Packers Stock Report: The Bears (and the Vikings) Still Suck Edition

Micah Hyde’s punt return for a TD elevates the Packers rookie into this week’s rising category.

The Packers closed down the Metrodome in style Sunday night, bowling over the Vikings and filling the cavernous white bubble with the sweet sounds of Go Pack Go!

Hearing Go Pack Go echoing throughout the Metrodome as the Packers beat the Vikings is one of the best sounds in all of sports. I won’t miss the Dome, but I will miss the times when the Packers play well enough to allow Cheeseheads to take the place over.

Now that the Packers have dispensed of the Vikings and Christian Ponder, it’s on to the Bears and Jay Cutler  Josh McCown. Instead of extending this intro any further, prepare for Bears week by watching this educational and informative video:

On to the stock report:


Micah Hyde
On his Tuesday afternoon radio show, Aaron Rodgers wondered how Hyde fell to the fifth round in the draft. The rookie is a solid all-around player — a decent tackler, decent cover guy, decent slot blitzer, and now he has a punt return TD under his belt. In a secondary filled with young talent, Hyde is fitting right in.

Mike Daniels
The type of relentless pass rush and the ability to finish a sack once he gets in the backfield is just what the Packers needed this season. Many thought it would come from rookie Datone Jones, but it’s actually coming from Daniels. Daniels added two more sacks on Sunday. Christian Ponder is not a good quarterback, but he is elusive and not easy to bring down. Daniels got him twice.

T.J. Lang
What’s left to say about the interior of the Packers offensive line? Lang has been battling some bruising defensive tackles all season and keeps on winning those battles much more often than he loses. Lang might be a bit undersized, but he’s athletic and excels on combo blocks when he’s asked to get to the second level.


Jordy Nelson
It’s like Nelson and Rodgers had a devious plan on Sunday night against the Vikings:

Rodgers: “Hey Jordy, instead of getting wide open tonight, just glue yourself to the nearest defender so I can show off by whizzing a pass right by the guy’s ear hole and into your hands.”

Nelson: “Whatever you say, boss. As long as the ball doesn’t get lodged in someone’s ear hole, I’ll catch it.”

Eddie Lacy
Lacy has been the definition of a steady running back so far. He’s not going to wow you with his moves or break off long runs on a regular basis, but if you need someone to help you consistently move the chains, Lacy is the guy. It’s also refreshing to see a Packers running back deliver a few blows instead of just taking them. He doesn’t shed many tacklers, but when Lacy gets tackled, he’s usually the aggressor and drives the tackler(s) backwards.


Tramon Williams
With two more pass interference penalties on Sunday, Williams has been flagged in three straight games and in four of the last five. That’s unacceptable, regardless of how well Williams has been playing otherwise. I’m not part of the crowd that is screaming for Williams to be benched, but he needs to cut out the penalties and play better.

Greg Jennings
Calvin Johnson had 329 receiving yards on Sunday. Greg Jennings has 336 receiving yards for the entire season. Jennings only has 101 more receiving yards than Jarrett Boykin. I’ll never say Jennings made a bad decision to sign with Minnesota — you gotta make as much money as you can when your window is open in the NFL — but…well…ok…I don’t care how much they’re paying him, Jennings made a bad decision to sign with Minnesota.

Packers Rookie LT David Bakhtiari Masters the Metrodome

Packers LT David Bakhtiari

Packers rookie LT held Vikings DE Jared Allen without a tackle or sack on Sunday night.

It was Oct. 4, 2009. My wife and I got married two days before and to kick off our honeymoon, we had tickets to watch the Packers play the Vikings at the Metrodome in Brett Favre’s first game against his former team.

We couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to start our new life together than by watching the Packers stick it to Favre under the giant Teflon egg shell that somehow passed for a professional sports venue.

Well, things didn’t work out as planned. Favre was the one sticking it to the Packers and the Vikings rolled to an easy victory that soured our first few days of marital bliss.

Obviously, things have turned around since then for the Packers, but one thing has remained consistently shaky whenever the Vikings visited the Humpty Dumpty Dome: Green Bay’s left tackles always struggle.

On the night-to-forget in 2009, T.J. Lang and Daryn Colledge combined to allow four sacks, six hurries and one QB hit from the left tackle slot. Aaron Rodgers was often doomed before he was able to set his feet as he tried to out-duel Favre.

