Category Archives: Al Harris
It’s finally here. The weekend many of us Packers bloggers and fans have been waiting for: Throwback Weekend! No clue what I am talking about? Look here for all the details from our friends at CheeseheadTV.
Lost amongst all the hype for the festivities is that there is an actual game to be played at Lambeau Field on Sunday! The 5-0 defending world champion Green Bay Packers take on the 0-4 St. Louis Rams. The Packers will be wearing their 1929 throwback jerseys that they wore against the 49ers last season, hence why it is called “Throwback Weekend.”
Last Week in Review
The Packers got off to sluggish start against the Atlanta Falcons on national television, trailing 14-6 at the half. After the break however, the defense came alive and Aaron Rodgers kept doing his thing as the Packers shut out Atlanta in the second half and won 25-14. Rodgers completed 26 of 39 for 396 yards and two touchdowns while throwing to 12 (12!) different receivers.
The Rams mercifully had their bye week.
Rams players to watch
QB Sam Bradford
With the arrival in the offseason of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, it was expected that he would take Bradford’s game to the next level after his stellar rookie season a year ago.
We’re still waiting.
Bradford has all the tools. He’s smart, he’s accurate, and he’s poised. Of course, no quarterback can put up big numbers while on their back.
Tracking the free agent status of Packers released this offseason, with the exception of Al Harris, who was released during the 2010 season.
UPDATE: Martin and the New York Giants agreed to a one-year contract on Monday, August 15.
The Packers released Martin on March 3.
Despite being an important special teams contributor, the Packers let go of Martin early in the offseason. Injuries likely played into the decision, as Martin suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Washington Redskins.
Little has surfaced about team’s potential interest in Martin, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t find a team for 2011.
The Packers released Poppinga on July 29.
UPDATE: Poppinga has reportedly agreed to a deal with the St. Louis Rams and was observing Rams practice on Tuesday night. He should get a chance to start at outside linebacker for St. Louis.
Much like Tauscher, Poppinga had similar factors working against him.
At 32 years old and coming off an ACL injury, Poppinga was due $2.34 million in 2011. For a guy that was going to be a backup and play primarily on special teams, that price tag was way too rich for the Packers liking.
He was also miscast in the Packers 3-4 defense, and he’ll likely look to team that runs the 4-3 as his next destination. Poppinga visited the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, but there was no word if a contract had been put in place.
Since we took a look at the Packers offense and Steelers defense the other day, let’s “do the Favre” and flip flop.
In part two, we’ll be looking at the matchup between Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers offense against Clay Matthews and the Green Bay Packers defense. While to some it may not be intriguing as the opposite matchup, this battle still obviously play a big role into which team walks away with the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night.
Pittsburgh Steelers offense
Much like the Packers, most of the attention on the offensive side of the ball for the Steelers is focused on their quarterback.
Roethlisberger, who missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension for his alleged role in a potential sexual assault case, plays a game very similar to the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.
Oh, and with a couple notable differences: Big Ben is a bigger player and more powerful. Where Rodgers will burn you with pure finesse, Roethlisberger will beat you sheer power and brawn. In a situation where Rodgers will slide, Roethlisberger will barrel over a cornerback to get those precious few extra yards.
When you throw in the fact that he is a relative accurate quarterback, you find that Roethlisberger is one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. He has won two Super Bowls already and will be trying for his third in seven years against the Packers on Sunday. I also don’t have to remind Packer fans that Big Ben is also the toughest in the clutch. If the Steelers have the ball down by less than a touchdown with only two minutes or so to play in the game, Packer Nation ought to be sweating bullets.
The Packers enter the playoffs as the number six seed, but in a conference that features a 7-9 division champion, any team could come out of the NFC and head to Super Bowl XLV.
The first stop for the Packers on the road to Dallas is in Philadelphia for an encore match against the Eagles. In the first game of the regular season, the Packers beat the Eagles 27-20 after knocking then-starting quarterback for the Eagles Kevin Kolb out of the game and giving Michael Vick the opportunity to write one of the great comeback stories in NFL history.
Looking back at that game, the Packers had the Eagles well under control until Vick came into the game. He nearly led the Eagles back, but a couple well-timed sacks stopped the comeback just short and the Packers held on the victory.
With an entire week to game plan for Vick, will the Packers fare better against the elusive Eagles quarterback?
Breaking down the Eagles
Vick carried the Eagles this season. You can’t argue any other way.
In a season where coach Andy Reid was under the microscope after dealing Donovan McNabb away within the division, Vick played brilliantly and leads an incredibly explosive offense. With Vick’s dual running and passing threat, the Packers will have their hands full with No. 7.
Green Bay Packers 31, Minnesota Vikings 3. AT the Metrodome. Brett Favre considering early retirement (even if it was in a joking manner). Brad Childress pushed to the brink of unemployment. Vikings fighting amongst themselves and totally humiliated. For Packers fans, does it get any sweeter than this?
Well, let’s find out.
Submitted for your approval (or disapproval), here are my picks for the top five most satisfying Packers victories of the last decade:
5. Packers 42, Seahawks 20, January 12, 2008 NFC Divisional Playoffs
Ah, the “Snow Globe Game.” Also Favre’s final victory as a Packer.
The game started off poorly with two fumbles by Ryan Grant and the Seahawks, led by former Packers coach Mike Holmgren and former Packers backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, jumping out to an early 14-0 lead. It looked like the postseason struggles of the Mike Sherman regime had spilled over to successor Mike McCarthy. Or maybe not.
Favre played his last truly great cold weather game and Packers offense exploded to lead the team to a 42-20 victory. Grant more than made up for his early mistakes and carried the ball very well in a heavy snowstorm.
Unfortunately, we all know how that season ended.
4. Packers 34, Raiders 7, December 22, 2003
No matter how much you may despise Favre right now this game still likely will bring a tear to your eye.
I just finished arguing with my dad about Brad Childress. My dad blames all of the Vikings’ problems on Childress. I am not a Childress defender, but I contend that blaming Childress for all of the Vikings’ problems is a convenient way for the players, many of whom are considered among the best at their respective positions, to not take responsibility for their ineptitude.
My dad says that it is up to the coach to get the most out of his players, and that if the players underperform, it is the coach’s fault and he should be fired. I think that’s letting multi-millionaire players off the hook a little too easy, but both of us are technically right. Of course, the whole argument got me thinking about the Packers and Mike McCarthy.
I’ve taken my shots at McCarthy for his playcalling this season. I was also critical of his decision to go for the touchdown on 4thand goal from the 1-yard line against the Redskins. It is common for people to criticize the coach for his playcalling or in-game decisions. It happens all the time and it comes with the territory for any coach.
Sometimes criticisms are made using rational arguments backed up by research and a deep knowledge of the game of football. Sometimes they are made by rubeshaving emotional overreactions. Second-guessing playcalls and in-game decisions is easy (and fun!). The whole world sees what happens on the field, either in real-time or after the fact, and offers an opinion on whether it was a good or bad decision.