Thursday, January 21, 2016

Packers Save Their Best Game For Last but Come Up Short in 2016

Packers versus Cardinals
To say that the Packers versus Cardinals divisional game was “interesting” would be an understatement. The Green Bay Packers, were undermanned, beat up, and half their team was missing due to injury. The other half was hobbling along on one leg, as they traveled to Arizona on Saturday night to take on the Cardinals. It was a game nobody expected the Packers to even be playing in, much less make a contest of. Then they played the game.

I flat out do not believe how that game unfolded. The Packers put on nothing short of a heroic effort, the entire game, and especially on defense. In the first quarter, wide receiver Randall Cobb was knocked out of the game with a broken sternum. This meant that the Green Bay Packers, the last three quarters of this game, were without the top four wide receivers they entered training camp with, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and Ty Montgomery, The Packers played amazing football,  forgetting all about the dire circumstances, only to lose it in dramatic fashion, in overtime. The whole game,  I was waiting for the Cardinals to turn it on, and run away from the Packers. That never happened. That was one of the best games I have ever watched in my life. The Packers did about as well as they could, minus just one decision by Mike McCarthy.

Following yet another Hail Mary, Mike McCarthy opted to kick the extra point and go to overtime. I believe this was a bad decision based on the circumstances. The Packers were beat up, undermanned, and facing a superior team to them in every fashion. They had a very small chance to win the game in overtime regardless of the coin flip to begin with, so idea of winning the game in overtime should not have even crossed their mind. Especially since the play was being reviewed, the Packers had plenty of time to get on the line of scrimmage with the full play clock at their disposal with to wide receivers, Janis and Abbrederis, Richard Rodgers, the tight end, John Kuhn, the fullback, and Eddie Lacy, the running back. Why do we do this? Well, the McCarthy should have realized at that moment, following that Hail Mary, that the best chance for the Packers to advance would be to let the season live or die on the abilities of the highest paid football player in the world to find the match up he wants and make the play to get it done.

This game was also full of ironies. I find it rather ironic and poetic that this game came down to the Jeff Janis making plays. All season long, we have all preached about how Jeff Janis has vertical ability, something the Packers lacked all season, and was the source of their offensive problems. This game came down to Jeff Janis running down the field and catching the ball two times, and on the Hail Mary, out jumped two players, one of them an All-Pro, to catch that ball. Speaking of that Hail Mary. I thought the Hail Mary in Detroit was the best throw I've ever seen a quarterback make. I was wrong. This one topped that. Aaron Rodgers heaved that football 61 yards, falling away from his throwing motion, to the left, and backwards as well.

The biggest irony though is in regards to one of my core points all season. I've been preaching for weeks now about how it is time for the Packers to find a new head coach, because McCarthy constantly lets them get away with less than a full effort. Well, Saturday night, for the first time in a very long time, these Green Bay Packers, gave a full effort, start to finish, for the entire game. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Packers Dismantled the Redskins in Wild Card Playoff Game

Packers versus Redskins
If you have been reading this blog for the last 10 weeks you know what the themes have been. The Packers are self-destructing like they never have before in the modern era. Aaron Rodgers has serious case of “Brett Favre Superstar” and has his head shoved so far up his rear end it's not even funny. The Packers haven't given a full effort start to finish for entire game in a long, long time, and Mike McCarthy needs to be let go for that very reason(Well they still didn't yesterday as that first quarter was beyond awful, but still, a win is a win). The Packers offensive problems simply aren't fixable as they have no active receiver on the team right now who can run down the field and catch the ball.

That sounds about correct, right? Well, now I have a new question. Where in the world did that come from?

For six straight drives during the middle of the game yesterday the Packers went down the field at will, scoring five touchdowns and a field goal. All dimensions of the offense where firing on all cylinders. Where was that the last 10 weeks? Seriously. Still, they are in the playoffs, and that is really all that matters. Next up is a rematch with Arizona, in which the Packers got pounced 38-8 back in week 16. More on this upcoming game later on in the week. Let's go ahead right now and preview the other three games.

