Monday, December 28, 2009

The Packers were one play away. . .

Think about this: if the Packers could have kept the Steelers out of the endzone they would bhave the same record as the Vikings right now with an outside chance of getting a first round bye in the playoffs. A "game of inches" pretty much sums it up.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

'Tis the Season to Be Jolly

  • It is overshadowed by Woodson's year and the emergence of Clay Mathews, but Johnny Jolly is flirting with becoming a superstar. It's a contract year, and he will certainly get paid. I know some fans don't like his "attitude" but having a player with a little (or a lot) of a nasty streak isn't the worst thing in the world for a defense.
  • McCarthy needs to find someone on the roster that will field a punt. It was Tramon Williams letting them bounce earlier in the season, and now its Jordy Nelson. The Packers can't just sacrifice 15-20 yards on a punt that skips down the field. Catch the damn ball. It won't hurt. In fact, if you wave your arm over your head the punting team can't even hit you.
  • I'm getting uncomfortable with the amount of downfield passing that has crept back into the offense. Thats two weeks in a row that Rodgers has a completion percentage hovering around 50%. He should be completing at 65%+. I think much of this is attributable to the Packers getting away from the short passing game. Some of the downfield shots today were audibles. Its time for McCarthy to sit Rodgers down and have a talk with him.
  • All around nice job by McCarthy today. The screen to Jackson was just beautiful. Great call. Great execution. McCarthy also did a nice job getting starters off the field and then instead of going run-run-run-punt, actually letting the back-ups run the the offense. Matt Flynn looked pretty good.
  • Those guys were playing with a lot of emotion today. Particularly Brandon Jackson. I wonder what the story was there.
  • I thought he was a jack-ass as a coach, but I am growing to like Billick as an announcer. For the record I hate just about all announcers. A good announcer is one that isn't annoying. In fact, I don't think you should ever even notice the announcers, that's how unobtrusive they should be. Billick does a good job not being annoying.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Word of the Day: Schadenfavre

Schadenfavre: (n.) The joy associated with watching an arch rival suffer through a 40 year old quarterback's fourteen year old antics.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jolly Indicted Again

As I describe here, Jolly's alleged crime is most accurately described as possessing at least 200 grams of soda containing some tiny fraction of codeine.

Some fun facts from my previous post:

  • If you are on sitting on the front porch relaxing with 27.9 grams of cough syrup, the most you can be charged with is a Class B Misdemeanor (punishable by the still way too extreme six months in jail). If you mix that same cough syrup with 172.1 grams of Shasta, or Canada Dry, or Chocolate Milk you are committing a Second Degree Felony punishable by not less than 2 years in lockdown---and up to 20 years in the joint.
  • Rape is also a Second Degree Felony in Texas. That's right possessing cough syrup without a prescription is treated as harshly raping another person.

This would be a great opportunity for a mainstream journalist to shine a light on this ridiculous law but all of our journalists are way too committed to re-telling the narrative that Jolly is a "thug."


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Did the Vikings Wear Out Adrian Peterson?

Football Outsiders has popularized the "Curse of 270" which states that: "A running back with 370 or more carries during the regular season will usually suffer either a major injury or loss of effectiveness the following year, unless he is named Eric Dickerson."


Last year Peterson "only" carried the ball 363 times, short of 370, so he should be in the clear, right? Well, it doesn't really work like that.


Just so people understand, there's nothing magical about carry number 370 that makes a running back blow out his ACL, any more than there is something special about pitch 100 that makes a pitcher's arm fall off. It's simply a useful shorthand to represent the fact that overworking your running back with too many carries is a bad thing. The punishment gets worse and worse with more carries, and 370 is a close approximation of the tipping point.



In sum, Peterson's numbers from last year are right on the line of the supposed "tipping point."


This year's stats suggest---suggest---that he might be suffering from having been overworked. Over the first 6 games of this season, Peterson averaged 5.15 yards per carry, capping that run off with 143 yard game against the Ravens.


However, over the six games since, Peterson has averaged on 3.94 yards a carry, and that is with the benefit of a huge game against the Lions. Excluding the Lions game, Peterson is down to 3.35 yards a carry. Yikes.


It's still too early to tell, and maybe it is all just a coincidence, but Peterson is showing signs of being worn down and/or hobbled by nagging injuries this season. If you watched the Vikings/Cardinals game on Sunday, Peterson just looks tired, and he is actually starting to catch heat in the media.


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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Interesting Post on Instant Replay

Interesting post at Volohk about instant replay. The thrust of the post is that NFL officiating would be better served if the instant replay reviewer gave absolutely no deference to the on-the-field review.

I must agree, sort of. How many times have you seen an official who was completely out of position make a call and then the instant replay was denied because there was not Absolute-Incontrovertible-Beyond-A-Reasonable-Doubt-And-Even-Most-Unreasonable-Doubts Evidence to overturn the call?

On the other hand, if the official is in position to see and make the call, the real time official has many advantages over the instant replay official. Just because there are "multiple" camera angles does not mean that any single one of them necessarily has a better vantage point than the on field official. Moreover, the on field official has one other major advantage over the tape: the ability to see three dimensionally. The problem is that the on field official must make some call whether an official is in position or not. Abstention is not an option for the on the field officials but it is for the instant replay reviewer.

Ideally, the deference paid to the original call would take into account the position of the official of the official making the call.

By the way, what ever happened to the old IBM "You Make the Call" commercials? Those were awesome.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Packers Sign Conerback Josh Bell

I interrupt your snarky comments to remind you that both Tramon Williams and Atari Bigby were undrafted free agents cut by their first teams and signed by the Packers in November/December.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

On to the Lions . . .

  • The Packers and the Niners have six players that will always be linked in the mind of fans. The announcers made a big deal about Smith and Rodgers, but the Packers also passed over Vernon Davis to draft AJ Hawk and passed over Crabtree (who was #1 on Thompson's board) to draft Raji. Davis has been a lot of nothing for his whole career, but he showed up big time today. And, its way too really early to decide whether the Packers should have drafted Crabtree (and Raji had a decent game himself) but today Crabtree was pretty damn good. Those two players, Davis and Crabtree, almost brought the Niners from way back.
  • Great game from Greg Jennings. The Packers number 2 receiver today was . . . Brandon Jackson. Welcome back screen pass. Where have you been all these years?
  • The defense gives up a touchdown on 3rd and 20 from midfield? Ugh.
  • Let's beat the damn Lions. This is a must win. I still think 9-7 probably gets the Packers into the playoffs (it usually does). That means with a win on Thanksgiving day, the Packer most likely need to win only 2 more games to make the playoffs. 3 out of 5 locks it up.


Favre is Now Handing Ammunition to America's Enemies.

That's right. Iraqi prisoners are taunting our soldiers about Brett Favre.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Savor It.

This is the best sports weekend in a long time:
  1. The Badgers rough up Michigan;
  2. Brandon Jennings does something that hasn't been done in over 40 years;
  3. The Packers beat the Cowboys.
Absent a championship, it really doesn't get any better.

We should all take time to enjoy it.

Better late than never...

If the Packers played like they did today, there are no games on the schedule that the Packers can't win.

Oh, there are also no games on the schedule than the Packers can't lose.

Instead of challenging whether Nelson scored a TD, why didn't McCarthy challenge the spot instead. The ball was spotted at the 1 yard line but the replay clearly showed that Nelson was at around the one foot line. McCarthy would have saved a TO, and would have had a challenge to use later.

