Go For Two: What troubles the Green Bay Packers offense?

eddie lacy arrives for denver gameI have not been diligent on my blog posts this year, so when I say that I have been saying this all year, you’ll have to take me at my word.

The Packers offense was in trouble as soon as Jordy Nelson went down.

Commentators and analysts kept singing the praises of Davante Adams. I kept saying, he’s just not that good.

Guess what? He’s not.

People gave him a pass, because he was hurt. Eh, I think that was really shortsighted.

Here’s the problem overall.

Jordy Nelson provides the deep threat. That’s gone. Now that means more attention can be paid on the run game, Cobb, and the third receiver.

The run game, Eddie Lacy in particular, has been miserable. Fantasy players have not only benched him, but flat out dropped him. This makes sense. Eddie is the 33rd running back overall. Russell Wilson (303 yrds) is ahead of him. Other notable players ahead of him in total rushing are:

Deangelo Williams (310 yrds), and he has really only had the opportunity to play before Leveon Bell came back from suspension.

LaGarrette Blount (318 yrds) and he splits carries with Dion Lewis.

Eddie Lacy has a grand total, over 7 games, of 298 yards.

There you go.

As for Randall Cobb, I’m not sure what’s going on there. At first, it was probably his shoulder, but that doesn’t account for the whole story. Statistically, he is not even in the top 40 of wide receivers.

Then that leaves Davante Adams. How can he be so bad that he doesn’t somehow free up James Jones (30th best overall receiver) and Randall Cobb? How is it that Richard Rodgers is so bad that he can’t get open for Aaron Rodgers?

I mean, that’s more telling. You have the greatest quarterback in the game right now, and his guys can’t catch balls or get open? Peyton Manning will go down as the greatest to ever play the game. Tom Brady will be right up there with him. However, out of those two, Aaron Rodgers currently excels at the position skill wise. Throwing ability, accuracy, and scrambling, Aaron outcompetes both Peyton and Brady.

So what does Peyton and Tom Brady have that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t? Receivers. I’m not convinced Gary Kubiak is the best play caller.

How do we fix this? I’m not sure. Perhaps we need to get Mike McCarthy calling plays again. Maybe we need to give Edgar Bennet more responsibility back for the wide receivers and the running backs. He was the wide receiver coach for 4 years and for 6 years he was the running backs coach. This is Alex Van Pelt‘s fist year as the quarterback + wide receiver coach. Prior to that he was the running back coach.

Actually, I think this is the problem.

You have given this guy way too much responsibility and he just can’t handle it. If he was just the running back coach, maybe he did well. However, perhaps wide receivers is not his thing, especially when he is given the responsibility to shape Ty Montgomery and Davante Adams. We need you back Edgar!

We all have to admit, that the offense looks sluggish, even without the added pressure of such a great defense as the Denver Broncos. Our offense needs to get rolling again.

My only other concern was that it didn’t seem to get addressed. Pack, let’s make some adjustments! This very thing, the inability to make adjustments in the Seattle game last year in the NFC Championship game is what cost us. Things were going south and we didn’t seem to take any action.

I also want to comment on something that Vic Ketchman wrote on the Packers page. He wrote “Expressing doubt accomplishes nothing.”

I beg to differ.

Group think occurs when no one speaks up.

Question authority is necessary to make sure that silly mistakes don’t occur due to pride.

I think that in the game of football, when one loss can cost you home field advantage, situations and personnel need to constantly be evaluated. No one is saying that after one loss we need to fire anyone. All I am saying is that as much as we love our Packers, there is definitely something sluggish about the offense. It wasn’t just one game. We can’t hide behind Aaron Rodgers as the greatest quarterback and stick our heads in the sand about the rest of the team. We did that with the defense for too long. We kept telling ourselves it didn’t matter that our defense was terrible, because our offense was so good. However, that mindset did not win us a Super Bowl. A Super Bowl is for sure in our reach. Let’s make sure we get there this year because we strive for excellence, not just our own bravado.

All I can hope was that he meant expressing doubt accomplishes nothing, you have to do something about mistakes and weaknesses.

Side note. I love Eddie Lacy despite his poor performance. No real reason to say this. I just love the guy. Let me just reiterate how much I love this team, in case it seems like I’m being too critical. I love our quarterback. I love the team mentality. We don’t have a bunch of kids without heart, or getting into trouble. We don’t have Greg Hardy types, or Dez Bryant types –always saying something stupid, and we don’t have dumbass owners like Jerry Jones. I also did not mean to name everyone from the Cowboys, but there it is. Our team has class and I appreciate them.

Until next time … Go Pack Go!

Go For Two: Green Bay Defense Impresses

Green Bay’s defense impresses.

I know what you’re thinking … what? Are you serious?

confused gif

 

I’m very serious, not even I have a complaint.

There is no but. There is no backhanded compliment here.

 

post-61049-mira-sorvino-wow-gif-imgur-tum-UPdW

 

This is the real deal in admiration for my defense.

What a performance Green Bay’s defense has put on the last two weeks. It is exactly what Packer’s fans have wanted for years now. Our once shameful defense, our weak link, is now a positive.

