Sunday, September 30, 2012

Packers vs. Saints preview: who needs the win more?

After having victory stolen from them on Monday night by the ineptitude of replacement referees and NFL greed, the Green Bay Packers return to the friendly confines of Lambeau Field today knowing that at least the regular referees will be overseeing the game between themselves and the New Orleans Saints. That doesn't guarantee a victory or that there won't be blown calls. But the likelihood of there being a debacle like that experienced in Seattle has decreased dramatically.

Thank you, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, for finally seeing the light. That light would be the oncoming train -- as in wreck -- brought about by you and the team owners' greed in negotiating with the refs. You sacrificed the integrity of the game and the won-loss record of the Packers on the altar of "more money for us, less for you." (OK, OK, enough venting...for now...)

Back to today's game...The Packers are 1-2 while the Saints are 0-3. Both teams desperately need the win, although as radio voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, pointed out this week during a radio interview, the Packers did win the Seattle game, they were just not awarded the victory. Favored by 7-1/2 points today, the Packers have yet to get their high-powered offense into gear. By the end of the first quarter of the 2012 season, it's about time things get cooking, don't you think? After being embarrassed in Seattle in the first half with eight sacks given up, the offensive line will have something to prove. The entire unit does. And with a so-so Saints defense coming to town, now would be a good time to start.

The Packers defense has been playing better than expected during the first three games of the season. They should be able to get a pass rush today on Drew Brees. But, as everyone knows, Brees can make a defense pay if given the chance. The Saints will get their points. In fact, it seems as if the oddsmakers think this will be a high-scoring game: the over-under is set at 53-1/2 points, the highest of any game this weekend.

I think -- OK, hope, actually -- the Packers may finally start clicking on offense, and I anticipate the defense to continue to develop and improve. Either the entire team will come out with a chip on its shoulder after having the Seattle win stripped away from them or it will limp along for the rest of the season as a result. I have to believe, with McCarthy as coach and Rodgers, Matthews, Driver, Woodson and others providing veteran leadership, that it will be the former rather than the latter.

I'm calling it 31-24 Packers over the Saints.

Go Pack Go!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NFL costs Packers a game: Refageddon!

The outrage over the debacle at the end of the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks game continued through the night and is still going strong today. Not just among Packer fans, but nationwide. Just check out some of these choice Tweets and comments.

Bottom line is that the replacement referees hired by the NFL in its dispute with the regular refs blew the final and biggest call of the game, costing the Packers the game. There were certainly bad calls against both teams, although some of the biggest -- and the biggest of all -- went against the Packers.

What is being referred to as the worst call in NFL history -- Refageddon! -- should lead to an end to the lockout. But it won't. Despite calls from former players and coaches, sportswriters and fans to preserve the integrity of the game, integrity apparently stops at the bank. And the fact is that no matter how bad the referees are, and how their calls are already affecting standings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners know that like lemmings football fans will still show up to games and still turn on their TV sets. Heck, that's exactly what happened in the early 1980s when replacement players were on the field. Like drug addicts who will still use a product cut with garbage, we'll still watch games refereed by garbage. Now, this is not a slam of the refs as individuals. They just are not qualified to referee at this level and are being asked to do something they are not capable of doing. That's on the league and on the owners and the commissioner.

So, it's time to send your Tweets to @nflcommish and say enough is enough. It's time, football fans -- not just Packer fans -- to pick up the phone and call the NFL Commissioner's office. The number is 1-212-450-2027. Call. Now.

We have to be realistic though: the bad call will not be overturned. Instead, the league will issue a written statement later today with an explanation. It should be a good work of fiction, hanging onto the "simultaneous possession" line even though every angle of replay clearly shows there was no such thing at any point in the play. Ask a 4-year-old child to watch the replay and say who has the ball; he or she would know who had it and who didn't. Unfortunately, the game was not called by 4-year-olds. They would have gotten it right.

