Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Packers are 7-0, So Why Am I Worried?

I struggled this week, trying to think of something to write about.  I mean it's the bye week, the team is undefeated, what's to worry about? Well, I did some thinking and I did some thinking and I found two things I'm going to be concerned about for the rest of the season. First, there are a lot of losable games left on the schedule (Detroit x2, Chicago, @ the New York Giants, and of course @ the Chargers next Sunday). I'm also worried about the amount of yardage the defense has been giving up.

Yes, I know I said the Packers would go undefeated this year, but I think every game left on on the schedule except for the Vikings game in two weeks are losable. As we get further into the season every game becomes a trap game in my opinion. There's not a lot of separation of talent in the NFL. Every player in the NFL is a great athelete so if a team gets overconfident or complacent they are in trouble. I don't think the Packers have as much of a problem with this as most teams, but I still worry. Will Aaron Rodgers find another perceived slight to drive him? Will Mike McCarthy keep finding material to keep the rest of the team fired up? Does Dom Capers have the game plan to solve the problems on defense? Can the team continue to stay relatively healthy?

With the way the defense has been giving up yards (27th in the league at 391 YPG), I think I have reason to worry. Give a team like the Giants 424 yards of net offense and they will put up a lot more than the 3 points the Rams did. I don't think the Packers can continue with this bend but don't break philosophy. The Packers only have one more rookie QB on the schedule this year (poor Christian Ponder), so it won't be as easy to cause turnovers and keep points off the board. The defense has to improve on their run stopping. Green Bay's D is 14th against the run, but it's deceptive. Opposing rushers are averaging 4.6 yards per carry against the Packers. It really puts pressure on the offense to keep putting points on the board and force the opponents to put the ball in the air. If the offense sputters for a whole game like it did in the 2nd half against the Rams, I don't think the defense will hold up.

Finally today, with the injury to Alex Green I think the Packers need to think about claiming Tashard Choice who was waived by the Dallas Cowboys earlier today. I know he's been fighting a couple injuries himself the past few weeks, but when healthy he can be a difference maker. With both James Starks and Ryan Grant having some injury issues in the past, I don't think you can trust them enough to go through the rest of the season with only two pure running backs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So I went to a Football Game Last Week.

I won more Championships than Lombardi!
Saturday morning came and I still couldn't believe it was happening. I WAS GOING TO GREEN BAY! You see, some twitter friends of mine at Pocket Doppler and Cheesehead TV had set up a little get together called #throwbackweekend. It was going to be epic and I had managed to talk my wife into letting me go (thank you honey I owe you huge). It would be my 4th game overall and my first game in Lambeau. Nicole and the kids dropped me off at the airport bright and early at 5AM. While I waited for the plane to Chicago I met a fellow Packers fan who was taking the same flight to Appleton as I was. We chit chatted and both of our wives had to call for directions home due to a highway closure. We had a good laugh at that and enjoyed each other's company through an uneventful flight into Chicago. My back and hip didn't much care for the mile we had to walk to get our connecting flight, but they ended up coming through with flying colors. Every minute closer I got to Green Bay I got exponentially more excited. I'm sure by the time we landed in Appleton the excitement was dripping out my pores.

I still can't believe I met Tom Crabtree. What an epic night.
I wasn't lying when I tweeted about crying as I drove by Lambeau for the first time. I can't describe the feeling to see it. To know that the next day I'd be inside that stadium, rooting my Packers on. I drove the rest of the way to the motel and checked into the room I'd be sharing with fellow Throwback Weekender Thad Collins. After a quick nap I made my way out. I met up with a bunch of my twitter friends. Then it was off to the Abbey for the official Tweet up. Everyone who was anyone was there including Packer fan icon Aunt Gert and tight end Tom Crabtree. He's smaller than I thought and bigger than I thought, all at the same time and even nicer than you'd think. Which is amazing because going in I knew he was a great guy. My son can't wait to hang his Crabtree autographed poster on the wall. I ended up staying out later than I planned to but it was well worth it.

