September is way too early to declare any team in the NFL the best,the worst or anything in between. The first two months of the season are for staying in contention,fine-tuning your team and overcoming early-season injuries.
When Thanksgiving comes around,that’s when we can start talking about who’s the best,who’s the worst and who needs a couple of fortunate bounces to weasel their way into the postseason. Once the turkey is consumed and the pumpkin pie digested,we’ll start to see the good teams make their move to become great,and average teams exposed as frauds before they fall off the face of the Earth.
At 3-0,the Green Bay Packers are off to a great start. But don’t get sucked into the silly narratives and manufactured sports media debate about who’s the best team in the NFL. September is not the time to be yelling at each other about which team is on the fast track to Levi’s Stadium for the Super Bowl.
There’s no doubt the Packers are rising heading into October. But avoid the big-picture narratives for now. It’s a waste of valuable brain space less than a quarter of the way through the season.
Now that I’m done lecturing you,onto this weeks Packers Stock Report:
If I’m a defensive coordinator preparing to play the Packers,the first thing I do is install a chip inside the brain of each of my defensive backs. This chip would send a signal to the DB’s brain that causes the DB to sprint to wherever James Jones is on the field when Aaron Rodgers has a free play. Jones has been lethal on free plays. The only way to stop him and his sleeveless turtleneck might be computer-programmed robot DBs.
(Is it even legal to implant a chip into one of your player’s brains? Probably not. But I bet the Patriots are already doing it.)
The Packers offensive line set the tone for the Chiefs game early. Sitton was his usual solid self — getting to the second level,giving Rodgers plenty of room to step up in the pocket,and generally bulldozing a path for Eddie Lacy,James Starks and even Alonzo Harris.
After a miserable season-opener against the Bears,we didn’t hear a peep from Shields in pass coverage until his interception on Monday night. And that’s a good thing. Shields hasn’t given an inch since getting picked on by the Bears.
Cobb had a quiet eight catches for 116 yards (if you can possibly be “quiet” when putting up those numbers) against Seattle and kept zipping around the Chiefs’ Tyvon Branch with ease on Monday. Cobb hasn’t completely taken over a game yet,but he’s doing solid work in filling the void left by Jordy Nelson.
The Chiefs lone hope for victory on Monday night was a big game from Jamaal Charles. Daniels played a key role early in making sure Charles never got going,then revved up his pass-rushing motor later in the game. Ted Thompson: If you have a free couple of hours this week,pull out the Packers wallet and sign Daniels to a new contract.
Hats off to the new Packers playcaller. The offense has been efficient,dangerous,unpredictable and successful. No doubt Rodgers’ work at the line of scrimmage and McCarthy’s input during the week also play a big role,but all has been smooth on the playcalling front under Clements.
Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan
Who are Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan? They were the 49ers coach and general manager,respectively,who drafted Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers. Nolan and McCloughan: Packers fans throughout the world salute you.
Pro Football Focus
The popular analytics site gave Rodgers a negative grade for his performance against the Chiefs. Let that sink in for a moment: A quarterback who threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns was given a negative grade by a website that (supposedly) studies film of football games. I get that you have to look beyond the box score to add context to a player’s performance,but anyone who watched what went down on Monday knows that Rodgers was not an average quarterback. Yikes.
It’s hard to find negative things to say about the Kansas City Chiefs. They’ve got an atmosphere at Arrowhead Stadium that rivals Lambeau Field,their fans seem cool,and Kansas City is home to some of the best barbeque in the United States.
(I also love the tomahawk chop. I know it’s not politically correct to say that these days,but I can’t help it. Something about a stadium full of people chanting and making an axe-wielding motion gets me fired up.)
But just because a franchise seems friendly and harmless,it doesn’t mean I am not going to endlessly mock and ridicule that franchise on the day it plays the Packers,so let’s get to it:
The fans of the Chiefs deserve better than the team that they get every season and currently have. Remember the Marty Schottenheimer years when Kansas City would always win 10-13 games,then get snuffed out early in the playoffs like an unfiltered Marlboro Red?
