Jeff Pearlman’s new Brett Favre biography,”Gunslinger: The Remarkable,Improbable,Iconic Life of Brett Favre,” (link to Amazon) comes out this week. We got a sneak peek at the book here at CheeseheadTV and are offering up this review:
I remember being 17 years old,laying on my parent’s couch and reading Jeff Pearlman’s now (in)famous profile of John Rocker, the loudmouthed Atlanta Braves closer,in Sports Illustrated in 1999. When I finished the piece,I had two thoughts:
1.That was different.
2.That was awkward.
Fast forward 16 years and Pearlman is a unique and accessible presence in the world of online sports journalism and one of the most underrated sports biographers on the market. Pearlman’s resume includes outstanding books on the Dallas Cowboys’ 1990s dynasty,the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers and Walter Payton. He’s
a personal favorite author and journalist,one of those writers whose work you immediately click when it pops in your Twitter feed regardless of what you’re doing.
So why wasn’t I more excited to learn that Pearlman would be writing a book about Brett Favre,my favorite athlete? Two reasons:
1.I consumed anything and everything Favre-related since the day he became the Packers quarterback. Print profiles,TV features,radio interviews,John Madden gushing over No. 4 during broadcasts — I read/viewed/listened/loved them all. What else is left to be said about Favre that hasn’t already been said? Does the world of sports media need more Brett Favre?
2.Like Pearlman’s Rocker piece,I was worried about things getting…awkward. Deep down I knew there was probably plenty more to be said about Favre than what had already been said. Because Pearlman is good at what he does,I knew he’d unearth a lot of this stuff and it was likely to be awkward. I know Favre,like all of us,is a flawed human being. But did I really want to know just how much more flawed my favorite athlete was than I originally thought? Part of me just wanted to remember the touchdown passes,the Super Bowl,the hiccup with addiction,the Iron Man streak and leave it at that.
That’s a long-winded personal intro to what is supposed to be book review. Alright,enough of me blabbing. How’s the book?
Good. Really good. A definite must-read for Packers fans,Favre fans,football fans and fans of good books and exhaustive reporting.
Within the first 20 pages it hits you just how much research Pearlman put into this effort. This isn’t a compilation of information on Favre one can easily find from existing sources. Pearlman conducted nearly 600 interviews and dug through all kinds of other sources to paint a fresh picture of Favre that includes new revelations and insightful perspectives on information that already exists.
My first concern – that the book would be a simple rehash of anecdotes and facts any diehard Favre follower was already familiar with – was laid to rest almost immediately.
How about that second concern? Did things get awkward? They sure did.
When Pearlman dives deeper into Favre’s addiction issues,his marriage to Deanna,the car wreck that nearly ended his career,how he treated Aaron Rodgers,and even how Favre’s father,Irv,treated the opposite sex,Favre fanboys might be tempted to cover their ears and scream “LA LA LA LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA!”
I would encourage you not to do that. And I’m one of the bigger Favre fanboys around.
Pearlman tackles the difficult topics surrounding Favre fairly. He doesn’t gloss them over. He doesn’t rub it in your face that your hero could be an a$$hole at times. Favre’s shortcomings and indiscretions are weaved into the overall narrative to paint a more complete picture of Favre than ever before. That’s not an easy task when you’re writing about a guy who legitimately saved a NFL franchise and also texted a picture of his wiener to a young NFL female reporter (yes,this incident is covered in the book).I
If I had to nitpick the book,I’d say that not much new ground is covered in the Favre divorce from the Packers. But again,there were literally thousands of journalists reporting on the ordeal and nobody has been able to siphon the full story out of any cracks in the walls at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Besides,the details and anecdotes about Favre’s childhood and early career more than make for any lack of new info from the divorce.
People often complained about Favre saturation when he played. All Favre,all the time was just too much Favre. But today,NFL ratings are down and the on-filed product is slipping. Maybe if the league still had a “Gunslinger” as the face of its league,things would be different.
Final rating 4.5 out of 5.
You can purchase “Gunslinger: The Remarkable,Improbable,Iconic Life of Brett Favre” here
. (Please insert Amazon link.)
I don’t mean to make the Packers Stock Report all about me,but after Sunday’s performance from the hometown squad,I thought maybe we could all use a change of pace. The following is what I posted Monday Night on the Caring Bridge site I use to keep people updated on my battle with cancer.