The stats may not show it, but that may have been Rodgers' best game as a pro.

Is it realistic for me to hope for Woodson in the HOF?

Seriously guys, I can't let this go just yet. Jennings hit 10 shots in a row, and I don't think he even grazed the rim on his jump shots during that streak. Unreal.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ho! Lee! Crap!

Now that was something to see.

Just surreal.

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Could the Labor Negotiations Save the Packers from Rebuilding?

As I have posted before, the Packers seem headed for a 2-3 year rebuilding project. One important factor leading to this conclusion was that the Packers simply have too many players heading into free agency this off season and can't possibly sign them all.

If Florio is correct (and there is anywhere from a 10-30% chance he is), the equation could change. Namely, according to Florio the NFLPA is considering pushing restrict free agency out to 6 seasons for the upcoming season. This would affect 6 starters: Bigby, Collins, Jolly, Colledge, Spitz and Kuhn. All six are set to become unrestricted free agents, and I suspect some of these guys will garner quite a bit of interest from other teams. That's not to say that these players are elite players, but they will be very attractive free agents. (Elite players never make it to free agency. That is why every March we live in the Bizzaro World where Chris Canty is treated like the second coming of Bruce Smith.)

But if the Packers don't have to worry about losing the 5th year players, they can focus their attention on re-signing Pickett and Chillar, and would have the luxury of tagging Kampman and trading him to some place other than Minnesota.

Another option would be to tender and trade a player or two (a la Corey Williams) ---and Jolly would seem the most likely candidate---to help fill other needs.

Here's hoping Florio is not full of crap again.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

When did the Packers Become So Bush-League?

When did the Packers organization become so bush league? Did it happen overnight, or has it happened so slowly that nobody really noticed until it was too late.

It breaks my heart, but the Green Bay Packers, once considered a model for all professional sports teams is now completely bush league. In the last couple of months we have seen the organization stiff loyal fans who showed up to "Family" Night. And, we have seen the Director of Public Relations berate a journalist through his Twitter account.

Now, a 22-year part time employee gets kicked to the curb for a rather benign offhanded remark. When did the Packers organization become so thin-skinned?

I no longer think these are isolated events. The Packers organization seems as if it is run by a clique of bratty teenagers.

I also don't know what the solution is. This is not one of those fire _____ posts. The Packers culture---which has always been a source of pride---is broken right now.

How do you fix that?

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

No More Slants

According to Rodgers, teams have figured out how to shut down the slant pattern and that is why he is throwing down field so often.

I'm not sure I totally buy it. After 17 years of success teams have finally figured out how to shut down the slant pattern. It seems to me that receivers are often covered pretty tightly when they run the slant but that Packer QBs would still be able to jam it in there and let the receiver fight for the ball.

What is different this year?

Come on Silverstein: Try Harder.

Quoth Silverstein:

After games of 10.3, 9.7 and 12.3 in yards per attempt, he averaged 7 against Minnesota and 7.6 against Tampa Bay. You could assume from those numbers that Rodgers has been throwing deep less often and completing more of his passes in the short or medium ranges.

Well, technically, you could assume anything you want. So I guess "from a certain point of view" (Kenobi, 1983) Silverstein is doing a good job.

But there is no basis for the assumption that Silverstein makes. Yards per attempt will be affected by many other factors besides pass selection. Most critically, yards per completion will be affected by completion percentage. If you throw a 50 yard bomb on every play, and ultimately complete 15% of those passes, your "yards per attempt" with be 7.5. Jumping to Silverstein's assumption you would discern that 7.5 yards per attempt indicates that the QB is completing a lot of short passes. Clearly untrue.

Moreover, yards per attempt will be affected by a players yardage after catch. We saw this in the Cleveland game, in which Driver and Havner took short passes and ran them for 71 and 45 yard touchdowns, respectively.

As you see below, the biggest factor between games 4-6 and 7-8 appears to be completion percentage. My hunch is that Rodgers completion percentage is lower, at least in part, because he is airing out the ball even more rather than less.

Y/A C%
MIN 10.3 70.2
DET 9.7 78.4
CLE 12.3 75.0
MIN 7 63.4
TB 7.6 48.6

The only way to conclude what Silverstein feels comfortable "assuming" is to go back and review Rodgers pass selection. Which the AP did, and concluded that Rodgers is throwing deep more this year than ever.

As I, among many others, have said, McCarthy has got to bring the passing game back toward the line of scrimmage.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Tipping Point

It happened. This weekend, the impossible happened. I am now more invested in the Bucks than the Packers. I went to the game last night and I watched the Bucks (without Redd) stomp on the one-win Knicks the way the Packers should have stomped on the winless Buccaneers today.

I am certainly not the first person to say that Brandon Jennings is a star in the making, and based on last night Jodie Meeks isn't far behind.

But the important thing is that the Bucks are playing like the games actually matter, while Packers seem to be going through the motions. It is simply impossible for me to care more about a team than the team cares about itself.

The Silver Lining

With two wins against the Packers and two wins on against-the-odds last second plays, the Vikings don't look nearly as good as advertised. I doubt I will have to suffer through an excruciating Favre Super Bowl run.

Tick....tick....tick....

(1) The calls for McCarthy's head are starting to pile up. For my part, I am not quite ready to call for his head, but I think the writing is probably on the wall. When McCarthy came to the Packers he did two things that I really liked and that immediately separated him the Mike Sherman: (1) he seemed to know how to run the west coast offense, and (2) his teams won the games that they were supposed to win.

None of that is true anymore. In fact his offense looks almost like a carbon copy of the inept Sherman/Rossley offense. It is a west coast offense in name and terminology only, but not in philosophy. Where is the short passing game? I'm sick of seeing so many down field incompletions. In fact, I would happily sacrifice that deep ball to Jones for some long sustained drives and an offense performing in rhythm.

I still think McCarthy can save his job, but he had better study what he did in years 1 and 2 and get back to basics.

(2) I like Aaron Rodgers, but I am getting the feeling that he thinks he is far better than he actually is. He hasn't proven squat yet. Right now he has promise and that is it. If he is going to be a franchise player he can't use his patented "crouch down" in the face of an on coming rush technique. You know what he is not doing while he is crouched down in a stupid yoga pose, looking straight at his linemen's crotches? He is not going through his progressions and identifying open receivers.

(3) Rodgers made a stupid decision to through into quadruple coverage, but you know what? Jennings should have caught that ball. It went right between his hands. Inexcusable. Speaking of guys that haven't proven squat. I guess the theme this week is that the Packers roster seems full of players that think they are entitled to rest on their laurels, not realizing that they have no freaking laurels.

Remember when Packer fans were all up in arms about the Packers not forking over a ton of money to Jennings? Every single time fans get outraged about a player's contract situation (in recent years Bubba Franks, Ryan Grant, and now Greg Jennings) the player never lives up to his contract.

So here is my plea to my fellow Packer fans: next time just shut the hell up. You are jinxing the team.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

An Open Mad Lib to Brett Favre

[VERB] you.

Seriously, [VERB] you and your whole hillbilly family. From your motor-mouth Mom right down to your [ADJECTIVE] daughters, who if they are anything like your [ADJECTIVE] wife are probably already sniffing jocks and [PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE] the whole football team. Hell, if they are anything like your wife they are probably already knocked-up by some [ADJECTIVE] hillbilly. But, I'm getting off track.

[VERB] you.

