folks think of Buff nowadays. Vince Young is an interesting dude. He’s isn’t that great a QB, but I think he may be one of those guys who just knows how to win. It may surprise some to learn that he is 12-6 as a starting QB in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers, for sake of comparison, is 10-14 as a starter.
  • Den @ Wash (+6.5). Crack pick alert. I’m going with Wash to win outright. If Clinton Portis were playing, I’d pick Denver in a decisive victory. But as long as Ladell Betts feels reasonably well, I think he may take this opportunity to start and run with it – and in the process, be a bit of a spark for the whole team. He’s done this in the past. Wash won’t continue winning after this and Zorn will get canned, but at least they’ll win one decent game this year.
  • Det @ MN (-16.5). You know what I miss? Seeing that bewildered “what can we possibly do now?” look that Brad Childress used to sport most of the time. I am not liking his apparent developing confidence. Maybe Jim Schwartz and co can at least scare MN so that I can see that trademark Childress look. (MN actually has struggled with Detroit both home and away for the last few seasons – let’s hope Detroit can give them a game.)
  • Jax @ NYJ (-6.5). Despite a recent scare from KC, something tells me Jax is going to give the NYJ all they can handle. I hate to say it but I am starting to hope for Jet losses because I find Rex Ryan’s back-tracking entertaining (at the beginning of the season, he was swollen with confidence…not so much now).
  • Atl @ Car (+1.5). At 80% of the people picking this game have taken Atlanta. I think Atlanta is good, but Carolina probably should have beaten NO last week in NO and they handled AZ in AZ the week before. I think Car is back and this will be a decisive victory for Car. Now, if DeAngelo Williams doesn’t play, they’ll still win, but not by much.
  • Cincy @ Pitt (-6.5). I don’t like taking so many visiting teams like I am this week, but a lot of these games are important ones and I think a good number of them will be close. This is a huge game for Cincy as a victory here gives them a huge advantage in the division race (will have swept both Balt and Pitt). But winning at Heinz Field is difficult. In fact, if memory serves, one odd Heinz Field fact that I’ve heard is that nobody has kicked a field goal of 50 yards or over in the stadium’s history (GB’s Mason Crosby converted a 52 yarder, but it was during a preseason game). Something tells me this curious fact might play a role in the game this weekend.
  • Phil @ SD (-2.5). Did anyone else question Andy Reid’s coaching decision in the waning minutes of last weekend’s game? With a little over 4 minutes left, the Eagles were down by 7 w/zero timeouts left and faced a 4th and 11 from the Dallas 35 yard-line. Instead of going for it or punting the ball to give Dallas bad field position and hope for a defensive stop, Reid elected to try a 52 yard field goal. David Akers came in and made it. So, that left Phil down by 4 with 4 minutes left and kicking off to Dallas. Instead of trying an onside kick, Phil kicked it deep, Dal managed an OK return, got the first down they needed and won the game. I just didn’t get the FG try – that wouldn’t have been an option were I coach. Didn’t gain them anything whatsoever. And a miss, which is fairly likely from 52 yards, would have made that decision even poorer. Not sure what Reid was thinking there – seemed like a bonafide coaching error by a seasoned coach.
  • TB @ Mia (-9.5). Josh Freeman just plain impressed last week in the second half against the Packers. Several times he made quality passes with Packers draped all over him. This may be a better game than some believe. By the way, anyone hear anything lately about Bill Parcells? Either I’m just reading websites that never refer to the guy or the guy has truly vanished from the public scene. I thought for sure he’d have a domineering Jerry Jones-like presence in his role there in Miami. Looks like I was wrong.
  • Sea @ AZ (-8.5). Still trying to figure out how AZ stuck it to Sea a few weeks ago in Sea. I now they blitzed a lot, but Sea must have just played like total crap. Somehow, I see this being a much better game – it matters big-time to both teams and it may in fact, be the season for Sea.
  • Dal @ GB (+2.5). Ugh. What to say? I have visions of this game going one of two ways. A few ugly things happen early on to the Packers, Lambeau gets quiet, and the Packers self-destruct as Rodgers gets rolled by DeMarcus Ware and Ratliff over and over again. Dallas runs the ball at will and exits Lambeau with a comfortable 21 point victory. Or, the Packers come ready to play after an emotional week and surprise everyone by taking down a hot team. Rodgers and Grant will go nuts and the defense will pull off a game to remember. Keep in mind, while the Packers lost ugly last week in Tampa, Dallas escaped just a few weeks earlier after barely beating KC in KC. Of course, because I’m a Packer fan, I’ll guess the latter scenario will play out. But I have to admit, I’m starting to consider picking against the Packers going forward – they’re ruining my pools.
  • KC @ Oak (-1.5). KC is the better team with a better future. They should win this game easily.
  • Balt @ Cleve (+10.5). There is a simple problem with Eric Mangini’s coaching style: it doesn’t fit his personality. Clark Judge had an interesting interview with Mangini the other day and he was struck by how normal, nice and un-dictator-like Mangini seemed – in light of all of the negative publicity about the guy lately. In past years, I’ve read other stories about how Mangini has a great sense of humor, how he’s a family guy and how he is a tremendously generous human being. But the guy tries to coach like Bill Belichick – who has a different personality. Mangini has had a difficult time getting out from under Belichick’s shadow mostly because, despite denying it, he simply tries to copy Belichick’s style. Seems from all I’ve read about his “real” personality, if Mangini lightened up and encouraged more of a fun, loose environment – an environment he himself would feel more comfortable in – he might find success.