Yes,the Packers were terrible,but I had another amazing time at Lambeau Field.
An abbreviated Packers Stock Report is at the end of this post.
This weekend I didn’t feel well at all. I was bloated and struggled to eat and drink. Bouts of acid reflux/heartburn kicked in at random times and made me feel like I was going to yak. My energy level was up and down — one minute I felt refreshed,the next I wanted to sleep for days. Just when I thought my diarrhea was under control,it returned with a vengeance (sorry,that was probably TMI). A weird pain lingers in my stomach,almost like I got punched repeatedly in the abdomen by the 1990 version of Mike Tyson.
To top it off,the wife and I made our annual pilgrimage to Lambeau Field for a Packers game and the Packers played like East Dillon High School on “Friday Night Lights” before Coach Taylor straightened them out. Aaron Rodgers has gone from a perennial MVP candidate to the second-coming of Randy Wright. As Vince Lombardi once said,”What the hell’s going on out here?”
To put a cherry on top of everything,I managed to come down with a cold.
Heartburn! Diarrhea! Cancer! A Packers loss! Sounds like an absolutely miserable weekend,right?
Wrong. It was beautiful.
There is nothing better in this world than being in Lambeau Field with my wife. This was our 12th Packers game together. We’ve seen the Packers beat Peyton Manning,Drew Brees and Tom Brady. We stood covered in snow as Brett Favre led a come-from-behind playoff win in a game that will forever be known as “The Snowglobe.” We’ve sat in the corner of the end zone as the Packers beat the Vikings in the playoffs,and we were in the bleachers around the 40 yard line when Matt Flynn jogged off the bench to lead to the Pack to a rallying…tie against the Vikes (oh well).
We traveled to Chicago to witness the Packers punch their ticket to Super Bowl XLV with a win over the Bears. Three days before I was diagnosed,we braved a sleet storm to see Favre’s number retired and officially welcomed back to Green Bay.
Ok,I’m getting nostalgic now. The bottom line is this: All of those moments we enjoyed together. Hell,even if the Packers lost every game we attended 104-2,they’d still be magical memories because those moments happened with the prettiest Packers fan around. I wasn’t going to let stupid cancer get in the way of another day of Lambeau memories.
Walking to the stadium Sunday was a little bittersweet. If you’ve never been to Lambeau Field on game day,it’s a combination of Mardi Gras and family cookout. The beer flows. The scent of grilled meat hangs over the entire city. People get way too crazy for a Sunday.
That used to be Julianna and I getting way too crazy for a Sunday at Lambeau,but not yesterday. My body isn’t able to handle beer or grilled meats these days,so whenever I saw someone chugging a Spotted Cow or munching on a bratwurst,I was jealous. But before I felt too sorry for myself,I’d grab my wife’s hand as we cut through the crowd.
Forget beer or meat. She was all I needed.
Entering Lambeau Field is like an out-of-body experience. The greatest franchise in all of sports plays here. It’s where Bart Starr sneaked into the end zone to win the Ice Bowl. It’s where Reggie White racked up sacks while a 12-year-old me cheered him watching on a snowy television back in Minnesota. It’s where Julianna was once,ahem,”overserved” at our first game together (vs. Carolina). It’s where I’d spend every Sunday if I could.
Unfortunately,the Packers didn’t create any new memories with their play on Sunday. But we still had a blast,even if we spent more time cracking wise about our favorite team’s struggles instead of standing and yelling after a touchdown. And,hey,Brett Favre made another appearance,so that was cool. Some fans would boo after yet another Packers miscue. I was in Lambeau Field on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with my love watching the Packers. The last thing on my mind was booing.
I think Julianna was a little worried I didn’t have a good time Sunday because she knows I wasn’t feeling the best. I reassured her I had an amazing time for all the reasons cited above. Here’s hoping we can do it again in the future,and this time see another Packers win.
Packers Stock Report
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
It wasn’t a catch,Dez.
Now that that’s out of the way,let’s examine five reasons why the Packers will once again beat the Cowboys this afternoon.
Plenty of time
The Cowboys can’t rush the passer. The Packers have done a great job protecting Aaron Rodgers in recent weeks. Green Bay’s offense may not be what it once was,but if you keep Rodgers upright most of the game,he’ll score points.