You know that stat they flashed this afternoon about the "fewest first half yards since the 1999 game at Denver"? You remember that game? I do. All week long you were taunted in the media by some [ADJECTIVE] punk defensive back. I couldn't wait for that game, and how you were going to light up the Broncos. Certainly you---a three time MVP---would not let some punk [PART THE BODY] defensive back get away with taunting you, would you? But instead of teaching him a lesson, you [PAST TENSE VERB] the bed.

[INTERJECTION].

For 11 seasons after the 1996 Super Bowl win, I watched you [ADVERB] choke in big games and fold under pressure like a [FOLDABLE NOUN]. Over and over and over again. I even made [ADJECTIVE] excuses for your [ADJECTIVE] play. Oh look the [ADJECTIVE] receiver must have "run the wrong route" again. That's right, whenever you were under center the Packers were sure to have the stupidest receivers in the league. What a [ADJECTIVE] coincidence! No other NFL teams had such a problem with receivers that constantly ran the wrong route.

You are not a [PEJORATIVE] because you were a choke job artist (and I do mean "artist," every one of your meltdowns was as unique as a snowflake). You are a [PEJORATIVE] because now that you are playing for the Packers' rival---NOW--- you decide to not crap the bed in big games. Thanks, [PART OF THE BODY].

You know the difference between a [SLANG FOR MEAN WOMAN] and a [SLANG FOR IMMORAL WOMAN] ? A [SLANG FOR IMMORAL WOMAN] [VERB] everybody, and a [SLANG FOR MEAN WOMAN] [VERB] everybody but you.

You, Brett Lorenzo Favre are a [SLANG FOR MEAN WOMAN].

[VERB] you (and your whole [ADJECTIVE] family).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Packer Transplants @ 8PM Central


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The "I Told You So" Post

I have been insanely busy with work lately and haven't had any time for updates. Anyhow, here's are three moves that I advocated this offseason that were controversial to varying degrees but that sure look like good ideas now.




In the interest of balance, I plan on a future post in the near future pointing out all of the times I was full of crap. But like I said, I'm way to busy for that now.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fact Checker: Packer Red Zone Efficiency

From Railbird:

Red zone offense sucks yet again. I'm really tired of this. Packers fans had to endure an entire season a year ago of awful red zone offense. Today illustrated that as good as the offense is, there is still a LOT of work to be done. If they could convert half of Mason Crosby's field goals into touchdowns today, I'd feel a lot better about the team going forward this year.

In reality the Packers had one of the best redzone offenses in the league last season. Number 6 to be exact.

Today was frustrating, but that doesn't mean that redzone efficiency has been some type of chronic problem.

It hasn't.

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That Don't Impress Me Much.

  • Yes. That is a very dated reference. What of it?
  • I simply cannot get very excited about beating the Lion's scout team. I'm sure some fans are going to argue that "hey this Lions are the same team that yada yada yada." Wrong. This is not the same team that played the Vikings tough for a half or beat the Redskins. This was a team that was down to its third string quarterback and was playing without Calvin Johnson, and four defensive starters.
  • Three things I did not need to see today: (1) five unsportsmanlike penalties; (2) a flea-flicker on 3rd and1 ; (3) Pickett's ass crack (yikes).
  • While I still question the trade that brought him to Green Bay, Matthews already looks like he could become the player that Hawk hasn't.
  • I think we may have seen the last of Chad Clifton, and Thompson should have seen that coming.
  • The Vikings have won two games on unlikely last second plays.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pointless Tuesday List: Favorite Packer/Pop Culture Crossovers

It's been a while since I have done one of these. Here are my five favorite Packer/pop culture crossovers:


(5) Don Majkowski covers "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."


Every rose has its thorn. Just like every night has its dawn. Just like every metaphor breaks down eventually.


Back in 1990 the Majik Man has a minor radio hit in Wisconsin with his cover of Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." He donated all the proceeds to cystic fibrosis research.


Is it just me or should Brett Michaels write a new verse about a Pro Bowl quarterback who finished second to Joe Montana in MVP voting only to blow out his rotator cuff, be succeeded by a Hall of Fame quarterback, and be relegated to a footnote in football history. Damn. Every rose really does have its thorn.


As shown below, the Majik Man is still singing his signature tune. If you can listen to this without wanting to throw up a lighter and nod soulfully, you are a dick:







(4) Reggie White and Friends Film Reggie's Prayer.


This is one that I have posted about before. And for good reason. It's one of the greatest things of all time. Reggie White and Pat Morita with cameos from Favre, Holmgren, Paup, MC Hammer, Willie Roaf, Gayle Sayers, and the Paul "Big Show" Wight. Now THAT is an ensemble cast.


The movie is as well-meaning as it is hilarious. It's earnest gone to camp (word play!).







(3) Bart Starr Appears on "Gentle Ben."


I vaguely (and I mean vaguely) remember seeing this episode in syndication when I was a kid. For those that are unfamiliar with this show, it was like Flipper, except with a bear and without the awesome theme song. It starred Clint Howard.


How perfect is this cameo? "Gentle Ben" is about the furthest thing from cool as was ever recorded on film---maybe the most wholesome (and kind of boring) family show that ever aired. Many valuable lessons were learned. Bart Starr wouldn't have it any other way.


(Actually, come to think of it "Gentle Ben" might in fact be one of the most subversive family shows ever.)


(2) Ray Nitschke Appears in Head.


Here's another one in the "this really happened" category. The Monkees made a (strange) movie called "Head" and recruited cameos from lots of stars like Jack Nicholson, Sonny Liston, Frank Zappa (with a talking cow, of course) and Ray Nitchke.


The movie requires some "suspension of disbelief": everyone knows that single digit numbers are reserved for quarterbacks and kickers:









(1) Brett Favre Appears in There's Something About Mary.


Look. I hate the guy, but he did have one of the most awesome scenes in one of the highest grossing comedies of all time. The cameo was so well set-up. I saw the movie on opening weekend and had no idea the Favre scene was coming. I nearly fell out of my chair. Even watching it now, it kind of made me like Favre if only just a little. Don't worry: I got over it.



Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Office is the Brett Favre of Sitcoms

Okay, I finally saw the (pitiful) "wedding episode" of The Office. I come to the realization that The Office is the Brett Favre of sitcoms:

  • It is wildly inconsistent ranging from brilliant (the season premier) to cringeworthy (the wedding episode).
  • Now matter how bad it gets, critics just continue to lavish praise on it.
  • It is treated as if it is an "all time great" but it unworthy of the distinction.

The wedding episode is the equivalent of throwing six picks in the playoffs. Just inexcusably terrible (although you won't have to search too hard to find fans making excuses).

For the record, the British Office is the Bart Starr of sitcoms: it came first and while it was less flashy it would never crap the bed in a big game.

And if have I have to stretch this premise even thinner, Arrested Development is the Joe Montana of sitcoms.

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Oooooohhhhh Yooooo-o-o-ko!

Ms. Tynes-Favre: you are on the list.

I can see why she might be so bitter, considering the Packer organization and fans were so unsupportive during her health problems.

You've come along way from getting into drunken shouting matches with your redneck baby-daddy. But I'm glad to see you haven't forgotten your roots and still have the same amount of class.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Packers Are Rebuilding and It's Too Late to Whine Now

I worried back in January that a switch to the 3-4 would doom the Packers to a few seasons of rebuilding. Then a couple weeks back I noted that this season is starting to feel like a rebuilding year. At this point, if I had to bet, 2009 is the first year of a 3 year rebuilding project.

