Tag Archive | randall cobb

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:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.17.31 PM

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:

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Yikes.

We also pulled the AFC West. Not as bad.

Here are their standings:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.27.34 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.32.23 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.37.53 PM

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

 

 

 

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Thank God for Randall Cobb

I was very worried that we were going to let Randall Cobb walk. It’s been known to happen before, for example, Greg Jennings.

 

However, hopefully both the Packers and Cobb came to the decision to remain in business together because of Greg Jennings.

 

Greg Jennings was our primary receiver in Green Bay before he left. We had the triple threat of Jennings, Nelson, and James Jones with the emerging Cobb. Up until 2013, we also had the threat of Jermichael Finley; despite his inconsistencies, he was still a match-up problem for defenses.

 

In 2013 we lost Greg Jennings and we then had our triple threat as Nelson, Jones, and Cobb. Cobb really stepped up to the plate by replacing Jennings. However, after week 7 of the 2013 season, we lost Finley to injury.

 

It became more apparent what a loss Finley and Jennings were.

 

Then, in 2014, we didn’t have James Jones either. With the loss of the third receiver, our production since Jennings left in 2013 seemed to be missing that killer edge. No longer did we have a consistent 3rd receiver. Davante Adams stepped up, but was still making rookie mistakes. We didn’t have a good tight-end that could consistently take the pressure off either. Every time the ball was thrown Rodgers or Quarless’s way, did you not hold your breath?

 

Which brings me back to the Cobb contract. If we had had a viable third option in the NFC championship game, we may have won the game. We only scored 6 points in the second half. A great defense like Seattle is going to have Nelson and Cobb covered, what we didn’t have was that third threat, certainly not a fourth. What made us so lethal for a few years was having Jennings, Nelson, and Jones + Finley; or Nelson, Cobb, and Jones + Finley. What if we had had Jones, Finley, or Jennings? I think we would have won.

 

We could not afford to lose Cobb, too. That would have put us with only Nelson remaining, no slot, no second receiver, and no developed tight-end. It would have been a huge problem.

 

Davante Adams seems like he will make the leap from rookie to second year receiver. Perhaps if Cobb’s contract was after the 2015 season, it would be a different story. Apparently, Aaron Rodgers loves tight-end Rodgers. Aaron states he has the best hands he has seen. Just think, now that we have secured Cobb, if Davante Adams can become that third receiver and Rodgers can become a well-rounded tight-end we will be as lethal as the year we won the Super Bowl.  A great well-rounded tight-end or 3rd receiver will also free up Lacy to being more productive as a running back. Plus, if Rodgers can block more too, then that will open running lanes as well.

 

The second thing that Jennings may have contributed to Cobb resigning with Green Bay is that Jennings looks miserable in Minnesota. His production has fallen off, and now, after only 2 years, the Vikes are considering releasing him. A similar situation has occurred for James Jones in Oakland. Yes, he was our third receiver and put up more yards in 2013 than any other receiver in the NFL, but once he went to Oakland, that production dropped way, way off. Leaving Green Bay has not been kind to these receivers. Cobb may have learned from their mistakes. Taking a few million less is the best deal because he can remain competitive in Packers nation, get himself in some record books, and perhaps win a Super Bowl. Us common folk know this for a fact — being in a crappy job is the worst thing. Coming to an environment that you hate is the worst. I would certainly take a small pay cut if that meant that my every day life would be better.

 

Here are some other things to look at. Cobb is the second best receiver on our team right now. People love the Packers. People love Cobb. Look at all of the endorsement deals that Aaron Rodgers gets. Greg Jennings even had old spice commercials while he was with the Pack. Matthews has endorsement deals, too. Cobb remaining with a good team and putting up good numbers will attract endorsements. That will by far make up the remaining difference between the contracts.

 

Look at how many endorsements Greg Jennings has now? None. What about James Jones? None.

 

Some say that with Cobb signing 4 years with the Packers may improve his chances at getting a large contract again when the 4 years are up. He will only be 28 years old at that time. This is another thing Cobb may have learned from Jennings. Yes, Jennings deal with the Vikings got him a big deal, but he might not even finish his current contract before the Vikings release him. Someone might sign him again, but chances are for very low money. By Cobb taking a few million less now, it may help a future contract if he has a Super Bowl under his belt and the same type of yards he has last season.

 

All I have to say is I am super happy to have Cobb on our team for the next four years. I love my team. I love the players. There isn’t a bad seed amongst them.

 

On a final note, I feel so bad for the Lions losing Suh. It’s excellent news for the Pack, but, oh, man, the Lions. That defense was what got it done. It is remarkable that Suh who is known for his bad attitude and crappy moral code, went to the Dolphins where the culture fits his had attitude. Man, how things work out.

 

 

Go For Two: Final Thoughts on Green Bay

I’m sad.

My Green Bay packers are done for the season.

This is the time to look back and reflect on the season. To appreciate the things we did well, and to take a hard look at what we need and should improve on.

Offense.

