1

April

Cory’s Corner: Shape up or ship out, just ask DeSean Jackson

The Eagles shocked the NFL when they decided to cut bait with DeSean Jackson last week.

Philadelphia was willing to just let a three-time Pro Bowler, who has the wheels to turn any game upside down, walk without getting anything in return.

DeSean Jackson is a three-time Pro Bowler and has averaged 15 yards a reception for the last five years.

DeSean Jackson is a three-time Pro Bowler and has averaged 15 yards a reception for the last five years.

And the reason was because of Jackson’s alleged connection to gangs. The Eagles won the NFC East last year mainly because of the way first-year coach Chip Kelly utilized offensive weapons like Jackson and now they’re telling him to hit the road?

It is definitely a new age in the NFL. I’m not saying that teams will not be lining up for Jackson’s sports car speed, because Jackson will be signed, and probably at a discount, to a contender like San Francisco or Seattle.

But how many times did you see teams willing to part ways with a player and not get anything in return? And here’s the kicker: Jackson didn’t do anything wrong. He was not prosecuted legally and he wasn’t in any other trouble.

Yet, the Eagles did the right thing. After the Aaron Hernandez situation blew up in the Patriots’ faces, you can bet that teams are going to use every available resource to find out dirt about their players. New England wasted a fourth round pick on a budding superstar that may end up behind bars.

The question has been asked if the Packers should go after Jackson. I really don’t see a need. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are better and more consistent. The only way the Packers even think about Jackson is if they suddenly get the feeling that they cannot sign both Nelson and Cobb — which shouldn’t happen.

The Eagles sent a strong message to the rest of the NFL when they opted to just pop the pimple and move on with the risk of scarring. As opposed to throwing ailments and other things at it, hoping that it would eventually clear up.

Most teams are willing to live with questionable off-the-field behavior as long as you continue to perform on gameday. The line between winning and losing in the NFL is that razor thin that teams would rather just look the other way.

10

November

Packers vs. Eagles – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: PHI 27 GB 13

Burnett and Williams fight each other for the ball - TD Jackson.

Burnett and Williams fight each other for the ball – TD Jackson.

Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles:  2013 Game 9

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

GAME NOTES:

There’s really only one thing that matters in this game – can the Packers find a way to win games with Seneca Wallace in place of Aaron Rodgers?

Clay Matthews hurries back to try to give the defense and the Packers an emotional boost. His OLB bookend, Nick Perry also makes it back this week.

Nick Foles threw seven touchdown passes last week. He did a great job of going through his progressions because he had time to. Packers can’t allow that to happen this week.

 

Tonight’s captains for the Packers: - David Bakhtiari, Brad Jones, Chris Banjo

 

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
10 WR Chris Harper
12 QB Aaron Rodgers
25 CB James Nixon
55 LB Andy Mulumba
78 T Derek Sherrod
93 DE Josh Boyd
98 DE C.J. Wilson

Philadelphia Eagles
7 QB Michael Vick
24 CB Bradley Fletcher
39 RB Matthew Tucker
54 LB Jake Knott
64 T Matt Tobin
67 T Dennis Kelly
89 WR B.J. Cunningham

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Panic when Rodgers went down?:  You really don’t have time for that. He told me on the sidelines they just want to take a picture. It happened at end of series, so the transition was as smooth as it can possibly be. You have a chance to warm your backup QB up and get him in there to start the next series.

Adjustments when Rodgers went down: Last week was particularly tough because of where we are as an offense with Aaron Rodgers and the responsibility we put on to our quarterback. Ad dto that our injuries on the perimeter – it was a big adjustment. With a week of preparation, we’ll be much more ready today.

Eagles uptempo offense:  -  It’s a challenge. I thought our opponents team did am great job replicating it this week in practice. Just have to make sure you have the right defensive sets and not get caught by surprise.

Nick Foles: H can really throw – has always been impressive. Our defense has a big challenge – More importantly we have to go attack them.

