Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 4: Denver at Green Bay

I’m trying to think of something to say about the Green Bay-Denver game coming up, but I know nohing about the Broncos. I thought about it for a minute and could only think of about 4 players that play for the Broncos (and only 1 of them played last week). This game against a very injured Denver team should be a cakewalk for the Packers, but we’ve said the before, right? A couple things they should keep an eye out for: 

  • Denver’s coming off a a game they should have won in Tennessee. Maybe that will light a fire under the team to come into Lambeau hot? Maybe?
  • The Packers are currently 31st in the league in opponent passing yards allowed. Yikes. They’re giving up 359 yards a game on average! The secondary is making every quarterback look like Tom Freakin’ Brady!! But let’s not full-out panic yet - Kyle Orton should bring those numbers down some.
  • If you’re depressed about the secondary, here’s something to comfort yourself with: the Packers are FIRST in the league in rush defense!!! Yay! Good job, guys! Too bad most teams barely use the run anymore.  Example: Adrian Peterson - THE BEST RUNNER IN THE LEAGUE - was given only 5 carries in the second half in last week’s loss to the Lions. FIVE. Minnesota, you have not only a terrible quarterback, but you have THE BEST RUNNER IN THE LEAGUE, why, oh why, would you only give Adrian Peterson 5 carries in the second half?? Especially when the Lions were coming roaring back like that?
(Note: this point was, in truth, less about teams backing away from the running game and more  about the ineptitude of the entire Vikings organization. There will be many like points in the future.)
  • I’m sorry, I really can’t get over Denver’s injuries this year. It’s like every really good or even sorta good player on the team was struck down by the football gods. Champ Bailey, Brandon Lloyd, Elvis Dumervil, Knowshon Moreno. Also, all their back-ups, too. Perhaps the football gods are still angry over the Josh McDaniels disaster.
  • How ‘bout that Clay Matthews on the run? Last year, he was not that reliable on the run. (Remember the Steelers targeting him on the run in the Super Bowl? But he made them pay, eventually. Heh.) Last Sunday, poor Matt Forte could barely take even a step in the direction of the line of scrimmage before Clay ate him up. Heh.
  • The Packers, at some point in the season, will be upset by a much inferior team. Not this week, though. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

He Puts The Team On His Back.

Click here for the whole video (which for some reason I couldn't embed).

In other news, yeah.

Greg Jennings.

Clay Matthews. And Cats.

Why do people, even people who hate cats, have an obsession with cat paws?

This is an example of a cat paw that is in an unexpected place. This gives it a "double cuteness" edge. Not only is it a perfectly shaped cat foot, but it is on top of a computer keyboard. Mindboggling!

Whenever people go to pet a cat, where do they invariably reach for first? The head? No. The tail? No. The belly? No.

They go for the paw. They stroke the top of it. They feel the pad of it. They squeeze it. They usually say something in a stupid high voice.

If you are a cat owner, you probably find yourself saying approximately 78 times a day, "Don't touch her paws. She doesn't like it." But people don't care. People are thinking, shut up, cat owner. I'm not here to listen to your jabbering. I hate cats anyways. I just want to squeeze the paw.

Look at this paw. Do you want to poke it?

Yes. You do.

Are you thinking to yourself, hey, you, Blogger. No one hates cats! That's not even possible!

It is possible. A lot of (stupid) people hate cats. This is because they believe the following suppositions:
1) Cats are antisocial and unfriendly.
2) Cats are untrainable.
3) Cats are not cuddly and you can't make them do what you want them to do.
4) Cats make 97.6% of the universe sneeze.
5) Cats are often obese.

Some of those assumptions are true, but those people are forgetting the following very important facts:
1) Cats use litterboxes.
2) Cats clean themselves.
3) Cats don't pant and drool.
4) Marisa's cat drinks beer. (Note: Marisa tries to discourage this habit.)

I could have used much more subjective reasons like 5) Cats have pride and dignity, 6) Cats are better than mangos, and 7) Cats are loyal and everything that is perfect in the world, but I thought I'd stick to the facts.

So in conclusion, cat paws are awesome. But stop grabbing them.

