The worst part about the Green Bay Packers choking away the NFC Championship game in Seattle is the fact that it’s going to be a full year before the Packers have a shot at redemption.
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.
Next season, like just about every season during the Favre/Rodgers era, will be full of memorable moments, big wins, and bigger performances from the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Clay Matthews.
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.
Not only have the Packers been one of the most successful and exciting teams in football during the Favre/Rodgers era, they also lead the league in gut-wrenching postseason defeats. Vikings fans will claim to be the leader in the gut-wrenching defeat category, but that’s yet another area where they can’t match the Packers.
Super Bowl 32, The Terrell Owens catch, the Michael Vick game, 4th and 26, the 2007 NFC championship, the strip-sack fumble OT loss in Arizona, losing in the divisional round after a 15-1 regular season, and whatever the hell you want to call Sunday’s meltdown — all of those add up to a level of postseason failures that would make the Atlanta Braves blush.
Thankfully, none of that overshadows the two Super Bowls the Packers have won amidst all those tear-your-heart-out losses. And, with all due respect to Josh Sitton, I’d much rather root for a team that has a legit shot to win it all every season and collapses 80 percent of the time instead of a team that is lucky to reach the postseason twice per decade.
But what happened on Sunday hurts, and it’s going to hurt for a long time. Redemption will only come if the Packers make their way back to the NFC title game a year from now and win the damn thing.
That might be harsh and unfair, but another division title and playoff disappointment won’t heal the hole blasted in my Packers psyche on Sunday. Doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy whatever thrilling ride the Packers take me on next season and appreciate everything they will probably accomplish. It just means true redemption is at least a year way, and that’s a long time to wait.
On to the final Packers Stock Report of this season:
Crosby trotted onto the field far too often for my liking, but man, what a kick to send the game into overtime.
Of all the Packers players I feel for today, I might feel the most for Peppers. He deserved a shot at the Super Bowl.
I know I’ll get flack for this one, but I don’t care. Rodgers wasn’t anything special on Sunday, but he did a damn fine job going up against the league’s best defense on one leg. Most healthy quarterbacks would not have been able to do what Rodgers did Sunday against that defense on the road.
Another great effort in pass blocking from the offensive line. I say re-sign Bryan Bulaga and keep this group together for next season.
I’m looking forward to Rodgers taking the next step in 2015.
Be nice to Bostick, Packers fans. He’s far from the only reason Green Bay pissed that game away.
Sometimes I wonder if the Packers success running the ball early in games hurts them later in games. Does it give McCarthy reason to think he’s coaching the 1993 Dallas Cowboys instead of the high-flying Packers led by Aaron Rodgers? Going conservative and pointlessly running up the middle over and over again in the fourth quarter was hard to watch. So was settling for field goals twice on Seattle’s 1-yard line. Mike should’ve tried to punch it in at least once.
The Green Bay Packers really needed that win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. If the Packers would have lost, I had some evil, nasty thoughts running through my head.
Thoughts like, “If the Packers have another one-and-done in the playoffs, they’ve essentially been a more exciting version of the Cincinnati Bengals since winning the Super Bowl in 2010.”
Whew. That’s a bad one. Not entirely inaccurate, but still bad. Nobody who loves the Packers as much as I do should ever put the Packers in the same sentence as the Bengals, even if it’s just in your own head and the Packers are trailing by eight in the second half of a divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Another thought I had: “Fire everyone.”
That makes me no different than the (dozens? hundreds? thousands? tens of thousands?) crazies on Twitter who call for Dom Capers’ head after every first down allowed by the Packers, or demand the public flogging of Ted Thompson for every big-name free agent not signed by Green Bay.
The last, and most insane thought I had: “Put in Matt Flynn!”
Seriously, my mind was so weak when the Packers were trailing that I actually allowed this thought to creep into my head. If I would have tweeted this insane thought or allowed it to escape my mind in the form of words through my mouth, a team of medical professionals would have pulled up to my house and confined me to a straight jacket before hauling me off to a faraway facility for further evaluation.
Thankfully, the Packers won. Now, only the Seattle Seachickens stand in the way of the Packers reaching the Super Bowl.
My mind is right again. As Mike McCarthy would say, my mindset is no longer polluted. But sometimes my mindset gets polluted when the Packers are losing an important playoff game. I can’t help it.
