2

June

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

I had an idea for a new Packers offseason gameshow while driving home from work today.

The first nine years of my adult life I had a job where I took a city bus to work. It was nice to not burn gas and spend half my salary on parking, but I always had to stay alert so I wouldn’t get stabbed. There are some, ahem, interesting people that rode the city bus on my route.

Now I have a job where I drive 30 minutes to work, in my own car. Yes, I’m burning gas (free parking, thankfully), but I don’t have to worry about getting stabbed. This frees up my brain and allows me to think of all kinds of silly things, like my idea for a Packers offseason gameshow.

I’ve already filmed the pilot episode, and am ready to share the transcript with all of you today. I brought back the ghost of Richard Dawson to host my show, mainly because I crack up whenever I see old Family Feud episodes when Dawson tries to make out with all the female contestants.

The name of the show is Will Johnny Jolly Play for the Packers Before…

Enjoy.

Richard Dawson: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to everyone’s favorite new favorite game show! The object of the game is to guess if Johnny Jolly will play a regular season snap for the Packers before another player currently on the Packers roster. It sounds confusing, but it’s not.

Even people who read Packers blogs should be able to understand it and play along at home. Let’s get started.

Female Contestant No. 1: I’m ready, Richard.

(Dawson leans in and gets a smooch)

Dawson: Will Johnny Jolly play a regular season snap for the Packers before running back James Starks?

Female Contestant No. 1: Oh, that’s a tough one. I wish Jolly participated in OTAs this week so we at least knew what kind of shape he’s in. But the injury-prone Starks could be on the chopping block with with Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin on the team. I’m going to say yes, Jolly will play for the Packers before Starks because Starks won’t make the team.

Dawson: That’s a logical answer. Time will tell if you’re right. And if you are right, you win an even longer kiss from me!

11

October

Packing the Stats: Executed Play Total and the Magic Number

Packing the Stats - Green Bay Packers

Packing the Stats

I love a good podcast. Despite being a music teacher, I have started listening to music less and less on long drives and commutes to and from work. Instead, I turn my iPod to the latest episodes of Green & Gold Today, Packers Transplants, Cheesehead Radio, and The Aaron Rodgers Show. While these are all Packers-centric shows, there is one podcast that I listen to religiously for some NFL perspective from outside the Green Bay “community”: The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons.

For those who might not know, Bill Simmons is the editor-in-chief of Grantland.com, an ESPN-affiliated website covering sports and pop culture. His podcast, The B.S. Report, debuted in 2007 and has been one of ESPN’s most downloaded podcasts. He frequently welcomes a variety of guests, though my favorites include comedian “Cousin Sal” Iacono and Football Outsider’s Aaron Schatz.

I also enjoy the appearances by Michael Lombardi, who speaks with a lot of experience from the executive side of the NFL. He worked for five teams over a span of 20 years before settling into a role of TV analyst and sportswriter. Lombardi has made a couple of appearances on The B.S. Report so far this season, but one in particular keeps ringing in my ears as the Packers struggle to find their offensive “identity.”

The podcast aired on September 10th, the Monday after the Green Bay Packers’ opening season loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Obviously, the game was one of the biggest of the weekend, and it really set a tone for both franchises going forward. The frustrating part for Packers fans is that the things discussed by Lombardi and Simmons are still maddeningly pertinent going into the sixth week.

“If I’m a Packers fan,” commented Simmons, “my team had nine months to improve all the things we didn’t do in that playoff game, and yet we’re back to square one again. Is that fair?”

Michael Lombardi then replied with some interesting insight into his approach to analyzing games: “Yeah, and I think this. One of the things I do every Monday morning when I come in here is I always look at – this is a Bill Parcells thing – is you always look at rushes and completions. So you take the rushing totals, and you take the completed pass totals, and you add those two numbers together. . . and it helps you determine execution of your football team. So if you have, for example, 30 completed passes and 25 runs, that’s 55, and the number to win is anything over 51. So when you’re Green Bay, for example, and you can’t get any running game, it’s tough to complete 45 passes in a game against anybody. And it’s tough to drop back that many times.”

21

September

Week 3 Packers Stock Report: Starks and Raji on the Rise, Walden Falling

James Starks enters the rising category in the Packers Week 3 stock report.

Welcome to the Week 3 Packers stock report, an idea so popular that Bill Simmons and ESPN stole it. Everyone at AllGreenBayPackers.com is pleased to provide content ideas to ESPN as long as we are properly compensated. I’m sure the higher-ups at the Worldwide Leader are cutting a check to Jersey Al right now.

Speaking of copy cats, it’ll be interesting to see how long offensive coordinators have success copying the Saints and Panthers offensive game plans against the Packers. Drew Brees and Cam Newton racked up 851 passing yards on the Packers in the first two weeks, mainly by utilizing the TE, dumping passes to RBs that sneak away from pass protection, and mixing in bombs down the field.

That’s cause for concern, but I still think the defense will be fine for several reasons:

  • The Packers have played over half of the young season without Tramon Williams, their best cover corner. If he returns and QBs continue completing passes at will, then I’ll worry.
  • Yes, the Packers are giving up too many yards, but they’re getting sacks, turnovers and preventing TDs in the red zone — all things you need to do to be considered a good defense in today’s NFL.
  • B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Williams are legit studs. Not many defenses have four legit studs that can cover up other weaknesses.

The injury to Nick Collins doesn’t help matters, but there’s a reason the Packers signed Charlie Peprah to an extension. He stepped up last year and needs to do it again.

This is the first stock report without Aaron Rodgers in the rising category. Rodgers played well against the Panthers, but not well enough to earn another spot in the rising category. Donald Driver gets a spot this week just because he’s Donald Driver.

The Packers stock report welcomes James Jones back to the falling category. Erik Walden also joins the ranks of the falling, along with a special appearance from Fox’s NFL coverage.

Rising

James Starks
It’s time to turn the keys of the Packers running game over to James Starks and let him drive. Ryan Grant has looked decent coming back from a serious ankle injury, but Starks is by far the better RB right now. I’m not saying Mike McCarthy and Rodgers should call 35 runs every game, but both need to do a better job of sensing when Starks and the OL are hot and playcall accordingly. Rodgers seems to recognize this as well.