Posted by Brandon Rifkin on January 14, 2012
Let’s get another one of these. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that I’m not the only one who’s counting down the seconds until kickoff tomorrow. Couple notes as we’re about 24 hours away.
- Scounts Inc. is predicting Packers 28, Giants 27. I know the Packers have been giving up a ton of yards through the air, but would you really give the Giants the advantage in the secondary? I’ll take Woodson and Tramon over just about anyone. And I’m assuming the Giants have the worst offensive line in history if Green Bay has an advantage there, especially considering all the injuries on the Packers’ line.
- The players voted on their playoff captains – not a lot of surprises. Offense: Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver. Defense: Charles Woodson and A.J. Hawk. Special Teams: Mason Crosby and Jarrett Bush. Good to see Bush getting recognition from his teammates. He’s received a lot of ire from fans over the years, but he’s consistently been one of the top special teamers on the Packers – and possibly in the league. WE’VE GOT BUSH.
- So, this exists:
- Who’s gonna make some plays at ROLB? It’s been the definition of a revolving door all season. Zomboland, Walden, Jones… it’s impossible to say who’s stood out. Dom Capers agrees:
“What we’re doing is we’re going with the hot hand,” Capers said. “I think each one of those guys has done some good things over the course of the season. I don’t know if any one guy has distinguished himself that he is ‘the guy.’ So when you have that situation in the playoffs, you’re going to go with the guy that’s making plays. So I can see any one of those three guys out there playing.”
- OK, I’ll make a prediction myself: Packers 31, Giants 21. That’s not too crazy, right? The Giants boast a great 4 man rush, and that is kinda scary, but I just don’t think you can slow down Aaron Rodgers enough to stop him. I’m envisioning multiple Eli picks and a celebratory night in Green Bay.
- Lastly, there’s a new State Farm ad – featuring Clay Matthews. Enjoy.
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on January 11, 2012
RYAN PICKETT TACKLES EVERYONE.
- If you don’t love Ryan Pickett, this will change your mind. Another excellent human interest piece (I think?) from the Journal Sentinel (no, seriously, this time I have more on them coming). Not only does he have 5 kids under the age of 7, but he’s helping to home-school all of them. And his wife is expecting another child in the fall. He’s the ultimate family man, while having one of his best professional seasons at the age of 32. Truly respectable and admirable stuff. Also, this made me smile:
“On my off-days, I have to teach,” Pickett said.
So Pickett shows the little ones how to hold a pencil and the middle ones how to spell and his oldest where to put the decimal point.
“Right now my oldest is in second grade, but she’s doing third-grade math – and I’m like, this is what third-graders do in math?” Pickett said. “Oh my goodness, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to help her.”
- The Journal Sentinel is launching a digital subscription plan – limiting your ability to read their Packers’ coverage for free. This is certainly something that a lot of newspapers either have considered or will have to consider as circulation numbers dwindle in the digital age. I’m rather torn about it – on one hand, I applaud them for being proactive and trying to increase revenue before things get so bad that they have to resort to layoffs. On the other hand, making people pay to read their Packers blog seems crazy. It is, after all, a blog. A very good one, perhaps an invaluable one for a Packers fan, but still a blog. As far as I can tell, it will run you about $120 a year for full access to all of their content. Otherwise, you’ll be limited to 20 ‘articles’ a month. I’m very curious to see how this plays out for them.
- This week in ‘Awesome News That Everyone Will Be Happy To Hear’, Greg Jennings fully tested his knee out – and it’s all good. Cutting, sprinting – you name it, he did it. All signs point towards him being damn near 100% for Sunday’s big showdown with the New York Football Giants. Oh god, is that a Bermanism? If it is, I am truly, truly sorry.
- In case you needed more parallels to the last time these teams met in the playoffs, it looks like the temperature will be dropping significantly by Sunday. It’s clear and in the 40′s right now in Green Bay, but come Sunday the temp should drop to the teens. And there will be a good amount of snow falling between now and then. This is good though, right? Isn’t this why we wanted home field advantage? Wanna beat the Packers? You gotta come to cold, snowy Lambeau and do it. I like the sound of that.
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on January 10, 2012
According to Matthews, the Packers will be dedicating the Giants game to the Philbins. Classy move.