Not even a new coach could rid the team of its tendency to yak in the postseason. The 2003 Chiefs under Dick Vermeil went 13-3 and got wiped out in the divisional round.
Today,the Chiefs are led by Andy Reid who puts together outstanding gameplans on a week-to-week basis,then blows it all up by making no fewer than eight clock-management blunders each half. The Chiefs also have one of the best running backs and pass rushes in the NFL,but it doesn’t matter because Alex Smith is their quarterback.
Yes,an NFL team still thinks it’s a good idea to have Alex Smith as its starting quarterback,and that team is the Kansas City Chiefs.
I want to love the Kansas City Chiefs. Everything about the organization seems fun. Except,of course,for the actual team on the field.
Here are five reasons why the Packers will beat the Chiefs on Monday night,continuing Kansas City’s streak of being good,but nowhere near good enough:
So many NFL games these days come down to a handful of plays in the fourth quarter. When that time comes in the fourth quarter on Monday night,do we really think Smith is capable of rising to the occasion and making a gamebreaking throw to beat the Packers? I don’t think he is. Smith exists to not fumble the game away,not win the game when it matters most.
Rodgers’ pocket movement
One area where the Chiefs have a clear advantage over Green Bay is outside pass rush. The tag team match of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali vs. David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay should resemble an old-school wrestling squash match where the Road Warriors destroy the Mulkey Brothers in about 20 seconds. But even if Houston and Hali beat up on Bakhtiari and Barclay,the saviness of Aaron Rodgers in the pocket covers up a good chunck of the pass rush advantage Kansas City enjoys. More often than not,Rodgers is able to evade pressure,but stay around the pocket,keep his eyes downfield and make a play. In other words,even if Hali and Houston execute their finishing move,Rodgers is capable of kicking out and extending the match.
No Chiefs wide receiver has caught a touchdown pass since Jan. 4,2014. How is that even possible? With today’s namby-pampby pass defense rules in the NFL,I bet even I could catch a touchdown pass at least once every 16 games. I would require a forklift to get the necessary air required to complete my Lambeau Leap,but I would at least catch one touchdown in a calendar year.
Injuries stink. But the draft-and-develop Packers pride themselves on having plenty of talented young players in reserve for when the inevitable injury bug starts biting. With Morgan Burnett out,no doubt we’ll see a good amount of Damarious Randall. Randall is a different player than Burnett,but I like putting hungry young players on the field in prime time early in the season. Let’s see what they do when given the opportunity and step up. More often than not,the Packers young depth holds its own.
By now,we know all the numbers about Rodgers and the Packers recent run of success at Lambeau Field. Another advantage the Packers have at home isn’t necessarily reflected in the numbers. With Barclay at right tackle,Rodgers’ use of the snap count and cadence slows the pass rush down just enough to help Barclay out a bit. Rodgers’ pre-snap barking also helps him decipher the defense and speed up his decision-making should Barclay’s (or any o-lineman’s) man break through.
If the Packers (for some reason) lose,this might be why:
Jamaal Charls,Travis Kelce,Justin Houston,Tamba Hali…the Chiefs have more than enough game-breaking players to compensate for Smith’s ineptitude and Reid’s clock-manaement blunders. Talent can overcome a lot of other deficiencies,and the Chiefs have the talent to cover up their weaknesses.
**An assembled crowd of Green Bay Packers media,board members,front office leadership and former players are gathered for a news conference in the Lambeau Field atrium. Packers CEO Mark Murphy approaches the podium and begins the event.**
“First of all,I want to thank everyone for coming today. I’ll keep this brief because I know we’re all still a little hung over from celebrating Sunday night’s win over the Seachickens. Man,I never thought I’d see Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy do simultaneous keg stands,but after a big win like that,I guess anything is possible.
I called you all in here today to announce that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been given a permanent slot in the “rising” category of the world famous Packers Stock Report at CheeseheadTV.com.”
