Category Archives: Detroit Lions

29

November

Packers Mike McCarthy a Modern-Day Nero: Fiddles while Green Bay Burns

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy: Fiddle Player

Mike McCarthy is widely praised for his calm demeanor and approach to head coaching.  Never one to fly off the handle, McCarthy soldiers on with his plan, come hell or high water. Despite the team collapsing around him, McCarthy refuses to panic or take drastic measures in an attempt to turn things around.

In some cases, and definitely right now, that’s much more of a negative for the Packers than a positive.

When “Stay Calm and Carry On”  isn’t working, sometimes you have to say f**k it and go kick some guys in the ass.

The Packers were a complete embarrassment to the organization in front of a national audience yesterday. Actually, last Sundayalso, but they caught lightning in a bottle and lucked out a tie against the lowly Vikings.

When your players come out and lay eggs several weeks in a row, who’s responsible? Ultimately, it’s the head coach’s job to have his players ready to play. McCarthy has failed in that department.

But our star quarterback is injured!!!  He provides the motivation. Hearing a lot of that on twitter.  Folks, if Packers players need their quarterback to provide motivation to block and tackle and play hard, it’s a sad state of affairs.

And in effect, it is.

Sure there have been other injuries, and I admittedly have used that myself as a reason to give them a pass for most of this season, but not anymore. Today the Packers actually got three starters back on defense; Shields, Jolly and Perry.

It didn’t matter. They were gashed as badly as any defense I’ve ever seen. The front seven seemed to be moving in slow motion in comparison to the Lions. When they were in reach of Bush or Bell, it was like they were waving at ghosts. Even the arm tackles were hitting nothing but air.

Special teams were just as bad, with the man Mike McCarthy cut, Jeremy Ross, adding some embarrassing insult to injury to the head-hanging Packers.

On offense, I was optimistic when McCarthy threw a couple of screen passes during the first series. Seemed like he had a plan for slowing down the Lions’ rush that would soon register 7 sacks. He didn’t – we never saw another screen the rest of the day. If I’m wrong about this (I did miss a few plays) someone please correct me.

27

November

Packers vs. Lions: Keys to the Game

Matt Flynn

“Matt, we both need you to do this one more time!”.  Flynn will make his third lengthy appearance against the Lions in the past four seasons

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving and while this past month hasn’t been what many had hoped, at least we only have to wait a short four days between games!  That also means our schedule at ALLGBP.com is accelerated so this is our version of the two-minute drill.

The Green Bay Packers have been tabbed for yet another Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Detroit Lions.  Since 2001, the Packers have faced the Lions in this matchup in every odd year with the exception of 2005.  Green Bay has won all but one of those games, dropping the 2003 contest to the Mike McMahon-led Lions.  Since then, the Lions are winless on Thanksgiving Day.  So here we are, ten years later and the stage could be set for Detroit to break their Turkey Day slump.

The Packers made yet another quarterback change this past week, inserting Matt Flynn over Scott Tolzien, in order to spark the Green Bay offense.  It worked.  The Packers came back from a 23-7 deficit to tie the game and force overtime.  Both teams managed only a field goal and the game ended in a tie.  It was the first game, under the new overtime rules, that both teams kicked a field goal.

With the Lions falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (more like collapsing), the tie actually moved the Packers a half-game closer to the division lead.  That makes this week’s matchup all the more important for both teams.

Let’s look at some of the major headlines that will likely emerge in this week’s contest.

Matt Flynn until Rodgers is Ready

After signing a free agent contact with the Seattle Seahawks, being beaten out for the starting job by rookie Wisconsin boy Russell Wilson, being traded by the Seahawks to the Oakland Raiders, losing his starting job to Terrell Pryor (Big 10 conspiracy?), being cut and signed by the Buffalo Bills only to be cut weeks later, Flynn is right back where he began his career.

What a carousel and through the process, Flynn made a lot of money but raised many questions about his ability and health.  Why was he unable to maintain a starting role or stick with some of these teams who have not had much recent success?  Even Reggie McKenzie, who was very familiar with Flynn from his days in Green Bay, pulled the plug on the experiment in Oakland.

27

November

Packers Periscope: Thanksgiving Edition vs. Lions

The Past: Last time these two teams met was punctuated by All Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, namely because he was absent from the game; the Lions did a fantastic job covering, deflecting and obfuscating Johnson’s knee injury up to the point that it was pretty evident that the Packers defense thew out their defensive plan right before kick off because many defensive players looked little confused as to what their new roles would be.