- Terrible, terrible news for OC Joe Philbin and all of Packers Nation. His 21 year old son Michael was found dead in the Fox River this past Monday. I know we all love the Packers, and some think of them as a way of life. But please try to remember that at the end of the day, football is just a game. There are many, many more important things out there – family being the biggest. I’m far from a father, but I have to imagine losing your child is one of the most difficult things any human has to experience. I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of Packers fans everywhere when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the Philbins. RIP, Michael.
- I have no idea how to transition from such devastating news, but the beat will go on, and the Giants are coming to town on Sunday.
- Opening line for Packers/Giants: -9. But that is already moving down, as people are dumping money on the Giants. In case you somehow don’t know this by now, Vegas lines are set to get an equal amount of money on both sides. It is NOT just a prediction of the actual point difference will be of any given game. So when you see the line go from GB -9 to GB -8, you can safely deduce that people are all over the Giants. This might get as far down as -7, -6.5. Stay tuned.
- I understand the ’07 Giants/Packers and ’12 Giants/Packers parallels. I really do. But let’s not go overboard. NONE of these guys played int he previous installment:
- Aaron Rodgers (he’s kinda good)
- Jordy Nelson
- Jermichael Finley
- Clay Matthews
- B.J. Raji
- Victor Cruz
- Hakeem Nicks
- Jason Pierre-Paul
- I guess my point is that it’s a fun thing to mention if you’re a writer looking for subject matter, but if you’re planning on doing some kind of actual analysis, you need to try a little harder.
- Former Packers employee Reggie McKenzie has taken over as GM of the Oakland Raiders. His first order of business? Firing Hue Jackson as head coach. I don’t blame him – Hue was all about the Carson Palmer trade that threw away valuable draft picks for a team that still didn’t make the playoffs. And there’s nothing wrong with a GM wanting to bring in his own people that are in line with his philosophy. How do you think the Packers have gotten to where they are now?
- Keep in mind, there’s a good chance that he hires someone from the Packers to take over as coach of the Raiders. Top target? Assistant Head Coach and ILB Coach Winston Moss. As a Badger fan, I can tell you that watching your coaches get swindled off to other programs/organizations is not fun – but it’s also a sign of respect and indication that you’ve been hiring the right people.
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on January 7, 2012
IDK. Why not?
Bye week for the Pack, so we’re going to focus on a few more trivial subjects today.
- If you had to pick the play of the year for the Packers, what would you choose? That’s the question the JSOnline (more about them shortly) asked its readers. And it’s a pretty damn good question. As far as I can tell, these are the contenders:
- Randall Cobb’s 108 yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Saints. Special teams just got a whole lot more exciting, and it confirmed something we all were thinking: this Cobb kid might be a steal.
- Packers D stuffs the Saints on the 1 yard line to seal the win. That game set the tone for the entire season – defense bending, but not breaking. Winning a shootout. Great night.
- The game-winning drive against the Giants. Rodgers was in total control, Finley and Jordy made huge plays, and Crosby buried the winner on the road in a hostile environment. You do not want to leave any time for Rodgers to play with.
- Matthews picks off Eli and takes it to the house. I just love watching Matthews make plays. He does so much more than rush the passer, and this was just one great example.
- GregJen’s 29 yard touchdown against Atlanta. A little drag route where Jennings somehow beat the defender to the corner, turned up field at full speed and laid out full extension for the pylon. A thing of beauty, and one of those examples of how tight of routes he runs. Not always the easiest thing for the casual fan to notice, but this was beautiful.
- Jordy’s 84 yard touchdown against Carolina. Not only did Jordy flash his speed and field awareness, but the play was capped off with Jennings hustling all the way down the field to blow up the closest Panther, allowing Nelson to coast into the end zone.
- Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson were named to the NFL All-Pro Team. Which really is a bigger honor than being named a Pro Bowler. The Pro Bowl is without question the dumbest all-star game in sports. So many players withdraw because of injury or they’re still playing in the playoffs, not to mention football is a game that thrives on physicality. No one is trying to get hurt in Hawaii. Just get rid of the damn game already.
- In case you haven’t seen, there’s a new Aaron Rodgers State Farm commercial. The Freezer makes a nice appearance:
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Definitely a step up from the first State Farm commercial, But you can do better, Rodgers. Let’s go.
Enjoy the opening weekend of the playoffs, everyone. Just a week away from the Packers beginning their quest to repeat. Best time of the year. Go Pack Go!
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on January 4, 2012
A lot of things going on with the conclusion of the regular season and the playoffs looming. Let’s get to it.