It's sickening as a Packer fan to have a game stolen like it was last night. Regardless of whether you are a Packer fan, a fan of another team, or just someone who enjoys sports in general, you know the Packers won the game...and it was taken away by incompetent officials. And the NFL itself through its greed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Packers get beat by NFL replacement refs

In a game the announcers and pundits and retired referee commentators all agree the Packers won, the Pack lost due to several horrible calls by the replacement refs, but one in particular: the final Hail Mary pass by Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Golden Tate pushed off a defender in the endzone -- offensive pass interference, not called -- and the jump ball was caught by DB M.D. Jennings. He clearly had possession of the ball. Everyone agreed, at least those on TV and watching TV. Unfortunately the not-ready-for-primetime refs somehow, called it a touchdown for Seattle. Even after reviewing the play, the call was the same. Unbelievable.

Final score, 14-12 Seahawks.

It is one of the most horrendous ends to a game that many commentators have said they have ever seen.

The NFL's lockout of the regular officials has had many negatives so far in this early season. However, none has been as bad as this. And not just because I'm a Packers fan. I would be saying this regardless of team. Any team that had victory taken away from them like this should be thoroughly disgusted with the league at this point.

Fans, if not the team owners themselves, need to call, write, Tweet, fax, etc. the NFL Commissioners office. This is ridiculous.

These replacement refs cost the Packers the game. Plain and simple.

There will be more forthcoming here and elsewhere about this bogus finish. Horrible. Horrible.

Packers vs. Seahawks Week 3 Preview

We're just a little more than two hours away from kickoff in Seattle for the Green Bay Packers vs. the Seahawks. Monday Night Football!

There's an interesting stat which hit the Twittersphere today: Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers is winless on the road on Monday nights: 0-4. Yikes! He's 3-0 in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field on Monday nights. Hmmm. So, what can we look at in order to figure out a possible outcome tonight?

First of all, after two weeks of replacement NFL referees, we can count on the not-ready-for-primetime-refs to throw off the Packers' offensive rhythm. The Pack likes to get to the line with no huddle and catch the defense with incorrect personnel for certain plays. The refs will be certain to mess that up as they try to figure out where to place the ball, or where to find Waldo. That's one that eliminates the Packers advantage in that category. The overall offensive advantage, however, goes to the Pack given the aerial weapons which they'll bring to bear. Plus, if they can get RB Cedric Benson enough carries and get enough push from the offensive line it can really open things up for the offense. This will be a big challenge on both fronts, though, as the Seattle defense is tough against the run through the first two games.

Secondly, there's the infamous Seattle 12th Man syndrome which makes the venue one of the loudest in the league. Again, advantage Seattle.

Third, instead of starting veteran QB and former Packers backup Matt Flynn, Seattle has gone with rookie and former Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) QB Russell Wilson. Seattle has the last-ranked passing offense in the NFL through the first two weeks. Still, Wilson has a strong arm, is smart, and can run or throw outside the pocket. He's the type of quarterback that in the past has given the Packers' defense fits. Keeping him in the pocket will be to the Packers advantage. Whether or not they can do so remains to be seen. Which defense will show up tonight for the Pack is the question: the one that looked like a sieve against the 49ers or the one that smacked Da Bearz around? Keep in mind also that the 'hawks have a powerful running back in the form of Marshawn Lynch who can take over a game if you let him; the Packers have to hold him in check or it could be a long and disappointing night.

I realize that I could and probably should be giving a lot more stats about this and that. But you can really find that info just about anywhere, right?

So let's just cut right to the chase, shall we? This is a game which the Packers should win even if they haven't totally gotten into the groove on offense yet or found their identity on defense...although Clay Matthews is certainly doing his part to help on that front! The Pack is favored by 3 or 3-1/2 points depending upon who are listening to, with the over-under pegged at 45-1/2 points.

I think the Packers will beat the spread and I'd take the under if I was a betting man...which I am not, by the way.

I'm calling it 23-17 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Packers beat down Bears 23-10

Thursday night, on the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field, the 2012 Green Bay Packers rebounded from their Game One loss to the 49ers and throttled the Chicago Bears, 23-10. It was a hard-fought game on both sides of the ball, but the Packers dominated, particularly on defense. That's putting it mildly.