Goliath vs. Goliath
Will the Cowboys top-ranked rushing offense overcome the Packers top-ranked rushing defense? I think it’ll be a draw,but here’s the thing: Without a huge game on the ground,I don’t think the Cowboys are good enough to win. A draw won’t be good enough.
Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott might be an elite runner,but his pass-blocking skills need some work. If Elliott is back there on third-down passing situations against this Packers pass rush,Dak Prescott could get walloped.
Dak’s luck runs out
Prescott,a rookie,has yet to throw an interception. It’s about time the rabbit’s foot is removed from Prescott’s you-know-where. Sure,the Packers may be without their top two cornerbacks,but Prescott is long overdue to throw his first NFL pick.
Fan in the stands
I’ll be in the stands at Lambeau this afternoon. That means the Packers can’t lose,right?
Somehow,some way,the Cowboys have beaten the Packers in the past. If they are to do it again today,this is how it might happen:
Slopping it up
The Packers offense hasn’t put together a full game in a calendar year. If they bumble their way through this one – dropping passes,wasting timeouts,ignoring open receivers – things could get ugly.
If you struggle to fall asleep at night,or if you have small children who refuse to settle down long enough to take a nap,the 2016 Green Bay Packers might be able to help. Just watch some film of this year’s Packers team — especially its offense — and you and/or your kids should be sawing logs in no time.
The Packers are boring now. I’ve spent almost as much time yawning as I have cheering during games.
For years,Packers fans have enjoyed the gunslinging exploits of Brett Favre and the big-play precision of Aaron Rodgers. On defense,stars like Reggie White,LeRoy Butler,Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson incited roars from the home crowd with big plays.
Those days seem to have disappeared. Today,Packers fans are forced to watch an offense that sputters along instead of gliding down the field. Timeouts are wasted,passes are dropped,balls are fumbled and the quarterback no longer bothers setting his feet before making a throw. At least when similar issues arose in the past,we had John Kuhn around so we could yell “Kuuuuuuuhhhhhhhn!” a couple times per game to entertain ourselves.
The defense has been solid for the most part,but it’s hard to get overly excited about containing the Jaguars,Vikings,Lions and Giants less-than-stellar offenses. And seeing Nick Perry make a play doesn’t have nearly the same magic as a Reggie White sack or Leroy Butler Lambeau Leap.
But the Packers are also 3-1. If boring gets the Packers back in the playoffs with a decent shot at another Super Bowl,I’m fine with boring. Just make sure someone wakes me up if I happen to fall asleep.
On to this week’s Packers Stock Report,which hopefully isn’t boring.
The strength of the Packers offense is the line,and Lang is probably the front five’s best player. The NBC cameras captured Lang wiping out his defender on several occasions Sunday night.
A sack and six pressures…..just another day at the office for the 2016 version of Nick Perry.
In only 12 snaps,the rookie outside linebacker tallied a sack,a forced fumble,a QB hit and a hurry. On the season,Fackrell has nine tackles and two sacks in a very limited role. Am I being premature in listing Fackrell as a riser? Perhaps,but I didn’t expect much from him this season so what he’s accomplished so far is very impressive.
To me,Hyde is the definition of a steady player. Need him to play nickel corner,he can do that. Need him to step up and play outside,he can do that. Need a fill-in at safely,Hyde is your guy. How about a quick blitz from the slot? Hyde will deliver. Hyde might not be a game-changing player,but he makes sure the field doesn’t tilt in the wrong direction whenever he’s out there.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are paid big bucks to rush quarterbacks from the edge. Neither could get to Rodgers on Sunday night,thanks in large part to the efforts of Bakhtiari.
He hasn’t made any flashy plays,but Gunter has been solid in a secondary that dealing with injuries. If Sam Shields is able to return to and Damarious Randall can return to form,the depth of this secondary will be a major strength heading into winter.
Will Ted Thompson admit that he effed this one up and bring back Tim Masthay (or anybody)?
A dropped screen pass that would have likely resulted in an easy touchdown,a near-disastrous fumble late in the fourth quarter,always bouncing runs outside…Starks was really bad against the Giants and so far looks nothing like the reliable backup he was last season.
National announcers who always praise Jared Abbrederis
It seems like every game the announcing crew takes 30 seconds to talk about how much the Packers,along with Aaron Rodgers,love Jared Abbrederis. Then Abbrederis never plays. Look,I like Abbrederis,too,but maybe it’s time to stop dedicating airtime to a player who hasn’t been a part of the Packers offense all season.