- The Packers will play Sunday, January 15th at 3:30 pm on FOX. Unless the Lions pull off an upset in New Orleans, the winner of the Atlanta/New York game will travel to Lambeau. For the record, this means that the Packers won’t play for another 45 years. Or at least it just feels like that. Price of being the best, I guess.
- Big changes in Chicago. GM Jerry Angelo was fired and offensive coordinator Mike Martz resigned. Although, it’s worth pointing out that Martz resigned when his contract was due to expire. If that isn’t a George Costanza move, I don’t know what is. Regardless, it’s clear that the Bears are tired of messing around and desperate to get back in the contender tier of the division (along with Green Bay and Detroit). Too early to really know what’s gonna happen as a result of these moves, but a quick scan on Twitter shows a lot of excited and hopeful Bears fans.
- A GM change in Minnesota as well. Rick Spielman was promoted from vice president of player personnel to general manager. Immediate results: Leslie Frazier will remain head coach, and the Christian Ponder decision will be his to make. I still think that if I’m Minnesota, I’m drafting a QB or considering signing Matt Flynn. I’ve seen enough of Ponder (and Joe Webb for that matter) to know that no matter how he pans out, he still won’t be better than the Rodgers/Stafford/Cutler triumvirate.
- Matt Flynn was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. In other news, no shit.
- Injury updates – and they’re mostly good:
- Greg Jennings was back at practice for the first time since injuring his knee against Oakland. All signs are pointing to him being full-go for the playoffs. Wonderful.
- Bryan Bulaga was back in his normal spot, practicing in full.
- Chad Clifton was also participating, indicating he’s good to go after getting some reps against Detroit. The offensive line should be in as good of shape for the playoffs as it’s been in a long, long time. Somewhere, Aaron Rodgers is smiling.
- Randall Cobb was out there returning punts. Maybe it’s just me, but I really do think he’ll make a difference at a key moment in the playoffs. This kid is special.
- Ryan Taylor returned from an ankle injury, and did some work with special teams.
- If you believe in cover jinxes, then it’s time to start doing all of your reverse juju jinxing. Because this is about to drop:
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on January 1, 2012
MATT FLYNN MATT FLYNN MATT FLYNN. I just love saying his name right now.
- THE MOTHERFUCKIN’ MATT FLYNN SHOW. 480 yards and 6 touchdowns. Both Packers records. Are you kidding me? Most Packers fans knew that Flynn was talented after watching him nearly beat the Patriots last year. But it’s safe to say that no one saw this historic performance coming. Simply incredible.
- Matt Flynn’s trade value. If you’re Ted Thompson, you have to franchise and trade Flynn, right? No way the guy wants to sit around being a backup his whole career, and he’s about to hit free agency. I guess I don’t get why teams would rather risk their future on a kid that hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL when they can just give up 1 or 2 draft picks for a guy that’s been groomed to succeed. Between the coaching from Tom Clements and relationship with Rodgers, Flynn is primed for a great career.
- Jordy Nelson is a monster. White Lightning got a whopping 15 (!!) targets, turning those into 9 catches for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns. That’s 277 yards and 5 touchdowns in the last two games. But yeah, he probably needs Greg Jennings out there drawing attention to be good. Idiots.
- Ryan Grant didn’t looks slow and broken down. I mean, he did almost get caught on his 80 yards touchdown reception, but credit where credit is due. Maybe it’s just me, but I think a well-executed screen is one of the prettiest things in football. I thoroughly enjoy watching offensive linemen run down field killing cornerbacks.
- The Packers still suck at running the ball. 81 yards and less than 4 yards per carry… no bueno. Fortunately, the Packers have the two best quarterbacks in the league on their roster.
- Mason Crosby missed another field goal. But I still have total confidence in him. I’m sure Mike McCarthy does as well.
- Anyone associated with the Green Bay passing defense. Matthew Stafford just beasted Green Bay for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns. Obviously having the studs on the bench hurt the Packers, but you’d still like to see a better performance.
- Lack of Zomboland. FREE ZOMBO.
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on December 27, 2011
I just realized that I didn’t mention Aaron Rodgers at ALL in this post. My mistake.
- The Packers announced that they’ve sold nearly all of the 250,000 shares they put up for sale. In case you procrastinated, they’ll be selling an additional 30,000 shares at the same $250/share price. The shares will be available until February 29th, unless they sell out first. I’m sure you know by now, but the Packers will be using the money raised from the sale to help finance the 6,700 new seats being added to Lambeau, in addition to new video boards. As a Packers fan who has a hard time getting tickets and loves big, shiny, new screen, I like this.