In fact, there's no better indication of the degree to which the Packers smacked Da Bearz around than can be garnered by listening to Chicago sports talk radio. As a Packer fan, there's nothing better than listening to Chicago sports pundits and fans ripping their team, and particularly QB Jay Cutler. Cutler was picked off 4 times and sacked 7 times, the first time that that has happened since Patrick Ramsey -- as a rookie -- had that kind of game in 2002 for the Redskins. Chicago's 168 total yards in offense was their worst against the Pack in 37 years. Cutler finished with a passer rating of 28.2. He was in perpetual pout mode throughout the game, often jawing at teammates in frustration, even bumping his left tackle as they want to the sidelines while chewing him out. (Yeah, Jay, that bit of leadership will sure get your teammates behind you.)

One of the keys to the game for the Packers, as was noted here yesterday in our game preview, was to get to Cutler repeatedly. They did. Cutler will be seeing Packers LB Clay Matthews, who had 4 sacks, in his nightmares for the rest of the season. The book on Cutler is when you get to him early and often he will get happy feet and start tossing the ball around. That's exactly what happened, and the result was 4 interceptions for the Packers, 2 by Tramon Williams.

The Packers defense, which was sieve-like against the Niners, played with an intensity and attitude that we can only hope to see carry over throughout the season. Pass coverage was tight, and the pass rush was effective. That typically will go a long way to helping increase the chances of a victory.

The other thing that helps increase the changes of a victory is the ability to run the ball. After only giving the ball to RB Cedric Benson 9 times on Sunday, the coaches finally decided to crank up the running game. Benson rushed 20 times for 81 yards. He also caught the ball four times for an additional 35 yards. That was huge. However, the Packers' inability to pick up a first down on third-and-one several times during the game was pathetic. Expect that to improve as the season goes along.

Another factor in last night's win, as suggested in our preview, was special teams. K Mason Crosby nailed three long field goals, including the longest by a Packers kicker at Lambeau, 54 yards. He also nailed field goals from 48 and 35 yards. He was also the decoy of sorts in one of the plays that helped break open the game: a fake field goal. Crosby lined up for a field-goal attempt of 45 yards. The holder, as always, was punter Tim Masthay. Crosby took his usual step after the snap and then veered hard left. As that was happening, TE Tom Crabtree, who was lined up on the left side in protection, moved back across the formation from left to right. From his kneeling position, Masthay flipped the ball to Crabtree, who broke around to the right side through a huge hole and scored without being touched to give the Pack a 10-0 lead. Great, gutsy call. And Tim Masthay wound up with a higher passing rating than Jay Cutler.

There's plenty of other pluses and minuses which we can go over...and maybe will later on. Or not. For now, let's just savor this great win for the Packers.

Say it with me: it's great to be a Packers fan!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Packers vs. Bears: week 2 preview and prediction

As Sports Illustrated's Peter King said Wednesday on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, tonight's game at Lambeau Field versus Da Bearz is about as close to a must-win game for the Packers as a team can have in just the second week of the season.

After losing at home to the 49ers in the season opener on Sunday, the Pack didn't have much time to straighten out its flaws. Those flaws in the first game were many: no rushing game, little pass protection, an inconsistent pass rush, and pass coverage that was nearly non-existent. Oh, and did I mention poor tackling despite the supposed emphasis on that during training camp? While we're at it, toss in some questionable play calling and time management and it was not the way the Packers were expected to perform. At all. As a result, they trail each of the other teams in the division by a game. Yes, even the ViQueens (shudder!).

It's only the first game, of course. But this is where the sense of urgency that Mr. King referred to comes into play: lose this game and after just two games into the season the Pack would already be down to Da Bearz by two games. Not good.

The Packers need this game. They're at home, on a national stage. Again. There are lots of new and young players who are obviously still trying to understand what it takes to play in the NFL and for the Green Bay Packers. There's plenty of veteran leadership on the field and in the locker room, so that will not be an issue. Performance is what it's about. The offensive line needs to get some push and open some holes so that Cedric Benson can one-up his old know he is looking forward to that opportunity. And along these same lines, head coach Mike McCarthy can't be so quick to bail out on the rushing game. Benson had the ball a total of nine times the entire game Sunday; that's not going to get it done. Obviously, the offense is built around Aaron Rodgers and the receivers, but you still have to have enough of a run threat to keep the defenders honest. By bottling up the run and getting a pass rush with just three or four linemen, the Niners were able to disrupt the Pack's passing game all day long.

