6

November

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Bears 27, Packers 20

With the Bears behind them, the Packers will move on without Aaron Rodgers.

With the Bears behind them, the Packers will move on without Aaron Rodgers.

On top of suffering their third loss of the season, which puts the Green Bay Packers in a three-way atop the NFC North, the team lost its unquestioned leader for at least several weeks.

On the game’s first series, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Bears defensive end Shea McClellin. The hit wasn’t violent, but Rodgers was slammed hard into the Lambeau Field sod and reportedly suffered a fractured left collarbone.

Of course, many Packers will point the finger at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn. Last week, McGinn wrote a column suggesting the Packers could win without Rodgers. The article ran Nov. 2–two days prior to Rodgers suffering what he calls a “significant injury.” If you haven’t yet read McGinn’s piece, you should do so.

Now, obviously, losing Rodgers is a tough blow for the Packers. Rodgers probably the best quarterback in the NFL, and Seneca Wallace is a significant downgrade from the 2011 league MVP, but while expectations for the rest of the Packers’ season are different now than they were Monday, the Wallace-led Green Bay Packers aren’t quite the Curtis Painter-led Indianapolis Colts when the Colts were forced to play without injured quarterback Peyton Manning.

In 2006, Manning led the Colts to a 10-6 record. The following year, which Manning missed with a neck injury, the Colts plummeted to 2-14 and “earned” the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. In recent years, losing Rodgers for any amount of time may have been a fatal blow to the Packers’ season.

But now, I’m with McGinn. This Packers team can win without Rodgers.

The team’s newfound offensive balance has been a pleasant addition to the team and will now act as the crutch the team will rely on as they tackle the start of the second half of the season without Rodgers. A hungry Eddie Lacy and healthy James Starks, along with a dramatically improved offensive line have the Rodgers-less Packers offense in a much better place than they’ve been in recent years.

After losing Rodgers to injury Monday, Wallace was clearly not ready game action. This much we know. But with a week of preparation, it’s hard to imagine Wallace turning in anything short of an improved performance Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

4

November

Packers vs. Bears – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: CHI 27 GB 20

Aaron Rodgers injured on this play

Aaron Rodgers injured on this play

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:  2013 Game 8

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

GAME NOTES:

Good news announced just before game time: James Jones is active and will play.

Packers staring outside linebackers tonight are Mike Neal and Andy Mulumba… dramatic pause…

The Packers have won six straight and eight of the last nine meetings against the Bears (including playoffs).

Packers CB Tramon Williams and Bears T Jordan Mills are cousins; both attended Louisiana Tech and Assumption High School in Napoleonville, La. …

 

Tonight’s captains for the Packers: - Jordy Nelson, Tramon Williams, Davon House 

 

Inactives for today:

 

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
10 WR Chris Harper
25 CB James Nixon
52 LB Clay Matthews
53 LB Nick Perry
88 TE Jermichael Finley
93 DE Josh Boyd
98 DE C.J. Wilson

96 Mike Neal will start at OLB in place of Perry; 55 Andy Mulumba will start at OLB in place of Matthews; 81 Andrew Quarless will start at TE in place of Finley.

 

Chicago Bears
6 QB Jay Cutler
19 WR Joe Anderson
55 LB Lance Briggs
78 T/G James Brown
79 T Jonathan Scott
94 DE Cornelius Washington
96 DT Zach Minter

59 Khaseem Greene will start at LB for Briggs; 12 Josh McCown will start at QB for Cutler.

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Mon nightexcitement:  It’s a great atmosphere – Lambeau  under the lights, especially a Monday night

Playing a night game: It’s a long day. got up early, had a team meeting. All our guys are here and ready to go.

Jones: James Jones will play – he wants to go and he;s ready – we’ll see how he feels.  Same for Brad Jones.

Jarett Boykin: He’s a hard worker – does everything right – tough kid making the most of his opportunity.

Good health of two lines: (knocks on wood).

Kick returns: Will start with Micah Hyde, would definitely like to get Johnathan Franklin another opportunity.

Different Bears: with Trestman: Definitely. They’re dynamic schematically on offense.

Josh McCown: He played really well last week. He’s had a long time to get ready for this game. He has experience. This is a very productive offense.

16

December

Packers vs. Bears – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 21 CHI 13

Packers 21 Bears 13, Packers vs. Bears, Packers Bears, Score, Packers Score, Packers Bears score, Packers Bears results, Packers Bears recap, Packers @ Bears, Packers - Bears, Game Day, game results, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, First Impressions

Packers 21 Bears 13, Packers vs. Bears, Packers Bears, Score, Packers Score, Packers Bears score, Packers Bears results, Packers Bears recap, Packers @ Bears, Packers – Bears, Game Day, game results, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, First Impressions

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:

My unfitered game day running blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

Inactive for Packers today: 

21 DB Charles Woodson
44 RB James Starks
56 LB Terrell Manning
80 WR Donald Driver
84 TE D.J. Williams
87 WR Jordy Nelson
98 DE C.J. Wilson

Inactive for Bears today:  

12 QB Josh McCown
26 CB Tim Jennings
54 LB Brian Urlacher
58 LB Geno Hayes
69 DT Henry Melton
80 WR Earl Bennett
99 DE Shea McClellin

 

Game Notes:

Clay Matthews returns to the field today, a huge boost for the Packers’ pass rush. Matthews had 3.5 sacks in the first game against the Bears.

