22

December

Packers vs. Steelers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: PIT 38 GB 31

Packers Matt Flynn vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Packers Matt Flynn vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers:  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: - WR Jarrett Boykin (offense), CB Sam Shields (defense) and FB John Kuhn (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:
Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers

12 QB Aaron Rodgers
51 LB Nate Palmer
65 G Lane Taylor
73 G/C JC Tretter
99 DE Jerel Worthy

The Packers placed TE Brandon Bostick and DE Johnny Jolly on injured reserve Saturday, reducing the roster to 51 players. Therefore, only five players are listed as inactive instead of the usual seven.

10 QB Matt Flynn starts for Rodgers, and 76 DT Mike Daniels starts for Jolly.

Pittsburgh Steelers
3 QB Landry Jones
14 WR Derek Moye
39 CB Isaiah Green
44 LB Jamaal Westerman
71 G/C David Snow
92 DT Hebron Fangupo
93 LB Jarvis Jones

54 LB Chris Carter starts for Jones and 28 CB Cortez Allen starts for 22 CB William Gay.

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

The comeback:  A tremendous feeling, obviously. We have a highlight tape we watch every week and Wayne and Larry, you guys are all over it.

Atlanta halftime vs. Dallas: InAtlanta there was a lot more juice and activity in the locker room. Whereas in Dallas it was more of a focus thing. It was , “lets not go out and try to do to much, let’s take one drive at a time and crawl back into this game.” The approach and the way the players went about it was an experience I’ll be able to draw from.

Fear of a letdown: If you look at your week of preparation there are some strong indicators of how your team is going to play. Our team has been full of energy all week… I feel strongly our team  will come out strong today.

8

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — James Jones

1) Introduction: Drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft, Packers receiver James Jones has battled through an up and down start to his NFL career. Jones started nine games in his rookie season and caught 47 passes for 676 yards, but he only managed 52 catches and 714 yards the next two seasons (2008-09). A lingering knee injury contributed to his lack of production in 2008 as he only saw the field in 10 games.

When healthy, however, Jones can be a difference maker in the passing game. He has a big frame (6’1″, 208 lbs), and underrated straight line speed that often sees him getting behind defenders. Jones might not have the ceiling of a No. 1 receiver, but he’s one of the best No. 3 receivers in the NFL today.

2) Profile:

James Deandre Jones

Position: WR
Height: 6-1    Weight: 208 lbs.

Born: March 31, 1984 in San Jose, CA
College: San Jose State (school history)    (Jones college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 3rd round (78th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Mixed. His rookie season gave us a brief glimpse of what Jones could do over the course of a season, but injuries and a frustrating lack on consistency kept Jones from breaking out in the Packers offense.

In addition, both Greg Jennings and Donald Driver were coming off 1,000 yard seasons, and Jermichael Finley figured to become a bigger part of the offense. While having a bevy of weapons is surely a luxury, there are only so many footballs to go around and it was unsure how many Jones would see in 2010.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: To be honest, the entire 2010 season was a mix of highlights and lowlights for Jones. The Packers bi-polar receiver was either making you say “wow!” after a sure-handed reception or causing you to throw beverages at your television screen after the easiest of drops.

Jones started his highlights in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, as he made a nice adjustment on a back shoulder throw from Aaron Rodgers for a 30-yard touchdown. In Weeks 7 (vs. Minnesota), 8 (vs. Dallas) amd 10 (at Minnesota), Jones caught a combined 15 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns.

8

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Jordy Nelson

1) Introduction: A former second round pick in 2008, Packers receiver Jordy Nelson has turned in a few productive yet unspectacular seasons during his first two years in Green Bay. Nelson averaged just over 27 catches and 343 yards per season from 2008-2009—numbers un-befitting a top 40 draft selection.

Heading into the 2010 season, one could have than made the argument that Nelson was the fourth, or maybe fifth, target in the Green Bay Packers passing game. With injuries to both Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley, however, Nelson began to emerge as a potential threat and had a breakout postseason.

2) Profile:

Jordy Ray Nelson

Position: WR
Height: 6-3    Weight: 215 lbs.

Born: May 31, 1985 in Manhattan, KS
College: Kansas State (school history)    (Nelson college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round (36th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Somewhat low, but also unsure. Nelson started the season buried on the depth chart behind Greg Jennings, Driver and James Jones, and Finley was sure to become a focal point of the offense. Still, everyone knew that Nelson was capable of being a play-maker, but his lack of production in two previous seasons tempered any lofty expectations for 2010.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Nelson had plenty of highlights during the season, and he capped it off with an impressive performance in the Super Bowl (9 receptions, 140 yards, 1 TD). Against the Steelers, Nelson caught the game’s first touchdown (29 yards) and set up the Packers final points with a catch-and-run play of 38 yards.

Nelson also had two important catches in the regular season. The first came in Week 12, where Nelson’s 10-yard TD catch in Atlanta tied the game at 17 with 57 seconds left in the game. His second—an 80-yard TD—opened the scoring in a must-win against the Giants in Week 16.

His season also had some low points, however. In Week 4 against the Lions, Nelson lost two fumbles that nearly cost the Packers a victory. He was promptly removed from kickoff return duties after that showing.

And despite his impressive statistical showing at the Super Bowl, Nelson also had three credited drops that potentially kept the Packers off the scoreboard. Overall, Nelson dropped more passes this season (10) than in his two previous years combined.

27

February

Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV – Funny Video 3-pack

22

February

Clay Matthews III Super Bowl Film Study – Tracking the Packers Predator

You may not have known it from casually watching the game or reading the stat sheet, but Clay Matthews III (CM3) was the focal point of the Super Bowl. When Matthews was on the field, both the Steelers’ and the Packers’ strategies revolved directly around Clay Matthews.

