Saturday, September 21, 2013

Toeing the Line When it Comes to Luck

I didn't have the opportunity to watch the game against Washington last week. That's ok, a son's little league tournament always takes precedence. Of course they offense tore Washington apart and Aaron Rodgers tied the Packers single game passing record. This presents a bit of a quandary. Do I believe in luck? Can I watch the game tomorrow?  Is it ok for a guy to think it's not ok to wash the jersey until the Packers lose a game while wearing it and at the same time ok to watch the game a week after you couldn't and the team set records?

I hope you guys will understand if I toe the luck line and watch the game in my dirty jersey. I just can't live more than a week without the Packers during football season. Heck, I wrote a blog last year about never watching another game after the Fail Mary debacle and didn't make it a week without giving in and watching the next game. Thinking about this brought a question to mind though. What do you do for game day?

I know someone who has to eat the exact same thing and have the same exact drinks, ordered at the exact same time every week. I know a lady who walks away from the TV at my favorite Packers bar in Portland (Hi PackerMom!) when the Packers struggle. She plays video poker until she loses to sacrifice her luck so the Packers can have it instead. I myself have Packers socks that I wear on game days. Socks that I pull on when the defense needs a big play. I wear them whether I'm alone at home or at a bar with friends and I'm sure as heck wearing them to TBW3 next month!

So, tell me folks, what are your little game day peccadilloes? What strange thing do you do to make sure luck is on the Packers side? I need to know so I can add a couple things to offset the bad luck I'm creating by watching tomorrow.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Holy Crap, Football is Back!

Guess what guys? We get to watch the Packers play football tomorrow! I'm excited and yet very concerned about this season. I just don't see any easy wins on the schedule this year. The team starts with a very tough opponent in the San Francisco 49ers. The same team that knows our fearless Packers out of the playoffs last year and went on to lose the Super Bowl. And while I think the Packers are good enough to win, I just don't see it. There are still so many unknowns with this Packers team. Will the run game really step up this year? Will the D improve over last year? Will they be able to contain the read option so many teams are using so successfully? Will Mason Crosby return to form? Will freshly grilled brats and cheese curds magically appear on my doorstep tomorrow?

I've heard nothing but good things about Eddie Lacy and the Packers running game this year. It's here to stay, they say. Eddie Lacy is the real deal. Not being in Green Bay, I haven't had the chance to see him practice in person. That coupled with the fact that the first team offense didn't play much in preseason means I'm just not sold on the running game yet. We'll see if it comes to fruition like we've been led to believe it will.

The defense took a hit when Casey Heyward was ruled out. Reports are saying he'll miss at least the first month of the season. Micah Hyde has definitely shown flashes in the preseason but the one thing that was iffy was his man coverage. I guess we'll find out sooner than later how much of a learning curve he'll have.  I'm excited about a couple of things on the defensive side of the ball though. I can't wait to see what kind of effect Johnny Jolly will have in the rotation at DE. I just hope the comeback continues to build steam. I'm also very interested to see what happens with the guys rotating at OLB opposite Clay Matthews. Mike Neal looks svelte and ready to rush the QB. Nick Perry is also back and playing after missing most of last year. Will the presence of Matthews on the opposite side lead to more sacks for these two? Will they lead to less double teams on Matthews? I know this, pass rush is key to success in the NFL.

Sticking to the defense, how will they stop the read option? The coaches spent time with the coaches at Texas A&M to learn how they deal with it in the college game. They have tape of a certain game in the playoffs last year. I'm sure the players still have nightmares of Colin Kaepernicking all over them on the way to the NFC Championship game. But are those things enough? And if they are, will the D be able to cover the passing that will come once they stop the running out of the read option?

Mason Crosby has been much maligned. He admittedly had a horrible year last year. The team responded by bringing in two different kickers to compete with him during the offseason. From appearances it boiled down to 2 days of kicking competitions during practice. The result? Mason Crosby is your 2013 Packers placekicker, at least for now. He went 14 for 14 on the second day of that competition, including hitting from 64 and 65 yards out. Most people are assuming (hoping really) that the team will have a shorter leash on Crosby this year and not allow things to deteriorate like they did last year. I'm included in that group. Here's to hoping there are some kickers in Ted Thompson's speed dial.

Before we get to my final question, let me give you my game prediction. I think the Packers will keep it close but eventually the 49ers will win out 35-31 but I sure hope the Packers prove me wrong. Now, who's bringing me brats and cheese curds?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Finally the QB2 Question Has an Answer, and I Like It

A lot has happened behind Aaron Rodgers over the past few days. The Packers have chosen the guy they want behind QB1 (at least for now) and it's not anyone that had spent time on the roster this preseason. It's Seneca Wallace. Wallace had supposedly retired from the 49ers Thursday morning according to Jim Harbaugh. Wallace refuted that report, saying that he left because the 49ers were just using him as leverage to get Colt McCoy to take a pay cut.

Let's take a look at how the Packers got to this point. It started with last year's backup Graham Harrell getting cut before the final preseason game. Harrell had not done anything this preseason to earn the job backing up at quarterback in Green Bay. Then, the assumed winner of the job Vince Young stunk up the joint in the final preseason game. B J Coleman didn't look much better. When the time came for Ted Thompson and the Packers to cut to the final 53, it looked like the decision had been made. B J Coleman was the last man standing, the Packers' 2013 QB2.

A lot of us fans were in shock. Don't lie, even if you are the most ardent TT believer, you had to chant "In Ted We Trust" about 1000 times before you were at peace with the fact that Coleman was the man that would take the reins of the vaunted Packers offense. And still, you weren't really at peace with it, you just shut up about it and learned to live with it. I'm the same way. Believe me. In fact, my first Twitter post after hearing the news?
Fast forward to this morning. The news dropped that Coleman had been let go and we had yet another QB2. This time though, I was happy to hear that it was Seneca Wallace standing behind Aaron Rodgers. I know there's still a lot of skepticism out there so I'll explain why I feel that way. First, Wallace has a proven track record in the NFL. Wallace has a career 59.2% completion percentage. His TD/INT ratio is 31/18.  He's also a very mobile guy, having run for several big gains in his career. Of course everyone will remember "The Run" from Wallace's time at Iowa State.

Not as many will remember the numerous times that Wallace was used as a WR on more than one occasion in Seattle with some success. I'm not saying that the Packers took him so he could be a 6th WR or anything. Just backing up the fact that he's mobile. His TD/INT ratio is also much better than that of Vince Young (46/51). So, while I still think the Packers would be in shambles were Aaron Rodgers to miss significant time, I think Seneca Wallace is a viable backup to get the team through a 2nd half if Rodgers gets hurt.

Once again, THE SKY IS NOT FALLING!!!1!!!