Thankfully, the following players stepped up and knocked all those crazy thoughts out of my head. The Packers Stock Report normally contains a rising, steady and falling section. But when the Packers win a playoff game, I get so happy and amped up that I eliminate the steady and falling categories.
(Brad Jones, you’re off the hook this week.)
A Packers postseason win means everybody is rising, but here are a handful of players who stood out a little more than others:
24 for 35 for 316 yards, 3 TDs, zero interceptions and a 125.4 QB rating. On one leg. Damn.
Football is a funny game. Two-thirds of the way through the season, we were wondering if Davante Adams was a bust. Now he’s helping the Packers win playoff games. Adams reminds me more and more of a young James Jones. Frustrating at times, but talented enough to be an impact player.
Even if Peppers didn’t do a single thing in the regular season, his strip of DeMarco Murray in the third quarter was worth every penny the Packers are paying him this season. Remember the playoffs of yesteryear when the Packers lined up guys like Erik Walden and Andy Mulumba at outside linebacker? Yikes.
The price tag for re-signing Cobb goes up after every game and he deserves every penny. What a big time player.
Daniels might not make the flash plays like Peppers or teammate Clay Matthews, but he’s a constant force inside. On Sunday, he even fought through a blatant hold to sack Tony Romo.
Speaking of quietly making an impact, Quarless has turned into a nice second option for Rodgers if Cobb is covered when the play breaks down. Tough, reliable and consistent. That’s what Quarless was on Sunday and what he’s been most of this season.
The Rodgers-to-Rodgers connection to take the lead on Sunday was one of the most memorable plays of the season. Once a game for the last several weeks, Richard Rodgers has come up with a big play.
When the early success of the running game didn’t carry beyond the opening drive, McCarthy found his team stuck in the mud. So what did he do? He ditched the buttoned-up game plan, spread the Cowboys out, and tested the limits of what his one-legged quarterback was able to do. The adjustment and strategy shift paid off. Now the Packers got a shot to play in Arizona.
When Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers crumpled to the ground in a heap on Sunday, what’s the first thought that ran through your head?
My thoughts consisted of only one word: Why?
Why do I care so much about the Packers? Why do my wife and I invest three hours every Sunday into watching the Packers? Why do I have butterflies in my stomach before, during and after Packers games? Why does a silly game like football play with my emotions like this? Why did I just spend the last four months religiously following the Packers, only to see it all blown up on one play? Why am I not getting another beer? Why? WHY? WHY?!?!?!?!
Then Rodgers strolled back out in the third quarter, led the Packers to victory, and all my “why” questions were answered.
I care so much because of moments like that. Yes, football is a silly game played by millionaires who have very little in common with people like you and I. It’s hard to explain why I care so much, but I do, and I’m glad I do.
It’s fun to follow this team. Every now and then, it’s amazing.
Speaking of amazing…
On to the Packers Stock report:
J.J. Watt is a helluva player, but if Rodgers doesn’t win NFL MVP, you might as well name the award something else. Winning the NFC North title game while playing an entire half on one leg is one of the most MVPish things I’ve seen in quite some time.
I’ve been saying this since the New England game and I’ll say it again: If the Packers offensive line keeps playing like it’s playing, the Packers will win the Super Bowl.
When Cobb is picking up yards after the catch, the Packers are hard to stop. Think about it: When the Packers offense sputters, the opposing defense usually does a good job of tackling the Packers wide receivers right after they catch the ball. As Cobb’s YAC goes, so goes the Packers offense.
He’s been catching just about everything thrown his way, even when he’s not open. Part of the reason the Packers offense did nothing against Detroit in week three was the weak play of their tight ends, both in the passing and run-blocking game. That was a totally different story on Sunday.
Burnett’s tackling and toughness near the line of scrimmage will be much needed if the Packers hope to beat the Cowboys and Seahawks and their physical running games.
How many times have we seen the Packers suffer an in-game injury, and McCarthy continues calling downfield passes? I thought McCarthy adjusted beautifully to Rodgers’ limitations and once again guided the Packers though the season’s ups and downs to a division title.
Why is Jones still getting playing time? Put Sean Richardson or Jarrett Bush at middle linebacker if you have to. Jones shouldn’t see the field again.
