Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Preseason
Well, Packers fans, since the 2013 NFL season starts next Sunday, this is the last Surviving Sunday of the year.
NFL football games that actually matter will be keeping us occupied for the next 20 weeks or so, and there won’t be a need for 800-word posts wrapping up the news of the week and mixing in my ramblings about pro wrestling, video games, concussions, the media or whatever other tangent I like to go off on.
As always, thanks for reading. Hopefully the next Surviving Sunday isn’t published until Feb. 9, 2014, the Sunday after the Packers win Super Bowl XLVIII.
All of the Packers roster cuts are in and there were a few surprises: 1) Vince Young is gone. I thought his ability to run and at least have a chance to make a play every now and then would save him, but I thought wrong. Now who’s going to back up Aaron Rodgers? Your guess is as good as mine. 2. Tyrone Walker didn’t make the team. I suppose that’s not really too big of a surprise, but he had a nice camp and I liked what I saw. Alex Green getting cut wasn’t much of a surprise. Starks has more pop than Green and is just a better back. You can’t play the injury card on Starks when comparing the two, either, because Green has injury issues of his own.
Tramon is back
Tramon Williams returned in Thursday’s preseason finale and had an interception on the Chiefs’ first pass. I’m not worried at all about Williams’ pass coverage. Sure, he gets beat more often than he did in 2010, but the good far outweighs the bad when Williams drops back in coverage. What I need to see from Williams is toughness. The 49ers will look at film of the 2012 Packers this week, see Williams retreat when a run comes his way, and start licking their chops. Williams needs to be a tougher tackler this season. Plain and simple.
Remember when we all thought John Kuhn might get cut? Turns out his job in the Packers’ backfield might be the safest of all the running backs not named Eddie Lacy. Jonathan Franklin — drafted to possibly play a role on third down — has flopped so far. Worst of all, he looks totally lost as a pass-blocker and likely won’t see the field until he improves. Once again, Kuhn will be the Packers go-to back on third down passing situations. Now, all we need to do is get our hands on a Packers playbook and remove the page that contains the Kuhn fullback dive in short yardage situations.
Crosby doesn’t get cut, his paycheck does
Mason Crosby won’t be buying the bar a round any time in the near future. The Packers K took a pay cut and now has an incentive-based contract, further upping the pressure he faces heading into the season. Pressure on Crosby is a good thing, in my opinion. The Packers didn’t really have anyone else to bring in and push Crosby when he struggled in 2012, and who knows if the viable alternatives will be gone again if Crosby struggles early this season. A little financial pressure might be the best kind of pressure to apply.
Concussion lawsuit settled
The NFL will pay $765 million to 4,500 former players over 20 years to settle concussion litigation. For a league that is projected to rake in $10 billion just this season, that sounds like a clear victory for The Shield. Don’t get me wrong, $765 million is a lot of money. But when you consider the PR nightmare and the potential for other problems that comes with having concussions and lawsuit news overshadowing the actual game, it’s chump change. Here’s hoping the lives of former players suffering from concussion-related problems are improved in some way by the money they will be receiving from the settlement. And here’s hoping the NFL continues its recent push of taking head injuries more seriously.
Packers awful preseason
The Packers scored just 37 points this preseason and looked helpless on offense when Rodgers wasn’t in the game. My wife asked me if I was worried about the 49ers game because of how awful the Packers looked in exhibition games. I said no, I wasn’t worried because of how the Packers played in preseason, but I was worried because the 49ers are a damn good football team. I’m also a little worried about the Packers’ depth. It’s a team that’s already beat up and has had to tap into its reserve players before the season has even started. If David Bakhtiari goes down, then what? If Morgan Burnett’s hamstring injury is serious, then what? If one of Lacy’s several past injuries flares up, are we ready for Alex Green and James Starks again? Who in the hell plays center in Evan Dietrich-Smith gets hurt?
I’m burying my Packers season prediction at the bottom of this post because it likely will be wrong, anyway. I’ll explain my reasoning in a future post, but for now, here it is: 10-6, NFC North champs, divisional round playoff loss.