Now here are some pictures of Clay Matthews sacking people.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why the Eagles are not the Dream Team, Baby Diarrhea, and Tom Brady's Hair

Fun day for games! I was freaking out trying to flip channels between the end of the Houston-Atlanta game and the Detroit-Minnesota game while keeping an eye on the Buffalo-New England and NY Giants-Philadelphia games!! So much excitement! And all the games turned out the way I wanted! The football gods must love me!

I think Michael Vick’s anger and frustration are misdirected. He should be pissed at the Eagles organization. The Eagles spent a fortune in the offseason building a dynamo defense. What they didn’t spend a dime on was the offensive line, and it shows. Last year, Philadelphia gave up 52 sacks, including 9 in two meetings with the Packers - remember Philadelphia’s starting right tackle Winston Justice sitting alone on the bench after suffering humiliation at the hands of Clay Matthews in the playoff game? 

 You give up 52 sacks and you don’t think to address your offensive line in the offseason? Instead, the Eagles preferred to put the glitz and the glamour on the other side of the ball. I do not understand how you can spend $100 MILLION DOLLARS on your quarterback and then do nothing to protect him. Sure, Vick deserves some of the fault for his sacks, as do the referees, probably, and the offensive coordinator, &c, but the real issue is the Eagles opening up their pocketbook for just about every other position except the one that was their biggest problem last season. (But yeah. Vick didn’t want to complain or anything. He just wanted to make everyone aware.)

What in the heck were the New Orleans Saints wearing? Their pants were the exact color of baby diarrhea. 

Having been a babysitter for most of my tweens, this brought back bad memories.

Can we all just take a minute to note how Tom Brady stood still and watched as Drayton Florence picked off his pass and ran it into the endzone? (Can we also take a minute to note how vomitrocious his hair was in the post-game? 
...Shudder.) Sure, Tom could have stopped him from scoring, but hey, when you have a face like that, you don’t want to risk messing it up. 7 points to the Bills is worth not bruising up Brady. (Though if Brady had tackled Florence, Florence would probably have been flagged for a touching-or-coming-within-arm’s-reach-of-Tom-Brady penalty.)

My favorite part of the Bills win besides the Patriots losing? The holder jumping so high in celebration that he landed on the kicker’s shoulder. And the kicker was so excited, he didn’t even notice how weird they looked and it took him a full 4 seconds to push the holder off him.

I mean, this is an impressive leap. Let's look at what he had to do in order to get up there.

I don't even know what to say. Ouch?

I don’t get how teams can have baseball diamonds in the middle of their field. First of all, it looks very backyard and a little bit silly. Secondly, isn’t it hard for runners to go from grass to dirt to grass without losing speed or footing?

The Jets lost. I don’t know to whom. Doesn’t matter. I’m just glad they lost.

Should I take time now to rail against how much I hate Mike Pereira and his glasses? Nah, I’ll save it for a slower week.

Current undefeated teams: Green Bay (of course), Detroit (Whoaa! Surprise!), potentially Washington (no one saw THAT coming!), and Buffalo (I’m building a time machine, going back three weeks and betting every single person I know that Buffalo will be 3-0 to start the season. See? Now I’m a millionaire and no longer rely on this blog to launch me to fame and financial independence.)

So when Vick’s non-throwing hand was broken, why didn’t the trainers put anything on it? Tape? A protective glove? A band-aid?

Is Atlanta for real or not? I can’t tell. I was impressed by them last year, but as someone recently pointed out to me, was there any time last year when you thought, “Wow. That’s a championship team!”? They were consistent, even surgical at times, but I didn’t ever think there was even a chance they’d beat the Packers in the playoffs. (And that’s not just because I’m a Packers’ fan, I swear.) They lose by 18 to a bad Bears team Week 1, but then take a victory in the final minutes of a slugfest with Philadelphia in Week 2, and now score one touchdown against Tampa Bay in Week 3. What do you make of them? I have to say as much as I like Atlanta and I like the way they play, I no longer think they’re a “for real” team. They’re one Jeremy Maclin drop away from being 0-3.