Next offseason the Packers are going to need cornerbacks, safeties, linebackers, defensive linemen, offensive lineman, and running backs. How in the world is Thompson (or somebody else) going to fill even half of those needs next year? The Packers are going to be patching a lot of holes with bandaid solutions for at least another season after this one (and probably two more seasons). That's not to say the Packers can't be competitive and even make the playoffs, but I think any dreams of the Packers in the Super Bowl are on hold for three more seasons.

It all comes backs to the scheme switch. The switch left too many holes (and perceived holes) on the team. Thompson went out and bundled four draft picks to get two players in the front seven. In the process, he completely ignored the looming problems at both tackles.

The Packers were a play away from the Super Bowl just one year earlier. Why effectively blow up the team and start from scratch? It made little sense at the time, and it makes even less sense now. It wasn't a terrible idea. It was a terrible time.

By the time the Packers get everything ironed out a lot of the key players from the 2007 NFC Championship Game (Driver, Woodson, Harris, Kampman) will be retired or on different teams.

In an alternative universe, the Packers hired another 4-3 coordinator, got a huge boost from the return of Cullen Jenkins, drafted Michael Oher (and had three more higher round picks to fix other problems) and look a lot better now and in the future.

In any event, there were a lot of folks clamouring for a system switch. (Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.) You got your wish, now stop whining. In fact, I'm revoking your whining privileges effective immediately.

We are rebuilding. There is little to do about it now, and were all in this together now.

So buck up. It's time to cope.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Green Bay's Next Top Scapegoat.

A couple weeks ago, I almost posted a question asking who Packer fans (and Packer bloggers in particular) would promote to #1 scapegoat now that Packers fans can't hyperventilate about Bob Sanders after every loss.

The mob has spoken and the answer appears to be James Campen. Andy Hayes goes so far as to suggest that the Mark Tauscher could step in and do a better job than Campen. Really? How could anybody that is not part of the locker room possibly pretend to know that?

It could just as easily be a lack of talent to work with. You can't make General Tso's Chicken out of a platter of chicken poo poo. On the defensive side of the ball the Packers have 5 former first round draft picks in the front seven (this is not even counting Justin Harrell). The Packers don't have a single first round pick on the offensive line. The Packers just haven't invested much in the offensive line.

So is it nature (Thompson didn't acquire enough talent) or is it nuture (the talent is there but Campen can't develop it)? That's a pretty complicated question, and I am dubious that too many (if any) bloggers are competent to offer an even semi-informed opinion on the topic.

Nevertheless, people have an innate need to find really simple (and unfounded) answers to complicated questions. Too many injuries? It must be the trainer's fault. Is there a contract holdout? It must be the negotiator's fault. Too many sacks? It must be the offensive line coach's fault. That's just the way it is.

So congratulations, Campen: you're Green Bay's Next Top Scapegoat.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm with Silverstein

From his chat (sub req'd):

I think Bigby would have helped, but it was just Favre's night. He was at the top of the game. Every time he faced a third down, he picked out the weak spot in coverage and attacked it. It was a thing of beauty. The guy knew every blitz the Packers threw at him -- which wasn't that many, but anyway -- and seemed a step ahead of Capers. He was on. He'll have games when he's not on.

This is basically the game in a nutshell. So I don't understand why everyone is so distraught. The Packers played a division rival, on the road, facing a future HOF quarterback who played one of his best games ever. It may be painful to admit, but it was "just Favre's night."

I also don't buy for a second that the game was not as close as the final score. If anything, the game was even closer than the final score. Rodgers threw for almost 400 yards. And the game ultimately came down to a dropped touchdown on fourth down. If the game had actually ended on that play, everyone would think the game was as close as close games can get. I would argue that the game doesn't become less close if the critical play happened in the 3rd quarter.

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Why so serious?

Last night I had to go to the men's room and I wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible, so I was watching a Packers' third quarter drive from the bottom of the stairs, thinking I would have a head start on the change of possession rush.

4th and 1 from the goal line. Rodgers hits Lee for the TD. Sweet. I immediately turned and speed walked to the john.

Then I came back and the Packers still had 14 points. I asked some random guy what happened to the touchdown.

What touchdown he says.

The touchdown on the 4th and 1.

There was no touchdown.

Yes there was I saw it with my own eyes. Did the Vikings challenge it or something?

No. There never was a touchdown.

Then some other dude pipes up that the pass was dropped.

It was all very confusing to a guy who was already a little goofed up on Tusin and Jager-bombs.

Anyhow. There was no touchdown, and that was the difference of the game.

I suppose I am a little surprised by all the doom and gloom today. All in all, the Packers played pretty well, maybe their best game of the year. (Okay, I was drunk during the game and the Metrodome is a terrible place to watch football but from what I was able to observe, the Packers did welll).

If I were to have come up with my "keys" to game yesterday I probably would have said: (1) stop Adrian Peterson and (2) use the short passing game to sustain drives.

The Packers did both very well last night. I do not understand the criticism of Capers today. (I say this as a Capers agnostic.) Sure I would have liked to have seen more pressure, but you can't always get everything you want. The Packer defense made Adrian Peterson look like the other Adrian Peterson. The Packers challenged Favre to beat them, and Favre rose to the occasion. Sometimes thats the way it goes. I'm not going to second guess Capers and his game plan. The way those guys bottled up Peterson was amazing.

On the other side of the ball, the Packers had basically no problem moving up and down the field. The Vikings have a pretty good defense, and even with the protection problems, Rodgers worked them. That's good to see.

Last year the Packers lost on account of the previously unknown "unnatural throwing motion rule." This year it came down to a dropped one yard pass on fourth down (that secretly I still think was a catch.)

Oh well.

But overall, I actually feel much better about this team today than I did last week.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Dispatch From the Other Side of the Rubicon

If you are reading this right now it means that I am in a a very dark place: Minnesota.

Where do I start? Trying to write about this game, I was reminded of Chuck Klosterman's review of "Guns N' Roses" (really just Axl) Chinese Democracy:

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of democracy. This is a little like when that grizzly bear finally ate Timothy Treadwell: Intellectually, he always knew it was coming. He had to. His very existence was built around that conclusion. But you still can't psychologically prepare for the bear who eats you alive, particularly if the bear wears cornrows.

How do we even begin to talk about this game? What do you compare it to? I have no clue. But this is it.

This is really happening.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kudos to Bedard.

This is simply great. I read it twice it was so good.

I hope to see more pieces like this in the future. Less puff stories and more stuff like this.

Many months ago I bemoaned the trend of newpapers becoming too much like bloggers. Bedard's piece is a prime example of what a good journalist can do that a silly blogger can't do. Journalists still have access to people that we don't have access to.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WTF

The Wisconsin Tourism Federation becomes the Federation of Wisconsin Tourism.

Too bad. I sort of like the slogan, "WTF: Visit Wisconsin."

Polite nod to Prof. Turley.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Packer Transplants/Cheesehead Nation Live Blog. Tonight. 7 Central.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Too Much Credit to Capers

Silverstein writes:

All Capers has to do after crafting a defense that ranks tied for first in the NFL with nine takeaways is come up with a plan to stop Favre and the Vikings

I'm all for Capers and everything but let's not pretend that it was anything special about his defensive schemes that created the turnovers unless we are going to laud Bob Sanders for doing the exact same thing last season.