In week 5, our defense not only looked good, but was the more dominant of the two sides of play. 4 interceptions, 3 sacks, and a blocked field goal. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown.

Think about that. The score was 24-10. How close was that game without that defensive touchdown? Amazing.

Per ESPN, Green Bay has the 10th overall defense this year so far. That’s very, very incredible.

Zach G approve

Congratulations Green Bay. Well done, truly. Well done.

Until next time … Go Pack Go!

Go For Two: NFC North Quarter Season Recap

nfc_north_packers_number_1_by_gatorvenomWe are now a quarter of the way through the season. So how is the NFC North holding up? Are we meeting expectations? Or are we a disappointment?

Detroit Lions:

Record 0-4

Loss: Chargers, Vikings, Broncos, Seahawks

This is such a hard post to write. The Lions have seemingly fallen back into old habits. They seem to have that cloud back that no matter what they do, they just seem to lose the football game.

I watched the game against the Hawks last night. What really stood out to me was the mentality. Going into the 4th quarter the score was 13 to 7. You would have thought by the way the Lions walked off the field, hung their heads, the score was 56-0. Yet, they were only down by one touchdown. I kept yelling at the screen for them to stay in the game! This is why they play football! You just don’t know what is going to happen!

Needless to say, it did. There was a RW fumble for Lions recovery – although the Lions didn’t capitalize on it, it speaks volumes to how fast a game can change and to not give up. Then late in the fourth quarter, the Lions did what the Lions do best, suddenly start playing football. This seems to be a theme for them. They get down, then have flashes of, maybe not brilliance, but some good football. With 6:23 left to play, Stafford marches the Lions down the field. All the Lions fans want is the ball to be in the hands of their best play makers, namely, Johnson or Tate. They finally do just that! Lions fans rejoice – no stupid decisions! No under thrown passes! Yet … they find a way. Calvin Johnson has the ball punched out at the one yard, maybe half-yard line. Collective, utter, stunned silence from Lions fans around the world. They johnson fumblemanaged to screw up once again.

The thing is, the Lions have a lot to be proud of. They went into the Seahawks stadium and nearly beat them. They finished the game at 13-10.

Clearly, the Lions need to stop beating themselves. They also need to make their tackles – especially against a mobile quarterback. They had to have known RW would be running all day with ML out. Unacceptable.

Lions, yes, you are 0-4, but your season is not over yet. I really do think, with the right attitude, you guys could do well.

Just don’t give up, like you did in this game. Good teams know you play the whole 60 minutes (cough-cough, GB 2015 NFC Championship game) – you guys need to learn this, and fast.

As for the missed call, here are my thoughts on it. There are tons of times that calls are made no where near the ball, but they still count. Rules are rules. As soon as refs start deciding that they don’t want a whole game decided on a rule, as was the case here, then why even bother having rules? Yes, Seattle was the only one near the ball, it probably would have gone out on its own. However, rules are to be enforced by the refs, not to be turned into judgement calls.

Here’s an example, remember when the Lions coach Jim Swartz in 2012 threw a challenge flag? The rules had just changed – all scoring drives are automatically reviewed. However, the new rule was that you could not throw a challenge flag because of the review. If you did, you got an unsportsmanlike penalty.

It cost the Lions a touchdown.

Here is the link to the play. It will make you sick.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000099114/Justin-Forsett-81-yard-touchdown-run

Again, that’s a rule. It is enforced. It changed the outcome of the game despite the fact it was a ridiculous addition to the rule. It’s why later, when Mike McCarthy did it, good old boy Jordy Nelson tried to sneakily walk over and pick it up so the Pack wouldn’t get called. You can see Mike and Jordy share a grin – like two school boys trying to get away with something behind their teacher’s back. I can’t remember if we got away with it or not. I just kind of liked Jordy more at that moment.

Anywho, all this, whether articulate or not, is to say whether you believe inthe rule or not (I guess I’m getting at there are some dumb ones), a rule is a rule is a rule.

Chicago Bears:

Why are his lips always puckered?

Record 1-3

Win: Raiders

Loss: Packers, Cardinals, Seahawks

John Fox’s team is exactly where everyone thought they would be. Well, I did think they would be lower in the standings than the Lions, but that’s more of an issue with the Lions and not Chicago.

Jay Cutler has displayed in the first 4 games that he is still Jay Cutler.

Ugh.

Brandon Marshall is gone, doing actually quite well with the Jets. Good for him. On an aside, I loved the article that was out earlier in the week about how he likes to go antique shopping. It couldn’t have been more charming.

However, back to Chicago, so what does losing Brandon to the Jets mean for the Bears? Well, a lot. Especially since Alshon Jeffery has not played since week one due to a hamstring injury. The receiving core is decimated. With Cutler as the quarterback, poor Forte has a huge workload.

The Bears realizing the dire position they are in started a fire sale on September 28th. They traded Jared Allen to the Panthers and Jon Bostick to the Patriots. In return, the Bears got a conditional 6th round and a 6th round draft for the trades.

Now the rumor mill says with Allen gone Willie Young is asking for a trade. Now, it seems like players are just trying to get off of a sinking ship.

The schedule this year does not get any easier, so the Bears might want to just chalk this year up to one large training camp for next year and try and make improvements where they can.