My apologies for the short five reasons post today. Real life and my oldest son’s third birthday party got in the way of me writing a lengthy,snarky and only partially factual post containing five reasons why the Packers will beat the Giants tonight.
I’ll still give you the five reasons,minus the snarkiness and context. I’ll let you judge their factualness.
Because Eli Manning pooped his pants whenever a pass rusher came within three yards of him during Monday’s loss to the Vikings.
Because the Packers offense hopefully hit its rhythm against Detroit and will only be stronger versus New York.
Because Odell Beckham will be arrested in the second quarter for committing a felony on the field out of frustration.
Because Clay Matthews + a rejuvenated Nick Perry = scary.
Because I’m sick of the Giants and Eli always playing the Packers tough and spoiling their plans for success.
Enjoy the game,folks. Go Pack Go!
CheeseheadTV has obtained a memo issued by Packers general manager Ted Thompson to the entire organization during the bye week. Because we love you,our dear readers,we’re not going to sell this valuable piece of information to one of the fancy pants mainstream media outlets that covers the Packers. No,we’re going to publish it right here. Here we go:
Dear Packers players,coaches,and everyone else:
It’s been kind of a whacky season so far. What was up with scoring all those points in the first half against Detroit,then napping through the second half? And my ears still hurt from having to listen to that gosh darn horn in that dumpy new dome when we lost to Minnesota. Please,don’t let that horn bellow ever again. Ever.
I thought we played decent at times in our final preseason games against Jacksonville. Wait…..that wasn’t a preseason game? The NFL actually lets teams as sorry as Jacksonville play actual regular season games? Huh. Learn something new every day.
Anyway,it’s time to forget about those first three games and focus on the remaining 13 and our march through the playoffs. Here’s what I want to see happen the rest of this season. If ya’ll follow these five simple steps,I believe we’ll celebrate a Super Bowl victory before I head out on my annual February scouting trip to Idaho,Wyoming and the North Pole to find the next great third-string fullback.
If a receiver is open,throw it to him. I have fond memories of that magical 2011 regular season when we could just launch balls 50 yards downfield and score a touchdown whenever we felt like it. That was a helluva lotta fun. But 2011 was five years ago. Teams have adjusted to what we like to do on offense,including our tendency to always look for the deep home run. Airing it out can remain a part of our offense — a big part of our offense — but I don’t want to see us ignore open receivers seven yards downfield in favor or a lower-percentage pass 50 yards downfield. I especially don’t want to see this continuing to happen on third down. Let’s move the chains,and see if we can get a better opportunity for the long ball later in the drive.
Stop letting receivers rack up 200-yard games. Nobody knew who Stefon Diggs and Marvin Jones were until we allowed them to each have career games. The next defensive back to allow a 200-yard game (I’m looking at you,Damarious Randall) will be punished. The punishment: You’ll have to help Dom Capers make sure every single hair on his trademark combover is perfectly in place before he heads up to the booth to call the game.
Nick Perry! Whatever you’ve done to make Nick Perry into a great player,keep doing it.
Double-helmet Shields. Remember the old 49ers center Steve Wallace? To better protect his head,he wore two helmets. It’s time Sam Shields did the same. Not only will it help protect Shields from suffering yet another concussion,it’ll also spur a new fashion trend in the NFL. Forget fancy cleats with thematic designs. The double helmet is where it’s at.
Quit punting. Look,I think I screwed up by letting Tim Masthay go. He wasn’t the greatest punter of all time but he was probably better that the guy I brought in to replace him (I already forgot his name…Schack? Schummer? Shank?). The only solution to this minor mishap is to make sure the new punter remains on the bench. So,score on every obsession,ok?
Best of luck the rest of the season.
aka The Silver Fox
I saw a lot of people on Twitter during the second half of Sunday’s Packers’ win going after Mike McCarthy for being too conservative. I don’t blame folks for slapping the conservative label on McCarthy — I’ve done it a few times myself — but Sunday wasn’t the day to do it.
Eddie Lacy was running wild. The same folks calling out McCarthy for his conservatism would’ve been calling the coach out for not feeding Lacy if the Packers aired it out more in the second half.