Chuck Woodson deserves more credit than Capers or Sanders.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Half-Shirt on "Mama's Family"

This really happened.

Here is another shameful example (embedding disabled). This time from the hit sitcom "Mama's Family."

Incidentally, Steven Hyden (my favorite AV Club writer), recently named Mama's Family "the worst sitcom of all time." Tough to argue against him.

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Abandon the Run Already

The Packers can't constantly be placed in 3rd and long on offense, that means "abandoning the run" (at least on first down). I'm sick of the "you have to run the ball to keep the defense honest" cliche. That's like saying I have to keep beating my head against this brick wall to keep the wall honest.

The Packers just can't start every single drive with a one yard run from Grant. This is leading to too many three-and-outs and putting too much pressure on a defense that is still learning. To call back to a preseason post, Football Outsider's predicted a declining offense this year because the team would not be able to sustain its success on third down. Put another way, the team cannot consistently under perform on first and second down and expect to convert third and long.

So far, FO is correct. The Packers have to find a way (any way) to stay ahead of the sticks.

McCarthy has to use the pass to set up the run. More 4 or 5 yard passes on first down. Then on second down the Packers will have a favorable down and distance that they can run the ball or set up play action.

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...Calling Dave Rayner

  • Poor defensive third down play again in the first half allowing the Rams to convert 3rd and 10 on two consecutive drives for two consecutive touchdowns. Much better in the second half, although the Packers defense was aided by some Rams miscues, dropped passes, poor throws, etc.
  • Where's the pressure?
  • Through three games, this season sure is taking on the feel of a "rebuilding year."
  • Nice to see Raji play, but I didn't see him make much of an impact. I was an advocate for drafting a stud offensive tackle. As of today (and I reserve the right to change my mind), I would gladly give up Raji for a Michael Oher.
  • I'm waiting to read all the blogs whining about how stupid it was for McCarthy dial up the fullback dive at the goal line. You know, like they did last season when the play didn't work we were treated to a bunch of hyperventilating rants about how stupid it was to "take the ball of the hands" of Rodgers and give it to a lowly fullback. The fact is, however, that the fullback dive is (and has been) one the Packers best short yardage plays. There have only been one or two times where it has not worked. I also liked the fake sweep twist this week. I'm not too worried because I'm sure that the play will be unsuccessful some time this season (no plays have a 100% success rate) and the whiners will come back out of the woodwork in full force.
  • Two other plays that I liked: (1) the shotgun pitch sweep, and the (2) the end around to Driver. The first play was about the only successful running play in the first half and McCarthy never went back to it. The second was just a great call at the right time.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Time Has Come to Break the Silence.

If I could talk about something serious for a second. Something awful happened in the 1980s. Nobody will talk about it. In fact it was so terrible that to cope we have repressed all memories of it. We have been, and remain, in a state of cultural amnesia.

For a time in the 1980s it was considered "cool" for a heterosexual male to wear a half-shirt. This really happened. And, nobody stopped to ask: "Hey, does this make me look, you know, super comically gay (not that there is anything wrong with that)?"

We have reached the point where people laugh about parachute pants and tight-rolled acid-washed jeans, but it is still "too soon" to talk about dudes in half-shirts.

It is time to break the silence.

I know its painful to think about, but we have to start talking if we are to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.

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The Great Samurai Controversy

Everyone is a-twitter (see what I did there?) about the Nick Barnett's samurai celebration two plays after he allowed a first down by missing a tackle. Carriveau says that Barnett should "act like he's been there before." Nagler says that everyone should just "shut the hell up." I sympathize more with Carriveau's position over's Nagler's somewhat pious "reminder" that Barnett is "not your kid."

But this is completely missing the trees from the forest fire: the Samurai celebration sucks at all times.

It is mime. Mime sucks. The only time mime was cool was when Tim Harris busted out his six shooters. The gravedigger was merely tolerable. That's it. Close the book.

We need to draw the line somewhere or else dull players who think they are exponentially more clever than they are will continue to come out with more and more contrived miming celebrations. Do we really need the light-saber mime, the nun chuck mime, or the running around with scissors mime?

It's stupid and it makes me cringe. And it must stop. If not now: when?

ADDENDUM: CD Angeli has it about right.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Adventures in Photoshop

Check out this picture from NFL.com.

Is it just me or is something missing?

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Is Flynn a Better Prospect Than Rodgers?

This is insane:

Some evaluators are even convinced backup Matt Flynn has a brighter future than Rodgers, having shown great ball placement in the preseason and much better escapability, which is more valued behind a line playing as poorly as the Packers’. If Rodgers should go down, as he has had a tendency to do early in his career, it could be a blessing in disguise.

I have always been a huge fan of Flynn but give me a break. I would love to know who these "evaluators" are. This has got to be some kind of practical joke.

Wow. Just wow.

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McCarthy Should Have Gone for the Touchdown First.

I haven't heard a lot of chatter about McCarthy's decision to take the field goal on second down at the Bengal's 27. Which is surprising, because there is no doubt that McCarthy made the wrong decision. McCarthy should have gone for the touchdown first.

There are two reasons. First, by scoring the touchdown the Packers would have at least preserved the possibility of winning the game in regulation by scoring another touchdown. Think back to the game against Chicago. With the receiving corps that the Packers have it is not that far-fetched to imagine the Packers winning the game in the final seconds. But by kicking the field goal first, McCarthy took the win off the table and the best the Packers could hope for was to send the game to overtime.

Second, you should save the field goal for last because you can kick a field goal from various places, but you have to get to the endzone to score a touchdown. Put another way, the Packers needed a touchdown and a field goal. Obvious. But the Packers did not need a touchdown and a 45 yard field goal. But once they kicked the field goal, that's what they were locked in to.

Think about it this way, once the Packers kicked the field goal, they had to drive 57 yards just to tie the game with a touchdown. But had they first scored a touchdown, they would have only needed to drive 24 yards to try a 50 yard field goal, 19 yards to set up a 55 yard field goal, or 14 yards to try winging a 60 yard field goal. Add in the 27 yard to the endzone and the Packers would have needed a total of 51 yards for a touchdown and 50 yard field goal try, 46 yards for a touchdown and a 55 yard field goal try, or 41 yards for a touchdown and a 60 yard field goal try. But the Packers didn't even have the option of trying a long field goal because McCarthy locked the team into a 45 yard field goal try, and locked the team into needing to drive 57 yards for the tie.

Did it ultimately matter? It's tough to say. The most improbable part of the comeback effort was the onsides kick, which was successful. But think about this: after the Packers got the ball back it took 27 seconds to get to the Bengals' 35 yard line and spike the ball into the turf.

In an alternate universe could the Packers have scored a touchdown and recovered the onsides kick with 28 seconds remaining allowing the Packers to attempt a 52 yard field goal? We will never know. But it was at least possible. McCarthy's job is to preserve these possibilities. His job is to put his team in the best position to win. He failed yesterday.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cheer up, Sleepy Gene.

Today's game was bad. Really bad. But cheer up. Step away from the ledge. Things will get better. In fact, things can only get better. Here are some silver linings to help you through next week.

The offense is playing poorly in part due to a leaky offensive line, that just got a little worse with Clifton rehabbing his ankle. That's the bad news.