Minnesota Vikings:

Record 2-2

Win: Lions, Chargers

Loss: Niners, Broncos

I have to admit, I don’t know much about this team. I watched one of their games, and for the life of me, I can’t remember which one right now. I think the Niners. Yes, that was the one. I just remember thinking why didn’t they give the ball more to Adrian Peterson. Well, apparently, they have and that has helped. I do remember thinking the Vikes should have played better. I kind of thought the Vikings would be better this year. They have room to improve, and even though they didn’t start out as fast as I thought they would, I still think they are going to be tough to beat down the stretch.

They need to improve though, as it will be hard to keep up with the Pack, considering they are already two games ahead with the next to games at Lambeau.

Speaking of the Pack …

Green Bay Packers:

Richard RodgersRecord 4-0

Win: Bears, Seahawks, Chiefs, Niners

The Packers could not get off to a better start. Not only are they 4-0, which is always the most important number, but the wins are mentally important.

The Pack has now beat one of their main rivals in regards to Seattle, and even their Achilles heel in the Niners.

Green Bay lost in week one last year to the Hawks, and, more critically, in the NFC Championship game in spectacular fashion. The Pack lost to the Niners on these occasions …

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The defense against the Niners looked much improved. Even I,  who am completely against Dom Capers, had to give credit where credit is due.

Now, that was against the Niners, and they are bad this year, but … still. The Niners always seem to find a way to exploit our weakness — but not this time. I’ll take the “w” on the defensive side of the ball.

Success has come this quarter of the season despite losing our deep threat in Jordy Nelson. This has caused more short, quick passes. Unfortunately, we have the injury big again this year. Cobb is clearly diminished. It’s not that he’s not doing very good, but you can tell he’s not 100%. The same goes for Eddie Lacy.

Our 3rd receiver was supposed to be Davante Adams, but he has been out with an ankle injury, and let’s be honest, even when he was in the game his performance was lacking.

Now, other teams can focus their coverage on James Jones and Cobbs.

On an aside, thank God for JJ. Remember when he was one of the dropsey twins with Jermichael Finley? Well, perhaps being carted around the league and left for dead caused him to be more focused. He is doing, as Mike McCarthy would say, one heckuva job. Thank you JJ.

What we need is for Cobb to heal up, but I don’t know how anyone can do that while the season is taking place. We also need Ty Montgomery and Richard Rodgers to step up. It’s a lot to ask, but you have the best quarterback in the league — if you are going to be successful with anyone, it’s going to be him.

Ty Montgomery has done very well on returns and RR had a touchdown in the last game. These are promising developments for the rest of the season.

Finally, to recap the first quarter of the season, why not a screenshot of the conference standings thus far …

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.04.34 PM

Until next time … Go Pack Go!

NFC North 2015 Preview — NFC North vs NFC West

NFC West logoThis week is my NFC North preview of the NFC West.

This year, the NFC North pulled the AFC West and the NFC West as their divisions to rotate through.

Everyone in the NFC North (Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Vikings) will play everyone in the NFC West (Arizona, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis).

Let’s preview that in alphabetical order.

Arizona (2014 standing 11-5. 2nd in division. Wild Card #1.):

Arizona had absolutely the worst luck any team had last season. They were primed to go to the Super Bowl in their hometown. That was, until they went through two quarterbacks and wound up on their 3rd string. Yes, they went into the playoffs with their 3rd string.

Jeez.

Bruce Arians won the 2014 Coach of the year award and beyond a shadow of a doubt he deserved it. He received 39.5 votes. The runner up, Bill O’Brien, received 3.

Arians is back, as is his Offensive Coordinator Harold Goodwin. However, the Cards lost their Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles (Head Coach of the New York Jets, replacing, in turn, Sexy Rexy) and replaced him with James Bettcher.

Rounding out the roster is QB Carson Palmer. Honestly, how is this dude still around? I feel like he retired decades ago. He’s kind of like those television shows that you really thought were cancelled, but ran for a lot longer than anyone ever realized.

According to Jim = 8 seasons

King of the Hill = 13 seasons

Scrubs = 9 seasons

Rules of Engagement = 6 years

How does Carson Palmer stack up?

Drafter in 2003. Yes, 2003. He was drafted first pick overall.

He is indeed the starting quarterback fro the Arizona Cardinals.

There is nothing left to say after that.

I drop the mic.

Depth chart:

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 8.07.20 PM

 

To note, the Cards got Mr. Irrelevant this year Gerald Christian. If anyone can make Gerarld the man, it’s Brice Arians.

Here is their schedule:

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San Francisco (2014 standings 8-8. 3rd in division.):

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

You idiots.

Jim Harbaugh is out, Jim Tomsula is in.

Jim Harbaugh:

2011 = Lost to NYG in NFC Championship game

2012 = Lost in Super Bowl to the Ravens

2013 = Lost to Seattle in NFC Championship game

2014 = 8-8, missed playoffs

SF fired him. Ridiculous.

Jim Tomsula has never been a head coach.

Other key players lost:

Frank Gore

Michael Crabtree

Chris Culliver

Perish Cox

Mike Lupati

Patrick Willis

Chris Borland

Justin Smith

Aldon Smith

That’s all I have to say about this team. I mean, that says enough.

