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.

6

October

Packers vs. Lions – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 22 DET 9

Ndamukong Suh tripping Aaron Rodgers

Ndamukong Suh tripping Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions:  2013 Game 4

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

 

GAME NOTES:

The Packers have have had two weeks to stew and get sick of answering questions about play-calling,  injuries, MM-AR relationship and more. They can take the field today and make all of that go away by playing like the better team.

Some great injury news. Morgan Burnett and Clay Matthews are in, Calvin Johnson is out!

Today’s captains for the Packers: - WR James Jones (offense), DL Ryan Pickett (defense) and LS Brett Goode (special teams).

 

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
29 CB Casey Hayward
44 RB James Starks
51 LB Nate Palmer
64 G/C Greg Van Roten
86 TE Brandon Bostick
93 DE Josh Boyd
98 DE C.J. Wilson

Detroit Lions
13 WR Nate Burleson
17 QB Kellen Moore
25 RB Mikel Leshoure
36 CB Jonte Green
64 G Leroy Harris
66 T LaAdrian Waddle
81 WR Calvin Johnson

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Bye Week: Pretty much everybody that went into the bye week injured came back, with exception of Casey Hayward.   Our best week of practice.

Work during Bye Week: because of the rules, there isn’t much you can do with the players, so for them, it’s more a chance to go back home, spend time with family, etc. Gives us as a chance on the coaching staff to get ahead of the curve,

Burnett: Every unit has a key communicator. Morgan is the guy to make sure the front end is tied to the back end.  Safety position is like playing QB in a multi-scheme defense like ours.

Calvin Johnson: Big loss. He’someone you’re aware of in every formation. Thought they were doing a great job of playing him out of the slot position.

Reggie Bush: He’s a play maker running and catching the football. Perimeter screens, middle screens, they’re doing a great job with him. Stafford and Bush really compliment each other.

Stafford: Look at his numbers. People tend to overlook him a little. Schematically, he challenges defenses as much as anybody. Very well coached.

2

May

Around the NFC North: 2013 NFL Draft Edition

Vikings first-round draft pick Shariff Floyd.

Vikings first-round draft pick Shariff Floyd.

The Packers used the 2013 NFL Draft to finally address the running back position and add a much-needed player on the defensive line. What were the Packers division opponents up to in the draft?

Well, two of them used fifth-round selections to take punters and another drafted an offensive lineman in the first round that most analysts pegged as a second or third rounder.

Those were a few of the moves that made people scratch their heads. But it wasn’t all bad in Vikings/Lions/Bears land. Let’s take a trip around the NFC North to see how the Packers’ rivals used the draft to (maybe) close the gap and challenge Green Bay for a division title in 2013.

Minnesota Vikings

The Picks:

1 — Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida
1 — Xaveir Rhodes, CB Florida State
1 — Cordarelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
4 — Gerald Hodges, LB Penn State
5 — Jeff Locke, P UCLA
6 — Jeff Baca, G UCLA
7 — Michael Mauti, LB Penn State
7 — Travis Bond, OG North Carolina
7 — Everett Dawkins, DT Floriday State

The Breakdown:

Just when it looked like the Vikings might be on the right track, they draft a punter in the fifth round. A punter! In the fifth round!

Ok, a fifth-round pick isn’t going to make or break a draft, but c’mon. A punter! In the fifth round!

Until that happened, the Vikings were doing some good things. At first glance, the trade to get a third first-round pick seemed like a horrible idea. Minnesota gave up a lot to move up and pick a receiver, a position you can usually fill later in the draft.

But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. How often do you have a chance to pick three players in the first round? Rarely. General manager Rick Spielman had some extra picks to work with so he was able to make the deal. When the draft was over, the Vikings still ended up with nine players, even after the trade. That’s a fair balance of using several picks to build depth and making a move that is risky, but could pay off.

Despite making the playoffs last season, the Vikings still need to be thinking long-term. I don’t think the trade altered that long-term mindset at all.

19

April

Packers Schedule Analysis: The March to 16-0 (but probably 11-5 or 10-6)

Ryan Pickett

Look how happy Ryan Pickett is about the Packers 2013 schedule being released.

The 2013 NFL schedule was released Thursday night and it included three Sunday night games and a Monday night game for the Green Bay Packers.

You can view the entire Packers 2013 schedule here. You can view the entire NFL 2013 schedule here.

Here’s everything else you need to know about the Packers 2013 schedule (or at least everything I could think of and lift from other people on Twitter):

  •  The Packers once again open the season against the 49ers, this time on the road. We’ll find out right away if Dom Capers has learned how to stop Colin Kaepernick and the read-option.
  • Need an excuse to eat turkey for breakfast? The Packers play the Lions at 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving. I say stuff your face with food early, watch the game, then eat leftovers for dinner.
  • Let’s hope the Packers injury luck is better than last season. Green Bay’s bye comes in week four. That’s early.
  • We’ll find out a lot about the Packers right away. Their first three games are against 2012 playoff teams (@49ers, vs. Redskins and @Bengals).
  • After those first three games, the Packers get a bye, play a non-playoff team (the Lions, who are barely an NFL team, let alone a playoff team) and get right back into the grind with a week six matchup against the Super Bowl champion Ravens.
  • Plenty of variety in kickoff times. The Packers have seven noon games, four night games, four 3:25 p.m. games and 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving.
  • The Packers play three night games in 22 days (Oct. 27 @Vikings, Nov. 4 vs. Bears and Nov. 17 @Giants).
  • There are no back-to-back road games for the Packers.
  • Greg Jennings will return to Lambeau Field wearing a Vikings uniform in week 12 on Nov. 24.
  • The last three games could be brutal for the Packers: @Cowboys, vs. Steelers and @Bears.
  • The last seven Super Bowl champions played the NFC East. The Packers play the NFC East this season. Hmmmm….
  • Based on the schedule, it sounds like Packers training camp will open on Friday, July 26.
  • My wife and I are supposed to have our first child on Oct. 5. It looks like we may have to induce labor during the bye week to ensure that we don’t miss any Packers games.
15