But that's only half of the story. The other half is that Packers' best offensive players---Rodgers, Jennings and Driver---are playing well below their ability. And that (believe it or not) is the good news. The reason this is good news is that Rodgers, Jennings, and Driver are all very good players. I guarantee that these players will bounce back, and when they do the Packers offense will be markedly improved.

I expect the offensive line to continue to struggle, but the Packers will be able to mask some of the problems by bringing the offense back towards the line of scrimmage (this is called the "West Coast Offense"). I doubt we will see the same explosive offense that we saw in the preseason, but this offense will be able to move the ball and put up points. So don't despair.

The defense is a work in progress. There will be some ups and downs. This was expected all along. As I said two weeks ago: "don't throw up your hands in disgust if the defense enters the season shaky. There will be a learning curve. Let's give it some time."

If none of this cheered you up, try this:






...As Bob Sanders Smirks.

  • This defense has some work to do. A lot. I have faith that it will get done but, no, Rome was actually not built in a day after all. This defensive performance could have held its own with any of the absolute worst performances under Bob Sanders, bar none.
  • This defense was terrible against the run (like last season) and terrible on third down (like in the preseason).
  • Speaking of which, the pivotal play of the game was allowing the Bengals to convert a third and 34 en route to a touchdown. Unacceptable. Unacceptable in a box. Unacceptable with a fox. Unacceptable in a house. Unacceptable with a mouse. Unacceptable under Bob Sanders. Unacceptable under Dom Capers.
  • Rodgers has taken a huge step backwards. His protection was leaky but if he sees the pressure coming he has got to get rid of the ball. After sacrificing a safety last week I certainly would have hoped he would have been prepared to unload the ball this week.
  • For being hailed as one of the best wide receiver corps in the NFL, they sure have been playing like crap.
  • Kind of makes you wonder just how bad the Bears are.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Streetcar Named Misfire

A wise man once said that "a town with money is a little like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it."




As part of the Great Stimulus Swindle of 2009 (TM), the City of Milwaukee received $64 Million earmarked for a rail system that it doesn't need. Today the City unveiled its plans. The plan is aimed at "east side commuters" (read: carting a minuscule number of affluent condo-dwellers to their white collar jobs downtown).

How minuscule? The proposed lines provide coverage to census tracts 110, 113, 132, 141, 143, 144, 145, 152, and 153. The population of this area during the 2000 census was 14,479. Overall the downtown population has grown around 1.3 per year. So16,264 is a good estimate of population of the proposed service area. In any event, screw good estimates. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the population exploded to 20,000.

So how many of those 20,000 are commuters? Well, in the 2000 census, around 70% of residents of the 53212 zip code were over the age of 16 and of those, 62% were in the labor force. If those numbers hold true, that means there are around 8738 commuters (again, remember this is based upon an artificially high population of 20,000).

Okay, so assuming that there are 8738 commuters, how many of them are likely riders? Traditionally, less than 10% of Milwaukee commuters take public transportation. "Ah ha!" you say. "But that's because Milwaukee only has buses and nobody wants to ride some crummy old bus, but everyone will want to ride a 'streetcar' because it is a bus on rails!" you continue.

So for the sake of argument let's assume that Milwaukee matches Chicago at 25% commuter ridership. That still means that only 2184 city commuters will ride the trolley.

At $64 Million the City plans to spend $29,304 per rider. As a point of reference, the MSRP on a new Prius is $24,270. The City could buy every one of its future trolley riders a new Prius and still have $5,000 per rider left over for something frivolous like education or something.

And that's overestimating the population of the service area and the likely ridership percentage. If you use the more likely numbers, the total ridership sinks down to 708 riders. In that case the cost per rider is $90,395!

I recognize that the City got a $64 Million "windfall" from the federal government to build a rail system, but we have to do better than this.

But to take a step back, why does the City need a rail system? Rail is really nice in cities that have major traffic congestion and parking scarcity. Milwaukee doesn't have those problems. In fact, Milwaukee is ranked as the third best city in the country for commuting.

So why do we need rail? It is a "necessary investment to keep Milwaukee economically competitive with other cities that have or are building rail lines." That's right: we have to keep up with Shelbyville.

We definitely want to stay "economically competitive." How can we can possibly be economically competitive if our condo-dwellers ride buses on tires instead of buses on rails.

It's quite simple really:
  • Phase 1: Build streetcars
  • Phase 2: ?
  • Phase 3: Profit

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cutler/Griffin: A side-by-side Comparison

Cutler is just missing spectacles and an eight:





It's the Singer Not the Song

Another interesting point by Baranczyk (sub still req'd) :

Against Chicago, they had a lot of one-on-one matchups that they won that maybe last year they wouldn't have won. So I think the improved play of the defense so far comes down to coaching more than scheme. I think they have a good, experienced defensive coordinator and a lot of good assistant coaches.

Baranczyk goes on to list some examples. For example Jolly's huge interception had nothing to do with scheme, and everything about a player knowing what to anticipate and making a heads up and athletic play. Baranczyk may be on to something.

Well give the glory to the man.
Who's not afraid to come on strong.
When there's magic in the music.
It's the singer not the song.






ADDENDUM: Carriveau writes of this post that I suggest that "it's really the players that made the difference and not the defensive coordinator." That is not Baranczyk (or my position) at all. In his piece Baranczyk draws a distinction between "coaching" and "scheme." Baranczyk's opinion is that the defensive performance was more attributable to coaching over scheme. Personally, I'm not sure I'm completely on board. Coaching and scheme seem so intertwined that it is difficult for me to separate the two. Nevertheless, Baranczyk has some support and I think there is something to what he says.

Anyhow, I thought it was an interesting point. And it gave me a plausible excuse to queue up some cheesy 80s pop.
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Not Another Favre Post

(1) If you have not read C.D. Angeli's post about Michael Jordan and Brett Favre believing their own hype, you should. Really good stuff.

(2) Great point by Eric Baranczyk (sub req'd) : "Here's a difference between [Rodgers] and Brett Favre. When a game wasn't going well that was when Favre threw a lot of his stupid interceptions. Rodgers doesn't try to force the ball."

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Could This Be the Answer to Cutler's Problems?

Some out of the box thinking here. Combining the best part of Kyle Orton with Jay Cutler.

It's so crazy, it just might work. If nothing else, it would help with his multi-chin.

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Cheesehead Nation Tonight

Packers Standing Pat at RT?

It doesn't look like the Packers are going to make a move for Tauscher this week. I think this is a mistake, not because the Packers should immediately bench Babre (they should not) but because they should have a better back-up plan in place just in case Babre just doesn't work out.

The stakes are too high. As much as I like Flynn, the Packers need Rodgers to be a legitimate contender. Rodgers blows out his knee, this is probably a wasted season. Rodgers rips his rotator cuff, hopefully he has a nice career in the broadcast booth because his football career is pretty much over, and the Packers are set back 3-5 years.

That's what's at stake.

As much as I profess to be a supporter of a "slow and steady" philosophy I don't want to see a repeat of the Derrick Frost situation. It makes sense to move now rather than wait. It doesn't mean "benching Babre" after one start. It will take Tauscher a few weeks to get back into football shape and coming off his injury the Packers will not want to rush him. Wouldn't it be great to have Tauscher getting into shape while the Packers have the Bengals and Rams on the schedule? If the Packers wait until they absolutely need a right tackle, chances are, the Packers are already too late.

Maybe Babre gets it together and looks great against the Bengals and Rams. Perfect. It's not like the Packers will be sorry that they have a solid veteran back-up. Over the course of a 16 game season, he will be needed.