Here is the schedule:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 11.53.50 AM

The only other thing I will say is the the Niners organization is going to have a really, really hard time filling their seats. They are way, way too expensive, 49ers fans are fair-weather, and the stadium will be stifling hot in the first few games. They really blew their was on this one.

Seattle (2014 standings 12-4. 1st in division. First round bye. Home field throughout.):

Seattle is looking to be positioned right at the head of the NFC class again this year. With their players healthy (I don’t even want to TALK about Jordy Nelson) and not much turnover, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Head coach is still Pete Carroll. I still find him infinitely annoying. I’d take Jim Caldewell’s stoic nature over this Willy Wonka any day.

Darrell Bevel, the offensive coordinator is back, however, the defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn has been replaced by Kris Richard. Richard followed Carroll over from USC and has been the defensive back coach since 2012. Dan Quinn was hired by the Atlanta Falcons to become their head coach, ultimately replacing there Mike Smith. Mike Smith was fired from Atlanta after have two consecutive losing season, 4-12 & 6-10.

As for players, major loses were starting cneter Max Unger and corner back Bryon Maxwell.

Additions were Jimmy Graham, Cary Williams and Will Blackmon.

Roster:

Seattle 2015 Depth Chart

Schedule:

Seattle 2015 Schedule

St. Louis (2014 standings 6-10. Last in division.):

Wow. The Rams. What do you say about this team? Each year I think they are going to do better than what they do.

Jeff Fisher is still the head coach and executive vice president. Perhaps the president thing is a problem. He has been with the Rams since 2012, however, he has not had a winning season since 2008.

Jeff Fisher

I’m totally not sure what’s going on here.

Nick Foles is the quarterback. You might remember the trade with the Eagles – Sam Bradford went to the Eagles with his two ACL tears and Nick Foles came to the Rams. It’s still a head-scratcher.

Here is the roster:

St. Louis Rams Depth Chart

The primary running back, as you can see, and we all had to look up is Tre Mason. He was 20th overall with 765 rushing yards last year. His receiving yards was 16 receptions for 148 yards. Hmm.

The primary receiver is, I guess, Kenny Britt. He had 48 receptions last year for a total of 748 yards.

I can’t continue this. The outlook is poor for this Rams team.

St. Louis Rams, despite how bad the Niners will be this year, I still think you will be satisfying the 4th place in the NFC West division.

Here is the schedule:

St. Louis Rams Schedule

As always, Go Pack Go!

NFC North 2015 Preview — NFC North vs AFC West

This week is my NFC North preview of the AFC West.

This year, the NFC North pulled the AFC West and the NFC West as their divisions to rotate through.

Everyone in the NFC North (Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Vikings) will play everyone in the AFC West (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego).

Let’s preview that in alphabetical order.

Denver (2014 standing 12-4. Won Division.):

There was a lot of coaching turnover for Denver in the off-season. John Fox left for Chicago, so look to see that as a big game this season. John Fox will almost certainly have something to prove.

Instead of John Fox, Denver hired Gary Kubiak as their new head coach.

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This is the guy they get to replace John Fox? Ugh.

It must be due, in part, to the relationship between John Elway and Gary Kubiak. Kubiak was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Denver between 1995 and 2005. The Broncos won the Super Bowl twice in 1997 and 1998 when Elway was the quarterback for Denver.

However, it wasn’t just John Fox that left. Fox took with him to Chicago (and I post their names here because it effects Chicago):

  • Defensive Backs coach Same Garnes
  • Special Teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers
  • Defensive Line coach Jay Rodgers
  • Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase
  • Offensive Line coach Dave Magazu
  • Assistant Special Teams coordinator Derius Swinton II
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach Jason George
  • Offensive Quality Control coach Bo Hardegree

Umm … okay? I list these as well because WOW! Talk about a turnover of staff.

Kubiak hired (the more important ones):

  • Defensive Coordinator Wade Phiilips
  • Tight-Ends coach Brian Pariani
  • Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
  • Defensive Line coach Bill Kolar
  • Linebackers coach Reggie Herring

 

Current Roster:

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 10.54.12 AM

A key position Denver lost in the off-season was Julius Thomas at tight-end. That will be critical to watch what happens there. Thomas went to the Jags to get paid. That’s all he will be doing in Jacksonville — winning will not be on the agenda.

2015 Denver Broncos schedule:

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Kansas City (2014 standing 9-7. 2nd place in division):

The Chiefs are a team that we always think are going to be better than they are. Coach Andy Reid is still there, as is Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Jamaal Charles, and, well … that’s it.

Here is their depth chart:

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.00.33 PM

I really just have nothing to say about this team.

 

Oakland (2014 standing 3-13. Last place in division):

Come on, guys! You can do this! Raider Nation needs you!

I must admit, outside of Charles Woodson, I know nothing of this team.

Well, lookie-loo! The Raiders have a new head coach in Jack Del Rio. Here is JDR’s record as a head coach:

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.01.11 PM

Not super impressive, eh?

