10

December

Questioning fan etiquette: To boo or not to boo?

During the Lambeau Leap, it's entirely acceptable to cheer. But when is it acceptable to boo? Or is it?

During the Lambeau Leap, it’s entirely acceptable to cheer. But when is it acceptable to boo? Or is it?

By paying the price of admission, it’s certainly every fan’s right to boo or express their displeasure as long as it’s within reason. There’s no debate there.

But by tabbing the “Boo Birds” as a Lame Call, I dove into a debate ignited by Sunday’s rare booing at Lambeau Field during the game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.

Booing is fine. To each his own. If you paid for a ticket and wish to make good on the investment by booing, that’s your decision.

But in my opinion, when you’re at a game in support of a team, there are just a few things that need to be considered and a few rules to follow.

1) Be loud when you should be loud: 

When your team is on defense, it’s entirely acceptable and encouraged to be loud. You can’t intercept a pass or sack the quarterback, but, in the case of Lambeau Field in the winter, you can team up with the cold weather and make things difficult for the opposing team.

2) Be quiet when you should be quiet: 

When your team has the ball–especially in a key situation–you should sit on your hands, put your vuvuzela away and hold your breath. When your quarterback has his arms to his side and palms to the ground, motioning for the crowd to be quiet, he’s not reenacting “Angels in the Outfield.” He wants you to be quiet.

3) Adhere to any team specific cheers or chants:

If you’re in the student section at a Wisconsin Badger football game, you’re going to jump around. If you’re at a Florida St. game, then you’ll participate in the ridiculously cool Seminole chop and chant. Sing your “Fly, Eagles, Fly” song in Philadelphia, or jam out to Ke$ha before kickoff at Lambeau Field when “the place about to blow.” And I pray that you all know the last one was a joke, by the way.

If you want “your team” to have a homefield advantage, do whatever you can to create/maintain said advantage.

Here’s where there’s a little grey area.

9

December

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 22, Falcons 21

Andrew Quarless had a big day against the Falcons, and now the Packers are eyeing first place in the NFC North.

Andrew Quarless had a big day against the Falcons, and now the Packers are eyeing first place in the NFC North.

Maybe the Green Bay Packers didn’t save their season and keep themselves in the playoff hunt Sunday with a win over the Atlanta Falcons, but maybe they did.

Along with the Packers’ 22-21 win came a Philadelphia snowstorm and a Detroit Lions loss, which puts Green Bay only a half-game behind the Lions for first place in the NFC North. And while the Packers are certainly happy they were able to get a win without Aaron Rodgers, the possibility remains that the Packers’ quarterback will be ready to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

If Rodgers is back for the team’s final three games, the Packers could win out (at DAL, vs. PIT, at CHI) and squeak into the playoffs. That’s assuming the Lions (vs. BAL, vs. NYG, at MIN) lose one more game, which wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world.

But, once again, it will probably be a late-week decision on Rodgers, and the playoffs are still a long way away.

Now, after winning Dec. 8 for the first time since Oct. 27, the Packers are 1-4-1 since Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, leaving them at 6-6-1 on the season. And it took everything the Packers had on both sides of the ball.

With seven of Atlanta’s 21 points coming on a Sean Weatherspoon pick-six before halftime, the Packers’ defense tightened up and allowed just 14 points on the afternoon, thanks to a second-half shutout. The Falcons put together a methodical 78-yard drive to tie the score at seven, but their only other scoring drive was set up by a Matt Flynn fumble deep in Packers territory.

Flynn and the offense turned in a much-improved performance after last week’s stinker, but the defense rose to the occasion and powered the Packers to a much-needed win.

Clearly, Jerron McMillian was the only problem with the Packers’ defense.

Game Balls

Matt Flynn

Coming into the game having given up at least 27 points in their last six games, many expected the Packers would need to light up the scoreboard in order to get past the Falcons. That wasn’t the case, but Flynn and the offense still mustered up 22 points and earned their sixth victory in the process. Flynn made some poor throws, but his lone interception came on a (that-kind-of) ‘WOW’ play, and he was efficient with the football throughout the day. Quite the difference from the debacle on Thanksgiving.

