Welcome to the News Editorial section of PackerChatters.com where you will find Green Bay Packers news updates throughout the year. Packer fans editorial's, pre and post game reports, draft talk and more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Crystal Ball of Reality

by C.D. Angeli
PackerChatters Staff
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It is times like these, when your team has gone 2-9, that the media and fans grow rabid and demand change. With the Green Bay Packers on their way to a losing season, everyone and their brother has a theory as where to place blame, and their own personally designed “want list” that will fix the franchise and return the team to glory.

Alas, what we want and hope don’t always match up with reality. We want Brett Favre to be an efficient game manager…it’s just not going to happen. We want Mike Sherman to put down the charts and beat the opposing coach to the checkmate. It’s a rarity, especially this year. We want Ahmad Carroll to not hold, we want KGB to dominate like he should, we want Nick Barnett to take that next step, we want Robert Ferguson to play like a solid starter…and alas, it’s just not reality.

Read complete article

Monday, November 28, 2005

Football 101-Scat El Paso

by Reckless


Scat El Paso

This weeks play of the week is the second Packer TD vs. the Vikings. Shortly before half time the Vikings returned an interception for a TD. On the Packers next possession they were in their 2-minute offense. They had the ball at their 47 yard line and had “eagle” personnel in, or 4 WRs and a RB. The full call was, “Scat El Paso Trips Right Nasty B Left”. Here’s the diagram on the board:


-----------------------------S
--------S1
----CB1-------W--------M--------B---------CB
---------E1---T----T---E
----WR----O--O--O--O--O----80
----------------O---------------83---------O

----------------40

“Scat” is the protection scheme. That means “5 on 5 inside” where the 5 OL block the five “most dangerous” defenders rushing. The most dangerous are the five “most interior”. In other words, if the defense sends all four DL, W over the center and B, the Packers couldn't block all 6 so B would not be blocked. On this play the Vikings only rushed the four DL.

Tony Fisher (40) went in motion toward the QB and then to the left of the formation. WR ran a smash route straight ahead and then angling toward the left sideline. The motion and WR’s route pulled W in that direction and occupied CB1 and S1. Donald Driver (80) ran a post route which Sherman drew as a straight line to where S lined up then angling toward the goal post. “We brought Antonio Chatman (83) underneath”. Sherman drew 83’s route toward B and then angling toward where M lined up. Sherman mentioned that S was “cheating” toward the outside – toward the middle of the three receivers on his side of the field. M was starting to cover (I think Sherman used the word “pair”) 80 but when 83 broke toward him, he “leveled” a little bit to cover 83, allowing 80 to get past him.

The tape showed B taking a bad angle. Driver caught the ball at about the Vikings 32 yard line. B dropped back to about the 40 yard line then broke inside. He was at about the 37 yard line when Driver caught the ball beyond him. It didn’t look like it was S’s job to cover Driver. He looked to be playing deep zone against the other two receivers. He never got closer than 5 yards to Driver. M did start to cover Driver and came off of him to pick up Chatman. He leaped at about the 40 yard line in an attempt to tip the ball. This looked like the perfect play against this defense. The LBs didn’t have a chance to cover Driver deep and neither did S who lined up farther to the outside (toward the right sideline) than Sherman’s diagram showed. In fact, S lined up close to the numbers while Driver lined up on the hash marks. The middle of the defense was wide open - more open than the diagram shows.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

2006 Green Bay Packers and NFL Draft Chats

ANNOUNCEMENT

by Staff





November 25, 2005

Welcome to PackerChatters 2006 annual Draft Chat page.

The 2006 NFL Draft looks to be a very interesting event for the Green Bay Packers and their fans. Even though the Draft is not until April we have been working on coming up with a schedule of selected well known draft people to host our 'live' Chats.

What would our 'live chats' be without Colin Lindsay! Colin has been a regular in our 'live chats' for years and his Great Blue North Draft Report is one of the most read and respected on the Internet.

Colin is confirmed for a 'live chat' from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 26th, 2006 at 8:00 pm Central. We are also working on an earlier date in January for Colin to 'kick off' our 'live chat' season.

Update 'live chat' announcements will be posted on our home page.

Announcement

Friday, November 25, 2005

Meaningful or Meaningless Game???

by Bruce Smith
PackerChatters Staff
Friday, November 25, 2005

Oh how times have changed.

Coming into the 2005 season the November 27th Green Bay Packer Vs Philadelphia Eagles rematch was a game that many had marked on their calendars. The NFL, nodding to this fact, slotted it into the prime doubleheader 3:15 time, expecting to cash in on a ratings bonanza.

Most preseason prognosticators saw the Eagles as the ‘Crème de la Crème’ of the NFC and their return to the Super Bowl a near certainty. By looking at the outcomes from the previous 3 tilts between the two clubs, most doubted the Packers ability to block the Eagles coronation run, but with Brett Favre at the helm and the Packers potent offense, the Packers were seen as a test game that would lend clarity to the NFC race in week 12 (game 11) of the 2005 season.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let Us Give Thanks (And Take a Step Back)

by Curt Angeli
PackerChatters Staff
Thursday, November 24, 2005

It is Turkey Time, that great traditional holiday celebrated here in America, where families get together to celebrate each other and give thanks for all that they have received.

However, in Packerville, this is a different Thanksgiving. For so many years, the Packers have given us a bountiful harvest to be thankful for: great players, memorable plays, dramatics wins, and dominating performances. Yes, Thanksgiving was a virtual Packer Cornucopia of Bounty. Not Matt LaBounty, just Bounty.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Waving the white flag

by Curt Angeli
PackerChatters Staff
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Well, give the Vikings credit. They crushed us twice.

No, not in the game. One can make the case in both games they didn't deserve to win any more than we did. But they crushed our hopes and dreams twice.

After a bad start, we had every bit of momentum going after crushing the Saints. Everything seemed upbeat, all the way through halftime. And then, the improbable comeback and more improbable field goal.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Initial look at personnel needs for next year

by Mark Quarderer


Although things can certainly change in a hurry in the NFL, some clear areas of need are starting to make themselves known.

First, let's look at our own free agents......

On the defensive line, Grady Jackson, Colin Cole, Cullen Jenkins, and Aaron Kampman will all be free agents, although Cullen Jenkins will be a restricted rights free agent who can only negotiate with Green Bay essentially. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see all of the remaining guys attract interest in the free agent market. Kampman, according to footballoutsiders.com, is one of the more difficult DEs to run against in this league. He's smart, high energy, and has a great work ethic. Cole has limitations but he's pretty damn solid at the point of attack. And of course Grady.........I just think we're going to have to bite the bullet and sign him.

We'll also need to resign Ryan Longwell. These are the easy calls, and now some of the hard ones.......

Mike Flanagan and William Henderson should not be offered contracts. Neither should Najeh Davenport. If Ahman Green is able to come back from his injury we should try to make him our 3rd down back and offer him a contract commensurate with that role. If he accepts, it's the end of the line for Tony Fisher.....otherwise, Fisher might hang around another year. Clearly, we need a feature running back. I like what I've seen from Gado but I think he'd be better suited to a backup/change-of-pace role.