From 2012 to 2014 he was the Denver Broncos Defensive coordinator and he served as interim head coach in 2013 when John Fox was out with heart surgery. Let me just say this. Do you hire someone who was fired as the head coach of Jacksonville?

JDR will have as his Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave and Defensive Coordinator is Ken Norton, Jr. Of particular note is that Ken Norton, Jr. was previously the Seattle Seahawks Linebackers coach.

Derek Carr is the quarterback and this will be his second year with the Raiders. Unfortunately, he did not shine as much as other rookie QB’s last year, as in Teddy Bridgewater. He played for Fresno State in college. Let’s hope he does not have a sophomore slump.

As for receivers, it looks like Michael Crabtree left SF to go to Oakland. The Raiders released James Jones (one-year deal with NYG) to pick up Crabtree and apparently draft Amari Cooper. Okay, I guess.

Running back is Trent Richardson (is he ever going to do good?) and Latavius Murray. Um. Sure, why not.

Here is the rest of the depth chart:

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Here is the schedule:

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Good luck Raiders, I hope you do well this year, just not against my Pack.

 

San Diego (2014 standing 9-7. 3rd place in division):

Ugh. I live in San Diego now and I really, really need to learn about my home team. More importantly, I need to find someone on the team I can root for…

Okay. Let’s investigate.

Head coach is Mike McCoy. Who the heck is that? Here is his resume:

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.24.21 PM

Mike McCoy has been the head coach since 2013. The Chargers went 9-7 both years. Okay, fine then.

The quarterback is still the mega-annoying Philip Rivers. I just puked a little in my mouth at the thought of having to follow him. I refuse.

I need a good running back or wide receiver to root for. Let’s see, Keenan Allen is not a bad, well, not a great choice. He had 77 receptions last year for 783 yards. Meh. The tight-end is Antonio Gates and he had 69 receptions for a total of 821 yards. He gets my thumbs up approval as he was born in Detroit and attended Michigan State University which is my alma mater.

Well, hopefully their draft pick works out in regards to running back. Melvin Gordon, per NFL Network, is not impressing.

Here is the rest of the roster:

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As for defense no names pop out to me besides Manti Te’o, but not for football reasons. It will be interesting to see who stands out to me as a newbie Chargers watcher. I won’t say fan yet. Last season, the Chargers had the 9th overall defense, so there is that.

Here is their schedule:

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 7.42.20 PM

As of note, I had to look what the asterisk was for. Apparently, this season, the NFL can start flexing as early as October 18th? That’s a bit premature. Must be Goodell’s idea …

Well, that’s my preview. As always, GO Pack GO!

NFC North 2015 Preview – Green Bay Packers

This week is my NFC North preview of the Green Bay Packers.

Last year we finished first in the NFC North, one game ahead of Detroit at 12-4. We earned a bye the first week in the playoffs, but did not secure home field advantage in the NFC Championship game which was one of the multiple factors effecting our loss in the game.

Here is how 2014 shaped up:

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Here is the post-season:

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As you can see, the loss to the Saints and Bills were killer, costing us home field advantage in the NFC championship game. Home field advantage was critical to the Packs success last season as we won every game at home. Perhaps a Lambeau crowd could have helped the disastrous slide into a loss during the 4th quarter of that NFC championship game.

Here is the box score from the championship game:

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 11.55.03 AM

I really don’t have much more to say about it. If you want to know more, you can read my recap from last year. I’m still way too upset about it. I thought I had let it go, but as I’ve been recapping the Packers 2014 season, I’m just getting madder and madder.

Let’s move on to this season.

Here was our draft:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.17.02 AM

I’m happy that we took two corners. Our defense certainly needs to improve, however, I worry about developing them in the douchebag Dom Capers system.

Speaking of coaches …

Mike McCarthy is no longer in charge of offensive play calling. It seems even his head was on a platter after the NFC Championship game meltdown. The working theory is that if McCarthy didn’t have play calling duties in the championship game, perhaps he would have seen the bigger picture. That picture being the need for more aggressive play calling. It seemed McCarthy was in don’t lose mode, not finish them mode.

I, for one, am not so sure. Anyone watching the game could see the scoreboard. McCarthy is not a dumb man. He was perhaps dumb for not being more aggressive, but that was the strategy he went with the whole 4th quarter. The last 4 minutes of the game were unheard of. It has literally never happened in the playoffs before to lose that big of a lead in that short of time. Perhaps, we should be looking at the defense as well for not shutting the Hawks down just as much as the non-aggressive play calling. Also, there is some merit behind not turning the ball over when you have that big of a lead. Unfortunately, the real problem arose when those 4 minutes went into overdrive. We did not recover at any point, offense, defense, or special teams to stop the bleeding.

The offensive coordinator is still Tom Clements – he has been since 2012. He just now takes on play calling duties. His new label though is associate head coach.

The defensive coordinator remains Dom Capers. I swear to f’ing God. How is he not demoted? How is he still here!?!?! I think he is blackmailing somebody. How does Mike McCarthy lose title but this ass-clown remains defensive coordinator?

Also, Mike McCarthy having less play calling responsibility is also assigned to provide more focus on special teams. I feel like we made a big leap last year. In 2013 I felt like we were constantly pinned down before the 20- yard line. It’s hard to get a drive going when if you just took a knee in the end zone you would be better off.