8

December

Packers vs. Falcons – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 22 ATL 21

Packers TJ Lang hustling his ass off. on interception return - Atlanta.

TJ Lang hustling his ass off.

Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons:  2013 Game 13

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

GAME NOTES:

Evan Dietrich Smith is playing, which means the Packers can prevent the OL shuffle, which has not worked out well at all. Even better, Marshall Newhouse reported with flu symptoms, so Derek Sherrod will be the first tackle off the bench, if needed.

Matt Flynn get the call again at QB, despite a dismal performance last week against the Lions.

Snowing in Green Bay – perfect football weather and a great welcome for the 3-9 Falcons.

 

Today’s captains for the Packers: - James Jones, Clay Matthews and Jarrett Bush

 

Inactives for today’s game:

 

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
12 QB Aaron Rodgers
13 WR Chris Harper
22 RB Kahlil Bell
51 LB Nate Palmer
74 T Marshall Newhouse
98 DE C.J. Wilson
99 DE Jerel Worthy

10 QB Matt Flynn will start for Rodgers.

Atlanta Falcons
30 RB Josh Vaughn
36 S Kemal Ishmael
53 LB Omar Gaither
69 G Harland Gunn
74 T Terren Jones
77 T Sean Locklear
92 DT Travian Robertson

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Weather: Smells like Green Bay Packer football. Importance of the game is evident to us all.

Game plan for weather: You have to look at the whole picture. You have to look at the field – it was beat up a little after the Vikings game. the wind will be a factor.

EDS: Evan responded very well to the rehab. Everyone felt really good about his workout yesterday. he says he feels great and he’s ready to go.

Time off: Definitely helped. Our energy level is as high as it had been in quite some time. There’s a different energy about ourselves this week and it has to show up today,.

Flynn:  A liittle up and down this week in practice but I thought Friday was the best day he’s had since he’s been here.

Decline of Defense: Energy and finish is what we focused on. Schematically we’re fine. Frankly, we need to get off the damn block and tackle the football.

Atlanta: Good football team going through a lot of challenges. They’re playing some young guys. Frankly, I’m going to focus on our own football team and what we’re going through.

10

October

Packers vs. Falcons: 5 Observations from Green Bay’s 25-14 Win in Atlanta

Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Green Bay Packers used 25 unanswered points, including touchdown receptions from receivers James Jones and Greg Jennings, to stun the hosting Atlanta Falcons, 25-14, and improve their record to 5-0 in 2011 with an 11th straight win overall.

Here are five observations from the game:

1. Bouncing back

There simply aren’t many teams in the NFL that could have rebounded the way the Packers did after falling behind 14-0. The Falcons had steamrolled them on both sides of the ball through the first quarter, amassing 125 yards and holding the ball for over 10 minutes. A second 10-play drive led to another Falcons’ touchdown following Ryan Grant’s first fumble in over 300 touches. And after seeing your starting left tackle hobble off the field while your starting right tackle is on the sidelines in street clothes, other teams might have just packed it in on the road. But the Packers slowly got their offense back on track. Despite settling for two field goals in the first half,  it looked as if the offense gained confidence marching down the field on those two possessions.

The Packers defense held serve, and going into the half down just 14-6 was a huge boost after such a disastrous start. Remember, Sunday night was the first time the Packers had been down by 14 or more points in a game since 2009. They faced that adversity well against the Falcons, which is always something Mike McCarthy stresses. By overcoming all those potential road blocks, the Packers’ 25-14 win was undoubtedly the team’s most impressive of the 2011 season.

2. Defensive response

Enough can’t be said about how the defense played in the second half, and really, on each possession following the Falcons’ first two touchdowns. Atlanta made it looked frustratingly easy in racking up 140 yards and two scores in the first half, but the Packers clamped down after that. The Falcons had just 111 total yards during the final 42 or so minutes of the game. On Atlanta’s six possessions after their second touchdown, they gained just 14 yards and punted five times (one drive was a kneel down before the half). That’s an incredible turnaround and it saved the game for the Packers. The Falcons did threaten on their final two drives, but each ended with a Matt Ryan interception.