Another potential downside for the Pack in this game is that WR Greg Jennings is not expected to play because of a groin injury. The Packers are deep at receiver, as we know. But taking your top receiver off the field in a must-win game is not what you want to have happen. Someone will have to step up. Several receivers will have to step up. And TE Jermichael Finley will need to hang on to the ball when it's tossed his way. He had some great catches against the Niners. But he also had a key drop or two that killed drives.

Now, Da Bearz' defense isn't near the caliber of the Niners. But they will be jacked up, as always, for the game against the Pack. Execution at all levels must be much higher than it was in the opener. If not, the Pack will be 0-2 to start the season.

Still, let us remind ourselves that Da Bearz QB Jay Cutler is 1-7 against the Packers. For whatever reason, the Packers seem to have had his number over the years. One might argue that the odds have got to be in Cutler's favor at some point. Let's hope not. At least not tonight. Of course, being the diplomatic person he is, Cutler also opined on Tuesday that the Packers' defensive backs had better watch out. Let's hope he and his team pay for that challenging remark.

The way to make sure Chicago has a bad night is to get to Cutler often. When that happens, he gets happy feet and starts flinging the ball all over the place. Even fans of Da Bearz admit this (c'mon, you know who you are!) Assuming that the Packers can cover receivers better than they did Sunday, that would bode well for interceptions.

Of course, the receiving corps for Chicago got a significant boost with the addition of Brandon Marshall. If the Pack takes care of Cutler, Marshall will become less of a factor; if they don't get to Cutler, we could see a reprise of Alex Smith's aerial success Sunday. The Packers also have to contain Matt easy task...particularly after the way they let Frank Gore et al scamper about.

Game Prediction
The Packers are favored at the time of this writing by 5.5 points. I'd be happy to see that kind of margin. Many of these games, as all true Packer fans know, are slugfests. Sometimes they are decided by special teams, as this could well be. (Does the name Devin Hester ring a bell? Of course, we can now counter with Randall Cobb, can't we?) This could be a game where everything -- including wounded pride -- kicks in for the Pack. That would be great to see. The oddsmakers have the over-under at 51.5 so they seem to be counting on a shootout.

I think this will be a close one, as the Packers still have way too much to figure out. But I think they will have figured out enough. There will be more offense than defense on both sides.

I'm calling it 27-24 Packers. My good friend, Billy Da Bearz fan, agrees with the oddsmakers and says it's going to be a shootout, and calls it 38-35...for Chicago. (I'll refrain from going into his sad personal history which obviously has led to this wild-eyed hysteria on his part.)

Go Pack Go!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Packers lick wounds, get ready for Da Bearz

The post-mortem of the loss by the Green Bay Packers to the San Francisco 49ers continued yesterday with local and national pundits tossing in their two-cents, of course. So why not us?

In general, the gist of the observations was that, going back to the end of last season with the losses to the Chiefs and the Giants, and now in this first game of the 2012 season, teams have discovered the "formula" to shut down the Packers. That consists of making the Packers' mediocre running game totally ineffective, getting a pass rush with no more than three or four defenders, and dropping seven or eight into coverage. Well, that does seem to shut down the offense; one has to agree given these example games. But what about the defense? The Packers were the worst defense in the league last season and they didn't really do much in the opener to change that opinion. Yes, they registered a couple sacks and it appears Clay Matthews may once again find ways to the quarterback now that offensive lines can't only concentrate on him. Still, Alex Smith had far too much time overall to find usually wide open receivers. And the Niners' running game made the Packers look like a sieve. As I Tweeted (@PackFansUnited) during the game, all that emphasis during training camp on tackling really paid off...NOT!

Bottom line to the above: without any threat of a Packers' running game, with the ability to put pressure on with only three or four pass rushers, the lack of ability by the Packers' defenders to stop the run, cover receivers tightly and get a consistent pass rush of their own, it's going to be a long season.

For the best blow-by-blow review, though, of how the Pack got smacked check out the scorecard of the uber-Pack-guru and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sportswriter, Bob McGinn.