Lang and College might have turned in one of the worst left tackle performances in Packers’ history that night, but they’re not the only left tackle’s to struggle in the Dome.

According to Pro Football Focus, Packers left tackles allowed six sacks, five QB hits and nine hurries in five games at the Metrodome from 2008-12. The collective pass block rating of anyone who lined up to protect Rodgers’ blind side was a paltry -8.2. Run blocking from left tackle wasn’t much better — a collective -4.1 over the same time period.

Much of that damage has been caused by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. Allen has eaten up many left tackles over the years, not just left tackles wearing green and gold. In addition to the god-awful horn and piped in noise, one of the most annoying things about the Metrodome is Allen’s calf-roping sack dance, a dance that Packers fans have seen far too much of over the years.

Thanks to Bakhtiari on Sunday night, though, the only thing Allen was roping were a couple of giant goose eggs in the sacks and tackles column.

The rookie allowed just a single hurry against Allen and didn’t allow a sack for the third straight game. Bakhtiari had another penalty, the sixth straight game he’s been flagged for something, but that’s going to happen to a lot of rookies. When the fight between the young Bakhtiari and the all-pro Allen was over, Bakhtiari was the clear winner.

When Bryan Bulaga went down during training camp, I thought Bakhtiari would struggle with power rushers and be a liability in run blocking. So far he’s had his moments of rookie struggles, but he more than holds his own against power rushers and fights like hell run blocking. He plays like he belongs, and his quarterback and coach have taken notice.

Eddie Lacy is getting most of the attention as the standout of this Packers rookie class. Much of that attention is deserved, but let’s also save some love for Bakhtiari, an obscure fourth-rounder who is opening holes for Lacy and doing a fine job of keeping Rodgers upright.

If Bakhtiari continues improving, I’m going to think of him as a (very) late wedding present to make up for what my wife and I had to endure on that miserable October night back in 2009.

Packers Stock Report: Greg Jennings Texts Aaron Rodgers Edition intercepted a series of text messages between former Packers teammates Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers.

The staff here at managed to intercept a series of text messages between former Packers and current Vikings WR Greg Jennings and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. The following is an exclusive transcript of how their chat went down:

Greg Jennings: sup aaron

Aaron Rodgers: Who is this?

GJ: c’mon man. it’s greg. ur old friend!

AR: Greg from 7th grade? The kid who smelled funny and always ate ketchup and mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch?

GJ: nah man! greg Jennings. number 85! my catches got u ur first super bowl ring, remember? #BeGreat!!!!!!!!!!!

AR: Oh. Hi Greg.

GJ: i knew you’d be glad to hear from me again! so…….how r things?

AR: Fine.

GJ: how r my boys james, randall and Jordy? Do they ever ask about me? Do they ever say damn, it’d sure be nice if No. 85 was still around to provide us some tips on how to #BeGreat!!!!!!!!

AR: They’re also fine. And no.

GJ: that’s ok. Im sure they r overwhelmed with gratitude toward me since I decided to leave GB and give them the chance to get out from under my shadow.

AR: I’m sure that’s exactly how they feel, Greg.

GJ: so……how’s the weather in GB? still cold?

AR: Greg, what do you need? I’m busy. I just signed a $131 million contract extension and it’s a lot of work trying to decide how I want to spend all of this disposable income.

GJ: right, right, right. I signed a big contract 2 ya know? did u see that? i’m now the #1 WR on the Vikings!!!! SKOL!!!!!! they play a loud horn whenever i catch a first down!!!

**30 minutes later**

GJ: u still there, Aaron? u must have lost cell reception???????

AR: Greg, you always knew more about technology than me. Can you tell me how to block someone from ever texting me again?

GJ: Sure, just open ur settings, go into users, tap the block button…..hey, wait a minute! ur not trying to block me r u?????

AR: Ummmmm… I’m asking for a friend…..

GJ: lets meet for dinner on Saturday night and I can show you. my treat. we can catch up since it’s been so long since we’ve hung out!!!!

AR: Ummmmm…..I have plans that night. Sorry.

GJ: oh. what’s going on?

AR: I’m having a giant vat of boiling hot acid delivered to my hotel room and I am going to stick my entire face in it.

GJ: cmon aaron. You don’t gotta be a jerk about not wanting to hang out with me. Fine. We don’t have 2 b best friends like we were. But please please please tell ted to trade for me!!! Pretty please?