- What would you do if you were Mike McCarthy? Because that seems to be the biggest question as we head towards a rematch with the Lions. The Packers have literally nothing to play for: The #1 seed is wrapped up, the undefeated season is dead, etc. I’m pretty sure the Lions are in a similar position, in that they can’t improve or worsen their playoff standing as the result of Sunday’s game. Head Coach and Asshole-Looking Dude Jim Schwartz has said they’ll play to win, but that’s a pile of BS that means nothing. Given Stafford’s injury history, anything more than a quarter or two from him would be surprising. And I’m gonna go with that as well for Rodgers and the other key starters. I think they come out, play a quarter, mayyyyyybe get to halftime before finding a seat on the bench. There’s just no reason to risk injury.
- How do you gamble on this weekend in the NFL? I need a big week in my confidence pool to make a run at the season championship, but I have no idea how to pick these games. It’s almost like gambling on preseason football, which is insane. I hate this.
- Good recap of the various injured Packers from the JSOnline:
- WR Greg Jennings (knee): McCarthy said there’s a chance he’ll start doing some real football work this week. “I’d like to get him on the practice field would be the first step. We’ll see how he does.”
- DE Ryan Pickett (concussion): He’s in the final stages of recovery and should be ready at mid-week.
- RT Bryan Bulaga (knee): He didn’t practice last week, but there’s a chance he will return to his starting spot this week.
- LT Chad Clifton (hamstring / back): Clifton will practice all this week, including Thursday in pads barring any setbacks. If he gets through the week OK, he’ll play against Detroit Sunday.
My take: Jennings should be just fine for the playoffs, no reason to rush him back. Pickett is clearly missed on that disappointing D-line, so getting him back in time for the playoffs would be GREAT. Bulaga and Clifton can very quickly turn the Packers’ greatest weakness into a relatively minor concern.
Compare where the Packers are right now health-wise with where they were a year ago, and you have to feel really good. Especially given that a lot of these guys should be back in time for One and Done City. Avoid injury on Sunday, and let’s sit back and enjoy another playoff run.
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on December 26, 2011
I think this girl won the weekend.
Always nice to sweep the Bears. I’m sure their fans are handling it well.
- Aaron Rodgers just being Aaron Rodgers. 21/29, 283 yards, 5 touchdowns, 142.7 rating. Yawn.
- Jordy Nelson dominating with Jennings on the sideline. For some reason, people have been questioning whether or not Jordy could still be a solid receiver without Jennings in there to draw the defense’s attention. I’d say 6 catches for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns is a good start in debunking that theory. Quick slants for 6, 55 yard completions… the man was all over the place last night giving the Bears fits.
- Charlie Peprah was a busy man. 11 tackles and a pick – nice night for the safety.
- Zero penalties and zero turnovers. You’ll win a lot of ballgames when you throw up zeroes in those categories. McCarthy has to be pleased.
- Erik Walden trying to recover a fumble. Anytime you hit the ground against a quarterback and the quarterback ends up with the ball, you know you really messed up. Kahlil Bell put the ball on the ground twice, but the Bears were able to get it back each time. In a playoff game, not capitalizing on those mistakes can mean the difference between a trip to Indy and a long offseason back in Green Bay.
- Green Bay’s rushing game. Only 21 carries, less than 4 yards per carry. Even with Aaron Rodgers in the backfield, you’d still like to see a more effective ground attack. Ryan Grant has been showing signs of life, but with a measly 8 carries, he’s simply not getting enough reps to contribute.
- The rushing defense – if you wanna call it that. The defensive line had no push, and Kahlil Freaking Bell went off for 121 yards (and 38 receiving yards as well). Maybe the Saints won’t gash the Pack on the ground, but you damn well know the 49ers and Frank Gore will try to. Inexcusably bad performance.
- The pass rush. This has been a common theme all season, but without ANY pass rush, the Packers defense is severely limited. Things worked out OK against Josh McCown, but it might be a different story when Drew Brees comes to Lambeau.
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on December 21, 2011
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The title of this post is an OBVIOUS allusion to one of my favorite movies. So obvious that I had to add the video here just to make sure you didn’t think I was some french-speakin’ weirdo. DON’T WANT NONE OF THOSE AROUND HERE.