Costly penalty. A holding penalty negated a third-down conversion early in the second half,forcing the Packers to kick a field goal. If the Packers march in for a touchdown on that drive,the route likely would have continued.
Simple facts. With the Packers needed to kill some clock later in the fourth quarter,McCarthy called a pass play on first down that saw Aaron Rodgers fire a 12-yard comeback route to rookie Trevor Davis. The pass hit Davis right in the hands and he dropped it. If the rookie makes that simple catch,are we still calling McCarthy conservative?
Anyway,the Packers won the game and the offense looked high-functioning for at least one half,so I shouldn’t worry too much what the fine folks on Twitter are chattering about during the game. Sometimes it just bugs me because there are instances where McCarthy deserves to be criticized for being overly conservative. Those instances are often overlooked,however,because too many people blindly accuse the coach of playing it too close to the vest when that just isn’t the case.
Is that Clay Matthews? Julius Peppers? Von Miller disguised as a Packer? No,it’s Nick Perry! And he’s healthy! And dominating! Would the Packers have won on Sunday without Perry? Maybe,but it would have been much more difficult.
He might not be back to the dominant Nelson of pre-injury,but he’s caught touchdowns in every game and had several moments where he looked like the Jordy of old. That’s good enough for a spot in the rising category in my book.
Daniels doesn’t just beat the man trying to block him,he mauls him into submission then attacks whomever has the football It’s incredibly fun to watch.
Don’t expect to see Taylor replace Sitton on the Pro Bowl roster,but for a guy who entered the season under a lot of pressure,he’s held up just fine. If Taylor can duplicate what he’s done the first three games over the final 13 contests,the left-guard position will be just fine.
When Lacy has been fed the ball,he’s usually come through. I’d say 214 yards and 5.0 yards per carry is pretty steady.
Ok,young Damarious. You’ve hit rock bottom these last couple of weeks. Time to snap out of it. I think you have the talent to do it,so let’s make it happen. Thank you.
The Middle of the Field
It’s like there’s a giant radioactive bubble in the middle of the football field that scares away all Packers defenders from entering,thus leaving the entire area between the has marks wide open for opposing tight ends and running backs to effortlessly catch passes and gain easy first downs.
If the Green Bay Packers are to win this afternoon and avenge last season’s shocking home defeat to the Detroit Lions,a few things are going to have to happen:
1. Aaron Rodgers needs to snap out of it. It’s up to the quarterback to make this Packers offense look like an actual offense again,not a bunch of kids drawing up plays in the sandlot.
2. Personnel looks must be diversified. Remember when Mike McCarthy used to line up with a full-house backfield? Or five wide receivers? Or two tight ends? He rarely does that any more. These days,it’s 3 wide and a tight end virtually every snap. Yawn….
3. The field position battle must be won. I’m tired of seeing the Packers constantly starting inside their own 10-yard line and watching Jake Schum’s punts die after 35 yards at the opponent’s 25.
4. Mike McCarthy needs to –
(At this point,the author of this post slaps himself in the face and dumps a bucket of cold water over his head. He gets up from his chair,walks around,takes a deep breath,eats a bratwurst,washes it down with some cheese,and sits back in his chair.)
Whoa! Wait just a minute! Sorry,I went out of my mind momentarily. I was actually writing a post that insinuated the Packers might have a tough time beating the Lions today. IT’S THE FREAKING LIONS! PLAYING AT LAMBEAU FIELD!
I don’t care how shaky Rodgers and this offense has looked,they’re not going to lose to the Lions at home two years in a row.
Not gonna happen.
Here are five reasons why:
As fun as it is watching Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah take on Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari in a battle of player’s names I can’t pronounce,it’s a big deal that Ansah will miss today’s game. He had five tackles and one of his 14.5 sacks against the Packers in 2015. He’s a good one.
The Packers have been getting after quarterbacks this season,and that should continue against the Lions less-than-stellar front. The Lions have allowed five sacks through two games – not a huge number,but Indianapolis and Tennessee aren’t exactly known for their explosive pass rush.
That’s how many rushing yards per game the Packers have allowed so far,and one of those games was against Adrian Peterson. The duo of Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington definitely won’t be striking fear into Green Bay’s hearts. However,I almost hope the Lions have some success running the ball so they don’t throw it on every down and try to exploit a secondary missing Sam Shields and Morgan Burnett.
Where’d these guys come from?