Finally, there are people insisting that it will take Tauscher until 2010 to fully recover. That's possible, but the best and most recent information that we have is that Tauscher's recovery is way ahead of schedule and that he would be ready to go in early September.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Calling Mr. Tauscher . . .

  • Jay Cutler leads all NFL QBs in number of chins.
  • Favorite part of the game. Bears dial up the mind boggling fake punt at their own thirty. Camera cuts away to show a ref laughing his ass off.
  • Credit where it was due, Rodgers made the throw that counted. But he has way too many weapons to be so locked in to Jennings and Driver.
  • Speaking of Rodgers's weapons, anyone else catch the play in the first half where Finley pancaked Ogunleye and then went out and ran his route?
  • Jolly with the one-handed interception. Really?
  • Did Hawk have a pretty good game or was it just me?
  • Note to Ted Thompson: Don't be a stubborn dumbass. Give Tauscher a call.
  • Note to Emmitt Smith: Your beard is weird.

McGinn Predicts That the Packers Lose to Pittsburgh in the Superbowl.

That's a good sign. McGinn's record is well-known, and his predictions mean far more to me than any other predictions.

But I am not quite convinced. The offense looks lights out, but the defense still has a lot to prove. The starting defense forced seven turnovers but only 3 punts. This ratio is completely unsustainable. The defense's play on third down was completely unacceptable in the preseason.

A reader in the comments asked me for my prediction. Typically I don't make any specific predictions. There are too many unknowns, and too much unpredictability. Every season, there are opponents on the schedule that everyone assumes will be an automatic victory, but that turn out to be very good teams. Every year there are opponents that are supposed to be tough that turn out to be creampuffs. We probably won't know which teams are good (including the Packers) until sometime in October.

Moreover, things change quickly. The Packers have a lot riding on Rodgers 25 year old arm, and the health of that arm is riding on Clifton's 32 year old knees.

If forced to make a prediction, I'll stick with the tried and true method based upon last year's number of Pythorean wins and say the Packers go 9-7.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Football, Football, Football," Says McCarthy.

Amusing quote from McCarthy:

at the end of the day football is football. You have to go out and play football. Our football team played very good football

Wait, what was he talking about again?

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Your School Children Will Be Brainwashed. Deal With It.

Over at Volohk Prof. Lindgren has a great post examining George H.W. Bush’s 1991 address to school children. Bush's speech was almost identical to Obama’s proposed address right down to the creepy request that school children write “Dear Leader” letters to Bush to pledge their assistance.

And you know what? Republicans were fine with it.

And you know what else? Democrats were pissed about it.

Go figure.

And now, conservative parents are beginning to get worried that their children are being "brainwashed" at school. Duh. What took you so long to figure that out? If you send your kids to school, they will get brainwashed. That’s just the way it is.

Speaking from my own highschool experience in the late 80s/early 90s, I know I sat through countless “lessons” on the evils of pesticides and the virtues of organic farming (among whatever other environmental issue was hot at the moment).

In the 50s children were brainwashed about sneaky homosexuals. Since the 30s school children have been brainwashed about the horrors of pot, booze, and sex. For the last eight years kids have been brainwashed to save it for marriage (unless they are gay). And on, and on.

Anyhow, parents that are concerned that their children will be brainwashed at school are on the right track. But it has little to do with Obama's address, and keeping their kids home for one day is a pointless gesture when every other day the kids will be inundated with indoctrination.

The only solution is to either keep your kids home from school every single day, or to teach your children to be skeptics, to question authority, and to have finely-tuned bullshit detectors. And then dare the school system to try to brainwash your kids, having enough faith that your children are not total flakes that will believe everything they hear at school.

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Hey, Look What Belichick Did Today!

I like to goof on those that argue that the Packers should just copy everything that Belichick does (even though what people "think" Belichick does is not always what he actually does).

Well, now its time to turn the tables. The Patriots did something pretty bold and pretty smart today: they traded Richard Seymour for a first round pick. Why? Because: (A) they could get a first round pick for him and (B) he was likely to leave next season anyhow.

(That sort of reminds me of a particular Packer that was forced to play out of position in his final contract season and would have had some trade interest, but I digress.)

The lesson here is that almost no one should be considered "untradeable." On the Packers, I think there is one one player that is truly "untradeable" and that Aaron Rodgers. Other than that if the price is right let's make a deal.

Lombardi traded Jim Ringo, Hall of Fame center, to the Eagles as Ringo was coming off seven consecutive Pro Bowls. Today, we have Nervous Pervises who are scared of trading a back-up center.

If a Hall of Fame center is tradeable, a back-up center sure as hell is tradeable.

Here's a thought experiment: let's say the Seahawks offer three first round picks for Wells. Would you balk because it might leave the team a "little thin" in the event of an injury on the line? Hell no.

As the old joke goes, now we are just negotiating the price.

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A.J. Feeley?

The Eagles will apparently let him go. I wouldn't mind Thompson bringing him in as the 2nd or 3rd QB. He'd be a better fit than some of the other names that I have heard tossed around like Booty and Garcia.

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Wealthy Filmmaker To Charge $12 Per Ticket To See New Movie About the Evils of Capitalism

It's not an Onion headline.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Is the Smith Cut That Surprising?

Everyone seems surprised that Anthony Smith was cut today. Silverstein, Nagler at CHTV, Andy Hayes at PackerGeeks. I guess the question that I have (and I have deleted all the preseason games from my DVR) were the Packers in the dime on all of the Packers third down meltdowns this preseason? And if so, was Smith in the game. Anyone know?

It is far more important how he played in the dime with and against starters than how he played in the base against crappy quarterbacks and third string receivers. Who cares how great he looked against guys who are looking for work tonight?

The knock against Smith has always been that he can't play within the system and takes too many chances. When the Packers are letting teams convert third and distance, you can't have a cowboy in the defensive backfield who is off doing his own thing.

Smith is a fourth year player and a little old to consider a prospect. He is who he is. If he is not a starter, he's probably not going to "develop" into a starter. And if he is not going to develop into a starter, and he can't be counted on in the dime where is his place on this roster?

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Some Sobering Facts About the Packer Defense

There is a lot of excitement over the defense this year. Is it warranted?

Unfortunately, not based on what we have seen so far this preseason. This preseason we have witnessed a defense that has created a ton of turnovers but has been gashed for big yardage and has shown a chronic inability to hold on third down.

But the problem with last year's defense wasn't that it couldn't force turnovers. The Packers were 8th in the league in turnovers last season---and led the league in defensive touchdowns. The problem with the Packers defense last season was that it could not find a way to get itself off the field in the fourth quarter.

What evidence is there that this defense will do any better?

There is none.

In fact, the little evidence---and I do emphasize little---that we do have suggests---and a do emphasize merely suggests---that this defense might have an even hard time getting off the field than last year's squad.

Now as a preface, I must say we don't have a ton of data to draw a lot of conclusions. But from what we do have the 2009 Packer defense looks a lot more like the 2008 Packer defense than it does the 2008 Steelers defense. Looking only at the starters--the backs ups were much much worse---the defense has allowed the conversion of 8 of 15 third downs, for 53%. As a point of reference the worst teams in the league last season in third down conversion were the Colts and the Chiefs who held 47% of the time. Lasts year's Packers were tied for 10th in the league at 38%. (The Steelers led the pack at 31%).

