7

November

Packers Fans Should Blame Injuries, Not Ted Thompson

Clay Matthews towel

How easy is it for Ted Thompson to replace talent at this level?

I feel like I’m listening to a broken record. Except when this record plays, it’s only after the Green Bay Packers lose a game. For some strange reason, I never hear this record after wins. So it’s been a while that this song has played. The Packers won four straight games before losing to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Throw a bye week in there, and it’s been rather blissful for a good solid month.

But now the axe-grinding fans are crawling back out of the woodwork to lambast Ted Thompson for putting together a weak roster.

The last time I addressed this crowd was after the Cincinnati Bengals game, when the Packers blew a gigantic lead to end up losing. While fingers were being pointed in all sorts of directions, there seemed to be few fans dealing sensibly with the problems of the team.

One theme that has persisted between then and now, however, is the injury bug. The Packers have it bad, and it’s starting to cost the team. Yet for some reason, we don’t give this fact its due consideration. Should teams be able to find success beyond their key starters? Absolutely. General managers need to put together a roster that can handle the adversity of a football season. But injuries to enough key players can be crippling.

Take a look at the following names for a moment:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Derek Sherrod
  3. Bryan Bulaga
  4. B.J. Raji
  5. Clay Matthews
  6. A.J. Hawk
  7. Aaron Rodgers

Figure out the common thread yet? Yes, those are all of the Packers’ first round draft picks that are currently on the team’s payroll (listed in reverse chronological order). Now I want you to look back at that list and count the number of players who played a majority of the Packers-Bears game. What do you get?

Yup, two. Out of seven.

That means five first round draft picks were absent from the game on Monday. What do you expect Ted Thompson to do in a situation like this? There aren’t any players wandering around on the streets who can make up for that level of talent. And when one of those players is the highest paid quarterback in the league right now – and arguably one of the best three quarterbacks in the league – then you’ve got a problem on your hands.

4

November

Bears vs. Packers: Keys to the Game

Brandon Marshall
Containing Marshall will be a huge key for the Packers defense

 

It’s Bears week in Green Bay!  The Packers bring a six-game winning streak against the Chicago Bears to Lambeau Field for their only appearance on Monday Night Football this season.  The Bears are coming off of their bye week and are trying to tread water through the loss of quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs.

While both teams have been hit hard by injuries this season, the Bears have seemingly had a more difficult time keeping up in the absence of their steadies.

Josh McCown took over at quarterback for Cutler in their loss at Washington a few weeks back and did a decent job.  McCown has over 10 years of total NFL experience and while he doesn’t possess the same arm strength as Cutler, he can efficiently manage the Bears offense.  Under head coach and quarterback guru Marc Trestman, expect McCown to be ready to face the Packers.

Briggs’ absence has been more glaring, as Chicago has turned to many of their rookies to fill in for their defensive captain and signal-caller.  Neither Cutler nor Briggs are likely to play in this contest.

The Bears hold a modest four-game lead in the all time series, at 92-88-6.  Despite how good or bad either of these teams have been over the years, this matchup is usually entertaining.  Divisional games often are.  Let’s break down the keys that will likely showcase this week.

Limit Brandon Marshall & Martellus Bennett

Marshall scoffed at Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel when Silverstein asked him about the relative success that the Packers have had in containing him.  According to Marshall, he has only been limited because of double teams and Green Bay’s schemes against him.   I guess that means Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has done his job during Bears week then.

While Marshall has broken free on a few occasions and finds ways to make plays against double teams, it’s hard to argue that it has hurt Green Bay.  The Packers have only lost once to a team that Marshall was on and that was fluke loss against the Miami Dolphins in 2010.  I remind you all that the Packers still went on to win the Super Bowl that season.

3

November

Packers-Bears Rivalry: A Fan’s Perspective

Bears Packers Rivalry

The Green Bay Packers have finally taken control over their rivalry with the Chicago Bears.

Editor’s Note: A long-time reader and commenter here at AllGreenPackers.com, “Bearmeat” has been kind enough to provide us with his own perspective of the rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Perhaps many of you share a similar view of this storied history…

—–

I’ve been following the Packers since I can remember. My first words were “S#!%! S#!%! S#!%!” which I said to copy my angry father’s words while watching the Packers suck in the early 1980′s. My first Packers memories were the early Lindy Infante teams in the late 80′s. They were bad. I mean… Really. Really. Bad.

I remember thinking before one Packers-Bears games in 1988, “If Green Bay can just win this game, they’ll only be 3 games back in the division and who knows what could happen from there.” They got crushed. The Bears won the division and finished 12-4. The Packers finished dead last at 4-12. Again. I remember watching the Packers lose to the Rich Kotite coached Jets in 1990. In overtime. On a Jeff Query fumbled punt. (The Jets finished 2-14 that year, I believe. We were 6-10.)

My entire youth as a football fan sucked. The Packers sucked. The Badgers sucked. Even my high school football team annually sucked. To put in context how bad the Packers were compared to the well-run organizations at the time, by the time I was 11, the Packers record against their arch rivals (the Bears) was 57-81-6. An atrocious .395 all-time winning percentage.

Then Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, Reggie White, and one Brett Favre showed up in 1992. Since Favre took the reins as Green Bay’s quarterback, the Packers are 31-11 against Chicago. The all-time series is still in the Bears favor, but the record is now only 92-88-6. Let that soak in: the Packers have beaten the Bears 31 times in their past 42 games.

Making matters worse for Bears fans, Green Bay has only had 2 different quarterbacks play in those games: Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Both are destined to be remembered as members of the best 10 to ever play the position. Both will be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on their first ballot. Meanwhile the Bears have had 22 quarterbacks play for them in that same timeframe. (Go here for reference. I’m not going to list them all, but suffice it to say not many of the names exactly passes the “Who?” test.)