Holding the wrong guy accountable

November 13, 2009

Now PFT has weighed in on this story from jsonline this morning by Don Walker. Read here.

I share Steve’s concerns re this situation and I don’t think Mike Florio’s too far off here either. I’m just not sure myself what Mike Wood could have possibly said to just get canned like this – especially after 22 years. Outside of threatening someone, I just can’t imagine. And this from a guy who works with termination/employment issues daily. Even if he said something about laying an egg – that’s not can-worthy, as it were.

But what strikes me most about this incident is that Mike McCarthy has no problem “holding Mike Wood accountable” for some comments that weren’t offensive and yet he doesn’t just bench Colledge, Clifton, Lang, Barbre when they’re seemingly trying to get Rodgers sacked. Or he doesn’t say a word to Johnny Jolly after Jolly’s bonehead penalty seriously affected the Vikings’ game. Or he doesn’t say a word to AJ Hawk after Hawk’s defensive holding penalty kept a critical Bucs’ drive alive. Or, he doesn’t say a word to the officials when phantom calls at critical times derail our momentum. Or, he doesn’t call out (or simply fire) Shawn Slocum and James Campen for directing respectively, the worst special teams and offensive line units in the NFL. Or he doesn’t take enough ownership of his own errors and how they contribute to our losses.

My one hope right now is because this week has been an emotional one, some of this emotion can carry over to the game on Sunday. This team is fractured. Over time, McCarthy has taken an increasingly compartmentalized approach, due in part to his hyper focus on all things offense. This team needs a central figure to rally around. It needs a head coach who takes an active role in all the big TEAM decisions – not just the offensive ones. Hopefully, the emotion of these last two losses (you know it’s emotional when Driver’s calling people out) coupled with the heightened sense of urgency the players have developed can bring these guys together for the common goal of winning. While my never-ending Packer optimism cringes as I write this – I’d say quite simply, this game is the season.

That Was Fast

November 13, 2009

Deadspin headline: “Please Don’t Mention Eggs to Mike McCarthy, Ever.”


How to Become a Punchline

November 13, 2009

According to this story by Don Walker, Mike McCarthy has fired a 22-year veteran of the Packers maintenance crew because, according to the team, the worker had the temerity to say “don’t lay an egg” to McCarthy before the Vikings game.  The worker, Mike Wood, denies saying this, claiming instead that he said “let’s get the boys ready to kick some butt this weekend.”

I don’t know who to believe.  On the one hand, does anyone ever use the phrase “kick some butt” anymore?  I can see “kick some ass” or something along those lines but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say “kick some butt” since 1982.  On the other hand, there is no one in the story who confirms the Packers’ account.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume the guy said some version of what McCarthy thought he heard.  Maybe something like: “Don’t let the boys lay an egg this weekend, let’s get them ready to kick some ass.”

Is that really worth firing someone who has worked for the team for two decades?  That is crazy – and looks even worse since the Packers did, in fact, go out and lay and egg November 1.

The irony should be obvious to even the most casual observer.

On the one hand, McCarthy says publicly that special teams coach Shawn Slocum, whose unit has performed poorly all year and largely cost the Packers their last two games, “has done a good job.”  And Mike Wood, whose 22 years with the Packers suggest he probably really has done a good job, is fired for making (or not making) a wisecrack?

