When Gumbel was talking about the incredibly ugly stadium last night, he mysteriously mentioned on two occasions how “pretty” it looked against the Dallas skyline. That would have been a nice comment: 1) if it were true 2) if he was a woman talking to other women or 3) if his audience was the Today Show.
Posts Tagged ‘NFL’
With the benefit of some 12 hours of hindsight, I’m more optimistic about the game last night and what it means for the Packers going forward. As we’ve pointed out, there are many reasons for concern — chiefly the play of the offensive and defensive lines, the secondary, and the kick coverage units.
But consider: We played on the road, against a team that has lost only once this year (to the Patriots). We played without our top defensive back and starting punt returner, without the NFL’s 6th leading sack producer, without an up-and-coming safety prospect who has an interception in each of his two starts, and two starting-caliber defensive tackles. Oh, and our Hall of Fame quarterback was knocked out early in the 2nd quarter. And it was our fourth game in 18 days.
Despite all of that, and officiating that will be embarassing when the NFL reviews the game tape, the Packers — did I mention that they are the youngest team in the league? — were in a position to win the game with 5 minutes to go.
We were outplayed and outcoached, the latter being a rarity this year.
But if we have an opportunity to return to Dallas on January 20, I like our chances.
Let’s give Tony Romo credit. No, not for posting 300 yards and 4 touchdowns on a battered and confused Packer secondary. But for being hilarious.
After the game he was asked by a reporter what he and Favre did in their on-field meeting before the game. “Exchanging recipes and stuff,” said Romo. “Normal guy stuff.”
There are several nominees. The questionable pass interference on Tramon Williams, good for 40 yards on the Cowboys decisive drive. The botched call on Al Harris’ strip of Terrell Owens on the Cowboys first drive. Mason Crosby’s 52-yard field goal late in the game on 4th and 1, a decision that meant the Packers would rely on their defense to stop the Cowboys before getting another shot with the ball.
But for me, the clear play of the game was the Packers’ failure to stop the Cowboys on 3rd and 19 deep in Cowboys territory. At the time, the score was 27-24, and if the Packers had been able to hold them on that play, we would have gotten the ball back with good field position and a chance to have our second-string quarterback lead the team on its third touchdown drive. That would have not only changed the score, but would have likely been very demoralizing to a Cowboy team that looked out of sorts at the beginning of the second half.
But the Packers looked to be playing some kind of zone, and when three Packers followed Terrell Owens over the middle, Patrick Crayton was wide open — and I mean W I D E open — on the left sideline.
There wasn’t much written today about the Packers defensive scheme, but I hope we get some more analysis of it in the second-day stories. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sure seemed like we went away from our man-to-man press coverage (perhaps to compensate for the loss of Woodson). It would be great to know more.
I don’t like the Cowboys. Somehow, I find myself fighting not to dislike Wisconsin’s own Tony Romo even. He just seems cocky or something – I take it back, I kind of do like him, but I just hate Dallas. I don’t like Wade Phillips and his fat face. I don’t like Dallas fans, never have – what with their giant class rings and their hair parted to the side like a Ken doll. Losing to them doesn’t sit well with me and had we not staged that impressive comeback, I would have felt horrible because we might have been blown out. (About that comeback by the way, if you looked at the Cowboys sideline when they were up 27-10, they all assumed the game was over and were being quite cocky. Serves them right.)
Rodgers did do well with his opportunity. His scrambling abilities do offer a very new and different threat for our offense (considering Favre almost never runs past the line of scrimmage). I was concerned though when Rodgers got hit hard a few times – would the Rooster have come in to QB? Or Favre come back and thrown left-handed? I also think McCarthy did make some needed adjustments (though arguably too late on a few like benching Jarrett Bush). And, I’m not sure that all those deep passes in the first quarter were 100% McCarthy’s doing – I have a feeling Favre may have wanted to throw a couple of those. Favre looked bad last night, quite bad. He’s entitled to a game like that now and again – but I hope he doesn’t have another one like that until next year.
Steve and I talked last night about one thing we might have done differently while it was happening early in the second half. Though Rodgers was on a hot streak passing, it might have been a good idea to mix more run in with the pass (the Dallas run D was not impressive) during that time to help our defense have more time to rest.
But to me, one of the biggest problems I had last night was with the broadcast. The NFL Network absolutely sucks. They made the game feel weird and like brother Steve said, I wonder how in the world they settled on having Bryant Gumbel be the play-by-play guy. He may be the worst annoucer ever…seriously. Every time he opened his mouth, it sounded like he wanted to tell some heart-warming story about an athlete who had overcome adversity – like he was just doing a piece for the 90% female-viewed Today Show – or the Olympics. He also sounded so meek. Collinsworth was fine (mostly because he clearly wanted the Packers until an exec told him he also needed to talk about Dallas). To me, if you’re a network trying to assert itself as the future for NFL broadcasts, then you have to deliver a quality product and holy crap, did that not happen.