GJ: aaron please! Ive had 3 qbs here already and they’re all so bad, it’s dangerous. it’s like spergon wynn and brian brohm had triplets and all three of them now play qb for the vikings.

AR: I bet they’ve all got mad leadership skills, though.

GJ: u know I was joking with all that leadership stuff, right? RIGHT??????

**30 minutes later**

GJ: aaron, please!

**30 minutes later**

GJ: aaron, rescue my career! Please take me back! i’ll do anything!

**2 hours later**

GJ: aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrroooooooooooon!!!!!

**4 hours later**

GJ: if u don’t respond im going to destroy my phone!

AR: Kind of like you did your career?

GJ: aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

On to the stock report:


Aaron Rodgers
With his receivers dropping left and right, Rodgers has zeroed in, taking better care of the ball and putting together a good second half against Baltimore before playing lights out against Cleveland. The Packers offense has been difficult to watch at times this season, but the results have mostly been there. Rodgers (and the offensive line) deserve a lot of credit for holding things together and continuing to win during this string of not just injuries, but scary injuries.

Davon House
House was making plays the previous week against Baltimore before mysteriously getting benched. He was back in a big way against Cleveland, picking off a pass and hanging tough in coverage. He added a tackle on special teams and is another piece of the secondary puzzle that has chipped in with Casey Hayward out.

Morgan Burnett
Besides Jerron McMillian falling all over himself, we haven’t seen receivers running free over the top of the Packers defense for big plays ever since Burnett came back. The man with the fat new contract is also playing tough in the run game and contributing to the newfound toughness of the Packers defense.


Evan Dietrich-Smith
There’s nothing flashy about the Dietrich-Smith, but is there ever anything flashy about a center? Dietrich-Smith has gone up against some tough defensive tackles this season, including Phil Taylor on Sunday. It hasn’t slowed down the Packers running game and pressure up the middle has been manageable. Might we be hearing about a contract extension for Dietrich-Smith soon?

Eddie Lacy
There have been at least a dozen runs so far this season where Lacy has made something out of what appeared to be nothing. Instead of facing second and 9 like they would have in 2012, Rodgers and the offense can operate in more manageable down and distances thanks to Lacy’s efforts.


Don Barclay
Barclay has allowed eight hurries, three QB hits and two sacks over the last three games. He’s getting pushed back into Rodgers’ lap by power rushers and isn’t making up the difference in the run game, either. We figured Barclay would hit a slump at some point this season. Now we’ll if he can snap out of it.

Brandon Weeden
How in the hell could Mike Holmgren — a Super Bowl winner and the man who played a key role in developing Brett Favre and other great quarterbacks — draft Brandon Weeden in the first round?

Packers vs. Bears will be a battle of the bruised and battered

Packers LB Clay Matthews will be one of many players in street clothes when the Packers play the Bears on Monday Night Football in a few weeks.

I know the Packers play the Vikings this week and we shouldn’t be looking ahead to the Nov. 4 Monday Night Football game against the Bears, but I can’t help myself. The number of talented players that might be watching that game from the sideline or on TV because of injuries is staggering.

Suddenly, the Black and Blue division has turned into the Broken Bones and Torn Ligaments division.

Likely/definitely out for the Packers (and their 2012 stats):

  • LB Clay Matthews (43 tackles, 13 sacks)
  • WR Randall Cobb (80 catches, 954 yards, 8 TDs)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (61 catches, 667 yards, 2 TDs)

Possibly out for the Packers:

  • LB Brad Jones (77 tackles, 2 sacks)
  • CB Casey Hayward (48 tackles, 6 interceptions)
  • WR James Jones (64 catches, 784 yards, 14 TDs)

Likely/definitely out for the Bears:

  • QB Jay Cutler (3,033 yards, 19 TDs)
  • LB Lance Briggs (102 tackles, 2 interceptions)
  • DT Henry Melton (43 tackles, 6 sacks)

Possibly out for the Bears:

  • CB Charles Tillman (85 tackles, 10 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions)

Let’s assume all of those players don’t play. Now let’s add up their 2012 numbers and combine them with each player’s 2013 statistics. This is what would be sitting on the sidelines during a marquee Monday Night divisional game.