**The crowd gasps. Murmurs echo throughout the audience and photographer flash bulbs start going off.**
The reasoning is simple: Adam Czech,the mastermind behind the world famous Packers Stock Report at CheeseheadTV.com,no longer wants to waste a “rising” slot on Rodgers since Rodgers turns in an MVP performance on a nearly weekly basis. From now on,it is assumed that Rodgers is a “riser” each and every week. Instead of wasting valuable blogosphere space on yet another paragraph describing Rodgers’ awesomeness,the world famous Packers Stock Report at CheeseheadTV.com will focus on other players who also deserve “rising” status for that particular week.
I will not be taking questions today. Instead,Czech himself will be coming to the podium to reveal this week’s Packers Stock Report live and in-person. Be sure to read the world famous Packers Stock Report every Tuesday during the season at CheeseheadTV.com.
Without further adieu,onto this week’s Packers Stock Report with the best-looking blogger in the Packers blogosphere,Adam Czech:
“Thank you for that kind introduction,Mr. Murphy. Just like God was a Packers fan on Sunday night,God is also an avid reader of the world famous Packers Stock Report at CheeseheadTV.com. Let’s get to it:
If Clay Matthews is going to see fewer snaps at outside linebacker,everybody in this room knows the Packers can’t rely on the likes of Nick Perry and Mike Neal to fill the void left by Matthews on the outside. Enter Jayronne Elliott. Good things seem to happen when Elliott is on the field. That was certainly the case on Sunday night. If Elliott continues his ascent,it’s great news for the Packers and scary news of offensive tackles in the NFC North.”
Josh Sitton/Corey Linsley/T.J. Lang
“Pass protection on the edges was shaky at best on Sunday night. But it didn’t matter because nothing was happening up the middle thanks to yet another stellar effort from Sitton/Linsley/Lang. From now on,I think we refer to these three maulers as one person. And I think we put a “the” in front of their name to make it more impactful. The Sitton/Linsley/Lang might be the best interior offensive line combination in football. The Sitton/Linsley/Lang is a three-headed monster that could help propel the Packers to another Super Bowl.”
“Raji played like the entire Seahawks defense kicked his dog. There was no stopping Raji from catapulting himself into the Seahawks backfield over and over again and causing chaos. All that was missing was a classic Raji touchdown dance.”
“They don’t come any more steady than Crosby these days. It wasn’t that long ago that many of you in this room wanted Crosby run out of town. Heck,the world famous Packers Stock Report at CheeseheadTV.com might have even put Crosby in the falling category a few times. But Crosby didn’t care. He kept plugging away. And now he’s the top scorer in Packers history. Good on you,Mr. Crosby.”
“I hope Bakhtiari is healthy. He dealt with some injuries during the exhibition season and hasn’t looked like himself through the first two real games. The Packers face another tough pass rush on Monday night,so now is the time for Bakhtiari to snap out of his rut.”
Lambeau Field medial carts
“Someone needs to take all the fuel out of the medical carts at Lambeau Field and slash the tires. Those things have been on the field and moving crippled Packers from the sideline to the locker room far too often this season. If God is still a Packers fan this week,hopefully he does something about all the injuries.”
“So Pete Carroll was all whiny about the referee’s decision to award the football to the Packers after the Elliott interception and ensuing scrum following Elliott’s fumble. WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH!!!!!! Carroll’s team benefits from the most blatantly awful call in NFL history three years ago to steal a win from the Packers,and Mike McCarthy doesn’t whine about it once during his postgame presser. Carroll finally loses to the Packers and he has to get the tissues out about a fumble recovery “call.” Ridiculous. Go away,Pete Carroll.”
If not for the New England Patriots,the Seattle Seahawks would be the scummiest team in all of football. Whenever I see a Seahawks game,highlight or player interview on my TV screen,I feel like I immediately have to take a shower.
If there was such a thing as a scummy team checklist,the Seahawks would be able to mark off just about every box.
Cheating. Look no further than the Fail Mary game.
PEDs. The Seahawks lead the league in suspensions for performance enhancing substances.
Scandal. Coach Pete Caroll got out of USC just before the program was rocked by sanctions.
Phony. QB Russell Wilson is pre-programed by high-level marketing executives to give insincere answers to every question he’s asked in order to maintain his “brand.”
