23

August

Packers vs. Seahawks: A Preseason Game In Name Only

A picture that needs no caption.

The calendar still reads August.  If I’m the Green Bay Packers, I don’t care.

Tonight is just not another preseason game.  For Green Bay, it shouldn’t be a preseason game at all.  Coach Mike McCarthy of course will eventually get his backup players into the game, but since the third preseason game is the closest to a dress rehearsal as you can get in the NFL, McCarthy very well could roll with his starters into the third quarter.

As well he should.

The game tonight at Lambeau Field against the Seattle Seahawks doesn’t count at all in the standings.  The results will have absolutely no bearing on either team making the playoffs.  As long as they both emerge without any major injuries, the game could be considered a win for both sides.

Not for the Packers.  Preseason game be damned, this is war.

There’s no need to sit here and recap the “Fail Mary” game in Seattle last year that ended up costing the Packers a first round bye in the playoffs.  Had the correct call been made, Green Bay (more than likely) would have still faced the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round but at Lambeau Field rather than San Francisco.

No matter how much McCarthy or the players said otherwise, that “loss” to Seattle had to sting all season long.  The coach and his players did an admirable job in public, but that kind of situation just has to sting a locker room.  Imagine being passed over on a promotion at work because someone read your resume wrong. You’d be upset for a long time, wouldn’t you?

The Packers went on to win six of their next seven games and still won the division and made the playoffs.  Still, you can’t help but wonder what might have been.

Never before did I think it possible that a preseason game could set the tone for the regular season, but the game tonight against the Seahawks very well could.  This summer everyone has been going gaga over Seattle and second year quarterback Russell Wilson and the Packers have largely been ignored except when former players open their mouths about the leadership of the best quarterback in the league.

8

July

After Further Review: Fail Mary Full Of Disgrace

Lancy Easley book "Making the Call"

Former NFL replacement referee Lance Easley’s book hits the stands on August 1st

Just when we had moved on to the 2013 NFL season and were inching further away from the disaster that was dubbed “Fail Mary” last season, shock waves hit Twitter this past weekend.  OK, maybe shock waves is a bit of an exaggeration-unless you’re a Green Bay Packers fan.

It was announced that NFL replacement referee Lance Easley, who infamously awarded a game-winning touchdown to Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate at the end of last year’s Monday Night Football contest against the Packers, has written a book entitled “Making the Call” and it goes on sale starting August 1st.

While Easley’s blown call was what ultimately led to the end of the NFL’s lockout of the regular refs, it obviously came at a cost to both the Packers and the NFL.  Who knows what would have become of Green Bay’s 2012 season had the right call been made and had the Packers left Seattle with the win.

As we know, Easley had no previous experience as a professional referee prior to that game.  He had done some high school and lower division college games and no one knew who he was.  That all changed in the blink of an eye and apparently Easley intends to ride the wave of that fame (infamy, really) all the way to the bank.  Ironically, his day job is as an Executive with Bank of America.  I’m sure many are hoping that he won’t have the luxury of quitting that job and living off of the royalties from the sale of his book.

The book has caused some blood-boiling, judging by the reaction on Twitter from fans and media alike.  While there is uproar among Packers fans and around the NFL, it seems to be another story in Seattle.  A while back, there were rumors that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had invited Easley to be a guest at his celebrity softball game, which took place this past Sunday.  Those rumors were proven true when images of Easley posing with Seahawks players surfaced after the event.  Here is one in particular that ESPN tweeted:

26

December

Packers Stock Report: Bring on the Seahawks Edition

Sam Shields

Packers CB Sam Shields is on the rise.

I’m writing this week’s Packers stock report while watching the Seahawks destroy the 49ers. After the Seahawks went up 14-0, my wife said that she hopes the Packers do not have to play the Seahawks in the playoffs.

I threatened to take back her Christmas present for uttering such nonsense. I want to play the Seahawks and I want to play them bad. I want to play them right now. Screw the Vikings. Bring on the Seahawks.

Beating the Seahawks in the playoffs would make me giddy. Every Packers fan should want to play the Seahawks again and beat the s**t out of them.

The Seahawks’ attitude after Fail Mary was a disgrace. Plus, Pete Carroll has always been a disgrace and it would be really sweet to beat him.

A Packers vs. Seahawks playoff matchup is what makes football awesome.

I’m getting all fired up just thinking about it. I need to calm down.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
Welcome back to the rising category, sir. Please stay a while. At least through the first Sunday in February.

Sam Shields
Who put a quarter in Sam Shields? He’s like my little nieces and nephews when it’s time to open Christmas presents, all fired up and just attacking everything in sight. This aggression and emotion was nowhere to be found last season. Just like it makes me smile to see my little nieces and nephews tear into their presents, seeing Shields make picks and get to the QB on blitzes also makes me grin from ear to ear.