Seahawks @ Panthers- Seattle got out of a Minnesota with a win by the skin of their teeth when Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the games final minute. The Vikings really had that game won, and then they lost the game as only the Vikings can. If Cleveland's motto is “God hates us”, Minnesota's motto is “God teases us”. How many times have Minnesota's sports teams had a chance in the postseason over the last 20 years and they have nothing to show for it. Well anyways, Seattle goes to Carolina to take on the man who will win the MVP award, Cameron Newton. At the end of the day, I think the Panthers are just too much for Seattle and the Seahawks run ends here by a score of 34-17.

Chiefs @ Patriots- The Chiefs just bulldozed the Houston Texans 30-0 this past Saturday to get this match up with the Patriots. Everyone in the world outside of Boston is a Chiefs fan in this game. The Chiefs find a solution to contain Rob Gronkwoski and they screw up the NFL's plans for one final Brady-Manning matchup, winning 30-20. 

Steelers @ Broncos- Peyton Manning returns to the lineup for one last gasp at a Super Bowl. Problem is, he is getting older by the second and shouldn't be playing anymore. Steelers win this one 31-17.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Packers Versus Redskins Better Choice for 2015 Playoffs?

Packers playoffs 2015
Well that was interesting, but from the Packers perspective, this may not be the worst thing in the world. Instead of hosting the Vikings again, the Packers get to go to Washington next week. Meanwhile, the Vikings host the Redskins. However, I don't think it will make much of a difference, as I have two thoughts about this game.

First of all, the Vikings did a good job last night. However, they didn't do anything to make me say wow. All they did was simply employ the same tactics that every team has used against the Packers every game for the last 10 weeks, and the same tactics the Redskins will use when the beat the Packers next week. The Vikings didn't "figure it out", the Cardinals didn't figure it out, and so on. The Broncos were the team that figure out these very simple tactics. On offense, send the fullback between the tackle and tight end, therefore creating leverage for the running back to find a hole off one tackle or the other. On defense, play four up and double press the slots, literally daring Aaron Rodgers to go vertical.

When I made my preseason predictions, I did not think the Jordy Nelson injury would effect this team that much. Boy was I wrong. I have reviewed the tape from the last few years, and I have noticed something. The most important aspect to this offense, is a vertical threat. See, a vertical threat like Jordy Nelson has been the last few years or James Jones and Greg Jennings were in their primes pushes center fielder down the field. Therefore the rover safety(That is the chalk term for the safety who plays closer to the line of scrimmage) has to retreat and fill in for the center fielder. That forces corner backs to take more risks to stop the receivers, therefore giving the receivers plenty of chances to beat their mark and find some space. That is where those 10-25 yard mid-level throws the Packers have been famous for come in to the picture. Make sense? That is why this off season the Packers in the draft need to make three of their first four draft choices a tight end, and pair of wide receivers. The tight end needs to be a a mid-level pass catching threat and the wide receivers need to be vertical threats.

I have been on this one for a while, so you all should know what is coming. Yes Mike McCarthy is a great offensive mind. Yes he is one of the best pure play callers in the history of the game of football. Yes he is great in the locker room at the half. But a head coach only needs to be one of those three things so therefore the first two shouldn't be considered in Ted Thompson's decision making. What should be considered is the following. Yes, the players like Mike McCarthy. Being a head coach is like being a parent, it is not your job to make your players like you, it is your job to make them respect you. Honestly, I don't think these players respect Mike McCarthy anymore. Year after year, week after week, he allows this team to get away with something less than a full effort. I can't remember the last time these Packers, with McCarthy as their head coach, gave a full effort, start to finish, for an entire game. That was once again on display tonight. Over the last 4-5 years or so, about 75-85% of the time, he allows this team to get away with less than a full effort. To tell you the truth, I think McCarthy secretly wants to be fired, as he looks exhausted, and I don't blame. So I believe the time has come for the Packers to hire a new head coach.