I feel like, and have been saying this for years, we need to improve our defense, and not just through the draft.

Our special teams coordinator is Ron Zook. Previously he was assistant special teams coordinator. Shawn Slocum was fired.

In case you forgot, he was fired over the fact that during an onside kick, Brandon Bostick, a tight-end with little playing time, decided to go up and retrieve the football despite the fact that directly behind him, Jordy Nelson waited with his hands to collect the ball. Bostick essentially intercepted a perfect opportunity for Jordy to catch the ball. We would have won if that had not happened.

Here is our upcoming schedule:

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It’s not easy. The bit in the middle is brutal. It has the potential of being catastrophic if there is an injury. Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago, then Detroit. Two of those are Thursday games. To lump that many division games in a row, if there are any injuries … ugh. It could be lethal to the season.

I’m not super happy about that.

FYI, I guess in 2016 we will be going to London, too. I’m beyond not a fan of London games. It’s ridiculous. Greedy f’ing NFL owners.

I digress.

We also play a brutal division in the round-robin scheduling of the NFL. The NFC North has received the NFC West.

Here are their 2014 standings:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.27.22 PM

Yikes.

We also pulled the AFC West. Not as bad.

Here are their standings:

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We still have to face Peyton, which is never, ever something that a team wants to do. It will be the talk of the town with the two elite QB’s going head-to-head.

Lastly, we get the Panthers. This is because each team from the NFC North has to face their equivalent opponent in standings from the previous year’s NFC division matchup. GB had the best record in the NFC North, so we get the best in the NFC South.

Here is how that division ended up last year:

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Hm. There is nothing good to say about that division.

All-in-all GB faces 4 opponents who were in the playoffs last year.

Awesome.

Here is our roster for the year so far:

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Good luck Green Bay Packers. Love you and can’t wait for the new season!

 

 

 

NFC North 2015 Preview – Detroit Lions

This week is my NFC North preview of the Detroit Lions.

I’m not sure what to think of the Lions.

Lots of teams build off of what they did the season before. However, when I think of the Lions, I really just feel like they missed their opportunity.

I really hope I’m not jinxing the Packers with that statement.

Here is how their last season turned out.

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They went 11-5 finishing in second place in the NFC North division and earned themselves a 6th seed in the NFC playoff picture. They ended up losing to Dallas.

I missed this man of many expressions

The coaching staff is the same, at least for the big 3. This will be Jim Caldwell‘s second year as head coach. The offensive coordinator remains Joe Lombardi (last year was his first year as an offensive coordinator, previously a QB’s coach for the Saints) and the defensive coordinator remains Teryl Austin (previously a secondary coach for the Ravens from 2011-2013).

Matt Stafford is back again. Eh.

Weapons on offense at wide receiver are still Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. As for a third receiver, there really isn’t much of a choice. There is Fuller and then there is Jeremy Ross, whom I hate because he screwed up so many kick returns for the Packers, then goes to the Lions and does a bang up job. Screw you Jeremy Ross, screw you.

Really, the next best weapon for the Lions is at their tight end position. Pettigrew is someone on paper that you want to love, but having had him on my fantasy team I can tell you he is not what he is all cracked up to be. Fan favorite Fauria could emerge as a threat as well. Last season he was severely limited with an ankle injury. The other possibility is Eric Ebron.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000248117/Fauria-5-yard-touchdown-catch

As for running back, thank God the Lions finally released Reggie Bush. Why give him the ball? He made matters worse every time he handled the ball last year. It looks like this year Riddick and Bell will again be sharing the carries.

The biggest offseason change is a tremendous one. Ndamukong Suh is no longer a Lion. I do not see how you let him go. It’s insane. He, like many others, has found his way to the Dolphins. I know Suh’s contract was huge, he got 60 million guaranteed and 114 million 6-year contract, but still … how do you let him go? In his place they now have Ngata from the Baltimore Ravens. That is so not the same thing, let’s all be honest. The biggest play makers for this team are Suh and Johnson.

Suh will be sorely missed.

Also gone is Fairley. Here is a great article about both their departures from ESPN.

Here is the Lions current project depth chart:

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I’m not sure what my prediction for the Lions upcoming season will be. I always worry about the Lions. A few plays here, a few plays there and things could have been very different in the playoff picture last year. I still maintain that if Green Bay could have finished the game again Seattle, we would have won the Super Bowl. However, I didn’t see the Lions advancing past the Seahawks or the Patriots.

Here is the Lions schedule for next year:

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 12.53.27 PMLet’s see how they do this year with the coaching staff perhaps more together as a unit and some of the Lions old habits of dirty play out the door with Suh. Perhaps 2015 will be the year for the Lions to shine.

As always, Go Pack Go.

 

 

NFC North 2015 Preview – Minnesota Vikings

This week in my NFC North preview of the Minnesota Vikings.

I’m weary of this team for the 2015 NFL season.

Last season, they were on the cusp of being a great time. The season record was 7-9, but they had some close games that could have gone the other way. When you see the Vikings on your schedule, you don’t get to automatically put it in the win category.