James Jones
Just another game with a touchdown from Jones. I’m not sure what else there is to say about Jones this season.

Steady

Mike Neal
A pass-rushing threat from the defensive line? This would be the ultimate Packers Christmas present. If you have any tape left over from wrapping Christmas presents, drop it off at Lambeau. The Packers need it to tape up Neal so he stays healthy the rest of the season. (ok, I’m done with the Christmas references now. Promise.)

Brad Jones
How about some love for Brad Jones? He made a few nice sticks at the goal line against the Bears and was tough again against the Titans. Brad Jones at middle linebacker…who woulda thought…

24

December

This is a Very Likable Packers Team

DuJuan Harris

DuJuan Harris is one of the players that makes this a very likable Packers team.

As I was watching the Packers 55-7 win over the Titans on Sunday, I realized that this is the most likable Packers team I’ve seen in a long time.

Of course, it’s the Packers. I’ll like the Packers no matter what. You could make Bernie Maddoff the quarterback and Dick Cheney head coach and I’d still bleed green and gold.

But this team is just really likable. Every category of likability is covered.

There’s Aaron Rodgers, the golden-boy MVP quarterback. Super talented, open with fans, funny, intense, exciting to watch, confident…I could go on and on…

There’s Mike McCarthy, the coach who seems to have a knack for guiding his teams through injury and adversity. McCarthy also isn’t one of those annoying fake tough guy, look-at-me kind of coaches (see: Schwatz, Jim and Carroll, Pete). He also doesn’t completely blow off the media, and every now and then gives us great lines like “We’re nobody’s underdog,” or “Self-pity is a waste of time, it’s a wasted emotion.”

There’s a young secondary that keeps getting better. Every likable team needs players that people do not know much about, but play so well that people are forced to care as the season progresses. That’s what’s happening with Casey Hayward, Jerron McMillian, Sam Shields and M.D. Jennings.

There’s Jermichael Finley and Mike Neal. Even likable teams need guys that fans can yell at incoherently and then cheer for when they make a good play. That’s Finley for sure. Neal has also received his share of scorn, but has played well lately. Consider guys like Finley and Neal the team punching bags. When Packers fans need to let off some steam, yelling about these two usually does the trick.

There’s James Jones. Every likable team needs a guy that went from punching bag to breakout player.

There’s Charles Woodson and Donald Driver. Yeah, their contributions have been minimal, but every likable team needs a veteran or two past his prime to pull for. I think most Packers fans understand that Driver and Woodson likely won’t contribute much the rest of the way, but deep down, we’re all hoping to see them get out there and have one last moment of glory.

There’s Clay Matthews. Because he does stuff like this.

25

September

Green Bay Packers Deserve The Victory They Earned

Packers vs. Seahawks "Fail Mary"

The Packers earned a victory and nothing less.

These last 24 hours have been so surreal, I don’t think my adrenaline has stopped pumping at full blast since before kickoff. Time seemed to slow down as I waited in intense anticipation for the Green Bay Packers to take on the Seattle Seahawks in what I figured to be a great football game.

Could I have been more wrong?

It started off with Aaron Rodgers and his offensive line giving up eight sacks in the first half. Eight! Then, the previously contained passing game of Russell Wilson fired off a long touchdown, with errors in the secondary. I was so livid, I could have screamed bloody murder. The game plan for the offense was all wrong, and the defense was briefly exposed by a rookie quarterback.

But I persevered and stayed to watch the second half. Fortunately, Mike McCarthy finally realized the error of his ways and made offensive adjustments that started to get the chains moving.  Things were looking up.

And then it all came crashing down with the officiating. I don’t need to go into the details, because I’m sure we’ve all read about as much as we’re capable of today.

Yet, even after the “Fail Mary,” things continued to get my blood boiling. Watching the Packers have to trot back out as slaughtered lambs to play the extra point. Hearing Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson talk about how well they performed at the end to get the win. Seeing the response by the NFL in support of the final touchdown call.

The icing on the cake, though, goes to all those Packers fans and Packers haters who seem to think the Packers should have won despite the officiating.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?

I actually visited this issue after the Packers-Cardinals 2009 playoff game, when missed calls seem to cost Green Bay the overtime win. Here’s a little bit of what I said:

Now let me get this out of the way before I continue: I make no excuses for the Green Bay Packers and the way they played this game. Each team earned their score going into overtime, and if the Packers would have secured the ball better in the first quarter and played better on defense, then perhaps they wouldn’t have been in that situation.