I don’t think this story ends well for Coach Mangini, er, McCarthy.

How disrespected are the Packers now?  I was listening to Sirius NFL Radio on my drive in the other day and squeezed in between their hours of discussion devoted to the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers they managed to preview the Cowboys-Packers game.

It was depressing.

The commentators — I think it was Bryan McGovern and Gil Brandt — wondered aloud whether this might be a “trap” game for the Cowboys.  That is, coming off a big victory against Philadelphia, the Cowboys might be so confident about a win this weekend in Green Bay that they would overlook the Packers and lose.

Two months ago, the Packers were being discussed seriously as a potential NFC champion.  Now, after two losses to the Vikings and last week’s defeat at Tampa, they are considered so weak that teams could look beyond them to future games.

Not good.


Veterans Day

November 11, 2009

A word of thanks to our Veterans today.  Please take five minutes to watch this video produced by the youngest Hayes brother, Dan.  He spent this past Saturday with World War II Veterans flown from Wisconsin to Washington, DC, where they visited the WWII Memorial and spend the day in the nation’s capital.   The terrific music in the video is our own Josh Christiansen (known to most of you  as frequent commenter “joshywoshybigfatposhy”).

Thanks to these men — and all Veterans — for their service.  And to Dan for sharing their stories.


Congrats to the Vikings

November 10, 2009

A hearty Wisconsin congratulations to our western neighbors on avoiding blackouts for three consecutive home games.  According to PFT, the Vikings have sold out upcoming games against the Lions, the Seahawks and the Bears.  I guess technically they’re not sellouts but, according to a Vikings representative, “virtual sellouts,” which, if you’re the Vikings, you’ll take in a heartbeat!  You’ll remember last year as the Vikings made their playoff push, the most suspenseful part of their short run was whether they would sellout and avoid a blackout.

If you’re wondering, the Packers have sold out every game at Lambeau since…1959.



Swine flu celebrity

November 10, 2009

Since coming down with H1N1 a few weeks ago, something unexpected has happened: I’ve become a swine flu celebrity. Due to the rampant news coverage and the fear the media has put into the minds of all when it comes to H1N1, I have the full attention of absolutely everyone when the subject comes up. I am the total authority – over the CDC website, over doctors, news programs, even over celebrity MDs Dr. Oz and Dr. Gupta. I lived it.

When I walk into a room, those in the room will awkwardly steer the conversation to the topic of illness or specifically swine flu. Then, the collective attention turns to me. “Andy, are you feeling OK finally?” they might ask. It is a strangely powerful feeling – I feel like I could say or do anything. The temptation to make up symptoms, embellish the suffering or otherwise just be the purveyor of misinformation sometimes becomes as strong as the temptation to yell in church during the middle of a sermon.

You know how people look at you without diverting their glance whatsoever – totally focused attention hanging on your every word? How people almost can’t listen to you enough? Well that is what it’s like. I tell stories of what it was like to have swine flu. I tell them about what my doctor said and how some of what he said was slightly different than what the CDC’s website says (this draws significant interest). I tell them about how Tamiflu made me feel WORSE than swine flu itself – justifiably spreading the fear of Tamiflu. When I speak people look at me like how they might look at a car wreck – they don’t seem to want to look at me/have any close contact with me whatsoever, but at the same time, they can’t look a way. I can’t remember holding court as often as I have since coming down with swine flu.

So, I was enjoying this newfound celebrity until the other day when I was talking to a friendly coworker who was a bit older. I had what I now consider to be a rookie celebrity moment because I pushed my assumed license to say anything too far. I was trying to describe what the swine flu headaches were like and my talk became a bit too free-flowing. I said that really, the headaches were most like “a delayed hangover headache, you know the kind that catches up with you at some point the next afternoon”. Younger friends seemed to find this description useful, but when I saw her reaction, I knew right away I had created a lead balloon moment. I forgot that I worked in an environment where counselors evaluate substance abuse (among other things) on a daily basis and that sometimes even the mention of drinking a beer in one’s past can draw looks (nice work environment, I know). So our conversation died at that point and I felt a bit like a real celebrity who just found out that it was the National Enquirer he just opened up to, not a “fan”. It’s interesting that my swine flu stories have been in less demand these last few days.