The Packers are much better at protecting Aaron Rodgers this season, but now they can’t stop teams from blocking kicks. Seven blocked kicks in a decade is a lot, let alone a single season.
I stand by what I wrote in Sunday’s “5 reasons” game preview: The NFL would be better off without the Lions.
As Green Bay Packers fans, we tend to always look at the big picture. If the Packers beat a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3, we’re happy about the win, but we’re a little concerned about “only” scoring 20 points and what that might mean for the offense heading into the postseason against stronger teams.
We’re also happy about being 11-4 heading into the season’s final game with an opportunity to win the division, secure a first-round bye and play at least one home playoff game. But we’re also concerned that the Packers haven’t been dominant for the last 10 quarters and if that might lead to an early exit against a quality playoff opponent.
Three’s nothing wrong with looking at the big picture and peeking ahead. I do it all the time and it’s part of what makes following the Packers and the NFL so much fun. But the NFL is a week-to-week league, especially this season. Or at least a month-to-month league.
Heck, just this season I think the Broncos, Patriots, Seahawks and Packers have gone through stretches where the experts pegged them as the obvious Super Bowl “favorites.” Even Philadelphia and Indianapolis have been mentioned as Super Bowl “favorites” at some point. Most recently, Dallas has joined that list.
Any team that survives the ups and downs of a season like this one to be in the mix for a division title and a first-round bye on the season’s final day is rising. It’s an added bonus if, like the Packers, that team has an MVP quarterback and an offensive line playing at the top of its collective game.
There’s a lot to be excited about on this Packers team. There are also a few areas of concern. Regardless of how you look at this team as January approaches, it’s been a fun ride.
On to the Packers Stock Report:
What a bounceback season for Burnett. He seems to be playing closer to the line of scrimmage, which gets him involved in stopping the run and even rushing the quarterback every now and then. For a guy left for dead after last season’s disaster, it’s been quite the transformation.
Anyone who completes 78 percent of his passes and throws for 318 yards with the flu on a bum leg makes the rising category in my book.
Ever since taking more snaps inside, Matthews has been steady. His play on Sunday elevated him back into the rising category. I love this new hybrid role for Matthews. Stick him inside if teams start gashing the defense up the middles, then put him on the edge in obvious passing situations.
He blows up at least a couple of plays per game. A lot of us pegged Daniels as one of the keys to the Packers season and, with the exception of the opener in Seattle, he’s delivered.
Jordy should probably be in the rising category, but I’m still kind of mad at him for dropping that pass in Buffalo. My favorite thing about Nelson is his ability to make a big play when the Packers are spinning their wheels. It’s like he says, “Ok fellas, ya’ll are playing like horse manure, so I’m gonna go ahead and make a ridiculous catch and see if that gets us going.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Lang has graded positively in six consecutive games and led the team with a 4.8 grade on Sunday. Overall, the offensive line has been tearing it up. We’ll see how they hold up against strong fronts like Detroit and Seattle, but if they keep playing like this, it’s hard to see the Packers losing.
If Perry would step up just a little bit, this defense could take another step forward. Perry doesn’t need to morph into Lawrence Taylor, just play a little better than he is now and fill the void on the edge if Matthews moves inside.
Mason Crosby/Tim Masthay
Listing both the kicker and punter as falling might be a little harsh, but both need to play better heading into the postseason. Crosby has missed a few makable kicks and Masthay’s punts have been shaky. Remember when the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC title game during the 2010 season? Masthay neutralized Devin Hester and pinned the Bears deep in their own territory often. The Packers will need their kicker and punter to be at the top of their game in the coming weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not only is the team awful, but the stadium was half full of Packers fans. Not a good situation going on in the other Bay.
Every season during the Mike McCarthy era, the Green Bay Packers have a post-Thanksgiving game where they take a giant dump on the field.
On Dec. 23, 2007, the Bears beat the Packers 35-7 at windy Soldier Field. Brett Favre threw zero touchdowns, two interceptions and appeared to be frozen.
In 2008, the Packers lost five straight, four coming after Thanksgiving and culminating in a rough Monday Night loss to the Bears on Dec. 22.
On Dec. 20, 2009, Ben Roethlisberger torched the Packers for 503 passing yards as the Steelers snapped Green Bay’s five-game winning streak.
Of course, you all remember Dec. 12, 2010. That’s the day the Lions beat the Packers 7-3 and knocked out Aaron Rodgers with a concussion.