A couple points to calm our nerves. One was made by Wayne Larrivee, the radio voice of the Green Bay Packers. He stated on Monday during a radio review of the game that without a doubt "this (49ers) defense will be the best defense the Packers face all season." Former Niners' QB Steve Young said on ESPN that as long as Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers everything will be fine. He said the 49ers and the Packers have two of the best young locker rooms in the league with lots of leadership. Young said there should be no panic at this point. But, when asked about the situation if the Packers were to lose to Da Bearz, Young said that then you might start to get a bit concerned.

As I said in my post-game comments here, the Packers suffered from bad play calling by the coaching staff, bad time management...well, the list goes on. Go back and read the prior post if you are a masochist.

Da Bearz on Thursday night
As head coach Mike McCarthy said after Sunday's loss, the team had only 96 hours to get ready for Da Bearz to come to Lambeau Field. Chicago won its home opener against the Colts. One would expect it would not be such an easy road to victory for Da Bearz this time around.

The Packers had their pride diminished Sunday and if the players are professionals and the coaches do their jobs the team should be on fire Thursday night. They have a lot of things to get turned around in a very short period of time but perhaps that quick turnaround will allow them to put Sunday's poor performance behind them and make ready for Da Bearz.

Chicago has upgraded itself at receiver with the addition of Brandon Marshall. It has one of the better running backs in the league in Matt Forte. The quarterback, when given the time like he was on Sunday, can be very good. The defense is solid, if not totally dominating as in some years. Special teams are also very good.

This game will be a challenge for the Pack, no doubt, especially with all the question marks arising from the first game. But this is a game the Packers must win. With a loss, they'd already be two games behind Da Bearz in the division. With a trip to Seattle following this game and then back at home against the Saints, the Packers don't have the luxury of going 0-2 to start the season. I had given my season projection as 12-4, with the Packers losing one game in each quarter of the 16-game season. They'll need to right the ship and come out of these first four games with a 3-1 record to stay on pace. It won't be easy. But it will be an early sign as to what kind of team this year's Packers are.

Check back Thursday for my game prediction.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Packers drop home opener, 30-22 to 49ers

The Green Bay Packers just lost their season and home opener to the San Francisco 49ers, 30-22. A lackluster performance by both the offense and defense, poor tackling, bad time management and play calling, as well as a more physical Niners team, led to the loss.

While the loss is bad enough on its own, the fact that Da Bearz, the Lions and the ViQueens all won today means the Pack now trail each of these teams by a game. Yes, it's only the first game of the season. But it's the principal of the thing, you know? And with Chicago coming to Lambeau five short days from now, the Packers have LOTS of work to do.

There might be more post-game analysis here tomorrow. Or not. Just not sure how much there is to say about a game this poorly played by the Packers. It's only one game. But if what we saw today persists through the's gonna be a long one.

Stay strong, Packer fans.

Let the season begin! Packers vs. 49ers and season preview

Finally. It's finally here. Rejoice! Rejoice! The Green Bay Packers 2012 season kicks off this afternoon. Oh, happy happy joy joy!

As all good Packer fans know, the Pack plays the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field, with kickoff at roughly 3:25 CT. Today’s game is a matchup of the highest-scoring offense in the league in 2011 (Green Bay, 35.0 ppg) against the No. 2 scoring defense (San Francisco, 14.3 ppg) from last season. Something's gonna give, as the saying goes.

The Niners were one of the surprise teams last season, going 13-3, with some even going so far as to project them going to the Super Bowl this season. Those people, however, regardless of the outcome of today's game, are delusional.

A look at the Niners
Let's be honest, however. This is a good football team. It has a great defense, and that, rather than its offense, is what will take them to the promised land if they are indeed to get there this season. They have a maniac defensive tackle in Justin Smith, who will give LT Marshall Newhouse and LG T.J. Lang a handful all day long. If they don't slow him down, it could be a long day for QB Aaron Rodgers. See this article for more on Smith.

Ditto for handling the Niners' linebackers, which are arguably among the best in the NFL right now (don't just take my word for it...see this article for more). ROLB Aldon Smith starts this season after registering 14 sacks as a rookie who played fewer than half the snaps on defensive. He's a pass rusher and the Packers will have to find a way to handle him at the line, as well. The biggest challenge among the Niners' linebackers, however, will be inside/middle linebacker Patrick Willis. He's fast, can play the run like a beast and can drop into coverage, as well. A key match up today will be the Packers' tight ends on Willis. Jermichael Finley needs a big day against Willis to help keep the chains moving, whether through his receiving or helping open up running lanes or crossing routes for other Packer weapons to exploit.