9

October

Packers vs. Falcons Preview: 5 Things to Watch

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (4-0) face off with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons (2-2) in Week 5 of the NFL season on Sunday Night Football.

The basics 

When: 7:20 CDT; Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011

Where: Georgia Dome; Atlanta, GA

TV: NBC; Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth with the call, Michelle Tafoya on the sidelines

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee), Packers Radio Network, Westwood One Radio, NFL Sunday Drive (Sirius Radio)

Series: Packers lead, 14-13 (Falcons won the last regular season game, 20-17, in Atlanta on Nov. 28, 2010)

Five things to watch

1. The beat goes on

For being defending Super Bowl champions and one of just two 4-0 teams left in the NFL, Packers fans sure find ways to look upon the team pessimistically. Yes, the defense has been shaky and needs to improve. But sit back and enjoy what you’re seeing on the offensive side of the ball, because it’s been one of the best starts to a season in Packers’ history. Where to start? The Packers are No. 1 in the NFL in scoring with 149 points (37.0/game), which is also the most points the team has ever scored through four games. They are on pace for a record 592 points. Sunday’s 49 points, coupled with the 42 points in Week 1, marked the first time in franchise history that the Packers have ever scored 40 or more points twice in the first four weeks. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is first in the NFL in passer rating (124.6) and completion percentage (73.0), and each would be NFL records if he continued that pace. He’s second in passing touchdowns (12) and yards per attempt (9.40). If Rodgers stayed on this pace through 16 games, he would throw for 5,300 yards and 48 touchdowns, which would shatter the franchise records of 4,458 (Lynn Dickey, 1983) and 39 (Brett Favre, 1996). That’s a lot of numbers to throw at you, but there needs to be an appreciation level for what the offense is doing in 2011. And just think; they face a defense on Sunday night that made just two additions (Ray Edwards, Kelvin Hayden) and have really struggled at times this season. The Packers offense has earned the spotlight of the entire league, and they’ll get another chance in primetime to show what kind of force they can be in 2011. (Stats courtesy of Packers.com)

8

October

Know Your Packers Enemy: Previewing Falcons-Packers With Dave Choate

In this week’s installment of “Know Your Packers Enemy,” I talked with Dave Choate of the widely respected Falcons blog, TheFalcoholic.com, to talk Packers-Falcons. He was referred to me by AtlantaFalcons.com writer Daniel Cox, who turned down the request in fear of sounding too biased. Both Dave (@TheFalcoholic) and Daniel (@FalconsDCox) are excellent follows for Falcons news.

Enough of the intro’s, let’s get to the Packers-Falcons talk.

ZACH KRUSE: Expectations were (and still should be) high as ever in Atlanta heading into the season, especially with such names as Peter King picking the Falcons to win Super Bowl XLVI in SI’s NFL preview. Packers fans know all about those kind of expectations, as last season Green Bay was the trendy pick to win it all. The Falcons haven’t exactly lived up to those high expectations yet in 2011, but remember, the Packers were just 3-3 after six games last season. Is there any sense of panic or lower feelings for this season being 2-2?

DAVE CHOATE: It’s happening quickly. There are many, many fans who have abandoned the Falcons playoff wagon entirely, leaving it a torched shell. Others barely think the Falcons will get a winning season at this point. That’s balanced out by a number of fans who think it’s all overblown. Personally, I haven’t wavered from my 11-5 prediction, and don’t plan to do so even if the Falcons lose to the Packers. It’s just too early.

ZK: Both Matt Ryan and Mike Smith have stated that Sunday night’s game has nothing to do with revenge. Are you on that same page? Is this just another Week 5 game, or does this one carry any added importance?

DC: I think it only carries added importance because the Packers are 4-0 and one of the best teams in the NFC. Every team should want to prove they can beat a team like that.

ZK: Let’s talk about Michael Turner. Everyone always talks about Ryan and Roddy White, but Turner, in my opinion, is the engine that makes this offense go. And wouldn’t you know it, the Falcons are 2-0 when Turner carries the ball 20 times or more this season. What does he mean in a more specific way to the offense, and has there been any drop off in the running game that you’ve seen this season after losing Harvey Dahl to the Rams?