Why do quarterbacks always wear baseball caps on the sidelines, but none of the other players ever do? My theory is that quarterbacks, like band frontmen, are more vain than their peers, and therefore more concerned about helmet hair.

What do you think the over/under is on shots of Peyton Manning in the coaches' booth on Sunday Night Football? If this were a drinking game, I’d be drunk before the end of the first quarter.

This Just In: The Bears Still Suck

3-0 sounds darn good, but we had to suffer through a pretty painful game at Soldier Field to get it.

It wasn’t all bad. We beat a division opponent on the road. Even better, we beat the Bears.

Jermichael Finley had an impressive game, claiming the only three touchdowns on the Packers’ side.

Morgan Burnett had two interceptions – not too shabby.

Ryan Grant kicked some ass, running for 92 yards. I think he’s proven himself by this time. I mean, seriously. LOOK AT THAT DETERMINATION TO GET INTO THE RED ZONE!

Bryan Bulaga got injured, and it didn’t look good. Marshall Newhouse did well in his stead, however.

Greg Jennings, as usual, was a Football Ninja with a series of stunning catches (9), especially in the first half. He looked like this:

Did anyone else notice the love affair that the camera man had with Greg Jennings in the 4th quarter? We literally got to see a good 20 seconds of him smiling on the sidelines. Not that I was complaining. I did have to put on my sunglasses about fourteen seconds in though.

Obligatory Cutler-bash:
Cutler has been sacked 14 times so far this season (the most in the NFL, obviously). He threw six straight incomplete passes at the start of the second quarter. He also has a stupid face:

But here’s the thing: the Packers always have to make it exciting. They can’t just let their fans feel safe, even when they are leading the score the entire game. I’m not sure why this happens – it’s like they get complacent and decide to just throw a couple interceptions to get everyone sweating.

I mean….okay, we got that fabulous interception in the 4th quarter and then immediately fumbled it and gave it back to the Bears. Which led to a Bears touchdown.

Ugh, and Aaron Rodgers’ first interception of the season to Urlacher.

I also saw quite a bit of that feisty rivalry on the field between the two teams. Jarrett Bush was upset about an uncalled penalty, and I was frustrated for him too.

Sam Shields and Devin Hester got into it a little, too. Actually, a lot. I could hear the Bears fans booing when only Hester got the penalty, but the refs were right on, and not just because I am a Packer fan. Shields and Hester were both pissed off and shoving each other around. But here’s where Hester went too far: Shields did the normal shoulder shoving thing, but Hester TWICE deliberately struck Shields in the face across the helmet. And one of those times he had to reach over the ref to do it. He absolutely deserved the penalty.

Speaking of penalties, there were approximately 7,429 penalties every 5.2 seconds. How many times do you have to false start in one half-hour?

Also…the beautiful trick return at the end of the game. So tricky, no one saw what happened. Is it too much to ask for a replay from a different camera?! Wow. Sucks to be the phantom Bears player who was called for holding on that play. I bet the post-game locker atmosphere was awkward.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Best Packer Video Of All Time

Watch it now. And again. And again.

Acknowledgment that other teams besides the Packers exist, and other thoughts

  • Wow! That Tony Romo is one tough son of a gun! ...still don’t want him running my 4th quarter offense.

  • Note to Dunta Robinson: next time you’re trying to maim or kill an opposing receiver, at least put your arms out in front of you so it kinda sorta actually looks like you were going for a tackle or some other football-related play. (But don’t worry, Goodell was totally just messing with all you players when he threatened suspensions.)

  • Through the first 2 weeks, I thought Ryan Fitzpatrick’s full name was actually Ryan Fitzpatrick-he-went-to-Harvard and they had just shortened it to fit on the back of his jersey. Apparently not. But in all seriousness, Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard.

  • The DVD cover of Rob Reiner’s latest film Flipped says “From the director of The Bucket List and Stand By Me.” Do you really want to use The Bucket List? You sure? You don’t want to use The Princess Bride or When Harry Met Sally or A Few Good Men or This is Spinal Tap or any other film besides The Bucket List??

  • By this time, Jim Mora has requested all his announcing duties be transferred to whatever city Cam Newton is playing in. If denied, he’s planning on joining the groupies waiting outside the locker room at Bank of America stadium.