I don't think the Packers have any need at TE or WR, but at OT we're going to have to make a decision about Kevin Barry. He didn't attract much interest last year and so there's no reason to believe he will this year either. At this point, it looks as though his future in Green Bay is as a backup tackle, period. Adrien Klemm will backup the the LG and LT positions, Whitticker will start at one guard. Scott Wells will also start but we'll either need a new starting center or new starting guard. Reugamer could hang around another year as a backup. Junius Coston and Chris White are our two best bets for a starter next year.

Personally, I think the Packers are going to have to fill the hole in the interior of their offensive line with a free agent or Day One draft pick next year, and we've got some other holes to fill with those draft picks. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense to let Wahle leave in free agency and then get another guy in via free agency, but it looks to me like our best course of action

So that takes care of our free agents. Now let's look at the holes:

Our defensive line might well return quite a few of this year's guys, but it could really benefit from a quality 3 down defensive end who could replace KGB on run downs and compliment him on pass downs.

At linebacker.......Barnett is perhaps a little above average but the other guys aren't. Manning and Poppinga might help out, but if a playmaking LB like AJ Hawk is available he'd be a good acquisition for us and would help our team against both the run and pass.

But the biggest weakness on this team.....other than their inability to hang onto the ball.....is in the secondary, particularly at corner. Al Harris is our best guy and he's on the wrong side of 30. Carroll is a work in progress and isn't exactly inspiring confidence. Behind them is essentially nothing but projects.

This problem is amplified in the nickel and dime packages when we're putting minimum wage
FAs and Day Two rookies out there against some prety good WRs. So I would think that a substantial upgrade in that regard would be something that should take apriority in this year's offseason.

So that's the view from here. Not an insurmountable problem, but clearly the Packers' need to have a good draft and be a little more active in free agency than they were last year......and not just the bargain guys. We could use some upper echelon free agent type guys, too.

Running the table

by Mark Quarderer


There's been a certain amount of (nonsensical) talk about the Packers running the table, winning all their remaining games, and finishing the season 9-7, winning the division, and making the playoffs.

On the face of it, it certainly seems plausible. With the exception of Seattle (which we play at home), none of the remaining teams is that formidable. Chicago, at 6-3, is the only other team with a winning record. Philadelphia is limping, Baltimore is having a lost season of their own, Detroit just doesn't seem to be able to get it going.

So it could happen.....but it won't. The first obstacle is that we just don't do very well against good defensive teams and Chicago fits that description, as does Seattle. The two best defensive teams we faced this year were Pittsburgh (10 points, 2 turnovers) and Cincinnati (14 points, 5 turnovers), and I just don't see any evidence that we're going to do a lot better against chicago or Seattle.

The return of Ferguson will help, no doubt, but the Packers aren't exactly struggling through the air this year. Footballoutsiders.com rates them as the 9th best passing attack in the league after being 8th last year (so much for the "Javon Walker makes a hugh difference" school of thought). But we run the ball poorly (trust me....Samkon Gado is not as good as Atlanta's 29th ranked run defense made him look), our pass defense is among the league's worst, and we simply turn the ball over too often on offense.

We're not going to run the table. We probably won't win more than 4 of our remaining 7. But we will win enough of our remaining games to prevent us from having a shot at one of the top 5 players in the draft this year.

This is what Christl wrote about last year when he indicated that you have to get bad before you can get good. The impact players that can turn a team around are found early in the first round for the most part and when you are continuously successful.......like the Packers have been.....you don't get opportunities to get these guys.

Of course, I'd play Rodgers some against these remaining teams because I think he could use the experience. I think it's nuts to not develop the guy who is one broken leg from being our starter, and yes, that could happen despite Favre's unparalleled durability. Not only would it be good for Rodgers and good for the future of the franchise, but it would actually probably increase our odds of getting one of the premiere players in the draft.

I can't really fault the team for trying as hard as they can to win every game as long as they're mathematically alive.....which the Packers certainly are. But I just don't see this team as a legit contender this year, or next year......and that's why I think our focus should be a little more in the future as regards developing players and getting them on the field.

How Important is Durability?

by Curt Angeli



Those who try to poke holes at Brett Favre's play on the field often try to compare him to the hot QB of the moment, insisted we'd be better off with that player. Over the last 14 years, we've seen many QBs come and go who were the "better option" than Favre.

But he hasn't missed a game. The only guy who can match him right now is Peyton Manning, in terms of durability over a quarterbacking career.

And two guys that always got attention as a "better option" than Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb, are both missing some serious time at QB.

Starting for the Steelers is Tommy Maddox, and starting for the Eagles is Mike McMahon. This is something else we haven't had to deal with in 14 years. I'm guessing if the TJ Rubely incident showed us, replacing Favre from the bench may not be all that successful.

Incidentally, Maddox is throwing for a 32.0 passing efficiency rating since replacing Roethlisberger.

Mike McMahon will be bringing a swaggering 55.2 rating to the Eagles this week, and that makes him a better option than Koy Detmer. Apparently.

Sometimes, the "best option" of the moment is just that. There's something to be said for being the most reliable good option, year in and year out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Giving the little man some props… Speaking of HEART...



by Bruce
For PackerChatters.com

There is a little man on the Packers squad who has played with a target on his back that has drawn plenty of criticism from the fan base. “He is too small,” “Yeah, he doesn’t fumble, but he never does anything either”… a just a couple of the complaints leveled against him.

Let me disclose that I have been one of the people hoping he would be replaced with someone a little more “Special” especially in his special team’s responsibilities. However, in the interest of fairness I believe it is important to give props where they are earned – thus this thread.

Antonio Chatman is 4th in the NFC in punt returns.

Big deal you say? Ok, let’s look league wide – he is 7th in the NFL in punt returns.

Yeah but, he never gives the big game changing returns that take it to the house – I anticipate some of you thinking. If you look at the top 21 punt returners in the league, only 4 men: Wade – Chicago, Morton – NYG, Mathis – Houston, and Randle El – Pitts have taken it to the house; and even then only once each. Add to that the fact that he is reliable and does not fumble and I think you start to get the idea of why I decided that it was past due time to give the little man some well earned ‘love’.

He has also delivered as a wide-receiver. Yes, I agree he is not big enough to be a wide receiver. Then again I have been doing a lot of mentoring work with Leo Lewis lately and he never listened to those charges that he was “too small” while he was catching passes and returning punts for the Vikings for 12 seasons and I still hear from people I introduce him to – “no way that guy was a NFL player.

Antonio may be small in stature but he is a giant in heart. Before any of you get too worked up I will say that he is much better suited to being a number 4 receiver – which is where he started the season behind Walker, Driver, Ferguson. But let’s not forget he has stepped up in his role as a starter. His 29 catches for 353 yards averages (12.17 per catch) for 3 touchdowns may not draw player of week accolades, but are stats of a man who prepares himself to do whatever the team calls upon him to do. (BTW Donald Driver our current #1 receiver also has 3 TD catches).

Each season many of us join the front office and coaches in hoping to find a talent that will beat this young man out. So far each season Antonio reminds us of the old adage, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, rather the size of the heart/fight of the dog that matters most.” As Chatman said coming into camp, “all I ask for is an opportunity to compete, I will let my play determine the outcome.”

With Fergy slated to return on Monday against the Vikings, Chatman will benefit from moving back to the #3 receiver spot. I want to add my thanks for his courage and determination that makes me proud to call this young man, Antonio Chatman, a Green Bay Packer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The heart of the team... It's not who you think!

by Curt Angeli



I've been watching these games, and many of you know that I tend to place a high value on intrinsic values...mental preparedness, winning attitude, playing to win, heart. At least, I probably do so more than others.