  • 4,691 passing yards
  • 67 TDs (31 passing, 31 receiving, 5 defensive)
  • 279 catches for 3,432 yards (12.3 ypc)
  • 498 tackles
  • 28.5 sacks
  • 25 forced fumbles
  • 5 interceptions

And the NFL wants to add more regular season games, expand the playoffs, and possibly play a doubleheader on Thursday night.

Makes total sense to me.

How will McCarthy Scheme Around Packers Injuries?

The steam is rising off of the head of Packers coach Mike McCarthy as his brain schemes ways around the loss of Randall Cobb and others.

There’s at least one person in Green Bay happy about all the injuries the Packers have suffered this season: The CEO of whichever electric utility provides power to the head coach’s office at Lambeau Field.

The lights will be on at all hours in the coming weeks as Mike McCarthy puts his mad scientist skills to work and tries to compensate for the loss of Randall Cobb, a hobbled James Jones and a slew of other injuries that threaten to disrupt the Packers offense.

If you haven’t already, read this post from Matt Bowen at Bleacher Report about how the Packers have rebuilt their running game and could incorporate more big formations and multiple tight end looks to make up for the loss of Cobb and others.

It’s a great read and makes a ton of sense, but then again, so do a lot of schematic type of things when they’re written on paper. Once the game starts and the bodies start flying, sometimes the game plan that seemed so innovative on Thursday is proven to be worthless after the first quarter of the actual game.

I have no doubt that McCarthy will incorporate a few formations and looks that maybe we haven’t seen out of the Packers recently. It’s one thing to come out with some unique looks. It’s another to use those looks to create mismatches and put players like Jarrett Boykin or Brandon Bostick — players who might be seeing a much bigger role after barely playing so far — in a position to succeed.

No matter what McCarthy comes up with, he’ll be hard-pressed to make it work unless Eddie Lacy and the running game keeps rolling. Assuming Lacy keeps doing what he’s been doing, does McCarthy have the patience to use the running game to set up his shot plays in the passing game?

McCarthy has always used the passing game to set up running plays. That mindset might have to change a little bit, at least for now.

We saw the impact an effective ground attack had in the win over the Ravens. Does the 64-yard TD to Jordy Nelson happen if Lacy hadn’t been rolling and the defense didn’t actually take the play-action fake seriously? Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong — the Packers remain and always will be a pass-first team as long as McCarthy is coach and Aaron Rodgers is quarterback. Just because the Packers are down a few players and might incorporate more jumbo sets and multiple tight ends doesn’t mean that they won’t keep chucking it downfield. The process just might be a little different than we’re used to.

I’m looking forward to what McCarthy comes up with. I’m curious as to how flexible he’ll be and how different the Packers approach on offense might look.

I gave McCarthy a lot of credit for keeping his team together amidst constant adversity during the Ravens game and throughout multiple seasons of bad injury luck. Now it’s up to McCarthy and his staff to make the necessary plan and scheme adjustments to overcome the loss of his biggest offensive playmaker.

Keep those lights burning bright, Mike. The Packers need the mad scientist in you to be at its best in the coming weeks so the lights don’t get dimmed on this season.

Packers Stock Report: Beating the Super Bowl Champions Edition

Morgan Burnett brings down Ray Rice and plays a key role in a second quarter goal line stand for the Packers.

Every year the NFL schedule comes out and we try to boldly declare which teams have tough schedules and which teams appear to have a bunch of patsies and a clear path to the postseason. Every year our analysis is wrong and what once looked like a tough or easy schedule in July is completely the opposite come October.

The Packers appeared to have a nasty schedule initially, but the outlook isn’t so bad now. The Vikings are terrible, the Giants stink, the Steelers are bad, the Lions are the Lions and the Falcons are regressing. There isn’t another game on the schedule where I’d say the Packers are an obvious underdog.

Of course, that could all change in another couple weeks if any of the aforementioned teams get back on track.

The stock report is kind of the same way. Who knew that someone like Mason Crosby would make the steady category two weeks straight and A.J. Hawk would be a riser after week six?

Onto the stock report:


Morgan Burnett
Mr. Burnett earned that fat new contract he got this offseason during the Packers goal line stand in the second quarter against the Ravens. The free safety was in on three tackles during that key series of plays, including a stop on 3rd and 1 where he out-maneuvered ace blocking back Vonta Leach before bringing down the ball carrier.