- Aaron Rodgers is your AP Male Athlete of the Year. No shocker here. Last year’s Super Bowl MVP and the main ingredient in the Packers’ long winning steak (R.I.P.), Rodgers has been playing at a level rarely seen before. The man is a machine, has dreamy eyes, and is never afraid to give his HONEST opinion. Too many athletes waste time dancing around difficult questions and giving roundabout answers. Not Rodgers. If he has a problem with someone, he’s not gonna back down. Mad respect. One of my favorite athletes ever. And his career hasn’t even peaked yet. ON DECK: NFL MVP. IN THE HOLE: SUPER BOWL MVP.
- The Packers are TRULY America’s Team, and science proves it. Survey results, courtesy of JSOnline:
The survey, conducted between Dec. 16 and 18, found that 22% said the Packers were their favorite team in the National Football League.
A total of 11% said the Dallas Cowboys were their favorite team, followed by 8% for the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yeahhhhh, how’s it taste, Cowboys fans? Eat it, Jerry Jones. Money can buy all the ginormous stadiums and ungodly HD screens in the world, but it can’t buy respect, loyalty, and the best freaking fan base in the world.
- Injury updates, because this team is a little beaten up right now. With the offensive line in shambles, it’s a GREAT sign to see Chad Clifton back doing individual drills at practice. He probably won’t play this week, but we really just need him healthy for the playoffs. Because of a serious hamstring issue and a back injury, Clifton hasn’t played since week 5. Desmond Bishop, James Starks and Brandon Saine all returned to practice. Pickett, Bulaga and Jennings are still out. Nothing too surprising there. If sitting out will get any of them back for the playoffs, then there’s absolutely no reason to play ‘em. The Packers should be able to beat the Bears with their practice squad as long as…
- Josh McCown is starting at quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Do teams laugh about the Packers if they have to start Matt Flynn? I say based on the Patriots game last year, no, they don’t. But you know the Ballhawks in the Back (Handshake Henchmen?) are ITCHING to get out there and make some plays after the semi-debacle in K.C. Bring it on, Bears.
- In case you haven’t heard, the Bears still suck. Proof.
Posted by Brandon Rifkin on December 19, 2011
I’d say that sums it up pretty well.
- Well, that sucked.
- The offensive line is in shambles, and it’s officially time to be concerned. Most of the year has been spent criticizing the defense for all the yards they’ve been giving up. But as the injuries starting mounting, it’s clear that this team’s true weakness is up front on the o-line. Once the air cast came out for Derek Sherrod’s leg, it was clear that his day (and most likely his season) were donezo. Couple that with Bryan Bulaga’s knee sprain (pending an MRI today), and the Packers are woefully thin on the line. T.J. Lang was shifted to right tackle, and Evan Dietrich-Smith was slotted in at left guard. The result? Rodgers was under fire all afternoon, especially from pass-rushing monster Tamba Hali. If Green Bay can’t shore up the line and get some guys back, Rodgers will be fighting for his life throughout the playoffs.
- When the Packers D doesn’t force turnovers, they can look exceedingly mediocre. Hell, maybe mediocre is too much of a compliment. Orton exploited the middle of the field and leaned heavily on play-action to find open guys all day. The rush defense was actually pretty good, but not being able to slow down Kyle Orton is embarrassing. There was virtually no pressure on him, and the ballhawks in the back didn’t get many opportunities to make plays. Add those two things up and you can understand why KC was able to be effective.
- This offense will still be very good without GregJen, but they definitely miss him. I’ve seen a few people claiming that this is proof that Jordy is more of a system guy, and not an impact player himself. I’m not buying that. I’m pretty convinced he’ll bounce back and show that he can be a very dependable receiver. But there’s no denying that Jennings drew a lot of attention. Maybe not at Jermichael’s level, but defense HAD to prepare for #85. That probably made things easier for the rest of the receivers, but it’s not like they weren’t making plays on their own. Finley/Jordy/Driver/Cobb/Jones will still get the job done. This offense will score points. The dud in K.C. was an aberration – not the start of a trend.
- Uh oh, the trolls are out. Not gonna lie, I kinda of enjoy this because we haven’t seen the trolls in a while. A year, actually. But one little loss in a mostly meaningless game is enough to inspire this fantastic commentary:
That’s pretty much the standard overreaction to one game. Trolling 101.
A bit more advanced trolling involves completely making things up. Although, maybe bozemanjoe123 is just more capable of picking up on the subtle nuances of desire. Not ready to write that one off yet.
Et tu, Skip?