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).