Tag Archives: Green Bay Packers

NFL Week 1 Observations. The Better Late Than Never Edition.

Overreactions.

That basic sums up week 1 in the NFL. The teams that lost Sunday looked inept and hope, to quote the great Jim Mora “that they can even win a game.” The teams that won meanwhile, are on top of their divisions and are very much going to win the Super Bowl. That’s how it feels anyway. That’s because with just 16 games in a season and a media that has 24 hours to fill, hyperbole is necessity. The media needs it like Miley Cyrus and attention, and boy does she need attention. But I digress.

Peyton Manning? I Heard He’s Really Good.

It appears that you heard correctly bold subtitle thing. It also appears as though you haven’t been living under a rock. Last Thursday, in the season opener that featured Manning’s Broncos and the defending champion Ravens, Peyton Manning gave a master class in quarterbacking. He got out to a bit of a shaky start and then proceeded to toss an NFL record 7 touchdown passes, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Joe Kapp with the Vikings back in 1969. The last time someone did without throwing an interception, like Manning did that night, was Y.A. Tittle in 1962. I think the interesting thing here is that Manning appeared to know this off the top of his head. That’s some real student of the game stuff right there.

Also The Ravens Are Full Of Holes, And It Shows.

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens start the season on the ropes. I promise you, this is not an overreaction. Joe Flacco seemed to have chemistry with exactly none of his receivers, except maybe Dallas Clark but his hands appeared to be made of bricks, and Joe never found his rhythm. Jacoby Jones who is not only an important part of the offense but special teams as well, was taken out by one of his own players in what can only be described as sheer ineptitude. Jacoby sprained his knee and will be out 2-3 weeks. Baltimore could really use Anquan Boldin at receiver right now but, unfortunately he’s too busy being awesome in San Francisco. Where the Ravens traded him for reasons no one can begin to fathom. Add to that a nonsensical limit to Ray Rice’s touches (adequately screwing over my fantasy team) and I’ll be the first person to tell you I haven’t the foggiest idea what the Ravens are doing.

The defense has holes. They’ve got more holes than swiss cheese, a sieve and Miley Cyrus’s personality put together (zing!). They don’t look bad so much as they looked lost and inept. They made a star out of Julius Thomas who no one had ever heard of, even I presume, Julius Thomas. The NBC analysts Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels were at a  loss with anything to actually say about the guy, except that he played basketball. Which, to be fair, is more than any of us knew. Especially the Raven’s defense.

The Bills, Cardinals And Raiders Will Be Better Than Everyone Thought.

Everyone believed that the Patriots beat the Bills simply by arriving in Buffalo. Instead Tom Brady & co. won but with way more effort than anyone imagined. It was a nail biter that ended with Tom Brady driving his team down the field to set up the go ahead field goal. But the Bills gave their fans something to be optimistic about this decade. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel looked sharp throwing for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both looked shifty and hard to hit, both of them using their combined 30 carries to pick up 108 yards.

The Cardinals look like a for real NFL offense for the first time in years. Literally years. Larry Fitzgerald proves that he can be a dynamic player if there is a halfway competent quarterback passing him the ball. Enter Carson Palmer, our friendly neighborhood halfway decent quarterback. He looked impressive throwing for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns, hitting 8 different receivers along the way. Rashard Mendenhall added a bit of a running game and all of a sudden the Cardinals look like they can give any team in the league a run for their money.

Terrelle Pryor a.k.a. Al Davis’ last draft pick proved that the old man could still smell talent. Pryor had a decent outing Sunday. He threw a couple of interceptions but, he passed for 217 yards and a touchdown. Pryor made plays with his feet, specifically he made 112 yards worth of plays with his feet. He kept the Raiders offense on track and gave them a chance to win late. Unfortunately, Andrew Luck is Captain Clutch and stole a victory late for the Colts. Apparently Pryor cried after the game, but honestly, he’s got nothing to cry about he gave the Raiders a chance to win. The Raiders. I would’ve have been shocked if they won more than two games this season. Now, I’d be shocked if they didn’t.

The Philadelphia Eagles Look Fast On Field, Chip Kelly Says They’re “Too Slow.”

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to break a lot of records this season, and they’re all going to be for the most plays run. Under rookie head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles have adopted a frantic playing style. The Washington Redskins thought they were prepared for this. The were in fact, not prepared for this. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (the poor guy) was studying college film in an attempt to prepare for Kelly’s blazing offensive production. It seemed for naught. The Redskins hung in there early but once the Eagles got in the end zone, it seemed like they couldn’t stop scoring. Lesean McCoy and Michael Vick worked together like partners in crime. Two really fast partners in crime, shredding the Redskins tired defense for 24 first half points, while running 53 plays (which is a disturbingly high number of plays). After the game Chip Kelly said to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala with a straight face, “I felt like it was slow, to be honest with you.”

Michael Vick said he felt like he played an entire half of football in one quarter. That’s because you did Mike. That’s because you did.

RG3 Looked Like A Rust Bucket For Most Of The Game.

To say Robert Griffin III looked rusty, would be the understatement of the century. He looked like the tin man, if the tin man decided to take frequent baths in the ocean. Griffin was the definition of rust for three quarters of this game. His actions appeared stiff and unsure. His timing with his receivers was off. Passes hilariously overthrown and comically under thrown. He looked like a shell of himself. The only thing about this game that gave Skins any hope for this season was the fourth quarter. Robert was able to find a rhythm and when he did find it, the Eagles seemed unable to stop him. So that’s good.

Packers Try To Stop Kaepernick From Rushing, Ironically Get Picked Apart In The Air.

