26

October

Cory’s Corner: Would Favre say yes to the Packers?

Brett Favre recently said no to play for the Rams. Would he say yes to a different team?

Brett Favre recently said no to play for the Rams. Would he say yes to a different team?

When the grizzled Brett Favre retired from the Vikings in 2010, I honestly thought that was it.

Boy was I wrong.

The Rams picked up the phone this week wondering if the 44-year-old could still play. It’s amazing that after  two-and-a-half years off, a team was still willing to kick the tires on a quarterback that  threw 19 interceptions in 13 games with Sidney Rice and Randy Moss on the roster.

But according to The Celebrity DBI released by repucom.net, Favre still has a 78 percent awareness level. That’s 25 percentage points higher than Aaron Rodgers.

Think about that for a second. Rodgers has been playing at a Pro Bowl level for the last five years and is one of the most efficient players in the game, yet Favre still is more aware of Rodgers as he visits the Bahamas and Yellowstone National Park — albeit without a fanny pack I presume.

But not to worry Packers fans, Rodgers ranks much higher than Favre on every other category. Thanks to things like the State Farm Insurance Discount Double-Check, chatting with an older woman at a hair salon for an Associated Bank ad or pitching Ford trucks are a little better than selling Rx Pro, the pain cream that Favre is promoting. Which is why Rodgers is in the top three percent as an endorser at No. 94, while Favre is 1,851.

The spirited debate between both quarterbacks is still heard at bars and parking lots before the game and it doesn’t quell when fans get into Lambeau Field either.

But for a team like the Rams, that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2004, Brett Favre could’ve injected some energy and enthusiasm into a team and a town that could really care less — especially with its baseball neighbor still playing across town.

The thing that surprised me was the shock that the Rams thought outside the box and gave Favre the opportunity. I can count 11 teams that wouldn’t admit it, but would love to have Favre as its quarterback rather than what they’re stuck with right now.

17

August

Packers vs. Rams – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 19 STL 7

Packers - Rams

Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams:  2013 Preseason game 2

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

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
16 WR Kevin Dorsey
17 WR Charles Johnson
18 WR Randall Cobb
26 RB DuJuan Harris
28 S Sean Richardson
29 CB Casey Hayward
38 CB Tramon Williams
73 T JC Tretter
75 T Bryan Bulaga
78 T Derek Sherrod
81 TE Andrew Quarless
82 TE Ryan Taylor
87 WR Jordy Nelson
95 DE Datone Jones
99 DE Jerel Worthy

St. Louis Rams
27 S Matt Giordano
30 RB Zac Stacy
54 LB Jabara Williams
57 LB Sammy Brown
64o OL Sean Hooey
76 T Rodger Saffold
97 DE Eugene Sims

 

 GAME NOTES:

All eyes will be on the Packers offense. Mike McCarthy earlier in the week said he’s looking for a much better performance from them in this game. Since Aaron Rodgers will still get limited snaps, that means one of their backup quarterbacks will actually have to look like, you know, a quarterback.

My eyes will be looking for Eddie Lacy. Want to see if he’s as good against real competition as he looked on family night…

 

 

———————————————

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Keys to 2nd preseson game:  Develop team personality.  See guys step into leadership roles.  Have a lot of guys who need to play better and need to take advantage of opportunities with guys out injured

Eddie Lacy:  Biggest thing is how he responds.  Hasn’t played since Family Night so will play rep count by ear

Kick Returner:  Big week for Jeremy Ross.  Needs to play well at both receiver and in return game.  Micah Hyde going to get a chance to return kicks in second half as well

Mike Neal at OLB:  Mike will play in some rush situations

Quarterback situation:  Vince Young’s playlist has increased and will have more opportunities than last week.  Plan is to give Rodgers twice as many snaps as last week

Preseason play calling:  Not a big believer of calling “gadget” plays in preseason.  Save those for regular season.

Adversity defense:  How the defense prepares for the game and responds after other team makes a big play.  This is a focus this season

———————-

 

13

December

Around the NFC North in Week 15

Around the NFC North

Around the NFC North in week 15

It’s already the NFL’s week 15 and let’s cut to the chase in the NFC North.  This is a week that most Packers fans had circled on the schedule as soon as it came out.  Is there a more intense week in the Packers universe than “Bears week”?

The Green Bay Packers travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in this highly-anticipated game that will be the marquis matchup not just in the NFC North, but in the NFL.

The Packers can clinch their second straight North division title with a win.  The Bears would re-enter the divisional race as a strong contender should they emerge victorious.  The early line this week favors Green Bay by three.

The Minnesota Vikings will travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams.  This ends up being an interesting game because neither of these teams wants to go away quietly this year.