Tim Jennings being out for the Bears is as big, if not a bigger loss than Urlacher being out.

With a win today, Green Bay would clinch their second straight NFC North Title.

———————————————

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Due to some “technical difficulties” WTMJ didn’t have tape of McCarthy’s interview with Wayne Larrivee. But here are some things MM supposedly said.

Matthews will play and they will monitor his progress. Expect him to be a major contributor.

TJ Lang is back at left guard with Don Barclay at right tackle. Josh Sitton will start at RT.

Running game is important but we need to get the perimeter of our offense going  today.

 

———————-

 

Packers vs. Bears – First Impressions – First Half:

Packers win the toss and defer.

I think more than starting the game on defense, MM love having the ball to start the second half.

If the Bears are planning to run like this, I’d much rather see McMillian at S than MD Jennings.

Packers first drive starts on their 2 yard line.

Again, not one short route for Rodgers to find. Has to hold the ball and take a sack.

Nice work by Brad Jones on the outside staying with Forte down the field one-on-one.

12

December

Packers-Bears: Brandon Marshall adds fuel to the fire

Bears WR Brandon Marshall

Bears WR Brandon Marshall

The Packers-Bears rivalry has been going on for 91 years. The Bears have won 92 of those games, the Packers have won 87, and they’ve played to six ties since the rivalry began in 1921.

When the Bears named Lovie Smith head coach in 2004, he clearly stated that his team’s No.1 goal would be to beat Green Bay.

But recently, the Packers have owned the rivalry. Green Bay has won seven of the past eight matchups, including a victory in the NFC Championship at Soldier Field in the 2010 season.

The most recent chapter of the longstanding rivalry was week two this year when the Packers dominated the Bears 23-10 at Lambeau Field. The offense was crisp, and the defense was stellar.

The Green Bay defense was tough against the run and the secondary silenced the Bears’ top receiver–Brandon Marshall.

Marshall caught just two passes for 24 yards in the first meeting. And after the game, Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson were vocal in their assessment of the Bears’ offense, and mainly, quarterback Jay Cutler.

“It’s the same old Jay,” Woodson said after the game. ”We don’t need luck, Jay will throw us the ball. Proof is in the pudding.”

Cutler, of course, publicly wished the Packers’ secondary “good luck” before the two teams met at Lambeau Field. It seems Cutler’s well wishes turned out well for the Packers, as cornerback Tramon Williams caught as many passes from Cutler as Marshall did–two.

And on Wednesday morning, it was clear that there was no love lost between Marshall and the Packers. Tyler Dunne, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentiel, got the scoop from Marshall’s time at the podium.

To that comment, one might ask this question–who really cares who Marshall wants to give the credit to? Dom Capers dialed up the scheme, and the players made it happen. Williams shadowed Marshall for most of the night, and Capers opted to have safety help over the top with either Charles Woodson or Morgan Burnett.

Marshall is the Bears’ only true game-breaker on the perimeter, so what else is Capers supposed to do? From coaching to execution, the Packers did their job. Period.

Oh yeah, and Marshall dropped a wide open touchdown in the game as well. But anyways. What’s next?

18

September

Packers News: Jermichael Finley’s agent criticizes Rodgers

Jermichael Finley and Aaron Rodgers

Jermichael Finley and Aaron Rodgers

During the Packers’ demolition of the Chicago Bears last Thursday, both Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler were caught on camera screaming at their teammates.

Cutler was seen lashing out at left tackle J’Marcus Webb after repeatedly getting beat by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. And for the much-maligned quarterback, it was just another link on a long chain of events in which he’s displayed questionable behavior.

Rodgers, on the other hand, yelled at wide receiver James James after a fourth quarter interception. For the Packers quarterback, the on-field verbal abuse of a teammate was a rarity.

National media outlets have since put both situations under the microscope over the past few days.

ESPN’s Tedy Bruschi chimed in on the so-called “controversy” earlier this week. Bruschi suggested that Cutler’s outburst towards a physical mistake was unnecessary:

“Clay Matthews has beaten many offensive tackles who are a lot better than J’Marcus Webb. So when you get on somebody and embarrass somebody on national TV for getting beat physically, it’s almost like you’re kicking a man when he’s down … It was one man against another, and you lose. You kick him when he’s down, it’s not the right thing to do.”