Week in, week out, there's a guy that I have decided is the "heart" of this team, because he plays with passion on every play, winning or losing.

No, it's not Brett Favre. He is up there, though...I would tend to call him the "soul" of the team, because I think his quiet leadership still is a central part of this team (20 FHC members just puked upon reading that...).

However, the heart of this team is Donald Driver.

That catch he made over the middle Sunday exemplified what I've been seeing from him all year...an ability to make a tough catch, and not settle for anything the defense tries to limit him to. He fights for yardage on every play, and does it with a consistent intensity that I simply see it as inspirational.

When a little wide receiver wills himself to break out of three tackles, just to gain another seven yards, there is something many other players on this team who go "aw shucks" after missing an interception or a block should be watching closely.

Yes, he tanked some plays, contributed to some interceptions by not being totally in sync with his quarterback, or allowing a ball to tip off his hands. But, when that happens, I see him do two things. He takes it very much to heart. We remember that Donald Driver has publically taken accountability for many of the tips and/or interceptions, and after he dropped the pass (can't remember who it was) on fourth down in the fourth quarter, he was mentally beating himself up for not making that one catch.

The other thing he does is he comes out resolved to make up for any mistake. This isn't the usual, smiling Donald Driver we've become accustomed to in past seasons. This is an intense individual focused on doing everything he can for the team. He has watched the two starters fall on either side of him, and instead of shrinking for the occasion, a la Ferguson, he has raised his game to a new level. One can guess that Antonio Chatman has followed his lead, judging from his stepping up in play, too.

Donald Driver, who at one point was written off as a "nice #3" receiver, is playing every down, often double covered, and making play after play after play. He isn't just trying to be the go-to guy, he's demanding to be that guy. He wants this team to win.

We've all commented how lucky we've been to watch Brett Favre play over the course of his career.

Take some time and enjoy watching Donald Driver this season. He is something special out there.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Football 101---99 G Lead

by Reckless


99 G Lead

This weeks play of the week is the TD play that culminated a 12 play drive that opened the second half of the game against the Steelers. It pulled the Packers within 3 points at 13-10. It was called on 3rd and goal from the one yard line. It was the first TD scored by RB Samkon Gado. The Steelers play a 6-2 goal line defense with gap principals that Sherman said is very sound.


-----S1--------B2----B3------S
--------B1--E1--T1--T---E---B---CB
--------71--O--O--O--O--O--O
------------------O----------88

------------------O
------------------O

Kevin Barry (71) has to get a very solid block on B1. “Barry jumped on that defender and did a great job for us”. The LT has to block down on E1 – blocking him to the inside, or to the right of the offense. The C has a difficult job on this play. His responsibility is to “reach block” T1. In other words he is supposed to keep a defender who is lined up to his left from getting to the play which is going to the left. The LG, Adrian Klemm, pulls to the left and “blocks the first force off the edge”. Sherman drew a line showing S1 coming across the line of scrimmage and the LG pulling and blocking him.

“The backside is the trick.” The RG “reach” blocks T and “somehow some way” the RT has to get to B3. Sherman drew a line from the RT to the middle of where B2 and B3 lined up. “It doesn’t always happen but in this case Mark Tauscher, the RT, got a push on B3 and pushed him into a pile”. The FB, Vonta Leach, searches out the front side LB, B2. Sherman drew the FB’s path between 71 and the LT. Leach did make that block and created the “pile” that Tauscher pushed B3 onto. The TE and 88 on the right side are responsible for cutoff blocks against E and B.

The RB, Samkon Gado, wants to take this on an “outside course because many times we can’t get this guy” (B2). Sherman drew the RB’s path right through where B1 lined up.

The tape showed 71 didn’t get push on B1 but got position. By the time the RB went by him, 71 was completely between the defender and the RB but the defender was still at about the one-yard line. The LG met S1 at the goal line and delivered a good block knocking him backwards. The pile created by the FB’s block occurred at about the one-yard line as well. And the RT just pushed B3 onto the pile. The RB got into the end zone untouched. In fact, the only player to touch him at all was S who was not blocked but didn’t get to the RB until he was a couple of yards into the endzone.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Game Review: Packers @ Falcons

by Curt Angeli (aka LosAngelis)



Well, if you read the pages of the Green Bay Press-Gazette this morning, you would have thought it was 1988 again. Fun little features on little-known players. Pete Dougherty skewering the team in his opinion piece. Every writer not only predicting the Packers to lose, but predicting them to get blown out.

Surprise!

The 1-7 Packers went to their least favorite place to play (a dome, on the road) against one of their least favorite opponants in recent years (the Falcons) against a chip-on-his-shouldered quarterback who makes us look silly (Michael Vick). And the did exactly what we didn't expect them to do.

Establish a running game with a street free agent.

Play a well-executed passing game with only reasonable risks taken.

Rely on our kicking game to score points.

Stop one of the best returners in the league.

Contain Michael Vick.

Stop the run.

Win. 33-25.

Was it perfect? Ho, ho, ho, far from it. There were plenty of menacing little fingers to be pointed on this team for silly errors and mental mistakes. But amazingly, when you're 1-7, and you win...those errors seem a little less painful than they do after yet another loss.

The Packers started the first quarter in impressive fashion, stopping Atlanta on a 3 and out, and then driving 74 yards for a Samkon Gado touchdown. Favre seemed to return to his early-90's days, dinking and dunking short passes left and right before striking upfield to Donald Driver on the drive. Gado did just enough on the drive to insure the defense had to respect the run.

On the ensuing possession, a usually invisible Kbaja-Biamila caught Dunn from behind and made a sparking forced fumble that flew into Mark Roman's hands, as if guided by fate.

What? Could this be a TAKEAWAY? Sit back, grasshopper, we're going to see a lot of strange things today. The most amazing stat is that the Packers are THIRD in the NFL in average points scored off of takeaways. However, that doesn't seem like a whole lot when you've only forced 10 in your first 8 games.

Then, Brett Favre turned around and handed the ball to Ahman Green, Najeh Davenport, Tony Fisher, Walt Williams, Rashaun Lee, ahh SAMKON GADO, who crashed and smashed his way 18 yards to the one yard line of the Falcons. He then scored impressively on a shovel pass from Favre in which he was stopped two yards from the goal line, then on pure heart and effort, bulled his way into the end zone. 14-0 Packers.

At this point, I was almost in tears. The Packers were winning, yes. That's good enough. But the team was playing with HEART and passion. Some guys that we've been critical of, like KGB and Nick Barnett, were playing as if this were the Super Bowl.

The Packers continued defensive strength for a possession after that, ending a short Falcon drive with a smart shot by Al Harris on a seemingly lost Michael Vick, who was taking the time to wind up for a pass one foot from the sideline on third down. Luckily for Vick, the ensuing fumble landed right out of bounds, otherwise, the score would have been even further apart.

However, as we entered the second quarter, we entered a period we shall call "The Dark Ages" where suddenly the offense and defense reverted to 1-7 form.

Favre and Co. went three and out, then the Falcons generated a 52 yard drive, punctuated by a nasty catch and run by Warrick Dunn, who caught a short pass and made everyone miss, juking and jiving and even leaping over people in a single bound for a 21 yard TD.