  • If you were the Colts, would you let your franchise quarterback and superstar (and, apparently, the only decent football player on your team) go to Europe for “not approved in the US” treatments? Is there anything that sounds sketchier than “not approved in the US” medical treatments? Maybe he’ll grow a third arm that can compete with Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter for back-up QB.

Week 3: Green Bay at Chicago

Last year’s Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers boasted a fearsome pass rush, but two weeks in, I’ve got to ask - where is the quarterback pressure? Looking up the stats, I was surprised to see that the Packers have recorded 7 sacks in the first two games, which is certainly a good number, yet it hasn’t felt like the team has had opposing quarterbacks scrambling the way they did last year.  The Packers put a lot of their eggs in the basket of Mike Neal when they allowed Cullen Jenkins to walk away in the offseason, and Neal has yet to play this season due to a knee injury. Nor does it help that Frank Zombo’s out with a nasty shoulder injury. The frustrating thing is that I can’t seem to pinpoint why the defensive line hasn’t been as effective - Erik Walden, Jarius Wynn, and C.J. Wilson have been pretty solid. Is the problem simply that they lack a “playmaker” to help out the Claymaker? Someone to spark the defense with game-changing plays? Tell me if you know the answer.

What to watch for this week:

Bears’ Offensive Line - Can’t imagine this week is going to be much more fun for Jay Cutler than last week.  The loss of Gabe Carimi is huge, and weakens what was already a very problematic offensive line. While the Packers don’t use the blitz quite as much as Gregg William’s Saints’ defense, I expect a lot of pressure from Green Bay’s front seven will keep Cutler on the run.

Packers’ Secondary - Nick Collins is out for the season. Ouch.  Tramon Williams is probable, but is coming off a shoulder injury. While the Packers’ secondary boasts some impressive and physically gifted back-ups, young guys like Morgan Burnett, Sam Shields, and Jarrett Bush can be prone to some rookie mistakes (despite the fact that none of them are rookies - Bush is in his 6th season!!). Will Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Martz try to target Collins’s replacement Charlie Peprah?
    Also, for how tempting it is to boast about this secondary, they have given up huge yardage in the first two games. Is that the fault of the individual players in the secondary? Or an effect of the lack of pressure on the quarterback, forcing hasty throws and bad decisions? Either way, let’s hope it’s not a trend.

Special Teams - Many people noted in the offseason that the new kickoff rules could hurt the Chicago Bears more than any other team, as they rely heavily on superstar returner Devin Hester for advantageous field position to prop up a mediocre offense. The Packers’ coverage has seemed improved this year (minus a Darren Sproles punt return for a TD in week 1) - let’s see how they handle the best returner in the league.
    The Pack have their own emerging return star in Randall Cobb. Look to see how he bounces back from his tragic fumble on his very first return of last week.  

Penalties - It seems to me the only way Green Bay can lose this game would be a repeat of last season’s week 3 match-up in which Green Bay tried their utmost to lose - and only barely succeeded, thanks to a record 18 penalties, including one which wiped an interception returned for touchdown off the board and one that nullified another (surprise!) Jay Cutler interception.

Most intriguing match-up:

Packers’ running game vs. Bears defense: The Packers hope to have a more balanced offense this season with the return of Ryan Grant and the emergence of James Starks. Aaron Rodgers even admitted last week that the Pack needs to give more time to the run game. But is a game against the Chicago Bears’ strong defensive line really a time to emphasize the running game? I’ll be interested to see how McCarthy splits the pass/run plays this Sunday.

Top Ten Reasons that the Green Bay Packers are the Sexiest NFL Team (in no particular order)

1)      They Don’t Bother With Cheerleaders

I’m sorry, but professional football teams do not need cheerleaders on the sideline. What is the purpose of cheerleaders? Well:

A) they excite the crowd (in more ways than one), and

B) they pump up the team (supposedly).