March

Around the NFC North: Making Fun of the Bears, Lions and Vikings

NFC North DivisionIt’s free agency time in the NFL, also known as the the perfect opportunity for Packers fans to take a nap for two weeks.

Sure, it’s been mildly entertaining trying to figure out if the Packers did, or did not, sign Steven Jackson. And it’s been somewhat amusing following Greg Jennings and his mysterious tweets as he navigates the free agency waters, possibly back to the Packers.

But none of those things bring as much joy to my heart as mocking and ridiculing the Packers NFC North opponents for their offseason signings, roster cuts and trades.

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings traded Percy Harvin to Seattle for a first round draft pick and a couple other draft picks. They also cut veteran defensive back Antoine Winfield and resigned right tackle Phil Loadholt.

Isn’t it cute how Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is trying to act like Ted Thompson? Suddenly the Vikings are all about the draft and getting younger.

Let’s see how long Spielman is able to stick with this philosophy. Remember that the Vikings quarterback is Christian Ponder and owner Zygi Wilf has a new stadium opening in a couple years that he’ll want filled to capacity with drooling rubes in helga horns and goldilocks braids.

What if Ponder continues to stink and the Vikings take a step backward? Is Wilf patient enough to give Spielman enough of a leash and allow this draft and develop philosphy to take shape?

I doubt it.

You know what’s going to be awesome? Watching the Vikings spend the first-rounder they got for Harvin on the next Troy Williamson.

UPDATE: The Vikings signed Matt Cassel after I wrote this, so you know what else is going to be awesome? Hearing those drooling rubes in helga horns and goldilocks braids chanting Cassel’s name after Ponder goes 7-for-16 for 49 yards with two interceptions in the first half of Minnesota’s season opener.

Chicago Bears
The Bears signed left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett. The futures of Brian Urlacher and Israel Idonje remain up in the air.

Pro Football Focus ranked Bushrod 24th among left tackles who started at least 10 games at the position in 2012. Bushrod got a pass blocking rating of     -3.5. For comparison, the Packers Marshall Newhouse got a 5.2.

13

December

ALLGBP.COM Packers Talk Podcast: Packers Tame Lions, Bears Await

Packers Mike Daniels Fumble Recovery TD

Packers Mike Daniels Fumble Recovery TD

Chad, Kris and Marques get together on this podcast to review the Lions game and get you ready for Bears week.  With the Packers winning their 22nd straight regular season home game against the Detroit Lions and the Bears losing, they are in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. A win against the Bears will clinch the division for the Packers

Yes, it’s Bears week!

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Join the writers at AllGreenBayPackers.com for a fast hitting discussion of all things Packers for the current week. There will be plenty of talk about the previous game and a look towards the next. Some regular features are “Game Balls and Lame Calls” and the “Packers Stock Report.”

Tune in for this expanded coverage of the original Packers Stock Report and Game Balls and Lame Calls posts.

Listen 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
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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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12

December

Packers Drive Rewind: 7 Straight Runs Give Packers the Lead

Evan Dietrich-Smith

Evan Dietrich-Smith

Packers Drive Rewind is a new weekly post I hope to do for the rest of the season. That’s the goal, anyway. With the holidays coming up, I might not have time, or I just might forget. You never know.

Anyway, I want to take one key drive from each game and break it down with some film and my own thoughts. I’m not doing this to lecture everyone or prove how much I know about X’s and O’s. I just want to talk football. I did something similar last week.

If you think my observations are off the mark, or you have additional insight to add, please do so in the comments section. We have a lot of very knowledgeable readers on this site and I always enjoy their perspective on some of the more nuanced aspects of the game.

(Note: It’s hard to see numbers on some of the Lions players. My apologies if I mix up a few players.)

Here we go:

The Situation
Fourth quarter. Packers 17, Lions 17. Packers ball on their own 41 with 14:49 to play.

The Result
The Packers run the ball seven consecutive times, capped by a 14-yard touchdown from DuJuan Harris. The powerful drive appeared to demoralize the Lions and the Packers won 27-20. Packers fans tear off their shirts and start posing like Hulk Hogan.

Play 1: Alex Green runs left for 6 yards

Alex Green says, “Give me the ball and let’s get this party started.” Kyle Vanden Bosch slants in, but gets taken out by his own momentum and Marshall Newhouse pushing him down the line. Nice job by Green to recognize this and burst through the hole after John Kuhn got in DeAndre Levy’s way. We’ve seen Green fall over himself or not see similar cuts this season. Watching him burst through a hole is a good sign of progress. Jeff Saturday and Evan Dietrich-Smith manhandle Nick Fairley. I wonder if Saturday was supposed to get off the block and try to pick up Stephen Tulloch (who eventually made the tackle)?

Play 2: Green runs right for 2 yards