Me and the man, the myth, the John Rehor (BUNNY EARS!)
Sunday morning was awesome. I tailgated with all my new friends and even got to wave to my wife and kids thanks to Corey Behnke's livestream of the event on I hung out more with my twitter friends and then it was time to make my way to the stadium. I walked there with PD Angel (and my most favoritest person that I know in Idaho) Colleen and her wonderful hubby Brad. The lines to get in were long but nothing nightmarish like we heard about from the Broncos game. I got into the stadium with about a half hour to go before game time so I took a while to walk around and really just try to take it all in. I was really there. I was in Lambeau Field. The Frozen Tundra. I stopped at a concession stand to get some food and a soda and made my way to my seat. I'm amazed by just how nice everyone in Green Bay is. I sat down not knowing any of the fans around me. That lasted all of 30 seconds. Everyone around was interested in my story. Where I had come from to see the game? What did I think of Green Bay and the people? All too soon, it was time for the anthem.

Look Ma, I'm at the Packer game!
I loved the anthem at Sunday's game. A simple, respectful instrumental. In the stands you could hear people singing the words. Made me proud. Then you had the flyover, deafening in it's volume. Game. Time. Mason Crosby kicked off and things were rolling. I had a superstitious moment when the Rams attempted their first FG. I pulled the right sock and they missed! So, all of you who had 0 in the first quarter in your pools, you're welcome! Soon after was the first "Go Pack Go" chant of the game. I choked back a couple of tears of joy as I belted it out with everyone else. Just another one of the many moments where the fact that I was in heaven hit me. The game itself was decided pretty early on. The Rams were just too beat up to hang with our beloved Packers.

V Formation!
Six and Oh feels great to me but I know that the reals tests are still to come. I have to be honest. I don't remember much of the game. Jordy Nelson's long TD reception. Getting to see Donald Driver catch a TD pass. The bruising 4th down run from James Starks. My real memories from Lambeau are of the history and the people. High fiving complete strangers and being treated like one of the guys. Getting to see the Ring of Honor and the retired numbers up close. Getting to "Bang on the drum all day." Those are the things I brought home and don't ever want to forget.

To those of you who thought about coming to Throwback Weekend and didn't; WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? I can't wait for version 2.0. I don't know how, but I'm sure it will be even more amazing than the first. Thanks again to everyone who put so much work into putting the event together. I can't wait for next year!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm Not Worried About Atlanta and I'm Over Brett Favre

So there's a big game this week. It's a rematch of the divisional playoff game last year that saw the Packers roll the Atlanta Falcons 48-21. I thought that game was Aaron Rodgers best as a pro. He was 31-36 for 366 yards with 3 TDs and he added a rushing TD as well. I say thought, because I think Rodgers bested it against the Broncos last week with his 6 total TD performance. With the way the game went last year and the way the offense is leading the league in scoring, I'm not scared at all by the Falcons D. I don't think another 40 point game is out of the question.

All the same, at the beginning of the year I saw this as one of the few losable games on the schedule. Michael Turner scares the crap out of me. He's one of the few real bruising running backs left in the league and I think his running style can give the Packers D fits. Matty Ice and the Falcons receiving core can put points on the board as well. This game had me very concerned right up until I looked at the injury report for the Falcons as saw that their starting center Todd McClure is still out for the game. He sets the tone for their running game. Without him their are one dimensional, I think the Packers D can handle a one dimensional team without concern. My prediction: Packers 45 - Falcons 24.

This is hard for me. I loved watching Favre play. I think he was great and he was great for a long time. He holds a ton of records and I'd have him in my top 5 QBs all time. I started thinking it was time for him to retire after the 4th and 26 game. I still have nightmares of the INT he threw to Brian Dawkins in OT. Even though I started feeling like it was time, I still loved the guy. I mean he's Brett Freaking Favre, how can you not like him, right? He's just out there having fun! Then he finally retired from the Packers and things really started falling apart. I hated how he ended up in Minnesota by retiring and then unretiring to get around the conditions of his trade to the Jets. No one can forget a few choice texts and voicemails he sent to a then Jets staffer. Beyond that, I really didn't he said or did enough to thank the Packers fans for all the years in GB. The Fan base worshipped him there. A lot still do. When Favre left there was a rift between some fans.

Then came the interview and all the words I took to be condescending.  I know he'll get his number retired at some point. I know he'll be welcomed back to Green Bay by the team and probably a lot of the fans. And I don't care. At this point I'm ready to put my rookie cards on Ebay and move on. I'm over you Brett Favre.