The Packers are getting solid contributions from the likes of Joe Thomas,Nick Perry and Kenny Clark on defense. Nobody expected much from these players,so the fact that they appear to be reliable pieces should help the Packers cover for some banged-up regulars on D (Burnett,Clay Matthews,Datone Jones and Letroy Guion).
Remember R-E-L-A-X? Or “Shhhhh?” What’s Rodgers’ catch phrase going to be this time when he explodes for 400 yards and five touchdowns? Whenever Rodgers and the offense have come under fire in the past,they usually come through and rebound in a big way,followed by some type of smart-alekey postgame interview from the QB to quiet all the detractors.
Remember when the Lions actually beat the Packers at Lambeau last season? I try not to remember,but unfortunately,it’s a nightmare that I can’t forget. If a similar defeat is to happen today,here’s why:
The Cooter effect
Ever since Jim Bob Cooter took over play-calling duties for the Lions halfway through last season,their offense has been effective. Matthew Stafford has cut down on the Cutler-like mistakes and become very dangerous in the red zone. Taking on a short-handed Packers defense,look for Cooter to get Stafford going early and a steady does of short to mid-range passes.
Have we reached a point where it’s time to admit that the Green Bay Packers are a different team than the one we’ve become accustomed to? Instead of beating teams with a high-flying offense and an opportunistic defense that excels when playing with a lead,are the Packers now a team that leans on its defense and hopes its offense can scrape together enough positive plays to pull out a victory?
It feels weird typing that. We’re used to Aaron Rodgers playing like a MVP and using his talented selection of receivers and backs to march up and down the field. But since about Week 4 of last season,the Packers offense has been a weird mix of three-and-outs,frustrating moments of miscommunication,back-shoulder throws that fall harmlessly to the ground,a lackadaisical running game,and,worst of all,a fundamentally flawed quarterback.
Every now and then the offense’s ineptitude is interrupted by brief stretches of brilliance – usually some type of improvised sandlot play after Rodgers wriggles out of the pocket — that give us all hope of a return to form. Then another back-shoulder pass flies out of bounds while the receiver never turns around,a timeout is wasted as the play clock winds down,and we’re right back to square one.
I’m not ready to change the identity of this team yet. But it’s nearly been a full season of the Packers offense looking like Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in Major League before he figured out that he needed glasses. We’ve long passed the point where we can simply write this off as a slump.
Good thing the Packers Stock Report isn’t in a slump. Let’s make like Pedro Cerrano after he figured out how to hit a curve ball and knock this outta the park:
Here’s hoping that 1) Perry can finally stay healthy for a full season and 2) that he continues playing with the intensity and disruptiveness in both the pass and run game that he’s shown these first two weeks.
Where would the Packers defensive line be without Daniels? Daniels owned both whoever was trying to block him and Adrian Peterson on Sunday.
Well,isn’t this a nice surprise? I forgot that Thomas even made the team out of training camp. Not only did he make the team,he’s making plays.
When Matthews hobbled off the field after the first series on Sunday,I said,”Well,three goes his hamstring.” Thankfully,Matthews returned and was his usual solid self. Sounds like Matthews’ ankle is a bit gimpy,though…
Unless it’s a freestyle,sandlot type of play or a defensive pass interference,Rodgers isn’t able to get the Packers offense moving. He’s also been uncharacteristically inaccurate and his fundamentals are way out of whack. I’m worried. I want Rodgers to tell me to R-E-L-A-X,and then torch the Lions for 400 yards and five touchdowns. Then do it again the following week…and the following week…and the following week…
I was perfectly fine with McCarthy’s decision to skip the field goal and for it on fourth down late in the game. But a shotgun run up the gut to James Starks? With Eddie Lacy standing on the sideline? You’re killing me,Mike.
Looks like Ted Thompson simply replaced one struggling punter with another struggling punter.
Can a stadium help inspire a team to victory? The Minnesota Vikings are hoping so.
The Vikings open the more than $1 billion
Zygi Palace Metrodome II U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night,and they’re hoping all the hype,hoopla and excitement (the Vikings have lined up some foreign soccer player to lead a chant,a “Game of Thrones” actor and some type of knock-off version of Prince as part of the opening game festivities) will carry them to a rare win over the hated Packers.