30

October

Around The NFC North: Week 9

Around the NFC North

A big divisional matchup pits the Bears vs. Packers on Monday Night football in Week 9

At the halfway point in the NFL schedule, the divisional races are starting to legitimize themselves.  The Green Bay Packers earned a road victory over the division rival Minnesota Vikings last week and maintained their lead in the NFC North.  The Detroit Lions eeked out a last-second win at home over the Dallas Cowboys after some heroics by quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Chicago Bears had a bye last week and now look forward to preparing for a Monday night showdown against the Packers at Lambeau Field.  The Vikings will head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys and the Lions have their bye this week.  That leaves just two games within the Black n’ Blue division to review.

Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4)

The Cowboys have to be reeling after suffering a heart-breaking loss on the game’s final play in Detroit.  Dallas now holds a very modest one-game lead in the NFC East and with just two games separating them and last place (New York Giants).  On paper, this looks like a good opportunity for the Cowboys to get back on track.

The Vikings continue to struggle in nearly every phase of the game, save for special teams.  With lingering quarterback issues, Minnesota’s season is quickly going down the drain and there were serious trade rumors floating around about top defensive end Jared Allen prior to the deadline this week.  Christian Ponder was re-inserted as the starter last week against the Packers and was just 14 of 21 in passing with no touchdowns.  On several of his throws, NBC analyst Chris Collinsworth was pointing out obvious reads that Ponder flat-out missed.  When Josh Freeman is cleared to play again, I would assume he will take over the starting duties.

In Dallas, they have some problems of their own.  Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was very animated towards his coaches and teammates during Sunday’s game.  While most have come forward and said that it was a healthy display of passion and desire to win by Bryant, the facial expressions and body language suggested sheer frustration.

A loss to Minnesota would be a huge setback to the Cowboys quest to win the East.  The following week, Dallas plays at New Orleans on Monday night.  After that, the Cowboys have their bye and then games at the Giants and home against the Raiders.  Dallas should win three of their next four, but “should” and “will” are not always friends.

22

October

Packers vs. Bears will be a battle of the bruised and battered

Packers LB Clay Matthews will be one of many players in street clothes when the Packers play the Bears on Monday Night Football in a few weeks.

I know the Packers play the Vikings this week and we shouldn’t be looking ahead to the Nov. 4 Monday Night Football game against the Bears, but I can’t help myself. The number of talented players that might be watching that game from the sideline or on TV because of injuries is staggering.

Suddenly, the Black and Blue division has turned into the Broken Bones and Torn Ligaments division.

Likely/definitely out for the Packers (and their 2012 stats):

  • LB Clay Matthews (43 tackles, 13 sacks)
  • WR Randall Cobb (80 catches, 954 yards, 8 TDs)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (61 catches, 667 yards, 2 TDs)

Possibly out for the Packers:

  • LB Brad Jones (77 tackles, 2 sacks)
  • CB Casey Hayward (48 tackles, 6 interceptions)
  • WR James Jones (64 catches, 784 yards, 14 TDs)

Likely/definitely out for the Bears:

  • QB Jay Cutler (3,033 yards, 19 TDs)
  • LB Lance Briggs (102 tackles, 2 interceptions)
  • DT Henry Melton (43 tackles, 6 sacks)

Possibly out for the Bears:

  • CB Charles Tillman (85 tackles, 10 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions)

Let’s assume all of those players don’t play. Now let’s add up their 2012 numbers and combine them with each player’s 2013 statistics. This is what would be sitting on the sidelines during a marquee Monday Night divisional game.

  • 4,691 passing yards
  • 67 TDs (31 passing, 31 receiving, 5 defensive)
  • 279 catches for 3,432 yards (12.3 ypc)
  • 498 tackles
  • 28.5 sacks
  • 25 forced fumbles
  • 5 interceptions

And the NFL wants to add more regular season games, expand the playoffs, and possibly play a doubleheader on Thursday night.

Makes total sense to me.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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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

November

Around the NFC North in Week 11

Around the NFC North

Around the NFC North in week 11

Week 11 brings about some intriguing plotlines around the NFC North.  The Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers both lost their starting quarterbacks for portions of this past Sunday’s game.  The Green Bay Packers finally see a divisional opponent in old foe the Detroit Lions.  The Minnesota Vikings have their bye this week after beating the Lions to complete the sweep in that series.  Here is a breakdown of the two matchups in the Black & Blue division this week.

Chicago Bears (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1)

The storyline in this Monday Night Football contest is that in this past week’s game, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler were both knocked out with a concussion.  Each missed the entire second half of their game.  Both Smith and Cutler will go through the league-mandated concussion protocol and need to be cleared before resuming football activities.

As of Wednesday, it was being reported that Smith was cleared to resume play and is expected to start on Sunday.  If Smith can’t go for some reason, he would be replaced by Colin Kaepernick.  The Bears have not yet commented on their expectations for Cutler’s status this week.  Cutler’s backup is Jason Campbell.  In such a crucial matchup, this is a situation to monitor as the week goes on.

Before last Sunday’s game (and besides mop up duty), Campbell had appeared for just one snap in an October 22nd game against the Detroit Lions.  Cutler was viciously taken down by Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh and came out for just one play before returning.

The San Francisco 49ers were involved in the first tie game since the 2008 season as they locked up with division rival St. Louis Rams.  Tie games are always interesting when it comes to the standings and San Francisco is currently behind both the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears in the NFC.

San Francisco’s strength is their defense and superior play that they are getting from their front seven.  Pro Bowler Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman lead one of the most disruptive linebacking units in the NFL along with defensive linemen Justin Smith and Aldon Smith.  It was Aldon Smith’s sack late in the overtime period that kept the Rams out of field goal range and drained valuable clock.