Sunday, November 27, 2005

Let us count the ways...

How many ways to lose a(nother) winnable game? Let us count the ways. Five turnovers. Ten points off those turnovers. 'Nuff said, really.

It's the story of the season, kids. So it goes...and goes...and goes...

Who knows?

OK Packer's a couple hours to game time versus the Eagles. I was wrong on my call of a loss at Atlanta and wrong on my call of a win versus the ViQueens. So what should I do with the call on this game? Make a no call I guess. The Eagles are favored by about 4-1/2. Is it possible the Pack could pull an upset like they did at Atlanta? Sure. Is it possible they will blow a game they could win with a stupid penalty, a blown coverage, a missed tackle, or a turnover leading to points late in the game? We've seen that, oh, what, something like eight times this year already? One would have to believe that scenario is more likely to occur than the upset.

Perhaps the ol' reverse psychology of me calling for a loss like I did with the Atlanta game will really work toward a win. On the other hand, it could also be just what it is. Who knows? We all will by about 6:30 p.m. today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The party's over.

Well fellow Packer fans, the season is over. That's not just the conclusion after the Pack's heartbreaking loss at Lambeau on Monday night. It's the conclusion of former GM Ron Wolfe, quoted in an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

In a revealing article, Wolfe discussed the quality of the players currently forced into play because of the host of injuries which have plagued the Pack this season. He summed up the current roster like this: "They're playing with guys who are NFL Europe-caliber. It just doesn't work." Wolfe equated the current team to an orchestra with a five-star conductor (Favre) leading a two-bit band. Thanks, Mr. Wolfe, for saying what no one else in the organization will say.

Wolfe also gave Sherman more praise than many fans do, including me. He said that as current GM Ted Thompson was evaluating Sherman as coach (and I would have to believe that is a given) that one of the things he has to take into account is whether the team has at least been competitive. Wolfe noted that five of the team's eight losses have been by three points or less; the biggest loss margin was 14 points. They have been in games, but are not talented enough to overcome even one or two mistakes.

As to the future, Wolfe apparently did not voice an opinion on whether Favre would retire or not next year. But he did say he thought it would make no sense to sit Favre down to play rookie QB Aaron Rodgers. If Favre isn't able to get the team to win, Wolfe said it wouldn't do much good to put Rodgers in in what would also obviously be a losing effort.

Wolfe also said that the turnaround from this losing season to a playoff team doesn't have to be a long-term effort. He cited the Cowboys as an example of a team that turned things around quickly. (Point taken. However, the Cowboys have Bill Parcells as coach and we have Mike Sherman.) He said that with a good draft and some key free agent signings the Pack could be back in the playoff hunt next season.


Sitting in the stands along the Packers sideline, I spent some moments observing Coach Mike Sherman. Having not had the in-person opportunity to do that before, I would offer the following comments. I have never witnessed a coach having less interaction with fellow coaches or players. At critical moments in the game -- a defensive stop in the first half being a prime example -- while one would expect a coach to be exhorting his players on, Sherman had his head in his playsheet pacing the sideline. After making the stop, with jubilant players coming off the field, Sherman was walking in the opposite direction, again, head buried in his playsheet. I can only contrast that cerebral and detached (if that is what it is) behavior with the emotional involvement of coaches like Bill Cowher and Dick Vermeil, to name but a few. There are many coaching styles that work in the NFL. But I have to say that I just don't understand Sherman's style at all. In the end, that's not the point. But if at some point the players don't get it...well, the party's over. Just like this year.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Pack will win!

OK, Packer fans...time to say it loud and say it proud...

The Pack will beat the ViQueens 24-14!

Ferguson's back. Fisher's back. And ya gotta like Gado.

Yours truly will be in attendance. Not that that will have anything to do with the victory. Just that I will be among the snow suits and parkas cheering the Pack to win #2 of their 2-game winning streak. Hey, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Second half surge?

I am offering my original post on the site (by which I accomplish the same as sending an email to "packerphan" since I think he is the only one who reads this site).

Before the subtance of the post, please note my signature. I am preparing for the day when we will be starting a great number of sentences with those words.

About yesterday's game and beyond, I thought the game planning was excellent and the execution very good. Sherman and Bates did a great job of getting ready for the particular team they were playing and used their own personnel wisely. Nothing complicated, but right on target. That will go a long way toward a more enjoyable second half of the season.

Regarding the 2nd half of season: I think that Sherman coaches better under accumulated "adversity". He loves to talk about adversity. Listen to his post game comments and his Tuesday press confs. His and the team's backs are up against the wall and they will do better now. I am not sure if it will be 9-7 better, but...

Hey "packerphan", I think it might be a good idea to re-send all of the potential bloggers a re-invite or at least a reminder about this site. Just a thought.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

In Gado We Trust!

Who'da thunk it?!

The Pack wins! The Pack wins!! The Pack wins!!!

The Packers played their best all-around game since they blew out the Saints. And in the process, they find a running game. No one knows what the future holds for Samkon Gado, the 23-year-old from Nigeria, who celebrated his birthday today by gaining more than 100 yards rushing and scoring three touchdowns. Game balls to Samkon, Longwell for his four field goals, and the defense for keeping Michael Vick in check.

