Category Archives: Packers Beer Mug Perspective

11

January

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Seattle at home, or the Georgia Dome?

After the "Fail Mary" in September, the Packers could play the Seahawks again in the playoffs.

After the “Fail Mary” in September, the Packers could play the Seahawks again in the playoffs.

After defeating the Minnesota Vikings last week, the Green Bay Packers are two wins away from Super Bowl XLVII.

If the Packers defeat the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, they’ll move on to the NFC Championship. Who and where they’d play would be determined Sunday afternoon when the Falcons and Seahawks square off in Atlanta.

If the No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons win, they’ll host the NFC Championship at the Georgia Dome. But if the Seahawks win, then the winner of Saturday’s Packers-49ers game will host the NFC Championship.

(Now would be a good time to mention that I fully expect this Saturday’s game against the 49ers to be a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire matchup that could go either way. The purpose of this post is not to overlook a good 49ers team, but rather, to look at (what could be) the next game on the Packers’ schedule.)

A rematch with Seattle would surely result in an amped-up Lambeau Field crowd, hungry for revenge after what happened on Sept. 24. But a rematch with Atlanta would mean the Packers, a team built for a fast track, would be playing indoors with a chance to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.

This begs the question…

Would you, as a fan, rather see the Packers host the Seahawks at Lambeau Field or have them play the Falcons in the Georgia Dome?

In the format of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, let’s look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half full” or “half empty.”

1) Seahawks at Packers. Lambeau Field.

Why it sounds good: It all comes full circle.

After the infamous “Fail Mary” play earlier this season, the Packers receive an opportunity for revenge against the Seattle Seahawks. It’s Pete Carroll, Golden Tate and Russell Wilson back on the other sideline, only this time, it’s in Green Bay with a trip to Super Bowl XLVII on the line.

The Seahawks are as hot as anyone in the league right now, but they’re still a team without much experience in the playoffs. Wilson has been sensational as a rookie, but the postseason can be a whole different animal for young quarterbacks. Then again, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has yet to win a playoff game, and he’s currently in his fifth NFL season.

4

January

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Is this a Super Bowl team?

Can the Packers win Super Bowl XLVII?

Can the Packers win Super Bowl XLVII?

The 2012 season has been a roller-coaster for the Green Bay Packers.

From the early-season “Fail mary” in Seattle to the epic collapse in Indianapolis, the Packers have battled back to put themselves in contention for a second Super Bowl in three years. But is this team really Super Bowl-caliber?

The last time the Packers won the Super Bowl, they were decimated by injuries but Aaron Rodgers carried the team on his back all the way to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas. It was a season to remember, and there are certainly some similarities between the 2010 Packers and this 2012 team.

In the Packers’ first preseason game, starting middle linebacker Desmond Bishop was lost for the season. After Clay Matthews, Bishop may be the Packers’ best defensive player. Second-year player D.J. Smith replaced Bishop in the starting lineup, but he suffered a season-ending injury in week six at Houston.

In total, the 2012 Packers have eight players on injured reserve, including this year’s first-round pick Nick Perry, starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga and starting running back Cedric Benson. Needless to say, the injury bug bit the Packers hard this season.

But through it all, the Packers won the division and played their way to the No. 3 seed in the NFC.

And now, this team is the healthiest its been since the regular season kicked off. Charles Woodson will return to the field this week after suffering a broken collarbone Oct. 21 in St. Louis. Randall Cobb will be back in the lineup as well, giving the Packers their full corps of wide receivers since week four.

Vegas has the Packers at 8/1 odds to win the Super Bowl. They have the third-best odds in the NFC, behind the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots currently have the best odds to win the Super Bowl.

Is this Packers team capable of winning Super Bowl XLVII?

In the format of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, let’s look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half full” or “half empty.”

THE MUG IS HALF FULL

While this team isn’t at full strength by any means, the team that takes the field Saturday night will be arguably the most talented 46-man roster the Packers have put on the field all season.

4

December

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Should Barclay stay at RT?

Packers Beer MugWhen T.J. Lang went down with an injury, the Packers’ offensive line depth was tested.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga was already on the injured reserve with a hip injury, forcing the Packers to turn to undrafted rookie Don Barclay to fill Lang’s shoes. Nicole Richie thinks the Packers are thin on the offensive line.