 

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2014 Vikings record

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last season had some new beginnings for the Vikings. It was the first under head coach Mike Zimmer. In fact, it was coach Zimmer’s fist season ever as a head coach. There obviously is a big learning curve heading into a head coaching position, so the 2015 season might be the time Zimmer starts to shine. Prior to that he was the defensive coach for the Bengals from 2008-2013.

Last season was also rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s first season. He did fairly well, especially with all the quarterback reshuffling over there. Remember Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Bridgewater were all fighting for the starting position. Ponder lost out to a fight between Cassel and Bridgewater with Bridgewater ultimately becoming the man in Minnesota.

 

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Teddy Bridgewater 2014 stats

 

Now, with Bridgewater as the clear starting quarterback going into the 2015 season, he will get all of training camp and all first team reps. It should be interesting to see how he progresses. His back up is veteran Shaun Hill.

Adrian Peterson is the biggest game changer for the Minnesota Vikings for the 2015 season. He only played one game for the Vikes in 2014 due to child abuse charges that were ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor for beating his 4-year-old with a switch. Peterson sparked public outcry and a national debate on how America views child abuse, and how cultural history plays a role.

The Vikings 7-9 record was due in part to losing the workhorse of the team. The team was centered around Adrian Peterson and the loss of him as their running back was detrimental. They did not make great adjustments. Peterson is one of only several running backs in history to break the 2000 yard mark in a single season. Of course the team is built around him.

There was a bunch of rumors in the offseason that Peterson would go to Houston or the Cowboys because Peterson didn’t want to play for Minnesota anymore. However, those rumors, while they may have been true, did not pan out. AP now has a 3 year contract with the Vikings and may finish his career there.

Greg Jennings was let go from the Vikings, which is interesting to me because as a Green Bay fan, it’s always interesting to see how wide receivers flourish under Mike McCarthy and seemingly do terrible once in another organization (think James Jones). It looks like the Vikings will be staying with Cordarrelle Patterson, Charles Johnson, and Jarius Wright.

Other Vikings departures

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So who did the Vikings pick up in the draft?

First round they picked up Trae Waynes, a corner back. Second round was Eric Kendricks, an inside linebacker. Third round they picked up Hunter, a defensive end, and Clemmings, and outside tackle.

Okay.

I get the corner back. The Vikings have some serious enemy wide receivers to contend with in regards to Calvin Johnson of the Lions and Nelson of the Packers. Not a bad move.

As for defense, the Vikings picked up someone that will inevitably be mentioned twice a year when the Packers play the Vikings. Casey Matthews, brother of Green Bay Packers star linebacker, Clay Matthews III, was a free agent and thus picked up. His previous team was the Eagles. I’m not sure his stats are so impressive.

Here is the current 2015 Minnesota Vikings roster as of today.

We shall see how the rest plays out.

As for coaching, I already mentioned Zimmer. The defensive coordinator is George Edwards. The offensive coordinator is Norv Turner.

On a side note, coaching on the Vikings seems to be a family affair. Zimmer’s son, Adam, is the linebackers coach. Scott Turner, son of Norv Turner, is the quarterbacks coach. Hmmm.

Here is the 2015 Minnesota Vikings schedule

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Good luck to the Green Bay Packers against these Minnesota Vikings. It’s definitely not going to be easy to win against them this year.

 

NFC North 2015 Preview – Chicago Bears

Bears logoIf you can believe it, the 2015-2016 NFL season begins Thursday September 10th on NBC at 8:30pm EST with the Steelers at the Patriots.

That means we only have a little over 7 weeks to go.

Sweet!

Really sweet, because now that the Women’s World Cup is over, it really is drought season.

Therefore, for the next four weeks, I will preview the NFC North division for the 2015-2016 season. I will save my favorite for last, of course, the Green Bay Packers.

Let us start with the team we all love to make fun of in the NFC North – the Chicago Bears.

The problem is, they make it too easy on us.

In my preview last year, I said the best off-season signing for the Green Bay Packers was that the Bears signed Cutler to a huge deal.

That is still the best thing to happen to us now.

It’s hard for the Chicago Bears to really make a lot of moves when there is still so much money tied up with Mr. Debbie Downer, a.k.a., Mr. Sad Face, a.k.a., Mr. Emo.

And moves they need to make. I must admit, I was even astonished when I looked up their record from last season. Gulp. Really? 5 wins? 5 measly wins? Yikes.

Back in the day, when Cutler first came to Chicago, he pushed to get Brandon Marshall to the glorious state of Illinois. However, those days have ended. Mr. Marshall is now a Gang-Green, which, by the way, as a nurse, just makes me think gangrene, which pretty much sums up the Jets as a horrible, stinking, rotting flesh of a team. Pretty accurate, huh.

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Brandon Marshall stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any who, word out of the internets state that Marshall said the best quarterback he has played for is Kyle Orton. Gosh, dang. Poor Cutler, even his go-to-guy didn’t set him in any good light.

Ouch.

So, who do the Chicago Bears have going into the 2015-2016 NFL season? Here is their depth chart.

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Hmm. That doesn’t tell me much.

Some positives to take away. They still have Forte and Jeffery. Green Bay is undoubtedly the team to beat in 2015, at least for now. I’d be very, very weary of those Vikings if I were you, but that is a story for another time.