So what kind of coach would the Packers need? Well, they don't need another offensive mind, or a defensive mind. Ted Thompson needs to hire someone along the lines of one of the Harbaugh brothers, Mike Tomlin, Jon Gruden, Pete Carroll, Tom Coughlin, or Bill Cowher. I am not saying that they should hire any of these guys. I have never been too big on the concept of rehasing old head coaches. My point is that their search needs to revolve around coaches like this. They need someone who is going to come in here, bark, yell, tighten the noose, squeeze, squeeze, and squeeze some more, then finish it off by kicking these players, every single one of them, in the rear end, until they get it. For example, three names that come to mind are David Shaw, the head coach at Stanford, and Pat Fitzgerald, the head coach of Northwestern. I will have a more detailed list in the coming weeks should it get to that point.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Packers Need a New Coach for 2016

Packers 2015
I am very upset over the events of yesterday's Packers-Cardinals game. I know, I know, the overwhelming response to the above statement would be that the Packers got beat, and badly. By a score of 38-8 in fact. But that is not what I am upset about, at all. I am upset over the Cardinals obnoxious and rude behavior as well as yet another week in which the Packers showed a complete lack of effort as a team. Let's begin with the first part of that sentence.

I have made a lot of what would seem to be outlandish statements over the years regarding teams and their effort/attitude balance. As some people already know, I am very anti-celebration in sports. I am against teams resorting to cheap nonsense and even a bunch of trickery or gimmicks just to win a game. I call that playing scared. I am also very much against players who go out there with the intention of hurting the other teams players. The Cardinals violated 1 and 3 yesterday. The whole game they were acting as if they were five minutes way from winning the Super Bowl. They also were intentionally trying to hurt Aaron Rodgers, as evidenced by their second half pass rush. There is a fine line between giving a full effort and going too far. The Arizona Cardinals crossed that line yesterday in a major way. Sometimes I wonder if there is any team out there willing to do it the right way. Well, there is a shining example of how to do it right. The San Antonio Spurs.

Have you ever watched the San Antonio Spurs play a game? Do you notice how they give a full effort every game? Do you notice how they find the balance between giving a full effort in an early-December game, and not playing like it is game 7 of the NBA Finals? Have you ever seen their demeanor, their professionalism, their attitude when they play a game? Do you see how they balance a full effort and not acting like they just won the NBA championship after making a free throw? Do you see how they simply play the game, and don't stoop to cheap lows and trickery, letting the game unfold how it will? You see how they balance a full effort without intentionally trying to hurt opposing team’s players? Do you see how they carry themselves with dignity and class over the course of a season? Have you ever noticed how they don't talk trash, or say stupid things, or taunt the other team?

Every professional sports team in the world should strive to be like the San Antonio Spurs. Some of you might be asking, especially those of you who are into the whole flash and style thing, where's the fun in that? Well, the fun is in the praise the Spurs get every single day. The fun for the Spurs is in being the biggest dogs in the yard for the last 17 years. The fun is winning five NBA Championships during that span. The fun is in being the best in the world at what they do.  The Spurs know they are going to win. They just don't feel the need to shove it in their opponents face along the way.

Now for the second part of my original statement. Yet again, the Packers showed a complete lack of effort across the board. I honestly, can't remember the last time the Green Bay Packers gave a full effort for an entire game, and that is the biggest negative that drives me and millions of Packers fans crazy about Mike McCarthy's Packers teams. Year after year, game after game, it is the same old line of nonsense, and usually results with somebody saying something along the lines of well, we should have played better. Once or twice is a coincidence. This many times, and you need to look no further than the head coach. Watching McCarthy during this game yesterday, he looked, once again, like he just didn't care as his team fell apart, yet again.

I have said this before, and I am going to say it again, it is time for a coaching change in Green Bay. The Packers don't need another coach like McCarthy, it is time for the exact opposite. They need a clone of someone like the Harbaugh brothers, or Pete Carroll, as much as I hate him, or Jon Gruden, or Mike Tomlin, or Tom Coughlin. Someone who is going to come in here and bark at these players until they get it. Now, I am not saying they should go after any of these guys, as I am not a fan of re-hashing old coaches. However, there are coaches out there like them; they just need to find one.