Well, it’s not like the Packers didn’t succeed in a manner of speaking. Colin Kaepernick only rushed for 22 yards. Unfortunately for the Pack, their defense failed in every other sense of the word. The 49ers quarterback took whatever yardage he wanted from the Packers defense, which turned out to be 412 yards and 3 touchdowns. Clay Matthews got his hit on Colin Kaepernick but may have cost his team the game. There were offsetting penalties, and the officials mistakenly awarded the 49ers another 3rd down instead of the fourth down they were supposed to get. Some people might blame the officials for this. I blame Clay Matthews. His hit on Kaep as he was running out of bounds was stupid, unnecessary and a tad dirty. If he doesn’t to that there isn’t even a mistake for the officials to make.

Anquan Boldin formerly of Ravens fame proved that the Ravens made a mistake in trading him to the 49ers. Joe Flacco’s former favorite target became Colin Kaepernick’s favorite tartget, grabbing 13 passes for a grand total of 208 yards and a touchdown. Boldin had a monstrous difference in the game because when the Packers broke out of their zone a bit to guard him, he still burned them.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense put up a very good fight. Rodgers had 333 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with one interception, but the punch that Eddie Lacy was supposed to add to the running game, never came, and Rodgers was up a creek with Jordy Nelson and no paddle. Amazingly, it was almost good enough as the Packers fell 34-28.

Tony Romo’s Has An Offensive Line?

Why, yes he does. In fact, they were quite good. They looked like a cohesive unit for the first time in about 15 years (I’m exaggerating but only mildly). No longer do opposing defensive linemen look like the Juggernaut running through paper maché. They have to actually work  to get to Tony Romo. This provides Romo with more time to look down field than he’s ever had in his life. If you thought he was good before (Romo haters, not one word) wait until you see him have time. The Giants have a pretty good secondary and they couldn’t stop Tony at all. He was slinging the ball all over the yard as he and the Cowboys staved off a late game comeback by the Giants.

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NFC North Free Agency Grades

Chicago Bears

Grade: C

The Bears had an opportunity to drastically improve their team in free agency, and in a way they did. They brought several Dallas Cowboys; Roy Williams, Sam Hurd, and Marion Barber. Williams and Hurd are additions that should help the passing game. Hurd is a capable receiver and Williams is a big target for Cutler to throw to. Barber is a question mark as he may or may not have anything left in the tank but, if he is healthy can be a good goal line and 3rd down back.

The Bears didn’t re-sign Olin Kruetz, their long time center and anchor to the offensive line. It’s not as big a deal as people are making it out to be. Don’t get me wrong. Kruetz is a great center and is more than capable of playing the position still but, the Bears wanted to move forward. Roberto Garza who played guard will take on the duties as center. Garza has been a Bear since 2005, he has experience in the system, and players in the  locker room trust him. The Bears will be fine at center.

The real head-scratcher was the trade with the Carolina Panthers. The trade sent Greg Olsen to Carolina for a third round pick in the 2012 draft. The Bears wanted to give Jay Cutler more weapons offensively and then took away his favorite one. Last season Olsen caught 41 passes for 404 yards and 5 touchdowns last season. He was most certainly an important part of the offense. To replace him the Bears signed Matt Spaeth, most likely to be an extra lineman to protect Cutler.

The Bears free agency appears to have them moving 2 steps forward and then 2 steps back. It wasn’t bad but they don’t look a whole lot better than when they started. How good their free agency was involves far too many hypotheticals.

Detroit Lions

Grade: B

I was surprised to find out how well the Lions were able to address their needs. Specifically that of the linebacker corps. They went out and signed high quality guys like Stephen Tulloch and Justin Durant. What this does for the Lions is it gives them the ability to stop the run. This is very important since they’re in the same division as Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte. They also re-signed outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter.

Rashied Davis isn’t going to make the receiving corps world beaters however he is quick and can provide competition at the wide receiver postion. He should be able to take advantage of open space provided by Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson.

The Lions had a particularly strong draft this year so that meant that they had less to take care of in free agency. They identified their major needs and filled them with quality players.

Green Bay Packers

Grade: A

How do you improve on a team that won the Superbowl? Well for starters, you try and bring back the guys that got you there. The Packers re-signed John Kuhn, James Jones, and Mason Crosby. It may not have been the best decision to bring back Jones who dropped a lot of passes last season, however if he can fix that he has the speed and size to be another top flight receiver for Aaron Rodgers to throw to.

The Packers outside of those re-signings didn’t seem all that affected by free agency. They had sort of free agency of their very own. If you recall the Packers made it to the Superbowl with a number of players on injured reserve. For Green Bay, improving the team was as simple as those guys getting healthy again. Players that were on IR for the Packers last season include tight end Jermichael Finley, running back Ryan Grant, and outside linebacker Brad Jones.

The Pack get an A because they did what they had to do, which to be quite frank wasn’t very much at all.

Minnesota Vikings

Grade: C

The Vikings, very much like the Bears, took steps in both the right and wrong direction. The wrong steps they took were not necessarily their fault. They get Donovan McNabb in a trade for a fifth round pick from the Redskins. Good. Bryant McKinnie shows up to camp massively overweight. Mckinnie was 400 pounds, which is 65 pounds over last season’s playing weight. Bad.

Minnesota re-signs Cedric McKinley and E.J. Henderson to necessary pieces to their defense. Good. However they lose out on Sidney Rice to Seattle and are left with gaping hole at the wide receiver position. Bernard Berrian and Greg Camarillo don’t exactly have the best four hands between the two of them.

The Vikings attempted to fill the holes that they had through free agency however, it seems that they sustained as many losses as gains.

 


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