As I went back and watched the TV broadcast for the first time (I had only seen the game live previously), I decided to focus in on Matthews. All the post game talk had been about how Matthews was used by the Packers, but I was also curious about what the Steelers did to counteract the potential descriptiveness of Matthews.

I’ll discuss the Steelers’ strategy and then  move on to Dom Capers evil plan for CM3. But first, here’s a tally of what Matthews did on each play.

Matthews Tracking Summary:

16: Running plays AT CM3

4:  Running plays AWAY FROM CM3

23:   Controlled Blitzes: (comes and then pulls up – making sure Roethlisberger didn’t have an escape route to his side)

10: Real Blitzes: (CM3 coming all out after the QB)

6:  Drops in coverage

8:  Plays “I Spy” with Roethlisberger.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

The next time someone criticizes Clay Matthews for not having a sack or making any big plays in a game, remember this; one way or another, opposing teams must structure their entire game plan to account for Clay Matthews.

Some teams have taken the approach of double and triple teaming him and running their offense away from his side. The 49ers tried this, and I wrote about it in a previous Matthews Film Study of the San Francisco 49ers game.

Pittsburgh, as might be expected with Mike Tomlin and Dick Lebeau as their coaches, took the opposite approach. They decided to go right at him.  Their plan was to run at him all day with good old fashioned power football. Tight ends, fullbacks, tackles, pulling guards, you name it,  they ran them head on at Matthews all day.

On NFL Network’s Sound FX (around the 2:34 mark), Steelers running back coach Kirby Wilson says to Issac Redman about Matthews, “He doesn’t want to take on the run. He’s a pass-rush specialist… We’re going to keep pounding their ass on this play and make this guy quit eventually.”

20

February

Dallas Texas Super Bowl Baby – Part Two – This Packers Fan’s Game Day Excellent Adventure

Part 1 of this two-part article can be found here.

Dallas Texas Super Bowl Baby! The day was finally here. The cellphone alarm woke my cousin Pete and I up around 8:30AM. We each took a quick shower, changed into our game day attire, and headed downstairs for the free breakfast at the hotel.

Once again, there were plenty of Steeler Jerseys to be seen, with just a spattering of Green and gold mixed in.  We joined a couple of fellow Packer fans about our age, introduced ourselves and talked Packers while we ate breakfast.  These two fans were originally from Wisconsin, but had both re-located after getting married (to Alabama and North Carolina, I believe).

They talked about some of their early memories in Green Bay and were eager to hear our stories about how we became and stayed Packers fans while living in New Jersey. We had planned to get out earlier and make it over to the NFL Experience, but ended up talking with these guys for almost an hour.

One of the guys was convinced my cousin would make the perfect Vince Lombardi, in a fedora and topcoat and kept coming back to that during the conversation. They randomly threw a little Packers history trivia at us, probably figuring what do a couple of guys from Jersey know, but of course, we handled it all without a problem.

Finally, it was time to hit the road and start our game day adventure. We took off for the “NFL Experience” at the Dallas Convention Center and found we had to park almost a half mile away. The tiny lots next to the Convention Center were already full. We walked along to the Convention Center with a couple of Cowboys fans and their uber-cute girlfriends. As I do with any Cowboys fan I meet, I made them say “thank you” to the Packers for getting Wade Phillips fired. Saying thank you is the least they can do, right?

Approaching the Convention Center, we were dwarfed by a giant XLV as we proceeded into the building.  There was a $25 fee, and to be honest, I had no idea why I was paying or what I was paying for, but it didn’t much matter. This was Super Bowl Sunday, damn it – I expected to be fleeced.

15

February

Dallas Texas Super Bowl Baby – Part One – This Packers Fan’s Excellent Adventure

As Jermichael Finley now famously said at the Packers’ 2010 family night scrimmage, “I’ve got ONE word: Dallas Texas Super Bowl, Baby.” OK say, so it’s five words. But who cares?

What an excellent adventure it was. As I sit down to write this, I realize that at this time last week, I was on Texas I-30, driving to Cowboys Stadium. A battle between two teams with the most respected organizations in sports awaited, and the game did not disappoint. Especially if you were a Packers Fan.

Since returning to reality back home in NJ, work has kept me inundated and unable to properly enjoy or reflect on that weekend (really, I could have used a week off after the game – I’ll have to remember that if there’s a next time).

So as I sit here on this football-less Sunday, I’m going to look back and properly reflect on my experience. And as Elton John said, “I hope you don’t mind if, I put down in words….  how wonderful life is when the Packers are Champs.” Sorry Elton…

3:00AM Saturday, Feb 5th. RING! RING! RING!  The alarm goes off. “You have got to be kidding me”, I think to myself. But there was no hesitation. I jumped out of bed and into the shower.  I was on the road by 3:45 to catch a 6:20 flight out of JFK airport in NY.

Just getting into Dallas had been a huge concern all week. I closely watched weather.com and accuweather.com to check on Dallas weather and NY weather. I followed the series of storms hitting Dallas, and the multiple airport closures. I had just paid more than 3 times face value for a Super Bowl ticket, what if I can’t get there? Not to mention there was a storm predicted for Saturday morning in NY. What if I’m delayed there and miss my connecting flight? Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Fortunately, I’m really not the worrying type, so I put all of this out of my head and convinced myself all would be OK.

As I hit the road, I leave to light flurries. The latest weather report predicted a 7:00 start to the snow in the airport area. So basically, I am racing the snow east to the airport, and if all goes well, I’ll be in the air by the time the first snow hits in NY.