9

November

Packers vs. Eagles Week 10 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 10: Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 4-4 Philadelphia Eagles 28-14
Until proven otherwise, consider this a vote of no confidence in Seneca Wallace. I’d love to be wrong but things didn’t look too encouraging Monday night. Also, Dom Capers tends to struggle facing a new and unusual offensive scheme for the first time (see Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs). Packer Nation gets closer to the end of a bridge as the Packers lose their second straight.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 5-3 Green Bay Packers 23-20
I’m not sure how, but I think the Packers find a way to gain a home win that is desperately needed. Hopefully a clubbed CM3 is Pack and leads a spirited turnover-causing effort from the defense.
Adam Czech 6-2 Philadelphia Eagles 30-17
You know how the Packers have those games where they’re kind of plodding along, not necessarily playing poorly but not putting their opponent away, either? Then Aaron Rodgers makes a few amazing plays, the Packers pull away, and we’re all happy. Well, the Packers will plod along on Sunday, only Rodgers won’t be around to save the day.
Marques Eversoll 6-2 Green Bay Packers 23-20
The run game will carry the offense, Seneca Wallace will play better and the defense will step up. Most importantly, they’ll come up with some key takeaways that they’ve been lacking so far this season. It may not be pretty, but a win is a win. And I’m about 52% sure that’s what it will be.
Thomas Hobbes 5-3 Green Bay Packers 20-13
Expect a lot more open offense for Seneca Wallace and the Packers; last time Rodgers was hurt, Flynn was on a short leash against the Lions as well only to see the the playbook open up for the Patriots.  A steady does of Eddie Lacy and consistent defense will make this game winnable for the Packers.
Cory Jennerjohn 6-2 Philadelphia Eagles 27-17
Last week the deficiencies of Seneca Wallace displayed themselves. An average arm which makes him vulnerable to most throws. The Eagles come to Lambeau flying high after erupting for 49 points last week. Even with the return of Clay Matthews, the Packers will not have an answer for LeSean McCoy, will get behind early and with a backup quarterback starting, that’s not a good equation.
8

November

Packers Periscope: Week 10 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Past

Last time these two teams met was in the NFC wildcard game in 2010.  However, the Packers got to experience the beast that they themselves had created; during the season opener Clay Matthews III knocked out starting quarterback Kevin Kolb with a concussion, which paved the way for the resurgence of Michael Vick, who had been just released from jail after pleading guilty to operating a dog fighting ring.  With the more dynamic Vick leading the way with vertical receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles boasted one of the most dangerous offenses that head coach Andy Reid had ever fielded.

However, during the playoffs the Eagles failed to get much going on offense while the Packers watched as rookie James Starks, who had been hobbled by injuries all season, burst onto the scene with 123 yards rushing, a Packers record for a rookie running back in the playoffs and saw a little glimpse of what was to come in their stunning 2011 season when an unknown undrafted rookie blocking tight end named Tom Crabtree made his first touchdown reception by sneaking past a linebacker.

On special teams, the Packers didn’t make many mistakes, which couldn’t be said for the Eagles as kicker David Akers left 6 points off the board with two missed field goals.  The Packers also enjoyed several big plays on defense, notably Clay Matthews completely destroying tackle Winston Justice and a last minute end zone interception by Tramon Williams that pushed the Packers into the divisional round against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Present

A lot has changed for the Eagles since the 2010 playoff game.  13 year incumbent Andy Reid was replaced by college football phenomenon Chip Kelly, who had lead the Oregon Ducks to a 46-7 record with 4 bowl appearances with his fast-paced, spread offense.  While Kelly and his super speed offense sent shockwaves throughout the NFL after their opening game against the Redskins after calling 53 plays in the first half, the rest of the NFL adjusted and the Eagles have been the epitome of “up and down” with some thrilling victories and some crushing defeats which explains the 5-3 record.

While Michael Vick still holds the starting quarterback position in name, Nick Foles has made a case to remain under center after a record breaking 7 touchdown, 158.3 QB rating touchdown performance last week against the Oakland Raiders.  On the other side of the ball, the Eagles defense has been largely ineffective, sorting out much like the Green Bay Packers in terms of defensive efficiency.

10

October

Around the NFC North in Week 6

Around the NFC North

Around the NFC North

Here’s a look at the Week 6 matchups around the NFC North.  The Chicago Bears are on a bye and do not play.

Detroit Lions (1-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)

The Lions emerge from their bye to face the Eagles in Philadelphia.  Detroit needs a win to halt a three-game losing streak.  Their last loss was at home to the Minnesota Vikings.  They haven’t won since week one.  Having been to the playoffs last season and coming into this season with high expectations, they would be digging a big hole with a loss.  It would leave them at least 3 games behind division leaders Bears and Vikings.

The Eagles dropped a close game at Pittsburgh last week.   The Eagles are looking for more consistency.  After a close week 1 win over the underdog Browns, Philadelphia came home and beat the Baltimore Ravens.  They followed that up with a loss at Arizona and then a win at home against the New York Giants.

Eagles QB Michael Vick is also looking to establish some consistency.  He has six TD’s and six INT’s on the season.  Vick has been sacked 14 times and has endured a few dings.  He is not taking off and running at will as he once did and the Eagles offensive line hasn’t been great.  They have to find a way to protect Vick against a potent Detroit defensive line.  Despite the Lions’ struggles, they still feature very good pass rushers in Ndomakong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The Lions will rely on QB Matt Stafford to lead their offense.  Stafford has three TD passes to four INT’s on the season.   His top receiving target, Calvin Johnson has just one TD catch all season.  Johnson needs to make more of an impact in this game to give Detroit a chance to win.