But the Lions offense was also left scrambling with quarterback Matthew Stafford doing his best impersonation of Aaron Rodgers, spreading out the ball to 8 different receivers for 262 yards and 1 touchdown, going 25 out of 40 but lacked the big play potential, something that’s almost unheard of since the Stafford-Johnson connection came into being.  Also without Johnson spreading out the defense, Reggie Bush found little room to run, only getting 44 yards on 13 attempts.

The Packers on the other hand were consistent but not flashy; Rodgers passed for 274 yards and one beautiful 83 yard bomb to James Jones while Eddie Lacy just missed out on his first 100 yard game of his career with 99 yards on 23 attempts.  On defense, the Packers managed to record 5 sacks, including 2 from Nick Perry, however Clay Matthews’ 1 sack also resulted in a Bennett fracture to his hand, which he still has to wear a cast for.

Overall, this game wasn’t the typical aerial bombing that has typically characterized Packers-Lions games recently, the Packers hadn’t really found their new balanced identity while the Lions were naturally adjusting to life without Calvin Johnson and it was the much maligned Mason Crosby whostole show, going 5 for 5 with a long completion of 52 yards.  In a game where only two touchdowns were scored by both teams, Crosby’s field goals were the difference.

The Present: The Lions are still perhaps the most inconsistent team in the NFL; they have the talent to easily win the NFC North but can’t get out of their own way when it comes to success.  Last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have taken over the Lions as the most mismanaged franchise in the NFL (owner siphoning funds for his “other” football team, the MRSA debacle, the mismanagement of Josh Freeman, “going for it” on knee downs etc.) the Lions gave up the opportunity to essentially win the NFC North crown and instead turned the ball over 5 times, including 4 interceptions by Matthew Stafford.  Guess who gave up the other turnover?  None other than former Packers return man Jeremy Ross who luckily didn’t cost his team any points when he fumbled the ball out of bounds.

26

November

Around the NFC North: Week 13

Around the NFC North

The Bears and Lions remain in first place with Detroit hosting the Packers on Thanksgiving.

The NFC North had a lackluster showing in week 12 with none of the four teams winning their respective games.  As such, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears remained tied atop the division with matching 6-5 records.

The Green Bay Packers moved to within a half game of the division lead with a tie against the Minnesota Vikings.  And the Vikings?  Their biggest remaining question mark is how badly they want to finish this season and in preparation for next year’s draft.

The Packers and Vikings tie was Green Bay’s first such result since 1987.  If nothing else, it ended the Packers’ three-game losing streak and also gave the Vikings a moral victory.  Win-win, right?  Not really, but just trying to find some good in it all.

I am not a fan of a tie game and wish the NFL would allow teams to play until there is a winner.  But I digress.

This week, there are two divisional matchups to look at, starting the Thanksgiving Day matchup between the Packers and Lions.

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) at Detroit Lions (6-5)

I have long wondered how I would react to a Packers tie game.  I can now cross that off of my “life’s mysteries” list and gladly so.  Green Bay was able to mount a comeback against the Vikings after entering the fourth quarter down 23-7.  The Packers, looking for a spark, benched starting quarterback Scott Tolzien in favor of backup Matt Flynn.  Many had been clamoring for Flynn after watching Tolzien struggle to move the ball most of the day.

It was Flynn’s first action since returning to the Packers two weeks ago.  In his last appearance at Lambeau Field in 2011, Flynn started a week 17 game against the Lions and set a Packers franchise record with 480 passing yards and six touchdown passes.  While Flynn’s performance against the Vikings fell way short of those totals, he was able to rally Green Bay to even up the game and with a chance to win.

20

November

Around the NFC North: Week 12

Around the NFC North

Just one game separates the top three teams in the NFC North heading into week 12.

Despite the recent slide that the Green Bay Packers have gone through, they are just one game out of first place in the NFC North at 5-5.  The Packers dropped their third straight this past week to the New York Giants.  It was also Green Bay’s third straight loss to the Giants, including playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings were no match for the NFC-leading Seattle Seahawks and fell to 2-8.  This week, the Vikings will head to Lambeau Field to round off their season series with the Packers.  For Green Bay, Scott Tolzien has already been named the starting quarterback.  The Vikings have announced that Christian Ponder will get the start for them.

The Detroit Lions were on the losing side of a wet n’ wild one in Pittsburgh as the Steelers thwarted some of Detroit’s trickery to preserve the win.  This week, the Lions host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have won two straight after losing their first eight.