A.J. Hawk
Remember when we couldn’t figure out why Ted Thompson cut Desmond Bishop and kept Hawk around? After three sacks on Sunday,
Hawk is having one of the best stretches of his career while Bishop tore his ACL and is out for the season. Chalk up another one in the smart move column for Thompson. (Side note: Best of luck to Bishop. He seems like a great guy who has experienced terrible luck these past two seasons. Here’s hoping you get another shot down the road, Desmond, and have better luck staying healthy.)

Eddie Lacy
Saavy investors bought stock in Lacy a few weeks ago. I’m always a little hesitant to put rookies in the rising category — especially a rookie running back on the pass-happy Packers — but Lacy belong here after a steady game against Detroit and strong finish on the road to help close out Baltimore.


Jordy Nelson
Aaron Rodgers hitting Nelson for a 64-yard touchdown on a play-action rollout brought back memories of 2011 when that very same play seemed to work whenever Mike McCarthy dialed it up.

Micah Hyde
Another rookie makes an appearance in the stock report. Hyde had a sack on Sunday and is a threat when blitzing. He’s also holding his own in pass coverage and provides a decent option on punt returns when moving forward instead of dancing around and trying to juke his way into space.

Mason Crosby
Shhhh. Don’t tell Crosby that he made the steady category yet again. I don’t want to jinx him.

(Side note: Mike Daniels could easily be in the steady category as well. Once again, he maximized his time on the field on Sunday.)


Jerron McMillian
Literally, McMillian is falling. He fell right over on a fourth-and-21 heave that resulted in a 63-yard completion that allowed the Ravens to hang around. McMillian is still young, but so far it looks like he just can’t play. M.D. Jennings has shown some improvement. McMillian is going from bad to worse.

John Kuhn
Kuhn made a boneheaded play on a blocked punt and danced around instead of driving forward to get a first down on a dumpoff pass. Someone remind me why he’s on the team, again?

Chicago Bears
Why did I randomly put the Bears in the falling category for no apparent reason? Because the Bears still suck and it’s important to remind people of that fact.

Hit that Injured Packers WR Randall Cobb wasn’t Dirty

Packers WR Randall Cobb was injured in Sunday’s win over the Ravens and will likely miss 6-8 weeks.

It sounds like Packers WR Randall Cobb fractured his fibula on this hit from Ravens S Matt Elam and will miss 6-8 weeks.

As Cobb withered on the ground, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers raced to the scene and expressed his displeasure with Elam for striking one of his favorite targets low. After the game, Rodgers had this to say:

“I just thought from my vantage point, he had plenty of time to not take out a guy’s legs in that situation. I thought he could have hit in the proper hitting zone and that’s what I told him.”

It’s good to see the former MVP all fired up, but his ire is misfocused in this situation. The hit that Elam laid on Cobb wasn’t dirty.

Elam, a rookie, is listed at 5-foot-10, 206 pounds. Cobb, in his third year and known for being fearless inside and dangerous after the catch, is listed at 5-foot-10, 192 pounds.

This wasn’t a linebacker lining up a defenseless and diminutive wide receiver. This was a rookie defensive back trying to stop a legit NFL playmaker. From a very young age, football players are taught to get low when tackling. It’s a lot easier to bring down a guy roughly your size or bigger if you go at him low instead of high.

Leverage wasn’t the only reason for Elam to go low in that situation. There’s also the issue of a blow-to-the-head penalty and fine. If Elam hits Cobb high and there’s even the slightest appearance that a blow to the helmet area occurred, it’s 15 yards extra yards an automatic first down for the Packers. Not only was Elam making a logical decision to tackle Cobb low on the play, he was also taking the necessary precaution to avoid a blow-to-the-head personal foul that would’ve hurt his team, and a possible fine that would have shrunk his bank account.

To Rodgers’ point about having plenty of time to hit Cobb in the “proper hitting zone”: Since when are a wide receiver’s legs not part of the proper hitting zone? It’s fine to hit a player with the ball low as long as it’s not the quarterback while he’s in the pocket. It’s unfair to ask Elam to decide in a fraction of a second that he should aim higher, but not too high.

By the time he decides to not go low and sets his sights somewhere on Cobb’s torso, Cobb would likely be skipping into the end zone and Elam’s coaches would chew him out for not being aggressive or decisive enough.