These teams are evenly matched on defense and statistically, the Lions hold an edge on offense.  But I have to give the overall edge to the Eagles as they’re at home.  That can all shift in either direction if either team can force a takeaway or two.

 Minnesota Vikings (4-1) at Washington Redskins (2-3)

The Vikings continued to roll with a win on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.  The Titans didn’t score until the 4th quarter and the Vikes rolled over an opponent they ultimately should have.  They continue to raise eyebrows in the NFC North race and are tied for 1st place.

4

September

2012 Green Bay Packers: Season Predictions

Could this be the matchup in Super Bowl XLVII?

Could this be the matchup in Super Bowl XLVII?

After Adam Czech posted his full-season predictions on Monday, I figured I’d post mine as well.

As a complete NFL nerd, I pick every game of the regular season in an effort to make my predictions a bit more accurate. That way, I can pick games week-to-week and see what teams I have in the playoffs, instead of simply saying “Team X will go 6-10″ without even looking at their schedule.

From the NFC, I have the Packers, Falcons, 49ers and Eagles winning their division, while the Bears and Cowboys earn the Wild Cards. And from the AFC, I have the Ravens, Texans, Broncos and Patriots winning their division, with the Steelers and Bills earning the Wild Cards. I definitely didn’t expect to have Buffalo in the playoffs, but as I said, I pick every individual game to make my picks, and I surprisingly had the Bills winning 11 games this year.

I think the Packers are as talented as any team in the NFL, and I truly believe they’re headed for another special season. Part of me hopes they lose a game early in the season as a “wake-up call” so they don’t have to deal with all the “undefeated” talk later in the season, but overall, I have the Packers going 13-3 and beating the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship.

So, the Packers are back in the Super Bowl. But who do I have them playing against? Read on.

Packers 24, 49ers 20

San Francisco’s defense is absolutely stacked in the middle of the front seven, but the Packers have too many wide receivers for the 49ers to account for. The Pack wins their regular season debut in a nail-biter.

Packers 31, Bears 27

Chicago’s offense should be much improved with Brandon Marshall in the fold, but the Packers’ defense holds the Bears just enough to preserve the win at home. I fully expect the Packers and Bears to split with each other this season, but I give the Pack the edge at Lambeau.

Packers 27, Seahawks 23

Russell Wilson has it all–except the size–and the Seattle defense is far better than most give them credit for. On a Monday night in Seattle, the Packers will have their work cut out for them. But I just can’t picture the Seahawks beating the Pack.

21

March

NFL Free Agency and Training my Dog

Nnamdi Asomugha

Remember how free agent Nnamdi Asomugha was going to deliver the Lombardi Trophy to Philly?

For some reason, my dog acts like a crazed maniac whenever she’s on a leash.

Matilda is a near-perfect dog in any other setting, but when we put on her leash and walk her around the neighborhood, she goes nuts. Lunging at other dogs. Eating leaves and rocks. Chasing cars. She’s completely out of control.

My wife is working with Matilda to correct this behavior, which makes my wife a much better person than I am. I don’t have the patience to deal with a dog that treats bikers and pedestrians like the fake bunny rabbit on a pole at a greyhound track.

My attitude toward Matilda is kind of like the attitude most NFL fans have toward free agency. I don’t want to put the time and effort into re-training my dog. Most NFL fans don’t want their teams to put the time and effort into building through the draft.

I want Matilda to magically get over her leash craziness. NFL fans want their teams to magically get better by signing a bunch of free agents.

Check out the reaction to Miami not signing Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn. They’re getting trashed. How about the Dream Team moniker and the euphoria over the Eagles after their spending spree last season? People thought Philly would roll to a championship.

Signing a bunch of free agents doesn’t lead to a Super Bowl. There’s a small, but loud, segment of NFL fans and analysts that repeat this fact every offseason, but few people listen. I see this segment getting louder, but not larger. Why?

Are people not listening? Do they not care? Are most NFL fans just plain stupid? Is it impossible to re-train fans to favor draft and development over spend and splash?

Sabermetrics became mainstream in baseball. Advanced analytics keeps getting more popular in basketball. Fanbases in other sports embrace new and innovative ways to build a team. But most NFL fans would rather see their teams go the same old route of stocking up on high-priced free agents and other “name” players.

They’re like Matilda on a leash. They want off that leash so they can chase after every shiny object, whether it’s good for them or not.