The week is rounded off by the Detroit Lions visiting the Arizona Cardinals in the “futility bowl”.  Nothing more than pride is on the line in that contest.

Let’s dive into the matchups and the storylines alike.

Green Bay Packers (9-4) at Chicago Bears (8-5)

Because of the major playoff implications, I’m leading off with this matchup and will go more in depth with this game.

This game has changed shape immensely in the past month.  What was being billed as possibly one of the biggest game on the NFL schedule this season has turned into somewhat of a last stand for the Bears.

After starting the season 7-1, the Bears have lost four of their last five games including two in a row since the return of quarterback Jay Cutler.  After suffering a concussion during a loss to the Houtson Texans, Cutler was forced to miss a key game against the San Francisco 49ers.  The 9ers beat the Bears handily for a second straight loss.  They beat the Vikings but then suffered a tough overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks and followed that up with this past week’s loss in the rematch with Minnesota on the road.

Chicago will be without defensive playmakers Brian Urlacher who may end up on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, and cornerback Tim Jennings who leads the NFL in interceptions with eight.  Jennings dislocated his shoulder late in the loss to the Seattle and is currently doubtful for this week’s game.

23

October

Packing the Stats: Rushing to Conclusions

Packing the StatsAfter Sunday afternoon’s 30-20 victory by the Green Bay Packers over the St. Louis Rams, I listened to Jason Wilde’s weekly appearance on ESPN Wisconsin’s radio show “Pack Attack.” The conversation immediately dove into a debate between Wilde, Bill Johnson, and Homer about the effectiveness of Alex Green’s rushing attempts. While he made 20 rushing attempts the entire game, Green only netted 35 yards for a 1.8 yards per carry average. His longest run was for 15 yards.

On one side of the debate was Jason Wilde, who maintained that making the attempts to run the ball was more important than their overall yards per carry. He posited that the defense’s linemen would have to account for a run, even if it wasn’t for significant yardage. That means they couldn’t just “pin their ears back” and go after the quarterback each down.

Opposing this idea was Bill and Homer, who both insisted that Green’s yards per carry was unacceptable and would need to get better in the future to ensure offensive success. They claimed that if the running game isn’t making traction, then the defense doesn’t really have to worry about it, period. (Jason Wilde eventually called them “stubborn” in their opinions.)

So which matters more – yards per carry or total rushing attempts? This really piqued my interest from a statistical standpoint, and I decided to head over to Pro-Football-Reference.com to being my research. My sample data was all games (regular season and postseason) within the past ten years (2002-2011) that matched the rushing criteria below.

(You can download the complete Excel file here: rushing_stats.xlsx)

TOTAL RUSHING YARDS PER GAME (2002-2011)
TOTAL YARDS W L T W-L% COUNT GBP W-L% GBP COUNT
60-79 212 513 1 29.20% 726 30.40% 23
80-99 342 527 0 39.36% 869 68.60% 35
100-119 435 427 0 50.46% 862 61.30% 31
120-139 393 291 0 57.46% 684 75.00% 20
140-159 352 189 0 65.06% 541 61.10% 18
AVERAGE YARDS PER ATTEMPT (2002-2011)
YDS/ATT W L T W-L% COUNT GBP W-L% GBP COUNT
1.0-1.9 42 77 1 35.00% 120 33.30% 3
2.0-2.9 322 363 0 47.01% 685 65.20% 23
3.0-3.9 786 768 1 50.55% 1555 64.00% 50
4.0-4.9 746 745 1 50.00% 1492 52.50% 40
21

October

Packers vs. Rams – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 30 STL 20

Jordy Nelson vs Rams

Jordy Nelson vs Rams – Picture by Rick Wood, JsOnline.com

Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams:

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

Inactive for Packers today:

  • LB D.J. Smith
  • LB Nick Perry
  • CB Sam Shields
  • WR Greg Jennings
  • DT B.J. Raji
  • OL Greg Van Roten
  • RB Johnny White

Inactive for Rams today:

  • WR Danny Amendola
  • DT Matt Conrath
  • QB Austin Davis
  • RB Terence Ganaway
  • LB Mario Haggan
  • T Wayne Hunter
  • T Roger Saffold

Game Notes:

 

———————————————

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

 

Big Win: The best part is we were able to play a complete sixty minutes and excelled in all three phases of the game. Easily our best performance of the year.

Moving forward:   Consistency is a big part of our business. We’ve been able to do that in the past. it’s time for this 2012 team to do the same.

B Jones / Hayward: They both have practiced hard and are ready to go. Jones is extremely consistent and dependable and he has had a great week of practice. Casey keeps getting better with each opportunity. the game will dictate what we do but I look for both of these guys to play an important role.

Rams a year later: There’s a lot of things different. Their talent level has definitely increased. Their younger players and draft picks are playing well. Jeff Fisher is clearly one of the best coaches in our league.