And if Elam does square up and nail Cobb in the chest area, who’s to say the impact wouldn’t have cracked one of Cobb’s ribs? This is football. Unfortunately, injuries happen in football. Every play where a player gets injured isn’t necessarily a dirty play.

I admire Rodgers’ passion and his dedication to his teammate in this situation, but he’s wrong on this one. It wasn’t a dirty hit, or even a questionable hit. By confronting Elam, Rodgers forced T.J. Lang to intervene and Lang got flagged for a 15-yard personal foul. Mason Crosby missed a 44-yard field goal on the following play.

It sure would’ve been nice to have those extra 15 yards for Crosby to work with. Rodgers wasn’t happy when Mike McCarthy mistakenly threw a challenge flag against the Vikings last season. He shouldn’t be happy with himself after his actions led to a 15-yard penalty and contributed to a blown field goal.

In the end, the Packers won the game and now have to move on without Cobb for a while. Plays like this make for interesting discussions in the aftermath of a tough game, but as the season rolls on, this moment will be lumped in with all the other ups and downs that occur throughout 16 regular season games and (hopefully) who knows how many playoff contests.

The Packers can help us all forget about it by regrouping without Cobb and putting themselves in a good position to make a run once No. 18 returns.

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy Deserves Credit for Guiding Team Through Adversity

Packers coach Mike McCarthy helped the Packers pull out a gritty victory on Sunday.

I became a father on Tuesday and I am still in that stage where any topic of conversation ultimately leads back to my new son.

I swear my wife and I haven’t had a “normal” conversation since our baby was born. Everything revolves around our new little one — his feeding schedule, his body temperature, his sleeping patterns, his fussiness, play-by-play of his birth, what he’s going to wear, who’s got the next diaper change. Of course, anyone we talk to just wants to know about our new son, too. How is he doing? Is he keeping you up at night? How is your dog adjusting? Are you going insane yet? Oh, he’s so cute (and he is really cute). Things like that.

So forgive me, but my mind is firmly stuck in new parent mode, which might make this analogy a little whacky. Hear me out and let me know what you think.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy has taken a lot of grief for his playcalling this season. Fans, including myself, are second-guessing the coach when he doesn’t use running back Eddie Lacy on third-and-short or opts for a long bomb when a shorter, safer pass seems like the more logical call.

It doesn’t matter how successful a coach is; fans will always second-guess the playcalling. Always. Sometimes the criticism gets really loud and sometimes it’s somewhat muted, but it’s always there.

Second-guessing the playcalling is kind of fun. It’s part of being a fan. Yeah, the criticism is often moronic and way off-base, but who cares? This is football, not foreign policy.

What does any of this have to do with becoming a dad? Calling out McCarthy for his playcalling is similar to calling out a parent for not “controlling” his or her kid at a restaurant or properly “disciplining” a child when you think it’s warranted.

I used to be one of those people, a parent second-guesser. A screaming kid in a restaurant would drive me batty. I’d roll my eyes and mutter that the kid should be taken outside and controlled. When my little nieces and nephews ran around like crazy people, I swore that my children would never behave like that. I would instill the proper amount of discipline to ensure that they were always little angels.

Now that I have a child of my own, I know that I’ll learn the hard way how parenting isn’t quite that simple. Coaching probably isn’t that simple, either.

I have no problem with second-guessing a coach’s playcalling. I really don’t have a problem with second-guessing a parent when he or she doesn’t reprimand a child in the super market who just dumped a container of bleach on the ground (yeah, I’ve seen this happen).

But if we’re going to second guess, let’s at least try to see the big picture, too.

If you’re going to bash McCarthy for calling a bomb on 3rd and 1 when you think he should have called a run for Lacy, you better also give McCarthy credit for holding his team together as the Packers overcame a ton of adversity and pulled out a tough road win against the defending Super Bowl champions on Sunday.

McCarthy’s attitude and demeanor during his tenure as Packers head coach has always impressed me. It doesn’t matter if the Packers win or lose, whether nobody gets injured or half the team goes down, whether the game ends on a Fail Mary or a Packers game-winning TD, McCarthy is always determined and won’t tolerate excuses or nonsense, even indirectly.

A lesser coach might have lost it during halftime on Sunday. James Jones and Randall Cobb go down with knee injuries. The offense is sputtering. Things just aren’t clicking.