Then, on the next GB possession, Brett Favre threw another batted-ball interception on a crossing pattern to Driver, in which it was evident that the two were not on the same page. Atlanta's Demarrio Williams made a great lunge for a ball that looked to be 5 yards away from him, then caught his own deflection for an interception.

At this point, the doubt begins draining into your stomach like liquid nitrogen, slowly freezing your insides and you pray "this doesn't happen again". Shades of the Viking game, just quicker.

On the next Atlanta drive, it was back to boxing-gloves-boy himself, AHmad Carroll's pass interference penalty that gave the Falcons 43 yards. When you consider they started on their own 38 yard line, that's quite a chunk of field to give up.

On the play, Carroll did not get his head turned back in time before he made contact with his hands. It looked as though he reached up and literally grabbed the reciever by his collar, then turned around and made a perfect deflection of the pass with his other hand. The touching was simply unnecessary, and while the announcers suggested that without the contact, he would have scored, I disagree. Soon, Ahmad Carroll has to trust his abilities to play the ball without grabbing a reciever. Otherwise, he made a brilliant-looking play on the ball.

A Warrick Dunn jaunt for 15 yards, and then Michael Vick made one of the best play-action handoffs I've ever seen. He literally relaxed his body for nearly a full second as the defense converged on Duckett, then broke for the sideline. Brady Poppinga made a heckuva run, but Vick never really bothered to run upfield...he just dove out of bounds with his left arm outstretched over the pylon, and wala, it was 14-14.

I'm breaking out in a cold sweat now. Please, please, please...not again...

The teams traded punts, then with the 2nd quarter winding down, the Packers generated a drive from their own 8 yard line to the Atlanta 17. On second and 4, Brett Favre went back to pass, scanned the field, and then ended up scampering away from Mark Tauscher's man, then two other rushers being chased by a red-faced Wil Whittaker. At this point in time, it would have been wise for Favre to toss it out of bounds and settle for 3rd and 4, but instead, evaded sack after sack until he could evade no more, and took a 12 yard loss.

However, Ryan Longwell came in and, with Sander holding, knocked in a 46 yard field goal for only the Packers' third halftime lead of the season.

The third quarter opened with the Packers getting the ball, and starting on their own 35, thanks to a nice runback by Rashaun Lee. Samkon Gado, like much of the second quarter, seemed a bit invisible on this drive, as Favre began chipping away at the Falcon defense with short swing passes and bullets over the middle for chunks of yards. Favre passed 8 times on the drive, completing 6 and ending up in another Ryan Longwell field goal, after the Falcon defense stiffened in the red zone.

Sidebar: watching Allan Rossum returning punts and kicks reminded me why I never liked him that much. He always gets up the tremendous speed, but it always seemed like someone would bump him, and he'd fall down. Then, once out of every 10 returns, he'd break one for 20-30 yards. With him on the other side of the field, I found I didn't miss it that much.

On the next play, Michael Vick appeared to be getting his running legs going, running for 5 yards when he was hit by Kenny Peterson, and the ball again came bouncing out of his arms. Nick Barnett, Johnnie-on-the-Spot, picked it up.

What do you think about that, eh? Another takeaway? COULD it be possible that with Brett Favre throwing interceptions, we could actually win the turnover battle? Unbelievable.

Well, this had better get this team going! I'm getting all excited, rubbing my hands and my Lucky Vince bobblehead, thinking...aha! The Packers will do something with this turnover. I can just feel it!!

Well, it was 3 and out. Well, not 3 and out, but 3 and field goal attempt. At least we'll make this a two-score game. Longwell's got it going. What can go wrong???

Oops. I remember watching that snap and waiting for the ball to appear where it should, and it didn't. It was like a magician holding something behind his back, waiting for that wonderful moment of timing to bring it out and say "TADA!". But this wasn't a magician, it was BJ Sander. And, he bobbled the snap (which did look a little low and behind Sander). So, what does he do? He picks it up and looks to pass!

NO! Shades of TJ Rubely!!! I can hear Frankie Winters now..."Don't do it, kid!"

Sander evades a rush from the right, then from the left, then breaks right and throws (NO!) and completes it (YES!) to Bubba Franks (YES!) who runs for 4 yards (YES!!!). However, it was 4th and 6 (CRAP!!).

BJ Sander, please prepare your spot under the bus. The silver lining is that you couldn't blame Longwell for that one, so he gets a week of building up some confidence.

The Falcons, however, didn't build any confidence, punting it back to the Packers.

The Packers then rediscovered Gado, who rushed 3 times for 16 yards, and Favre completed a great pass to Donald Driver, who rolled, and spun, and forced his way for another 7 yards after first contact. Once again, we're talking players playing with heart.

I found this particular play very similar to the play that Favre was intercepted on last week, where he came under criticism for throwing the ball too hard for Driver. On this play, I would say the ball was thrown even harder. Seriously, after it left his hand, it stayed on a line and never went above 6 feet off the ground. It was lower, and Driver not only caught it, but immediately continued to make a drive against would-be tacklers. He shook off three guys before running into a safety.

Heart.

The drive then stalled on the 35, but Ryan Longwell, with BJ Sander in tow, came out and kicked a beautiful 53 yard field goal. Seeing Longwell patting Sander on the side of the helmet was a class move.

Both teams then traded punts, but finally, Allen Rossum made an excellent return on a ball that had to be punted from deep in GB territory. His 29 yard return set the team up on the GB 26. It looked to be curtains for our big lead.

But, an error on the Falcons and a good play by Nick Barnett ended any touchdown threat. On third and 9 on the GB 19, a bad snap bobbled from the center and out of Vick's grip. This is often the kind of play Vick could make something happen from. However, Nick Barnett exploded through the line and made sure that the ball not only hit the turf, but wrestled Vick away from the ball so he had no chance to recover it. The center, McClure, fell on the ball, but by that time, that's all he could do, and it was fourth down.

A field goal cut the lead to 6, and again, those icy feelings in the stomach were returning.

However, the Packers again took the ensuing kickoff and made a nifty little drive out of it. With 10 minutes left in the game, the Packers needed to get a nice, long, time-consuming drive that would result in at least a field goal to make it a two score game again. On this drive, Gado started becoming a little inconsistent again, rushing 5 times for 16 yards (and, um, one of the rushes was for 15, so go figure the rest).

However, Favre completed two critical third downs, one to Chatman, and one to Driver before the drive stalled at the Atlanta 33. Enter Longwell for another 50+ field goal attempt, on 4th and 1. I found this a very interesting call, as one might suggest that they go for it. However, the field goal was necessary, but nowhere near a certainty.

Doubts aside. Longwell drained a 51 yarder. Again, heart shown by our kicker, who has spent more time making excuses and blaming others for his problems. Now, he's going out and being the old Longwell we remember, giving a thumbs up on a 60 yard attempt, if needed.

Now, with a nine point lead, the defense needed a major stop to hang on and put this one away. They got more than they expected, and from the most unlikely spot.

On second down, Vick completed a 10 yard curl to Roddy White, who turned upfield only to have the ball knocked out of his hands by....AHMAD CARROLL? Yes, the dimunutive cornerback made the critical play, and Nick Barnett picked up the ball and defied anyone to tackle him, rumbling and juking for 20 yards before being pushed out at the 2 yard line of Atlanta.

Mora threw the red flag, but we all knew better. We were going to win that replay, and win that game.