On the other hand, Bruschi had no problem with Rodgers lashing out at Jones following a miscommunication:

“James Jones made a mental error … That’s when you can get in their grill because they made a poor decision. That justifies any type of criticism you can give them on national TV or not.”

The Rodgers-Jones controversy took an unexpected turn when Blake Baratz, the agent for Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, took to Twitter and criticized Rodgers’s leadership.

After mentioning Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as being great leaders, one of Baratz’s followers asked him why he didn’t mention Rodgers. Baratz replied, “He isn’t a great leader.”

The comments from Baratz were surprising, given that Rodgers’s leadership abilities haven’t been called into question much since taking over as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Despite Baratz insisting that his comments had nothing to do with Finley, his opinion immediately raised questions about the relationship between the outspoken tight end and his quarterback.

Surprisingly, Finley has refrained from  commenting on the situation but did take to Twitter to display his support for Rodgers. Finley tweeted, “”@AaronRodgers12 is our leader, period. … Family can disagree it makes us all stronger.”

14

September

Packers 23, Bears 10: Game Balls and Lame Calls

Clay Matthews sacks Jay Cutler - again and again and again.

Clay Matthews sacks Jay Cutler – again and again and again.

Take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands, pound the ball with Cedric Benson and let the defense rule the day.

Just what everyone expected, right?

Utilizing a rather unorthodox (for them) gameplan, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 23-10 and moved to 1-1 on the season.   The Packers of 2011 played with an offense with so much firepower and a defense that was notorious for bending, but not breaking.

Last night, however, was something out of some kind of mirror universe.  The Packers sacked Jay Cutler seven times (with Clay Matthews accounting for exactly half of them) and intercepted him four times (Tramon Williams accounted for exactly half of those).  The Packers shut down Brandon Marshall and the defense created a Bears meltdown no Packer fan will soon forget.

The offense on the other hand showed some signs of rhythm, but still was nowhere near the juggernaut it was a season ago.  Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times and his receivers continued to be plagued by a case of the drops.

So who stood out? It’s time for another addition of Game Balls and Lame Calls.

 

Game Balls

 

LB Clay Matthews

I think It’s safe to say: the Claymaker is back.

Want proof? Through two games this season, Matthews has accumulated six sacks. His total from all of 2011 was….six. He is currently on pace for 48 sacks though he likely won’t finish with quite that many.

Even when he wasn’t throwing Cutler to the ground, Matthews was blowing up plays. The Packers found a favorable matchup and exploited it.

Looks like Matthews is back in 2010 form

 

CB Tramon Williams

Speaking of returning to form, Williams looks to be recovering nicely from the shoulder injury that plagued him throughout 2011.

Not only did he pickoff Cutler TWICE, he shut down one of the best receivers in the NFL in Brandon Marshall. Thanks to a bad throw that would have resulted in a touchdown, Marshall finished with two catches.

When you consider that Cutler rarely looked the way of his all time favorite target, then this adds up to a career night for Williams.

 

RB Cedric Benson

14

September

Packers vs. Bears – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 23 CHI 10

Tom Crabtree Lambeau Leap vs. Chicago bears

Surprise of the Game – Tom Crabtree Fake Field Goal TD run

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:

My unfitered game day recap and blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

Inactive for Packers today:

WR Jarrett Boykin
WR Greg Jennings
S Sean Richardson
CB Davon House
RB James Starks
LB Terrell Manning
DE CJ Wilson

Notes:

Jerel Worthy gets his first NFL start with CJ Wilson out for this game.  He can expect to see a steady dose of Matt Forte and Michael Bush.

31  yr old CB Charles Tillman will play for the Bears. Tillman has been responsible for more than 50 turnovers in his career (interceptions & forced fumbles combined).

LB Erik Walden returns after serving his one game suspension. It will be interesting to see how many snaps he takes from Nick Perry.

———————————————

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Packers – Bears: It’s going to be a tough game. That’s what we’ve prepared for. It’s early in the season, but it’s a game we always look forward to playing

Weird schedule: This is our only division game in 1st half of season.  That’s the NFL, it’s a moving target, that’s what makes things fun.

Jennings: Greg has played very well in these game. I just spoke withhim – he’s in the tank a bit about not being able to play. If it was a 7 day week, I think the outcome would have been different. Greg has made a big impact in these games with his  ability in the quick passing game and his ability to make people miss.

Packers – Bears similarities: I like to think we look at the game the same way. We stay true to our identity and we’re 2 fundamental football teams. We need to play better fundamentals than we did four days ago.

Running game: We have to get some balance. We talked about it Monday.

Bears offensive additions: Big targets. They’ll improve your completion percentager, for sure. We can’t get to far away from playing defense the way we have it designed. Have to make the right calls

Key to Game: We have to stop the run and run the ball better. That was the emphasis all week.

Bears defense: It’s not a complicated defense, but they do as well a job as anybody in trying to take away your strengths.