Instead, the Packers came out of the tunnel and played better than they did in the first half. McCarthy deserves credit for that. Just because we don’t see behind-the-scenes McCarthy with our own eyes the same way we see McCarthy’s playcalls, it doesn’t mean we should just dismiss the coach’s role in motivating his players and building this team’s character.

Same goes for parenting. It’s fine to shake your head in disgust if you see a parent oblivious to the fact that his or her kid is repeatedly kicking the back of an airplane seat. But don’t dismiss the possibility that that parent is just having an off moment and actually does a helluva job back home — rushing home from work to get in a game of catch before dark and sitting up all night to soothe a sick kid.

Sure, McCarthy might botch a play call here and there, but just like there’s more to parenting than what happens in the grocery aisle or on an airplane, there’s more to coaching than playcalling. The results show that McCarthy has the non-playcalling part of the game down just about as good as any other coach in the league.

At least I think he does. I’m not in the Packers locker room or at the team facilities every day, but given the resolve that this team showed on Sunday and shows year in and year out, I’m confident that McCarthy is doing a helluva job behind the scenes.

Will I have some shaky parenting moments in public? Without a doubt. But hopefully I’m like McCarthy and more than make up for the ocassional public parenting gaffe by excelling behind the scenes.

Packers Stock Report: Back on Track Edition

Jordy Nelson vs. Detroit Lions

Jordy Nelson- “He will bring it down”

The Packers took a big step in the right direction this week with a boring, but thorough beating of the Lions. The Packers won the game where they haven’t won many lately – in the trenches.

The offensive line, especially the interior three, showed what they are capable of, going up against some of the toughest, baddest (over-rated?) hombres in the NFL and controlling them for pretty much the entire game.

The defensive line was stellar; something we first saw in the preseason and it has been consistently good four games into the season.

So let’s take a look at who’s trending and in what direction after Sunday’s game:


T.J. Lang
When matched up against Ndomukong Suh and the other bruising interior defensive linemen for the Lions, Lang did exactly what needed to be done: Control their pursuit upfield and use their own momentum against them to create running lanes. It was the second straight solid performance from Lang against a group of elite interior defensive linemen.

Josh Sitton
After a horrible opener against the 49ers and battling back problems against Washington, Sitton has played a key role in shutting down Geno Atkins and quieting Ndomukong Suh. Thanks in part to Sitton’s efforts, the Packers are fifth in the league in rushing and Aaron Rodgers has had a pretty clean pocket to step into. Moving Sitton to the left side has paid off so far.

Jordy Nelson
You could put any of the three receivers in the rising category. I chose Nelson because his toughness is second to none. It doesn’t matter if he’s covered on the sideline or absorbing a big hit over the middle, Nelson makes the catch, then gets up and does it all over again. He hasn’t busted out the Jordy Stiff Arm yet this season, but the Jordy-Makes-a-Miraculous-Catch-With-a-Defender-Draped-All-Over-Him-as-he-Falls-Out-of-Bounds plays have more than made up for it.


Evan Dietrich-Smith
If we’re going to give Sitton and Lang props for controlling some monster defensive tackles over the last few weeks, it’s only fair that we show Dietrich-Smith some love too. The free-agent-to-be is putting together a nice little season so far. Nothing spectacular, but more than holding his own against some quality interior defensive linemen.

A.J. Hawk
Whatever the Lions tried to do on Sunday, Hawks was there to snuff it out. Much like Dietrich-Smith, Hawk hasn’t been spectacular this season, but he’s done his job and gone above and beyond in a few instances, with Sunday’s Lions game being the prime example. Now the Packers equipment crew needs to figure out how to keep Hawk’s helmet on his head. Given the Packers injury luck, I can see Hawk’s helmet flying off and hitting Aaron Rodgers in the elbow, causing the QB to miss the rest of the season. To be fair, Pro Football Focus was not impressed w/ Hawk. I disagreed with PFF’s assessment, but wanted to point it out since I used PFF to back up my placement of Lang in the rising group.

Mason Crosby
Stop adjusting the resolution on your computer screens. Quit rubbing your eyes. No, you’re not drunk or stoned. Both A.J. Hawk and Mason Crosby are in the steady category this week. Has this ever happened in the history of the Packers Stock Report? I’m too lazy to go look, but I highly doubt it. Two of the most chastised Packers in recent history are now together in the steady category. Hopefully both players take this honor as a reason to continue playing well in order to one day make it all the way up to the rising category. For now, though, baby steps. Here’s hoping Hawk and Crosby keep making positive contributions.