Looks as if my season finish of 9-7 is still in play. Next up: the ViQueens on Monday Night Football. Game two of a two-game winning streak starts that night.

But for Gado we trust! Let's enjoy this win against a very good Falcons team. Win #2 has been a long time coming.

Pack set to get Dirty Bird flu

As the Pack enters today's game versus the Falcons, they find themselves nine point underdogs. Being underdogs of any kind has been rare territory for the Pack in recent history; being nearly double-digit underdogs is simply a reflection of how far the Pack has fallen this year.

Barring an injury to Falcon QB Michael Vick and a complete collapse by Atlanta's defense, the Packers will leave this game at 1-8.

Yes, it is enough to make you sick.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Even the backups to the backups are injured!

The horror! The horror!

The Packers season of injury just goes on and on. Even the backups to the backups are now being placed on injured reserve.

The latest addition to the IR is running back Walter Williams, who was just re-signed on Oct. 25 to help fill the void left by all the other injuries at RB. What a shame. As one who was anxious to see what Williams could do if given a chance, his injured hamstring -- suffered in practice yesterday -- probably signals the end, once again, of Williams time with the Pack.

What a year.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

All's Wells...

Today the Packers announced that second-year O-lineman Scott Wells has replaced veteran Adrian Klemm at left guard. While Klemm has been a better pass blocker, his ineffective overall play against the Steelers last Sunday led to his replacement. Wells is a better run blocker and with the Packers having the third worst running game in the NFL -- and on a pace to set a team record for running futility -- they decided to make the switch.

The change comes, though, against a team that has one of the best pass-rushing DTs in the league, Atlanta Falcon Rod Coleman. Wells is undersized, but a gamer. He also is faster and a more effective pulling guard than was Klemm. Given that fifth-string RB Sam Gado will be getting the lion's share of rushes this week, creating any kind of extra dimension to the offense to the take the pressure off Favre will be a plus.

The expectation for the game versus Atlanta is that the Pack will return home with loss number 8 under their belts. But maybe they will find something -- anything -- that might work in helping them pull out a few extra wins against the NFC North in the last half of the season.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Bad facts. Silver lining?

It was 1986. That was the last time the Pack was 1-7. Despite this pathetic 2005 record, the Pack has outscored its opponents 168-159. Yes, it is a bizarro world. A team with a Hall of Fame QB can't beat a team that has a QB that hasn't completed a pass in a couple years.

The last time -- and apparently the only time (?) -- the Packers won only one game in a season was 1958...the year before Vince Lombardi arrived.

So the question for today is: who will be the new Vince Lombardi arriving next year?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's deja vu all over again.

Same old story. Too few playmakers. Too many key penalties. Too many turnovers. Too many missed opportunities.

The Pack is 1-7. What more to say? That we may be lucky to win 4 more games this season and finish at 5-11? Or, as other pundits (not that yours truly is a pundit, of course) suggest, the Pack might be lucky to finish 3-13?

Sherman's gone. Brett may or may not be back. But the rebuilding time -- as former coach Jimmy Johnson suggested on today's Fox pre-game show -- has probably come. Settle in for a couple more years of mediocrity, folks. And through it all, looking at the NFC North, our response will probably be much like that of John Kerry last year in his campaign versus Bush: "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy!" Indeed.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Steelers toss Pack a bone.

There may be a ray of hope for Sunday's game against the Steelers at Lambeau: neither starting QB Ben Roethlisberger nor RB powerhouse Jerome Bettis will play. They are being replaced by backup QB Charlie Batch (who has only passed 8 times since 2001...and that was in the 2003 season!) and RB Duce Staley who hasn't carried the ball yet this year.

The Steelers -- and the football gods -- have finally thrown the Pack a bone. There is a slightly better chance for a win today than there was earlier in the week. Let's hope that this is one time the Pack takes advantage of an edge, however so slight it may be.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Favre goes if Sherman goes?

According to an article in today's online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Packer QB Brett Favre told the Associated Press that he'd probably be more likely to call it quits if coach Mike Sherman is fired after this season.

Although in reading the article it seems as if Favre is more concerned with possibly having to learn a new offense than with loyalty to the coach. Favre has played in a variation of the West Coast offense for the last 14 years. He's not prone -- at this stage of his career -- to want to learn a new system that a new coach might install.

Favre doesn't sound down on the prospects for this team, this year or next. He obviously still has the fire to play and play at a high level. He's thrown 15 TD passes this year and has a career best 66.7 completion percentage despite key receivers being out for the season. But "the straw that breaks the camel's back," just could be what style of offense is being run...regardless of who the coach is.

Sherman should go, yes. Promote Jim Bates. And keep the West Coast offense -- and Brett Favre -- for at least another year or two.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Thomas waived.

Second-year CB Joey Thomas was waived by the Packers today.

The third-round pick slid from being a possible starter this year to being benched during last Sunday's game versus the Bengals.

While no GM bats a thousand on draft picks, this is just another in the series of wasted high draft picks by then-GM Mike Sherman which has left the defense, especially, with a woeful lack of talent.

Perhaps some of the recent practice squad signees of new GM Ted Thompson can pick up the slack. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.