Ram’s’ Defense: Good depth on the DL, very aggressive on the front seven. It’s a defense that will definitely challenge us today.

Bradford: He”s had a challenge of going through different systems. he’s now in a QB-friendly system that I think he can propser in.

RB Daryl Richards0n: From Abilene Christian – he’s explosive. Watched the Sunday night game against the Cardinals – he definitely jumped out at me.

3rd week on the road: Don’t get me wrong, it will be good to be home next week, but we don’t mind these 55 minute flights.

——————————————-

 

Packers vs. Rams – First Impressions – First Half:

Packers win the toss and defer.

Rams show early the Packers can expect a heavy diet of running plays. At least as long as the game is close.

20

October

2012 NFL Regular Season Week 7: Packers vs Rams Preview

Aaron Rodgers

Can Aaron Rodgers keep the offense on a roll against the improved Rams?

There is nothing wrong with Aaron Rodgers. I repeat: there is nothing wrong with Aaron Rodgers.

Any doubts about issues the Green Bay Packers may have been having on offense were silenced permanently last Sunday as Rodgers threw a franchise record-tying six touchdown passes as the Packers shredded the NFL’s best defense in a 42-24 win over the Houston Texans.  The win moves the Packers back to 3-3 on the season and helped alleviate any concerns fans may have had about the direction of the team.

The Packers now move on to face the St. Louis Rams, who also stand at 3-3 and are one of the league’s more improved teams.  That said, this is a game the Packers should win and really have no business losing.   The Packers lost to one of the league’s best teams in the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, but have lost to the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks* as well. (* is citing the controversial ending to that infamous game).

They’ve beating the Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Texans who all are considered some of the better teams in the NFL

Can the Packers get above .500 for the first time all season and finally beat a team they should have no problem beating?

Scouting the Rams

First year head coach Jeff Fisher has done a solid job so far with the Rams who were one of the worst teams in the NFL a year ago.  While much work remains to be done on the offensive side, the Rams defense is one of the most improved units in the league.

At quarterback is former number one overall draft pick Sam Bradford.  Bradford enjoyed a solid rookie season followed by a sophomore season in which he struggled with injuries and the team had one of its worst seasons in history.  In 2012, Bradford has thrown for 1,337 yards for six touchdowns against five interceptions.  He is currently missing his favorite target in wide receiver Danny Amendola, who is nursing a shoulder injury.

Bradford also has been sacked 18 times this season behind one of the most porous lines in the NFL.  He has been sacked at least once in every game and has been sacked three or more times in three of the Rams’ six games so far this season.  Once the pocket collapses, Bradford has a difficult time planting his feet and getting off a good throw when he has to scramble.

20

October

Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams Key Matchups

Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson will be a focal point of the Rams defense

The Packers head to St. Louis to take on the Rams this Sunday.  Both teams are 3-3 and seem to match up evenly on paper.  Let’s take a look at the key matchups this game will bring.

Rams CB Cortland Finnegan vs. Packers WR Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb

Finnegan has been a good free agent pick up for the Rams and is reunited with Jeff Fisher, who was Finnegan’s head coach in Tennessee.  According to ProFootballFocus, Finnegan has been targeted 40 times this season and averages just 8.8 yards/catch.

I have Finnegan matched up on both Nelson and Cobb because Finnegan is likely move over to the slot in the Rams’ nickel package.  Packers QB Aaron Rodgers passed just 29 times in last year’s game so depending on how many 4-5 wide sets the Pack use will determine who Finnegan lines up on.

In last season’s matchup between these teams, Nelson had just 2 catches but the most memorable was a 93 yard catch and run on a slant for a TD.  Of course, St. Louis didn’t have Finnegan or this same quality secondary.  Whoever Finnegan is blanketing will definitely be earning every ball caught.

With the Rams secondary needing to respect Nelson, Cobb and James Jones, one of the three should put up some good numbers.  My bet is on Cobb as it’s just plain dumb to leave Nelson one on one, even against the trusty Finnegan.  The Rams can only offer so much help over the top so they will have to pick their poison.

Packers OLB Clay Matthews vs. Rams LT Joe Barksdale

It was noted via Twitter on Friday that Rams LT Wayne Hunter has not practiced at all this week and is doubtful to play on Sunday.  Hunter was already in to replace the injured Roger Saffold who was the Rams’ opening day starter at left tackle.

Getting the start in Hunters’ absence would be Barksdale.  Barksdale was just recently awarded to the Rams after being waived by Oakland in late September.  He is a backup tackle at best and only has to come in and face one of the best pass rushers in Matthews.  With the Rams extremely thin at left tackle, they are forced to play Barksdale despite the fact that he has virtually zero experience on the left side.