Gado took the ball and easily scored his third touchdown of the day, and the kid's smile was almost too big for his face. The fact that in a game of TO's and Chad Johnsons, seeing a kid hand the ball to the referee after a TD is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring sights you will see.

With the score 33-17, and 3:30 left, you pretty much could figure the game was over, right?

Wrong.

With the defense playing back and keeping the middle of the field open, Vick and Co. starting taking big chunks of yardage through the air and on the ground, at one point gaining 3 first downs in a row.

Ooooohhhh...that sick feeling. Where's my Tums?

Vick finished the drive with a jump ball that even Robert Ferguson couldn't miss. Roddy White got revenge on Ahmad Carroll by outjumping (okay, outstretching) Batman for the touchdown.

Suddenly, I realized that the Packers had been leading by 16. Ha ha, I had thought...that's a three score game!

Oh, wait...that's two TD's and two 2-point conversions. Crap.

Well, they won't do that, will they? But alas, instead of picking on Carroll, Vick picked on Horton, who didn't hear a who and didn't see the ball, either. Either way, Finneran caught it for 2 points and suddenly, we were looking at an 8 point game.

Now, it came down to an onside kick. They lined up, and using the double kicker formation I rued we never used when we had two punters on the roster, one faked a kick to draw the Packers offsides (which I have to admit, I was very proud they didn't), and the other popped it up to Nick Collins, who wisely stayed down with it despite not being touched, and waited until he was.

I thought that the onside kick was the epitome of everything our season hasn't been. We could have gotten outsmarted or out-disciplined on that kick, as we've done so many times this season, and we didn't. Hats off to what many people may have dismissed as just another onside kick recovery. When you're 1-7, nothing is easy, and a play like is especially worrisome.

The Packer ran out the clock and celebrated.

In all, the Packers went on the road against a 6-2 team, in a dome, coming off a bye, and did nothing less than beat them.

As was mentioned often by the television commentators, Mike Sherman may not be a lot of things, but one thing he hasn't done this season is lose his locker room. For whatever reason, the Green Bay Packers came out in the game they should have had the least chance to win, and executed on both sides of the ball.

But most of all, you saw something we haven't seen in weeks, and that was heart.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thoughts on the league at the halfway point

by Mark Quarderer


With the 2005 season at the halfway point, the contenders are separating themselves from the pretenders and also-rans......

In the AFC, undefeated Indy looks to have all the pieces in place....QB, running game, passing game, defense, coaching. This could be the year for Tony Dungy.

Indy looks to be joined in the playoffs by Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.....one as a division champ, the other as a wild card. New England still appears to me to be the favorite in the AFC East because they've got the experience, the coaching, and the QB that should keep them ahead of the rest of that weak division.

In the West, I think you have to like Denver. They're a pretty solid team on both sides of the ball, they've got the QB and the coaching, and they play well at home. KC just took a bad hit when Priest Holmes took a season injury but KC is still in a three way race for the second wild card spot with San Diego and Jacksonville. No predictions there, but the six AFC teams in the playoffs will be Indy, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New England, Denver, and the winner of the Jacksonville/San Diego/KC race for the last spot.


In the NFC, there just aren't any teams that jump out at you as being a lot better than the rest. The Giants are playing well and I think they're the favorites in the NFC East. Dallas also has a very good shot at making the playoffs but so do Washington and Philly. This division is just too early to call other than I think the Giants will be in either as a division champ or wild card., This division will have two teams make the playoffs..


Somebody has to win the NFC North and since the Bears have a two game lead on everyone I'll pick them, but I wouldn't be surprised if Detroit made a run now that Jeff Garcia has taken over for Joey Heatherington.

I think Atlanta and Carolina are both in the playoffs, one as division champ and one as a wild card. Tampa Bay is finished, IMO, as they are just too one dimensional on offense.

In the West
, you have Seattle as the only decent team. I actually think that Seattle may have the conference's best record by the end of the season. Their remaining schedule has a couple of real tests against the Giants and Indy---in fact, that could be the game (in Seattle) that costs Indy the perfect season. Seattle has always been good at home and I really like their chances to finish with home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Super Bowl? Indy avenging the only blemish on their 18-1 record by beating Seattle. If Peyton Manning can't pass his team to the title this year then it's just not possible to pass your team to a title.

Thoughts on Javon Walker

by Bruce Smith



Javon Walker has worked hard during each season and offseason to become an elite talent at WR. He did not miss a moment of training camp and went all out in every practice in his career in Green Bay. Brett Favre said the same of JW and stated he agreed that he deserved more money but that he was going about it the wrong way. Brett also said he wanted him in camp because he is so talented that he didn't need to worry about a big contract, because with his talent it would take care of itself. Disagree with JW's tactics, but it was all about business and looking out for his future -- and his injury demonstrates why he was no fool to be concerned. When camp started many of you predicted that he would not show -- but show he did. He has never been a trouble maker and was injured trying to make a play that many receivers would have run out of bounds on. You can question his strategy but it is unfair to question his heart.

His injury while serious it is unlikely to be one that will end his career. He is big, strong and dedicated to being a top tier receiver. His knee surgery is reported to have gone well and there is no reason not to expect a full recovery. He has just about everything going for him: advanced technology on ACL surgery, youth, incentive, a good history of healing and pushing through pain...

As for his intelligence, he did not seem to struggle learning the WC offense and quickly earned Brett's trust as his go to guy. I know he did not have the best wonderlic score, but he seemed to have good football instincts and handled a complicated offense very well.

Finally, there is mention of Daunte Culpepper and his prognosis in this thread. I fully expect Daunte to recover and resume his career as a QB. However, he will never be the running threat he once was, tearing all three ligiments is a far more serious and threatening injury than Javon suffered. Many QB's with good arms like Daunte have continued their careers with knee braces and no ability to run. However it was such a big part of what made Daunte a true threat, it is questionable whether he will ever reach his once seemingly great potential. This season without Randy Moss, before he was injured, he struggled with decision making, seemed to be easily confused by defensive switches, got happy feet when blitzed and continued to have trouble holding on to the football(very small hands). His surgery is far more complex and involves a complete rebuild. Daunte's road to recover is far more daunting than Javon's.

The Defensive Line

by Mark Quarderer


Rob Demovsky, of the GB Press-Gazette, handed out his midseason grades. They weren't pretty, as you might imagine. But I think he missed the target by quite a bit when he handed out a C to our defensive line.

If you go to footballoutsiders.com and look at the exclusive stats for our defensive line, it sure looks like they're better than an average group.

The Packers defensive line comes in 7th against the run and 8th against the pass. Pittsburgh and Miami are the only other teams in the top 8 in both categories. Although we're still doing poorly against the power run (a run of 2 yards or less on third or 4th down)---we're rated 29th on that----we're the 4th best team in the league at limiting long runs.

Additionally, they're giving up a measly 3.32 yards/carry against running backs. This is not average, it's well above average.

Against the pass, we're ranked 8th in terms of sacks/pass ratio. Our total sacks are only 17, but you have to remember that teams aren't finding themselves in a "must pass" situation against us very often. In terms of percentage of passing attempts that end in a sack.....we're right up there.

Considering that the defensive line was viewed as one of the weaknesses of the team last year you have to give an awful lot of credit to the position coach and the defensive coordinator. I also applaud TT's refusal to spend a high draft pick on yet another young, unproven lineman. We cut chronic cancer Cletidus Hunt, cut the clueless James Lee, cut R Kal Truluck. In their place we plugged in guys like Colin Cole and Corey Williams and Kenny Peterson.