The Niners' defensive backs are better moving forward than backward, which means that if Aaron Rogers is able to run his patented bootlegs with long downfield passes there are chances for real success. If the Pack's O-line can handle the two Smiths, and the Pack can run its four (and maybe five!) wide receiver sets, the 49ers will have their hands full figuring out who to cover. The Packers just have too many weapons in their receiving corp for defenders to stay with all day long; something will give, and when it does Rodgers will find the opening.

The Packers at a glance
As most everyone knows, the Packers' defense was its Achilles Heal last season. That's why there was a real emphasis in the draft on upgrading the defense. The Packers have added to their defensive line and linebacking corps, and some second-year players in the secondary are ready to make their mark. San Francisco has good receivers of their own and one of the keys to the game today will be how much pressure the Packers can put on QB Alex Smith. (What is it with all these Smiths on the 49ers? Did they get a deal on Smith jerseys???) We'd like to see the Pack shut down and shut up WR Randy Moss, who joined the Niners this off season. WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis will also present their match up issues. The Packers defense will also have to keep RB Frank Gore from running loose behind a big offensive line; its often easy for the smaller backs to hide behind the big push and before you know it they've picked up five yards. The Pack can't let them happen. This will be a great test for B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and others at the line, as well as the Pack's linebackers.

As to the Packers' offense, it's the best in the game. The quarterback is the league MVP, there are six top-notch receivers, all of whom can break a defense down, and now also a consideration in the running game for defenders in the name of Cedric Benson. If Benson can pound for several yards a carry as needed -- and hold onto the ball -- and if Alex Green and John Kuhn can pick up third down yardage on screens, it will keep the defense from loading up entirely on a pass rush or dropping into nickel coverage throughout the game.

Special teams play may also factor into this game, as it sometimes does especially early in the season where young players are getting their first exposure to the speed of NFL play. If second-year player Randall Cobb can get loose, as he did last year, he could score on a return or set the Pack up in good field position for a score. Punter Tim Masthay was rewarded with a big contract for his past performance and their should be no let down this season. Kicker Mason Crosby, however, seemed a bit inconsistent in his field goal attempts at times during the preseason and you have to hope that's not a precursor of things to come today or throughout the season.

Game Prediction
The Packers are still listed as 5-point favorites today, with the over/under set at 46.5 points, among the highest point totals for Week One.

I think this game will be closer than five points. In the first game of the season, anything can happen. This is a game that the Pack could indeed lose. Still, according to gameday notes at, "Under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers have won five straight season openers (2007-11), which matches the franchise record." So you know McCarthy will have a great game plan in place and have the team ready to go. Niners coach Jim Harbaugh will likewise have his team ready to go. So, will it be the league's highest-scoring offense from last season that prevails or the league's No. 2 scoring defense that wins the day?

I give the nod to the Packers. My prediction: Packers 24 - 49ers 23. Go Pack Go!!!

Season Prediction
I know that many bloggers and prognositcators do a whole game by game preview for you. Sorry, gang...not gonna get that here today. Not enough time. And, really, do you need another such review? I didn't think so.

So my bottom line win-loss projection for the Pack is 12-4, good enough for winning the NFC North. Playoffs and Super Bowl...yes.

I tend to break down the season by quarters. In looking at the tough first four games -- Niners, Da Bearz, Seahawks and Saints -- I think it's reasonable to assume the Pack will drop one of those games, particularly with two tough games coming within five days of each other (49ers and Da Bearz). The second quarter of the season sees the Pack playing the Colts, Texans, Rams and Jaguars. The Packers should take all of those, but playing on the road against the playoff-ready Texans will be the biggest challenge; that game could result in a loss. The Cardinals, Lions, Giants and ViQueens is potentially a tough stretch in the third quarter of the season with the Lions and Giants back to back on the road. I'd expect one of those games to be a loss. In the final quarter of the season, the Packers play the Lions, Da Bearz, Titans and ViQueens. There's one potential loss among that group. That's how I get to 12-4.