We weathered the storm of missing our two best players on offense — Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb. It was blatantly apparent in the last two games what magic those two can create when working together. I thought we did fairly well when we got Matt Flynn in there. Yet, it highlighted what everyone has been mumbling about for a while. The protection for Aaron Rodgers in the pocket needs to improve. Aaron is the best in the game. He has to release the ball that quick because his offensive line doesn’t allow for all that much time to throw the ball before the pocket collapses. Matt Flynn tried his best, but his inability to get the ball out lightening-quick highlighted just how bad the pocket protection is when the Packers don’t have Aaron Rodgers. What I’m trying to say, is Aaron Rodgers masks just how bad our offensive line is. That is something I would certainly like to see fixed in the offseason.

Other things I would like fixed. Our random inability to score in the redzone was a bit weird as the season wore on. James Jones, while not completely reverting to his old ways, did seem to lose some of his laser-focus he displayed last year. He dropped some mighty important throws in that postseason game. That makes me nervous.

I’d like to get rid of Jermichael Finley. He is too inconsistent. While he may be good at blocking (I don’t know), he is not a great pass-catcher. I would love a stat of how many balls he drops. I’d rather not have him open, and have Aaron Rodgers questioning whether if he throws Jermichael the ball, that he will actually catch it. Plus, then Jermichael whines and cries to the media about Aaron. How about he looks at himself before he starts complaining about others?

I have really enjoyed the emergence of Boykin.

I loved that Mason Crosby got himself back on track this year. He showed true grit when he took a reduced contract, but with multiple incentives, to stay on the Packers. That’s integrity.

Eddie Lacy. I love him. I absolutely adore him. Great running back, great person, great perseverance. He really came through for the team this year. He didn’t start off great, and I, probably like others, were thinking that he would peter out like Cedric Benson did. Nope. He excelled. Boy-oh-boy do I hope he wins rookie of the year. I love watching interviews with him. Great smile, great character. I honestly can not say enough nice things about him.

Jordy Nelson deserves an award this season. He was a rock when everything around him was falling apart. Calm, focused, never wavered. Always amazing. Great player on and off the field. Love you Jordy.

Defense.

What do I say about defense that hasn’t already been said? I did hear Aaron say something that did give me pause. That the defense held the Niners to 23 points and that’s a game the offense should win. Yes, in fact, he was right (I would never presume to argue with Rodgers). I’m constantly complaining that we allow multiple games with over 30 points. Here was one where we didn’t. I think, in this particular game, a lot of it was, for the offense, the slow start, the multiple sacks, the dropped (big play) balls by James Jones.

However, on the last drive, all I kept thinking was, just stop them here. 3rd and 8 — here is your chance. They couldn’t. mental errors, losing contain, broken tackles … all the things that have plagued the Packers defense for the last few years. Now, I know, we didn’t have any of our starts. Still, they, too, make tons of mental errors. Also? I’m not super happy with this bend not break theory of Capers. Bending is not okay because we do break on the big plays. We let a lot of big plays happen. enough.

Enough is enough with the defense. We spent the last two years working on our defense. Do something. I still think the answer is firing Dom Capers. However, we need to get a good defensive coordinator. I know, how about my alumni coach Mark Dantonio? That would be a dream. His record, especially on defense, is impressive.

Now I root for Denver. Peyton Manning — you’re amazing. Classy, talented, and a great leader. You have showed your greatness on and off the field. You have put to rest what Manning brother is the greatest – you. As if there was any debate (actually, obviously there was, which was ridiculous). Plus, this needs to be your last year brother. I worry about you. That neck of yours is made of glass. Please just win this Super Bowl and have that be enough. I don’t want to hear about you in a few years when some articles explains how you are in constant, chronic pain.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com.

Go For Two: Game of the week

Who knew the kicker was so hot?

This is an impossible post to write. There are so many games this week with so many implications. It is too hard to pick. I mean, look at the NFC North. If Green Bay wins out, they go to the playoffs. They must win this game. The same goes for Chicago. They have to win if Green Bay wins. Lions have to hope for a total catastrophe on both the Packers and the Bears.

As for the NFC East — Philadelphia and Dallas are in hot pursuit of the division title. The next two weeks are must wins. It’s interesting how these two divisions, NFC North and East were pitted against each other this year and windup having the same necessities to go to the playoffs. Only the divisional winners will get in. Neither division will see wildcards come out of their divisions. This is what make December football great.

Staying with the NFC, probably the game of the week, although I am biased, is the Saints versus the Panthers. This game will decide who is the divisional winners and most definitely seeding in the NFC playoff race. I’m pretty pumped!

On to the AFC, the Patriots/Ravens game will be very interesting. The Patriots underperformed last week without Gronkowski. This is definitely not the time of year to be figuring out your game plan. You need to be playing your best football, not trying to come up with workarounds. I have been impressed with the Ravens as of late. My favorite part of the game the Ravens played against the Lions was when the kicker, Justin Tucker, kicked his 61 yard field goal, but not for the reasons you would think. It cracked me up to watch Joe Flacco wander around with his water in his hand, as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Like he had just got himself a nice afternoon coffee, and ho-hum, glances over his shoulder to find out if the kicker made the 3 points. As if it was an afterthought.

Kansas City against the Colts will be interesting too. The outcome could shake up the seeding. Now that I look at it again, if Miami beats the Bengals, and Baltimore loses, there could be a wildcard shake-up too.

See what I mean! It makes my head spin!

All I have to say is Go Green Bay! Matt Flynn … win one more for us so there can be a final showdown the following week against the Bears with Cobb and Rodgers back. That would be one for the ages! All we have to do is win this one!

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______________________________________________________________________

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com.