Anyway, no party today, no party.
Lots of discussion at the Journal-Sentinel’s Packer blog about a report from ESPN yesterday morning that has been hyped by the guys at profootballtalk.com.
Here is the PFT post from just before noon.
LEAGUE LOOKING AT WHETHER PACKERS ARE VIOLATING BOUNTY RULES
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells us that the league is looking into the question of whether members of the Green Bay Packers have violated the league’s rules against bounties.
On Sunday, Bob Holtzmann of ESPN reported during Sunday NFL Countdown that a couple of Packers defensive backs had promised to pay each of the team’s defensive linemen $500 if there were able to hold Vikings running back Adrian Peterson under 100 yards rushing in Week Ten.
For Week Eleven, another $500 per lineman was promised if the Packers held the Panthers to under 60 yards rushing.
We asked Aiello whether these extra payments counted against the salary cap, given that they were coming from teammates and not from the team. Aiello said that it’s not a cap issue, but he explained that the league is looking at whether such promises are impermissible bounties.
The classic bounty is an offer of money or other benefits in exchange for injuring a player. But to the extent that limiting a player’s production can be satisfied in part by, for example, tearing the player’s LCL, it’s probably not a good idea for incentives of this nature to be dangled in front of NFL players.
It’s a post that is sadly typical of the stuff at Profootballtalk.com: Great newsy nuggets layered with irresponsible speculation. I’m talking specifically about this line. “But to the extent that limiting a player’s production can be satisfied in part by, for example, tearing the player’s LCL, it’s probably not a good idea for incentives of this nature to be dangled in front of NFL players.”
The implication is obvious: Al Harris may have taken out Adrian Peterson at the knees to keep Peterson under 100 yards. Of course, as Greg Bedard smartly points out, doing so would have meant that Harris PAID the bounties, not collected them. Ah, details, details. It’ll be interesting to see if the guys at profootballtalk.com have the cojones to report on their own website that their reasoning on the Peterson injury was exactly backwards. Stay tuned, as someone might say.
If the league prohibits player-to-player bonuses, as it seems to, and Packer players did this, it was wrong. The league is looking into the allegations and should punish the offenders. That said, it seems like an incredibly minor offense. When you’re talking about a payout of $500, thatt hardly seems consequential. It’s a rounding error for one of Al Harris’s accountants and certainly not the kind of money that would cause a professional football player to attempt to injure an opponent. To make such a suggestion is ridiculous.
I was certainly not as impressed with the Packers yesterday as Gred Bedard (as reflected in his Packer Insider chat) or Mike McCarthy (as reflected in his postgame press conference). The offense played reasonably well and the special teams was uneven — spectacular on Tramon Williams return and Koren Robinson’s 67 yard return, but lacking on Mason Crosby’s two missed field goals.
But the defense turned in a subpar performance, especially given the level of talent the Panthers put on the field. The Packers allowed the Panthers to score more points than at any time during their current four-game skid; 17 this week, twice they were held to 7. At times, DeShaun Foster looked like DeShaun Foster used to look at UCLA. He averaged a healthy 4.4 yards/per carry and one of the real questions of the game is why John Fox didn’t just keep feeding him the ball, even after they were down. (It’s tempting to point out that Vinny Testaverde averaged 9.5 yards/carry, but that’s a little unfair since almost all of it came on a 16 yard run late in the game. It is, however, completely fair to ask how Vinny Testaverde could have run 16 yards anywhere on the field without a Packer catching him. Shouldn’t Ryan Pickett be able to beat him in a 40 yard dash?) Testaverde threw for 258 yards, though he was picked twice and his passer rating (69.8) was just over half of Favre’s (126.8).
It was an adequate, if somewhat lethargic performance, that was good enough to beat a really bad team. But if we’d been playing Dallas or even Detroit, it’s hard to see how such an output would amount to a win.
Still no word from Pabst regarding sponsorship, so we’ll do our best without any PBR Light.
At his news conference Friday, Mike McCarthy said that Desmond Bishop will likely get more playing time this Sunday because of an injury to Tracy White. Bishop was sixth round pick out of California who led the PAC-10 in tackles his senior year. He was beast in training camp (benched 225 lbs 33 times at the combine). Remember this hit in the Jacksonville preseason game?
Check out this jsonline.com article by Tom Silverstein. For a coach to hold off on negotiating a new contract when an offer to do so has been put forward by management is pure class. Some might argue that he is holding off on negotiating until the Pack runs deep into the playoffs, thereby increasing his value. And if this is his motivation, I’m not bothered by it because it demonstrates to me that he is then very confident about this team this year because there would also be a risk for him that the Pack doesn’t perform up to this year’s new expectations which could hurt his value. But I also think he just wants to focus on this season and not bring in any potential distractions. Every day, I grow more and more comfortable with the way McCarthy goes about things. While I still love Jim Bates, the pain of TT overlooking him lessens with each day. Coach of the year? McCarthy would have my vote.