Whether 12-4, 13-3 or even the unexpected 15-1 of last season, say it with me: It's great to be a Packer fan!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Packers finalize practice squad; get ready for 49ers

Following the flurry of cuts and waivers to get to their 53-man roster last Friday, the Green Bay Packers finally nailed down the eight spots on their practice squad. Most of the eight have already been with the Pack, either as rookies this training camp or as practice squad players previously. The eighth and final spot, however, was filled by a two-year veteran cut from the Steelers, Chris Scott, an offensive lineman. Considering that GM Ted Thompson only kept seven offensive linemen on the active roster, adding an experienced lineman to the practice squad gives the team at least a bit of depth. A bit. The Packers also kept seventh-round pick Andrew Datko and undrafted rookie free agent G Greg Van Roten on the squad. Only one defensive player, DE Lawrence Guy, made the squad.

Anyway, here's the practice squad roster:
  • QB B.J. Coleman
  • WR Diondre Borel
  • RB Marc Tyler
  • TE Brandon Bostick
  • T Andrew Datko
  • G/T Chris Scott
  • G Greg Van Roten
  • DE Lawrence Guy
Noticeable by his absence is WR Tori Gurley who was finally lured away to the ViQueens practice squad. The Packers had paid him more this last year to keep him on their practice squad after the 'Queens had initially tried to sign him to their practice squad. Given the abundance of receivers the Pack had in camp this year, it was apparent that probably only he or Borel and not both would make the practice squad. The Pack opted in the final analysis for Borel.

49ers coming to Lambeau to kick off the season

The Packers had their first practice of the regular season yesterday as they began preparation for the San Francisco 49ers coming to Lambeau Field this Sunday. A few players were held out, including B.J. Raji who sustained an ankle sprain on the first play of the final preseason game. Today is the team's regular day off before they again resume preparations tomorrow.

Currently, the Packers are slotted as 5-point favorites over the Niners, who bring a talented defense into town. San Fran had a very good season last year, but they picked up four easy wins going against the likes of Seattle and Arizona.

We'll be back nearer game day to provide both a game -- and season -- prediction.

Until then...say it with me: It's great to be a Packer fan!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Packers make final cuts, set roster

Along with all other NFL teams, the Green Bay Packers made their final moves Friday to get to the required 53-man roster. According to, "The Green Bay Packers released 18 players and placed T Derek Sherrod on reserve/physically unable to perform and LB Vic So’oto (ankle) on injured reserve."

The cuts, per the official Packers site, are as follows:
  • T Shea Allard
  • WR Diondre Borel
  • TE Brandon Bostick
  • QB B.J. Coleman
  • FB Nic Cooper
  • T Andrew Datko
  • C/G Tommie Draheim
  • C/G Sampson Genus
  • WR Curenski Gilleylen
  • WR Tori Gurley
  • DE Lawrence Guy
  • S Anthony Levine
  • CB Otis Merrill
  • WR Dale Moss
  • DT Daniel Muir
  • RB Marc Tyler
  • G Greg Van Roten
  • G/T Reggie Wells
In addition to these moves, LB Erik Walden and DE Mike Neal now begin serving league suspensions, Walden for one game and Neal for four (if memory serves correctly).

The apparent surprise in the cuts, judging by media and Twitter chatter, was that of veteran defensive lineman Daniel Muir who by all accounts had a decent camp. He apparently lost the sixth spot on the line to veteran Phillip Merling.

By cutting seventh-round draft picks Datko and Coleman the surviving draft class, the Pack's top six picks, were all on defense.

An undrafted offensive lineman, G Don Barclay out of West Virginia, apparently showed just enough to make the roster. Rookie WR Jarrett Boykin flashed enough talent that he made the Packers keep six wide receivers. It will be the first time since opening day 2001 that that's been the case.

Another rookie free agent, Sean Richardson, from Vanderbilt, made it as the fourth safety.

There are other players released who, if they clear waivers, could return to the Pack as members of the practice squad.

For a look at the roster as it stands now -- and remember, there could be waiver pick ups or trades yet to come -- check here. The Packers won't be the youngest team in the league this season, but the youth movement is still in full swing in Green Bay. It has served the team well over the past few seasons and likely will do so again this year.

Go Pack Go!!!