I’m guessing you all also remember Dec. 18, 2011. That’s when Kyle Orton, aka the Packers-killer, and the Chiefs ruined Green Bay’s hopes for an undefeated season with a 19-14 shellacking at Arrowhead Stadium.
Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, saw the Packers lose to Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings, 37-34. The loss cost the beat-up Packers a first-round bye.
Last season’s meltdown came on Thanksgiving with the Lions stomping Green Bay 40-10.
And, of course, Rodgers decided to play one of the worst game of his career last Sunday as the Bills humbled the Packers in Buffalo, sending Green Bay tumbling all the way to the No. 6 seed if the playoffs began today.
Late-season missteps happen. They’re hard to watch and they seem to incite increased levels of panic because everyone is eyeing the playoff picture right now.
Instead, let’s try to keep an eye on the big picture. Despite Sunday’s meltdown, the Packers are still rising.
We might not ever see Rodgers play as poorly as he did on Sunday ever again. We hopefully never see Packers’ receivers drop eight passes again. The Packers’ special teams are bad, but hopefully they’ve now bottomed out and can improve in the season’s final weeks.
Despite an injury to Bryan Bulaga, the Packers remain healthy, the most healthy they’ve been in a long, long time.
I like the Packers’ chances at beating the Bucs this week and the Lions the following week. That would mean the No. 2 overall seed and at least one playoff game. We’ll see what happens from there.
For now, on to the Packers stock report:
Why list a player as rising when he exited the previous game early with an injury? Because both times Bulaga has left a game injured this season, his replacement has surrendered a game-altering sack. On Sunday, Mario Williams got around J.C. Tretter for the strip sack on the Packers’ final possession. Perhaps the key to the Packers entire season is making sure Bulaga never has to leave injured in the middle of a game again.
There were several times Lacy rumbled through a gaping hole up front, picked up steam on the second level, then leveled some poor sap in the secondary to cap off a nice run. Too bad he only got 15 carries. Who knows what kind of damage he could have caused with 20-25?
It was another solid game from Matthews. We haven’t seen Matthews take over a game lately, but he’s been good all around for the last six weeks or so.
The only wide receiver who managed to get a little separation against the Bills was Cobb. He also took part in the drop party, but his miscues weren’t as egregious as a few of the others (*cough* Jordy Nelson *cough*)
Ideally, the Packers would like someone bigger and stronger than Guion to try and slow down the other team’s power running game, but with B.J. Raji out, Guion is what they have. Guion might not be the stout man in the middle this defense needs, but he’s athletic and shoots through a gap at least once or twice per game to make a play.
Perhaps someone needs to sit down with young Mr. Adams and explain to him that he can’t live off his big game against New England the rest of the season.
The Packers played a lot of base defense on Sunday, which meant more snaps for Hawk. He held up ok, until the game’s final drive where he was an obvious liability.
My throat is scratchy. My nose is runny. I’m sneezing every 8 minutes and the bags under my eyes are turning a weird shade of black and purple.
Do I have a common winter cold, the same affliction that knocks down most of us for a few days when the weather turns cold? Or do I have something much more serious? An illness only contracted by Packers fans called “Capers-itis.” Capers-itis sets in when the Packers’ defense starts playing like it’s 2011 all over again.
Symptoms of Capers-itis include the following happening to your favorite football team’s defense:
- Sam Shields getting completely out-physicaled on deep passes.
- No pass rush.
- One player (see: Jones, Julio) does whatever he wants up and down the field without repercussion.
- Brad Jones actually plays defensive snaps.
- Defensive backs peeking in the backfield and getting burned deep.
I’ve been to several doctors, none of which have given me a diagnosis yet. They all said to wait until after Sunday’s Packers vs. Bills game. If Kyle Orton stands in the pocket and throws for 300 yards, or Sammy Watkins catches 10 passes for 198 yards, I probably have Capers-itis. The only way to get rid of it is to drink large quantities of beer.
Personally, I think I just have a cold, not Capers-itis. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are really good. What they did to the Packers on Monday night, they also did one week earlier against Arizona, a team most people say has a legitimately good to great defense.
The Packers also might might have just checked out for a bit to start the second half, and by the time they woke back up, they were in a fight.