But whats far more troubling to me is how atrocious this defense has been (in admittedly limited action) in third and distance (which I'll call third and seven or more). On those plays, the Packers allowed their opponent to convert 4 of 8 tries. A middle-of-the-road team should be able to hold on a third and seven 37% of the time. The Packers have been much worse than even middle of the road. The Packers also gave up huge plays against the Cardinals on third and long, allowing a third and nine to go for 27 yards and a third and ten to go for 27 yards.

This defense might have a hard time getting off the field this year. Granted, it hasn't been as obvious as it should be because of all the turnovers this preseason. However, if the defense's primary way of getting off the field is waiting for Woodson to strip the ball from a receiver, its going to a long season.

And it was not just the Cardinals that made the first string defense look bad. I'm sure that most have already forgotten that the Browns' starting offense marched down to the Packers 13 (converting 2 of 3 third downs) before committing a 10 yard penalty and then missing a routine fieldgoal. Had the Browns made that field goal (and imagine if they punched it in for a td), I think Packer fans would have a much more level-headed, and in my opinion accurate view, of this defense. But they missed, and Buffalo committed a ton of turnovers, and voila the Packers starting defense pitched a "shutout" through the first two preseason games. Enter the over-exuberance.

Now, here is the where I add some caveats. (And I do this for a very specific reason: if the Packers defense is awesome right out of the gate, I won't have to admit that I was wrong.) We have only seen the preseason version of the defense. We do know that Capers is holding some super secret stuff back for the regular season. And the third down percentage will get better. That is a near absolute certainty. It has to get better, because there is nowhere to go but up. But the question is: how much better?

Here's an idea. Instead of talking Super Bowl (you know who you guys are) let's wait and see. And don't throw up your hands in disgust if the defense enters the season shaky. There will be a learning curve.

Let's give it some time.


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Are you ready to see Kampman in Vikings' Purple?

If not: get ready. Maybe he will pick up his game over the course of the season, but as of right now, Kampman looks just okay. Which signals that he probably will not be back with the Packers next season. Which means he will be on a new team.

Which team is obsessed with former Packers? Which team actually signed Kampman to an offer sheet back in 2005? How many rhetorical questions will I ask?

Unless the Packers franchise Kampman and trade him out of the division, Kampman will be a Viking next season. Get used to the idea.

It will be a sad day.

Kampman, Pat (though he has to stop playing sometime) & Kevin Williams, and Jared Allen.

Crap.

The smart move would have been to trade Kampman back in March. Based on the Allen trade I think the Packers could have gotten a first rounder for Kampman. Which would have meant not needing to trade away the whole draft to move up and get Mathews.

But instead we will likely see one season of a perfectly whelming Kampman, and then get to watch him chase Rodgers around for a few seasons.

Still doesn't seem worth it to me.

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CHZHD Nation @ 8

Little late on this but:

Packer Tranplants - Last Days of Camp

Monday, August 31, 2009

Favre and the health care debate.

Public option, "single-payer system" (which I think is some sort of euphemism for "government run health care" which also raises an interesting question "if government health care is so great, why do you need a euphemism?"), blah, blah, blah.


(1) Citizens should diagnose themselves; and then

(2) Not do anything about it because "the damage is already done."

I've run the numbers on the back of an envelope and if the U.S. adopts FavreCare we can save $132 Trillion over the next 8 years.

True story.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

McGinn's Got to Feed His Family.

I often worry that I don't have enough updates on this blog. But I try to live by David Byrne's classic advice from "Psycho Killer": when I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.





After today's piece, McGinn should follow the same advice. Subscription required, but I'll recap it for you.

Rich Gannon made what McGinn admits were tame comments about Brohm looking "uncomfortable." McCarthy agrees with Gannon's assessment and Brohm isn't upset about them.

That's it. That's the story.

The story is that there isn't a story. Throughout the piece its suggested that there is some sort of controversy over Gannon's comments ("In a telephone interview, Gannon appeared taken aback that his remarks were even an issue."). Then you get to the bottom and you realize that there is no controversy. At all. It is a fake "controversy" that McGinn totally made up, while at the same time personally admitting that the statements were "tame."

I realize that McGinn has got to write about something (that's why they pay him), but give me a break.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Don't Tread on My Kid's Beer

The well-meaning busy bodies are at it again. Now, they want to legislate how parents teach their children about alcohol. In Wisconsin, it has always been legal for parents and their kids to share a drink in bars and restaurants---as it is in many countries throughout the world (and perhaps most of the countries that you would ever want to actually visit).

Apparently, that's not right!

According to the insufferable, pompous gasbags on the Journal Sentinel editorial board Wisconsin's libertarian laws regarding parents sharing a beer with their kids "is just one more indication that Wisconsin's attitude toward alcohol is way out of whack."

Out of whack with what?

As I stated, if you were to line up all the countries in the world that you would actually want to visit, a sizable number of them have a 16 year-old drinking age (i.e., a 16 year-old can get service at a bar or liquor store without a parent) and only a tiny few would have a drinking age over 18. The U.S. easily---easily---has the most puritanical alcohol laws in the world with the exception of Muslim countries and a few backwards regions in India.

It's not Wisconsin's laws that are out of whack. It's the laws in the rest of the country.

The most infuriating part is that there is simply no need to change the law. As the JS twerps recognize in the first sentence of their editorial "In all likelihood, few Wisconsin parents allow their minor children to drink with them in taverns."

Let me translate that for you: there is not a problem. This proposed law is not about fixing a problem, it is a hair-brained attempt to "change attitudes" towards alcohol.

With no due respect (as none is warranted): keep your fucking laws off my attitude.

These well meaning busybodies hope that if we change the laws, maybe children won't grow up and learn that drinking alcohol is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do. But here's the rub: drinking alcohol is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do.

These decisions should not be made by legislators. These decisions should remain where they have always been and where they belong: between parents, children, and their bartender.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CHZHD Nation at 9 Central.

No, it's not some moon bat separatist movement (yet). It's a live blog synchronized with the excellent Packer Transplants broadcast from CHTV.

Will Nagler wear a silly hat? Will Behnke bust out his A.J. Hawk jersey? Will Larrivee answer his phone? Tune in and find out!







Click Here for Packer Transplants.


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Packers Lounge Pulls A Favre

Good news.

I guess Alex and the crew at Packers Lounge are not so much like "Candles In the Wind" as much as they are like "Those-Joke-Candles-That-People-Put-On-Birthday-Cakes In the Wind."

Welcome back guys.

It was almost like you never left.

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Is Rodgers One of the Top 3 QBs Under 30?

Maybe.

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Omnibus Favre Post

(1) I wrote most of how I feel about Favre's complicated legacy in the "Separating Legend From Truth" series which you can find here: Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

(2) You simply must read these three hilarious rants from a Vikings fan at Kissing Suzy Kolber: May. July. August. Read them all. Depending on where you work, the posts might be NSFW.

(3) Check out this fascinating map about poll asking who is the best QB in the NFC North. Favre and Rodgers are neck and neck, with Rodgers dominating the Northeast and California and Favre sweeping the South. Only Illinois likes Cutler and only Michigan like Stafford. Interesting.

(4) Way back in April I bought Packers/Vikings tickets for the Monday night game at the Metrodome in October, figuring Favre would come back, and tickets would be pretty steep if he did. I was pretty damn smug when I locked my tickets in. Then Favre announced he was not coming back and I thought "well, it will still be fun." Now, I am feeling smug again.