Ryan Taylor
Remember when we thought that the tight ends behind Jermichael Finley were at least halfway decent? Turns out we were probably wrong about that. Taylor’s dropped pass against the Lions caused every Packers fan on Twitter to demand the return of Tom Crabtree.

Jonathan Franklin
I was one of the few people who kept his arms crossed and refused to get too excited about Franklin after the Bengals game. The guy’s fumble led directly to the winning touchdown. Any time that happens, it casts a serious shadow over anything else that player may have done during the game. Too harsh? Perhaps. But Franklin fumbled again against the Lions. Fumbles in consecutive weeks get you a first-class seat on the falling category train.

Dominic Raiola
Raiola allegedly verbally assaulted members of the Wisconsin marching band on Sunday. Yes, you read that right. An NFL player — a grown man who makes $1 million per year to play football — yelled insults and homophobic slurs at a marching band. Raiola isn’t just falling in football terms, he’s falling in the category of life.

Poll: Are the Packers a Good Team Playing Mediocre or Just a Mediocre Team?

Packers WR Jordy Nelson hauls in a pass against the Lions

After the Packers yawner of a win over the Lions on Sunday, I keep asking myself one question: Are the Packers a good team playing mediocre or just a mediocre team?

Let’s take a look at the case for each:

Good team playing mediocre

  • The Packers are 2-2 despite another barrage of early-season injuries, playing a good chunk of two games without Clay Matthews and dealing with the loss of Eddie Lacy and Jermichael Finley early in two other games.
  • As I was writing this, reports surfaced that Matthews has a broken thumb. Well, Nick Perry and Mike Neal showed signs of life on Sunday after Matthews went out. Can they keep improving and fill in at least somewhat admirably if Matthews is out for a while , or, gulp, the rest of the season?
  • Hey, a running game! Eddie Lacy was one yard away on Sunday from giving the Packers their third straight 100-yard rusher.
  • Dropped deep passes from Ryan Taylor and James Jones made the Lions win seem much more ugly than it actually was. If one of those plays goes for a TD, do the Packers blow away the Lions and we all leave that game feeling better about the state of the team?
  • If the Packers set their mind to stopping a certain aspect of the other team’s offense, they’ve done it. Shut down Colin Kapernick’s and Frank Gore’s running, corral RG3, contain A.J. Green, bottle up Reggie Bush. Done, done, done and done.
  • Mason Crosby is actually making field goals.

Mediocre team playing mediocre

  • The Packers are 2-2. A .500 record is the very definition of mediocrity.
  • If so and so didn’t drop this pass or such and such made that play….Teams that are better than mediocre don’t have to worry about those “what if” questions. They just make the damn play.
  • The Packers two wins have come against a gimpy RG3 and a Lions team playing without Calvin Johnson. Big whoop.
  • There’s no rhythm on offense. Unless Rodgers is throwing deep to a WR who makes a circus catch, the offense is predictable and boring.
  • Someone needs to tell Mike McCarthy that with Lacy, he finally has a RB that gives him a chance on third down. Lacy was on the bench twice during third-and-short situations on Sunday.
  • The Packers defense can shut down certain aspects of an opposing team’s offense, but Dom Capers still struggles to adjust when other aspects of a team’s attack start causing damage.

I’ll stop now. That’s six points that argue both sides. Personally, I think the Packers are a good team that is playing mediocre. Another season of injuries has caused this team to sputter a bit, but there are more signs of life than causes for concern, in my opinion.

EDIT: Like I mentioned above, news of Matthews’ injury broke as I was writing this post. Obviously, Matthews’ thumb is yet another cause for concern — a major one. I’m still going to say this is a good team playing mediocre, though. We’ll see if I have to eat my words.

Am I seeing things through green and gold tinted glasses? Vote in the poll and expand on your thoughts in the comments section.
Are the Packers a good team playing mediocre or just a mediocre team?

Are the Packers a good team playing mediocre or just a mediocre team?

Good team playing mediocre. The Packers are better than they have looked so far.0%
Just mediocre. What we’re seeing now is what we’ll see the rest of the season.0%


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