Just about every member of this defensive line will be a free agent at the end of this season or be heading into the last year of their deal. Grady Jackson and Aaron Kampman will both be UFAs. Kenny Petersen will be a RFA. Cole and Jenkins I believe will both be exclusive rights FAs. Corey Williams and Donnell Washington will both be in the last year of their contract.

I like this group but I think they could use some help. We're very thin at DE and we could certainly use a 3 down DE who could compliment KGB on the pass rush and replace him on run downs. Unless Donnell Washington suddenly buys a clue, we've got a big problem at DT if Grady departs. As I've said before, I think it's nuts to commit big money to a guy with his history but if we don't resign him then we'll be looking at spending money in free agency on his replacement, or spending a high draft pick on a guy who probably isn't as good.

I'd offer this guy the moon in incentives but I'd be really terrified of giving him guaranteed money because I think the only thing I'd be guaranteeing is that he'd spend time soaking in the tub.

Anyway, I just think Demovsky kind of lowballed this group. I think they're the strength of the team right now.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Is the Defense really any better?

by Mark Quarderer


This is probably a weird time to say this, considering they just had a pretty good game against the Steelers, but I continue to hear this drum beat of "Bates.....Bates....Bates.....Bates....." and people believe he's been like this major miracle worker.

Let's look at some facts. Halfway through the season we're on pace to have fewer sacks than last year and although we'll have a few more takeaways we're still second worst in the NFC in that regard.

We're giving up almost 20 ppg which means we'd give up 320 for the season which would be an improvement over last year's 380.

We've held 1 team to 14 or less. Last year, we held 7 opponents to 14 or less.
We've held 3 teams to 17 or less. Last year, we held 8 to 17 or less.
We've held 5 to 21 or less. Last year, we held 10 to that mark or less.

We're clearly better at stopping the run, and we've done a lot better at limiting long plays. But we are not going to hold 7 teams to 14 or less this year.

The guys at footballoutsiders.com rate our defense towards the bottom of the league and I just don't see any empirical evidence that this defense is dramatically improved over last years. We gave up 30+ points 5 times last year, twice to the Vikings, once to Philly, once to Tennessee (with the help of 6 turnovers) and once to Indianapolis. In other words, only high powered offenses got to 30 on us unless we helped them with multiple turnovers.

This year, we surrendered 32 to a mediocre offense (Carolina).

Again, my eyes tell me we're better, but I'm just not seeing the numbers to support what my eyes are seeing and that makes me think that maybe we aren't as improved as we think......that maybe we just haven't faced a lot of good offenses yet this year

Monday, November 07, 2005

Football 101-H7 Y Corner

by Reckless


H7 Y Corner

This play was the second TD scored by the Packers in the Cincinnati game. The Packers had the ball at the 1 yard line of the Bengals and were trailing by 14 points with about 3 minutes left in the game.

The formation and personnel were Green Right Tight with “Y 71” personnel in – which is Kevin Barry (71) in as a TE and two additional TEs.


----------------------------S
------------B1------B
-----S1------------------------S
--------E1---E---T-T--E-----E
--------88--O--O--O--O--O--71
------------------O-----------V

------------------O
-----------------40

This play requires very aggressive blocking by the OL. The OL “gap block” to their right (the linemen from LT to RT each block the defender nearest to them, to their right. This play is blocked as if it were a run. Sherman, “The FB comes right off the edge and blocks the end (E1) and the safety (S1) and goes into the flat.” Sherman drew the FB’s route right at E1 and then continuing into the left flat. I think he meant to say he fakes blocking one of those defenders as if it were a run. The goal on this play is to get B1 to take a step forward and they try to accomplish that by making this look like a run to the offense’s left. 40 (Tony Fisher) is the RB and Brett fakes to him and he “cuts” or blocks E1.

“Bubba comes off and runs a high angle corner route to the back pylon”. Sherman draws a route for 88 (Bubba Franks) which goes straight to about the level the LBs are lined up (B1 and B) and then draws a straight line at about a 45 degree angle towards the back left of the end zone. The FB runs his route toward the front left pylon. The formation and play design put a lot of pressure on S1 and tries to get B1 to take a false step forward so 88 can beat him on the corner route.

Sherman did not explain why the second TE is represented by a “V” on the board. And he didn’t say anything about 71 or V’s responsibility on the play except to say that side of the formation protects the QB’s blindside. This is the first play of the week that involves a run fake but the name of the play doesn't indicate that fact. The OL has to be sure that while they are blocking the play as a run, they can't get downfield since it is a pass. (It wasn't as big a concern on this play as it is on some because this is a quick developing play.)

The tape showed Franks took four steps and then angled toward the back pylon. B1 was former Packer LB Hannibal Navies and he took about 3 and one-half steps forward and then almost grabbed Franks with his right hand as he went by him. The throw was right on the money. The line blocking was very good. Fisher got a great cut block against E1 who ended up completely prone. Vonta Leach was in at FB and he didn’t fake anything. He ran a route directly toward the front left pylon. S1 came up without hesitation to cover him. There wasn’t much of a fake to 40 but there really wasn’t much time for a fake. It looked as if the play action of the FB and RB got B1 to bite hard on the fake.

Same Old Story, Same Ole Song and Dance

by Mark Quarderer


"How many times do we have to see this before it's not unexpected anymore?"

We had three turnovers that were converted into 17 points in a game we lost 20-10. We are now 16-33 in games where we have multiple turnovers, including 0-6 this year. We lead the league in interceptions. Our quarterback has been sacked 10 times....one of the best in the league.....and has four fumbles. In constrast, David Carr has 9 fumbles and has been sacked over 40 times. Our field goal kicker, once widely regarded as money in the bank, suddenly can't hit an easy one. Either he's got the yips, or there's a problem with the holder, or both.

I have, since the middle of the 2003 season, railed against what I eventually came to call "The Culture of Carelessness". Against Pittsburgh, that culture was on full display. As Donald Driver said..."Nobody's beaten us....we've done it to ourselves."

Accurate. But what is going to be done to fix it?

My prediction is that we'll see more of the same. If the season ended today, we'd have the #1 overall pick by virtue of a worse record against common opponents. We cannot take care of the ball. We just cannot. It's not something that is possible for us to do.

Turnovers remain the story

I have maintained for quite sometime that turnovers are the single biggest factor in football. Not takeaways, not turnover margin. Simply taking care of the ball. About a year and a half ago, in an article that I wish I'd archived, I researched back over the past ten years to see which was a better predictor of wins and losses: turnovers, takeaways, or margin of difference. It was turnovers, and it remains turnovers. Naturally, if you turn the ball over a lot you're going to have a bad margin unless you get a lot of takeaways, and if you take it away infrequently you're going to have a bad margin unless you take very good care of the ball.

But we aren't losing these games because we aren't getting enough takeaways (yes, more would help), we're losing because of the turnovers. Over half the points that have been scored on this team this year have followed turnovers. We've had 19 drives stopped in 7 games by turnovers.....that's almost three per game. Hell....we've only PUNTED 31 times (2nd fewest in the league).