But let’s cut through the nonsense for a minute: Are the Vikings really going to play harder and more inspired because it’s their first game in a new stadium? A stadium that was funded by taxpayers and will make their team owner even more filthy rich than he already is? Will the Vikings go that extra mile because coach Mike Zimmer rallies his troops with a rousing pregame speech that goes something like this: “Men,our great leader,Mr. Zygi Wilf,reached into the pockets of the good taxpayers of Minneapolis to build us this giant palace. He then charged these same taxpayers thousands of dollars for seat licenses and $11 for a beer. If we don’t at least win our first freaking game here,people may tear this place down!”
The answer is no. I don’t think a generic billion-dollar building gifted to a greedy multi-billionaire by the good folks of Minneapolis is going to inspire the Vikings to play well and beat the Packers tonight. Yes,U.S. Bank Stadium will be loud. Yes,fake noise will be piped in. Yes,it’ll be hard for the Packers to communicate on offense.
But guess what? All of that also happened at the Metrodome whenever the Packers played the Vikings. And all of that happens at just about every NFL stadium. U.S. Bank Stadium is going to be loud and crazy whenever the Vikings play at home,whether it’s the first game,eight game for 452nd game. The impact the stadium will have on tonight’s opening game is being vastly overblown. If the Vikings do (gulp) beat the Packers,it will have little to do with the opening of the new Zygi World,and everything to do with the Vikings defense,coaching and on-field execution.
Here are five reasons why the Packers will overcome whatever the Vikings throw at them– stadium included — and improve to 2-0:
Old Man Adrian
Don’t get me wrong,whenever Peterson takes a handoff and glides forward,I hold my breath,grip the couch real tight and say a prayer. Even at 31 years old,Peterson remains a physical specimen and a scary player. But Peterson’s numbers are fading. Over his last nine games,he’s averaging just 66.7 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. He’s gone over 70 yards just once in his last seven games and looked rusty last week against Tennessee. I’ll still cringe whenever Peterson gets the ball,but age might be finally catching up with him.
What is wrong with you people?
As long as we’re talking about Peterson we need to address another issue: Why do so many Vikings fans continue to dress their children in No. 28 Peterson jerseys? THE MAN ADMITTED TO BEATING HIS OWN CHILD BLOODY WITH A TREE BRANCH!!!! The last thing you want to do as a parent is dress your kid in that monster’s jersey. Now,I’m not going to pretend that I wouldn’t cheer every time Peterson ran for a first down if he played for the Packers — I have no problem with Vikings fans continuing to cheer Peterson whenever he helps their team — but I damn sure wouldn’t dress my children in his jersey. Vikings fans,I tell ya…
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh whiffed wide left on a 27-yard field goal that would have beat Seattle in the playoffs last season. Last week he missed two more field goals and an extra point. If Walsh’s whiffing ways continue Sunday night,it could be the difference in what likely will be a close game.
Two words: Damarious Randall
A lot has been made about the fact that Packers CB Sam Shields will likely miss tonight’s game with a concussion. Whenever a player of Shields’ caliber is out,he will be missed,but I think Damarious Randall is ready to break out. If Randall can guard Vikings WR Stefon Diggs as well as he covered the Jags two big receivers last week,the QB-strapped Vikings will have an even tougher time moving the ball and scoring points. Is Randall — long sleeves and all — up for the challenge? I think so.
Keep it up,coach
Packers coach Mike McCarthy is 15-5-1 against the Vikings and 3-1 against the Vikings with Mike Zimmer as head coach. The dominance McCarthy’s teams have had over the Vikings have many people questioning whether Packers vs. Vikings is even a rivalry game any more. Heck,Zimmer himself even questioned it this week. When the Packers need to squash the “rival” Vikings,McCarthy knows what buttons to push. Here’s hoping he pushes the right one later tonight.
Yeah,yeah,yeah,every now and then the Vikings sneak out a win in this “rivalry” game. It happened a few times with a certain No. 4 who dressed in purple for a few games and played QB in Minnesota. And it happened at the end of last season when the Packers offense decided to take the last two months of the year off. If it happens again tonight,this might be why:
The Vikings defensive line led by Everson Griffen and his 22.5 sacks over the last two seasons is legit. If they can get pressure by only rushing four,forcing Aaron Rodgers to rely on his improvisational skills instead of getting into a rhythm on offense,it’ll be tough for the Packers to pull this one out.