30

December

Yell it Loud Packers Fans: KUUUUUHHHHHHNNNNNNN!!!!!!!

Aaron Rodgers

Take that, Chicago Bears. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers celebrates after connecting with Randall Cobb for the winning touchdown.

Since Packers fans at Soldier Field were too nervous to do it during the game, let’s honor Packers fullback John Kuhn right now with the signature yell:

“KUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!”

Why are we staring at our computer screens and yelling KUUUUUUHHHHHNNNNNN!!!!? Because without John Kuhn, the Packers probably don’t beat the Bears and win the NFC North for the third season in a row.

Facing 4th and 8 with the season on the line, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for a 48-yard touchdown with 38 seconds to play. Guard T.J. Lang described the pass protection on the play as a “clusterf***”, and he was right.

When rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari didn’t hear Kuhn’s protection adjustment, future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers came unblocked and had Rodgers locked into his sights. Green Bay’s season looked like it was about to end because they forgot to block one of the best pass rushers of the last 10 years.

Then Kuhn dashed over and cut Peppers down at the last minute, allowing Rodgers to roll left, connect with Cobb, and strike the greatest celebration pose of all time (see picture in upper right).

Maybe James Starks or Eddie Lacy is able to make that block, but I doubt it. We’ve seen Rodgers chew out Starks for missing blocking assignments several times and Lacy is still a rookie learning the ins and outs of pass protection.

Kuhn is on the team for his pass blocking and he showed why on that play. Not only did he recognize that Peppers was coming free, but he also made the block. And it was anything but an easy block.

Earlier in the drive, the Packers faced 4th and 1 from their own 22-yard line. Instead of punting, coach Mike McCarthy went for it and Kuhn crashed ahead on the fullback dive, picking up the first down with about 10 inches to spare.

The fullback dive to Kuhn is easily my least favorite play in the Packers playbook. Kuhn isn’t a good runner and when he gets it from the fullback position, he usually doesn’t have enough momentum to surge ahead and pick up the yards he needs. Well, it worked this time and Kuhn deserves a ton of the credit.

29

December

Packers vs. Bears – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 33 CHI 28

Chicago Bears v Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:  2013 Game 15

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

GAME NOTES:

Aaron Rodgers sitting out again is of course the top story line. The Packers seem to go out of their way to prove that injury decisions are not influenced by winning or losing.

Does Matt Flynn have another week of magic left in that feeble arm?

The Steelers are playing much better of late and are a team that won’t be affected by playing in snow and/or cold weather.

Today’s game is the first time the teams have met since Super Bowl XLV.

 

Today’s captains for the Packers will be C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith (offense), S Morgan Burnett (defense) and CB Micah Hyde (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
13 WR Chris Harper
20 CB Jumal Rolle
52 LB Clay Matthews
59 LB Brad Jones
65 G Lane Taylor
73 C/G JC Tretter
98 DE C.J. Wilson

Starting lineup changes: 57 LB Jamari Lattimore starts for Jones, 55 LB Andy Mulumba starts for Matthews, and 96 LB Mike Neal will start for 53 LB Nick Perry, who is active.

Chicago Bears
2 QB Jordan Palmer
76 T Joe Long
78 T/G James Brown
79 T Jonathan Scott
80 WR Earl Bennett
82 WR Chris Williams
94 DE Cornelius Washington

Chicago Bears

 

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

One game:  Everything you do throughout the whole preseason, regular season, the ups and downs, all comes down to one game. Means our whole season.

Reprieve by Bears loss: : Obviously it was a lift – it was  microcosm of our season -it’s been so up and down.

Rodgers rust?: I can’t really worry about it. He’s practiced for 3 weeks. We have great faith in him as the leader of our offense. We feel they may try to be aggressive with us.

Cobb: We’re going to ge him in on some plays and see how it goes. Not practical for Randall to play 50 plays today.

Lacy: Eddie will start the game and we’ll see how he goes. We feel good about our one-two punch with he and Starks. Khalil Bell will also get some chances today.

Cutler. Very talented…can make all the throws.  The man’s played a lot of football…he gets better and better with each opportunity in this new offense.

29

December

Packers vs. Bears: Keys to the Game

Aaron Rodgers & Randall Cobb

Rodgers makes his return and could have another weapon at his disposal in that of Cobb

This week’s matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears already had many eyes on it.  Last game of the 2013 regular season and with the winner to take the North division title thrown into the NFL’s longest-standing rivalry was already a draw.  NBC was also vying for the game to be flexed to the Sunday night slot, according to some.

On Thursday, it was announced that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was cleared and would start against the Bears.  Now there will be exponentially more eyes on this game and it is fair to say that this is the biggest meeting between these teams since the 2010 NFC Championship game.  The setting will be Soldier Field, once again and both teams will have their primary starting quarterbacks under center.

In addition to finally getting Rodgers back after a seven week layoff, the Packers may also see the return of receiver Randall Cobb, who has been out since mid-October.  Running back Eddie Lacy has not practiced for the Packers, but head coach Mike McCarthy seemed optimistic about Lacy’s chances of playing when asked after Thursday’s practice.

Both of these teams lost their games last week and the Bears, a chance to lock up the division title.  While Chicago looked awful against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, I have warned against anyone thinking that same Bears team shows up at Soldier Field on Sunday.  I expect more of the version of the Bears who soundly beat the Dallas Cowboys a few weeks back.