Delusion. Wilson also thinks a bottle of water produced by a company he endorses helped prevent him from sustaining a concusion in the NFC title game.
Smug. RB Marshawn Lynch thinks he’s too cool to speak with the media
Stupid. With the ball on the 1-yard line and a chance to win the Super Bowl in the closing seconds,the Seahawks throw a pass that got picked off instead of simply handing the ball to their smug star running back.
Last season’s NFC championship game. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!
Football is less enjoyable because of the Seattle Seahawks. @#$% them.
Here are five reasons why the Packers will beat Seattle later tonight:
Because they eventually have to
Seriously,the Packers can’t keep getting beat around by these guys. Over the last couple of seasons,the Seahawks have cheated to beat the Packers,legitimately kicked the Packers’ ass and took advantage of the Packers having one of the worst meltdowns in the history of football. There are literally no more ways the Packers can lose to the Seahawks,so the Packers have to win one tonight.
No Bulaga,no problem
Hear me out on this one. Bryan Bulaga is a much better player than Don Barclay. The Packers would be in better shape if Bulaga played tonight instead of Barclay. However,Barclay has had a few days to practice with the first-team offensive line and Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff have had a couple days to adjust and prepare. Normally when the Packers offensive line breaks down,it’s because an injury occurs during a game. The backup comes in,looks lost,McCarthy doesn’t do anything to help the overmatched reserve and all hell breaks loose. Having advanced warning and some time to prepare for the tall task in front of him should help Barclay hold his own.
The Packers haven’t lost a home game with a healthy Aaron Rodgers since dropping the season-opener to San Francisco in 2012. Rodgers hasn’t thrown a pick in his last 418 pass attempts at Lambeau Field.
Seattle’s secondary struggles
The once-feared Seahawks secondary was picked apart by the Rams (the Rams!) last week. If the Rams (the Rams!) can rack up big plays throgh the air against Seattle,imagine what Rodgers can do.
One of the best defensive players in football is sitting at home on his recliner in the midst of a holdout instead of blowing up Packers running plays and protecting the deep middle of the field.
As we’ve seen far too often in this horror show that isPackers-Seahawks rivalry,the bad guy is more than capable of winning. Here’s how the villanous team with a weird chicken-like sea creature on its helmets could once again knock off the Packers:
The Packers have to prove that they’re tough enough to beat the Seahawks. Seattle has had no problem pushing around the Packers,whether it’s Marshawn Lynch running over hapless tacklers,the presence of Richard Sherman causing the Packers to panic and ignore an entire side of the field,or Seattle vastly outperforming the Packers in clutch moments of the game.
If you want to finally defeat the bad guy,you have to be tough enough to do it. We’ll see if the Packers finally are tonight.
It’s far too early to place new Green Bay Packers playcaller Tom Clements in the rising,steady or falling category. But after the season-opener,I’d say things are looking good on the playcalling front.
The Packers’ offense was sharp,unpredictable and efficient on Sunday. Of course,they were typically all three of those things when McCarthy called the plays. Nonetheless,it’s reassuring to see that the transition to Clements calling plays (with plenty of input and audibles from Aaron Rodgers,no doubt) appears to be going smoothly so far.
Now comes the real test for McCarthy. After week 1,it looks like the Packers need to clean up their tackling,plug some holes in the run defense and get better on third downs. McCarthy gave up playcalling so he could be more hands on with other areas of the team,and it’s time for the head coach to get to work.
Meantime,the rest of us will move on to this week’s Packers Stock Report:
Outside linebacker,inside linebacker,safety,cornerback,nose tackle,waterboy…wherever Clay Matthews lines up,he makes plays. When was the last time the Packers had an inside linebacker who could sprint back and cover a large swath of the middle of the field like Matthews did on that interception? It’s been a long,long time.
Media members covering Sunday’s game had easy stories to write after Jones’ big day. I have to admit,I wasn’t 100 percent sold on bringing Jones back. Well,I’m an idiot. I think it’s safe to say that Myles White would not have hauled in that first touchdown catch.