The Chicago Bears weathered the storm and squeaked by the Baltimore Ravens in overtime.  That game was delayed due to weather shortly after kickoff.  The Bears will travel to St. Louis and face the Rams this week.

Chicago Bears (6-4) at St. Louis Rams (4-6)

The Bears get another “battle of the backups” this week as Josh McCown will start the Chicago and face backup Kellen Clemems for the Rams.  McCown will be making his third start of the season and in relief of Jay Cutler, who is now nursing an ankle injury.  McCown is 2-0 in his previous two starts.  Clemens came on at quarterback for the Rams when starter Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending ACL injury last month.

St. Louis is coming off of their bye week and after upsetting the Indianapolis Colts the week prior.  That win snapped a three-game losing streak and was Clemens’ first win as a starter.  Clemens needed only 16 passing attempts and nine completions, two for touchdowns, to defeat the Colts.

Both the Bears and Rams have running backs who have been playing well this season.  St. Louis’ Zac Stacy has three touchdown runs in the last two games.  Chicago’s Matt Forte has averaged just over five yards per carry and has three touchdowns against the Rams in three career matchups.  Forte ranks sixth in overall rushing with 774 yards and nine touchdowns on the year.

13

November

Around the NFC North: Week 11

Around the NFC North

The Lions are alone atop the NFC North with just a one-game lead over the Bears and Packers

The NFC North continues to be one of the more intriguing divisions in football with the ever-changing landscape from week to week.  The Detroit Lions are now alone in first place after completing a sweep of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.  The Bears and Green Bay Packers now have matching 5-4 records with the Bears holding the tie-breaker with a head-to-head win.

The Packers fell to the Philadelphia Eagles and had more quarterback issues as they lost their second straight game.  The Minnesota Vikings won their Thursday night matchup against the Washington Redskins and improved to 2-7 on the season.

Each of the four North teams have already had their bye so each will face a busy back half of the schedule.  The Packers and Giants matchup was flexed out of the Sunday night primetime slot a few weeks back and that will now be an afternoon contest that starts at 4pm EDT.

The Lions visit the Pittsburgh Steelers while the Bears host the Baltimore Ravens.  The Vikings head to the great Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th man.

Let’s take a look at each matchup and the implications it could have on the rest of the season.

Minnesota Vikings (2-7) at Seattle Seahawks (9-1)

Both teams are coming off of victories this past week but that’s about where the similarities between these two teams end.  The Seahawks have found countless ways to win games this year.  Low scoring, high scoring, and defensive battles, they have seen it all and done most of it.  With the San Francisco 49ers struggling with some consistency, the NFC West is all but Seattle’s for the taking.

This week’s matchup has them hosting the Vikings, who have struggled through mediocre quarterback play and dealt the injuries on defense that have all but derailed their season.  Minnesota is 0-4 on the road and couldn’t be coming to a more unfriendly road environment this week.  Seattle’s CenturyLink Field boasts one of the loudest crowds in the NFL.

6

November

Around the NFC North: Week 10

Around the NFC North

A three-way tie at the top of the NFC North sets the tone for a second half showdown between the Bears, Lions and Packers

The back half of the 2013 NFL schedule is officially underway.  In the NFC North, there is currently a three-way tie for first place with the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers all knotted up at 5-3.  The Minnesota Vikings still have only one win to seven losses.

The big news out of the division was the Bears’ 27-20 win over the Packers on Monday night.  Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was hurt early in that game and did not return.  On Monday, it was confirmed that Rodgers has a broken collarbone, but will not require surgery.  He will miss some time and that exact timetable is unknown.  Normally one player’s injury isn’t as noteworthy, but this is one that could very well shift power within the division.

Green Bay appeared to be in the driver’s seat to win the North with upcoming games against the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Detroit Lions.  Now, they just need to find a way to survive and hope that Rodgers misses minimal time.  The Packers aren’t the same team without Rodgers, regardless of who is backing him up.  With Seneca Wallace, their offense didn’t even resemble a shell of itself on Monday night.

Let’s take a look at this week’s games, which features another good divisional matchup between the Lions and Bears.

Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (1-7)

This is a tale of two playoff teams from a year ago who are disappointing this year.  The Vikings have managed just one win all season and that was a “home” game in London.  Their own fans still have not enjoyed a win in what will be the last season at Mall of America Field (Metrodome).  This one is the Thursday night matchup and will be Minnesota’s second primetime game in their last three.

During Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings lost tight end Kyle Rudolph, who will miss time with a broken foot.  Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was already struggling and will now be without one of his favorite targets.  John Carlson will assume the tight end duties, but expect some drop-off there.