Either way, you don’t want to deal with a potential case of Capers-itis this late in the season. Hopefully it’s just a common cold and we don’t have to start talking about quarantines or anything like that.
To help me recover from whatever is ailing me, let’s knock out this week’s Packers Stock Report:
As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, I’m going to keep putting him in the rising category. Over his last five games, Rodgers has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,560 yards, 16 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a QB rating of 127.1. If I do have Capers-itis, Rodgers might be the cure instead of beer.
Any time you let Nelson run freely off the line and into the secondary, you’re asking for trouble. The Falcons found that out the hard way on the Rodgers-to-Nelson 60-yard touchdown Monday night.
I can’t pick just one offensive lineman so I’m going to cheat and just list the entire o-line as rising. I’ve been saying it the last two weeks and I’ll say it again: If the Packers offensive line continues playing this well, the Packers will win the Super Bowl.
Let’s hope Lacy’s hip bruise is nothing to worry about. Like he did last season, Lacy is rolling now that the weather has turned cold. He’s also catching passes, making him that much more dangerous.
The run defense has been much better with Matthews inside. Matthews also registered the Packers only sack on Monday night. I like how Dom Capers is using Matthews in this new hybrid role. It takes advantage of Matthews’ explosiveness and frees him up more often. When Matthews only rushed from the outside, sometimes he’d repeatedly just bang into double teams and not really get anywhere.
Shields looked like he should’ve sat out last night after missing an entire week of practice. But really, he hasn’t played all that well over the last month or so. Hopefully, he pulls it together down the stretch. Otherwise, McCarthy should’t hesitate to use more of Davon House.
Does the NFC South winner really have to play in the playoffs? Can’t we send them on a nice all-expenses-paid vacation somewhere instead?
If you listen to the Boston homers employed by ESPN, you’d think the Patriots dropped 10 touchdown passes and had 14 pass interference penalties mistakenly called against them during Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.
They’ll tell you the Patriots just had an off game, that a few bounces in the other direction and a call here or there would have resulted in a Pats’ victory.
Nonsense. The Patriots were lucky the game was as close as it was.
If Green Bay scored touchdowns while in the red zone instead of field goals, the game’s a blowout. If Davante Adams doesn’t drop an easy touchdown pass, the game is more of a blowout. If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t misfire on a couple of early throws, the rout would’ve been on. If Mason Crosby doesn’t whiff on a late field goal, the margin of victory would have been wider.
Despite what the Boston homers at the Worldwide Leader would have you believe, it was the Packers, not the Patriots, who kept shooting themselves in the foot.
Of course, I’m not saying the Packers are head and shoulders better than New England. If this game is played 10 times on a neutral field, the Packers probably win six times and every game would be a nail-biter.
Unfortunately, we’re not going to see these two teams play each other 10 times this season. But we might get a chance to seem them square off again in February. On a neutral field. In a little game called the Super Bowl.
The best player in football. There’s really nothing else to say about him. Tom Brady is still a great quarterback, but Rodgers has without a doubt passed him by. That’s not a knock on Brady, he very well could eat the Packers’ lunch should these two teams meet again the Super Bowl, but Rodgers is the man now.
This piece from Greg Bedard at Sports Illustrated summarizes how I feel about McCarthy perfectly. The No. 1 people forget about when discussing McCarthy is his role in resurrecting the end of Brett Favre’s career and helping shape Aaron Rodgers into the quarterback he is today.
Yeah, I’m probably putting Barrington in the rising category prematurely, but how nice was it watching a middle linebacker wearing Packers’ colors delivering big hits to running backs as they try to explode through a hole? Barrington delivered a couple of shots on Sunday to the Patriots’ power runners. If this kid can learn the defense and operate inside without being told where to be and who to cover all the time, watch out.
This is another controversial selection, but hear me out. Yes, Williams got beat a few times in pass coverage, but he made several open-field tackles that prevented big plays and kept Patriots’ receivers short of the first-down marker. Remember when Williams wanted no part of tackling anybody a few years back? Those days are long gone. He’s now a willing tackler. On Sunday, he was willing and effective.
The way to contain Tom Brady is to pressure him up the middle. Daniels has been solid all season, and delivered interior pressure all day on Sunday before finally getting home and sacking Brady on the Patriots’ final offensive play from scrimmage.