When we had stud playmakers like Ahman and Walker, and a killer offensive line, we had enough firepower to still roll up points on weak teams. Not any more. Although we need to upgrade personnel, IMO, we've simply got to address the turnovers, what is causing them, and how to get them under control. We're on pace to have 38 turnovers this year.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Game Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at the Green Bay Packers (1-6)

by Thomas Pyc




Is blood pressure down yet? It would probably be easier to digest this season as a Packer fan if the games were completely lopsided but so far that has not been the case. As long as Brett Favre is running the offense and the defense plays solid the Packers can keep it close but Packer nation does not accept close games as satisfactory and there’s not a football fan in the world that can blame them. Maybe you have gotten to the point where you are numb to losses and expecting every good play to be penalized. That’s where I am. The games are not nearly as anticipated as they once were and skepticism is found in every comment out of my mouth.

This week the Super Bowl contending Steelers will step onto Lambeau field without any fear for the mystique of Lambeau or the opposition. But they will do so without their quarterback and top-rated passer (112.6) in the NFL, Ben Roethlisberger. Charlie Batch, former Detroit Lion, will conduct the offensive attack for Pittsburgh. The Steelers main focus, with or without Big Ben, is running the ball. Their offensive line is arguably the best in the league and several of their opponents would not argue that label. Batch will get his first start this season by default due to the miserable performance that previously second string quarterback Tommy Maddox put on when he replaced Roethlisberger against Jacksonville.

The Steelers also have a crew of running backs to go along with that stellar offensive line. Jerome Bettis is listed as questionable on the injury report but Willie Parker has been leading the charge this season. Vernon Haynes is there third down back and if that’s not enough to muster a rushing attack old-pro Duce Staley is waiting in the wings. The Steelers also have a rookie of the year candidate at tight end with Heath Miller who already has 6 touchdown receptions this year. In addition to Miller the Steelers have a legitimate group of receivers with Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El (both former college quarterbacks) and Quincy Morgan. The Packers’ defense will have their hands full with or without Ben Roethlisberger on the field.

The Jim Bates lead group of defenders has definitely raised some eyebrows this year but that might be more because they have went from a horrendous defense to a mediocre group (15th in yards and 19th in points allowed in the NFL). The bright spot this season, if you need one, would have to be the defense’s performance. The best part of the group is not necessarily their ability to keep things close but the overall age of the group. Old pros Al Harris and Grady Jackson have made their contributions but the younger players have come to play as well. Joey Thomas, a second-year corner, was released this week after some dismal showing but the players who are replacing him are full of potential and can hardly do worse. The two Packer defenders that seem to be benefiting the most from Jim Bates’ scheme is probably defensive end Aaron Kampman and middle linebacker Nick Barnett. But it is going to take a group effort to keep the Steeler offense from running up the score.

If you are in search of seeing a good defense this game will definitely have one to offer but they will be wearing the black and yellow Steeler uniform. Pittsburgh runs the 3-4 attack but depending on the down and distance can turn it into a 3-5 attack by bringing Troy Polamalu closer to the line of scrimmage. Considering the Packers offense is down to Favre, Donald Driver and a good group of tight ends it is hard to imagine Green Bay running up the score or even breaking 20 points for that matter. The Steelers will most likely keep Driver in double coverage and pay little attention to the Packers running game. Blitzing early and dropping into mixed coverages later will keep Brett guessing and struggling while he tries to get the pedestrian offensive threats around him to perform. Fortunately for Favre the offensive line appears to be coming together and should help him continue his Hall of Fame career unscathed (knock on wood).

Overall, this game could play out much like the 6 losses that Green Bay has endured. If things are going to turn around someone is going to have to step up huge in the running game. That might be undrafted rookie Samkon Gado from Nigeria (via Liberty University). He flashed briefly with a toss play against the Bengals but appears to have the size and speed to build on. Outside of the young Gado it will most likely take another meltdown from the backup quarterback in Pittsburgh but even then Green Bay has to find a way to score.

Pittsburgh is THE game of the year

by LosAngelis


It's just my humble opinion, but I think this game will shake out the season for the Packers. It's a big game.

The previous "big game" was Minnesota, a game where we had fans back in the saddle and hopeful, and had a chance to win and actually be back in the thick of the NFC North. I think we'll look back and realize exactly how devastating that 2nd half meltdown was...not just for the game, but for the season.

This game, to a lesser degree, probably will truly extinguish any remaining "hope" for success with a loss. The Packers, with a win, will be 2-6, .250, and still out of the hunt, but at least we can remember back to the year in the 80's when the Pack started out 2-6 and finished 6-2. That's not impossible.

1-7 is pretty much impossible.

This game is also critical, I believe, in keeping this team together. We've had several situations just this week that make us suspicious that the wheels may be loosening.

The cutting of Joey Thomas, who has probably generated the fastest fall from grace in Packer history (pre-season starter to cut in Week 7).

Increasing off-field issues, including, yes, cell-phone-gate. Sherman's statement about this being his "Best season of coaching" is certainly up for debate, but out of context, that's something you don't normally hear out of a 1-6 coach.

I am a strong believer in this team's ability to stay in games. I think there are some elements of the team that aren't putting in 100% effort, and that is hurting our team a bit. While the Packers haven't done enough to win, they've done enough to always be close. The wheels are off when we lose the second part of that equation.

Much has been ballyhooed about the Packers ability to win at home. After establishing themselves against the Saints, this game, against a quality opponent, will be a test to see if the Saints were a fluke. The fans are growing more temperamental, and if the team starts falling behind, expect a mutiny from the stands.

I think a loss means we shift to "next year", or, at least, the offseason. It's a pretty big blow, and knowing the Steelers are hurting at a key position should hopefully be some incentive for the Packers to believe in themselves.

I do believe the Packers, for the most part, believe in themselves and have stayed in a lot of games. That doesn't mean there aren't some sandbaggers in the midst. But it's easy to lose a couple close ones and be 1-4 and still believe in yourself. It's a lot harder at 1-8, 1-9, 1-10....

If there is a game to be mentally prepared for, this is the one. It's a quality opponent that is beatable. Our defense has contained many running games this season, and hopefully, our secondary will keep Batch in check.

It may come down to our offense's ability to conquer a very good defense. It may be a very low-scoring game.

But, it's our biggest one.

Joey Thomas Waived

by Joe Lacey


There are a few things I think we can realistically conclude from this move, and I also think there are some more that we simply can't, at this point.

1) Bates, Sherman, and TT are interested in putting the best players on the field, and with being on the field for the GB Packers, comes a responsibility to play as well as you can.

In the past, we've heard Sherman talk and talk about "that's a problem and we're going to get it corrected...". I don't think that MS has not been capable of getting through to the players, but I think that his dual role simply did not allow him enough time to accurately take care of everything that the two jobs demanded. For whatever reason, his messages were not translating into consistent championship-style play from many Packers. I think that getting rid of Joey Thomas is important to put into practice the fact (not just SEND A MESSAGE) that the Green Bay Packers need to play like pros.

2) Joey Thomas worked enough to get released. No one "had it out for him", or "wanted him gone."

It's like a student who fails a class. It's one thing to not pass... it takes a certain amount of negative effort to actually fail. Sherman is NOT interested in being judged as a terrible GM. Bates is NOT interested in being left out to dry with inferior DBs. TT is NOT interested in altering his 2006 draft strategy because "we need to set an example." Any intelligent GM and NFL coach wants to build on the existing team they have, and be able to expect more from the talent that stays with the team. It's no coincidence that MS wants Favre to play; the WHOLE offense depends on Favre's abilities and knowledge. Coaches do NOT prefer to start over, and GMs do NOT prefer to keep trying different people at a single position.