Now that we know the answer to the burning question, let’s dive into this week’s keys to the game.  Hopefully, this won’t be the last “Keys” post of the season.

Avoid Too Much Rodgers

Yes, we’ve waited a long time to have Rodgers back and all that he can add to the Packers offense.  Rodgers is one of the few quarterbacks in the league who can return to form in the blink of an eye.  He’s an extremely intelligent player who prepares as well as any other in the game.  Still, the Packers need to avoid leaning too heavily on the portion of the game plan that calls for Rodgers to get fancy, at least early on.

25

December

Around the NFC North: Week 17

Around the NFC North

The Packers and Bears meet for the NFC North division title on Sunday

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate.  And Happy Wednesday to those who don’t.

We are down to just one game left in the 2013 season and the NFL gets its way again.  In the NFC North, the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will determine the division winner on Sunday.

Both the Packers and Bears lost their games to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.  Chicago could have clinched the division with a win.  Instead, they will host the Packers for another late-season game with major playoff implications.

In the other divisional matchup, the Detroit Lions will face the Minnesota Vikings for the last time at Mall of America Field.  The Lions, who just one week ago were in the driver’s seat for the division title, lost to the New York Giants late and were eliminated from postseason contention.  The Vikings dropped their meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals and have likely begun making offseason tee times already.

Let’s look into each matchup a bit closer in this final edition of Around the NFC North.

Detroit Lions (7-8) at Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1)

One thing that can be said about this matchup is that I’m sure both the Bears and Packers are glad they don’t need to rely on the Vikings anymore this season.

Minnesota did come up with a big win over the Eagles in week 15 but returned to form in getting blown out by the Bengals last week.  After reaching the postseason last year, they will end this season with no more than five wins and double-digit losses.  Rumors are already swirling that Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier is likely to be let go as soon as the season ends.

The Lions saw their season’s hopes fade to black in a matter of six days, with their loss to the Giants being the exclamation point on a season that turned disappointing in a hurry.  Despite being the third-ranked offense in the league, the Lions weren’t able to muster enough when it mattered.  Much like Frazier, there is a chance that Lions head coach Jim Schwartz could be shown the door soon after the regular season is over.

23

December

It’s Packers vs. Bears for the NFC North Championship

If the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday, they will be NFC North Champions.

Yes, the Packers might make the playoffs despite:

  • Playing the second half of the season without Aaron Rodgers.
  • Using four different quarterbacks.
  • Clay Matthews missing a stretch of games, then returning and playing with one thumb.
  • Randall Cobb being out most of the season.
  • Jermichael Finley almost breaking his neck.
  • Bryan Bulaga tearing his ACL in a scrimmage.
  • Andy Mulumba and MD Jennings playing prominent roles on defense.
  • Eddie Lacy missing two games early with a concussion and gimping around on a bum ankle the last couple of weeks.
  • B.J. Raji deciding to take a vacation after week eight.
  • 16 players on injured reserve (possibly with more to be added this week)
  • Marshall Newhouse still being on the team.

And that’s just all the stuff I can think of off the top of my head. It’s late at night, so I’m sure I’m missing a few things that should be on the list.

It hasn’t been pretty. Often, it’s been downright ugly and frustrating as hell. But the Packers still have a shot at the playoffs. Win and they’re in.

Welcome to the NFC North in 2013.

The 2013 Packers won’t go down as one of the best teams in franchise history, but they will go down as one of the most unique. They’ll also go down as one of the most resilient. It’s been a frustrating season, but it’s also been a whole lot of fun.

Here’s hoping the fun extends at least into Wild Card weekend.

——————

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.

——————

5

November

Packers Stock Report: Oh $#!%, Aaron Rodgers is Hurt Edition

It hurts just looking at this photo. Avert your eyes. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is injured.

OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is hurt.

Now what?

Can Seneca Wallace keep the Packers alive until (if?) Rodgers returns?

Should the Packers call Favre?

Should the Packers call Flynn?

Where’s Graham Harrell when you need him?

What the hell happened to the defense on Monday?

Did the Rodgers injury somehow cause the Packers to forget how to tackle and pass protect?

What is a Shea McClellin and why did it do that to our quarterback?

The Bears still suck. Ok, that made me feel a little bit better.

Oh damn, I just remembered that Rodgers is hurt. OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod.

Now I’m starting to panic. How can I snap out of this?

Maybe writing the Packers stock report will help. Let’s see.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Eddie Lacy
I totally forgot how awesome it is when your favorite football team has a running back that just trucks people over. Getting excited about long pass plays is awesome and everything, but there’s something about the feeling you get when a stud running back starts plowing over defenders and ripping off large chunks of yards. It makes you want to tear off your shirt and start posing like Hulk Hogan. Ok, maybe it’s just me who wants to do that every time Lacy runs someone over…

B.J. Raji
It’s been a solid run for Raji the last three games. He sniffed out a couple of screen passes against the Bears and has done an excellent job of making plays at the point of attack. Big, nimble and smart. That’s been Raji over this recent stretch of games.

Brett Favre
Wait a minute. What’s he doing on this report?

Steady

James Starks
Did Starks install a turbo button on his back when he was out? Seriously, I don’t remember him being nearly this fast. He’s firing through holes like he’s been shot out of a high-caliber rifle from a deer hunter perched high up in a tree in the woods of Mondovi, Wis.

Tim Mashthay
Punts from Masthay kept pinning the Bears deep on Monday night. Too bad the Packers defense didn’t follow through and force a turnover or make a stand late in the game.

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.