Cobb line up here, there and everywhere on Sunday. He managed to get open from all angles, and even sealed the game on a catch from Rodgers before the two-minute warning where he really wasn’t that open.
The BS was flowing off of Revis Island after the game. Revis said Nelson pushed off on his 45-yard touchdown catch. Wah. Wah. Wah. You got beat, Darrelle. Badly. Man up and stop with the excuses.
Now that the Green Bay Packers have gotten the junior varsity game against the Minnesota Vikings out of the way, it’s time to focus on the real deal and the New England Patriots.
I’ll be in the stands at Lambeau for the Sunday showdown. The Packers have never lost with me in Lambeau. They’ve tied, but never lost. Take that for what it’s worth.
But before I fire up the grill in the parking lot of the Green Bay Distillery, pop open a Spotted Cow, and cook up some three-cheese brats from Grundhofer’s Meat Market, we must bang out this week’s Packers Stock Report:
An illness? 10 defenders in the box? Game on the line? It didn’t matter. Eddie Lacy kept plowing forward to help the Packers rumble to another win. Just like he did last season, Lacy tore up the Vikings and looks to be gaining steam as the season heads into the home stretch.
QB1 doesn’t get top billing over Lacy this week, but he still had another great game, even if his numbers weren’t as great as they’ve been in recent weeks. That throw to Cobb to set up the Packers first touchdown was amazing, as were several scrambles that turned dead plays into positive gains and first downs.
Hats off to Lang (and Josh Sitton) once again for not only playing hurt, but playing well while not 100 percent. Given how cautious the Packers staff is with injuries, I thought Lang’s day was done when he hobbled off in the first quarter. But he was back out there next series, helping Lacy pile up yards.
If the Packers are going to beat the Patriots on Sunday, they need more of what Daniels did on his sack of Teddy Bridgewater: Win a 1-on-1 matchup and get to the quarterback. Brady will tear apart excessive blitzes or tricky looks that might work on the other 31 teams in the league. Victory for the Packers will happen if they win individual matchups up front on defense.
According to Pro Football Focus, Bulaga has graded out positively four of the last five weeks. Let’s hope that knee/hip/whatever else Bulaga has injured in the past holds up the rest of the season.
Before Sunday, Starks was already fading, not because of anything he did wrong, but because Lacy was running so hard and starting to catch passes. Well, after fumbling in his first and only carry against the Vikings, Starks is no longer fading, but falling.
Hawk has gone from slow, to sloooooow, to slooooowwwwwwwwww.
The Lions are now looking up at the Packers in the NFC. They’re also back to their dirty and desperate ways. The sooner the bottom falls out of their season, the better.
It’s been tough being a Green Bay Packers blogger these last couple of weeks. A pair of blowout victories and a Packers team that is doing next to nothing wrong doesn’t leave us a lot to write about.
Obviously, we’re thrilled that the Packers are rolling. We’ll keep putting up posts about the awesomeness of Aaron Rodgers or the sudden invincibility of the Packers at Lambeau Field.
But typically the highest-viewed posts and the posts that generate the most buzz have at least a little negativity in them, something the Packers are doing that warrants criticism and us bloggers can provide insight into how the Packers might address the situation.
There hasn’t been much to criticize lately. I supposed we could bag on the Packers for not reaching 60 points in either of the last two weeks, but even the most trollish of readers would scoff at that.
At least this week the Packers’ special teams gave us something to critique and complain about. But even the special teams managed a punt return for a touchdown, so the complaining can’t be too loud.
Oh well, I’ll try and find something to write about.
On to the stock report:
There is no other player more important to his team than Rodgers is to the Packers. That was apparent after Rodgers was injured last season and it’s obvious now that he’s back healthy and lighting up scoreboards. I think it’s safe to say that Rodgers is the new leader in the clubhouse for NFL MVP.
Just like we all predicted, Guion is making big plays in November. Actually, nobody predicted that, but Guion is making big plays in November. There’s a lot of season left, but if Guion keeps this up, that’s a heck of a free-agent signing for Ted Thompson. Will it lead to more outside free agent signings in the future? Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves (or too crazy).
When Linsley took over for the injured J.C. Tretter, we probably would have been satisfied with a Guion type of performance: Steady improvement and holding his own in place of the injured starter. Linsley has been more than that. Much more. He’s wrecking guys in run blocking and helping his two injured guards keep the A-gap as clean as possible in pass protection. When Rodgers said Linsley deserves Pro Bowl consideration, he wasn’t kidding.