What I’m saying is, the run is our weak spot. Perhaps if they can get some good run blocking this season, they will have a shot to split the meetings with us.

A super huge positive is the coaching change up.

I liked Trestman. I’m not gonna lie. However, liking someone and seeing results is another story. Winning 5 games is a way to get yourself fired. However, bringing in a new coaching staff for Cutler also doesn’t seem like something Cutler is  too willing to work with.

Interesting, Trestman is the new Offensive Coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. He is replacing Gary Kubiak as the Offensive Coordinator who is now the head coach of the Denver Broncos (who was once the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 1995-2005 leading them to 2 Super Bowl wins, one against Brett Favre and the GBP) … replacing John Fox because …

John Fox is the new head coach of the Chicago Bears!

Huh?

I gotta say Denver … what?!?!?!?

Fine, Denver wants to get rid of John Fox, but you always gotta ask yourself, who are you going to get better than who you already have?

Gary Kubiak is not it.

Here is Kubiak’s head coaching record. This is simply the fact that John Elway worked under him during those 2 Super Bowl wins. Otherwise, there is no reason for this.

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Kubiak record

 

Anyway, I digress. Back to Chicago and John Fox.

John Fox was essentially brought on in Denver when the team was in the same boat at the Bears are now. After multiple lack-lusters seasons, the last straw was the 2010 season for Denver (4 wins). They had a record even worse than what Chicago has now (5 wins).

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Denver record

 

Perfect timing for Mr. Fox.

The following season, 2011, broke even for Denver, and after that had winning records. Unfortunately, the post-season outcomes were not up to Elway’s demands. A humiliating loss in the Super Bowl against Seattle 2 years ago and last year being forced out of the race by the Colts was too much.

Now, onto Chicago.

Fox is bringing with him offensive coordinator Gase. Apparently, Peyton Manning loved him. That’s high praise from someone who can basically call all the plays on the offense and play QB at the same time. Gase spent 6 seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.

Fox also brought on board defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Not sure if this is John Fox’s doing, probably not, but I’ll just throw it in here as well … Ryan Pace will be the new general manager of the Bears.

Ultimately, this is a huge shakeup for the Bears. Much like in Denver, I at least see all of these changes bring the bears up to an 8-8 record.

That will be dependent on the schedule …

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Possible wins are as follows:

Raiders

Kansas City

Redskins

Tampa Bay

Jeez-Louise. I take it back. I see them going with 5 or 6 wins. I just don’t think they have the weapons.

That’s my recap for the NFC North Chicago Bears.

See you all next week!

Congratulations to the USWNT!

What an unbelievable win!

I’m not gonna lie, I almost missed the first shot by Carli Lloyd! I also almost missed the second one too because I had to go to the bathroom … that never happens in soccer – so many goals!

I couldn’t be prouder of the team.

Also, I know I bag on Carli Lloyd and that’s not going to change. However, I feel like Coach made an excellent decision on giving her less responsibility in the midfield. She just owned the fact that Carli Lloyd will not run her butt up and down the field. It put more responsibility on the other midfielders, but in some ways, maybe not? I know when I played, I played with a few Carli Lloyd’s. You couldn’t rely on them to maintain their position on the field, but yet had to defer to them that they would possibly be there. In some regards, it’s just easier to reconfigure the field and know that you have a larger area to defend.

Also, you can’t take away from her those goals despite not liking her. They were fantastic.

She was also classy when she handed the Captain’s band to Abby Wambach when she came onto the field. Abby is a huge fan favorite, one of my favorites, that was nice to see happen.

Class abounded everywhere in regards to this USWNT. Abby then handed the badge to Rampone, as it will be her last cup (duh, she’s 40!) and then they were the last two to come onto the podium to raise the cup. It was emotional, and wonderful, and you just don’t see that in men’s sports.

Obama called the USWNT, too. Classy. Everything surrounding the USWNT was classy.

Outclassed were the men. It’s been everywhere in the news, but it bears repeating. The final had more viewers than the Men’s World Cup final and game 6 of the Cavs vs Warriors (that one really boggles my mind). Game 6 was the highest rated NBA Finals game since the Jordan era! Awesomeness!

The markets that watched the most were Kansas City, St. Louis, San Diego (yay! my new adopted town), Denver, and Austin.

22.86 million viewers. Sweet!

Another great thing on a social standpoint was getting to watch Abby go into the stands and kiss her wife. It just seemed so sweetly appropriate to be able to show their love for each other on a grand scale just after the ruling by SCOTUS.

Bittersweet though is that we will not see some very important returning faces. Lauren Holiday and Christie Rampone have already announced their retirements, and while it’s not official, Abby Wambach has eluded to her retirement as well.

Here is a great article by The Players’ Tribune with special contributor Christie Rampone. I love you girl! At 38 myself, I don’t feel like I’ve aged out of life either!

I think a final thought is congratulations to the Japanese women. You played your hearts out and should be proud of yourselves. You had a great tournament and even when you were down, you pushed on and were able to do your country proud by scoring two goals. You didn’t give up when other teams would have. Well done, ladies. Well, done.