I kind of forgot how great Rodgers is when he has the use of both legs instead of just one. The man makes difficult plays look much easier than they really are.
I have a strict rule of only putting three players maximum in each category,but how could I leave out Rodgers or Peppers after Sunday? So,I’m breaking my rule to include Peppers as a riser. We all keep waiting for Father Time to catch up with Peppers,and he keeps laughing in our faces and chasing around quarterbacks nearly half his age.
Linsley received the highest grade of any Packers offensive linemen from Pro Football Focus on Sunday. You could easily put Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang in the steady category as well as Rodgers rarely had to deal with up-the-middle pressure and Eddie Lacy had some decent lanes early.
Too many Packers fans think Sam Shields was bad last season. He wasn’t the second-coming of Charles Woodson,but he wasn’t as terrible as people thought. The Packers ask a lot out of Shields and he holds his own. Well,against the Bears,there’s no sugar-coating it: Shields was awful. Here’s hoping Shields’ bad day was more of a wake-up call than an emerging concern.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
If I’m Mike McCarthy,I call Clinton-Dix into my office and tell him this: “Son,if you continue to drop your head and dive at the ballcarrier’s feet instead of manning up and actually attempting to make a legitimate tackle,you will be holding my headset instead of playing for the world champion Green Bay Packers.”
Cutler completes half his passes and throws yet another game-breaking interception and Bears fans are actually saying he didn’t play that bad. If that’s not “falling,” I don’t know what is.
I’ve got an out-of-the-box idea that could immediately re-kindle the once storied Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears rivalry. Why is it important that the Packers-Bears rivalry is re-kindled? Because beating Chicago is a lot more fun when the Bears resemble an actual football team instead of whatever it is that they are now.
The Packers will beat the Bears today the same way they’ve beat the Bears over and over again in recent years. Jay Cutler will make no fewer than a dozen horrible decisions,including throwing between 2-4 of the worst interceptions you’ve ever seen and 6-9 passes that should be picked off but aren’t because the defender is absolutely shocked that the opposing QB threw it right to him. The rest of the Bears team,which is bad to begin with,will be unable to make up for Cutler’s incompetence and the Packers will pound another nail into the coffin of this dying rivalry.
Watching Cutler throw back-breaking interceptions straight into the hands of Packers’ defenders is like listening to “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift. It’s fun,but after you’ve heard the song for the 500th time,you’re ready for something else. You need something a little more challenging and intellectually stimulating.
I don’t want the Bears to get good enough to regain the upper hand in this rivalry,but I would like to see them put up an actual fight. Here’s where my grand idea comes in.
The Packers should give the Bears Brett Hundley. Yes,just outright gift Hundley to Chicago,like it’s Christmas in September.
We all saw what Hundley did this exhibition season. He’s already light years ahead of Cutler. Replacing Cutler with Hundley would automatically help the Bears win at least three more games this season and lose to the Packers by two touchdowns instead of four (or more).
Bears fans would have a reason to at least get out of bed on Sundays for the first time in a long time. Maybe they’ll start trash-talking Packers fans again and what was once the greatest rivalry in sports will get its spark back.
Were any of you on Twitter when the 2015 NFL schedule was announced? Bears fans were rejoicing that the season-opener was against Green Bay so they could get that loss out of the way immediately. It was sad and pathetic. At least Vikings fans still have enough pride (or is it delusion?) to make feeble attempts at trash talk and insults.
The NFL is a better place when Packers fans and Bears fans hate each other. In order to hate an entire group of people you’ve never met over a silly sporting event,at least one of the teams in said sporting event need to have a legitimate chance to beat the other team.
Right now,the Bears have no chance to beat the Packers. Cue up Taylor and “Shake it Off.” I’ll bob my head and enjoy this song again,but I know there’s better music out there.
The time has come for the Packers to give the Bears a chance. Send Hundley to Halas Hall and let’s see if he can make the Bears relevant again.
With that out of the way,let’s look at five reasons why the Packers will beat the Bears again on Sunday. Just for fun,we’ll also try and come up with a reason why the Packers might not come out on top.