But fortunately for the Packers, Barclay came in for Lang and filled in admirably at right tackle. Sure, the rookie from West Virginia had his fair share of speed bumps, but overall, he made the most of his opportunity and has earned the respect of his head coach.

Now, Packers coach Mike McCarthy faces a tough decision. Does he think the offensive line is a stronger unit with Evan Dietrich-Smith at left guard, or Barclay at right tackle?

Playing Barclay at right tackle would allow Lang to kick over to his natural position of left guard. Lang and right guard Josh Sitton are one of the league’s best young duos on the interior of the offense line. But as a right tackle, Lang is an average player at best. So, the question is:

Will Barclay remain the Packers starting right tackle?

In the format of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, let’s take a look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half full” or “half empty.”

THE MUG IS HALF FULL

With Lang’s status still up in the air, McCarthy admitted we may be getting ahead of ourselves in considering Barclay as a starting right tackle. The team will learn more about Lang’s injury on Wednesday.

However, the possibility still remains that Barclay could be inserted into the starting lineup.

The Packers are notorious for playing “musical chairs” on the offensive line. Many people disagree with their philosophy of rotating players around into different positions. But McCarthy has always been adamant on putting the best five linemen on the field, and Barclay is at least being considered as one of the top-five right now.

“I thought (Barclay) did a nice job,” McCarthy said. “It’s pretty much what I thought last night when I left here. He went into the game, we tried to protect him a little bit there in the 2-minute drive. Then really at halftime we made some protection adjustments – not really adjustments – which way we were going to lean on in the second half.”

24

November

Who Should Packers Fans Root For: Vikings or Bears? (with Podcast)

Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears

Vikings or Bears?

With many NFC North divisional games approaching, I thought this might be a good opportunity to ask an intriguing question about this weekend’s matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears:  Who do most Packers fans typically want to win this game?  Let’s pretend that we’re in the land of make believe and that the natural answer of “neither” is not an option.

Listen in using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

 

Bear Down or Skol Vikings??

It would seem logical to think that the largest determiner is “which scenario helps the Packers most?”  Obviously, the Bears are closest to the Packers in the divisional standings so it would seemingly benefit Green Bay more if the Vikings were to win.  The Bears are the better team of the two as long as they have a healthy Jay Cutler at quarterback.  They pose the bigger threat to the Packers’ chances of winning the division and with no guarantee of a wild card spot, getting into the playoffs at all.

Another argument could be made that the Vikings are already having a much better season than most thought and the Packers don’t want to have to contend with a hot Minnesota team when they finally meet in two weeks.  Minnesota is still over .500 and has shown that they can play with any team on any given day.  I cite their impressive win over the San Francisco 49ers earlier this season who, at the time, were undefeated and playing better than any other team at that point.  The Vikes have also swept the Detroit Lions already this season.

Matchup-wise, the Bears still seem to pose the biggest challenge for Green Bay.  The Bears defense is channeling their inner “Packers of 2009-2011” and taking the ball away at an astonishing rate this season.  They would give the Packers a dose of their own medicine if they were to seal a key victory with a turnover.  The Chicago defense is scoring almost as many points as their offense is and the offense hasn’t exactly been horrible when Cutler is behind center.  The Packers have faced the Bears already and fared well in that game so Green Bay knows they can go toe-to-toe with the Chicago.

9

April

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: The Catch and Release of Mike Neal?

Packers Beer MugYesterday afternoon, our fellow blogger in crime Zach Kruse shared an interesting bit of information over at CheeseheadTV.com. Apparently some Green Bay Packers sources indicated to Pro Football Weekly that they “will not be shocked in the least if the team releases injury-prone DE Mike Neal after the draft.”

Neal’s recent violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy earned him a four-game suspension to start the 2012 season, and this has most likely put him on the short list in the mind of Ted Thompson. Of course, this is also just adding to the fact that, due to injuries, Mike Neal has only been active for 9 games in his first two years as a pro football player. And in only 3 of those games did he actually record a tackle.

A lot of fans have been hailing him as the second coming of Justin Harrell, though perhaps a bit prematurely. Now, though, it seems he also has a little bit of Johnny Jolly in him, too.

This is not the way to start an NFL career, especially one that carried so much promise (or “potential”) with it. Mike Neal is a second-round draft pick who showed some good flashes of ability in training camp, but not much else. A decent number of fans have already called for his release, and I’m sure they’re happy with this recent news from Pro Football Weekly. Yet the question remains:

Will Mike Neal play for the Green Bay Packers in 2012?