It’s like clockwork; whenever Rodgers leaves the pocket, Cobb gets open. Now the question is whether Cobb signs an extension before the season is over, or if he’ll test the free-agent market.
When did the Packers sign Dick Butkus? Did pre-injury Patrick Willis secretly leave the 49ers and join the Packers? Did Luke Kuechly not get on the Panthers team bus leaving Lambeau a few weeks ago and has been playing for the Packers since? Nope. That’s just Matthews having his way at inside linebacker.
Packers special teams
A blocked punt and a couple of botched extra points stained an otherwise near-perfect day for the Packers on Sunday. Those kinds of mistakes won’t fly as the games get tighter in December. The game will get tighter, right? I mean, the Packers aren’t going to score 50 every week, are they? Right?
Perry hasn’t really seized his opportunity now that he’s getting more snaps after Matthews moved inside. Besides falling on that fumble Sunday, Perry hasn’t done much the last two weeks.
The Packers were penalized for having too much after one of their touchdowns on Sunday. Fun, on a football field. It’s just not allowed in the NFL. We don’t want to teach the children that it’s acceptable to have fun, especially with your teammates, after a big play.
Let’s start this week’s Green Bay Packers stock report with a quick poll:
Is it more satisfying when Packers fans take over an opposing team’s stadium with “Go Pack Go” chants when the Packers win on the road, or is it more satisfying when the Packers are stomping the Bears at Lambeau Field and fans chant “Bears still suck?”
The correct answer is both, of course, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with taking over the other team’s stadium. One of my favorite Packers’ memories is walking out of Soldier Field after the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC title game and chanting “Go Pack Go” with other large groups of Packers fans. It made you feel eight feet tall (and thankful you were in a larger group of Packers fans so you didn’t get killed by depressed Bears fans).
The “Go Pack Go” chants were also loud when the Packers beat the Falcons during that same playoff run.
We can chant “Bears still suck” whenever we want to. At home, in our cars, at Lambeau Field, in the shower, and even on those rare occasions when the Bears actually have a decent team and don’t fit the traditional definition of sucking.
But it’s not very often that you get to celebrate loudly in the other team’s stadium after a big victory. Hearing Lambeau erupt in a “Bears still suck” chant was great, but I’m hoping we hear plenty of “Go Pack Go” in opposing stadiums the rest of this season.
Onto this week’s Packers stock report:
After Ted Thompson signed Peppers, there were actually people who wondered if he shouldn’t have signed Jared Allen instead. Good thing those people don’t run the Packers. Allen was a helluva player, but he’s nowhere near as gifted as Peppers. Allen also was aided for years in Minnesota by a fast indoor surface, whereas Peppers has played his entire career outdoors. So far, Peppers has delivered as we hoped he would in Green Bay.
In early October, some bozo suggested moving Clay Matthews to inside linebacker might not be such a crazy idea. The Packers tried it on Sunday, and Matthews had 11 tackles and a sack. He also nearly killed a Bears receiver who I had never heard of on a reverse. I’d like to see this experiment play out further. Matthews likely won’t dominate every game like he did on Sunday, but he’s the Packers most gifted defensive player. Sticking him inside seems to give him more opportunities to fly around and make plays in other areas besides edge pass rushing.
T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton
Normally I don’t cheat and grant multiple players rising status in the same slot, but I’m making an exception here. Lang toughed out an ankle injury and Sitton is battling through a toe injury. To see both suit up and play (and play well) against the Packers’ biggest rival says a lot about their toughness.
Thank you to all the veterans who read the Packers Stock Report and ALLGBP.com on a regular basis. Your sacrifice and service grants us the freedom to chant “Go Pack Go” and “Bears Still Suck.”
Yeah, he should be in the rising category again, but seeing Nelson running past defensive backs and making big plays is starting to feel routine.
McCarthy’s steady presence was rewarded with a contract extension this week. Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels also had plenty of time to fill during the second half on Sunday, and used some of it to praise McCarthy. The extension from the Packers and praise from the national broadcast team are well deserved.
When you beat the Bears 55-14 at home, nobody is falling. Well, the entire Bears franchise is falling, but you don’t need the stock report to tell you that.