Aaron Rodgers part 1
I stole this from the Twitter feed of our friend Zach Kruse: Aaron Rodgers was 40-for-55 for 617 yards,10 touchdowns,zero interceptions and a QB rating of 149.0 against the Bears last season. Read that stat line again. My goodness.
Aaron Rodgers part 2
This doesn’t have anything to do with the game today,but I can’t help it. Remember this throw Rodgers made against the Bears last season? It was wiped out by a penalty,but that’s still one of the best throws I’ve every seen. Rodgers owes the Bears another pass like that one,this time without the penalty.
Take a look at the Bears roster. Now take a look at the Packers roster. The talent difference is in favor of the Packers by an astronomical margin. The only area where the Bears are clearly superior is tight end.
Interior offensive line vs. Eddie Goldman
The Packers return Josh Sitton,Corey Linsley and T.J. Lang on the interior of their offensive line. Sitton and Lang are pro-bowl talents. Linsley had an outstanding rookie season. The Bears are switching to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Vic Fangio,a scheme that requires strong and consistent play from the nose tackle. The Bears’ nose tackle on Sunday will be rookie second-round draft pick Eddie Goldman. I have not doubt Goldman will be a solid player down the line,but can we really expect him to hold up against the triple threat of Sitton/Linsley/Lang in his first NFL game? I have my doubts.
Because the Bears still suck
All together now!
In a NFL picks pool I’m in,there was a guy who accidentally picked the Bears this week. He immediately e-mailed the commissioner of the pool and said it was a computer error and begged for a re-do. The commissioner shared his email with the rest of the league and we all laughed in his face.
But what if this guy ends up being accidentally right? What if the Bears accidentally beat the Packers? Here’s how it might happen:
Perhaps the loss of Jordy Nelson,Randall Cobb being less than 100 percent,Morgan Burnett and Sam Barrington possibly missing the game with injuries,a gimpy David Bakhtiari,and Letroy Guion and Datone Jones out with suspensions will be too much for the Packers to handle and it leads to an upset defeat. I doubt it,but ya never know…
We’re days away from the Green Bay Packers season-opener.
Soon,we’ll find out the following about the 2015 Packers:
Can they bounce back after the Seattle collapse?
What’s the offense going to look like without Jordy Nelson?
Will Mike McCarthy giving up playcalling duties improve the defense and special teams?
Can someone out there get me tickets to the Thanksgiving night Favre retirement game that won’t cost me two mortgage payments?
For now,it’s on to the Packers Stock Report:
Ladies and gentlemen,the Sleeveless Turtleneck has returned! You know how NBA teams and college basketball teams have their fans wear T-shirts of all the same color for select big home games? The Packers should do that for a game or two this season,only instead of matching T-shirts,everyone inside Lambeau puts on their best sleeveless turtleneck. When rumors began swirling that Jones and the Packers were talking,I initially wasn’t sold. But the more I thought about it,the more I came around. I trust James Jones to be better in 2015 than Myles White. As fun as it would be to see if White can develop into a player down the line,I’d rather go with a player who offers more upside right now.
“We will kick Chicago’s ass.” That’s what McCarthy said at the Packers welcome back luncheon and it’s a great way to get Packers fans fired up for the season-opener. Thatta boy,Mike. Now go fix the special teams.
Just in case the Casey Hayward experiment on the outside goes kaput,Gunter has shown that he’s a legit option to replace him.
Do defensive players get any more “steady” than Peppers? He still adds a lot to a defense,even at his advancing age. Hopefully,another outside linebacker steps up early so the Packers can limite Peppers’ snaps and keep him fresh for later in the season.
Do offensive linemen get any more “steady” than Sitton? As long as his health holds out,I expect we’ll see another pro-bowl season from Sitton (and some colorful quotes in the postgame locker room).