In this installment of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, we’ll take a look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half empty” or “half full.”

THE MUG IS HALF FULL

If the situation with former Packers defensive end Justin Harrell is any indicator, Ted Thompson will ride out the prospect of Mike Neal until there is simply no hope left.

While Neal’s situation is different in many ways from what Harrell went through, the similarities are enough to help us draw some conclusions about what Thompson will do. Both missed significant playing time due to injury despite the potential that came with their draft status. (Harrell was selected in the 1st Round of the 2007 NFL Draft at the 16th overall pick, while Neal was taken as the 56th overall pick in the 2nd Round of the 2010 draft.)

2

April

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: The Future of Nick Collins

Packers Beer MugToday is the day – the day when Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins should receive his medical recommendation on whether he can play again the NFL.  After going through a battery of tests in New York this past week, he will finally have the information to start making a decision about his future.

It was Week 2 of last season when Packers fans held their breath as Nick Collins lay still on the turf. The injury seemed minor at first. Collins had stretched himself out to tackle an oncoming Jonathan Stewart when his head collided with the running back’s leg. He felt some numbness in his limbs but fortunately did not suffer any level of paralysis.

Tests would later show that he had a herniated disk between the C-3 and C-4 vertebrae. Collins underwent cervical fusion surgery on Sep. 29, a procedure where the disk is removed and replaced with a bone graft that fuses the vertebrae together over time.

Quarterback Peyton Manning underwent the same surgery less than a month earlier.

Regardless of what information Nick Collins receives today, Mike McCarthy made it apparent that this would just be the start of the decision to return or retire, not the conclusion.

“I anticipate that [the doctors] are going to say it’s a very positive report because I know they felt good about the surgery,” said McCarthy at the NFL owners meeting in Florida last week. “To me, that’s really the first step. Then our doctors have to get involved and we’ll all sit down and talk to Nick and see where Nick is, so it will be a process that we’ll go through.”

Since his injury about 6 months ago, the big question on the mind of Packer Nation has been: Will Nick Collins return to playing football with the Green Bay Packers?

In this installment of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, we’ll take a look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half empty” or “half full.”

THE MUG IS HALF FULL

According to Mike McCarthy, the tests for Nick Collins have been “very positive” up to this point. There stands a good chance that spinal surgeon Dr. Frank Cammisa will return with news that Collins’ chances for serious injury are minimal, or at least no greater than for any football player in his position.

13

September

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Defending The Reputation

Packers Beer MugFor a team that finished second in fewest points allowed per game last season, the Green Bay Packers defense seemed out of sync in the 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints. The defending Super Bowl champions picked up where they left off on offense, but the defense that was once instrumental in closing out playoff games allowed Drew Brees to pick them apart for 419 passing yards and three touchdowns.

While the game was certainly exciting to watch, it left some Packers fans wondering whether or not the defense could become a liability this year. (At least in the face of a high octane offense like the Saints.)

We must then ask ourselves:

Will the defense be able to recreate its success from last year, or are they taking a step backwards?

In bringing back our “Packers Beer Mug Perspective” series for another season, we’ll take a look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really half empty or half full.

THE MUG IS HALF FULL

Yes, the Packers defense seemed out of sorts at times during Thursday night’s season opener. Despite starting out strong by forcing and recovering a fumble, they did little to stop Brees and company from moving the ball down the field. The Saints only punted twice the entire game, scoring on 5 of their 10 possessions.

Hidden in those facts, however, lie some important distinctions.

First and foremost is that Green Bay’s defense is a “bend but don’t break” unit. They will give up yardage on a drive, but more often than not they will stop the opponent from getting into the end zone. Last year, the Packers ranked 1st in Opponent Red Zone Scoring Attempts per Game and 2nd in Opponent Touchdowns per Game, meaning they forced offenses to settle for punts and field goal attempts.

While they did allow New Orleans to score three offensive touchdowns, they also forced them to settle twice for field goals. By comparison, the Packers’ offense never had to settle for a field goal and was 4-for-4 in red zone attempts.

Plus, you have to remember that the defense made two gigantic stops in the second half.

With 3:10 remaining in the third quarter, Saints head coach Sean Payton decided to go for a fourth down conversion on the Packers’ 7-yard line. With only one yard to go, they dialed up a play-action pass in an effort to catch the defense off guard.