3) Joey Thomas did NOT get treated unfairly.

He played as a rookie. He got hurt as a rookie. He produced some as a rookie, and made his share of rookie mistakes. He was told (along with everyone else) that the starting #2 CB spot was up for grabs, and apparently, he wanted to grab it. He got hurt prior to the season. When he came back, he had several opportunities to continue as a starter. He has not put up NEARLY as many positive plays in 2005 as he has contributed to negative plays. The one game in which our defense really dominated the other team (the Saints), he was getting regularly beat as the nickel back... and the Saints did not have their best WR in Joe Horn on the field, nor their starting RB for much of the game. In other words, he couldn't match up. He was given specific instructions on how to help the team, and he didn't come through (Minnesota, Cincy). When it came time to talk with a reporter, he vented. I think that MS has proven in several cases that he has more patience than many coaches and GMs concerning guys who need time to develop.

We cannot conclude that...

1) We know ANYTHING about what Joey Thomas said or did to make this decision more than a consideration in MS's coaching mind. It's internal. We're external.

2) This was a MESSAGE, or an attempt to set an example. I have read MS say repeatedly that he treats his players with respect and expects them to treat one another with respect. I cannot believe that he would sandbag this young man's livelihood as a Machiavelliani tactic for short-term results. MS expects the Green Bay Packers to use their brains in order to understand the repeated verbal and non-verbal messages that the coaches DO send daily.

3) This will not reflect upon the previous scouting team. My understanding is that TT's forte is scouting. I believe that he will choose his moment(s) to make the necessary adjustments to the folks in the Packers front office.

Considering the deals that TT made this April with his 3rd-rd picks, the reality is that last year's 3rd-rd picks were a disaster. Thomas essentially wasted the organization's time, and BJ Sander is still causing more harm than good, at this point. He'll need several years to get his stock in the black, at the rate he's going. True, he's punting better, but he has participated in several missed PK attempts in games that were lost by less than one score.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stresses and challenges in our life...

Each one of us reacts differently to the stresses and challenges in our life and its the same way on the football field.



by Satori
For PackerChatters

I have often noted that the players/coaches/fans have an immense reaction to a turnover, when in reality it is often no different than a punt. If it isn't returned for a score....

Why is an INT or fumble such a huge momentum swing regardless of where it happens on the field ?

Drives stall all the time and teams give up posession to the other team. There is no gnashing of teeth, no crowd eruption, just a stalled drive and a punt. Teams often take over at midfield several times per game and its not nearly as big a deal as it would be of it were a turnover.

Its the same in every aspect of your life- its not the challenge, its how you react to it.

And this is why Favre is different than many of us, especially the "turnover is everything crowd".

He shrugs it off and immediately gets busy trying to win the game. At the end of the day, he laments the INTs and wishes he didn't throw them.

But at the moment of truth, he knows only one thing- full speed ahead and keep pushing the envelope. He doesn't care how many times you knock him down, he is still getting back up and getting after you. Thats why you see such admiration from fans/players/coaches, because of his demeanor and perseverence.

Brett is not a chess player, and todays' NFL is more of a game of chess than in yesteryear- tons of substitution, time-outs, packages, formations etc all in an attempt to play chess.

Brett is a checkers player and he doesn't care if you jump him a couple of times, he is still coming at ya.

He doesn't react to INTs the same as most of us, and thats why many get so upset with him.

Brett is just different than most of us and that's one reason why he is on the field and we are in cyberspace.

Its not the INTs that are the sole problem, its the reaction to them by the fans and the players that gives them their immense power.

Now INTs that go for TDs are a different story....and I understand that. But I believe his reaction to an INT is similar to a CB getting beat for a TD- short memory and get back to getting after the opponent.

I will make no debate about whether a checkers player or a chess player is the better option, I am just suggesting that we are led by a checkers player, and to lament his lack of fortitude in chess might be misplaced.

Sherman is a chess player and requires immesne amounts of time to mull over each option, Favre makes gut- feeling calls in an instant. They both make mistakes.

But its silly to ask Sherman to play checkers, and equally unlikely that Brett will take up chess.

It would be nice...but thats who they are.

Joey Thomas/The Steelers

by Mark Quarderer


I didnt see the Joey Thomas thing coming but I have to say, I like it.

It is arguable that no other single individual contributed less positive to our effort and made more serious mistakes that hurt.

On the balance ledger, his account was decidedly in the red.

It was Joey Thomas who badly misplayed a pass against Cleveland that led to a long TD in a game that we narrowly lost. It was Joey Thomas who inexplicably (and inexcusably) failed to keep the receiver inbounds with two seconds on the clock at Minnesota that led to the winning field goal. It was Joey Thomas' stupid penalty away from the ball that kept a drive alive against Cincinnati which ultimately resulted in a TD.

Three plays, three games, and in every case you could make the argument that a solid performance would have helped a great deal and maybe even made THE difference.

Apparently, he had a fine offseason, staying in Green Bay, working with the coaches, attending the opportunity sessions. He was penciled in as a starter heading into training camp. But he got injured and lost his spot to his nemesis and wrestling partner, Ahmad Carroll. Apparently, that didn't sit well with him. And it didn't sit well with him when he was benched after his poor play in Cincinnati, allegedly saying words to the effect of "Carroll makes all kinds of mistakes and doesn't get benched".

Carroll makes mistakes, no doubt, but he's not making the critical mistakes that are costing us games. And there's something else: Carroll CAN cover. Whether Thomas was injured or not I don't know but it certainly looked to me as though he was just not able to cover NFL receivers.

Coming out of college he was considered to have good speed but it didn't look that way this year. Also, coming out of college, he had a reputation as kind of cocky smart mouth with an attitude. Perhaps it was his mouth as much as his brain and legs that got him off the team.

In any event, it's a nice step in the direction of accountability and I wonder if this means they're ready to hold other, more veteran players accountable for poor play as well. Time will tell but I'm not holding my breath. This was a cheap way of getting everybody's attention, cutting a second year dime back. Sitting veteran starters is something else.

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Brian Cox was on Fox radio today talking about the Steelers and he said "They come into the game with Plan A, and if you stop Plan A, they don't adjust very quick and go to Plan B. It's like it takes them until the middle of the third quarter to realize that what they're doing isn't working."

I suppose that you could say this means Bill Cowher commits to the run........or that he's slow to make gametime adjustments. Depends on your point of view I guess. In any event, I'm actually thinking this might be a game the Packers win. Pittsburgh's defense isn't quite the crusher they had last year, and they've given up 20 points to a couple of below average offenses already this year. Roethlisberger is dinged and may not play, or may not play as well. They have the short week and then they travel. And they have a history of playing down to their competition.

My suspicion is that Favre has played his worst game of the year (and his best) and that we'll be in for a stretch of games now where he does a little better job taking care of the ball. He'll still make bad decisions and he'll still lock on receivers instead of progressing through reads, but I don't think we'll see anymore 4 and 5 INT orgies this season. We can still win games if he throws one, maybe even two if we get a takeaway or two to balance it out.

If cutting Thomas sends the right signal.....and the team gets the message......we could see the Packers play their best game of the season against Pittsburgh.

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