A few days after the Green Bay Packers filled their socks in the final 5 minutes of the NFC Championship game,I wrote about how the Packers won’t have a shot at redemption until the NFL playoffs roll around the following season. Here’s an excerpt:
At this point,the regular season is basically a formality for the Packers. They’ll win between 10 and 13 games next season,contend for the division title,and be in the mix for a top-seed in the playoffs. Just like they are every season…But through it all,what happened on Sunday will linger in the back of my mind and the minds of all Packers fans. We’ll love what happens on the march toward another NFC North title,but we’ll constantly be looking ahead to the postseason,and wondering if it’s all going to be washed away by yet another playoff meltdown.
I was still all wound up about the collapse and depressed when I wrote that piece. I thought for sure my opinion would soften after a long offseason,a fresh crop of draft picks to root for,and the excitement of a new football season.
Don’t get me wrong,my excitement level for the 2015 Packers season is just as high as it always is. I can’t wait to watch this team every Sunday and count my blessings that I root for the greatest sports organization on the planet which just happens to have the best quarterback in the league and an impressive run of success over the last 20 years.
I’ll be absorbed by every game like I always am and dive right into the analysis,second-guessing and Twitter chatter before,during and after each tilt.
But through all the ups and downs that are about occur during this 2015 Packers regular season,I can’t shake the part of my brain that still thinks it’s going to be a formality.
Like I wrote in the above-quoted piece,the Packers will win between 10-13 games this season,be in the mix for a top seed in the NFC,and have people talking Super Bowl. Just like they do every season.
And instead of fully enjoying all of that wonderful positivity and week-to-week excitement,a large part of my brain will be looking ahead to the playoffs and the opportunity to truly avenge what happened in Seattle.
Aaron Rodgers throws for 350 yards and five touchdowns agaisnt the Bears? Cool. Can he do the same thing in the playoffs?
Undrafted LaDarius Gunter breaks out as a stud and leads all rookies in interceptions at Thanksgiving? Good for him. How’s he going to handle the pressure of playoff football?
Ty Montgomery is a beast on kick returns? Super. Hopefully the Packers special teams don’t get “Zooked” in January and lead the way to another playoff meltdown.
Unfortunately,nothing that happens between the months of September and the end of December will get the stench of Seattle out of my senses. Do I have this odd combination of negative/spoiled/entitled mindset if the Packers simply lost a hard-fought game to the better team in Seattle last season? Probably not.
But the Seattle meltdown,combined with other playoff-failings from the post-2010 Packers,make it really hard to not look ahead to January,even if Green Bay is on an incredible roll in October.
Per usual,the 2015 Packers regular season will be a tremendous amount of fun. Unfortunately,it’s also going to feel like somewhat of a formality.
As the Philadelphia Eagles marched up and down the field against the Green Bay Packers No. 1 defense on Saturday night en route to a 39-point first half,I kept telling myself,”It’s only an exhibition game…it’s only and exhibtion game…it’s only an exhibition game…”
And I was right. It was only an exhibition game. There’s no reason to overreact one way or another to a meaningless game in late August.
I know it’s only August,but am I wrong to be at least a little bit concerned that McCarthy is back to talking communications issues in the defensive backfield? The dreaded “communications issues” has hung around the Packers secondary since Dom Capers took over as defensive coordinator. They seemed to go away last season,thanks to an emphasis on trying to simplify calls and having a veteran group of defensive backs and just one rookie (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix).
I suppose it’s fair to assume that there are going to be communication issues during the exhibition season no matter what. After all,that’s what exhibition games are for — to try and work that stuff out. And the Packers do have some new rookie faces in the defensive backfield with Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.
But still,if you’re a Packers fan who’s been paying attention at all during the Capers era,you’re sick and tired of seeing the dreaded “communication issues” in the secondary quotes,whether they come in August,November or January.
Sam Shields,Morgan Burnett,Casey Hayward and Michah Hyde have been together for a while now. Clinton-Dix is also a year wiser. “Communication issues” should not be an issue for this group of defensive backs.
Here’s hoping the Packers get their communication issues worked out in the secondary. I don’t want to constantly hear the “communication issues” line from McCarthy this season and I don’t want to see Packers defensive backs sniping at each other and holding their hands in the air in confusion week-to-week after an opponent scores a touchdown.