Maybe in high school, the cheerleaders accomplish this goal. (They’re also useful in high school because they give cute, long-legged, bouncy teens a way to put themselves at the top of the high school hierarchy.) But after high school, I really don’t see a point to them. The women are still cute in college, but nobody really looks at them anymore. The women are even older in professional football, so the outfits start to be less sexy and more skanky. They almost become…an embarrassment. No true NFL fan needs a woman in a short, tight outfit to jump around in an obscure corner of the field to increase his/her excitement for the game. (This is where the men will interpose that it doesn’t hurt to have that, but I will counter that true NFL fans and players don’t need that extra crap. All they need is the game.)

The Packers show a classy disdain for this extraneous degradation of women by not bothering to hire cheerleaders. They don’t need cheerleaders. They have us.

2)      Lambeau Leaps

Grown men boyishly showing their enthusiasm for a touchdown and giving faithful fans the opportunity to boisterously slap them all over their bodies is really the height of my Green Bay home-game-watching enjoyment. It’s especially cute when 250 pound defensive players get to try it (“try” being the key word) after a fumble or an interception. No other team has such a tradition, and any negative feelings about it can only be the result of intense jealousy.

Besides, every other touchdown celebration is about the self-glorification of the individual player. The Packers show their love and appreciation for their fans every time they joyfully sail into the stands.

3)      They Have High Moral Character

Does every NFL fan say this about his/her team? Maybe. Probably. But why do I have this strangely firm conviction that the Packers are a team of extremely high values and moral character? I’m not sure. Am I going to argue that no Packer has ever played dirty, or said non-classy things, or done anything illegal? No. But for some reason, I have this idea in my mind that Packers are less inclined to act like that than other teams are. (It’s entirely possible that the only reason I say this is because I’m looking at a picture of Greg Jennings right now.) However, I defy anyone to listen to Aaron Rodgers give his post-game interview with that gentle smile and that trustworthy look in his eyes, and tell me that he doesn’t exude wholesome American decency.
And when people respect your quarterback, people respect your team. And when your quarterback is a sour-faced, glowering, wimp with poor team spirit, people don’t.

(What? I didn’t say anything.)

4)      They Are Fan-Owned
No Jerry Jones, Al Davis, or Daniel Snyder to meddle in things they know nothing about. Also, Packer fans get a sense of pride in their team because they own it, not just because their team plays for their region. And it doesn’t hurt that we can brag about being the only fan-owned team in the league.

5)      Old School Uniforms

Green Bay uniforms are like romantic comedy plots - they never change. They’re simple, distinctive, and classic. There’s something about that magical combination of green and gold that makes a truly die-hard Packer fan’s heart beat faster.

6) They’re Tough

Ever heard of the “frozen tundra”? Yeah. Another name for that is Green Bay, Wisconsin. The winters in this part of the nation are nothing to sneeze at (what does that phrase even mean? I love it). Our players train in freezing cold, less than ideal conditions. There are two incentives for this:

1) When other teams come to Green Bay in the winter, they are thrown off guard by the debilitating conditions, and tend to look like weaklings compared to our men of brawn.

2) When the Packers travel to pampered fields that have never seen snow (whether due to their balmy southern location, or the fact that they reside inside a heated, enclosed stadium), they thrive. It’s like when runners run with weights to train, or when swimmers only shave their bodies when they are about to compete. See what happens? The Green Bay Packers shave their figurative body hair when they travel. And then they swim fast. (End of metaphor.)

7)      Rabid Fan Base

Cheeseheads are way cooler than Terrible Towels. I mean, come on. It’s much more impressive to have a bright orange foam dairy symbol on your head than to alliterate. Plus, towels are multi-purpose items. You could be carrying around a towel in case you spilled your drink on something. Or to wipe your 4-year-old son’s nose. Or to give your car a quick polish. There is only one reason, however, for carrying around a cheesehead.

8)      We Are The World Champions

Just saying.

9)      Young Talent, Experienced Talent

The Packers are somehow the second youngest team in the league, yet they have respected, proven vets like Charles Woodson (14th year), Donald Driver (13th), and Chad Clifton (12th), while Aaron Rodgers is already in his 7th season. Also…there is the fact that most of the team gained a little bit of experience from winning the Super Bowl last year. Just a little.

10)  Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings.